Saturday, June 28, 2008

Steamin' at Preston

I seem to have had a three week break from the blog, for no particular reason, but here's one to make up for lost time... an afternoon at Preston Steam Event, near Wingham. My ever-indulgent better half allowed me to drag her round the site (the trade-off was several hours uninterrupted tennis-watching, and she did go to Wimbledon on Wednesday, so it was my turn for a treat...).

A great little steam rally, nice to see people enjoying their obsessions, maintaining our industrial heritage and keeping the idea of steam power alive for younger generations to whom steam is as alien as handwritten letters and telephones connected to the wall by cables (sorry, almost went off in to one then).

Anyway, here are a few pictures taken on my phone which came out surprisingly well given it's 4 years old and only 1 megapixel - I didn't have my 'proper' camera with me when we spontaneously decided the steam fair was an acceptable idea after all. Hmmmph.

I know nothing about bikes, but these two looked pretty cool...
Preston Steam Event 2008

Preston Steam Event 2008

And then the small engines - some were about one-third or one-half scale...
Preston Steam Event 2008

And some were really tiddly, with drivers clearly having fun fun fun.
Preston Steam Event 2008

A few travelling fairground organs provided the musical backdrop:
Preston Steam Event 2008

And then inside the permanent sheds - an amazing display of lumps of rust just waiting to be rescued and restored:
Preston Steam Event 2008

Preston Steam Event 2008

Made in Britain, exported to South America (and somehow returned to here). Just an indication of the reach of our engineering heritage in days of Empire... these two had been destined for Buenos Aires, and others were for Valparaiso and other parts distant....
Preston Steam Event 2008

Preston Steam Event 2008

Some ina beter state of restoration than others, of course:
Preston Steam Event 2008

Go on, you can say it - they are really pretty, aren't they!
Preston Steam Event 2008

And a shed full of organs, a fabulous noise, some great percussion and some beautiful carving and plasterwork.
Preston Steam Event 2008

This monster was from a German manufacturer...
Preston Steam Event 2008

And some WWII vehicles, including this tea wagon serving tea in enamel mugs.
Preston Steam Event 2008

And last, but so so not least, this steam-powered carousel, with the gallopers rising and falling to the sounds of the fairground organs, and puffs of steam from the centre engine. Grrrrreat...
Preston Steam Event 2008

There, that was a good couple of hours, and definitely a return visit when they have their next open day. The nicest thing (I think) is that this isn't just a steam fair in a random field or showground, but at the premises of a company devoted to the restoration and display of these masterpieces of engineering. Interesting web site too... Preston Services. Go on, buy one.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

South of England Show - all sorts of wonders

The South of England Show 2008

Just us a and a few friends...

Paying attention to the important things in life...

The only horse I'd feel safe sitting on...

The Women's Institute cake competition - it takes a brave person to eat these!

A fur-covered car? Of course, what colour?

A classic. Aaaah...

South of England Show - Fur and Feather

Some really cute little beasties in the Fur and Feather tent, and some roosters that could really sort out any farmyard...

The colours on these two were stunning...

And this ball of fluff hid a chicken. I think...

And the bunnies were cute too.

South of England Show - horses

I don't know enough about horses to know if these were good, great or just average, but I'm always impressed by a horse in flight over a fence...

There's a rude joke about hindquarters here somewhere, but I'm far too polite...
Nice clean horseshoes though.

Perhaps my favourite one ever - a horse actually flying!

South of England Show - plants...

A sunny day, a 90 mile drive and there we were at the South of England showground. Eeveral hours, a few pounds, a bit of sunburn and a lot of photographs later, we were on our way home - a great day out, some animals, some cars, some plants and so much more...

Here are a few of the things we saw:

In the flower show, some amazing fuchsias, and the great bonsai displays. And a few other things that I forget to check the name for...

And these look like I just painted them. If only I could!

We do like a bonsai - but the little forest really impresses...

Colourful cactuses (cacti...)

The white spray was all one stem, leaning over under the weight of flowers. Lovely.

A luvverly bunch of roses:

And the carnivourous plants...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Seaside Postcard 89 - only the pretty girls come here!

Ramsgate seaside postcard
This ravishing beauty received her invitation to Ramsgate in 1911 - you can just make out the note she is reading: "I shall expect you when you have nothing in particular on". oo-er... The message on the back says Ramsgate is absolutely packed. Sigh. Those were the days.

Fingers crossed for a slightly drier weekend - the South of England Show at Ardingly beckons this weekend, so hopefully I'll have some more fun agricultural and horticultural piccies.

And next weekend is Margate's Big Event. No sign of the Red Arrows in the line-up this year, but plenty of other aircraft, and other arena- and sky-based action. Last year's was excellent, so see you there!!

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Knitter's Friend

Here's one for the craft fans - a lovely little book of 96 pages, just 4" by 5", edited by "Mrs Hope", who presumably ran a shop from 58 Queen Street in the mid-19th century. The book itself isn't dated, but the inscription in the inside covers reads "Catherine Mullins 1847".

Knitter's Friend

Knitter's Friend

The preface makes it clear that she has only chosen previously unpublished 'receipts' (patterns, as we now call them of course). But they include all the essentials - a Double Muffatee, Sleeping Socks, Doyleys, Gentleman's Comforter, Gimp Trimming, Kamshatka Bodice, Parisian Hood, Siberia Cuffs, Shetland Shawl Patterns as well as a range of netting: Cardinal cape, Purse Netting, Invalid Supporter and Bottle stand, among many more...

Knitter's Friend