Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Winter arrives

This was last Monday. The first snow of the winter.

The standing stone has an umbrella of a large beech tree.

The overwintering sheep may well have been puzzled by it all!

Three days later, and it's all change again. Rain, high winds. The foreground is the garden. In the background is the River Annan.

The 'flood plain' is now a real lake. Indeed, when I came in this afternooon water was beginning to cover the approaches to the Jocksthorn Bridge.

Here's an unusual view of Skip. The white blob in the background is the cottage, and in front of that is the north facing slope of the garden. In the foreground is a flooded field, complete with waves! Now if the cold weather was to return I would have my own local curling venue. Grand Match anyone?

Photos © Skip Cottage

Monday, December 05, 2011

Rallying Past Skip Cottage

Not a lot happens, usually, on a Sunday morning at Skip. Yesterday morning was a bit different. The little back road that passes the cottage echoed to the sound of historic rally cars as the Roger Albert Clark Rally visited Wamphray on the way between the special forest stages.

I have to say that I watched most of the cars passing from the kitchen window, but I did venture outside to capture the occasion.

It got a bit dark as a shower moved in. Perhaps I can say that the visitors were not seeing the Parish at its best. Great to see classics out in rally mode! The list of entries is here.

This is Peter Smith of Driffield in his Escort Mark 1 coming up through the beech trees from Newton Wamphray village.

Actually, this road is the line of a Roman Road which came north from Carlisle. I wonder what the legionnaires might make of all this. They say that, on a cold dark night, you can hear the tramp of their feet. Presumably these ghostly sounds will have been swept away now by yesterday morning's activities!

Tim Pearcey of Harrogate with his RS 1800 passing the standing stone at Skip.

It was quickly back inside to a warm fire when it started sleeting! Great fun though. This was the last day of the rally. You can read all the reports here.

Photos © Skip Cottage

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Island in the stream

November 29, 2011, was wet! This is the Jocksthorn Bridge which spans the River Annan and allows access to the Parish of Wamphray, and Newton Wamphray village. It was built by Dalziel Bridge Co Ltd, Motherwell, in 1908.

Looking downstream from the bridge today. Skip sits on a little knoll in the trees to the right of the village hall which can just be seen in the middle of the photo.

Looking upstream from the bridge, the river is already over its banks.

This was the view from the edge of my garden. The river is on the far side of the trees!

Looking north from the garden, showing clearly the role of the lower field as 'flood plain'. The story is that the river used to run around the bottom of the garden. Indeed, that would explain all the sand I find there. But when the nearby railway was built in the mid-nineteenth century, the river was straightened and diverted to its present course.

Photos © Skip Cottage

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Autumn Sunset

I just had to grab the camera when I saw this sunset at Skip yesterday!

Pic © Skip Cottage

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Autumn at Skip

Autumn is here. Skip has seen its first frost, and the summer containers are a sorry state. The leaves are fast accumulating.

The garden has been largely ignored for the past couple of months. One word describes how its been - wet! The countryside around about is sodden.

Has the year outside been a success? I think so. My attempt to grow some veg was somewhat more successful than last year. It was a good year for potatoes certainly. I even enjoyed the taste of home grown carrots just last night.

The colourful Acer is a star in the garden at this time of year! I've not been too fit this past couple of months, but hope to be back to 100% by the time spring beckons and the new season work has to begin. I can't say I'm looking forward to the winter months, but the time spent earlier in the year making sure the woodshed is well stocked has ensured, I hope, that things will be snug and warm inside! No gallivanting off to foreign climes this winter, that's for sure. And hopefully all the pipes will stay intact this time. I wonder if we will get another severe spell, and whether we will be curling outside again?

Pics © Skip Cottage

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

At the Riverside Museum

I've been looking forward to my first visit to Glasgow's new transport museum. I remember visiting the first one in the old tram depot in Albert Drive in 1964. Then, after the 1985 Air Canada Silver Broom World Curling Championship in the Kelvin Hall, the museum moved into that space in 1987. I was a regular visitor.

There has been lots of publicity about the new Riverside Museum since it opened this summer. I'd certainly heard some negative comments, but I tried to have an open mind as I drove up to Glasgow today. Would I be disappointed?

In fact, I think it is absolutely first class! I love the design of the building, and there's just so much to see inside. The place is stuffed with exhibits. Yes, it's very different from what went before, everything seems jumbled up, but once I got my head around that, I just loved the place.

Here are just a few of my personal highlights from today.

You will not be surprised that this Class 15F South African locomotive, built by the North British Locomotive Works in Polmadie in 1945, tops my list!

Old friends. I liked how I could sit in the bottom deck of the tram and listen to an AV presentation on how women conductors were recruited during the first World War, and soon thereafter, women became drivers too.

More old friends...

... with better access than before. This is the cab of Glen Douglas, HR 103, built in 1913.

I was pleased to see that this Triumph Mayflower was on display, even if it was on a shelf halfway up a wall. First car I ever owned, and I was so proud of it back in 1965!

I found this exhibit fascinating, showing as it does an early dirt track bike with the story of George Pinkerton, 'From rhubarb farmer to spitfire pilot'!

Happy memories of visiting the White City in the sixties as a speedway fan!

More steam power!

I can hardly believe this steam powered car!

They've done the old street very well...

... with memories of 'The Subway' and this early cable railway carriage, and exhibit on how it operated, before the whole system was converted to electricity.

This was my number one 'find'. The subway carriage has become a cinema where you can watch a back projected 28-minute period wartime drama, with 17 actors and 36 extras boarding and alighting at the various underground stations. Absolutely first class, very well done indeed. Read more about this here.

Top marks to 55degrees, the multimedia production company which put this together, although I see that the company now appears to be in liquidation (here).

I am already looking forward to my next visit, to explore other aspects of 'transport' at the museum, and to see if I can figure out why a stuffed zebra is on show next to the upstairs cafe.

Pix © Skip Cottage

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tour of Britain in Wamphray

Yesterday, September 11, 2011, the Tour of Britain cycle race came through Wamphray Parish in Dumfries and Galloway!

The cyclists and their entourage would come right down Newton's main street. The most exciting thing to happen in Wamphray since the great flood of 2005? Certainly. I wanted to be there to record the occasion.

This was the presence on 'our corner' as we waited for the cyclists to arrive on their way to Dumfries from their start in Peebles. The weather was not pleasant. Indeed, conditions for the riders were described as 'brutal' by the commentary team on the ITV 4 highlights programme in the evening.

Never mind the cyclists, the Tour is a delight for motorbike fans. It was very impressive to see the organisation that goes on ahead of the race as police and marshalls ensure that the route is made safe. And the banter with the police who stopped at 'our corner' was great fun.

Two cyclists had been in a breakaway almost since the start at Peebles.

That's Russell Hampton of Sigma Sport in front with Pieter Ghyllebert of the An Post Sean Kelly team.

Here comes the peleton.

HTC High Road. Would I be able to pick out Mark Cavendish as the 90 some riders hurtled past?

Several of the Sky team together.

That's Cav, second from the right, I'm pretty sure. I would have loved to have been in Dumfries later to see him being led out for the win by his teammate Mark Renshaw.

A bike change for one rider in the distance, as the HTC Highroad support car comes past. These photos don't really show the speed that the cyclists and cars were going by.

Working hard to catch up on the peleton.

Sky support. Well turned out, even to the number plate!

Bringing up the rear. I note there was a crash at St Ann's bridge. That put Jens Voight in hospital and out of the race, see here. Driving my car in the conditions, and seeing the race highlights later, I have never doubted that professional cyclists are tough customers. They are.

It was over all too quickly, but it was well worth being one of many who watched the race pass by. It was interesting too to see the highlights programme, following roads that I know well. Unsurprisingly, there was no coverage at all going through Wamphray. You saw the riders leaving Moffat, then they were at St Ann's, then in Dumfries. But they WERE here. Wamphray was indeed on the map yesterday!

(As I write this on Monday morning, looking out on the foulest of days, I hear that today's stage from Kendal to Blackpool has been cancelled. I'm not surprised.)

Photos © Skip Cottage

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Excitement in Wamphray

It has to be the most exciting thing to happen in Wamphray Parish since the great flood of 2005! Stage 1 of the Tour of Britain cycle race, from Peebles to Dumfries, will take the old Carlisle road out of Moffat and come down the main street of Newton Wamphray village. Not quite past my front door, but close enough. The advance warning signs have been up for some weeks.

The sixteen teams of cyclists will cross the Annan at the Jocksthorn Bridge and come up this little hill past the Manse Hotel and the Red House B&B, to take the back road over to St Ann's Bridge on the road to Dumfries. On Sunday, I don't expect the hill to be lined with huge numbers of drunken cycling 'fans' in fancy dress, doing their best to get themselves on camera and getting in the way of the riders, as we see so often in coverage of the Tour de France on the big climbs. Muppets.

Now, where is my Elvis outfit?!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Big Trucks

Study the photo above, and work out where I am! I suspect you are really something of a petrol head if you know the answer!

I'm in Leyland, Lancashire, as you will know if you recognised the photos as the covers of the old Leyland calendars. Incidentally, very little is known about the artist who painted these, William Lambert, or even who all the Leyland Lady models were. It is said that the models were all local lasses. The staff at the British Commercial Vehicle Museum would like your help if you know anything.

My father did an apprenticeship at Albion Motors of Scotstoun in the 1920s. That's maybe why I have an affinity for trucks, the bigger the better. (It also gives me an excuse again to share this Kendel Carson link, here, or indeed a live performance here.)

The BCVM is well worth a visit...

.... with lots to see, and a very friendly welcome.

I certainly did not expect to find an Edinburgh horse-drawn tram!

I was rather taken with the examples of steam-driven trucks, as above...

... and here. Steam, yes!

Better than any advertising hoarding, this Bedford Green Goddess was on show at the entrance to the museum.

Pics © Skip Cottage