Mad Amusement Arcade

The evening standard reported that inventor Tim Hunkin, best known for the Channel Four television series The Secret Life of Machines has created an amusement arcade of machines made from parts such as windscreen wiper motors amd wok lids and it opens in Holborn, Central London from 11th February 2015.


Tim has filled the former art gallert with 16 “mad” coin-operated machines, each providing a bizarre or humerous mini-adventure. In Microbreak, users are taken on a three-minute package holiday while never leaving an armchair. In Test Your Nerve, participants have to put their hand close to the jaws of a red-eyed dog. Tokens to operate the machines can be bought at the arcade for as little as £1.

Mr Hunkin was quoted aas saying he felt “a missionary zeal to reinvent amusement arcades”. He already has one, the Under the Pier Show in Southwold, Suffolk. Hunkin’s “Under the Pier Show” at Southwold Pier, England is a penny arcade featuring a number of humorous, coin-operated machines of his creation. Attractions include the “Autofrisk” (a device that simulates the experience of being frisked by multiple, inflated rubber gloves), the “Bathyscape” (a device that simulates a brief submarine adventure) and a somewhat rude sculptural clock.

Novelty Automation is at 1 Princeton Street and opens Wed-Sat 11am-6pm

Maker Faire Elephant and Castle

Some pictures from Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire –

And the finished picture from #triggertrap –


Fred Wells Gardens

What a great place Fred Wells gardens is.

It’s on the site of a former railway station, but it’s now a great hidden gem in Battersea.

  • It’s one of the only (possible the only) parks in Wandsworth where you can light a barbeque*.
  • It has a free tennis court.
  • Children’s playground with vomit-inducing spinner.
  • Open grassed area.
  • Dog friendly.
  • Great trees for climbing and den making.
  • Hide and seek all around.
Den Making Fred Wells Gardens
Den Making Fred Wells Gardens

Some facts about Fred Wells gardens

  • A small strip of land along one side of the park cost Wandsworth Council £1.6M in 2008
  • Fred Wells was a long serving  Labour councillor of Wandsworth. It was opened in 1983 by Denis Waterman and Henry Cooper (why them is lost to the mysteries of time…)

* Barbeque area was given temporary trial status according to the notice in the park. Not sure if it’s still in force, but the barbeque tree trunk still exists.

Sam, Sam, Pick Up Tha Musket

Don’t think I’ve heard this since I were a schoolboy.

If you are able, it is probably best read in a northern accent:

Sam, Sam, Pick Up Tha Musket

It occurred on the evening before Waterloo,
As troops were lined up on parade.
And sergeant inspecting ’em, he were a terror,
Of whom every man were afraid.

All excepting one man, he were in’t front rank,
A man by t’name of Sam Small.
And he and t’sergeant were both daggers drawn,
They thought nowt of each other at all.

As sergeant walked past he was swinging his arms,
And he happened to brush against Sam.
And knocking t’musket clean out of ‘is hand,
It fell t’ground wi’ a slam.

‘Pick it up!’ said sergeant, abrupt like, but cool.
But Sam wi’ a shake of ‘is ‘ead.
Said ‘Seeing as tha knocked it out of my hand,
P’rhaps tha’ll pick t’ thing up instead.

Sam, Sam, pick up tha musket!
The sergeant exclaimed with a roar.
Sam said tha’ knocked it down reasonin’
Tha’ll pick it up, or it stays, where t’is on the floor.

The sound of high words very soon reached
The ears of an officer, Lieutenant Bird.
Who says to the sergeant ‘Now what’s all this ‘ere?’,
And the sergeant told what had occurred.

‘Sam, Sam, pick up thy musket !’,
Lieutenant exclaimed with some heat.
Sam says he knocked it down, reasonin he picks it up,
Or it stays where’t is at my feet.

It caused quite a stir when the Captain arrived,
To find out the cause of the trouble,
And every man there all, excepting old Sam,
Was full of excitement and bubble.

‘Sam, Sam, pick up thy musket!’,
Said Captain, for strictness renowned.
Sam says he knocked it down, reasonin he picks it up,
Or it stays where’t is on the ground.

The same thing occurred when the Major and Colonel
Both tried to get Sam to see sense.
But when old Duke of Wellington came into view,
Well then the excitement was tense.

Up rode the Duke on a lovely white horse
To ‘Find out the cause of the bother.’
He looked at the musket, and then at old Sam,
And he talked to old Sam like a brother.

‘Sam, Sam, pick up thy musket’, the Duke
Said as quiet as could be,
‘Sam, Sam-Sam-Sam, pick up thy musket.’,
Come on lad just to please me.

All right Duke says old Sam just for thee I’ll oblige,
And to show thee I meant no offence.
So Sam picked it up. ‘Gradely lad.’ said the Duke.
‘Righto boys let battle commence.’

The poem is, in fact, a traditional folk song which was written in 1929 and made famous by the actor Stanley Holloway [1890-1982] It is about the period before the Duke of Wellington’s famous battle at Waterloo against Napoleon in 1815.