Wednesday 30 December 2009

Clear Those Winter Miseries With a Little Steam

Some of you may remember me posting pictures of the National Railway Museum, in York, not far from my home.On that page there's a video of the first scheduled outing of a shiny new steam locomotive, built to the highest standards of 1940's steam technology, and coming into commission in 2009.
It was, of course, a crazy concept. A lot of steam enthusiasts raising money to build a giant toy.

The railway modeller's dream. A full sized locomotive. But still, the modern railway industry would say, a toy, not practical.... All this year, 6163 Tornado has been hauling steam excursion trains, in all the regions of britain, and countrywide. -Distances like the London to Edinburgh mainline run, faultlessly.
Then comes winter. The much vaunted super high-tech London to Paris expresses curl up and shiver, the Channel Tunnel is put out of action.
Across southern England, commuter trains fail, leaving many commuters stranded on snowbound stations, far from home.
But the Tornado is hauling the Cathedrals Express in the region, so they shovel a bit more coal on, and announce that they will call at the stations and take the commuters home. How's that for steampunk technology in the modern age? And they do, flawlessly, whilst the southern region's 21 st century trains shiver, whimper, and sneeze, impotent in a light snowfall.


BBC News "Passengers were rescued by a steam locomotive after modern rail services were brought to a halt by the snowy conditions in south-east England.
Trains between Ashford and Dover were suspended on Monday when cold weather disabled the electric rail.
Some commuters at London Victoria faced lengthy delays until Tornado - Britain's first mainline steam engine in 50 years - offered them a lift.
They were taken home "in style", said the Darlington-built engine's owners."

Photography for Potters (well, for rich potters)

I see lots of potters with photography angst, worrying about presentation of their works on the web. Here's the answer.

Okay... There's no price.
The cheapy, entry-level light box thingy, the photosimile 100 is a couple of thousand dollars.
This? Maybe the price of a car, who knows, they're a bit coy about pricing on their website.
Ortery site says, “We do not list pricing on this website due to international pricing concerns.”

My photos will continue to be taken with my camera phone.

Marjorie Wondered..

If she might just have had one too many rum-truffles.

Or had that last cup of tea at the Richardson's tasted a little strange?
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The Sisterhood of the Pointy Heels' Tank Division

Has been on winter manoeuvres. Note the festive camouflage. These girls can hide a main battle tank in a crowded mall, or suburban residential street.

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Whatever Were They Thinking?

This picture, and other similar ones crop up every now and then on the net. Look closely. Look at the serious faces, the driver, we've seen his type a thousand times, he's a generic hero, we know, earlier that morning, the girls in the office at the top-secret works watched as he shook the hand of the chief engineer, and stepped out to the waiting car that would take him to the test-track, we know those girls dabbed tears from the corners of their eyes, with their lace embroidered handkerchiefs. We know, if he survives this, in a few years time, he'll be going ashore as a commando to destroy a nazi u-boat nest, or he'll be wrestling the controls of a shot-up fighter plane, he MUST reach allied territory to tell of the secret rocket-site hidden in the cliff, above the dam.... they have to know, and somebody must take it out before the bombing raid at the next full moon, or they'll be flying into a trap!

So. Here he is. The all-purpose 1930s hero, about to take a test drive in the X-23...
Beside him is Georgie, the all-purpose upper-class chap, always good for a laugh, courts danger with a whisky flask in one hand. Good old Georgie. He'll die, very bravely, just before the movie ends, and we'll realise, Georgie's not the dilettante playboy we thought him, all this time.

So here they are. At the closed down racetrack, about to take X-23 for a spin. Try not to think about Carruthers, and X-22. Took them four days to collect all the bits of Carruthers and Professor Peat. And at the end, they had one kidney too many in the bucket. That may never be explained.
This contrivance is the future of humanity, it will.......
Oh Bollocks! Any fool can see this thing's the stupidest idea ever. It doesn't take any sort of genius to figure out that it will not handle at all well even on the flat, that any bump will launch it into crazy wobbling disaster, that braking... oh no. let's not even ask about braking. Or downhill.
Or carrying loads. Or .....
Or indeed any way at all in which it would outperform a car or a motor-cycle. That thing obviously cost a load of money to build. How did its advocates pitch it to the money-men? Just how, how did they imagine, in their crazy opium dreams, this thing was going to improve humanity's lot?

I just found a whole heap more on monowheels at Dark Roasted Blend, a blog of the bizarre that never fails to amuse.

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