By a Slender Thread
Looking for a good novel, one with a yarn about sailing,
terrorists and plutonium? Then read "By A Slender Thread" by Barrie
Skelcher. Published by Navigator, (ISBN 0 902830 46 5). Set in the
of the Cold War, the old Soviet hardliners devise a plot to deprive
all its nuclear power stations and so make the Country dependant on the
for its fossil fuel supplies. The settings and the technology involved
stealing plutonium, producing a home made bomb and the problems of
the operation are frighteningly realistic. Indeed, one might reasonably
that some events since 1995, when the book was published, have now
themselves. A few new copies of this book are still available and are
the Author at £7.50p inc p&p in UK mainland.
What others have said;
is a scientific novel...once you start reading it is difficult to put
the book down....Anyone with an interest in the nuclear industry, for
or against, would fine the book quite fascinating. Anyone with an
interest in the nuclear industry and sailing is in for a bonanza..."
Nuclear Technology Publishing
spy thriller by an author who draws heavily on his lifetime
professional knowledge ...and his passion for small boat sailing in
East Coast waters. Unlikely one might have said but there have been too
many such impossible incidents in recent times ..."
from being a nuclear physicist, Barrie is aslo a yachtsman and the
yacht chase is fascinatingg in detail and excitement. Could it happen?
You must read to know." Suffolk &
Vaseline and Uranium Glass
the word radioactive and most people will recoil in horror.
radioactivity has been with life on the world since it first began.
Nothing is more natural than natural radioactivity. It is suprising
just how common radioactivity is. Items we may handle in everyday life
could be radioactive. Thorium, used on gas mantes is radioactive.
Potasium is radioactive. I find it somewhat amusing when I see "low
sodium salt" which has sodium chloride replaced with potassiun
chloride. I wounder how many folk realise that they are substituting
non-radioactive sodium with radioactive potassium in their
is another naturally occuring radioactive element and it
other than making nuclear weapons or as fuel in atomic power stations.
It is an element that gives a beautiful colour to glass and has been
used in the glass industry for about 200 years. For nearly 20
years I have been researching the use of uranium in glass. Its use in
modern times is not common, mailnly due to rules and regulations, but a
few glass house still produce glass coloured with uranium.
is so special about this type of glass? It is sometimes known as
Vaseline Glass for the oily greenish yellow colour of Vaseline can be
reproduced by using uranium in the glass melt. It also can
produce other colours as well. To learn more about it read my two book
on the subject. They not only contain details about the uranium in
selected glass ware but also, glass densities, attributing glass,
and dating glass.
density of glass is a most important aid to attributing a piece of
glass. Every glasshouse tended to use its own basic mix from which it
constructed glass of variuos colours. Thus the density of most of the
items from any particular glasshouse will be the same. By establishing
the characteristics of glasshouse densities the researcher has a good
starting point from where to start the search.
densities are quoted in both of Barrie Skelcher's books for a number of
English, American and Continental glashouses.
Big Book of Vaseline Glass
Big Book of Vaseline Glass, 2002, Schiffer ISBN 0-7643-1474-2.
is the result of the author's study of glass coloured with uranium
often known as Vaseline glass. It covers mainly English glass and
includes data on density and uranium content of several hundred items.
from 17 different British glasshouses are analysed in terms of density
and uranium content. Examples of American and Continental glass are
Vaseline Glassware, 2007, Schiffer ISBN 978-0-7643-2699-8.
Continues from where the Big Book of Vaseline Glass left off. Gives
examples and more data. Although there is some duplication for the
of the reader, it is strongly advised that both books should be read.
from 21 British glasshouses are analysed in terms of density and
uranium content in addition to others from America and the European
Looking for a Speaker? Glass,or a Trip Through the
collecting is a fascinating hobby. Unlike collecting some other
artifacts it is not indexed and written up in catalogues. The collector
is very much on his or her own when it comes to answering the vital
questions ; "who made it?"; "when was it made?"; "how was it
not find out more about the glass you discovered put away in "granny's"
cupboard, or the items you have been using in everyday life. What is
the significance of a "pump handle jug", or a "broken pontil"?
Skelcher will give illustrated talks on:
1800 - 1950
Uranium / Vaseline Glass for the Collector, or the lay person. Bring
examples of glass items and hear his comments about them.
has a network of canals which are steeped in interesting history.
Holland, Belgium, France and Germany are all blessed with inland
waterways which can access as far as the Baltic and the Black Sea.
Barrie Skelcher can offer you a talk about the Ardenne area and some of
the other areas where two world wars were fought.
Plan got replaced by the Manstein Plan and the German armour out
the Maginot Line to break through to Dunkirk. It all happened in the
Ardennes so why not motor boat through this area with an illustrated
talk from Barrie Skelcher.
Mirror 16 Sailing Dinghy
The Mirror 16 dinghy is the largest of the Mirror Fleet,
sponsored by the Daily Mirror newspaper in the 1960's. It is built of
plywood on the stitch and glue principle and is an exciting boat to
sail. l6ft long, it is lighter and faster than a Wayfarer. It is
spacious and can accommodate up to 5 crew. Designed by Jack Holt for
either racing or dinghy cruising. Only about 600 of these boats were
built. Plans were never drawn up and the boat was sold in kit form to
be assembled by the amature or the professional. The kits were made
from templates, unfortunately these have been lost. So it would seem
that the Class is another endangered species. Not quite so, a few
enthusiasts have got together, over the internet, to keep the Class
alive. Some are even working on the task of making new termplates so
that new boats could be built. The Mirror 16 may not appear in the
RYA's Portsmouth Yardstick publication, but some are still racing in
the UK and
overseas. At the Slaughden Sailing Club the three Mirror 16s race with
a Portsmouth Number of
If you have a Mirror 16, or would like to know more about
Barrie Skelcher. The M16 is not confined to the UK, there are some in
Australia, the USA and Canada. If you have one of these dinghies please
get in touch.
pictures below show Mirror 16 "Puff" at the Slaughden Sailing Club.
Puff, sailed by Ivor artin and Barrie Skelcher won the Mirror 16
National Championships three time in the 1970's. She was then sold only
to be discovered rotting away some 27 years later. Now Barrie Skelcher
has had her restored and is again racing her. The left hand
puicture shows her as sher is now, the right hand side picture as she
was in 1974.
Mirror 16's are often for sale on the Slaughden
Sailing Club website.
If you are interested in any of the above items, please contact me by
or by email
Thank you very much.