Companies I cannot recommend….

For some time I have wanted to purchase a pair of US Military “Mickey Mouse” boots.  These were first issued to GI’s in the Korean War and are designed to shield against water and extreme cold.  The boots are constructed of rubber and between two layers of rubber, air is trapped to act as insulation.  A valve on the outside of the boot means you can add or remove air to vary the degree of insulation provided.  In addition the boots are wool lined for increased insulation.

So I was really pleased to find a company in the UK advertising them, brand new for only £9.95 +p&p!  I ordered my a pair of size nines from Surplus and Adventure and 5 days later they arrived.  As soon as I unpacked them it was clear that these boots were not what they were advertised to be.  The label on the back stated “US style” and lacking two layers of rubber, a valve, and wool liner these were in fact just short, lace-up wellington boots with an incredibly heavy steel shank and I would require about 10 thick wool socks to to fill the boot with my foot.  The cost of returning the boots would have been almost as much as the purchase price so I have forwarded them for re-sale else where as a “safety boot!”.  My verdict…..DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!

“Googling” this company brings a lot of results from unhappy customers and in fact my colleague at work ordered some items from them three weeks ago and has not yet received them.  When he contacted them, he was told the items are not in stock and will hopefully be in within a week…..we shall see!!

UPDATE 16/12/09 – The items my colleague ordered have arrived today.

At the beginning of the year I was contacted by a representative from Fusion Productions in the USA, who explained that they were working on a new television series called “Hot on the Trail”, to be aired on the Veria Network in June 2009.

They contacted me because they wanted to use images of some of my crafts made from Cattail/Reed Mace for the Cattail part of the series.  The series sounded really good and after some exchanges of emails I agreed to supply images for the series, in return for a DVD copy of the programme.

Since providing some images I have heard nothing from the company and having emailed the two representatives I had been dealing with to find out if my images were actually used, I have received no response.

I would very grateful if anyone who has seen the series could get in touch with me if any of the images below were featured in the programme.

Willow and Cattail leave baskets

Cattail basket

Cattail leaf duck

Cattail Dolls

Thanks in anticipation.

UPDATE

After writing this post the production company contacted me and informed me that they did not use my images in the series.  My recommendation to others……if people seriously want what you have they will pay for it!!

Special Forces self sealing basha

I was recently given a British army desert pattern basha to test,

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but this is no ordinary basha.  Issued to special forces, it is made with a special material which appears like any other basha material until the material is pierced or punctured by something sharp (in this case a pen)

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and here is the resulting hole

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Now you take the material between thumb and forefinger, rubbing from both sides.

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Due to the unique design of the material, as you manipulate it and create heat as you rub, the material “heals” itself

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I am told you can cause significantly more severe damage and it will repair but as it was only on loan I did not have the confidence to do so!!

Be warned that these basha’s are pretty much identical to standard basha’a and even have the same contract number on the label so don’t go piercing your basha assuming you have one of these!!

If anyone knows more about this material I would appreciate any information.

Military training area

Recently I have spent some time  on one of several military training areas in the UK.  This particular site covers an area of more than 30,000 hectares and was established in 1942 when battle training was required for troops fighting in the second world war (including the run-up to the D-day landings).

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The area now looks pretty much as it did then.  Those living in the area (including the residents of at least four villages) were given one weeks notice to take what possessions they could and leave their homes.  The MOD moved them to new homes outside of the training area.  Once a year families are allowed in to visit their homes and tend the graves of their loved ones.

I was there to assist with monitoring of rare plants and habitats within the area

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Ensuring that many small and delicate plants were not being swamped by more dominant species such as Bracken Pteridium

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Because this site is used as a live firing area there are only certain periods when it is possible to get permission from the MOD to gain access.  As a live firing area we had to take special care when walking around to avoid standing on or touching small and large ordinance, such as this old artillery shell.

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I noticed the belly of this shell exposed in the grass and so we called out the diposal team to deal with it.  Fortunately it was not dangerous and was subsequently removed from site.