Archive for August, 2015

Olympic Park Revisited

Posted: August 31, 2015 in London, Sport, UK
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Olympic Park Stratford

Olympic Park Stratford

Over the weekend I made my first visit to the Olympic park in London since those heady days of 2012. Much has changed, but much of the original remains and the stadia are just fantastic!

View as you approach from Stratford

View as you approach from Stratford

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Aquatic Centre

Aquatic Centre

The Orbit Tower

The Orbit Tower

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium

 

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium

 

Class 27: D5401

Posted: August 30, 2015 in Trains
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D5401 parked up at North Norfolk Railway

D5401 parked up at North Norfolk Railway

D5401 was parked up in the sidings at North Norfolk railway during my recent visit. It had been loaned by the Great Central Railway, where it is based, for the NNR diesel gala and was awaiting shipment back to its home line.

D5401 parked up at North Norfolk Railway

D5401 parked up at North Norfolk Railway

D5401 was built in 1962 and was assigned to Cricklewood in London where it saw mixed usage on freight, passenger and empty coaching stock service. In 1969 it transferred to Edinburgh and was seen over the Scottish rail system. It was then assigned to the ‘push-pull’ service to Glasgow but it was soon noted that due to the speed and the high work-rate that class 27 locomotives were not really suitable and this took a heavy toll on the class until they were replaced by class 47 locomotives in 1980. D5401 was sent to Glasgow for a major overhaul before being assigned to Eastfield depot in Glasgow. On 20/11/83 it pulled the Royal Train from Glasgow to Fort William.

It was withdrawn from service in February 1987 and sent to Berry’s scrap yard. The following year it was purchased and taken to the Northamptonshire Railway where it remained until 2008 when it moved to the GCR. It has made a number of excursions around the country during its preservation history to take part in galas or as cover for services.

By William Grimes at en.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Antphilp at en.wikipedia. [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

D5401 at GCR. By William Grimes at en.wikipedia. [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Some more photos from Sensational Butterflies

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After the rain

Posted: August 28, 2015 in London, UK
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It was a pretty wet day in London yesterday but as Sue and I were coming home from the centre we were treated to the sight of this wonderful rainbow, one of the clearest I have seen for a log time.

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

photo by Sue

Some photos from a recent trip to the Sensational Butterflies exhibit at the London Natural History Museum.

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NGC6960 sometimes known as the ‘witches broomstick’. Here are a couple of not terrible successful attempts by me to photograph it. The presence of a bright object alongside it makes the duration of the open shutter problematic. I  tried doing longer shots but the nebula just gets blotted out by the bright object.

NGC 6960 (H alpha filtered)

NGC 6960 (H alpha filtered)

NGC 6960 (Omega 3 filtered)

NGC 6960 (Omega 3 filtered)

Taken using the Bradford Robotic telescope.

Here is another much more successful picture of the whole nebula, which shows how it became to be known as ‘the witches broomstick’

By Hewholooks (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Hewholooks (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

One thing I have not seen before in other forts that I have visited is the strongroom which was built  under the headquarters building to store the soldiers pay and savings.

The headquarters building showing the location of the strongroom

The headquarters building showing the location of the strongroom

At Arbeia they have located and excavated it and although we are not sure how the top was closed, it is reminiscent of later day bank vaults

The excavated strongroom at Arbeia

The excavated strongroom at Arbeia

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These statues mark the main entrances to the city of London. The dragon supports the shield bearing the city’s coat of arms. The design was chosen in 1964 and over the following 5 years 10 copies were erected at the major points of access to the ‘square mile’ of the city of London.The design is based on two large dragon sculptures, which were mounted above the entrance to the Coal Exchange on Lower Thames Street and were designed by the City Architect, J.R.Bunning in 1849.

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Two interesting tombstones have been found during the excavations at Arbeia which illustrate the flexibility of the Roman social system and the diversity of people who lived on the northern frontier of the empire.

The Victor Tombstone

Victor was a Moor from North Africa. He was only 20 when he died. Originally he was a slave to a Spanish cavalry soldier Numerianus, but at some point before he died he had been freed. It seems that he continued to travel with his old master as a servant or companion. He died at Arbeia and from the inscription we know that Numerianus’ unit was stationed at Benwell to the west of Newcastle and so it is likely they were just travelling through and staying at the fort either on their way back to Benwell or before embarking on a boat for a journey south or to the continent. Numerianus set up the magnificent tombstone in memory of his ex-slave

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The Regina Tombstone

Regina came from the Catuvellani tribe, who lived in the area which today is Hertfordshire. Originally a slave to a Syrian merchant named Baratas, he had freed her and they had married. He set up this fine memorial when she died aged 30.

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A stunning Dragonfly

Posted: August 22, 2015 in Dragonflies, Natural History
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I found this dragonfly in the garden of the house I was staying at in St Luois last week. Unfortunately I dont have a book on US dragonflies so I do not now which species it is, but it is stunning.

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