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The Bigger Picture ( of what Robin spends his time on )

Last Update at 1800 Wednesday 1st March 2017 UK time.
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Introduction and contacting me ...

Robin is a Grumpy Old Man ! :-)

Hi ! I'm Robin Lovelock, a "Grumpy Old Man" born in 1947, living in Sunninghill UK, with my wife June and our eldest daughter Samantha. This "Bigger Picture" page may save time in discussion. A picture says more than a thousand words - and I'm a very slow keyboard operator. It may help you find shared interests that you did not know existed. If you don't already know me well, start with my Home then AsOnTV pages.

rocking chair I prefer face-to-face communication, essential if talking about things too sensitive to put in an email. I enjoy my regular "Pub Grub" meetings with our local "Last of the Summer Wine Team", where we discuss many things, including global politics and "righting the World's Wrongs". If any picture or topic interests you, just email me, and I can direct you to the relevant page, before we chat in more detail.

I like our detailed conversations to start with an exchange of emails, so we both know a little about each other, before we speak on the telephone or face-to-face. In the past 20+ years that I've been doing this, I've built up a huge network of friends in over 150 countries. Over 10,000 of these have used my GPS Software. So, wherever you are in the World, I may know someone within walking distance of you :-)

Robin's mobile 'phone is NOT smart :-) Please take care if you text my Mobile 'phone: it is not smart, and often texts are broken into many messages. My mobile is for more urgent tasks, like arranging a rendezvous. I like to leave the Internet at home, for life-style reasons. June has a smartphone for SatNav - if needed.

June Nagivates Robin :-) I retired over 10 years ago, but still help those who use my GPS Software. However, in recent years, many who contact me are interested in my Snoopy's Robot Boat hobby, or "doing good" related to my charity interests, such as NHSCare.info in the UK, or even one or more topics on Grumpy page. I prefer direct email communication, and not via social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. To e-mail me, click on robin@gpss.co.uk or gpss@compuserve.com. My emails are received by the desktop PC in my Study. I do NOT have a smartphone ! I often hear emails coming in, so you may get a quick reply. Where possible, please contact me, Robin, by e-mail before making a 'phone call.

Emails may have topics that are relevant to some of our shared interests. You are welcome to CC who you wish when we speak on a particular topic. I will do the same with my reply. Some will certainly want our conversation to remain private, as it always has been. Many things should not be put in emails.

Robin's GPS Software is like having a little friend with you I pioneered GPS Tracking in the early 1990s, and I'm indebted to an old friend suggesting, "Robin's GPS Software is like having a little friend with you". In 2008, with popularity of GPSS on Pocket PC, I was tempted to add "... in your pocket" - but thought better of it.

These days, I prefer to use a paper map and a magnetic compass. It's much more fun, including finding interesting places when we get lost. I have learnt to delegate most things, and I have replaced my GPS based SatNav, by what I call my "Nagi-vation System". She sits beside me, shouts in my (deaf) ear when I'm in the wrong lane or above the speed limit. She does have GPS Satnav on her smartphone, which usually gets us lost, such as our visit to Tolworth Hospital, on Sunday 23rd October 2016. white strip

Robin rarely dresses smart :-) Jack June has put up with me since we were married in 1971. She is known as a "long suffering wife", as are several of my friend's partners. We obviously have activities that we share with the extended family. e.g. 97 father in law Jack, and many other things. June and I share a passion for all things Italian, having taken holidays there every year since 1999. Since 2004 it has mostly been Sicily. We've been learning Italian for years, and still attend small classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings - although these are very much social gatherings, with some wine tasting. See our Holidays . We also enjoy visiting NGS gardens, open for charity, sometimes meeting interesting people who share an interest. e.g. the guy who was also in the 1979 Fastnet race ( see "Sailing" below ). We sometimes combine a walk in the country with Geoching. See GPSHobby.info .

Oh yes... It is rare for me to dress other than "scruffy casual". The one exception is when I am on my best behaviour, as June's escort to a a Royal Television Society Dinner ;-)

Please give me feedback on anything you wish. e.g. maybe the layout of this page looks terrible on a smartphone or a particular browser ? e.g. that list of contents below should be one topic per line with the animated picture on the right. Or perhaps you see silly mistakes or typos ? Don't pull your punches - I have a thick skin :-) white strip

Contents & Topics often discussed within different groups of friends ....

Pictures and videos communicate far quicker than text or spoken words. Some topics are best discussed face-to-face - such as in a pub ;-)

GPSS, the GPS Software from Sunninghill

  • 1) "Grumpy" Page - lots of interesting or deadly serious topics.
  • 2) NHS ( UK National Health System ) related charity work - within the UK.
  • 3) Bray Lake Watersports, Snoopy, and News Coverage on TV, Radio, and Newspapers.
  • 4) Snoopy's little robot boat, trying to cross the Atlantic from UK to USA every year.
  • 5) Sailing - inshore sailing in Holland in the 1970s, and since.
  • 6) Radio Direction Finding (RDF): Radio Hams; Falconers; Military; Police; Business.
  • 7) Geocaching - the "GPS Treasure Hunting" hobby which we started in 2001.
  • 8) Model Aircraft, aerial filming, Quadcopter, Drones, Rockets, Robot Puppy Dog, etc.
  • 9) GPS Bottles thrown into the sea by the Artist Layla Curtis then BBC Radio Solent.
  • 10) Hot Air Ballons, starting with Samsung in 1996 through to the Birthday Flight in 2007.
  • 11) Local Sunninghill News - includes some amusing videos.
  • 12) Robin and June's holidays and love of Sicily and things Italian.
  • 13) Our "Dutch Connection" - the 1970s in Holland and Axon in recent years.
  • 14) Astronomy e.g. my old telescope, photos of the night sky, and the Orionid meteor shower.
  • 15) Garden - our "Wilderness of a garden". We are looking for a local gardener.
  • 16) Robin's German Connections ... Don't Mention the War(s) ... WWI, WWII, WWIII.
  • 17) What did we do today ?
  • 18) People are important to Robin. It's not WHAT you know, but WHO you know.
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1. Robin's "Grumpy Old Man" page ....

girl fleeing from napalm attack Utube video My "Grumpy Old Man" page on www.gpss.co.uk/grumpy.htm started with the "Marconi Mysterious Deaths" story, after my close work-mate David Sands died in mysterious circumstances. Cabinet Papers are released next year, and it seems there is no political reason for UK or Russian Government to feel they "did the wrong thing" at the time. There are many other interesting or important topics on my "Grumpy" page, but I've not bothered to add "Brexit". Much too easy for a competent UK Government to handle, if it's done in the same ways as my work mates ( through others ) handled billion pound overseas arms deals, such as into Malaysia or elsewhere. e.g. 17 billion. Not exactly the sort of thing that can be discussed other than face-to-face, but it involves using the right "Customer Friend" company to work with the vested interests in every country. e.g. strategic deals for particular companies to announce new investment in the UK, perhaps helped by secret "facilitating payments" ;-) If we have a UK Prime Minister as competent as Margeret Thatcher was, when my recently departed female EASAMS workmate briefed her, it will be easy for us to get the Free Trade Agreement most of us want. But there are far more important and difficult problems on that Grumpy page. - Love & Strength to All.

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2. NHSCare.info ( NHS is UK National Health System ) charity work - within the UK....

Robin's NHSCare.info NHS ( UK National Health System ) related charity work - only applicable within the UK, although I sometimes have contact from overseas, like ex-pats. www.NHSCare.info - how to get the NHS ( UK Government ) to pay for long term care under UK Law, unchanged on this since 1946. The Media have been helpful in the past, to "spread the word", such as those three 1 hour BBC Panorama programs, and the Daily Mail front page campaign, that started with the journalists finding www.nhscare.info and contacting me. See AsOnTV and www.NHSCare.info/inpress.htm for early NHSCare.info publicity. I think UK publicity on this would be better after a UK Election ( early in 2017 ??? ), after the "dust has settled" and the new UK Government has had time to clarify it's policy. 1 or 2 months max. Most of you will know of my "Bluebell" pages, linked from the top of www.nhscare.info and a far more difficult problem to fix. I've obviously been (allegedly) in contact with one or two key people last year, resulting in that BBC "Mental Health Season" at the start of the year, but that's all I can do - other than the private conversations face-to-face we occasionally have.

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3. Bray Lake Watersports, Snoopy, and News Coverage on TV, Radio, and Newspapers ...

Bray Lake Video Snoopy with Bray Lake Watersports staff in 2012 See Snoopy's Press Release (2015) for information about Bray Lake. Here is a video I made of Bray Lake, before Snoopy said "Bye Bye" to Bray Lake Watersports staff, before his 2012 Atlantic Attempt.

I first made contact with Simon, owner of Bray Lake Watersports, back in 2003. This was for the Old GPS Bottle project. Artist Layla Curtis was to promote the opening of Turner Contemporary at Margate, in 2004. I wanted to establish the speed that a bottle would drift due to wind. The answer was 0.3% of wind speed. This, with our Admiraly TotalTide model, gave good predictions in our later sea trials, and the later "GPS bottle missions".

Bray Lake was the obvious choice for Snoopy's robot boat tests, that started in 2008. There has been a long and happy relationship ever since, with numerous "rescue missions" and amusing events.

TV Publicity for GPS Software We are not strangers to newspaper, radio and TV publicity, ever since June and I stole most of BBC and ITV coverage of the London Motor Show, even though we did not have a stand. See my AsOnTV page, for a few videos and other things. e.g. the radio interview broadcast across USA radio networks and AFN ( American Armed Forces Radio ).

Eric Wardle There has been the occasional visit by the Media to Bray Lake, over the years, including national newspapers and the BBC. The most significant was probably the Jasper Coppings article in the Sunday Telegraph the Sunday before the 2012 launch. That's the guys at Bray Lake saying "Bye Bye Snoopy". There was news coverage on TV, radio, and Newspapers, in UK and overseas, including the USA and even New Zealand. e.g. the video put together by Ben Moore, the BBC camerman who filmed the 2012 launch, and who lives near June's dad Jack in Ascot. See Snoopy prepared for self-navigating Atlantic voyage by Paul Miles in Maidenhead Advertiser - one of Bray Lake's local newspapers. There were many other examples, some of which are on the Snoopy page. Click on Eric, to visit his page of videos. Sometimes there is linkage between the topics on this "Bigger Picture" page. Some might call it "Serendipity". white strip

4. Snoopy's Robot Boat - tries to cross the Atlantic every year ....

Robin Utube video I started this crazy hobby project in 2008: developing a small robot boat, capable of sailing itself across the Atlantic, from UK to USA. See the Snoopy page for a proper introduction, and pages of information, with pictures and videos. e.g. each attempt since the first in 2012, and details of the design, construction, and testing.

It was Yves Briere in France, who first suggested the idea in 2004, at a conference. My local friend John told me about the friendly Microtransat international competition, and I was soon hooked. The early other attempts fired my enthusiasm.

See the 2016 Attempt page is our record in pictures and video. for our most recent attempt. If Snoopy's boat 10 is seen, or eventually washes up and is is found, we can easily "wrap up" our story, and decide what museum to place him for retirement, such as Bray Lake or our Games Room - like one of the BBC GPS Bottles ( see section below ).

Affinity video We are now going into a relaxed period of preparing Snoopy's 2017 boat11, including tests on Bray Lake. This may be combined with demonstrations to journalists. There are many "spin-offs" from the right publicity other than the obvious "returning of a favour" to Bray Lake Watersports and others. e.g. old friends contacting me from far away places, and making new friends. A few of these friends, here and overseas, have been key members of our Team-Joker/Snoopy team.

Spot Trace We have a Picaxe 08M2 based Autoplot ready for test on Bray Lake in little Affinity, just 0.65 metres ( 2 feet ) long. This very slightly modified software may compensate for hardware errors such as the rudder not being completely central - but better to fix and properly test the hardware of the boat before a launch ! This means MANY Bray Lake Tests and days of 24/7 Tests. Blog6 gives the detailed progress, including "Tea-Tray Tests" of new 28X2 software, and assembly of the new Boat 11 for 2017. Mostly it will be a record of the testing, as in earlier blogs such as Blog5.

Since we already have a reliable 08M2 based Autopilot, the main function of new software may be the more impressive demonstrations for Radio & TV. e.g. The boat speaking, over our FM or PMR radio. New remote camera products, such as the X009 Remote spy camera might also have a role. See the AVL page, for things like new "Spot Trace" product, destined for the next boat. Also the X009 "spy camera" available at 10 GBP from China, and a little more from The Spy Shop in Wroclaw, Poland. Collaboration on testing, here and in Poland, is in my queue of things to do. Nice if we can all pull back photos from the Boat on Bray Lake or at sea, and "listen in" to ducks, sea gulls, or sailors ! white strip

5. Sailing ....

Samantha and Robin on the Solent See my old GPSS on Water page, that has become my "Stuart Quarrie" page. Or simply click on that picture to the left, showing Samantha at the helm on Stuart's boat, with me a mere passenger. The video on the right was filmed when June and I were shown around Cowes by Stuart, at the end of the famous "Cowes Week" Sailing regatta, that he had been running for 14 years. I remain a "landlubber", and detest jargon, if it heeds communication. So you will hear me say "right", instead of "starboard". Maybe even "backside" instead of "stern" :-) This old picture is old, and from the 1980s, but I did a bit of sailing, every week, in Holland, during the 1970s. I am still in contact with some of my ex-NATO chums, who skippered our boat on a big inland lake. Some of these guys, along with John, of Team-Joker, have been my source of sailing knowledge related to Snoopy's Robot Boat . Here are pages that deal with technical things like the tide, and dynamics of robot sailing boats: Q and A and TIDE .

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6. Radio Direction Finding (RDF): Radio Hams; Falconers; Military; Police; Business.

Visit the Radio Direction Finding page to know more: location of a radio transmitter by "hunting it down", with a suitable radio receiver and antenna.

Direction Finding Direction Finding Direction Finding Direction Finding Direction Finding

white strip The military were the first to use RDF, not long after radios were invented and being used in the battlefields. It works based on "Triangulation". e.g. You draw a line on a paper map from your known position, in the direction of the detected signal. For this you need a radio receiver with a directional antenna. A "yagi array" is an example. You need at least one other line, from a different position, so you can see where the lines intersect: the "target". Robin's GPS Software, GPSS, was doing this automatically in the early 1990s: it used the GPS and radio receiver supplying it received signal directions, to show this on a map, and automatically do the triangulation. It made this "target" the destination, for voice guidance to the driver, so he could keep his eyes on the road. This enabled single-man operation in radio detector vans, as used in one overseas use of GPSS. Most users in later years, were Amature Radio enthusiasts ( "HAMs" ) using it for the sport of "Radio Foxhunting". white strip

7. Geocaching - the "GPS Treasure Hunting" hobby which we started in 2001....

Geocaching

Geocaching started in the USA, not long after the Americans switched off the delibrate Selective Availability error, which had prevented the public from getting the same GPS accuracy as military users. Read about how we started, in 2001, in this Interview with an American High School Student. Back in 2001 there were only about 100 geocaches in the whole of the UK. Now there are a few more :-)

These days, June and I don't bother with "micros" - everywhere is flooded with them: a little film cannister with no more than a tiny scrap of paper, with room to put something like name, date, and "TFTC" (Thanks for the Cache).

We also see if we can find the cache without use of GPS: just a print out of Ordnance Survey map, and a mark roughly where the cache is, and the clue. e.g. "hidden under a fallen tree". It is usually pretty obvious by the trail of footprints to the spot :-)

June and I often combine this with a weekend walk or visit to an NGS Garden: www.gpshobby.info . Checkout those caches that we visited again, after many years: some still had the original log books, with our entry from all those years ago !

June's dad Jack came on a few geocache hunts with Robin. He appeared, with our local neighbours, in the BBC Worldwide TV broadcast, that went into 200 million homes. I'm still hoping one of our neighbours can find that old VHS video they recorded :-) white strip Geocaching Geocaching Geocaching white strip

8. Model Aircraft, aerial filming, Quadcopter, Drones, Rockets, Robot Puppy Dog, etc.

Red Kite with Snoopy Chobham Common Model Flyers Association CCMFA See my Trans-Atlantic Model or "TAM" page, set up years ago after that successful robot 'plane Trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Ireland. This page soon hosted my own aerial photographs and videos, from when I started this hobby after we got back from Holland to England in 1980, and much of the flying was over Chobham Common. However, I soon "spread my wings" to fly from many places, taking aerial photos and video: everywhere you can imagine within travelling distance of Sunninghill, but also places like over St Ive's Bay near Hale, in Cornwall, or Albenga in Italy. In the later years my friends and I used Snoopy's little electric model gliders, like the Easystar, to do air-to-air filming of the Red Kites from the Air .

You may enjoy playing 20 minutes of Robin's Hobby Clips, intended to entertain old and new chums at a meeting of Chobham Common Model Flyer's Association (CCMFA). These clips include those old VHS air videos below, and also other material that has been on my pages for years. Please note the "Health Warning" on the test of an intelligent car by a pidgeon. Rockets are not now allowed on Chobham Common, be they SAMs or Air-to-Air missiles. Click on the pictures to enlarge or play video. white strip Chobham Common Model Flyers Association CCMFA Chobham Common Model Flyers Association CCMFA Chobham Common Model Flyers Association CCMFA Peter's Air Recce Test

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9. GPS Bottles thrown into the sea by the Artist Layla Curtis then BBC Radio Solent.

Layla Curtis Message in a GPS bottle

The first GPS Bottle project was in 2004. Artist Layla Curtis contacted me, and we collaborated, to promote the opening of Turner Contemporary at Margate. These bottles were thrown in off Ramsgate, and were tracked out to sea, near France, then up the Belgium and Dutch coasts, as far as Den Helder.

The final result was a large screen display, showing live tracking of the bottles, using map artwork provided by Layla. For me it was "a bit of fun", but an immense amount of useful information was gained on things like predicting the drift resulting from wind and tide.

Years later, while June and myself were in Taormina, on holiday in Sicily, I received a mobile 'phone call from Helena Harland, of BBC Radio Solent, who had found the GPS Bottle page above.

This time we were able to use lower cost and more advanced trackers from China, and some more fun was had by all. Chris Carnegy See the BBC GPS Bottle Project for how BBC Radio Solent threw bottles into the sea, which the public could then track from this web site. Chris Carnegy, the BBC Radio Solent Station Manager, took a "hands on" interest in the project. This included use of his boat for sea trials in the Solent, to confirm that the GPS tracking and GSM communications worked. Chris even took the role of "Dr Bottle", after one of the GPS bottles was found, and needed repair ! :-)

The BBC GPS Bottle tracking was a great success, and I even managed to get one of the GPS bottles back, after it was found by a beachcomber :-)

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10. Hot Air Ballons, starting with Samsung in 1996 through to the Birthday Flight in 2007.

Hot Air Balloons See the GPSS on Balloons page. Our interest in hot air balloons began in 1996, when Ian Ashpole of Flying Pictures, contacted us. They were helping Samsung Computers promote their products with a suitably shaped hot air balloon. Ian's bright idea was to put our GPS Software into a Samsung Laptop PC, using GPS, and "Sensitve Areas" data, that tells balloonists where NOT to fly. These had been printed on Ordnance Survey maps, but were soon automated and in the air.

GPSS on Pocket PCC video We were contacted by balloonists in UK and other countries, and we had many an enjoyable trip, chasing guys to their landing spots, aided with GPSS in "chase" mode, helped by pioneering chaps like Klaus in Germany. We soon had the balloon "sensitve areas" in the Pocket PC version of GPSS.

However, we did not have our own hot air balloon flight until years later, when we were given a flight with "Reach For The Sky" as a special birthday present. This was a fantastic experience. Forgive me showing this attempt at a promotional video - it does at least have a glimpse filmed from our balloon flight.

June and I still cannot resist chasing a hot air balloon when we see one ! :-)

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11. Local Sunninghill News - includes some amusing videos....

Sunninghill Utube video Utube video Utube video white strip Our house in Sunninghill was built in 1977 but June's family go back a lot further. Her father Jack, June, and our three children, all went to St Michaels School, in the centre of the village. See my old Sunninghill Page. For 1977 and the old Armitage Court Estate, see AMRAOLD . The Raj Vooj has reopened with under new management including Boona. Some may recall seeing these guys at the start of the first new Top Gear presented by Chris (Ginger) Evans. There are relevant pages tucked away on my www.gpss.co.uk Mr Khan is no longer the landlord, but remains in the village. His son went to school with our daughter Saskia, and I did a deal with him MANY years ago, when I was Chairman of our local AMRA Resident's Association. But the most amusing stuff is on our AMRAOLD , and POND pages :-)

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12. Robin and June's holidays and love of Sicily and things Italian.

Italy animation Sicily Holidays See my Holiday page, for our love of Sicily and Italy.

We'd had the occasional trip to Italy in the 1970s and 80s, combined with my work, but it was not until 1999, that June and myself took our first two weeks holiday in Italy. We fell in love with the country, food, and warm-blooded Italian people.

We started evening Italian lessons at the local college, and we still do: in two small groups of friends, on Mondays and Tuesdays, in each other's homes.

We discovered Sicily in 2007, and that is where we return every year. Click on the map to see where.

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Rome in 2012 Sicily in 2013 Sicily in 2016 Click here for map of Sicily and places we often return to white strip

13. Our "Dutch Connection" - the 1970s in Holland and Axon in recent years.

June still works for Axon, the Dutch TV broadcast equipment company, and one of the "perks" is a weekend in Holland, for an "Axon Party". Robin went suitably dressed for the heavy cloud-burst, when rain poured in through the roof. Checkout the Axon Party Video : As always, great fun was had by all - Axon managing to keep a real "Family Feel" to the company. June was rubbish at the "Jumpy Joy" game. It seems the kids had been briefed to release all the sticks at once ! It was great to see them "stuff their faces" - the kids too :-)

Axon Party in 2014 white strip

14. Astronomy e.g. my old telescope, photos of the night sky, and the Orionid meteor shower...

Robin with his old telescope in Wokingham From an email to friends on October 22nd 2016: Astronomy: Watch out for the Orion Meter show tonight. I may put out a Mobius camera. See my "Telescope" page www.gpss.co.uk/tscope.htm . It includes some nice photos and what is in my queue of "waiting to be done sometime": replace woodwork by metalwork ! See below for the unexpected turn into the next day ...

That Orionid Meteor Shower and Sunday 23rd October 2016 ....

The following was put at the bottom of Robin's Old Telescope Page ....

Night of the Orionid Meteor Shower on Sunday 23 October 2016: This picture is parked here, until replaced with anything found useful in Robin's few hours of night sky video, recorded on a wide angle Mobius camera. The shower was certainly not in the same league as our young family watched many years ago, laying on our backs, in the field we kept our caravan, near Dorchester. Even with light polution, in Sunninghill, we can see, and photograph the stars well, and even a comet. If a shooting star was visible to the naked eye, our video camera should have caught it. I'm sure it caught the passing aircraft ! Looking at the video will need to wait until more important "work" is done. June and Robin got little sleep in the 24 hours of Sunday. Strange as it may seem, we enjoyed our visit to Tolworth, particularly talking to the people we met in Tolworth Hospital. The patients we saw will recognise the significance of many of these images gathered here, from elsewhere on my web pages. Anyone in contact with me by email, can be pointed to the relevant pages, if I know who they are. I'll give a clue on one connection: the patient knew my workmate at EASAMS who died mysteriously, almost 30 years ago. Cabinet Papers to be released in 2017 may reveal the truth. For most of us, including a large numbers of my friends here in UK and overseas, good health treatment is our main concern. I'll change this when we have somewhere better to park it, and after someone (else?) has trawled through my three hours of night sky video ! :-)

Night of the Orionid Meteor Shower Sunday 23 October 2016

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15. Garden - our "Wilderness of a garden": Are you a local gardener near Sunninghill ?

Spending money will avoid me doing work, other than supply of tea/coffee/beer. Click to enlarge or see Robin's Wilderness of a Garden page. Home address please. white strip Robin's Wilderness of a Garden Robin's Wilderness of a Garden Robin's Wilderness of a Garden Robin's Wilderness of a Garden Robin's Wilderness of a Garden

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16. Robin's German Connections ... Don't Mention the War(s) ... WWI, WWII, WWIII.

Robin's German Connections Poppy to remember them Anyone who knows me well will know one topic that will bring tears to my eyes. It is when I recall my dear Grandfather, Harold Sharp, telling me of his experiences in the First World War - WWI ( 1914 - 1918 ). He would talk of the Christmas Football Match: Germany v England, when there was a short, unofficial truce, before they went back to their own trenches, and resumed killing each other. What particularly moves me, was his personal account of his being among the "walking wounded", making their way back through the confused lines. German and Allied soldiers would be walking together, helping each other, until they eventually parted company, sometimes bidding "farewells", to their respective Field Hospitals. His was "Le Treport", the name of his bungalow in Agister's Lane, not far from Arbourfield Army Camp. His eldest son, my Uncle Ern, was in the 8th Army "Desert Rats", during WWII, coming up through Africa, through Sicily and Italy. I inherited my wicked sense of mischief from Harold, as my dear Uncle Berny and Aunty, near Sandhurst Military Academy, will confirm. They share many memories, with my Cousin Geoff, now retired and sailing in the Med. The Sharps are Thatchers.

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white strip Robin's German Connections Robin's German Connections Jack never used a camera much, and has always tended to avoid one. So if he discovers these words about him, we should remind him of his two major public appearances: the photo on the right was among many published in "Golfers World", when they did a special article on the Sunningdale Artisan's Golf Club. Another was when he appeared on BBC Worldwide, broadcast into 200 million homes: doing Geocaching in Richmond Park with our neighbours. Jack was happy for me to take this picture of us enjoying a rare hour or two of October sunshine at Bray Lake. Click on pictures to enlarge. Jack has worked for the Waterboard Blacknest site since befor the War ( 1939-1945 ). Jack has told me far more detail than we have room for here. He was called up and was among those captured near Dunkirk. When the Germans caught him, he happened to be sheltering in a farmhouse, near the Belgium coastal town of De Haan. It just so happened that he was with Sid de Haan, who eventually set up SAGA Holidays. They made the long march, then train, to Stalag Luft 8b, in what is now Poland. Jack and Sid were in adjacent bunks for most of the war years. There was a little known exchange of prisonors, and Jack returned with about 100 of his fellow POW, through Scotland, and down to Aldershot. He says that was the worse bit - all that news about what had happened while they were away. It was then down to the south coast, to join all the other Allies, waiting for D-Day. Jack has always said that only "Saving Private Ryan" gives a realistic picture of battle. It seems (allegedly) that some of his mates, after realising that they were about to be sent across, said "b*gg*r that for a game of soldiers", rioted, and burnt down their nissan huts. Robin's German Connections The Army would have had them shot, in WWI, but split them up and gave them "cushy home postings". Now it seems that Jack has forgotton this tale, and says that, under the Geneva Convention, they could not be sent to the same front - but could have been sent to fight the Japs. Jack was posted across to France and Belgium, as the Allies advanced, and was stationed near De Haan again. De Haan He remembers German POW being used to clear the mines they had laid, with the occasional fatal explosion. He was posted up to Holland, until the war ended, and he was demobbed soon after. He returned back to England, and his old Blacknest Water Pumping Station Job. He married Ida in Sunninghill St Michaels's Church in August 1945 and the Local Council gave them their first house in Crossways. They took a delayed Honeymoon in 1947, near De Haan in Belgium. Jack met my NATO German friends, like Gunter, years ago. Jack has many amusing "Royal" stories, but they do not belong here. Jack mentioned that, under Hitler, red headed Germans were rounded up, like Jews and Gays, to be taken to the Death Camps. This reminded June and myself of our dear red-headed German friend, who spent her war years in Berlin. I wonder if she will ever meet Jack ? The "What did we do today" image for Sunday 30th October 2016, has direct relevance to the above.

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Fritz Wurstlein Janet Wurstlein Fritz was my first German friend, and I rapidly discovered not to believe the typical stereotype of Germans not having a sense of humour. This was when I left school in 1963 and started an Ordinary National Diploma, in Engineering, at High Wycombe Technical College. I spent over 4 hours each day commuting from Wokingham, by moped, train, and then bus. Part of the course was to learn German, because Germany was a little more enlightened on what "engineer" meant - someone better trained than a doctor or lawyer. Fritz taught me words that were not in our German lecturer's vocabulary. It was fantastic for my wife June and I to meet Fritz and his wife, Janet, over 50 years later, when we made contact again in 2015. The same can be said for Lord Peter Carrington - but that's a different story. The shared links that Janet and I have, to numerous friends, are too numerous to mention here. There is no substitute for face to face meetings in Tring :-)

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Walter Schmidt Robin's German Connections June and I were married in 1971, and we went to Holland for the rest of the 1970s. I worked at SHAPE Technical Centre (STC) in The Haag, and my first office mate was Franz. Many other guys at STC were German, and one in particular, Walter, shared many experiences with me, including Contract Bridge games every lunchtime. There were also many "interesting" trips and experiences we shared. It seems Walter and Gizzy share a passion for the game of Golf with Jack - but Sunningdale Golf Course is a little different to snow clad mountains.

We returned to the UK, for me to start work at EASAMS, in 1981. My first office was on the top floor, surrounded by Italians, English, and Germans. They were the tri-national team, from SIA, MBB, and EASAMS, engaged in the avionics design of the Tornado Interdiction Strike (IDS) fighter. German beer was part of the EASAMS culture, but I never had the pleasure of visiting the EASAMS office in Munich, at the time of the Beer Festival.

Aenne Jackson Robin's German Connections I left EASAMS in 1994, to start my little GPS Software business. There were many German users, but one man in particular did pioneering work: Klaus Hirschelman. He has been on my web pages for years, and had visited me years ago. But in 2016, June and I enjoyed showing Klaus and Hilda around. Check out the Klaus page.

One German person is very special to me: Aenne, who we see every Tuesday evening, when we have our small group of students learning Italian ( these are more like wine-tasting classes ). I've consulted Aenne on many things, including experiences in nursing, shared with Janet. Aenne advises me on German Culture, and my poor taste in humour, such as "Don't Mention The War".

Klaus trip

This is from our 2014 Lovelock Christmas Newsletter ....

June and Robin took a long diversion, on their return from the Axon Party, to the hills around Maastricht, looking for old NATO bunkers and tunnels, dating back to Napolionic times. They then came back via Ypres, or "Wipers", so June could see her relatives's name on the Menen Gate. There are lovely walks, along the moat, either side of the Gate.

Ypres and the Menen Gate in 2014 white strip

Ypres 1914-15 Will Fowler Battle Story Dr Strangelove Riddle of the Sands Defying Hitler Reading books: Unlike myself, June is an avid reader, but usually in electronic form, on her kindle. I've yet to read her "YPRES 1914-15" but I will. Click on the books to see relevant details. I've only read two books in recent years, and that's only because old workmates gave me them, and I felt oblidged. I am very pleased I did: there are indeed lessons to be learned from history. "The Riddle of the Sands", by Erskine Childers, was given me by my NATO days workmate John. We shared an office and worked in the field of Air Command and Control, relevant to that Dr Stranglelove video. We had field trips and discussions at RAF bases and with USAFE guys returning from Vietnam via Ramstein. e.g. the "B52 Barrel Roll competition". We played tennis together. John was an experienced sailor, and we regularly sailed on a large inland lake. The Bomb John sent me the book for my 65th birthday, and I was amazed by the author's life history. More recently, Mitch, a founder director of EASAMS, insisted on giving me "Defying HITLER" by Sebastian Hafner. It is no wonder that this book was such a best seller in Germany: it explains well how such an evil regime can rise to power - in any country. However, wars have started due to good men doing what they think is the right thing. e.g. starting a dispute with a neighbour, to solve internal problems. We have been very close to nuclear war on several occasions since the Cuban Missile Crisis. The World's population is 7.5 billion people, 40% of whom are on the Net. A nuclear holocaust should reduce these numbers a little faster than the few decades predicted by James Lovelock due to Global Warming. See my Grumpy Book.

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17. What did we do today ?

The image below captures what we did today, or recently, that may be of interest to some of you.

What did we do today ?

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18. People are important to Robin. It's not WHAT you know, but WHO you know.

This is the bottom line. Do you recognise these guys ? They are in no particular order. Click on a mug shot to know more.

white strip George Gourier Len Lovelock Pam Coughlan Derek Cole David Gooch Steve Squires Ian Perkin Bleddyn Hancock Adam Afriye Jack Ponsford Paul Burstow Nicola Mackintosh Nick Knowless Stephen Johnson Stuart Quarrie Luigi Costa Trevor Saunders Klaus Hirschelmann Eric Wardle Alexander Haag Bernard Rogers Akalu Alemu Fake SACEUR Dog Fight Pilot Angel Frett Peter Carrington Gianfranco Parinetti Walter Schmidt Aenne Jackson Shamsul Bahri Raaed Gus Russell Roger Pegram John Maniello Layla Curtis Gary Carter Tony Wale Jhinns Cheng Alex Fritz Wurstlein Janet Wurstlein Dave Marsh Stuart Wickes Prof Lefcos Middleton George Chung Chris Carnegy Ruby Sharp Pete Wilson John Silvester Jamie Styles Dick Baldwin James Lovelock Piotr Bolanowski Enrico and Matilda Ferrucio

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( Many more to be added here. Most have been on my pages for years. )

That's the bottom line folks ! :-)

Before we end, some old GPSS pages are under these icons : * , * , * , * , * , * , * , * , * , * , *

The Lovelock family

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