Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland

Llanuwchllyn station


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Bala Lake Railway – 11 August 2016

On the 4 August 1868, the Bala and Dolgelly Railway opened, the last section of the standard gauge line linking Ruabon to Barmouth Junction. The railway was absorbed into the Great Western Railway in July 1877. The line was officially closed on 18 January 1965, with the lifting of the track completed in 1969.

Llanuwchllyn station sign

Llanuwchllyn station sign
11 August 2016

This was not the end of trains between Bala and Llanuwchllyn. In 1972, George Barnes founded the Bala Lake Railway (Rheilffordd Llyn Tegid in Welsh). The first trains ran from Llanuwchllyn to Pentrepiod, with the line extended to Llangower in 1975, with trains reaching the former Bala Lake Halt, now called Bala (Pen-y-bont) in 1976.

Kerr Stuart locomotive Diana at Llanuwchllyn

Kerr Stuart locomotive Diana at Llanuwchllyn
11 August 2016

On the day of my visit, the 1917 Kerr Stuart locomotive, Diana, was in charge of the trains.

Building on westbound platform at Llanuwchllyn

Building on westbound platform at Llanuwchllyn
11 August 2016

Usually there is only one train operating. There is a loop at Llangower which is occaisionally used when a two train service is in operation.

Signal for westbound trains at Llangower

Signal for westbound trains at Llangower
11 August 2016

A major appeal is in progress to extend the line from the current terminus at Pen-y-Bont to the west side of Bala, given the name The Red Dragon Project.

Rollin' Drones in Buchanan Street


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Rollin’ Drones in Buchanan Street – 23 July 2016

On any weekend, a walk along Buchanan Street in Glasgow will reveal the regular selection of street entertainers. Occasionally you come across a gem, which shows that you can find some of the best street entertainers around in Glasgow.

One such is the Rollin’ Drones.

Rollin' Drones in Buchanan Street

Rollin’ Drones in Buchanan Street
23 July 2016

The Rollin Drones are based in Scotland and perform their unique fusion of bagpipes and pop all over the world. Musicians in the band are award winning and world class. As well as pipers there is a drummer and bass players.

Rollin' Stones piper and drummer in Buchanan Street

Rollin’ Stones piper and drummer in Buchanan Street
23 July 2016

Rollin' Stones piper in Buchanan Street

Rollin’ Stones piper in Buchanan Street
23 July 2016

Whilst I was watching them, a large crowd assembled and were kept captivated whilst the musicians went through a wide ranging set.

Rollin' Drones drummer in Buchanan Street

Rollin’ Drones drummer in Buchanan Street
23 July 2016

They have branded shirts and the pipe bags have their logo.

Rollin' Drones branding on the bag of the pipes

Rollin’ Drones branding on the bag of the pipes
23 July 2016

Ship of Dreams


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BFG Dream Jar Trail – 16 July 2016

On the weekend of 16/17 July 2016, the world premiere of the BFG Movie took place, which marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of the BFG Creator Roald Dhal. As part of this a BFG Dream Jar Trail has been set up. Around half of the jars were on display in London, with the majority at Leicester Square.

As with the Shaun in the City trails last year, we started at The Shard.

Up, Up and away at The Shard

Up, Up and away at The Shard
16 July 2016

There were two dream jars by City Hall at More London; the Open Dream suggested by Justin Rose (who was playing in the Open Championship in Royal Troon that weekend) and For the Love of the Hedgehog

The Open Dream

The Open Dream
16 July 2016

For the Love of the Hedgehog

For the Love of the Hedgehog
16 July 2016

As some had not yet been located, and those which had had been moved to Leicester Square for the weekend, we heading west along the south of the Thames to Tate Modern, where we crossed the Millennium Bridge. Heading up to the museum of London we found another Dream Jar – A Whale’s Tail

A Whale's Tail

A Whale’s Tail
16 July 2016

It was then a walk from the relatively quiet weekend City of London to a very busy City of Westminster where we found two dream jars around Covent Garden before reaching the display in the centre of Leicester Square.

Dream Jars on display in Leicester Square

Dream Jars on display in Leicester Square
16 July 2016

This was part of a larger feature in the square marking the premiere of the film later in the weekend.

BFG display in Leicester Square

BFG display in Leicester Square
16 July 2016

The Dream Jars will be on display until 31 August 2016, after which they will be auctioned off in aid of Save the Children and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.

Detail at bottom of lamp standard


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Holborn Viaduct – 16 July 2016

During a recent visit to London, our walk took us over Holborn Viaduct. A few years ago whilst we had a flat in London, we had occasion to drive under the viaduct on Farringdon Street on Christmas Day.

The viaduct was built in the 1860s to span the valley of the Fleet River crossing Farringdon Street and the subterranean river (which had been placed in a tunnel in the eighteenth century).

A feature on the parapets are sculptures by Farmer and Brindley, and Henry Bursill.

Winged Lion on Holborn Viaduct

Winged Lion on Holborn Viaduct
16 July 2016

Farmer and Brindley produced the winged lions and the figures – Science and Fine Arts – on the north side.

Science on the North Parapet

Science on the North Parapet
16 July 2016

Bursill provided the figures – Commerce and Agriculture – on the south side.

Commerce on south parapet of Holborn Viaduct

Commerce on south parapet of Holborn Viaduct
16 July 2016

Iconic transport associated with London was seen crossing the bridge, including a preserved Routemaster bus that had been hired for a wedding.

London Black Cab and Routemaster Bus approaching Holborn Viaduct.

London Black Cab and Routemaster Bus approaching Holborn Viaduct.
16 July 2016

The nearby Holborn viaduct Station, which had platforms at the same level as the street was closed in 1990 to be replaced with City Thameslink which is located underground linking Brlackfriars and Farringdon stations.

Planting completed and top dressed with bark


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Project Garden – Front Garden Changes July 2016

Ever since we moved in, we have been considering a change to our drive. The builders created it on a curve. It was just wide for two cars, however when getting out of the right hand car you had to step out onto the grass. We decided to remedy this.

The starting position

The starting position
2 July 2016

Prior to the hard landscape team arriving, the grass was marked out with canes. As well as the widening of the drive, we also put a path across the front of the house. There was also a plan to extend the front border to include the tree that had been planted in the middle of front grass.

Drive widened

Drive widened
6 July 2016

Due to the grass not being level, we have a slight raised edge to match up with the grass which will also provide an edge to keep the new border extension in check.

Our lavender bush was outgrowing the container it was in so it was to be planted into the new bed with a selection of hebes around it. In addition to provide some white flowers, a bridal wreath was added. The hebes selected included Hebe Red Edge (3 plants), Hebe Pewter Dome and Hebe Franciscana Variegata. All the plants will fill out over the years.

Planting completed

Planting completed
13 July 2016

To top it off bark was to be used. When using bark in bulk I have been using a local company – Scotbark – who deliver in cubic metre bags. With the planting finished I ordered the bark at 11:00, expecting it was be delivered the following week. So I was surprised when an hour later the bark was delivered.

Bark delivery

Bark delivery
14 July 2016

Although I had other plans for the afternoon, I did have an hour to move some of the bark, including top dressing the new planting.

Completed drive and planting

Completed drive and planting
14 July 2016

Red Cross Garden


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Red Cross Garden, Southwark – 8 May 2016

Back in May on a sunny weekend, we found ourselves in a quiet oasis in Southwark. In 1887 on the site of a burnt out paper factory, the Red Cross Garden was laid out.

Red Cross Garden notice board

Red Cross Garden notice board
8 May 2016

Octavia Hill established the garden as a shared community space in 1887/8.

Blue plaque for Octavia Hill

Blue plaque for Octavia Hill
8 May 2016

The garden is managed by Bankside Open Spaces Trust.

Pond in Red Cross Garden.

Pond in Red Cross Garden.
8 May 2016

In the mid 20th century, the garden was mainly grass and tarmac, however the Bankside Open Spaces Trust with Lottery funding restored the garden, including some of the original features. The Princess Royal officially re-opened the garden on 1 June 2006.

Housing on west side

Housing on west side
8 May 2016

Trailing Lobelia


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Project Garden Update – 2 July 2016

After a glorious sunny May and a wet June the garden is thriving.

The front garden is full of colour, with the raised bed blooming.

Front Garden

Front Garden
2 July 2016

Honeysuckle flower

Honeysuckle flower
2 July 2016

Yellow Rose

Yellow Rose
2 July 2016

In the coming weeks, we are getting the drive widened, to make it easier to get out of cars without standing on the grass. At the same time the area around the tree is going to become an extension to the shrub bed.

Grass marked out for drive widening and extended bed.

Grass marked out for drive widening and extended bed.
2 July 2016

Around the back the bedding plants are providing a colourful display.

Colour in the back garden

Colour in the back garden
2 July 2016

The vegetables and fruit are thriving. On one side the peas and broad beans now have pods.

Broad Beans

Broad Beans
2 July 2016

At the back of the garden, the second pulling of rhubarb is ready, with the raspberries and blackcurrants showing promise.

Blackcurrant bush laden with berries

Blackcurrant bush laden with berries
2 July 2016

Duck on Bingham's Pond


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Bingham’s Pond – 18 June 2016

I found another hidden gem in Glasgow a week or so ago.

Between Great Western Road and Gartnavel Hospital in the Kelvinside area of Glasgow is Bingham’s Pond.

Bingham's Pond

Bingham’s Pond
18 June 2016

The pond was created on the sire of coal and brick pits in the 1880s. A few years later a boathouse was built. In the late 1950s, the eastern section was sold off and filled in. The Stakis Pond Hotel and a petrol station was built on the site. The remaining part was acquired by Glasgow City Corporation.

The pond is home to wildlife, mainly water birds, including swans, ducks and coots. At the time if the visit Cygnets and Coot chicks were observed.

Swans and Cygnets

Swans and Cygnets
18 June 2016

Coot

Coot
18 June 2016

Duck on Binghma's Pond

Duck on Bingham’s Pond
18 June 2016

Around the pond and on the islands, created to encourage wild birds in 2003, reeds and bulrushes grow.

Bulrushes at Bingham's Pond

Bulrushes at Bingham’s Pond
18 June 2016

Mural of power station wall


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Cockenzie – 9 June 2016

At the beginning of June 1986, I reported to Cockenzie Power Station as I started my first day in full time employment. Little was I to know that 30 years later I would be receiving my 30 years long service award.

Cockenzie Power Station was opened in 1967. With an output of 1200MWe, it was the largest in Europe at the time.

Cockenzie Power Station

Cockenzie Power Station
10 February 2010

By the time I last visited it in, when it was operational, it was two-shifting – that is was operating during the morning and evening peaks only. My next visit to the site, demolition was in full swing, with the precipitators had been removed between the chimneys and the boiler house.

Boiler House and chimneys, with precips removed.

Boiler House and chimneys, with precips removed.
1 October 2014

On the 26 September 2015, the chimneys and turbine hall were demolished, with the boiler house following in December 2015. So to the present day. The office block and CW pumphouse remain, with the stators from two of the generators visible from the path outside the site.

Remaining buildings at Cockenzie Power Station.

Remaining buildings at Cockenzie Power Station.
9 June 2016

Next to the power station is Cockenzie harbour, and a green space which includes a display of components from a coal mill – disc and balls. The mills took the coal as delivered and pulverised it to a fine dust for combustion.

Coal Mill - disc and balls

Coal Mill – disc and balls
9 June 2016

In the nearly 50 years of the existence of the power station, the nearby harbour has been a constant.

Cockenzie Harbour

Cockenzie Harbour
9 June 2016

Crosshouse Parish Church


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Crosshouse Parish Church – 11 June 2016

Those of you who live in (or know of) West Central Scotland may know about the large general hospital at Kilmarnock. Crosshouse Hospital takes it name from the adjacent village.

In 1882, Crosshouse Parish Church was built to service the mining village of the same name.

Main Door of Crosshouse Parish Church

Main Door of Crosshouse Parish Church
11 June 2016

The movement to build a church in Crosshouse started in 1879, with a committee of 19, chaired by the Rev Alexander Inglis. By early 1880 subscriptions had raised just over £400. In July 1880, Lady Harriet Scott Bentnick (daughter of the 4th Duke of Portland), gave the land for the church and manse for a feu of 5/- (25p) per year and donated £100 to the building fund. With £600 from the Baird Trust and £700 from the Ferguson Trust, the inital estimated cost of £1,770 had been reached. A further £250 was estimated for boundary wall and heating in the building. The foundation stone was laid in 1881. The church was opened for public worship on Sunday 19 March 1882. The accounts for the building at the 1882 amounted to just over £2,755.

From the road the leads to Kilmarnock (and the hospital), the church is prominent with a war memorial in front. To the east is the manse, which was completed in 1887.

South face of Crosshouse Parish Church

South face of Crosshouse Parish Church
11 June 2016

Entering the church, the organ and rose window are featured at the north end of the nave.

The nave looking to the Organ and north rose window.

The nave looking to the Organ and north rose window.
11 June 2016

The original communion table is now used elsewhere in the building, following the gift by the late Elizabeth Well in 1980.

The Elizabeth Well Communion Table

The Elizabeth Well Communion Table
11 June 2016

Provision had been made in the construction of a gallery, to seat 100 people at the south end of the building. This can be seen by the arrangement of the south window, leaving blank wall were the gallery would have been located.

South Window

South Window
11 June 2016

The baptismal font was made out of marble and presented to the congregation by Mr Pollock Morris.

Marble Font

Marble Font
11 June 2016

A legacy was received from his estate in 1901, which was used to install an organ in the building, located under the North Rose Window.