WEEK 1

DAY 1 Monday August 4th

“a suitable extent of conductor in the form of one or more lengths”

Having packed up our kit we are heading into the field. The van was so full we had to leave some stuff behind including me. I pulled the short straw and cycled to the new lab from Southampton.

I passed New Milton – I’d been reading the map the wrong way round and got severely lost but with a good end result – stopped off at some nurseries and did some enquiries about temperature regulation (important) and humidity (critical) for the static force field experiments. They looked perplexed as I tried to explain to a limited degree what we were trying to do and they’ve agreed to give us some humidifying equipment, including tubing, water heater, pump and motors as well as a dew point analyzer that they’ve had kicking around.

I arrived exhausted to find my fellow traveller cooling off in the village pub. Simon had thankfully remembered to recharge the refrigeration unit which is always temperamental on its failsafe battery supply. No disastrous chemical leakages so far. Start moving the kit into the studio/lab tomorrow.

DAY 2 Tueday August 5th

Woke up very early. Is this what tie people get up in the countryside? I thought it might be something to do with the journey ahead in terms of the mad idea coming good, but realised that the house we’re staying in is constructed like a greenhouse with windows in the most inconceivable of places. Gave up the ghost by 6 am and watched the remainder of the dew burning off the fields from the garden. The raw honesty of the countryside. Full of bloody crows.

Cycled to the studio leaving Simon to chase up equipment orders. Unpacked a lot of the kit and secured the building. The studio isn’t that big and we need some space so that there’s no electrical inteference for our experiments so that our detractors can’t accuse us of false readings. The backup generator takes up all of shed 5. The high voltage supplies (which Simon mistakenly keeps referring to as the ‘magnatron’ because of the time they were all on full tilt and acted like a huge electromagnet pulling his watch – with his hand still in it – onto the caging) are in shed 4 with a rudimentary bit of shielding so that the sensors in shed 1 don’t always show 10 on the scale. As Simon pointed out, we really need a generator with 11 on the dial. Refrigeration unit holding up even in this extreme heat, but at least the heat means we can get on with some of the naturally occurring static charge experiments quicker than we’d anticipated.

Notified electricity board in case they wonder what’s going on. They asked me if I was the bill payer. Think I coughed loudly at that point. Must remember not to mention it to the gallery. Have to shut down by 7:00pm because of the soap opera tea-break draw on the grid. One of the power units seems to be acting weird so have ordered some parts. It’ll slow us down a bit on some of the ion charge experiments but we’re still knee-deep in boxes and wiring. Needless to say I forgot some of the how-to diagrams so will be severely scratching my head as I figure out how to try and put things together.

DAY 3 Wednesday August 6th

postman didn’t have any special delivery for us. worrying. our cambridge supplier seems to have gone into hiding. went cycling to lymington and brockenhurst. kept seeing a tower above the treetops. thought it was a beached light house at first as i kept seeing a light beacon coming out from what looked like a porthole. asked the staff here about it. someone said it was disused, someone else said it had been turned into someone’s house. A third person said that someone was buried underneath it. Good structure for doing some tests. Will have to investigate.

Got out the dew point analyzer and worked out how to use it. Good day to do it – hottest day ever recorded again. With what we’re doing it seems a bit like ‘The Day the Earth Caught Fire’.
In the afternoon Simon demanded we run some safety checks due to the extreme heat
Fair enough, I thought and so we split up and did a sweep of the sheds.
Two hours later, Simon returned with three pages of readings, and I returned with all the stickers I had just removed from the kit I bought off a guy in Brick Lane. The stickers said things like ‘condemned: severe earth leakage’ and ‘Safety check failed’ and ‘ For spare parts only: Do Not Connect’..
I used half a bottle of turps and three stanley blades to remove them all, and I feel safer already.

DAY 4 Thursday August 7th

still nothing in the post. Have been calibrating a few optics and started looking at maps of the area for possible help or hindrance from the local geography. Really ought to work out where true North is too. Sway itself, on the surface, doesn’t seem that unfamiliar for this neck of the woods. The local shop’s cat was parading around outside with a mouse this morning. not quite dead either. just twitching. Pet lovers eh.

Been watching motorists trying to drive round horses on the road. Very good. In London, they should get rid of speed bumps and just have horses staring meaningfully at cars from the middle of the road.

DAY 5 Friday August 8th

well, good contact with a couple of scientists in the States but bad news on the engineer front. we’re trying to persuade a reluctant engineer on the precautions we’re taking with the force-field experiments but he keeps on muttering about lethal voltages etc. he’ll eventually come round. I’ve posted him some information on how to stop static build up, so hopefully he’ll be able to help us in stopping it just enough to not be lethal. Haven’t told Simon yet. Need to know basis. He’s off to London tomorrow ,whilst I’m going to explore and have a bit of a holiday.

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