Saturday, 31 July 2010

Hurt cyclist rescued by Avon Valley Railway steam train

Hurt cyclist rescued by Avon Valley Railway steam train

Here's a story with a happy ending and a novel but effective way of getting an injured party to the hospital. Once again it is steam power to the rescue!

In all seriousness it was a unique set of circumstances, to have a cycle path right next to a heritage railway line but too far away from either a road or field for the emergency services to access, and with a steam engine just handy. Hats off to both the paramedics for their quick thinking in coming up with such an original solution to a difficult problem and also to the train operators for getting a train to the cyclist and conveying him to a place where he could be easily transferred to hospital with all possible speed.

All's well that ends well and it sounds as though the fellow is well on the way to recovery. An "interesting experience" for everyone involved and not just the paramedics I'll warrant, plus an extra bit of glory for an old and worthy locomotive!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Why Sherlock is still sleuthing

Why Sherlock is still sleuthing

Obviously written to coincide with the new B.B.C. three-part series Sherlock, which debuted here in Britain on Sunday night, this little study of Sherlock Holmes' enduring popularity is quite interesting. The Holmes stories have captured the public imagination for well over a century and this new series, set in modern-day London, is just one of several recent adaptations which show that there is plenty of life left in the character yet. So many people have attempted to identify just what it is about Sherlock Holmes that has kept him at the forefront of the public consciousness for more than 100 years that I will not even attempt to add my own theories, which pretty much tally with those already expressed anyway.

Suffice to say that with this new series (which I personally found quite enjoyable and thought worked surprisingly well, despite a few irksome aspects - although if I want canonical accuracy and period settings I'll watch the Jeremy Brett series), the recent Downey Jr. film and the various other portrayals that are currently around the future of arguably the world's most famous fictional detective seems assured.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Loco is restored for the Olympics

Loco is restored for the Olympics

A charming little [local] story here that could easily have been overlooked amongst all the myriad big articles and discussions that surround the London 2012 Olympic Games.

It's splendid to see that this little steam engine is to be given a new lease of life and will retain its place outside Stratford railway station as a welcome attraction for the millions who will be flocking to the area in 2 years time to see the Games. It could have been all too easy, as is mentioned in the video, for 'Robert' to have been put into storage (or even worse, scrapped altogether) but I am delighted to see the Olympic organisers appreciate such a wonderful machine to such an extent that they will have it restored and kept a part of the station and the great event that will be the 2012 Olympics.

Tour of full-sized Bloodhound SuperSonic car model


The British attempt on the world land speed record and the magic 1,000mph barrier gathers pace with the unveiling of this full-size scale model of the Bloodhound SSC. Wing Commander Andy Green, the current record holder who drove Thrust SSC to over 700mph back in 1997, guides us round this representation of the new car. There's really not much more for me to add except of course to wish the team the very best of luck and to once again express my pride and delight that a British concern should be at the forefront of technological and engineering advancement and possessed of that great human characteristic that is the will to push the boundaries of what is known.

The world's most beautiful coins

The world's most beautiful coins

A pleasing little montage from the Daily Telegraph of various coinage from around the world. Once again we find that beauty is subjective; personally I only find a few of those selected to be beautiful (for the record they are images 9 [Czech 50k], 11 [Mexican 100 peso], 13 [NZ$1], 15 [CH 2F], 16 [¥500] and 17 [Polish 5zl]. Doubtless you will also have your favourites, either from amongst those featured, your own collection if you are a numismatist like myself, or maybe just from the odd bit of currency brought back from a foreign holiday. I'd be interested to hear your suggestions. Having looked through my own collection I was saddened to note the lack of beautiful designs in current overseas coinage. In particular I was disheartened to see so many pretty European designs from several years ago - the Spanish peseta, the Maltese lira and the Finnish markka amongst others - which have since been lost when the Euro was introduced. Some of my current favourites from the rest of the world include:










The Canadian 10¢ (or dime), featuring the schooner Bluenose;













The Argentine peso;




The Colombian 500 pesos.

Record-breaking steam locomotive visits County Durham



Record-breaking steam locomotive visits County Durham

Well I've been away for a little longer than I planned, but I have now returned as promised! Without further ado I shall get up some steam (!) with the first of a few interesting articles to have cropped up in my enforced absence.





It is rather fitting, I think, that the first new steam engine to be built in Britain for 50 years has helped to bring the record-breaking Mallard to a national museum where it will be cleaned and looked after for the enjoyment and education of the public. That there is still such an interest in steam locomotives is heartening and the Mallard is quite rightly the most famous (not to mention fastest) of its kind. With Tornado essentially being a "new build" and museums such as the National Railway Museum, not to mention the many heritage railways up and down the country, the preservation and continuation of steam trains for future generations looks assured.

Legendary 1930s Alvis heads back into 'production'




This is a simply glorious story; the marrying of vintage style with current technology and a new lease of life for a classic design. This is not just any old replica - a fabricated shell clothing the modern mechanicals of a newer car - this is an altogether different proposition and one that I hope we will see more of. I can't imagine what it will be like to drive a car such as this - first designed over 70 years ago but now re-imagined using CAD and the latest engineering advancements - surely the ultimate combination of old and new complete with the advantages of both and the drawbacks of neither.

I congratulate the new owners of Alvis for undertaking this endeavour and wish their "new" car every success. Here's to more of the same sort of thing.

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