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Posted by Braddock, VC | Apr 18, 2013 @ 02:39 AM | 5,116 Views
Jake McNiece
Jake McNiece, who has died aged 93, was the leader of the “Filthy Thirteen”, a crack US Army demolition unit that inspired Robert Aldrich’s macho classic The Dirty Dozen.

The “Thirteen” was an unofficial unit (in fact consisting of up to 18 men) within the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. It was parachuted into France hours before the D-Day landings to take and hold a bridge over the Douve river, in a bid to prevent German reinforcements from moving into Normandy.
The group derived its nickname from the fact that they showered just once a week and never washed their uniforms — as well as from their insubordinate attitude to authority. “We were absolutely undisciplined,” McNiece recalled. “We did not greet the officers and we did not speak to them by saying the traditional 'Sir’. We used to call them by their nicknames.” Following the example of McNiece, whose mother was a Choctaw Indian, the men prepared for their mission by shaving their heads into Mohican haircuts and smearing their faces with war paint.
Shortly after midnight on June 6 1944, McNiece and his men parachuted behind enemy lines. By the time dawn broke, they had destroyed two bridges and had taken up positions on the bridge over the Douve. They held it against German counter-attack for three days until the structure was bombed, apparently in error, by the US Air Force. “I was submerged by anger,&#...Continue Reading
Posted by Braddock, VC | Mar 12, 2013 @ 05:22 PM | 5,232 Views
Had the heating installed at the back end of February, an unmitigated disaster. Left for 3 days without heating in a real cold snap, shoddy workmanship wouldn't do what I wanted and left without finishing really peed me off.
I think I'm going to sue them.
Got it all working but unfinished and the heating parts work great, the boiler rarely goes above half throttle except when the water heating goes on for the showers, great but the installation is absolute crap.
The builder has one more day to fit some of the timber mouldings round the doors and two loft hatches and then it's the serious work of painting and decorating.
Oh and the heating people are coming back Thursday pm to complete. I wish.
Posted by Braddock, VC | Feb 22, 2013 @ 03:45 PM | 5,263 Views
Most of the plastering done, last night my daughter came home from university for a long weekend and slept in her room, partial electrics, completely undecorated and with no door into her bathroom where there was no wc, shower or wash hand basin and she loved it! She's off out now to round up her friends to show them. I love it, makes it worth every penny.
The plasterer did the whole of the kitchen ceiling today and had to finish early, just too much for him. I'm really getting my money's worth out of him. Just two more rooms to have their walls plastered, two rooms to have the floor screed done then it's heating, ventilation and final electrics then I get let loose on the place to fit the floors, showers and wall tiling. Aiming to hit my completion date before the wife's birthday on April 8th!!!!!!
Posted by Braddock, VC | Feb 13, 2013 @ 09:32 AM | 5,043 Views
All the internal construction is now complete and the walls have been rendered with cement. The plasterer is putting the first coat of plaster on and the central heating is to be installed on Feb 28th.
After that I have to prime the plastered walls with a mixture of 50/50 water and latex paint then a good couple of thick coats. I intend to spray this on as I have a big compressor and a one litre capacity touch up spray gun.
The whole family is really excited now the end is in sight.
Then it's back to making and breaking models or should that be breaking then making models?
Posted by Braddock, VC | Feb 06, 2013 @ 09:28 AM | 4,684 Views
Work is really accelerating, all the internal walls have been built, ceilings installed, ventilation fans and electrical cables installed, really taking shape now looking forward to the finish in a couple of weeks time.
Posted by Braddock, VC | Jan 31, 2013 @ 04:00 PM | 5,027 Views
Very productive week so far, dust, dust and more dust. We've got the wall knocked down to extend my daughters bedroom and the wall knocked down to extend the kitchen. Lifting the beams in to hold the structure up were extremely heavy there were three and the lightest was 260 pounds, which took 4 of us to lift the beam 8 feet.
Never mind it's done now and there'just one more hole to cut ou then it's on with the finishing!

Tonight was the last day of our inland duck season and so I took youngest son out to demonstrate how to call ducks in, he had my winchester 23 and I used my darne V19, both side by side 12 gauge.
I managed to get six or seven flights of duck in range but our shooting was c**p not even a feather to take home. First time he's been duck hunting and he really enjoyed it, would have been better to have ended the season with a couple of birds though .
Posted by Braddock, VC | Jan 27, 2013 @ 04:35 PM | 4,047 Views
Long Lay off, work starts again tomorrow at 08.00. Have to install HT steel beams to replace existing wall structure to give us access through to the extended portion of the building.
Once those are in place the brickwork can be removed, the new internal dividing walls constructed, electrical wiring installed, walls can be plastered and the new heating system installed then the floor can be screeded and the new timber flooring laid, kitchen installed, new fence and driveway made and Bob's your uncle.
Completion mid march I hope and we'll have a big spring barbeque to set things off!
I have a feeling that the fence and drive may be delayed but not the barbeque!!!!!
Posted by Braddock, VC | Dec 26, 2012 @ 04:18 PM | 5,230 Views
Charles Durning Dies
Charles Durning, who has died aged 89, was a prolific American character actor in roles ranging from a wartime Nazi colonel to the Pope, but his most celebrated film part was as a comically corrupt state governor in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982).

Stocky and heavyset, he nevertheless demonstrated some nifty footwork in the film’s show-stopping Sidestep song-and-dance number, a legacy of his early career as a dance instructor. Durning was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor on the strength of this, and year later received another nomination for his portrayal of a bumbling Nazi officer in Mel Brooks’ To Be or Not to Be. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe as the harassed police lieutenant in Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
Durning started his career on the stage, and appeared at the New York Shakespeare Festival. But his breakthrough role was as a small town mayor in the award-winning play That Championship Season in 1972. The following year he made his film debut as the crooked cop stalking two con men, played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, in the Oscar-winning comedy The Sting.
Dozens of notable screen roles followed. Durning was the would-be suitor of Dustin Hoffman, posing as a female soap opera star in Tootsie (1982); a purveyor of frogs’ legs in The Muppet Movie (1979); and Chief Brandon in Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy (1990). He also played Pope John XXIII in the made-for-television film I Would be...Continue Reading
Posted by Braddock, VC | Dec 15, 2012 @ 05:44 PM | 4,558 Views
Windows and doors all fitted today, will have to clean out the floor tomorrow as I've decided to speed things up and get the screeding done so we can push on as I'd like to get the builder's work completed by mid january.
We'll just leave the wall in my daughter's room till last so she can at least enjoy her Christmas.
We've had a good two months in work so I have a lot more profit to play with than I'd hoped so the build may continue with a large outside workshop for me either that or a new Audi TT!!!
Posted by Braddock, VC | Dec 12, 2012 @ 06:09 PM | 4,592 Views
Things are accelerating now and the damn weather caused problems, even with cement accelerator the temperature was causing the mortar to freeze and so the tiler had to quit. But the scaffolding came down and for the first time I can see the outline of the new part of the house; it really is everything we wanted, the shape is great not like some wart grafted on.
Tomorrow the utility people come to excavate the drive so that the gas and electricity meters can be moved outside, the gas tomorrow and the electricity on Friday. A registered plumber is coming tomorrow to join my existing gas pipe to the meter and an electrician on Friday who will install a new consumer unit to distribute the power and then he will run the cables for all the electricity points and return when the walls have been plastered and the internal partitions erected.
On Saturday the new windows and multifold door will be fitted then we take a break for the christmas holiday, can't proceed as the next phase involves knocking down some walls into the existing kitchen and then a doorway at the other end of the extension plus knocking down the existing wall in my daughter's room and also a doorway into the new, 4th bedroom.
As my daughter is coming home from university for christmas we decided that we would not remove her wall!
We start again on January 7th and when that work is done and the first floor joists installed the walls can be plastered and the ceilings too.
I can then have the new heating system installed and fit out the two new showers and toilets plus the downstairs utility room and then do some painting.
Getting ahead of myself but then the downstairs floor can be screeded, and a new floor laid in the new kitchen area then our $26000 kitchen can be fitted. Hopefully by the end of february. Then its on to the outside for landscaping etc.
Happy holiday to all my readers. See you in the new year!!!!!
Posted by Braddock, VC | Dec 10, 2012 @ 04:15 AM | 5,059 Views
Good news this morning, temperature is 6 degrees C and the tiler is cementing the ridge tiles in.
I don't hate the weather so much today!!!!
Posted by Braddock, VC | Dec 09, 2012 @ 03:22 PM | 4,510 Views
Had the first major foul up. The way the roof has been designed creates a valley between two pitched roofs (like an inverted W). This valley has to have a lead trough to collect rainwater, unfortunately the dimensions are such that we had to have a roll of lead made 800mm wide. The price of lead is enormous. It also held us up three days which in itself has knock ons as we are now getting north easterly winds which come straight from Scandinavia and the temperature has dropped to around 4 degrees C (40 F) and, as a result, means the mortar used to secure the coping tiles will freeze and not set properly,
This is a real butt pain as I have to have the scaffolding removed so that the glazing can be installed.......I hate the weather.
Forgot to say, I renegotiated the roof contract and will get the whole lot done for 6900, about $11,000.
To console myself I bought a thunder tiger cessna 177 Cardinal which a mail order shop was selling for 72 including postage, (about $115) which is a bargain. I have a set of floats for it and an OS 91 FX to pull it along. All I need now is to finish my den!!!
Have a great Christmas and Happy new year.
Posted by Braddock, VC | Nov 27, 2012 @ 06:17 PM | 4,393 Views
Quite a bit has gone on since the last blog, the carpenter has fitted all the steel work and timber frames for the roof and the roof tiler came today and felted and battened the roof to make it weathertight which is a great relief as we are getting some really horrid weather.
Tomorrow the fascias and guttering and drop pipes are going on and then next week the roof will be tiled.
On the 13th of December the gas and electricity are coming to move the gas and electricity meters to outside the house and the following week the window fitters are coming to install the bifold door out onto the patio and the new windows then we can start on the inside.
My wife has ordered the new kitchen but I have a feeling that it will be one of the last things that get done as we have to lay a new floor, parquetry style with wooden blocks. That has to be after the bricklayer knocks down the old kitchen wall, cut a new doorway through into the new study (den?) and knocked down one upstairs wall to extend the daughters bedroom.
There's quite a bit more to do but, just like building a model, it's the detail and fitting out that takes the time.
Posted by Braddock, VC | Nov 10, 2012 @ 03:14 PM | 4,358 Views
Most of the brickwork was completed last weekend and I paid the guy 15600 or about $24810 it looks great. Roof construction starts next Thursday when the existing roof is cut back to allow my brickie to fit the steel joists and padstones that take the weight of the roof joists.
Hopefully this work will be completed the following friday and the guy who tiles the roof can start. This is quite an expensive business for what it is, approx $8000 for the work which really pisses me off.
After this is done I have to get the heating installed, new electrics fitted and a bit of plumbing.
This will take us up to Xmas and then I have to raise some more money to complete the innards. I have enough to do a basic job but her indoors wants the rolls royce of jobs which I must say I have to agree with (on pain of death) nothing like you guys stateside have but plenty for us..
I am very happy so far, except I didn't realise how much tying in the trades would raise my stress levels. But we are still on to save $15000 so I can't complain.
I'll try and load up some pix.
Posted by Braddock, VC | Oct 20, 2012 @ 03:59 PM | 4,484 Views
Bricks arrived on Thursday, bricklayer arrived 07.30 this am, and set to with a will. He's up to the damp-proof course and has done an excellent job.
I've contracted an electrician and a plumber to do the central heating, just still stuck for a carpenter. The electrician gave me the number of a chippy (carpenter) and he seems keen.
I've ordered the new windows and a folding glass door into our garden. They should be delivered in three weeks and fitted straight away.
Keeping my fingers crossed that the chippy comes on stream.
Posted by Braddock, VC | Oct 17, 2012 @ 01:04 PM | 4,380 Views
All the groundwork now completed, we got down to 1 meter and hit chalk which is just great, all the ground drainage is done and the sewers are installed. I got out my old tool chest and replumbed the kitchen equipment so we can operate the dishwasher, washing machine etcetera, it really is so easy nowadays with all the plastic mouldings, in my day it was pipe benders and soldering but this stuff is just fantastic.
The bricks arrive tomorrow but I have a snag, the carpenter I was going to use has now taken on a bigger job so I have a panic in about two weeks, hopefully I'll get a replacement by then.
The plan was to get the roof on by xmas but if that falls through I must pray for no rain.
Paid the first bill, 7200 for all the groundworks.
Posted by Braddock, VC | Oct 04, 2012 @ 06:23 PM | 4,148 Views
First of all I have to apologise in advance, I have had several glasses of Cave Saint-Pierre Cotes-du- Rhone which is on offer at Tescos, it's one of the nicest wines I've managed to pour down my neck in recent years, please bear this in mind!!!!!!!!!!!!
I started in earnest emptying my garage today, big deal I threw away several airframes which really got to me, a Flair 1/6 scale fokker D7, and a goldberg cub nearly finished and a goldberg ultimate that just needed covering, a graupner Skycat, a great planes slopoke 40, I didn't bother taking out the servos, tanks or anything. I also threw away a flair magnatilla complete with crash damage and a thunder tiger gp 42 plus 5 servos, a chris foss middle phase - I have to clear the space for demolition on monday!!!
I didn't realise I had that much junk but I'm down to about 4 trailer loads and thereby hangs a story - I'll write this one up later, right now I am really agitated after chucking this stuff out - guess I'll get over it.
Posted by Braddock, VC | Oct 02, 2012 @ 06:55 PM | 5,610 Views
Well, I live in a 3 bedroom detached house with my wife and two youngest kids. Space is kinda cramped and we know we needed more space.
About 9 years ago I had enough money to add some room, instead we bought a business and built into a thriving concern that has gone from 6 employees 7 years ago to 12 at present.
The UK tax laws are designed to give business owners incentives and we were granted a large pot of money two years ago to build our business. I learned from our tax officer that I could use this money to offset the profit that we made as a bona fide "investment allowance" and this resulted in a major (on paper) loss that I can carry over to the subsequent tax years as a loss against any profit that we make.
So my build log/blog is about the addition to the house that I am about to embark on.
We are adding two more bedrooms, enlarging the kitchen adding two more bathrooms and PRAISE THE LORD a workshop for me.
We have quite strong planning laws that govern what we can build and there is also a building control department that ensures that any construction work is adequately done.
The planning hurdles are over and the consent for both the design and the construction specification has been approved, this cost 1700 or $2744
At this point we went out to tender to three builders and received estimates that really made my eyes water. The lowest was 66000, the top one 93000, at current exchange rates that's $106520 and $150097 respectively.
We could just about...Continue Reading
Posted by Braddock, VC | Oct 02, 2012 @ 02:49 AM | 4,531 Views
I don't even begin to pretend to be a golf fan but the local satellite tv was shoving the Ryder Cup down our throats last week, the British newspapers were hanging the European team up as traitors, you know the stuff - lousy captain, players couldn't hit a barn if they were locked up inside; then suddenly everything changed, the very same reporters were saying how marvellous the captain was, how skilled the team was.
I bet the American golf fans are really pissed off with the way the morale and performance of their team slumped and particularly the performance of T. Woods, he's never been the same since he crashed into that tree.

Sincere condolences, get your golf coach to get the next Ryder Cup Squad to watch the Gregory Peck film "Twelve o'clock High" it might put some of the energy back into them.
Posted by Braddock, VC | Sep 24, 2012 @ 12:00 PM | 4,415 Views
Dropped my daughter off at her new home for the next three years, University of East Anglia in Norwich UK, we made a family day of it and all four went up and, obviously, only three came back.
Her brother who is nearly two years younger was really cut up about her leaving home, much more so than I expected.
Anyway, nice modern buildings, plenty of space and a city that is one of the best policed in the UK.
It'll take some time getting used to it then we'll go through the same process again when the youngest leaves home next year.
I have to be honest and admit it affected me much more than I expected as I was in the merchant marine for many years and got used to parting with my first family.
I don't suppose I'm unusual though.