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Thursday, 11 June 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping (40 years in retailing), the golden age of Hollywood (including westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #55– 11 June 1959

On 11 June, 1959, a revolutionary new form of transport which could operate on sea and land was officially launched in the Solent, off England's south coast.

The Hovercraft, which was described as a cross between an aircraft, a boat and a land vehicle, was invented by boat-builder Christopher Cockerell.

Dubbed a ‘man-made flying saucer’, the hovercraft was propelled on a cushion of air created by its own fan power. 

It therefore hovered just above the waves at sea and avoided any irregular surfaces on land.
Christopher Cockerell, from Lowestoft, began working on a hovercraft model in the mid-1950s. He said he first came up with the idea when he was thinking how to make a boat go faster by reducing the amount of friction caused when it travels through the water.

He first tested the 'hover' theory using a cat food tin inside a coffee tin, with an industrial air blower and a pair of kitchen scales.

Sir Christopher Cockerell
1910 - 1999 

Source: BBC

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