Thursday 4 September 2003
Pix Of The Day: Ravenglass Trains & Taos Trucks
CREDITS: © Ann Bowker/Mad About Mountains & © John H. Farr/FotoFeed.com
MAPS: Ravenglass, Cumbria and Taos, New Mexico
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.
The item about Hardknott Pass earlier this week, entitled 'Pass Storming Romans v. BMW Z3s', had our heads buzzing with all sorts of connections to machinery and history. We decided to show this double diptych, for no clear reason except that we like old machinery; well oiled or rusty, it makes no difference.
Anne Bowker's train pictures were taken on the narrow gauge railway that runs from the fishing port of Ravenglass, on the Cumbrian coast of England's Lake District National Park, up the Eskdale valley to the foot of the highest mountains in the country. The nearby castle at Muncaster has been held by the same family since 1208, when lands were granted to the Pennington family. They have thrived, legend says, because of the magical 'Luck of Muncaster', a glass drinking bowl originally owned by King Henry VI. He gave it to the family in 1464, declaring that as long as it remained intact, Penningtons would live and thrive at Muncaster.
The way John H. Farr tells it, old trucks like these are to be found in back yards throughout 'El Norte', the part of northern New Mexico where the town of Taos lies. The towns most famous resident is undoubtedly Kit Carson, the notorious Indian fighter from the days when ethnic cleaning was socially acceptable. In 1868 Carson died; in 1869 the Central Pacific met the Union Pacific at Promontory Point, Utah, marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad; in 1875 the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway commenced operations, and in 1876 the Southern Pacific completed the second transcontinental rail connection to Los Angeles.
From Our 2002 Archive: Jump Jet Recovery - Wednesday 4 September 2002
One month ago, on 2 August 2002, a Royal Air Force Hawker Siddley Harrier 'Jump Jet' crashed into the sea near the English east coast town of Lowestoft. Photographer Ian Davey from SuffolkCAM.co.uk was on hand to capture the recovery. Afterwards the aircraft was cut up and placed on a low bed truck for its return journey to base at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire. The BBC reported the crash and the recovery. If you are set up to view RealPlayer format movies the BBC also has video footage of the moment of impact, with the pilot ejecting safely at an altitude of 50 feet.
Two years ago another Harrier crashed on 24 August 2000 to the west of Suffolk in the county of Wiltshire. At £35million a throw ($49million) August is an expensive month for the RAF. Paul Farrer spoke to one Harrier pilot elsewhere, who told him that the plane's onboard computer was "a bit better than a ZX Spectrum but not quite as good as a Commodore 64". Now I know why my buddy, who was a military aircraft maintenance technician, refuses to fly anywhere! The Joint Strike Fighters that will replace some Harriers were estimated in 2001 to cost between $73million and $106million each -- lets hope a PeeCee running Windows XP is not being considered.
SuffolkCAM has regular updates and an archive that I'm sure reflect the usually more orderly pace of life in that county. The pictures of rivers, swans, sunsets and ancient buildings should give you a good idea of peaceful Suffolk life at its best. [The site has recently had a makeover, and is linked from here in the 'UK CAM links' pulldown sidebar menu - Ed.]
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)