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Peppercorn A1 class locomotive number 60163 on the Nene Valley railway at the terminus station in Wansford, near Peterborough. Other photographs show the station and other trains in the sidings, including one of the turntable.

This locomotive was actually built in 2008 as a replica of a set of locomotives built just after the Second World War. It has a wikipedia page telling the whole story. 48 of these locomotives were built, but when the UK moved away from steam all were scrapped. A dedicate group of people with a large vision set about building a complete replica. This now travels around the country for a range of special events. We travelled on it for a meal as it ran up and down the line of the railway company.

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My favourite part of the train journey from Euston station in a northwesterly direction is passing Berkhamsted castle in Hertfordshire. The railway line is in the bottom left of the photograph, and it passes close to the castle wall. 

Berkhamsted castle is a classic motte and bailey castle, built in 1066 to control the route between London and the midlands in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest. What remains – and quite a bit does – suggests little subsequent development beyond replacing the timbers with stone. And so the castle became old fashioned as a place of defence. 

The railway line could have been routed through the castle had it not been for an act of parliament. Perhaps the motivation though was some local self interest, because Clare castle in Suffolk was not so lucky. But luckily the railway was sited just outside the castle, allowing the passengers looking out of the window a rapid view as the train hurtles by. Or if you are lucky, as it slowly edges by amidst various signal failures on the line!

My favourite part of the train journey from Euston station in a northwesterly direction is passing Berkhamsted castle in Hertfordshire. The railway line is in the bottom left of the photograph, and it passes close to the castle wall.

Berkhamsted castle is a classic motte and bailey castle, built in 1066 to control the route between London and the midlands in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest. What remains – and quite a bit does – suggests little subsequent development beyond replacing the timbers with stone. And so the castle became old fashioned as a place of defence.

The railway line could have been routed through the castle had it not been for an act of parliament. Perhaps the motivation though was some local self interest, because Clare castle in Suffolk was not so lucky. But luckily the railway was sited just outside the castle, allowing the passengers looking out of the window a rapid view as the train hurtles by. Or if you are lucky, as it slowly edges by amidst various signal failures on the line!

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On a day when other newspapers talk about the UK going onto a higher state of alert due to fears of terror attacks associated with the Islamic State activities in the Middle East, or on a poor child with a brain tumour taken from hospital by his parents, the Daily Mail leads on a story about vacuum cleaners. 
The Daily Mail is clearly pushing an anti-EU agenda. I guess the idea here is that people in the UK should be more worried about the power of vacuum cleaners than whether we are vulnerable to terrorism. 
The EU take on this is that reducing energy costs will in the end create more efficient cleaners, which is good for energy consumption. And apparently, Dyson cleaners never exceed this limits, and Dyson make very good vacuum cleaners.
I am curious as to where this comes from. I am told that all EU legislation actually begins from individual countries rather than from within the EU, but I don’t know specifically about this regulation.
Anyways, good fodder for the Daily Mail readers, who presumably like such headlines. 

On a day when other newspapers talk about the UK going onto a higher state of alert due to fears of terror attacks associated with the Islamic State activities in the Middle East, or on a poor child with a brain tumour taken from hospital by his parents, the Daily Mail leads on a story about vacuum cleaners. 

The Daily Mail is clearly pushing an anti-EU agenda. I guess the idea here is that people in the UK should be more worried about the power of vacuum cleaners than whether we are vulnerable to terrorism. 

The EU take on this is that reducing energy costs will in the end create more efficient cleaners, which is good for energy consumption. And apparently, Dyson cleaners never exceed this limits, and Dyson make very good vacuum cleaners.

I am curious as to where this comes from. I am told that all EU legislation actually begins from individual countries rather than from within the EU, but I don’t know specifically about this regulation.

Anyways, good fodder for the Daily Mail readers, who presumably like such headlines. 

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The church of St John the Baptist, Pampisford (South Cambridgeshire).

The particularly interesting feature is the Norman tympanum above the South door. This shows a number of carved images, albeit relatively crude, from the life of John the Baptist. The story begins on the right, and the various images are:

  1. An alter of incense, reflecting the fact that John the Baptist’s father was a priest in the temple in Jerusalem,
  2. John the Baptist’s father, bowing before the angel (in the next panel). John was a miracle child, being born well beyond the normal age of parenthood, and having been promised by an angel in the temple.
  3. The angel who spoke to John’s father in the temple.
  4. Now we skip forward in time to the end of John’s life. Here we see the stepdaughter of King Herod, called Salome, dancing before her father. The story of the death of John was that Herod was very pleased with the way his stepdaughter danced, and promised her anything she wished for. Salome didn’t know what to ask for so she talked with Herodius. At the time John was telling everyone that Herod had done wrong by his marriage to Herodius, who was both Herod’s niece and sister-in-law, and John was both public and unrelenting in this. Thus he had become more than an irritation, and Herodius wanted him gotten rid of. So she told Salome to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a plate.
  5. Herod and his guest (apparently).
  6. John the Baptist.
  7. The block on which John had his head chopped off; at least the medieval interpretation of how the act would have been performed.
  8. The head of John the Baptist.
  9. Someone carrying something, presumably the plate.
  10. It is believed that this shows John rising from the dead in a future event.
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Is this the dampest railway station in the world?
Courtesy of Apple’s Maps app.

Is this the dampest railway station in the world?

Courtesy of Apple’s Maps app.

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It seems to me to be ironic that the country that leads the information revolution, giving us the means to access data from devices that we carry in our pockets, is unable to manage free enterprise to enable its citizens to best exploit the information revolution.

Within the realisation that smart-phone ownership costs much more per month in the US than in the UK is the striking fact is that the much cheaper UK phone plan includes unlimited data, whereas the US plan has a limit of 2 GB per month. To my mind, the value of the information revolution is unlocked by allowing me to download whatever I want without having to worry about the bill. Actually I don’t know how much data I use, because I course I don’t need to care, but for what I use my phone for mostly (work) I do want to be able to download papers, animations, complex diagrams whenever I want, I want to be able to hold a video conversation whenever I want, and I want to be able to use my phone as a mobile hub whenever I want.

People will say that things like electricity, water, gas etc are paid for at the point of use and according to use, but I argue that data supply is not like other utilities. I know what my utility usage will be month by month (more importantly, my utility companies know the same, enabling them to use predictive billing to save their costs). But data and information are not like that (and indeed, neither is a plan that allows usage up to such and such an amount). I want to be able to pay a reasonable fee to have no restrictions. And the UK seems able to organise this.

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Some views from the monastic gardens around Ely cathedral. These are all medieval buildings, now mostly used by the school.

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Some shorts from Ely cathedral.

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Ely cathedral from within the private garden that was once the cloister. Great chance to view these spaces on a special tour of the monastic areas.

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Prior Crauden’s chapel in Ely. Wonderful gem of a chapel, in the Decorated Gothic style of the early 14th century. It is small but exquisite, with highly decorated arches, remains of wall paintings, and a complete tiled floor. I’ve wanted to get a chance to see inside for ages. Great to linger and appreciate.

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West door of Ely cathedral, within the Galilee porch.

West door of Ely cathedral, within the Galilee porch.

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Green man in the Lady chapel at Ely cathedral.

Green man in the Lady chapel at Ely cathedral.

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Two police vehicles being towed near Euston station.

Two police vehicles being towed near Euston station.

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Another bunch of photographs from the 205 bus. Here we are near Euston station.

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More views from atop the 205 bus between Paddington and Kings Cross stations.