Over the years since 2005 I have written a number of short features for our "Weblog". These pieces normally relate to something topical - the most recent entry appears in the scrolling window on our "desktop" Home page - it is also available here, together with an archive of what's gone before.
4th January 2019
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So much planning, preparation and anticipation and it is all over in a flash-so welcome to the World of 2019!
Let us hope it is a good one for us all- although here in the UK with 'Brexit' looming and with a lack of clarity from those who are steering the ship, the way forward this cold January morning is far from clear.
The situation we find ourselves in reminds me of a sonnet 'November, 1806 ' I studied as school back in the 1960's that for some strange reason remains with me fifty years later. Written by William Wordsworth, the narrator is clearly nervous about the fact that Napoleon has been able to defeat Prussia and might now try to invade England. It struck me this morning if we fast forward from England in 1806 to the situation we face today the poet's words have many parallels to the ‘Brexit Britain’ of 2019:-
'Another year!—another deadly blow!
Another mighty Empire overthrown!
And We are left, or shall be left, alone;
The last that dare to struggle with the Foe.
'Tis well! from this day forward we shall know
That in ourselves our safety must be sought;
That by our own right hands it must be wrought;
That we must stand unpropped, or be laid low.
O dastard whom such foretaste doth not cheer!
We shall exult, if they who rule the land
Be men who hold its many blessings dear,
Wise, upright, valiant; not a servile band,
Who are to judge of danger which they fear,
And honour which they do not understand'.
Fine and emotive words but whatever the final outcome, Britain as a trading nation (both then as now) will surmount any difficulties. So rest assured the team here at the Oldnautibits HQ will continue to service our customers, both at home and throughout the world, as we have done over many years and we will not let a little bureaucracy get in our way!
And a Happy New Year to you all!
6th December 2018
Happy Christmas to all our readers!
We have been reminded by our IT department, with the arrival of a festive Santa on the site, that the Christmas season is upon us again. How can this be possible when the last time we checked we were about to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the RAF, which after a long hot summer here in the UK was then followed by the centenary anniversary of the Armistice of 1918 ? Whilst on that subject for anyone who has yet to see Peter Jackson's quite amazing film 'They Shall Not Grow Old' can we suggest you put it top of your New Year's resolution list ? It has been met with significant poignancy in our household, where my family on my Grandmother's side, was virtually decimated in the trenches of WW1 and the film title is particularly applicable to our Baker family relations who I was never destined to meet.
On a happier note the team here at the Oldnautibit's HQ have been kept on their toes throughout the year and we have shipped packages large and small to all points of the globe. Who can predict at this moment (least of all our Prime Minister!) what Brexit will bring us in 2019 and beyond? Suffice to say whatever new challenges we face, we are certain despite the many preachers of gloom, we will find a way through and will continue to service our customers, new and old, wherever they are located.
Whilst lead times are now tight do get in touch if you are looking for that special gift for the Naval or Aviation collector in your life. If you don't see it on the site ping us a mail in case we have a match tucked away in the darkest recess of our stock room. And to all our regular visitors and customers can we just pass on the complements of the season, thanks a million for your business and may ' Kris Kringle' bring you all exactly what your dreamed of and just remember 'All children, except one, grow up!'
1st April 2018
Happy Birthday RAF!
Like many others around the UK today the team here at the Oldnautibits HQ have been celebrating the 100th birthday of the RAF. By complete coincidence I extracted a bottle of ale to enjoy with my Easter lunch and it turned out to be Marston's Brewery's excellent 'Lancaster Bomber', described on the label as 'a mullti award winning ale that pays tribute to the Avro Lancaster and is quite simply the best of British Beer'. This very special anniversary got me thinking of my late Father who was just 20 when he volunteered for the RAFVR in 1939 and left for Canada to commence his aircrew training.
He successfully won his Wings and was posted to 144 Squadron in early 1941 and after a couple of familiarisation Ops as Navigator he was crewed up and took his own Handley Page Hampden to war. On a trip to Manheim on 25/26th August 1941 he never made it back to North Luffenham and came down at Ypenburg in Holland and he and his crew were captured and went 'in the bag'.
Dad spent time in a number of POW camps ending up in Stalag Luft 111 and got to know Eric Williams and I own to this day Dad's personally dedicated copy of his book 'The Wooden Horse.' In February 1945 Dad was evacuated by the Germans and took part in what became known as 'the Death March' and was again lucky to survive and was finally repatriated, having been freed by the advancing Russian Army. Looking back with Dad entering the war so early and flying the outdated and under armed Hampden his chances of survival were minimal but unlike 55,000 of his colleagues in Bomber Command he beat the odds and lived to tell the tale.
So on this day,1st April 2018, whilst enjoying my bottle of 'Lancaster Bomber' I remember with affection my Father, his crew and all those who have served with the RAF and particularly those who were not so lucky as Fl Lt I.G Pringle and who gave up their lives for their country over the last 100 years, whilst serving with the RAF. We will remember them all. I owe it to them to find another bottle of 'Bomber' ale and raise a toast and wish the RAF all the best from the next hundred years!
9th January 2018
Not such a Happy New Year-read on!
The weeks of planning, preparation and purchasing and suddenly it is all over for another year! Suffice to say we hope you had a good one and 'Kris Kringle' brought you exactly what you wished for and you are fed, watered and ready to face the challenges of 2018?
Here at the Oldnautibits HQ Geoff Pringle and the team are now back in the office but have been hampered by telephone line issues which currently remain outstanding but we are assured by the BT engineers 'normal services will be resumed as soon as possible'. Fortunately the interweb is still functioning but we apologise if you have been trying to contact us by phone this year.
In the Christmas news 'silly season' we were disappointed to note the recovery of the RAF Kittyhawk P 40 has failed and has now been 'restored' in Egypt in 'theme park 'colours and is on permanent display El Alamein Military Museum. The worst news however is the Mk22 Spitfire which the RAF Museum offered as trade has 'disappeared'. Kennet Aviation, who were commissioned to facilitate the recovery, have in the meantime conveniently ceased trading. Whilst Fight Sergeant Dennis Copping's 'time capsule' aircraft is clearly lost it is essential the Spitfire is located and returned to its owners. Watch this space for further news.
I conclude this blog with a further warning of more fakes being sold on UK e Bay. It seems a production line has been set up printing up RAF ensigns which are all nicely stamped with AM property marks, place of manufacture and a tasty wartime date. The problem is these are all made using printed fabric rather than laid on panels and do not carry coir rope fastenings, as genuine wartime examples. I have personally pointed out to one seller how to identify genuine wartime examples and the description has now been modified to state these are 'lightweight tropical economy printed examples'! The stamping is also far too crisp but collectors are paying big money for these forgeries. The sellers are cleverly stating 'WW II dated' not 'WW II made' so as ever in dealing with E bay listings it is very much a case of 'Caveat Emptor.' If it looks too good to be true it probably is!
3rd December 2017
It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas !
How can it be the festive season already? We are told the months and years speed up as you grow older and that certainly seems to be the case at the Oldnautibits HQ. For the first time we have invested in a tree for the office and with Christmas music on the radio combined with the recent cold snap, it really is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
2017 has not been a classic one for us with our attention diverted for a good part of the year on family affairs but these have now all been sorted and the team are relishing the challenges that await us in the New Year. We will finally be freshening up our website for sale pages but in the meantime if you have any special wish list items for the nautical or aeronautical collector in your life, do drop us a mail in case we have one tucked away in the depths of our stock room.
It simply remains for the team here at the Oldnautibits HQ to thanks all our customers for their business over the current year and to wish all friends and visitors to the site the compliments of the season.Let us hope we can all enjoy a wonderful Christmas and New Year with family and friends and that 2018 finally delivers 'Peace to the World'. We live in hope.