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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:56 am

I used to be a keen train spotter in my youth so I couldn't resist looking up details of 45690 on Wikipedia as I recognised the number belonging to the old LMS region of British Railways.

I see that from 1947 the engine was based at the former LMS engine sheds at Bristol (Barrow Road) which just happened to be at the bottom of my grandparents garden in Bristol. It's therefore quite possible that I saw this locomotive in it's proper working days. Unfortunately I no longer have my old transporting books so I don't know for certain that this engine number was crossed off. Once the steam trains went out of service I rather lost interest in train spotting.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:04 pm

LMS 'Jubilee Class' 4-6-0 Number 5690 Locomotive Leander was built in 1936 at Crewe, makers Number 288, designed by William Stanier as a development of Henry Fowlers preceding Patriot Class.
Original LMS number 5690, renumbered 45690 in 1948 while based at Barrow Rd Bristol.
March 1964 she was withdrawn from service at Bristol (Barrow Rd) due to the Dr Beeching cuts and his re-vamp of the railways. Leander was laid up there until sold to Woodham Brothers Scrapyard Barry South Wales in July 1964. For all steam train enthusiasts, Barry scrapyard was one of the saddest sights imaginable as dozens of perfectly serviceable loco's were cut up for scrap.
Leander was stored at Barry, (along with thousands of tons of obsolescent railway rolling stock) until May 1972 when she was rescued for preservation by Brian Oliver and restored by the Leander Locomotive Society based at the Dinting Railway Centre Glossop.
After an extensive re-build she re-entered service in 2002 with the East Lanc's Railway Bury, she was also for a time run by Severn Valley Railway.
2009 Leander was Main Line certified.
2014 Overhaul was completed by West Coast Railway Company and repainted in its present black livery that you see in the photograph.
Leander is now privately owned by the Beet family and is currently based at Carnforth.
For those of you unfamiliar with Manchester, Victoria Station entrance is right next door to the Manchester Arena, scene of the bombing outrage just a few weeks ago on the 22nd May. It was a sad and sombre experience walking up Hunts Bank past the entrance to the Arena where the bomb exploded, even at 6.00am there was still a heavy police presence with 6 officers at the entrance to station and several inside.
At the far end of the station which also serves the Manchester trams, the Metro-link, there's a very large floral tribute and message boards to the victims of this horrific attack from the many good people of Manchester.
Words cannot adequately express the feelings I felt seeing so many pictures of the innocent victims and reading the many messages of support and outpourings of love and grief at this callous act of savagery. This is the more outrageous as it was aimed towards mostly young people, some just children!
Ten out of ten for those lovely kind folk of Manchester to rally round like this!

The picture below is taken in our plush first class dining carriage on the way back to Manchester with full waiter service, ah, the bygone age of steam! My sister-in law is studying the four course menu, we had roast stuffed chicken breast etc, a lovely meal, they also serve you a full English breakfast on the way out, so well fed all day.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:30 pm

It's that time of year again when the fruit is ripening faster than we can eat it so the freezer is starting to fill. Every year I freeze too much fruit so this year I will juice it or liquidize it and then freeze it, particularly apples. Every year is a different problem regarding fruit, some years it's a glut of pears like last year, some years a glut of plums and this year most of the plum trees seem set to beat all previous years yet the Apricots are very poor, the Tomcots in the greenhouse are smaller than usual and precious few of them but the apricot tree outside the Early Large has its biggest crop yet but way off from ripening, another fortnight maybe.
Never had so many figs as this year but whether they all ripen is another matter.
Tuesday fly fishing at Chirk on a roasting hot day with the usual suspects we had a superb days fishing despite the hot weather and the trout were up feeding on a massive mayfly hatch. The amount of dragonflies and damselflies hawking around the lake was just amazing. The three of us ate our lunch watching a huge metallic blue dragonfly catching midges in front of us as we sat at a table beside the lake.
There was just enough slight breeze to ruffle the water and cool things slightly but about 2.00pm it clouded over and went still and oh boy did it go hot and sticky! We called it a day after an hour of that and settled for a cold drink instead.

In the news this week I saw that two soldiers of the Tank Regiment had been killed at Castlemartin tank training ground in Pembroke in a Challenger 2 tank, that stirred my interest and invoked some memories!
I was billeted there on tank training exercises in 1961 and burnt my hand on the exhaust of a Centurion tank leaping off, or rather falling off the back of it in a Nato exercise.
This British built tank from WW2 had adapted Rolls Royce aero engines fitted that ran on petrol, they used to get so hot they glowed and I inadvertently put my hand on it as I exited tank.
I was holding an 18lb anti-tank gun, a Carl Gustav and a munitions back pack so only had one free hand. I certainly gave the Danish tank crew a good laugh as I landed on my back in the heather.
Below is photo I took of the entrance to my old Castlemartin barracks some 5 years ago when I was down there in Pembroke on holiday. Its changed quite a bit as the new gatehouse is now the white building on right, the old guard room ( former home of the unloved orphan Redcaps) is behind tanks on left hand side of entrance. Both of these tanks were placed there some time after I left, they are, foreground, a Chieftain Mk 2 and behind, a Federal German Army Leopard tank Mk 1. The German soldiers arrived at Castlemartin while I was billeted there in 1961 and to some of the older locals at Pembroke Dock they were about as welcome as a cat at Crufts"
These poor unfortunate soldiers arrived just 16 short years after the Luftwaffe stopped bombing the s**t out of them!
It got that they were banned from going into town and could only drink in designated 'safe' local pubs or the N.A.F.F.I. bar, or claim they were Swedish or Danish.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:45 pm

Just remembered, the two tanks above were named Romulus 2 and Remus 2, they replaced a WW2 Conqueror and an old Mk 1 Centurion that were on stone plinths outside entrance when I was there in 1961, they were the original Romulus and Remus as I remember.
There were various other obsolescent WW2 tanks scattered around the camp and range that we used as targets, Churchill's, Comets, Matilda's, etcetera, the Matilda tank was incredibly tough, built like the proverbial brick s**thouse, but the much lighter Cromwell and Vickers cruiser tanks flew into pieces, with a high velocity AP round.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:11 am

Thankfully it's stopped raining and the sun's shining once again after continuous rain for 3 days last week. It's played havoc with the strawberries although not so much with the raspberries. With the gooseberries and blackcurrants now ready for picking and the red currants not far behind it's going to be a busy week fruit picking for me.

Forgot to mention, congratulations to Majdi for his BKKS Show entries last weekend. His 83cm Yamabuki Ogon was best in size and class in size 7 and was also judged second best non gosanke koi in size 7. His Tancho Kohaku was third in class in size 6.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:12 pm

The best laid plans of mice and men!
Rabby Burns


I know the feeling Colin but as you say thankfully the heavy rain has ceased after three or was it four almost continuous days of rain.
Nigel and I went fishing on Thursday at a place I've not fished for about 9 years, Llyn Derwen near the Clocaenog Forest.
It is about a quarter mile hike over quite rough ground across two fields to the lake and it rained continuously the entire time we were there, not easy walking and climbing over fences in waterproof over trousers and carrying tackle.
It's also 1,200 feet above sea level so it was quite cold up there as well in the rain, worse still, I never caught ought!
I picked a load of Tayberries and gooseberries today (see loaded standard, one of three like this!) and the last of the Summer Sun cherries from the greenhouse, about a kilo, they always succeed remarkably well every year but mixed fortunes with the other cherries. One cherry tree I netted about a fortnight ago just as the blackbirds started to attack them, were well off from ripening and then a week ago I saw them again with all the hot weather nicely turning a deep red just short of ripening, then it rained; and it rained, heavy rain for days continuously, result was most of the cherries split with the excess rain! That is infuriating, after all my efforts!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:54 pm

Here below is another of my Invicta standard gooseberries loaded with berries, you can see why its about the most popular gooseberry grown commercially. I bud grafted this variety onto a Ribes Aurum standard rootstock in 2013 so its done very well for just 4 years old. I've also successfully bud grafted Jostaberry stocks with the same Invicta and a new thornless gooseberry called Captivator last year. You can see the Captivator gooseberry in background with large green berries on, they turn deep red when ripe, which is conveniently two to three weeks after my Invicta and Hinnonmaki red gooseberries ripen.
NEWS FLASH
message for King Kenny of Rhyl, please note; excellent crop of plums this year Ken!

The BKKS show was better (and less muddy) than last year and it looked to me to be a better turnout with more vats of Koi so Majdi's Koi did well in the increased competition. Congratulations Majdi well done that man.
As ever there were some stunning Koi to make you envious and try harder.
As disappointing as last year was the distinct lack of bargains in the various companies sales tents, this I'm sure is due to the intense competition from t'internet over last few years, so we had the inevitable but pleasant visit to Shirley Aquatics to round the day off.
They are moving to new premises in the Autumn so there was lots of bargains to be had, in fish and other goods.
It might be of passing interest to some folk but, you can actually buy a live rattlesnake and a heated vivarium to keep it in at Shirley Aquatics, not a sting in the tail there, it's found at the other end!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:59 pm

The lack of bargains is not limited to koi shows. A neighbour of mine collects old Morris Minors, he currently has 6 all renovated like new, and takes them along to various local shows.

He was telling me today that at a recent show he had been talking to a stall holder who sells secondhand parts. He was told that whilst the stall holder had only taken £500 pounds over a show weekend, over the same weekend his wife had sold £1500 worth of goods from home on the internet. Is it any wonder that attendances are falling at the shows.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:47 pm

I'm one of the biggest offenders there Colin, I've ordered three items this past week already from internet, the thing is the competition is so fierce prices often have to be rock bottom, but, caveat emptor here as anywhere.
Example, I wanted a spare battery a EN EL 14a for my Nikon camera, I could get other compatible makes for £5.00 or so but the genuine Nikon article varied as much as £30.00 to £55.00 for same product, you really do need to shop around and compare like for like.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:11 pm

JULY BORNE A BUTTERFLY FLUTTERED MY HEART!

After last years massive aphid attack on my plum trees and the resultant damage, this year the greenflies natural enemies seem to have bounced back at them. The ladybird population has exploded this year and they have been clearly visible since around April doing what they do best; hoovering aphids up. Not just ladybirds either, I've seen lacewings, wasps, hoverflies, that have kept up a daily sustained attack I'm pleased to see.
I have noticed some peculiarly marked ladybirds so yesterday I took some pictures, see below some of the more peculiar colours!
Ladybird 2.jpg
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