Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Night Steam

For a change of pace this Friday, let's look at a beautiful steamship and learn her story!

SS Great Britain

By   |  
A recent popular poll placed Isambard Kingdom Brunel as the second Greatest Briton of all time, second after Sir Winston Churchill. He was without doubt Britain’s greatest engineer, and of all the legacies he left to the world, one of his greatest was the SS Great Britain.
The wrought iron steamship was built in 1843 in Bristol, under the supervision of Brunel for the Great Western Steamship Company. The Great Britain set the design standards for today’s modern shipping and eminently demonstrated the industry and inventiveness of the Victorian era. Almost single-handedly Brunel shaped the future of mass passenger travel and international communications.
Brunel PD
Originally conceived as a paddle steamer, her design was quickly altered to take advantage of the new technology of screw propulsion, and her engines were converted to power a massive sixteen foot iron propeller. When launched in 1843 she was by far the largest ship in the world, at almost 100 metres she was over 30 metres longer than her nearest rival, and was the first screw propelled, ocean-going, wrought iron ship. Weighing in at a massive 1930 tons, she was designed initially for the Trans-Atlantic luxury passenger trade, and could carry 252 first and second class passengers and crew of 130.
Whilst her first few voyages demonstrated her technological ability, they were not a great financial success, attracting far fewer passengers than anticipated. Her career in this trade was thus short lived, and after she ran aground on the sands of Dundrum Bay in Northern Ireland in 1846, her engines were so badly damaged that she was sold on.
Under Gibbs Bright and Co, the ship prospered. The new owners took advantage of the increase in emigration caused by the Australian gold rush, and re-built the ship as an emigrant carrier, taking people to Australia. With a new upper deck added and a new engine fitted, she could now transport 750 passengers in three classes.
Over the next 24 years and 32 voyages she carried over 16,000 emigrants to Australia, and was known in her time as one of the fastest, most elegant and luxurious emigrant clipper ships – the ‘Greyhound of the seas’.

The average time she took on the return journey to Australia was 120 days - very competitive for the mid-19th century. Passage on the ss Great Britain could virtually guarantee that a passenger would arrive on time, well ahead of any sail powered rivals.
SS Great Britain 1863 WKPD
As meat went off easily on these long voyages, large numbers of live animals were carried for food, giving the ship the appearance of Noah's Ark rather than an emigrant ship. On one voyage in 1859, the ship carried 133 live sheep, 38 pigs, 2 bullocks, 1 cow, 420 fowl, 300 ducks, 400 geese and 30 turkeys. Passenger diaries record the ship as smelling and sounding like a barnyard!
Between 1854 and 1855 she was chartered by the Government to carry troops to and from the Crimean War, and over the course of the conflict transported over 44,000 troops.
Following the war she was rebuilt yet again before being chartered by the Government for further troop transportation duties, carrying the 17th Lancers and 8th Hussars to the Indian Mutiny.
In 1861, for a marginally less serious conflict, the Great Britain also carried the first ever English cricket side to tour Australia. The tour was immensely successful with a 15,000 crowd attending the opening match at Melbourne. The tourists played 12 games in all, winning 6, drawing 4 and losing 2.
And bad news could often follow glad news, such as when the onboard newspaper the ‘Great Britain Times’ reported death of the pet koala bear belonging to the ship’s carpenter. Apparently the marsupial died of ‘pulmonary consumption’ on 25 October 1865, much to the sadness of crew and passengers.
One of the ship’s more eccentric captains, Captain Gray, climbed each mast at least once a week and interrupted one voyage to Australia to claim the uninhabited island of St. Martin for the Empire. He held a banquet that evening to celebrate.
SS Great Britain int. courtesy of the ss Great Britain Trust

Photographs courtesy of the ss Great Britain Trust
By the late 1870’s the Great Britain was showing her age, her engines were removed, and she was converted into a fast three-masted sailing ship. In this unrecognisable guise, the once proud ship transported Welsh coal to San Francisco. On her third trip, however, she ran into trouble around Cape Horn, and was forced to run for shelter in Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Damaged as a result of this, she was sold as a coal and wool storage hulk in Port Stanley.
In all the Great Britain had 25 accidents entered in her logs – ranging from collisions with other vessels, running aground, lost spars and mast damage, to losing that eccentric Captain Gray in mysterious circumstances.
She remained in Port Stanley through the First World War, with coal from her hold helping to replenish the battle cruisers Inflexible and Invincible before the decisive battle of the Falkland Islands on 7 December 1914, in which the armoured cruisers Gneisenau and Scharnhorst and light cruisers Nurnberg and Leipzig were sunk.
By 1937 the Great Britain’s hull was no longer watertight, and after being towed a short distance from Port Stanley, she was beached and abandoned to the elements.
Attempts to rescue her in the late 1930’s and 1960’s failed, but finally in 1970 an epic salvage effort refloated the ship, and she was towed back home across the Atlantic to Bristol.
Despite spending nearly 100 years suffering in the harsh South Atlantic weather, the Great Britain was able to float up the River Avon herself! After covering over a million miles, Brunel’s 155 year old iron hull had stood the test of time superbly.
Following yet another refit, this time costing in the region of £11.3 million, Brunel’s ss Great Britain was re-launched as one of the world’s most important maritime museums in 2005. For further details visit

SS Great Britain

Today's funny :0)

Darn kids!

Gorilla bangs on glass Field trip

Charlie's widdle waddle

The frostbite on the right side of Charlie's wattle fell off and just left scar tissue. The left side is still blackened. Hopefully it will fall off soon. The girls have not been picking at it, so that is a good sign that it will heal quickly.

I tried to get him to turn his head for a better picture...but he was in no mood to pose for the camera!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

December 24, 1968

The untold story of the most iconic picture of the 20th century:

Today's funny - for the guys :o)

What do you get when you cross '57 Chevy with a Harley?

Answer: The best of both rides!

Walking with chickens!

Took everyone out for a walk to get some exercise. Charlie was not happy that I was hurrying him along. It was too cold out to keep them on the snow and ice for a long time.

They enjoyed getting out of the pen for a while. Cabin fever, 'ya know.....

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Big Bad Wolf

I went on this ride back in '88 - pretty tame now compared to today's coasters!

(Would I ever go on a coaster again - NO)!

The Big Bad Wolf


Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens' Big Bad Wolf closed at the end of its 25th season. The park announced that the ride had reached the end of its serviceable life and would be retired in September 2009.
Big Bad Wolf is best known for its finale where the track drops over the edge of a 99-foot cliff and descends into a tight turn over the Rhine River. During the first part of this Arrow-Huss suspended coaster the track travels through a Bavarian Village with the cars swinging to narrowly miss the buildings at speeds approaching 50 mph.

Roller Coaster Details

Year Track Type Designer
1984 Steel Suspended Terrain Arrow Dynamics, Huss

Roller Coaster Stats

Drop: 106 feet Height: 100 feet
Length: 2,800 feet Trains: 3 - 28 passenger
Ride Time: 3 minutes Top Speed: 48 mph

Big Bad Wolf Facts

Final day of operation: September 7, 2009 Features: Two Lift Hills (50 feet, 100 feet)
Train has seven cars with two rows each, seating two abreast per row.
Height requirement: Riders must be at least 42 inches tall


Today's funny :0)

Wake up time!

This is what wakes me up EVERY morning. Sometimes it starts at 2:30 AM.  Or, if I'm really, really lucky: 3 AM..... and it goes on for half an hour.....


Now you know why I get grumpy sometimes!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jessie Tarbox Beals

Jessie Tarbox was born on December 23, 1870, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She began taking pictures as a hobby and in 1902 was hired by The Buffalo Inquirer as a staff photographer. Tarbox is thought to be the first woman in the US to hold this position. After covering the World’s Fair in 1904, she moved to New York City and opened a photography studio,taking portraits of famous people including Theodore Roosevelt and Mark Twain. Tarbox died in 1942.
 Her first career was as a teacher, working in Massachusetts. In 1888, Beals got her first camera and began taking pictures as a hobby, often in the summertime when school was out. She married Alfred Tennyson Beals in 1897.

Jessie taught her husband how to develop negatives and make prints. In 1900, she left teaching and pursued photography full time with her husband as her assistant.

Becoming restless, they moved to St. Louis to cover the World’s Fair in 1904.
 At first, she wasn’t acknowledged as a press photographer, but she managed to get credentials that allowed her to take pictures of the fair before the exhibits were opened. From those initial images, Beals managed to convince the fair’s administration of her talents, and she became the only official female photographer for the event. While there, she took impressive shots of the fair’s air show, exhibits, and many of its important visitors.

In 1905, Jessie fulfilled a professional dream-she moved to New York City and opened a studio. She became known for portraits, documenting her subjects in a realistic, natural style. She also continued to work as a freelance photographer. She was featured in a 1913 The New York Times article about women photographers and described a recent project-“photographing tenement-house conditions for the purpose of reform.”

Separated from her husband in 1917, she was left to look after their daughter-who was born in 1911-on her own. With a child to support, she often took whatever type of work she could get. Besides taking pictures, Beals also lectured on the subject of the photography.

  Toward the end of her life, she spent several years in California doing garden photography, and some of these images were published in The New York Times. Beals was also published in such magazines as Ladies’ Home Journal, Town and Country, and Harper’s Bazaar during the course of her career.

Her photographs of New York and the people at the turn of the 20th century are just stunning.
If you love Black and White photography, this is definitely for you!

Today's funny :0)

Simon's cat time!

Clean up time (again)!

Cleaned out the pen and coop yesterday. All the poopies were frozen solid, so it was easy to do.

Put down fresh shavings.....

..... then lots of fresh hay.

Laverne and Shirley look for some grass to eat:

 Charlie has to inspect EVERYTHING before he lets his ladies go in:

Just had to get everything done before the bitter, bitter cold and wind pays us another visit!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fun in the snow (3rd try to post this - darn you, Blogger)!! :o(

H/T to Donna in FLORIDA!

The annual Snow Sculpture contest in Breckenridge, Colorado, attracts contestants from all over the world. 























Today's funny :o)

'Yep - still cold!

It was only 5 degrees when I let the chickens out yesterday morning!

Charlie had to be sure the girls were eating before he started. He really is such a good rooster!

We received another light dusting of snow in the afternoon. Should be cold all this week and then maybe warm up into the 20's for next week. Hooo-raaay!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Good morning!

Have a ton of things that must get done!

Alphabet Soup

Will be back on Monday - please stay cozy and WARM!

And as always, thank you for stopping by!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Night Steam

How to repair your steam engine!

Previous loco


Next loco

No. 45605 - Cyprus

45605 Cyprus at the back of Leeds Holbeck shed

Outline History
April 1935  Built at NBL (Queens Park)
Makers Number: 24163
Lot Number: 118
Original LMS number: 5605
July 1936  Named Cyprus
July 1948  Renumbered 45605
September 1950  Based at Leeds (Holbeck)
January 1957  Based at Leeds (Holbeck)
February 1964  Withdrawn
March 1964  Transferred to Burton
March 1964  Stored at Crewe Works
March 1964  Cut up at Crewe Works
(Some shed allocations and transfers may not be shown)
Sources: The above information comes from various books listed in the bibliography.

This page was last updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013.
This site is copyright Simon Robinson. You may use any part of this site for any non-commercial purpose, but if you do so, please attribute it to me and provide a link back to this site.
To the best of my knowledge, all photographs used on this site are published with the full permission of the photographer or photograph owner. However, if you are the copyright holder and have any objection to the photo being used, please email me.


(Took me a while to find just this little bit of information!) CM