Marylebone Station entrance, London

Marylebone Station

That’s the entrance to Marylebone Station from London, taking you out to Aylesbury and the surrounding area, or as far as Snow Hill in Birmingham.

Travelling via Bicester or Banbury we normally arrive in and depart from London via Marylebone, so we know the station pretty well. From Marylebone the underground delivers us quickly to the middle of London via the Bakerloo line. On a good day it can be almost quicker to walk to nearby Baker Street station, especially if we want to pick up an underground line other than Bakerloo.

Marylebone Station – A Bit of History

Marylebone opened in 1899 as the London terminus for the Great Central Main Line. In 1993, after problems and a threat of closure, it became the terminus for the Chiltern Main Line, run by Chiltern Railways.

Marylebone is the smallest and quietest of the London stations, though it does handle a growing amount of commuter traffic as towns to the North grow. Rush hour trains are frequently full.

Read more on the Wikipedia page.

#londonrailwaystation #londonrailway #londonrailwaystations #londonmarylebone #london #marylebone #marylebonestation #trainstations #trainstation #londontrain @sputchie1 #transportforlondon #tfl @transportforlondon #chilternrailways Posted on Instagram

Working parts of a beautiful old steam traction engine.

Steam Traction Engine – A Bit of the Past in Yorkshire

I spotted this beautiful old, obviously restored, steam traction engine at the BBC Countryfile Live show at Castle Howard in Yorkshire. These big old machines are fascinating, especially when compared to modern machinery.

The badge and logo on the engine show that Marshal Sons & Co., produced the original engine. This company traces its roots back to 1848 in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.

Into the 20th century, Marshall Sons & Co became involved in the production of steam traction engines. They also produced other types of steam engines, eventually moving to internal combustion engine based tractors and all kinds of industrial equipment. At one point they even produced an aeroplane!

Thresher being driven by a steam engine

The steam traction engine belt drive is running a thresher, apparently produced by William Foster & Co. That’s another Lincolnshire company with its roots in the 19th Century. William Foster also produced tanks during and after the First World War.

A steam Traction engine at Howard Castle - BBC Countryfile Live

The two companies I have mentioned here eventually merged with bigger organisations. Their names disappeared over time, except on historic machines like this tractor and thresher.

Modern farming equipment may be impressive but the glamour and beauty of these old machines remains.

A Steam Engine Pin for your boards

Sourdough bread just out of the oven.
That's the bread!

Sourdough, Coffee and SEO

Only one, recent, post in some time. But it has been a busy few weeks, full of sourdough bread, coffee and SEO..

The Sourdough Journey

The big activity has been the start of a new journey, a journey into the making of sourdough bread. That’s real bread! Beats the stuff you buy from the supermarket by a long way.

Sourdough bread is, arguably, the original bread. It’s a bread making method which dates back millennia. More importantly, it’s a pure form of bread which doesn’t contain additives and chemicals.

It’s great to eat. It’s fun to make! But it is a bit of a learning curve.

And Don’t Forget the Coffee

Espresso coffee on the way with Brett's Own Brews.
That's the coffee in sourdough, coffee and SEO.
Making Espresso coffee with Brett’s Own Brews

We have also been spending time with the guys from Brett’s Own Brews with some interesting coffee plans for the summer. It’s going to be a busy summer!

Check out the Brett’s Own Brews website. If you’re at one of those events, drop in and grab a cup of coffee.

Getting The SEO Right

Getting the SEO on target. That's the SEO part of bread coffee and SEO.

And, of course, sometimes a bit of website maintenance is in order. In this case getting AMP to work and reviewing the general SEO state of this site. There’s plenty still do, but it’s looking good!

More to Come…

Watch this space, there’s bound to be more to say on all of these.

Brackley Soap Box Derby 2019.
The Mercedes F1 apprentices' entry.

Brackley Soap Box Derby

A great turn out from the people of Brackley for the annual Soap Box Derby, held on the High Street on Sunday 2nd June. Though a bit of rain, late in the afternoon did see a few heading home early.

This was actually the first time I have attended this event, alongside the Brett’s Own Brews coffee trailer. It’s a pleasant afternoon out, supported by local business. The Butler’s Pie shop opened specially for the event – which was great for us – pies for lunch!

The High Street in Brackley, closed for the event, forms a superb downhill slope for the soap box derby. Lined with protective railing and bales of hay to catch off course soap boxes, and soften the crashes, the drivers can have fun. And there were a few spills!

The soap box derby is fun for all ages, with the apprentices from local Mercedes F1 delivering the fastest, futuristic looking, car (pictured above). The youngest driver was, I believe all of six years old.

The youngest soap box driver
Brackley Soap Box Derby

And the older generation was represented.

Plankton Pete's soap box heading down the track.

Photo Gallery

I didn’t get a shot of every soap box, but here’s a selection of pictures from the day.

And Don’t forget the coffee.

Brett’s Own Brews was there to deliver excellent coffee as always, along with a few other treats…

Brett's Own Brews, a Brackley based business, was there.
Brackley Soap Box Derby

Please Pin this for Next Year’s Soap Box derby

The Annual Brackley Soap Box Derby - Please pin this to remind you of next year's event.
Trafalgar Square. By Night! And Now Its 2019.

And Now It’s 2019

Where did 2018 go? Now it’s 2019, and a belated Happy New Year to all.

Our 2018 is probably best described as tumultuous. An unusual mix of highs and lows and general family chaos, though that is quite normal. The year was largely filled with great times spent with family and friends and some unexpected events. Between kids (adult) getting married, having babies (we became grandparents for the first time) and visiting friends and family the year got busy!

The Christmas period marked the first time in some years that the whole family was together. As we started to prepare for that, around the end of November I decided to take a blogging holiday until the new year.

I stopped doing anything on this blog and on most social media. Trying to find the time amidst work changes and all of that family activity was simply becoming very stressful, and there was a need to review the blog and ask some serious questions.

Should I just shut it down? Should I change track and blog about something else? Or do I need to simply improve what I am writing about?

Actually I put a lot of time into looking at the technology. That’s my overlap with blogging, of course. I run IT for a manufacturing group. In that position I have become very involved with various aspects of cloud computing, including, and especially, the classic “access any time from anywhere” idea. With the right apps and a smartphone the Gutenberg editor and a bluetooth keyboard make an interesting blogging platform (when Gutenberg actually works), among other things! Of course I am also a long time Linux fan.

In short, One of my hurdles in blogging was not making best use of the tech in order to best use my spare time.

So the plan going forward is to focus more on the “people like us”, i.e. getting older, still in the 9 to 5, limited travel (and tech) budget (and time), but a wish to travel, take photos and enjoy good food.

Add in some technology, maybe in a sister blog and hopefully you will read and enjoy.

New Content

My Trello boards and photo albums are full of content. Now it’s a matter of getting it out there. Here’s a little sample, starting with a bit of madness: we went to Trafalgar Square. At night. Who does that 🙂 !

Green Leaves

Just leafing through some old photos (couldn’t resist that!) I came across these two photos of green leaves, taken at different times and places.

The top one was a hand held macro (Canon EOS 450D, 100mm macro, 1/200s f/4.5) taken on a spring day. I liked the way the bud is unfurling in front of the single leaf.

The one below is one of my favourites. Also from the 450D, but using a “nifty fifty” 50 mm lens. The shape of the leaf, in a background of soft green light caught my eye. The water drop was just a bonus! It’s been re-edited here, but I have used it before in a “Green Things” post.

One thought – you don’t need a state of the art camera to take reasonable photos!

This post is one for Bren Ryan’s “Photo for the Week – 19 – Leaves” challenge.





One to Remember (on Pinterest?)

A close up shot of a green leaf in spring time
Green Things Photo For Sale




A pretty swan on the local lake.

Swan on the Lake – with a Photo Tip

Digging through some older photographs, I came across this one of a swan on the lake.

Spring and summer can often bring swans to the lake. They always make pretty sight, somehow very calming as they elegantly swim along.

Swan on the Lake – Photo Tip

Capturing the image can, however, be tricky. The reflection of the swan in the rippling water is great. in full colour it is very “busy” with all of the reflections in green water. Rather than take it to a full black and white image I like to desaturate the image until there is just a hint of the stronger colours left. Look at the swan’s beak.

Photography Prints

One to Pin to your boards

Swan on the Lake. Pin this to your boards.