Give me a B….

Give me a B….

Bristol Art

Give me a R….

Bristol Art

Give me a I….

Bristol Art

Give me a S….

Bristol Art

Give me a T….

Bristol Art

Give me a O….

Bristol Art

Give me a L….

Bristol Art

What do we have?

Bristol

Bristol Art

I saw this art installation in Quaker’s Friar in November 2017.

What did you want to be when you grow up?

I found this BBC article interesting about a report from the OECD.

By the age of seven, children are already facing limits on their future aspirations in work, according to a report from the OECD international economics think tank.

It got me thinking about my own aspirations and career plans when I was younger.

If I remember correctly at the age of seven I think I wanted to be a postman!

Royal Mail Van

At secondary school I went through a range of ideas, including being a BBC camera operator, an architect and working in a bank. I even ran our school bank for a couple of years.

Midland Bank

Then doing work experience at my local Midland Bank certainly put me off working in a bank!

When I was in my teens I wanted to work in the city in London. As a result I did Economics at A Level. Then I watched ITV’s Capital City and decided not to!

Just doing a Google search on the series I now see it had a young Jason Isaacs in the cast.

Jason Isaacs

I thought Capital City was broadcast in the mid 1980s, but according to the Wikipedia page it was actually broadcast in 1989. Shows how time plays tricks with your memories, as I always thought Capital City was one of the reasons I studied Economics, which wasn’t true, as I chose my A Level choices in 1985, a good four years before I saw the series. Now thinking that the series probably had a negative impact on my career choices.

At University I studied Economics, however my career plans were somewhat skewed by doing charity fundraising. So was not going to attempt to work in London.

I left university without a clear career plan. What about you? What did you want to do when you were seven?

Star Trek: Picard

I quite enjoyed Star Trek: The Next Generation: so I am quite looking forward to the new Star Trek series Picard.

It is released on Amazon Prime on the 23rd January 2020.

There is a trailer out which has some old friends in and certainly looks like an exciting series

Quite impressed with the special effects, will be interesting to see how they “improve” the technology and effects from when they filmed The Next Generation

Should be fun.

The Longleat Miniature Railway

Longleat House

On a recent visit to Longleat Wildlife and Safari Park we rode on the Miniature Railway. It reminded me that we, as a family, had done this quite a few times over the years. So when we got home I looked over my photographs and it bought back lots of happy memories.

The 15 inch railway was established in 1965 and expanded in 1976. The track has changed over the years, but currently skirts the lake before heading back to the station through the trees. There is a tunnel and a halt which is used at Christmas.

My first visit to Longleat was in the early 1970s, of which I don’t remember much, and I am not even sure if we went there. What I do remember was going to sleep, having an amazing dream about going to a Safari Park and getting a safari themed Land Rover in the shop.

Corgi Longleat Safari Land RoverWhen I woke up in the morning, I was astounded to find the Land Rover in my room.

It looked a lot like this one.

Was it a dream, was it reality? No idea if I travelled on the railway, it was just a dream…

Myself and my wife visited in 2002, but I don’t think we travelled on the train, as we only did the safari park. Back then the train was an extra cost, as were most of the other non-park attractions.

As a family we took my son to Longleat in 2005 and as well as going around the Safari Park, we also travelled the railway. He was really into trains.

The Longleat Miniature Railway

We were pulled by the Ceawlin, locomotive number five.

the Ceawlin, locomotive number five

In this photograph you can see the Lenka Railcar, the only engine built at Longleat. It was sold to private owner in 2017.

Lenka Railcar

We went again in 2008, but I have no photographs of the train, but I am pretty sure we must have had a ride on the train back then.

Between 2011 and 2017 the railway was known as the Jungle Express, with the station and carriages given additional theming.

Longleat Jungle Express

We visited in 2012 and travelled on the Jungle Express.

Longleat Jungle Express

This time the train was pulled by the Flynn Locomotive.

Flynn, Longleat Jungle Express

I do remember that the station had a model railway shop, but by our visit in 2012, it had stopped selling model trains and now sold toy trains, wooden trains and stuff.

On our most recent visit the Jungle Express theming had gone, as had the shop.

The Longleat Miniature Railway

The railway has fifteen carriages, all built at Longleat between 1976 and 2013 and are now wearing mock British Railways crimson and cream livery The railway also has several permanent way wagons.

Longleat Miniature Railway

This time our train was pulled by the huge John Thynn.

John Thynn

We enjoyed our most recent visit and I expect we might go again some time in the future.

War of the Worlds on the BBC

The BBC have released a trailer for their “proper” version of The War of the Worlds.

This is the original alien invasion story. Staring Eleanor Tomlinson, Rafe Spall and Robert Caryle, this tense and thrilling drama follows a young couple’s race for survival against escalating terror of an alien enemy beyond their comprehension.

Airport photographs

I started to realise that this week that when I fly I usually post a photograph to instagram of the plane I flew on. But not any old photo, usually I have taken it from a process using the Snapseed app.

This was the photo I took this week in Edinburgh.

Looking from my archives I found these other photographs on my Instagram feed. Continue reading “Airport photographs”

Some things change, some things don’t…

I spent five days at Butlins in Minehead in 2016 I was curious then about the history of some of the rides and attractions. One of them was the electric railway in the kiddies fairground. Over the years my children had ridden on the ride, when they were younger even I was “forced” to ride it. It looked like it had been there a while and was consistently revamped as and when required. It had been a Noddy toytown train at one point and then part of Bob the Builder land. In 2016 it was just part of the fairground.

I knew that at one point there had been two full size steam engines at the resort, as Billy Butlin purchased redundant steam engines as a on static display at the camps to provide a novel and relatively cheap attraction.

Butlins in Minehead had the LMS Duchess of Hamilton arrived in 1964 and left in 1975. It is now on display at the National Railway Museum in York where the streamlining has been added back.

Duchess of Hamilton at the National Railway Museum
Duchess of Hamilton at the National Railway Museum
cooldudeandy01 [CC BY 2.0]
There was a smaller engines at the camp as well, an 1880 Brighton Terrier called Knowle 32678.

As well as the big steam engines, Butlins also had a Peter Pan Railway ride Peter Pan Railways were once a common sight at seaside resorts, travelling fairs, holiday camps and amusement parks around the UK. It was this ride that I was curious about. I was quite surprised to find that the electric train ride was over sixty years old.

Butlins Minehead - Peter Pan Railway

They first appeared in the 1950s and were built by the Warwickshire company of Supercar Company Ltd and utilised regular railway technology with 2ft gauge track, 12lb rails and normal flanged wheels. The center rail was energised at 110 volts DC. The trains had a fixed back axle (chain driven) and a short-wheelbase bogie in front and could negotiate some pretty sharp and exciting curves. In later years some of the trains were fitted with new fibreglass bodywork of various different styles.

Though using a much smaller track (and some minor cosmetic changes) they are still running at Minhead Butlins in 2016 and is still there today.

Butlins Minehead - Peter Pan Railway

It’s nice to see that though some things change, some things stay the same.

A vision of the future

I really like this video clip from the BBC Archive on a 1963 view of what 1988 would look like.

It really demonstrates how difficult it is to predict the future. Some stuff you get right, most things you get wrong, and timeframes are really hard to judge.