Orkney Sound Archive tape OSA/RO/B: interview. Sample containing about 3382 words speech recorded in leisure context

2 speakers recorded by respondent number C365

PS2VH Ag5 m (Sandy, age 60+, retired technician/inventor, Interviewee) unspecified
PS2VJ X m (Mike, age unknown, radio presenter, Interviewer) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 103203 recorded on 1988-05-12. LocationOrkney: Burray ( Radio broadcast ) Activity: Interview Interview/reminiscences

Undivided text

Sandy (PS2VH) [1] Started with this device [...] this is the thing I made it at the grammar school when I was working there.
Mike (PS2VJ) [2] It's like a a wooden box with a glass lid and inside looks like perspex, is that right, perspex [...] wheels [...]
Sandy (PS2VH) [3] Yeah, that's right. [...]
Mike (PS2VJ) [4] Switches inside .
Sandy (PS2VH) [5] There's a a motor been on here, it was [...] on to ring the school bells.
Mike (PS2VJ) [6] That's like a a sort of electrically driven timer.
Sandy (PS2VH) [7] Yes, that's what it is, and in the grammar school they had biology wanted to have plants growing in the dark but provide a light for them.
[8] One plant had to get light for eight hours per day and the other one had to get light for sixteen hours a day, so [...] another wheel at this end did this job when this went around so many times.
Mike (PS2VJ) [9] Aha.
[10] Ah so that controlled the lights to your plants then.
Sandy (PS2VH) [11] [laughing] Yes. []
Mike (PS2VJ) [12] I see you've made several versions of [...]
Sandy (PS2VH) [13] Yes, that's right.
[14] This one had a whole lot of switches on so it can be altered from outside without going inside.
Mike (PS2VJ) [15] That was [...] what looks like a satellite dish what on earth is this?
[16] [laugh] It's a very ...
Sandy (PS2VH) [17] [laugh] Yeah it looks like a satellite dish, it's only a yard in diameter.
[18] The focus of this is about fourteen inches from the centre and if you put a microphone here when this this thing is outside it's ideal for picking up bird song.
[19] You can pick up birds from [...] a mile away.
Mike (PS2VJ) [20] We'll have to have to get a few of these in Radio Orkney I can see.
Sandy (PS2VH) [21] [laugh] Yes it's quite good for long distance.
[22] It's ideal for birds with the high frequency voice, but for people they the speech is a bit lower in frequency and doesn't work quite so well.
Mike (PS2VJ) [23] So you can't use it for eaves dropping.
Sandy (PS2VH) [24] [laugh] no [laugh]
Mike (PS2VJ) [25] Did you make this thing?
Sandy (PS2VH) [26] I had a satellite mirror found in a quarry, and took i used this It was a mould for this to get it a perfect parabolic shape.
Mike (PS2VJ) [27] And it's made of fibre glass is it ?
Sandy (PS2VH) [28] Fibre glass.
Mike (PS2VJ) [29] Yes I see.
[30] And er underneath it here we have a a glass box, I see.
Sandy (PS2VH) [31] There's a mirror inside there.
Mike (PS2VJ) [32] Frosted glass screen on it.
Sandy (PS2VH) [33] [...] Yes.
[34] So when I take this out and pout this through the window it shines straight up and you can look at the clouds and you can tell which direction the wind is.
Mike (PS2VJ) [35] Ah I see.
[36] Ah right so the the direction the clouds are moving in against this frosted glass screen
Sandy (PS2VH) [37] Yes.
Mike (PS2VJ) [38] you can use as a
Sandy (PS2VH) [39] Just see them go you can't see it today when there's just one cloud.
Mike (PS2VJ) [40] Ah yes it's continuous.
[41] A continuous cloud.
Sandy (PS2VH) [42] [...] and you can tell by the speed they're travelling what sp speed the wind is. [...]
Mike (PS2VJ) [43] Aha.
[44] I see , so that measures the speed of them across the screen this way you can time it .
Sandy (PS2VH) [45] Yes, [...] I had a seconds timer there as you can see.
Mike (PS2VJ) [46] So the the pendulum you've got set up here you can use as a a timer against
Sandy (PS2VH) [47] Yes.
Mike (PS2VJ) [48] that.
[49] It's a simple timer.
[50] [laugh] Yeah.
Sandy (PS2VH) [51] [laugh] Well simple minds can simple things.
Mike (PS2VJ) [52] [laugh] I never had any education since I was fourteen so I used the very simplest things when I find the very simple things can do very complicated jobs.
Mike (PS2VJ) [53] Yes.
[54] So on the bench here we have a a device on a a tripod, again, it has wheels on it where marked off in what looks like degrees.
[55] Am I right ?
Sandy (PS2VH) [56] That's that's degrees yes.
[57] Aha.
Mike (PS2VJ) [58] Two wheels, one on top the other and a What looks like an eyepiece to look to look through.
[59] What what's that for Sandy?
Sandy (PS2VH) [60] Yes, well, it's at at an odd angle, you noticed th that [...] because we are in latitude fifty nine, so the centre of this has to look at the pole star.
Mike (PS2VJ) [61] It's an astronomical device then, yes [...] I see .
Sandy (PS2VH) [62] And er this th [...] has to be thirty one degrees to the level, so that er you follow the stars as they travel around the sky, because they're always highest in the south and like the sun and the moon they're always highest when they're due south.
[63] So this is the same idea and if there's a star Something that I did see a wee while ago, I saw a f a light very close down to the horizon and I said I've never seen a star so bright way down there.
[64] So I looked through this device and er found what the reading it gave, so I went to my map and I found that that's where Mars should have been.
[65] So I ass assumed that this was Mars.
[66] When I got my telescope to look through it was gone.
[67] So it was on [...] look for it later, so I traced it up and it was Mars.
Mike (PS2VJ) [68] So you can use to identify stars
Sandy (PS2VH) [69] [...] Stars.
Mike (PS2VJ) [70] just from their position in the sky.
Sandy (PS2VH) [71] And er the sun doesn't always travel at the same speed it goes fast and slow so [laugh] we can also measure the [laugh] the sun. [...]
Mike (PS2VJ) [72] I see, so you take that top wheel off and you have another one underneath where alternative reading [...]
Sandy (PS2VH) [73] And that's and that's in hours.
Mike (PS2VJ) [74] Of course, yes I see.
Sandy (PS2VH) [75] And er the sun can be as much as nearly twenty minutes slow or fast.
Mike (PS2VJ) [76] So you can adjust for the the differences there. [...]
Sandy (PS2VH) [77] The sun is only at th the correct time four times in one year.
[78] The Earth doesn't take a circular path around the sun so it passes it quickly sometimes and slowly at other times.
[79] It makes the sun appear to vary in its time keeping.
Mike (PS2VJ) [80] So you've bui built this machine to incorporate that error so you can compensate for that.
[81] Oh I see .
Sandy (PS2VH) [82] [...] I canna look through the sun at it, but I see the the sh the shadow of the one on on the other.
Mike (PS2VJ) [83] Ah yes, [...]
Sandy (PS2VH) [84] eyepiece , it's painted white so it gives a sh shadow.
[85] And it also tells me how high it is in the sky.
Mike (PS2VJ) [86] So it's a bit like a sextant almost in a way.
Sandy (PS2VH) [87] Oh well [laughing] aye [] , I suppose.
Mike (PS2VJ) [88] [laughing] It's an interesting machine. []
Sandy (PS2VH) [89] This is the same idea over here.
Mike (PS2VJ) [90] Oh yes [...]
Sandy (PS2VH) [91] And the camera goes on there and a wee electric motor over yonder, which drives it around at fifteen degrees per hour, which makes it follow the stars as they move around the sky. [...]
Mike (PS2VJ) [92] Oh, so it's so it's for photographing the star and
Sandy (PS2VH) [93] Yes.
[94] Well it's a time exposure.
[95] If you take a time exposure of the stars with a static camera you just get streaks, because of the Earth's movement, and I should make the device follow the stars at the correct speed, you can get an awful lot of stars that's completely invisible to the naked eye.
[96] It picks up the very dim stars.
Mike (PS2VJ) [97] So this this allows you to follow them along while the camera's shutter's open. [...]
Sandy (PS2VH) [98] Yes, that's right.
[99] You can take an hour's exposure with this one.
[100] I've never done any more than fifteen minutes.
Mike (PS2VJ) [101] Have you got any photographs that you've taken by this means?
Sandy (PS2VH) [102] Yes I have indeed.
[103] I took my early ones in black and white, but the later ones I took in colour and er I saw to one side of Orion what looked like the Plough.
[104] You can see the stars there are quite bright.
[105] I've looked with binoculars and I can't see them with the naked eye.
[106] These are so faint and they only show up because of the long time exposure.
Mike (PS2VJ) [107] I see, so so a way of seeing stars that you otherwise would not be able to see at all.
Sandy (PS2VH) [108] [...] You can't see.
[109] Here's the the Belt of Orion and the Sword.
[110] You can see the centre one is red.
Mike (PS2VJ) [111] Tremendous.
[112] Is this just an ordinary camera you've used?
Sandy (PS2VH) [113] Just an ordinary camera.
Mike (PS2VJ) [114] Thirty five millimetres?
Sandy (PS2VH) [115] Yes thirty five millimetre.
Mike (PS2VJ) [116] Ha, gee you wouldn't have believed that was possible.
Sandy (PS2VH) [117] And this is the the picture of the moon.
[118] How big the moon appeared with this.
Mike (PS2VJ) [119] It fills the frame, yes.
Sandy (PS2VH) [120] But er the only problem here is we're too low down and there's too much sh shimmer in the atmosphere, difficult to get anything really clear.
Mike (PS2VJ) [121] I see, presumably this is why all the big observatories are near the equator, is that right ?
Sandy (PS2VH) [122] Yes well , they get on top of mountains if possible to get rid of the shimmer.
[123] The moving hot and cold air.
Mike (PS2VJ) [124] Now I'd I notice there's a an enormous telescope behind us here as well.
[125] What size of telescope is this ?
Sandy (PS2VH) [126] Er it's er it's a ex W D lens, after wartime they sold these things they sold them in catalogues and I sent of for this one, and it's about a stone and a half in weight.
[127] [laugh] And er
Mike (PS2VJ) [128] That's a size. [...]
Sandy (PS2VH) [129] the glass is six inches in diameter and is a thirty six inch focus.
[130] I have another eyepiece on the end which is suitable for looking at the stars and planets.
[131] It's also a piece of ex W D equipment and gives a right-angled viewing and turns the picture right side up.
[132] Most astronomical telescopes view everything upside-down and er I drew two hundred lines to the inch inside this eyepiece.
[133] The lines are so close together that two of them can be seen crossing the planet Jupiter at any one time.
[134] The lines are about eight point eight inches apart at a distance of one mile.
Mike (PS2VJ) [135] I notice we have a chart on the back of the door here as well a circle measured off in angles and er this is lovely it's got Venus
Sandy (PS2VH) [136] Yes.
[137] Well
Mike (PS2VJ) [138] Earth, Mars and then it's measured off in
Sandy (PS2VH) [139] Saturn , Saturn is as far as we can see.
Mike (PS2VJ) [140] This is [...] already erect now to find the the planets and stars when you're using the telescope, yeah .
Sandy (PS2VH) [141] Yes well they would.
Mike (PS2VJ) [142] Well brings us very very conveniently to your your first choice of piece of music Sandy, too is this
Sandy (PS2VH) [143] Yes
Mike (PS2VJ) [144] part of the Planets Suite by Holst.
Sandy (PS2VH) [145] Yes. [music]
Mike (PS2VJ) [146] [...] astronomy God then Sandy?
Sandy (PS2VH) [147] Oh well it must be my before I was a teenager.
[148] And I very young days.
[149] Living on the farm we were quite isolated, we had no street lights outside, there were no lights Very many lights anywhere at that time.
[150] And we had very clear skies and showed up the s the stars quite brilliantly.
[151] I found a lens in an old box and I used, I got another two lenses, and I fitted them together in an a tube, I had no tubing but there was an old bicycle at the house and I cut up the frame and put one lens at the one end of the frame and the seat pillar, I used the seat pillar for focusing.
[152] And my pictures were upside down but I could see the rings of Saturn with it, which was more than what Galileo saw first when he looked, he thought there was two stars at either side of Saturn.
Mike (PS2VJ) [153] If he'd had a bike he would have er done better then.
Sandy (PS2VH) [154] [laugh] We found then that the bigger the objective lens was the more light could be got and the bigger you could make it, so as I got bigger and got er the chance of making my own lenses and building up lenses of various kinds, I found that I could get quite a good magnification.
Mike (PS2VJ) [155] How do you actually make a lens?
Sandy (PS2VH) [156] I got a porthole from the Fulforn when it was being sent off for being scrapped.
[157] And it was about ten inches in diameter.
[158] And of course I had to get another lens, a piece of glass about the same size, in order to grind it, because you grind the glass with another piece of glass with a grit in between.
[159] Grit and water.
[160] Carborundum powder and water.
[161] And you rub backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, and I ground like this for several hours every night, after I came home, for three months.
Mike (PS2VJ) [162] That's a long project.
Sandy (PS2VH) [163] And that took the centre of the glass down by maybe a a one and a half millimetres.
[164] That was all of the glass that was worn away in that time.
[165] But er it did not do bad, got a fair good picture with it.
Mike (PS2VJ) [166] Now we've got some interesting photos here now in this this album of people standing beside themselves [laughing] I would say [] .
Sandy (PS2VH) [167] Ah twins, yes.
Mike (PS2VJ) [168] How did you how did you achieve this?
Sandy (PS2VH) [169] Well er I had a lot of friends here and there, and when I've had a lot of photos to develop for them, and then when I got everything done, you felt a sigh of relief at getting it all done.
[170] So you tried then to do something to use up the rest of the developer.
[171] And there's one here with a a group of people and I found that a stone wall makes an ideal thing to trick photography with.
[172] Because you can join it anywhere and it doesn't look messy.
Mike (PS2VJ) [173] Ah yes.
[174] I er see the the way the the two parts of the photograph are joined on the
Sandy (PS2VH) [175] I
Mike (PS2VJ) [176] the stone wall.
Sandy (PS2VH) [177] I turned out the f the negative upside down to do the other half, which makes 'em look Keeps the [laugh] the group equally s h [...]
Mike (PS2VJ) [178] Yeah, it looks like a large family group. [...]
Sandy (PS2VH) [179] [...] four sets of twins.
Mike (PS2VJ) [180] And over the page here we've got got some more.
[181] [...] the Borry jungle this this photograph's called .
Sandy (PS2VH) [182] Yes.
[183] This was a a real life picture with great big trees and a real forest and it was done by It was a footpath through ferns, and the
Mike (PS2VJ) [184] I see.
Sandy (PS2VH) [185] ferns are only about two feet high.
[186] Or rather less, but the jungle track through the centre helps to show you it's a a roadway, though it's only about a f a foot wide.
[187] So the camera was right down on the bottom.
[188] Now there are a few branches there, there's one that's lying kind of horizontal, it'll be an idea to set someone on top of that.
[189] So we have this in the next picture, and it was another one vertical, we got one to g grab a hold of it [laugh]
Mike (PS2VJ) [190] Mm.
Sandy (PS2VH) [191] lean on it.
Mike (PS2VJ) [192] Yes er it looks either like tiny folk or enormous ferns.
Sandy (PS2VH) [193] [laughing] Yes. []
Mike (PS2VJ) [194] This is done in two exposures presumably? [...]
Sandy (PS2VH) [195] Yes.
[196] That was done a different way from the other pictures.
[197] You actually take the peoples' photographs first, cut them out and plant them on the original.
[198] Rephotograph it.
[199] This got me into some problems too [laugh] with a chap in Braigh who was very fond of black Polled cattle.
[200] Knew a fellow somewhere in Evy that wouldn't be seen dead holding a black Polled cattle, so er he er came along to me with er farmer's weekly, and a black Polled cow on it, and gave me a photograph of this man.
[201] So [laugh] he wanted it me to make this man hold this cow.
[202] Anyway I had to photograph the man, I photographed the cow and I had to photograph a background.
[203] And I had to merge all these pictures together.
Mike (PS2VJ) [204] It looks very convincing I must say, it just looks like a farmer
Sandy (PS2VH) [205] The
Mike (PS2VJ) [206] holding the b the the halter or
Sandy (PS2VH) [207] feet of the cow was not in the original photograph so I had to go up to a a farm and ask for straw to hide the [...]
Mike (PS2VJ) [laugh]
Sandy (PS2VH) [208] the the animal's feet.
Mike (PS2VJ) [209] You went away with a photograph to show us.
Sandy (PS2VH) [210] Yes, and I never heard of this [...] And there's another lady that brought me a picture with four generations in.
[211] But a fifth person appeared in the reflection of a window, can I remove them?
[212] So I had a shot at this, but if I cut it out that part of the window was black, it didn't look right, so i put a shade over it.
[213] Now it was a fairly white, it still
Mike (PS2VJ) [214] Aha.
Sandy (PS2VH) [215] didn't look right.
[216] So Oh I say, I'll cut it out and make a wee hole and transport part of the wood work across the window.
[217] The window was completely boarded up, it took me a while to do that.
[218] The next thing I got was an order for twenty of them.
[219] I [...]
Mike (PS2VJ) [laugh]
Sandy (PS2VH) [220] whole thing twenty times over.
Mike (PS2VJ) [221] Well, what's your second choice of music then Sandy?
Sandy (PS2VH) [222] Well er [last dying piano chord]
Mike (PS2VJ) [223] This is a photograph of you as a a young fellow walking the high wire.
Sandy (PS2VH) [224] [...] Yes, [...] That's right.
Mike (PS2VJ) [225] Oh w where did you get this high wire to walk across?
Sandy (PS2VH) [226] Well this one here is a water pipe, it's er what?
[227] An inch and quarter or something in diameter.
[228] I found it in Hoy, and there's some deep gullies there.
[229] There's ditches where er s the water has run away all the boulder clay and left maybe a ditch, this one was nine feet deep.
[230] And I put balanced it out across this, and I set my camera down er down below, on a time exposure which runs off in about one minute, so I had one minute to run up the side of the thing and get out here and balance myself.
[231] I had another l pipe, piece of water pipe, which I used as a balancing device, but I found, with the watering pipe you are so stable you feel it's a shame to be seen holding on.
Mike (PS2VJ) [232] [laugh] I say you don't look very stable
Sandy (PS2VH) [...]
Mike (PS2VJ) [233] to me up there, I must admit Sandy?
Sandy (PS2VH) [234] [laugh] Aha.
Mike (PS2VJ) [235] So you took the photograph yourself, as well?
Sandy (PS2VH) [236] More or less aye.
[237] There's er this other one here with a I carried a fish box out onto the wire and set it down and sat on it.
[238] I had no balancing pole then.
Mike (PS2VJ) [239] I can see that.
[240] That looks like a bit of a balancing feat right enough.
Sandy (PS2VH) [laugh]
Mike (PS2VJ) [241] What led you to try this?
Sandy (PS2VH) [242] I don't know.
[243] [laugh] It's just something I just felt like doing and i couldn't have any real reason for doing it.
Mike (PS2VJ) [244] Well I don't think there's any better reason than that.
Sandy (PS2VH) [laugh]
Mike (PS2VJ) [245] On this page we have the the Churchill barrier.
[246] This is er early stage of construction.
Sandy (PS2VH) [247] [...] barriers were getting closed up and above water we were permitted to walk across.
[248] So I was still in Berry then and working at the grammar school, so we had to walk across all three causeways for some time.
[249] There was [...] at th near the end or the middle, number two causeway and I was crossing there one day, and the tide was out and er the big ship that was along the causeway was very close to the s to the stones.
[250] And I saw a hole in the bottom at the side of it where they had blasted a hole in it in order to sink it.
[251] So I says I'll pop down and go inside to see what like it is.
[252] I had my camera with me and I saw there was a ladder up on the top deck and when I got up on the top deck it was quite a giddy height, not to be bit I looked at the mast then I climbed up the mast [laugh] up three quarters of the way up the mast and er the view from up there looked right down on the causeway.
Mike (PS2VJ) [253] Oh, I see.
[254] I thought that was an aerial photograph some height up there.
Sandy (PS2VH) [255] [...] we photographers go to daft places to get photos.
[256] At times, it was Leonard's top seller for about fifteen years.
[257] It's in books a few books have it in it.
Mike (PS2VJ) [258] Well Sandy, we've only looked at a few of the things in your shed and a very few of your photographs but it's been fascinating.
[259] Thank you very much for your time.
[260] What's your third choice of piece of music then Sandy?
Sandy (PS2VH) [261] Well I'm not awfully good at music but my wife is very keen on music.
[262] What about the the Churchill barriers?
Mike (PS2VJ) [263] Very appropriate I think very appropriate .
Sandy (PS2VH) [264] Yes I think that might be my [...] . [tape change]