Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Another Post (Box)

This is a pretty familiar style of pillar box. Like a lot of others it is difficult to date. I am sure it is either George V, Edward VIII (unlikely) or George VI. The GPO of the time were a bit remiss at dating their boxes. I still have at least one Victorian one to share with you. There are some more modern ones I want to show but that can wait until a later date. I believe Hester is responsible for this image but I am going to take more of my own now that I have a camera. I am sure Martyne will also be taking more of her own stuff now that she has one as well. I hope I will get more informed comment and less girly talk than I did on my last post.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Boxing Clever

I have been out and about with my new camera. I am happy to say I now have more pictures for my "Pillar Boxes I Have Known" feature.

This one is technically not a pillar box (PB) but a wall box (WB). Hester, however, took this one when she and Martyne were visiting "The Steading" public house for lunch this afternoon. I trust they drank sensibly. Martyne is a bit too fond of her sherry for her own good so I am sure the driving would be done by Hester.

The first box I posted was Victorian and I have been looking around for an Edwardian one. I thought It would be nice to do them in chronological order. But I have yet to find one despite the fact he (Edward VII) was on the throne for nine years between 1901 and 1910.

You can see the featured box says "GR". I am sure this refers to George V who ruled from 1910 to 1936. Then there was Edward VIII for a short time, and all the scandal that went with it. I doubt the "GPO" as I am sure it was called then, had time to erect boxes.

Of course there is still George VI and our own dear queen to go but Royal Mail and their predecessors are a bit remiss at times when it comes to putting monarchs initials on their boxes.

Sorry about the changes in typeface, or fonts as I am told they are called these days. The computer seems to have a mind of it's own today.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Train of Thought

Hester has come up trumps again. What a scalp she has got this time. An Italian who sailed for Spain. He was looking for a route to Asia and stumbled across the Americas. And the rest is history, as they say. It is a subject of conjecture who got there first but he generally gets the press. Dead Mariners is definitely a series. I still can't see where "Penny the Pendolino" fits in though.

Martyne is talking about getting a digital camera as well. If she is going to spend a couple of hours at Wolverhampton station on Monday mornings I am sure she can photo a few trains for me.

I am still working on my "Pillar Boxes I Have Known" feature but trains seem to have been at the forefront recently.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Thought Train

Good old (I hope she doesn't think I am refering to her age) Hester has come up with the goods again. On her visit to my sister at the weekend she took this picture.

Yet another deceased mariner. It has to be part of a series. Like William Baffin, a part of the world is named after him. I am sure this is a part of the theme of names.

Hester teased me by text on her way home yesterday about the name of the train she was on. I have to say I got her clues very quickly and named the person involved. When she sends me the picture I will share it with you.

I am glad Martyne has found Hester, and I am very happy for them. Sometimes, I just wish I could find such a spiffing woman as Hester for myself.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Even More Trains

The more alert amongst you will have noticed that I made a spelling mistake in my last post. Most embarrassing. The forename of the Swiss scientist should have read Auguste and not "August " as I said. I apologise. I am a stickler for accuracy and I have let myself down.

On the plus side I got the photo on the right from Hester earlier today. It is the name of the train she boarded yesterday to return home from her visit to Martyne. I was a bit miffed with the girls for winding me up last week but they are both really good eggs, if truth be told.

Sir Martin Frobisher was a 16th century sailor who visited Canada three times. There seems to be an explorer and Canada theme going on with these names, but it is a bit tenuous. Thanks Hester, I always love to hear from you, especially if you are sending me exciting photos.

The other train name I have got from the pair of them is "Penny the Pendolino". This doesn't fit any pattern I have noticed. Pendolino comes from the Italian for pendulum. It refers to the fact that these trains tilt when they go round high speed corners. Much in the same way that motorcyclists do. The history is quite interesting. Although the company that builds them is now a division of the French company Alstom, it originally belonged to Fiat. So you could say that Fiat have built "Planes, Trains and Automobiles". I love the film of the same name. The girls might question my sense of humour but I find John Candy (sadly no longer with us) and Steve Martin very funny.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Trains and More Trains

No pictures this time although I hope to add one in a later post. Because little sister and her "friend" Hester have been doing a lot of train travel recently I have asked them to note their names, the trains that is. As far as I know all Virgin trains are named in the same way that locomotives were in the old days.

Normally these names follow a theme but I can't see much of a trend in the ones I have got so far.

The first was Yuri Gagarin. He was the first astronaut/cosmonaut to encircle the earth.

The next is William Baffin. He gave his name to Baffin Island in Canada.

The next one I was told was August Babbin. I spent half an hour checking out Wikipedia before I was told that I had been given a made up surname.

I am sure the girls found it funny but I was a bit upset.

It was actually August Piccard, a Swiss man of science.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Bridge Too Far II

There are not many people in the world who will not recognise this bridge. It is so iconic. Sadly she is not looking her best. The centre section is undergoing maintenance, hence the white cladding which you can just about make out.

If you want to know the whole history you can visit Wikipedia. I just about live there. I suppose that is why Marteen calls me a "nerdy git" at times.

In brief, the original bridge was designed by Thomas Bouch, but only got to the foundation stage. After the collapse of the Tay Rail Bridge (also designed by him) in 1879 the design of this bridge was handed to Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker. They played it safe and the structure is reputedly twice as strong as it needs to be. It has stood the test of time. It has lasted for nearly 120 years and is reputedly good for another 100.

The nearby road bridge (featured in my last post) has only been around for slightly over 40 years and is nearing the end of it's useful life. A replacement has been recently commissioned.

I have been intrigued by the names of the Virgin trains Marteen has been travelling on recently. I might comment on them next.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

A Bridge Too Far

Have decided to do beauty before age in terms of the two bridges in the pillar box picture. I have always loved suspension bridges for their elegance. They have been superceded by the even more graceful cable-stayed ones that are popular nowadays. Every time I see pictures of the Millau Viaduct in Southern France I shed a tear.

Usually it is Martyne who does the waterworks in our family. She has to buy Kleenex in industrial sized packs to keep the cost down.

The Forth Road Bridge was opened by our dear queen and her husband on the 4th of September 1964. Mother, father, Martyne and I crossed it on the first weekend it opened. Dad had a Hillman Minx, which was a relatively new car in those days. There were countless thousands of others doing the same thing and we spent hours in traffic jams, but it was worth it. I still have some 8mm footage of it, and I mean Standard 8, not the fangled new Super 8.

I bought myself a digital camera a couple of days ago so I will be able to provide my own pictures without having to trouble Martyne in future. It is quite complicated but a "nerdy git" (Martyne's words) like me should be able to figure it out.

As far as I know Martyne's "friend" Hester took this picture, so I am more than happy to give her the credit. I think she is good for my sister and seems to have a moderating influence on her. Lord knows she needs it.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Gone and Done It

Hi, and welcome to my new blog. After months of pestering by Martyne (not sure why she feels the need to spell it Marteen these days. Mater and Pater are not best pleased) I have set this thing up.

I have been trying to reintroduce my sister to the concept of paragraphs, but it is an uphill struggle. She just seems to ramble on with no obvious structure to her writing.

My first regular feature is "Pillar Boxes I have Known". I am hoping Martyne will take lots of pictures for me at her work, and I say thank you to her for the one featured here.

This a fine example of a Victorian box so it must date between 1837 and 1901. Sorry I can't be more precise. It is located in South Queensferry, near Edinburgh. You may recognise the two bridges in the background. Unfortunately I have to go out soon so they will have to wait for another time. Also, more pillar boxes in the near future. It's so exciting, isn't it.