Coniston Bye laws/Ruskin

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StrawberryFruitcake
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Re: Coniston Bye laws/Ruskin

Post by StrawberryFruitcake »

Having read and reflected on the last few posts I feel that it is time to speak for the families. Bill has said many, many times that the BBP is a team but supporting that team are their families. These are the people that have not minded their partners giving up a Wednesday and Thursday evening and all day on a Saturday to build a boat. This in itself was a huge ask of any partner but especially as many of the volunteers have children. I had both of our girls in the backdrop of the BBP and whilst this wasn’t a problem there were times and still are where I was on my own with screaming children and now hormonal teenagers. When you’re dealing with them on your own it can make you very resentful. So, the current situation is, as Richie put it, a baseball bat to the legs!

I have been able to stand on the side-lines for the last 19 years and quietly (sometimes not so much) observe all the ups and downs. The Museum is an interesting one. I have been there so many times when they were asked how preparations were going, only to have the line, “But we need to know when.” tripped out. Now I know that an event can be planned. I very much doubt they will wait until the Queen dies before planning her funeral or that flood defences are not planned for. Neither of the two events has a date on but they are ready for implementation at a moment’s notice. It is a massive kick in the teeth now the museum stands with its hand outstretched. I have many times said they are re-enacting ‘The little Red Hen’ (https://youtu.be/2E72TZy0LNo), just subsititue ploughing, seeds and flour for aluminium, choccie sauce and rivets. I grant that some members of the museum came to see progress over the years but not one of them got their hands dirty or regularly volunteered. Even worse are the nameless, faceless trustees that have never clapped eyes on the boat or the team or interacted with the families, yet here they are saying, ‘Give us our boat’. I was always taught that you got out what you put in... Using 'They built a wing to put it in' is no excuse unless of course they too built it with their own hands and sacrificed family time to boot.

As for the disgrace that was the spectacle on January 4th.... Violet Elizabeth Bott eat your heart out! That was a total slap in the face for the team and families especially as she had stood shoulder to shoulder with them 18 months earlier. Alas, I wasn’t too surprised really because I have seen the occasional, “I'll thkweem and thkweem until I'm thick" moment. I honestly believe in her 74 years no one has had the temerity to say ‘no’. As I say to our children, something a certain someone has never been told, ‘you can scream all you like but the answer is still no...’ I am hopeful that at 12 and 15 they are getting it now! Hopefully you can teach an old dog new tricks!
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Andrew453
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Re: Coniston Bye laws/Ruskin

Post by Andrew453 »

Eerily, for some reason my Youtube home page suggestions this morning included an item on fixing Qualcasts - still, thats Google algorithms for you!
I cannot comment on other aspects of this sorry tale beyond saying that I have been lucky enough to have seen at first hand the results of the extraordinary skill and dedication that Bill and the project volunteers have put into the big blue boat over the better part of two decades. Suffice it to say that, like many followers of the project, I was astonished by the appalling ingratitude behind the remarks that Gina made at the museum on 4 January.
Yet there are elements within the Ruskin's financial returns that do give grounds for concern. First, there was the sudden addition of five new trustees in 2018, at least three of whom had direct or familial links to the short-lived Bluebird Heritage company dissolved after just eighteen months in January 2019. Their accession was swiftly followed by the institution lurching from surplus into deficit, the cause of this being the £45k of charitable funds expended on 'professional fees'. This sum, up from £960 in the previous year, was shown in the accounts under 'expenditure on charitable activities'.
It does seem odd that such a marked change in the charity's fortunes did not attract an explanation in either the auditor's notes on the accounts or the independent examiner's statement. Odder still is the fact that the list of Ruskin trustees submitted to the Charity Commission for year ending 31 March 2019 includes a QC who, were he appointed in time, might reasonably have been expected to warn of the legal fees bear-pit opening up in front of them and advise a wiser course.
All of this appears to point to a worrying lack of oversight and due diligence that would, in a professional setting, see desks being swiftly cleared.
Anyway, crack on team - it must be very hard to rise above it at times, but you and the project as a whole, including all of its supporters around the globe, are way bigger and better than all the infantile nonsense you are being subjected to, not to mention the coterie of type 4s behind it.
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Renegadenemo
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Re: Coniston Bye laws/Ruskin

Post by Renegadenemo »

Anyway, crack on team - it must be very hard to rise above it at times, but you and the project as a whole, including all of its supporters around the globe, are way bigger and better than all the infantile nonsense you are being subjected to, not to mention the coterie of type 4s behind it.
Thanks for your support. We've risen above it many times to protect the unfailingly positive reputation of the BBP but not any more. It certainly feels good to have put some of the truth out there at last.
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Mr Hannarack
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Re: Coniston Bye laws/Ruskin

Post by Mr Hannarack »

Referring back to Malcolm and Richie’s posts on 30th July, I don’ think the future running of Bluebird should be limited to Coniston and nowhere else. The Coniston Water Byelaw amended under Malcolm’s stewardship to give Bluebird the opportunity for Engineering and Proving Trials that would allow her to exceed the otherwise 10mph speed limit for the lake, was planned and put in place well ahead of the potential event, one of the important strands that would bring the whole event to fruition.

Bluebird did of course see much success on Coniston, setting four outright water speed records on the then Lancastrian lake, so to see her run again there would be just fantastic.

But her running career in the 1950’s and 60’s was not just limited to the Lake District.
Bluebird ran at many venues across the globe, Lake Mead, Lake Canandaigua and Lake Onondaga for record attempts in America. In Australia on Lake Bonney and Lake Dumbleyung for record attempts and the Swan River in Perth for a demonstration/victory parade.

In France she ran on Lake Bourget, initially in the hope of making an attempt, but choppy water limited her running to be more of the demonstration variety.

In England on Ullswater and Coniston she ran for record attempts and at Ruislip Lido on the outskirts of London – a 60 acre lake - for demonstration runs. Ruislip Lido was operated by Donald’s great friend David Nations OBE, who was Britain’s first competitive water skier and who took part in the 1949 World Championships. He subsequently trained water skiers from all over Europe (including I assume Donald who was no mean water skier himself) at his home course at Ruislip Lido. Possibly as a return favour for all those lessons he persuaded Donald to carry out some demonstration runs with K7 there, which was a great coup and which no doubt Donald was very happy to do for his great buddy.

Incidentally, Ruislip Lido has been used for filming several TV programmes and was also used for the film, A Night to Remember, where a large model of the RMS Titanic was “sunk” for dramatic effect in the film. So, the two most famous maritime wrecks in history have sailed on Ruislip Lido!

I digress.

But as Bluebird’s crew training exercise on the Isle of Bute confirmed, if you have a very welcoming host venue who go above and beyond in organising and making the absolute most of their facility, you’ll get a superb event, people will and did come from all four corners to watch Bluebird and you’ll contribute hugely to your local economy in the process.

And you can bet that any of the above listed stretches of water in Scotland, Australia, America and France would be falling over themselves to welcome her back to see her under power and follow Bute’s example to bust a gut and make it happen, if the opportunity arose.

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Malcolm Ops
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Re: Coniston Bye laws/Ruskin

Post by Malcolm Ops »

Mr Hannarack wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:31 pm Referring back to Malcolm and Richie’s posts on 30th July, I don’ think the future running of Bluebird should be limited to Coniston
And you can bet that any of the above listed stretches of water in Scotland, Australia, America and France would be falling over themselves to welcome her back to see her under power and follow Bute’s example to bust a gut and make it happen, if the opportunity arose.
I would need to look in my files but the bet would be lost, but not for every location mentioned. I only contacted K7 record sites after Bute (and of course as Ullswater is in Cumbria the LDNPA would be the same contact as Coniston Water - similar Bye Laws). Some stretches of Scottish water can be overwhelmed by tourist activity and nothing on the mainland could be agreed for 2019. I am up for Australia and America, but the BBP Restoration Crew would need to be as well.

Welcome to this sometimes madness forum, Paul.
Malcolm Ops

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Re: Coniston Bye laws/Ruskin

Post by Malcolm Ops »

Andrew453 wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:26 pm First, there was the sudden addition of five new trustees in 2018, at least three of whom had direct or familial links to the short-lived Bluebird Heritage company dissolved after just eighteen months in January 2019.
Some details:

The Coniston Bluebird Heritage Limited was established by key members of the Bluebird Event Working Group (BEWG). The BEWG was formed from representatives of the Coniston Parish Council, Ruskin Museum, Coniston Business Forum. The BBP was in attendance at each meeting of the BEWG from the outset. BEWG minutes were not made public and only brief mention was ever made in the minutes of the Council (available on-line).

The Coniston Institute and Ruskin Museum made subtle changes in 2017 when instead of just being 'Committee members' those involved became or were called 'Trustees'. It is not surprising to me that Councillors and ex-Councillors and senior business people from within the village manage the Institute and Museum organisation. They have had twelve people in this group going back long before the annual reports, which are available on line.

The Coniston Bluebird Heritage Limited was not needed once there were 'difficulties' in organising a festival homecoming, in conjunction with the 2010 Byelaw defined 'Proving Trial', of the craft K7. Dissolution of an un-needed business often occurs and was confirmed in August '19 I do believe.

The 2019 Byelaws needed bringing up to date after the ending of the RYA involvement with motorised water sports and with it a change in the sanction of Records Week. The LDNPA drafted new ones and they may now be with the Secretary of State, [but that part of government is trying to sort out a pandemic problem].

Duration water speed records were set on Windermere in 2019, but possibly nothing at all will occur in 2020 on any waterway in the County. The BBP were able to offer comments on the drafting of the revised Coniston Water Byelaws. These comments and other information can be found on the LDNPA website.

I cannot talk about a meeting in July 2019 but it was important because I missed a Land Speed Record FIM Motorcycle meeting in France to attend.
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Renegadenemo
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Re: Coniston Bye laws/Ruskin

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I cannot talk about a meeting in July 2019 but it was important because I missed a Land Speed Record FIM Motorcycle meeting in France to attend.
I see no reason why you shouldn't talk about it. I know there was a gentleman's agreement no to but I assumed the gentleman's agreement not to swing a bat at our legs six months later was in place too if unspoken and seeing as the goalposts have been moved to the far horizon I see no reason why we need honour that agreement so please give us your thoughts.
There was another meeting on 20th December that I've not mentioned. I was invited to meet with Gina and Mr H in Cumbria to discuss a way forward and being unfailingly interested in ways forward I went along.

Basically there was one question - what had to be done to sort this out?

I explained that the only thing to be done was for the museum to catch up with the programme, that it was out of our hands, that we couldn't MAKE them get up next morning and start organising and planning, that that was going to have to be their own decision and their own time-frame.
But that wasn't the answer I was supposed to give, oh no. I explained that if they expected anything other than a thorough fix according to the long term aims of the project they had the wrong person across the table.
Now then, this didn't meet with Gina's approval. I mean, how dare I sit there cool as a cucumber explaining almost apologetically that there was nothing I could do, so while I remained calm Gina ranted at me ever more loudly in front of a restaurant full of bemused customers then stomped outside leaving me alone at the table with Mr. H.

The customers went back to their meals and the question came again. What did we really have to do to sort this out. I always find it really annoying when asked a question, I give an answer then the question is asked again.

I have no difficulty explaining things to people but I can't understand it for them.

So I set about clarifying a few points.

One of the biggies is that our due diligence included having a radiation survey carried out by our local museum to check whether we had any radioactive materials in the boat but their bigger concern was what measures were in place to keep selfie-hunters off the boat whilst on display. It's no longer enough to have your holiday snaps taken in front of the exciting thing you went to visit then have a slide show with cheese and wine for the neighbours - now it's a case of climb on top of it because best selfie wins. So we went off and researched this in depth with every museum we could think of with similar large objects and the answer was the same every time - it's a big problem and K7 is a big risk. For example, you wouldn't have to swing too hard from a spray baffle to split it or damage the thin metalwork it was hurriedly bodged onto in 1966. Nor would the canopy stand much abuse and there's sure to be some numpty who tries to open that! Nor would it take an especially heavy person sitting on the nose to wreck it and last time we'd asked the museum about such things it seemed they'd not even pondered these questions. Worse still, it was intimated that these issues were none of our business.

Excuse me! Considering that one of the utterly non-negotiable terms of the 2013 agreement that is still utterly non-negotiable is that no one but BBP or our appointed representatives will work on or handle K7 . It'll be us who has to mend it if it gets broken and that's how it should be because we know the machine inside out. There's a second layer to all of this in that we're not putting a canopy or a spray baffle or a sponson or nose into such an environment until we're confident that the risk from selfie hunters has been mitigated as much as can be reasonably expected. As one museum said to us, even with signs and barriers and a full-time invigilator on the floor there'll still be the occasional idiot who just walks straight by to get their shot.

But Mr. H didn't want to hear such details and even accused me of deliberately throwing problems in the way. I well remember Sally, John Jordan and Rich telling me on Bute that they had to go work out their safety drills on the Loch and that, being something they couldn't rehearse ahead of our trip, was going to take as long as it took so all we could do was spanner around in the workshop until they were satisfied but at no time did I accuse them of throwing problems in the way. The truth of the matter is that long ago selfie hunters and any other issues should have been discussed with us and whatever needed doing between the museum and ourselves should have just happened, quietly and in plenty of time using whatever grants, scrounging and volunteering that was needed and the measures just slid into place. No one would have noticed but suddenly we hit the point where it had to be addressed and wasn't and we were the bad guys - I think not.

Mr. H attempted to brush all of this aside as though it either wasn't going to happen (getting the nose off to repair it then reinstating all the paintwork such that it looks old would literally take us weeks) or it would take no mending at all, which it would.
We're hardly going to plan a trip, go to collect the boat then find we have days of unnecessary repair work to do because some idiot plonked their kid on a sponson top for a picture - not happening.

I tried a different tack - what if someone pulled and tugged on an inlet blank to get a look at the engine damaging the metalwork in the attempt and worse still, dropped a small object such as an earring into the inlet. We could have one of our priceless engines damaged or destroyed then have all the work of getting it out and putting in a replacement while people who have taken time out of their lives to see K7 in action sit around with their disappointed children.

"Oh, we don't need it with an engine," said Mr. H.

I had two reactions to that - though I voiced neither at the time. Firstly I though, who is 'we'? But I was especially disgusted that, in effect, all the work done by not only the team but also by the amazing folks in aerospace to make sure we had a complete and safely operable craft counted for bugger all so long as what was left could be stood, half finished and unprotected in a 'crusty old museum'. I pointed out that we weren't going to perform an engine installation every time we took her out because that would just add unnecessary wear and tear to all the connections, air, fuel, hydraulic, mechanical, etc. and also risk something being missed, forgotten or undoing itself. No, we'd build, test, run then inhibit and the museum would demonstrate to us that they were going to guard our priceless engine with their lives just as we took every possible precaution when out running.

At this point Gina returned but nothing had changed. I did promise to sort the mess but only by means of working with the museum and some equivalent of the BEWG once they stepped up and got organised and then a couple of days later a friendly reporter called me to discuss a press release to go out on the 4th January but which had an embargo on it until lunchtime that day.

What Gina and The Kid seemed not to understand was that an embargo prevents the press from discussing the matter with the public but not with interested parties so it seemed we went directly from private meeting in Penrith to hatchet job in Coniston and what Mr. H didn't understand was pretty much everything that had ever gone on with the BBP since we took the decision to build the boat without the HLF in 2005. The people, the philosophy, the trials, tribulations, highs and lows and damned determination. Someone with even a tiny grasp on that would never sit across a table from me and say, oh we don't need it with an engine. There's a lot of catching up to be done there too.

As an amusing postscript to that meeting - when I went to get into my car to leave a couple who'd witnessed all the shouting were getting into the next car and they asked me what it had been about.
I told them my mother was on medication that affected her mind - that stopped the questions... :lol:
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StrawberryFruitcake
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Re: Coniston Bye laws/Ruskin

Post by StrawberryFruitcake »

It just goes to show a lack of understanding of the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the rebuild of K7 by the team and all the indusries that donated their materials, expertise and time to the project. Having said that Mr H did manage to show his complete lack of understanding or ignorance about the boat and the project. But that is waht happens when you've recently landed on the scene, done no research and wade into a sitaution which doesn't concern you. Maybe best to stick the the 3 G's - golf, gardening and Gina!
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Re: Coniston Bye laws/Ruskin

Post by Jordangbr »

The one thing I struggle to understand is how we can go from the highs of Bute with Gina singing our praises and talk of running K7 globally to swinging the baseball bat at our legs as Richie succinctly put it. What was the trigger for this about face and treachery? As a point Gina has changed tack 4 times in 10 years being with us then against us as whim and wind direction take her fancy.
Some folk seem to think the Project is on the make and that there must be vast amounts of money involved but this cannot be further from the truth. The guys and girls of the Project are all volunteers and the job is it’s own reward yet everyone else benefits in seeing a living, breathing risen from the dead Bluebird. Everyone wins yet this doesn’t seem to be enough for the Campbell family who were onside until January 4th this year.
So do they see there is money to be made off the back of our hard graft? Let’s not forget they signed over the wreckage (or what was recovered from the lake) to the Ruskin Museum, the Project supplied and built the rest so the Campbell family really have no say in the matter if I’m being blunt. Pure speculation but food for thought.
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Renegadenemo
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Re: Coniston Bye laws/Ruskin

Post by Renegadenemo »

The one thing I struggle to understand is how we can go from the highs of Bute with Gina singing our praises and talk of running K7 globally to swinging the baseball bat at our legs as Richie succinctly put it. What was the trigger for this about face and treachery?
That's an easy one. 2014 was the big anniversary of Donald's double so displaying K7 and CN7 together was hot on The Kid's agenda so he and others tried to alter the donation agreement ahead of time in 2013 such that Bluebird would remain on display in Coniston only as long as 'public interest demands'.
Even the museum could see where that was going and kicked him into touch.

Then in March 2019, preceding another attempt to alter the donation agreement, that most telling quote written as a warning to The Kid,

'Yes we tried to overturn it in ‘13 for our own ends and lost'.

It's a carbon copy... Isn't there something going on with CN7 this year?
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes.

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