Friday, August 31, 2012

The Vale of Rheidol Railway

One of the key events of my short trip to Aberystwyth was a journey along the Vale of Rheidol Railway from the town up to Devil's Bridge in the mountains. The railway is a steam heritage line which uses narrow gauge. Interestingly the railway remained in British Rail hands until 1989 and for a time in the 1970s the steam locomotives on the line were in BR blue and had the double arrow symbol!

Nowadays the engines are in GWR colours. The trip takes an hour each way and the view is breathtaking as you go higher and higher up the valley sides. I took a number of photos on the trip which you can see here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Its been a long long time since i've been to Wales, the last time i can remember is a family holiday to Barmouth when i was around 9 or 10. So i thought it was high time i came back! We've just spent a couple of great days in Aberystwyth. The weather was variable, at times it was fine but at others it was what you may call "bracing" but we had a great time including a trip on the Vale of Rheidol Railway (of which more later) and plenty of wind-swept walks along the promenade.

I even had a little paddle, the water was rather cold but it was fun. The last time i've paddled in the sea was probably when i was in Bali so this was a bit different. And to be honest... much better. As always i've taken plenty of photographs, i took both cameras as i didn't want to risk my DSLR if it was very wet so the photos have been taken using both... and indeed a few with the iPhone too.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Rootless Forest

The Rootless Forest is a project by Beth Derbyshire, a fellow of Birmingham Institute of Art & Design in conjunction with the Canal and River Trust and the Arts Council England (who are providing the funding). The project involves planting a mini-forest on a barge and then travelling along the canals around Birmingham and Walsall. The forest plays the sound of "recorded stories about adjustment, homecoming and relocation, told by two families from the military and UK Afghan communities".

The project launches next Friday and will travel the canals for 6 weeks before residing at New Art Gallery in Walsall until October. The project has a website here where you can see the latest progress. The project is using the unpowered barge 505560 which i photographed at Brindley Place (where the journey will start) back in June.
Gas St Basin

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Stratford-upon-Avon again!

I seem to go to Stratford-upon-Avon a lot, well i like it, so there. I went again today and explored up the Avon too as far as the Gordon Gray Lock (the path was getting ever muddier so i thought it prudent to not go any further). Lots of boats along the Avon and at Bancroft Basin on the canal of course. You can see my photos here!

That is all usual service of course, what was unusual with this trip was the pair of ex-LT Routemasters which had been laid on for guest transport at a wedding which was taking place at the town hall. What a brilliant idea, i wish i had thought of this when i got married... though i'd have preferred a Daimler Fleetline in WMTPE blue and yellow of course.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Beaufighter complete!

Airfix were very quick to send me the replacement canopies for Project 038 a Bristol Beaufighter TF.X. As the paint work isn't that complicated on this kit i was able to complete it over the weekend and very nice it looks too!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beaufighter delayed

The latest model project, Project 038, is proceeding well however when i came to start work on the canopies of the Bristol Beaufighter i ran into a problem... they were missing. I'm not sure if the parts were missing in the box or i accidentally threw them away while clearing up my model table (yes it does happen - not very often of course) but Airfix are sending me some replacement parts!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

London Waterways

Looking back at the photos i took over the 5 days i was in London i definitely packed a lot in, as well as two Olympic events i took in a veritable feast of London waterways including the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal, a walk along the South Bank of the Thames and to finish things off a walk along the Royal Albert Dock opposite London City Airport. You can see the photos i took here, lots of boats!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Olympic Feast!

Following my Olympic debut in Coventry to see women's football i headed down to London last Wednesday to stay with my sister-in-law for a few days (who handily lives in East London). I had a ticket for the volleyball but also managed to get a ticket for the badminton too just before i went down. Ironically both of my events were in West & North London while i was staying East, still the Tube would be quiet...

First the volleyball at Earl's Court on Thursday. That was great fun, at school the only bit of sport i was ever any good at was serving in volleyball (though i was reasonable at badminton). It was interesting to see how different the serve is in proper volleyball to how we played at school, its served a lot faster and harder though my serves always got past the net, unlike some of these guys!
The spectator area was fun at Earl's Court, it included this rather awesome statue of a female volleyball player. I wish i could have something like this in my garden. As for the games i saw Russia vs Tunisia and Poland vs Argentina in the men's competition. The latter was a great game with a really hot atmosphere, it seemed like half of Poland was in the arena cheering their team on. There even was a Mexican Wave, which i joined in natch.

The second event was the next day and was the women's semi-finals and the mixed doubles bronze medal match in the badminton at Wembley Arena. An early start though crossing London was no problem (the tube got a lot busier later). Badminton was the sport i tried to get a ticket for in the original ticket ballot last year, i failed on that occasion but was lucky to get a ticket when some extra tickets were put up for sale last week. I love badminton so was really glad to see this event, it was good to see Wembley Arena too as i've only ever been there once before, to a Waylon Jennings concert oh... about 20 years ago...
The two singles games were good, both won by the Chinese natch. The mixed doubles match was won by Denmark defeating Indonesia though sparking scenes of joy in the arena. A full set of my photos from the various Olympic events i attended (and some other related images) can be seen here.

Everything was so well organised and everyone involved so helpful and professional, i couldn't help feeling pride at how Britain has took on the biggest event in the world and has basically smashed it.