Sunday, 16 February 2014

Locomotion Museum at Shildon is making history by bringing together for the very last time six famous steam engines from around the world.
They are The Mallard; the Sir Nigel Gresley; The Bittern;
the Union of South Africa; the Dominion of Canada and the
Dwight D Eisenhower.
75,000 enthusiasts are expected to visit and yesterday, many had already arrived .  Elaborate cameras were much in evidence and it was touching to see elderly men instructing their small grandsons in the mystery of steam engines and reminding them of how Shildon had been involved in the growth of the railways and enjoyed employment and wealth as the industry thrived.

Mallard with its Five Surviving Sister Engines.

The Bittern

Monday, 3 February 2014

 Extreme Weather.

People who live here in County Durham, in the north-east of England, are prepared for extreme weather when winters last twice as long as those in the south. The temperatures are lower; the snow thicker and the ice on the roads  more treacherous. However, this winter we are counting our blessings. Already at the beginning of February, there have been no snowfalls and while we listen to talk of desperate flooding in the west of England we have escaped it here. This may be because of our steep hills and extensive moorland – our beautiful scenery that is not widely known or appreciated.
We can only sympathise with the people who live on the Somerset Levels where flooding has been extensive since Christmas.  According to Radio 4 the rainfall has been the most unusual for 100 years so that the land below our island is a saturated sponge and it was feared that the Severn Bore on Saturday would intensify the problems. One farmer reported that 95% of his land is under water and a lady told how her house is now surrounded by a moat and she has to clear the sludge that is full of dead earthworms!
Meanwhile in Aberystwyth mountainous waves crash over the sea front damaging the promenade and flooding the elegant houses there.
And still the rain continues. 

                      The Somerset Levels