This is the Post Office sorting office in March. Can you spot the anomaly? You’ll have to look closely.
Monday, 31 January 2011
Thursday, 27 January 2011
Due to the wet miserable weather, today was an ideal day for the museum visit. We had been trying to visit the March Museum since arriving here last July. The museum is housed in what used to be South District Infants school. Originally built in 1851 as a Girls High School it is now a grade II listed building. As seems to be the case in many organisations these days it is manned by volunteers.
Besides the memorabilia of the Fens, farming, boot making and carpentry tools. There was large displays of cameras, projectors, radio’s,record players and general Victoriana. The centre of the display was the railway history which was the making of March as a town. The railways were a big employer in the district with the Whitemoor marshalling yards which were one of the biggest yards in Europe.
The biggest story was of the Soham railway disaster in 1944. A train of 51 wagons loaded with ammunition was on the move from March when upon arrival at Soham near Cambridge, the driver, Ben Gimbert who lived in March found the wagon immediately behind the loco was on fire. Fireman James Nightall uncoupled the wagon from the rest of the train and Ben started to move the loco and burning wagon forward. At the signal box they conversed with the signalman as a Mail train was due in the area and Ben wanted to get the wagon away as soon as possible. Unfortunately the wagon load exploded killing James and the signalman instantly. Ben was thrown 200 yards back on to the station platform. The station house and signal box were destroyed and many houses in Soham were badly damaged. The amazing thing was that the Station master and his family survived the blast even though the house was badly damaged. The loco survived the blast to be recovered and returned to duty but the tender was a complete write off.
Both Ben and James were awarded the George Cross Medal and in 1981 two class 47 loco’s were named after them. When these 2 loco’s were withdrawn from service 2 new class 66’s now proudly carry their names. Had these gallant men not done what they did, the whole train could have exploded which could have wiped out Soham completely. The whole incident is fully documented in 4 A4 catalogue books and makes very interesting reading.
Monday, 24 January 2011
Friday evening our fellow Kiwi friends John and Elizabeth from Nb Helen Louise arrived for the week–end. The plan was a trip to Cranham Motorhomes on Saturday for us to obtain some measurements from our Autotrail Arapaho and for John and Elizabeth to have a good look at our baby without any sales pressure. They are in a similar predicament to us and are thinking about shipping a motorhome back to New Zealand when their time comes to return home.
It took us 1 hour 40 minutes via the M11 to reach Cranhams where we wasted no time in locating our motorhome. Several hours were spent investigating every little nook and cranny before Paul, Cranham’s Sales Manager came and had a chat with us sorting out a final delivery date (March 5th) and an informative chat with John and Elizabeth over their proposed plans for the future. Paul did mention that there were 3 other new motorhomes sitting in the yard, 2 destined for Australia and the other for New Zealand.
We had taken a picnic lunch with us so after leaving Cranham’s we hunted out a local sports field with a car park where we stopped for lunch and further discussions over possibilities for John and Elizabeth. Back at the Apartment it was decided to finish off the day with dinner out at the Griffin hotel.
Wow why didn’t we do this ages ago whilst on Gypsy Rover? We now have both computers connected to the internet through our own wireless network. (Thanks Graham) I bought this through Amazon prior to leaving for New Zealand and it arrived while I was on the other side of the world. Now up and running I was able to place the security on it guided by my son in New Zealand so anyone would need to connect with a password only. It can run for 4 hours or so on its rechargeable battery and either 240volt or 12volt chargers.
Fast and easy to use with our existing dongle I am most impressed.
Thursday, 20 January 2011
After my blog yesterday I have discovered that the problem appears to be the Google Chrome browser. Due to the problem we have had with both computers crashing all the time on both Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer I decided to install Google Chrome. All going well no more problems with crashing, but it has now become impossible to comment on any other fellow bloggers’ posts. For some reason it does not accept my blogger ID, anybody got any ideas? I don’t want to revert to these other browsers just so I can post a comment.
Yesterday Dot had a specialist appointment at St Cross hospital in Rugby so we had a rental car out for 24 hours. It was a great day for a jaunt across the country passing through 4 Counties. I am pleased to say that the specialist gave her a clean bill of health and is quite happy for Dot to reduce or even eliminate the medication completely if possible. If the problem rears it’s ugly head again she can go straight back on to the medication.
While blog watching this morning we had a look at N/b Rock & Roll’s (Carol & George) blog. There was a query as to what was the make of a car they had photographed. Unfortunately their comment box isn’t working so was unable to leave a comment. Hi Carol, unable to find your email address but I would say that the car is a Daimler of about 1950ish vintage.
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Now the storeroom at the National Railway Museum has been sorted out and opened to the public it has become a real treasure trove. Every rack has hidden treasures from live steam scale models to station artefacts, signal box fittings to railway company sign’s. Something for everybody. You could spend hours in just this area alone.
Another of the many scale live steam model locos from 5" scale up to 1/16 th.
More of the hundreds of name plates of goods yards mounted around the NRM.
Even Britannia makes an appearance. Harry Potters favourite platform is displayed.
Been there. Signal systems from signal boxes large and small.
The engineering workshops of the NRM. Sadly this is all there is of the Flying Scotsman under going a major overhaul.
The working side of the LNWR mail van with catcher net open to receive fresh mail.
LNWR "Hardwicke." Built 1892 retired 1932. It set a new speed record of 67MPH in 1895 for the race to the North.
Lancashire and Yorkshire railways signalman training module used from 1912 to 1995. It is still operational and demonstrated at certain times.
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Here a few photo’s of the trip from March to York via preserved A4 locomotive “Sir Nigel Gresley”.
Class 158 en route to Liverpool Lime St passes Sir Nigel Gresley at March sidings.
All watered up, Sir Nigel Gresley moves up to the station to pick up more passengers.
Moving through a maze of points to reach the March station.
Sir Nigel heads off with the A4 Locomotive Society support carriage to turn.
Monday, 17 January 2011
Now the Editor in Chief is fully recovered from her travels from NZ back to March we are now able to bring you some of the photo’s from my recent trip to York and the National Railway Museum.
LNWR/LMS Oerliken electric unit built in 1916. Built by Metropolitan Caraiges, Birmingham with Swiss Oerliken electrical gear.
Southern Railways 4-COR electric unit for the Waterloo, Portsmouth services. Introduced 1937, withdrawn 1973.
Just some of the hundreds of name plates mounted around the NRM, York.
The Japanese Shinkasen HST donated to the NRM.
Southern electric 4-Sub driving unit.
LMS Duchess of Hamilton
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Well I thought so anyway. After travelling half way around the world and back on my own, something I said that I would never do. I hate flying, although that may surprise you, considering the amount of travelling we have done over the last 20 years or so. My fear of flying probably stems from my first trip to the UK in August 1995.
While somewhere half way between Bangkok and Amsterdam I had a bad asthma attack on the plane. Luckily I was attended by a doctor who was a fellow traveller and I consumed two tanks of oxygen. On arrival at Amsterdam I was rushed off in a wheelchair to the medical centre at the airport that would put many hospitals to shame. Two hours later after being visited from a specialist from the city who wanted to admit me, we managed to persuade them into letting me continue on our flight to Norwich as we had a wedding to attend the following day in Peterborough. Promising to take the medication supplied and get more in the UK on arrival, I was allowed to go. We then had a mad rush across the airport, me in a wheelchair pushed by an airport attendant to catch our flight. Doors slammed behind us and we were off to catch our departure slot from this busy airport.
On arrival in Norwich, to my embarrassment, there was another wheelchair waiting here for me too and they wouldn’t take no for an answer. The big plus, if you could call it that, was customs were bypassed as we went to meet our friends picking us up, shock horror on their faces on seeing me in the wheelchair. Once outside I discarded the wheelchair and had a fantastic time promising that I would return. This was just the beginning of our narrowboat adventure.
To all of you who have sent kind wishes my way and to all our friends and family in New Zealand a big thank you. Despite my Dad’s serious condition on arrival I am pleased to report that despite his aging years (92) he has now improved dramatically and is looking better each day. On Tuesday before I left I managed to have dinner with him and my step mum, June, before flying north to Auckland on the first leg of my return journey.
Friday, 14 January 2011
After a month of beautiful sunshine and 23 – 30 0C temperatures Dot finally returned to the UK yesterday to a mild but wet 120C home coming. We had it all planned out that she would catch the National Express coach from Heathrow to Cambridge where I would meet her and we would catch the X9 bus back to March. Had the plane landed on time this would have been fine but she told me that they had to circle London 3 times before landing and then waiting for some time on the Tarmac for a berth. This did not bode well for our plans and at the time I was on a bus to Cambridge so unable to do much about working on alternative plans.
As the time drew closure for the coach departure I was on the edge of my seat awaiting a text to say that she was on the coach. A text message finally arrived with about a minute to spare to say she was on the bus. Hooray! Having got over this challenge I settled down to a few hours of wandering around Cambridge in the rain.Yuk!
Another challenge was about to unfold when Dot rang to say they were running late. I had worked out that we had 25 minutes between the coach arriving in Cambridge and the last X9 bus for the day leaving. There was a 5 minute walk between the 2 bus stops cutting it back to a 20 minute window. The coach finally arrived with 10 minutes to spare which meant no hanging around. A brisk walk to the other bus stop only to find no bus. Had we missed it or what? It transpired that this bus was also late and when it arrived the driver was going to have a coffee first and foremost, timetable or no timetable.
By this time both of us were shattered and starting to feel the strain but at least we got home OK even though it was 20.30hrs. I had left a beef casserole in the Crock Pot (slow cooker) which was ready but Dot didn’t feel like eating so I had the lot. Needless to say there is a lot to be sorted out over the next few days so we are going to be busy.