The Famous Five Weather Specialists
By Bas Wright
On 26th November 2016, 5 Watch Keepers visited the Met Office HQ at Exeter, a trip organised by Eleanor Fitzgeorge-Parker. Four times a year the Met Office opens its doors on a ticket only basis and Eleanor was allocated 5 tickets on line on a first come first served basis.
The visit lasted 3 hours and starts with an initial welcome lecture giving the history of the Met Office, what they now do and for whom they do it. One of their biggest users is the Armed Forces working in a very high security area. About 60 people attend the lecture and after they were split into groups of 15 for the guided tour.
Firstly the library is visited which also contains many artefacts including the original D. Day hand drawn weather maps which dictated when the advance would commence and resulted in a successful operation on 6th July 1944 rather than the original 4th July.
This was followed by the vast number of multi-screen work station where all the information is processed and a glimpse of their new 16 Petaflop (? very big) Cray computer which uses staggering amounts of electricity but also heats the whole building.
Our guide then showed us a selection of then and now weather measuring devices which he even allowed us to touch.
Finally there was a talk from an ex BBC weather presenter who reminded us that The BBC are switching to a new company to supply and present weather information, although of course they buy it in from the Met Office and put their interpretation on it.
Finally the sight of Eleanor in her best bib and tucker munching a bacon roll in the open air at a road side café was a sight to behold. Thanks Eleanor.
Christmas Dinner 2016
The NCI Portland Bill Christmas Dinner took place at the Weymouth Golf Club on Thursday 15th December 2016 and was a very enjoyable evening for all
Charborough Estate Day 28th May 2016
A wonderful day at Charborough enhanced by the music from Frederick, everyone was surprised with his great MUSICAL talent.
By Len Heath
This year, we again had a chance to collect vital funds for the continual operation of the NCI Portland Bill look-out, the pitch on the Weymouth Esplanade is only allocated to one charity per day, to avoid fights breaking out between collectors. Our allocated date was Wednesday 5th August, this being achieved by a lot of hard work and pestering of Weymouth and Portland Council by Pam Peters.
The day dawned wet but our determined volunteers set to the collection of the stall paraphernalia from our Portland look-out store with gusto and like a military operation all was transported and erected on the esplanade by 09:00, all be it in the rain. Rain was not allowed to stop play and the sun started to break through the clouds, bringing with it the happy holidaymakers. Our stall comprised our gazebo and one of the Mercedes cars loaned to us for transporting the equipment.
The holiday makers delighted in the fantastic banter of the Coastwatch team who were doing their best to sell the books, craft items, bric-a-brac and tombola together with encouraging them to contribute to our good cause via our collection boxes and the results were outstanding, considering it was wet and cold at times, holiday makers supported us well and our final figure was very close to last year’s figure, achieved in the sunshine!!!
At the end of the day a big thank you was due for a very swift pack up & return to the lookout, before it really rained again – Well done to all the team.