Thursday, July 21, 2011

Steam Addiction

On Tuesday night I caught the Monster Moves programme on Channel 5, which told the story of the move of two British-built Stanier 8F class 2-8-0 locomotives across Turkey from Sivas to Izmir, ready for shipping back to the UK. Great programme, and great story! Read about it here.

Watching the TV programme made me realise that I hadn't had my steam fix this month, so yesterday I hopped on to the train from Lockerbie into Carlisle to await the arrival of the Fellsman, Statesman Rail's regular Wednesday excursion from Lancaster to Carlisle over the Settle line, see here.

The steam charter was pulled by a favourite - LMS Royal Scot Class 6115 Scots Guardsman (see here).

Quite magnificent!

The old and new side by side at Carlisle's Citadel Station.

There were not too many people at Carlisle yesterday to see steam in action on the main line. There was however a class of primary school children, from the local Brook Street School. Two things. I thought it was great that their teachers had brought them along to see the train, and I was very impressed at how well they were organised and looked after. I was also very impressed with the attitude of the train staff, who answered lots of questions with patience and enthusiasm!

Everyone of the kids (all 25 or so) got the opportunity to see in the cab - I was most jealous, but then remembered how I used to stand on the platform at the St Enoch station in Glasgow, circa 1959, looking pleadingly at the drivers in the hope of getting a brief visit into the cab!

On the right is Mr Welsh, teacher in charge of the group. Well done to him!

I hope all the children enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of the locomotive pulling away. I know I did!

Photos © Skip Cottage.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Unexpected visitors

I left the front door open the other day and was surprised to find these two swallows paying a visit. I have certainly noticed plenty of swallows around recently. I suspect they are nesting close by but I haven't figured out where they call home.

These two seemed in no hurry to leave - perhaps because the porch is home to lots of insects!

It was a case of grabbing the camera and seeing if I could capture a memento of their visit! Looking at the tail streamers (on other pics) I surmise that one was an adult, with long streamers, the other a juvenile, or possibly the female, with much shorter ones.

The two of them perched one last time on top of the open door, and then they were off!

Swallows apart, the star of the garden at the moment is this Rogersia, in full bloom.

This old peony is a star too. It is one of the few things in the garden that I've not planted, being a left over from previous occupants of Skip. Despite its beauty it seems to be as tough as old boots! And it has a spectacular perfume.

Hardy Geraniums grow well at Skip. This certainly is one of the showiest.

My efforts with vegetables in containers have been successful, at least these International Kidney potatoes have done OK.

Photos © Skip Cottage