Archive for July 10, 2013

The garden continues to be quiet, although we have seen the Green Woodpecker on a number of occasions recently. A Kestrel hunting high over the golf course was an uncommon sighting from the garden. On the way out late afternoon I went for a walk around the tarn. The Greylag geese and the Canada geese are still shepherding their youngsters although it is now very difficult to tell them apart. Also saw two family groups of Coot each with 4 young, one group of which are very young so presumably have come from the one nest that was still being incubated last week.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Large White (Pieris brassicae)


4468 Mallard was built at Doncaster in 1938. The A4 class was designed for the North-Eastern Railway by Sir Nigel Gresley to pull high speed express trains. Mallard remained in service until 1963 working the route between London and Edinburgh. Mallard is the holder of the record for the fastest steam train in the world at 125.88 MPH. This record was achieved on 3rd July 1938 on the Stoke bank section of the east coast line near Grantham. It was a risky business as a curve occurred in the line just beyond the Stoke bank and the engine needed to break heavily to ensure it remained on the rails, During this the engine overheated (a problem that had been foreseen) and the engine had to be removed from service for repairs. Mallard also took part in the 1948 Locomotive exchange trials when locos from different regions of the newly formed BR were trialed on routes they did not usually run. Mallard hauled a train from London Waterloo to Salisbury but failed following the run and was removed from the trial. Mallard also pulled the last Steam hailed flagship ‘Elizabethan’ express from London to Edinburgh on 8th September 1961.

In the 1980s the engine was restored to working order and after being used for a number of years for pulling railtours become part of the static collection at the National Railway Museum, firstly at York (till 2008) then at Shildon (2008-2010) and subsequently back at York.

The plaque on Mallard commemorating the Stoke bank record

The plaque on Mallard commemorating the Stoke bank record





Many mosaics have been discovered in the Roman provinces of North Africa. They have a distinct style reflecting the tastes and interests of the local villa owners.

Dolphins with leaf-like fins and a trident

Geometric pattern

Acanthus stems rising from a footed basin

From the British Museum

Wow 6 gorgeous engines and so many people!

This is the first time I have had to queue to get into the National Railway Museum. It was just amazing how much interest it generated. It was great to see the 6 remaining A4s together, all looking resplendent in their refurbished livery. Am really sorry I didn’t manage to get to book one of the photography sessions as it require patience to get the photos due to the large number of people present and this was just after opening time- As I left a couple of hours later the queues were much longer. I went on the Mallard 75 simulator which gave some experience of what it must have felt like to be on the footplate of the loco as it set the record.