Monday, 9 May 2011

Cameras hidden in amongst stones

A BBC news report states that Network Rail had spent £16.5m to replace stolen electrical cable and compensate train operators for lost service after thieves had removed the cable for the copper.  With scrapyards paying around £ 5000 a tonne, it seems like thieves had struck gold if you see what I mean.   It would take hundreds of metres of cable to make a tonne of copper so the rewards are not that easy to come by.   In order to catch the train track robbers in the act, network rail has installed motion activated cameras amongst the stones and sleepers.   As you can see in the previous post, we now supply smaller artificial rocks, all of which are hollow and can be used to hide a camera or monitoring equipment.   There is even a hollow breezeblock for larger cameras.   Ideal for monitoring building sites and building supply yards.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A Hollow Mockery

Artificial rocks part two. A new range has been added to the website: imitation rockery rocks. As the rocks are suitable for smaller rockeries and as the rocks are mock rocks, and as they are hollow, can a garden feature using these products be called a hollow mockery?

Lightweight artificial water-worn limestone rocks.

Fake limestone pavement.

Artificial limestone pavements.

Discussing the new rocks, my father reminded me that I had started making moulded garden products when I was twelve. In the cornucopia of tools and equipment that was my father’s garage, there was a box full of rubber and silicone moulds. Some of them were for garden gnomes and I set about making a few of them for him to sell to garden centres. I didn’t make many sets before some other project caught my attention and the moulds were literally shelved.

My father also reminded me that he too had made casts using moulds when he was a teenager. He made plaster of Paris windmills, ducks and rabbits for prizes at fairs. There must have been a few left over casts in the box of moulds as I can still see one of the windmills in my mind’s eye with it’s blush of red and green paint. He is sure he still has a small mould somewhere: a rabbit that was for using up the last bit of the plaster of Paris batch. When he finds that mould, we’ll make a rabbit not seen for some sixty-odd years.

Some time ago a customer asked me for a specific type or rockery rock: Westmorland. This is a water worn limestone and is found in limestone pavements, a natural rock feature that resembles a man made paved area. The pavements were created when glaciers exposed horizontally bedded limestone and acid rain eroded the fissures in the slightly water soluble rock. This very attractively shaped rock was extensively used in rockeries and the rare plants that exist in this environment have been threatened by excessive extraction. See more on limestone pavements here:

Limestone pavement is now protected by law in the UK and it is an offence to damage or remove it from areas covered by Limestone Pavement Orders. This is where I come in. In the next few months I will be recreating Westmorland style rocks in various sizes. There are already some on the website. Here is one of my early attempts:

The manufacture of fake water-worn limestone will not only protect the limestone pavement environment but also protects the gardener from hernias as he or she tries to manoeuvre the rock in to place.