Building A Locomotive

No, not a model one.  A friend of mine sent me this link to an amazing video of the construction of a “Princess Royal” class steam locomotive at the Crewe Works by the LMS Railway in Britain back in 1935. It is an amazing thing to watch these men building such a massive piece of complicated machinery without the aid of all the modern tools we take for granted. This is much more a work of personal ingenuity, muscle and determination than of finicky laser measurement and overbearing regulations. OK, so yes, I may be waxing a bit poetic, but it is still really cool! Next time I can’t figure out how to do some meager task with all the varied electronic tools I have at my disposal, I will think back on this construction and be humbled. And the next time you whine about your working conditions or amount of physical labor you have to do – watch this.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things – Exercise #11

In honor of all my British friends, today’s exercise calls for me to list “Fifteen of Your Favourite Things”. Well one of my favorite things is alternating between British and American spellings so that it freaks out the spell-check and makes me seem mentally unstable. Yes, I am going to blame the instability on the spelling. Might as well. And since I am going to do that, it only makes sense to start my list of favorite things with …

Just British - Keep Calm and Drive On1) British cars. I have been a devotee of British cars since I was a teenager. My first car was an MG. There has barely been a year since then when I didn’t own at least one British car, and often many more. The cars do not have to be convertibles, but they are usually old. And in various states of disrepair. I love the way they drive, the way the smell, and the way they feel. I do believe Castrol runs in my blood.

2) British television. Since we are already in the Enchanted Isle for the cars, we might as well stay for the telly. I don’t know why other than the shows are better! I started out early watching Monty Python and Doctor Who (Tom Baker was my Doctor), and I am still watching them. Oh, and Top Gear. And lets not forget Sherlock.

3) Trains and Trolleys. Again, one of those loves I have had since I was a kid. Things on rails. Big and small. Real and model. If you are really board you can check some out at Michael’s Trains.

4) Soccer. I never have been a fan of baseball, basketball, hockey, American football, or any other sport. I like soccer. And by the way, Man U rules!

5) Apple products. “Finally!” you are saying. “Something closer to home,” you are saying. And you would be right. I prefer the Mac operating system. Just cleaner and more stable. I make my living, or a good portion of it, supporting Windows. That tells you something. It needs a lot of support.

Continue reading “These are a Few of My Favorite Things – Exercise #11”

British Railway Modeller 2011

Look what I found at Books-A-Million a few days ago! Ok, it was more like month ago, but I just got around to posting it here. I have never seen the Railway Modeller Annual before, but it is gorgeous. And when I flipped it open there was a picture of a layout with an Austin Healey 3000 on it. Does life get any better?

Railway Modeller Annual 2011
Railway Modeller Annual 2011

Made In Britain – The TV Series

One man… stripped of everything he owns and challenged to just buy British…

Join award-winning television comedian Dom Joly on an epic road trip around Britain in an attempt to fill his house from top to bottom with British-made products in the brand new series Made In Britain.

As part of this unique experiment, Dom will have his family home turned upside down and stripped of everything he owns that’s not made in the UK. He’s then challenged to go on a remarkable shopping trip, travelling the length and breadth of the country to try and replace all his foreign goods with British-made products.

Before the inspectors arrive, Dom’s quaint country cottage in the Cotswolds is a safe haven for foreign merchandise: the Italian coffee machine, a television manufactured in Japan and pants made in Taiwan. In no time at all the Joly family home isn’t looking quite so jolly anymore. In their bid to find out what’s British and what’s not, the experts have banished two thirds of everything they’ve looked at including his bed, laptop and, controversially, his wife’s cosmetics, and Dom is left with little more than his Savile Row suit, a pair of muddy Wellington boots and a lengthy shopping list for his trip.
Continue reading “Made In Britain – The TV Series”

Odd Man Out

This is my whiny post – the one where I go “oh poor pitiful me.” The subject of my whine? I am whining because sometimes I get tired of being odd, or as I would prefer to call it, “eccentric”.

Here are just a few examples: I don’t care most major sports and hate football. But I love soccer. I am from the Deep South, but do not like watermelon, iced tea, or collared greens. I really like trains, and would like to build a model railroad. But I like English trains. I keep looking and looking, but most newstands here in the US have stopped carrying British Railway Modelling and Railway Modeller. Could it be the exchange rate? Or the cost of gas to get them here? Even the magazines I can find about real (non-model) railways are about US ones, not English or European. I could go on about my love for strange British cars too, but I think you get the picture.

Oh, and lets not leave out the fact that I work in a very conservative office, in a very conservative industry, in a very conservative city, in a very conservative state. And I am very liberal. Sometimes the arguments are fun, but sometimes it makes me just want to give up and move.

So, do you ever feel like this? Other than those highschool years when you were sure that you were the only one who had ever felt the way you did, have you ever continually felt like odd man out? Or odd woman? What do you do about it? It would be very hard to switch, and more than a tad dishonest to yourself. So, as you keep plodding along on your own road, how to you keep your head up and keep a cheerful disposition?