Slow Train

Jul. 12th, 2016 09:26 pm
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
I love this video to one of my favourite Flanders and Swann songs, an elegy for the passing age of the branch line railway.

Not all of these stations closed in the end - St Erth to St Ives is still a beautiful run, and you can't beat the view from St Ives station, even on a cloudy day.

Read more... )
sally_maria: (Fountain pen - classic)
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted via Ancestry by someone from the local history society of the village in the Stroud valleys where my mother grew up. She'd heard from one of the girls (now nearly 90) who'd been evacuated from Birmingham to stay with my grandparents in the early part of WWII, before my mother was born.

Lily had fond memories of her time in Woodchester, and wanted to visit again, so I passed her details on to my mother. Today was the day and Mum and my aunt gave her a tour of the current village, changed in many ways but still the same basic layout.

I must admit one of the responses I had was regret that I never knew those grandparents, both of them died before I started school. :-( I can't help feeling a certain fellow feeling with my grandfather, who clearly wasn't particularly ambitious or driven, but who was a key part of community life, doing what needed to be done, from churchwarden to regular local committee member.

Lily remembered him encouraging her artwork, and we still have a couple of the pieces of furniture he made - I suppose there are worse legacies.

Frank William Garland )
sally_maria: 1950s British Railways logo (British Railways)
Last weekend it was the Steam Gala at my local heritage railway, now a fixture of the late May bank holiday weekend.

The weather was nicer this year, as I enjoyed my customary brake van ride from Toddington to Cheltenham and back, and as usual took lots of pictures.

2016 GWSR Steam Gala

Two Manors - click through to my Flickr account for more pictures.

Highlights of the weekend )
sally_maria: Grinning - with text "Can you tell I'm happy?" (Doctor Four - Happy)
As might be expected, The Force Awakens has led to a massive surge in Star Wars fandom (not that it had ever died off, but now there has been a modern Tumblr-style explosion). I've very much enjoyed some of the new fanworks, without really getting into the fandom as a whole - try as I might, Tumblr just doesn't work for me.

One theme I've enjoyed is Finn as an inspiration to other Stormtroopers...

Tomorrow (there'll be more of us) by dimircharmer

“FN-2187 was real, right?” She sounds very young again. “Please tell me he was real."

"I'm real,” said Finn, who was on his first patrol since his back healed. “And my name’s Finn now.”

Her eyes widened. “You have a name?”

and the sequel:

One Was All It Took
by Miz636

In the end, so many of their stories began just trying to escape the First Order and do the right thing by ending it. The Stormtrooper Rebellion was just Stormtroopers doing the right thing after being shown that they actually could.

All it took was one Stormtrooper, and so many more followed.

For people who prefer icons, another lovely set from [personal profile] sallymn - Smiles

Happy icons from Doctor Who, Merlin, SG-1, SGA and many more.
sally_maria: (Foremarke Hall)
Even though I'm no longer involved in the Tolkien Society committee, I still try to get to the AGM weekend every year. It's a great excuse to spend the weekend with friends, often listen to an interesting speaker at the Annual Dinner, and visit a new and interesting town/city. (There are so many interesting places I would probably have never got round to visiting if it wasn't for the TS.)

This year it was York, and while I'm sure I would have visited more of the city if it wasn't for the stinking cold I've been fighting, I did get to see quite a lot of the centre, including the Shambles, the Minster, the Yorkshire Museum and of course, the National Railway museum.

NRM April 16

(Click through for more pictures.)

Flying Scotsman fever has of course seized the museum, as it has the country - there are a lot of interesting presentations of the history of the FS express service, which existed long before the steam locomotive bearing the name, and the media and publicity attention it had from the very beginning.
(I must admit I'm more of a GWR fan - and my discussion of the exhibits included pointing out the model of City of Truro - which did 100mph long before that LNER upstart. ;-D)

On Sunday morning I went round with a group from the TS, and demonstrated that a little learning is a dangerous thing by attempting to explain various railway related things. I was obviously speaking too loud, as I was pounced on by one of the museum volunteers, who wanted to talk me into joining them. *blushes* Still, it was a good visit, and I was pleased to find Mallard, and a Royal Mail sorting carriage, which I missed the first time round.
sally_maria: Dreamsheep with Luthien's badge (Dreamsheep Luthien)
I swear it used to be in the autumn... Still there are worse things to have multiples of.

In any case someone elsewhere asked for our favourite Tolkien poem, and this came to mind.

From Mythopoeia:

"Dear Sir," I said- "Although now long estranged,
Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.
Dis-graced he may be, yet is not de-throned,
and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned:
Man, Sub-creator, the refracted Light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Though all the crannies of the world we filled
with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build
Gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sowed the seeds of dragons - 'twas our right
(used or misused). That right has not decayed:
we make still by the law in which we're made."


Feb. 14th, 2016 08:15 pm
sally_maria: cartoon image of Peter Capaldi doctor (Doctor 12 Rebel)
Every year the vidding version of Yuletide produces a wonderful crop of vids for rare/unvidded fandoms.

The vidders were revealed this weekend, so it was the perfect prompt to share some on my favourites.

The first one I have to share is for An Adventure in Time and Space, the drama about the early days of Doctor Who that was made for the 50th Anniversary. This emphasises the story of Verity Lambert and Waris Hussein, the original producer and director, making something wonderful happen.

It was made by purplefringe, who posts here about why she found the drama so inspiring.

Some others I also really liked included: )
sally_maria: (OTW)
While I was sharing things, I hope that people might find some of these helpful.

Some of these are userscripts, for which you need Greasemonkey (Firefox) or Tampermonkey (Chrome or Opera).

AO3 Crossover Savior - For hiding stories with too many fandoms from the search pages.
AO3 Lazier - Adds a button to take you to the latest posted chapter
AO3:Kudosed and seen history - for those of us who forget whether we've read a story before - show the ones you've given kudos to or marked as seen.

AO3 Saved Filters - a way to apply a specific filter every time you search on the archive, so you can block stories from a specific fandom, or with a specific pairing. It combines very well with...

"The "Search Within Results" Field and You" - instructions on how to rule items out of searches, using the internal number codes for certain tags - fandoms, pairings or characters.

Something else I went looking for was a way of loading stories without the collections they are part of, as I'm picky enough to want all my bookmarks to look the same. I asked over at the dreamwidth AO3 community and somebody made this bookmarklet.

So, if there's any particular function you want to know about, it's worth looking there, at [community profile] ao3some or at all the userscripts people have written for the archive.
sally_maria: Old-style drawn cover of Agent Peggy Carter (Agent Carter)
Day seven: whatever tickles your fancy...

And finally, some epic silliness. Last year several of the actors involved in Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD started a "dubsmash" war - lip-syncing to songs in as dramatic/humorous a way as they can. This is all of the clips, so you get to follow the story all the way through. :-)

sally_maria: Cartoon image saying "Cool Story Bilbo" with the Ring as one of the Os. (Cool Story Bilbo)
Day six: a song

So back in 2008, the Lord of the Rings musical was playing in London. I got to see it twice, and this was one of my favourite songs - the Frodo and Sam duet.

"Stories we tell,
will cast their spell,
now and for always."
sally_maria: X Wing fighter in a dive over water. (X Wing)
Day five: a youtube clip

I don't think anyone can describe this as spoilery (unless you don't know anything about who the actors who are appearing in the latest Star Wars film are) but it's such fun. :-)

Jimmy Fallon, The Roots & "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Cast Sing "Star Wars" Medley (A Cappella)
sally_maria: (Liz 10 - Bloody Queen)
Day four: a site

One of the my favourite blogs - Separated by a Common Language - which the author subtitles as "Observations on British and American English by an American linguist in the UK".

I find it a fascinating combination of linguistics and cultural observation - the differences go so much further than we call it a lift, they call it an elevator. :-)

Two example posts I found interesting - this one on noodles and this one about crosswords. Do read the comments as well - they usually add useful information to the topic, and trolls are rare.
sally_maria: 1950s British Railways logo (British Railways)
Day three: a book/story/fanfic...

My apologies for missing a day - I finally got to the cinema to see Star Wars after work, and got back too late for posting. This way at least, I get to coincide with a Reading Wednesday. :-)

So firstly a book, or in fact a series of books, by Edward Marston. Victorian detective stories, but with a twist guaranteed to appeal, to me at least. :-) Our hero, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck - The Railway Detective - is a fan of the modern new method of transport and solves various thefts, murders and other mysteries relating to the railways.

Another story relating to the railways, in a way, is a fanfic written for this year's Yuletide, based on the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch.

Mind the Gap, by maple_clef - "DCI Thomas Nightingale and his erstwhile apprentice are caught up in (un)seasonal high-jinks on the London Underground. It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

It really captures the humorous yet magical tone of the series, and I really loved the connection with the TLF Travel Alerts twitter.
sally_maria: (Picking apples anna_luna)
Day two: a picture...

One of my favourite cartoonist/greeting card artists. :-) For many more, see their Harold's Planet blog.
sally_maria: (Merlin - Grubby)
Stolen from [personal profile] sallymn :-)

For one week, recommend/share one thing:
Day one: a quote...

Where to start - there are three I find very meaningful on my profile, for one thing.

On the other hand, there is also the profound silliness of English History - or at least the bits you can remember. :-)

"Queen Anne was considered rather a remarkable woman and hence was usually referred to as Great Anna or Annus Mirabilis. Besides being dead she was extremely kind-hearted and had a very soothing Act passed called the
Occasional Conformity Act
which said that people only had to conform to it occasionally: this pleasant trait in her character was called Queen Anne's Bounty. (The Occasional Conformity Act was the only Act of its kind in History, until the Speed limit was invented.)"

(1066 and All That, by WC Sellar and RJ Yeatman)
sally_maria: (Silver on the Tree)
I was excited to see Brian Sibley had uploaded his BBC Radio dramatisation of this classic children's story to SoundCloud, and hoped some of you might be interested as well.

There's no way to download it, I'm afraid (or at least not one I know of) but it is completely free to listen to.
sally_maria: (Santa penguin)
And for anyone who I haven't already linked this to, my favourite video of this Christmas - the Postmodern Jukebox and their Andrews Sisters-style version of Last Christmas. :-)


Dec. 6th, 2015 04:45 pm
sally_maria: Lego minifig monster pushing a trolley of books (Book Monster)
Yesterday, I went to the the Tolkien Society Yulemoot in Birmingham - a new event for this year, just an evening sitting around in a pub, more or less, but a nice chance to catch up with friends, and meet some new people. I hope it's something they'll do again next year. It was lovely to meet [personal profile] kizzia again, and to travel home with [ profile] adaese.

Birmingham is well worth visiting at this time of year in any case, as the German Christmas market takes over more and more of the city centre. Lots of wonderful things to see, eat and drink - one of my favourites was the bar in a giant wooden advent calendar, being entertained by a steel drum band. :-)

Having gone to Centenary Square, I decided it was time to actually visit the new(ish) Library of Birmingham, which I'd admired on television. I wasn't a fan of the old Brutalist concrete building, and find this one much more appealing. A number of years ago, when we first moved TS committee meetings to Birmingham, we were able to use a hidden away treasure- the Shakespeare Memorial Room, originally built as part of the Victorian library - because of a member who worked there. With the building of the new library, it was moved again, this time to the very top of the new building, and freely open to the public, when not in use as a meeting room. I enjoyed the chance to take some pictures, both of the room, and the view from the gallery outside, over the cityscape.

Library of Birmingham

(Click through to Flickr to see the rest of the pictures)
sally_maria: cartoon Eighth Doctor with quote (Doctor not the one you were expecting)
Wishing you all the best for the rest of today, and the year to come.
sally_maria: (Dreamsheep Big Ben)
First, for any fans of Shaun, a lovely set of icons - some from the show/film and some of the Shaun in the City statues.

My book was mentioned in a blog post I was reading, one of Dimitra Fimi's, I think, and I thought it looked interesting, so I ordered it from the library. (The modern ability to order books from anywhere in the county over the internet, is definitely one of the wonders of the modern age. :-D)

"The Making of English National Identity" by Krishan Kumar, is very readable, though academic, take on a subject that I find very interesting. What he says makes a lot of sense, at least to this non-expert, and when I read this in the first chapter, I knew he was somebody whose ideas I was likely to be in sympathy with. :-)

"But it was the native English themselves who produced the best example of the genre: W.C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman's wickedly revealing 1066 and All That(1930) - the best book ever written on the English and their history, or what they take to be their history."


sally_maria: Daniel Jackson looking sideways (Default)
wrong but wromantic

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