Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland

BA A380 G-XLED on Terminal 3 Gate 40.


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The outward journey – 16 September 2017

Our outward journey to Vancouver was a four stage journey with a taxi trip to Glasgow Airport, a UK domestic flight to London Heathrow, a British Airways long haul flight to Vancouver and finally we drove ourselves from Vancouver airport to our first accommodation in North Vancouver.

With a midday flight from Glasgow we had our taxi booked to pick us up mid Saturday morning. Although we had done the on-line check-in the night before, we still had to attend the check-in desk at Glasgow airport. This was we received a surprise. As British Airways had changed their catering arrangements on UK domestic flights earlier in 2017, we were expecting to pay for any food on board, and had prepared accordingly. However as we had book Club Class for the long haul part of our journey, we had a Club Europe designation on our domestic flight which meant BA Lounge access at Glasgow and we were sitting up front in the “premium” cabin to London which included a light lunch. So at around 11:00 we found ourselves in the BA lounge awaiting our flight south.

As the flight left from Gate 21, it was not possible to photograph our aircraft, however we did get a chance to picture a Canadain aircraft loading for a flight to Toronto.

Air Transat A300 on stand 29 at Glasgow Airport

Air Transat A300 on stand 29 at Glasgow Airport
16 September 2017

At 11:44 boarding commenced on BA1483 from Glasgow (GLA) to London Heathrow (LHR). The aircraft for the flight was an Airbus A320, registration G-EUYN. After the doors had closed, pushback was at 12:06 followed by a taxi south west to the end of runway 05. one of our last views of the area was of the Paisley observatory and Thomas Coates Memorial Church.

The top of Thomas Coates Memorial Church and the Paisley Observatory over the bridges at M8 Junction 29.

The top of Thomas Coates Memorial Church and the Paisley Observatory over the bridges at M8 Junction 29.
16 September 2017

Following takeoff at 12:17, we entered the clouds soon after crossing the Clyde, resulting in very little ground views until approaching Heathrow airport. Coming in from the east approaching runway 27L, Twickenham stadium was one of the first landmarks to be seen.

Twickenham stadium from the air

Twickenham stadium from the air
16 September 2017

Landing at 13:16, there was a short taxi to the domestic side of terminal 5 (Gate 506). Although British Airways are based at Terminal 5 on Heathrow, they still have an extensive schedule of flights form Terminal 3, including the flight to Vancouver.
This was first time we had taken the Flight Connections route from Terminal 5, which was relatively simple. It was a very short wait until the bus to Terminal 3 arrived. Security clearance on arrival at Terminal 3 was quick and the BA Galleries lounge was close by on the south side of the terminal.

We had a seat by the window overlooking runway 27L and the associated taxiway. As befits one of the busiest airports in Europe, there was a lot of aircraft movements. The highlight was the number of Airbus A380, including those operated by Singapore, Etihad, Qantas, Emirates and British Airways. Near to our window was the gate Emirates A380 use. An outbound flight using A6-EEE was on stand when we arrived, shortly afterwards A6-EDI arrived and had to wait until the former cleared the stand an we got the sight of one still completing pushback whilst the other taxied onto stand.

Emirates A380 meet - A6-EDI taxiing onto the stand just vacated by A6-EEE

Emirates A380 meet – A6-EDI taxiing onto the stand just vacated by A6-EEE
16 September 2017

We also noted the BA A380 that had arrived from Vancouver G-XLEB being towed to the maintenance facility, and the aircraft to operate our flight G-XLED being moved from maintenance to the Terminal 3 gate.

British Airways A380 G-XLED being towed to Stand 340 for flight to Vancouver.

British Airways A380 G-XLED being towed to Stand 340 for flight to Vancouver.
16 September 2017

Our flight was departing from gate 40 which was a long walk to the northern extremity of T3. As the aircraft had just come out of maintenance, it required a security check which resulted in a delay in boarding.

BA85 Flight Delayed notice at gate 40

BA85 Flight Delayed notice at gate 40
16 September 2017

Boarding of G-XLED for BA85 to Vancouver started at 17:27, with the upper door closed at 17:52 and the lower door at 17:59. It was another 25 minutes before pushback. Our seats was on the upper deck in the front cabin.

Forward upstairs Club Class Cabin

Forward upstairs Club Class Cabin
16 September 2017

The curvature of the fuselage meant that is was not possible to see the ground close by, however we were far enough from the wing to give a reasonable view whilst in the air. Takeoff was at 18:53 on runway 27L. Our routing took us out over Ireland and south of Iceland before crossing Greenland and across northern Canada. Cloud cover meant there was little to see until well into the descent into Vancouver airport. Fifteen minutes before landing we were close to Stave Lake.

Stave Lake, 15 minutes out from Vancouver

Stave Lake, 15 minutes out from Vancouver
16 September 2017

Eight hours, 42 minutes after takeoff we landed on runway 26R at Vancouver Airport. The upper door was opened at Gate 64 at 19:45 (Pacific Time), ten minutes after touchdown. This gate is at the north west end of the international pier, a long walk from immigration. Since our last visit to Canada, entry is electronic, and unless you join the line for an attended desk you do not get a stamp in your passport. It is, however, very quick. That is more that can be said for the bags arrival in the reclaim hall which appeared to take an age, especially when your body clock thinks it is nearly 4am! Bags reclaimed it to the fourth part of our journey, picking up the Rental Car and driving to Thistledown House in North Vancouver. We were driving out of the airport just over an hour from touchdown, and navigated our way through Downtown Vancouver to Stanley Park and across the Lions Gate bridge to reach Capilano Road.


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British Columbia 2017

We recently took a two week holiday to British Columbia.

Our last visit to British Columbia was in October 2012, and one of the first things arriving passengers encounter at Vancouver airport is the water feature as they enter the immigration area.

Water Feature at Vancouver Immigration

Water Feature at Vancouver Immigration
2 October 2012

As with our previous travels, over the next few weeks, there will be a travelogue of our experiences. The cameras were well used and we visited a variety of locations which we will attempt to capture our memories. The Smugmug gallery will include more pictures of our holiday.


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London Bridge – 3 June 2017

A lot will be written and speculated about what happened and the causes of the events on London Bridge, outside Southwark Cathedral and in Borough Market just after 10pm on Saturday 3 June 2017. I do not intend to do that, however I do intend to reflect on two impressions of London at its best, firstly in the London Bridge Hotel, and secondly a Metropolitan Police Officer.

If you have followed this blog (and the associated Smugmug and Blipfoto galleries) you will know that London Bridge, The Shard and Southwark Cathedral feature from time to time.

So on Saturday 3 June, we went on another of our Cathedral visits, returning to London Kings Cross at around 9:45pm. Taking the Northern line to London Bridge we came up the escalator by the News UK building opposite our hotel – The London Bridge Hotel – outside the upper concourse of London Bridge railway station at around 10:10pm. Looking down London Bridge Street we saw blue flashing lights and commotion, however thought nothing of it as it was Saturday night on Borough High Street.

However as the night unfolded we realised how close we were to a Major Incident, and that we were trapped inside the security cordon with the hotel under Lockdown.

In the morning we watched out of our hotel as the police escorted News UK personnel from their building to outside the cordon. We decided to find out what was happening in the hotel. The Night Manager was still on duty and some of the resturant staff were still in from the previous night. The Day Manager and the breakfast team were unable to get in. In addition, quite a lot of the hotel guests had not been able to get back the previous night. The Night Manager organised what staff she had available to provide a breakfast service. She was in contact with the Metropolitan Police and in a controlled manner, with armed police escort, guests were able to leave the hotel.

So at 10:30am we presented ourselves at reception and checked-out to await an escort away. Our police escort, who we only know as “Rocky”, was good humoured given the circumstances and took across the front of the upper concourse of London Bridge railway station. For one of the busiest stations in the UK, it was surreal in that is was deserted. At this point I felt it prudent to keep my camera in its bag. We then went down the escalator to Tooley Street, and east to the cordon by More London Place. We thanked him and passing through the line of TV cameras, we headed up More London Place towards Tower Bridge, where we saw the Tower of London with its flag at half mast.

Tower of London with flag at half mast

Tower of London with flag at half mast
4 June 2017

Given the road closures and (unrelated) tube closures, the easiest tube station to head for was Aldgate, at the eastern end of the Metropolitan Line to get us to Euston.

Crossing Tower Bridge, we looked back at London Bridge, with buses still where they stopped the previous night, and The Shard.

The Shard and London Bridge

The Shard and London Bridge
4 June 2017

We had intended to go to Southwark Cathedral for the Sunday morning Pentecost service, however it was closed, and at the time of writing (on the evening of Monday 5 June), it is still closed with Tuesday morning services to be held at the nearby St Hughs. As various friends in the congregation and staff (clergy & vergers) knew we were in London and expected to see them on the Sunday morning, we had made sure they knew we were safely away from the cordon and on our train home from Euston.

We will be visiting London again in the near future, and will be using the London Bridge Hotel.


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He was Crucified

After being arrested, the Innocent Man, was tried and condemned to death: in the ongoing saga breaking over the last 24 hours of the innocent man arrested, it has been confirmed that the region’s Governor has found him Not Guilty of any crime. However following pressure put on him by the local leaders, and fearing a local uprising, the Governor has agreed to have the Innocent Man crucified to pacify the locals. He has also released a petty sneak thief in a further pacification move that has left many bewildered. The Governor has made it clear he does not believe the man is guilt but has had the Innocent Man whipped with a lead tipped whip before handing him over for his execution which shall begin at 12pm today.

He was Crucified

He was Crucified

[Credit to Chris Hoskins for the inspiration from his facebook postings during the Triidium in 2015]


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He was Betrayed

A group of friends went to the garden in the evening. One, an innocent man, went a little way off to meditate. The rest could not stay awake. He came back and woke them, rebuking them for sleeping.

Gethsemane

Gethsemane

One of the friends was not there, he was to betray his friend. The Betrayer came with a crowd, armed with weapons, from the elders to have the Innocent Man arrested.

Gethsemane

Gethsemane

The Betrayer kissed the Innocent Man who was then arrested.

The rest of the friends fled.

[Credit to Chris Hoskins for the inspiration from his facebook postings during the Triidium in 2015]

Fountains Abbey from the east


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Fountains Abbey – 20 September 2016

Founded in 1132, Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved of the ruined abbeys in the United Kingdom. The Cisterian foundation operated for around 400 years until the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII.

Fountains Abbey from the south west

Fountains Abbey from the south west
20 September 2016

The abbey complex is located in the valley of the River Skell which cuts across the site, with some of the building spanning the river.

River Skell running through the Abbey complex

River Skell running through the Abbey complex
20 September 2016

The foundation started following a riot in the Benedictine House of St Mary’s Abbey in York in 1132. Some fo the monks were expelled and were taken under the care of the then Archbishop of York (Thurstan) who gave the land as it was ideal for the development of a monastic community, with the river and local topography providing shelter. Natural resources where available is the shape of timber and stone for building. Following the winter of 1133, the monks applied to join the Cistercian order. They were successful becoming the second Abbey in the North Yorkshire to follow the order after Rievaulx.

Walking around the ruins, many features are still discernable.

Undercroft below the Great Cloister

Undercroft below the Great Cloister
20 September 2016

Immediately underneath the great East Window, with the mullions no longer present is the centre section (three altars) or the Chapel of Nine Altars. The base of the High Altar is slightly further west.

East Window

East Window
20 September 2016

Part of the chapel of Nine Altars

Southern third of the chapel of Nine Altars
20 September 2016

Looking west from below the west window the High Altar is in front of you with the Nave stretching away

High Altar, Chancel and Nave

High Altar, Chancel and Nave
20 September 2016

As with many Abbeys, a tower was built which still stands basically intact.

The Tower of Fountains Abbey

The Tower of Fountains Abbey
20 September 2016

The abbey thrived with many endowments, even surviving the looting of Northern England by the Scots after the Battle of Bannckburn. In 1539, the Abbey was surrendered to The Crown following the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was subsequently sold on to a London Merchant in 1540, who dismantled part of the complex to sell materials (timber, stone, lead) to offset to cost of the purchase.

In the 18th century it became part of the Studley Royal Estate. In 1966 the Abbbey came under the guardianship of the country, being managed by the National Trust since 1983.

In 1986, the Abbey and associate parkland was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

The eastern aspect of Fountains Abbey

The eastern aspect of Fountains Abbey
20 September 2016

Mount Grace Priory


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Mount Grace Priory – 20 September 2016

At the end of the 14th century, Thomas Holland, 1st Duke of Surrey founded the Carthusian house of Mount Grace Priory.

Mount Grace Priory church from the cloister

Mount Grace Priory church from the cloister
20 September 2016

There is a small church at the centre of the enclave. The tower (added in 1420) and some of the walls still stand, whilst the outline is clear to follow. A feature of the ruin is a recent statue of the Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child in the form of a cross, which combines the symbolism of the birth and crucifixion. The artist, Malcom Brocklesby, title this Madonna and Child when it was made in 1996.

Madonna and Child by Malcom Brocklesby

Madonna and Child by Malcom Brocklesby
20 Spetember 2016

As we found later in the date there is another depiction of this statue in Ripon Cathedral.

Unlike the Monastic foundations at Fountains, Bylands, Rivealux and Whitby (all visited later in our holiday), the Carthusian monks lived alone in individual cells around the Great Cloister, to the north of the church. They only ventured out to attend services in the church. This does mean that although the Priory has a large footprint there were few monks in residence (around 20 to 25).

Plan of Mount Grace Priory

Plan of Mount Grace Priory
20 September 2016

In their cells the monks slept, engaged in private prayer and meditation, work (e.g. weaving) and had a small garden. Cell 8 has been restored to give the visitor an impression of how the monks lived. As you enter, there is a small hatchway by the door for the monk to receive his meals, with an angle in it such that there is no direct line of sight through it.

Entrance to Cell 8

Entrance to Cell 8
20 September 2016

Downstairs there are two rooms:

A bedroom with a prayer desk

Bedroom in Cell 8

Bedroom in Cell 8
20 September 2017

A study with a table

Study in Cell 8

Study in Cell 8
20 September 2016

Upstairs there is one big room, which (in Cell 8) house a loom and other work areas.

Upstairs Workroom in Cell 8

Upstairs Workroom in Cell 8
20 September 2016

Going outside of the cell there is a covered walkway to the latrine and an enclosed garden that the monk would tend.

Garden of Cell 8

Garden of Cell 8
20 September 2017

Following the dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII, the Guest House remained intact until substantially altered by Lord Darcy [of Mount Grace] in the mid 17th century.

Mount Grace Priory Guest House

Mount Grace Priory Guest House
20 September 2016

The residence and the ruins passed through various hands until the 1950s when it was given to the state in lieu of death duties and put into the care of the National Trust, who entrust the management of the property to English Heritage.

Murals in the Nave


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St Peter & St Paul Parish Church, Pickering – 19 September 2016

Having arrived in Pickering via the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR), we went for a walk around Pickering and visited the Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul.

Porch and Tower

Porch and Tower
19 September 2016

Walking into the building, the medieval murals on the nave walls are one of the first things that are seen. Looking east, the chancel, high altar and east window are seen through the screen.

Chancel and High Altar

Chancel and High Altar
19 September 2016

The murals were painted in the 15th century and feature St George, St Christopher and various scenes from the bible.

Bible Scenes on the medieval murals

Bible Scenes on the medieval murals
19 September 2016

Within 100 years the murals were painted over. In 1852, they were accidentally uncovered. They were not to the liking of the vicar so they were covered up again. More recently they have been uncovered and restored. If you visit the church for no other reason, the murals are a delight to view.

Information Board in Market Street

Information Board in Market Street
19 September 2016

So if you are visiting North Yorkshire, you can either drive, or as we did take the NYMR train from the coast at Whitby, and the church can be found at the top of Market Place. You may even experience the market as we did on the day of our visit.

Larpool Viaduct


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North Yorkshire Moors Railway – 19 September 2016

Since we were staying by the Esk in Ruswarp, North Yorkshire Moor Trains (NYMR) passed by four times a day. So a visit and trip to the railway was near the top of list of things to visit.

Activity at Grosmont with LMS 4-6-0 Class 5MT 45428  and BR 2-6-0 Class 4MT 76079

Activity at Grosmont with LMS 4-6-0 Class 5MT 45428 and BR 2-6-0 Class 4MT 76079
19 September 2016

We decided to join the train at Grosmont, leaving our accomodation as the first train of the day passed by on its way to Whitby. After parking and getting our ticket are Grosmont, we waited for the train from Whitby as it headed to Pickering. LMS 4-6-0 Class 5MT 45428 Eric Treacy was bringing the train in from Whitby, whilst BR 2-6-0 Class 4MT 76079 was sitting in the carriage sidings waiting to haul the next service from Grosmont to Pickering.

Finding our seats, we travelled south to Pickering, where we watch 45428 detach from the train to run-round and take the service back north.

45428 under the station roof at Pickering

45428 under the station roof at Pickering
19 September 2016

We went for a walk round the town, and visiting the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul before have lunch. By the time we had finished lunch the next train was waiting to take us to Whitby. NER 0-8-0 Class T2/Class Q6 63395 was in charge as far at Grosmont as it was not certified to take the train to Whitby.

NER 0-8-0 Class T2/Class Q6 63395 having come off the Whitby bound train at Grosmont

NER 0-8-0 Class T2/Class Q6 63395 having come off the Whitby bound train at Grosmont
19 September 2016

Once 63395 had been uncoupled from the train, and returned to the Grosmont engine shed, Class 25 diesel D7628 Sybilla was coupled up for the trip to Whitby.

Class 25 D7628 Sybilla coming onto the Whitby bound train at Grosmont

Class 25 D7628 Sybilla coming onto the Whitby bound train at Grosmont
19 September 2016

The journey into Whitby took us along the Esk Valley, crossing the river nine times, past Sleights and Ruswarp (and our accomodation). Beyond Ruswrap the Esk becomes tidal and the main feature is Larpool Viaduct where the extinct Scarborough and Whitby Railway crossed the Esk.

Larpool Viaduct

Larpool Viaduct
19 September 2016

In Whitby, there is a glazed tile mural of the North Eastern Railway network.

North Eastern Railway network map in Whitby

North Eastern Railway network map in Whitby
19 September 2016

As there was some time before the return train to Grosmont, we went for a walk around the harbour and found The Coffee Shop for a drink and cake.

The Coffee Shop in Whitby

The Coffee Shop in Whitby
19 September 2016

Returning to the station we caught the train back to Grosmont, where a final treat for diesel enthusiasts awaiting in the form of Class 37 37 264 to take the train from Grosmont to Pickering.

37 264 leaving Grosmont for Pickering

37 264 leaving Grosmont for Pickering
19 September 2016

After a day on the NYMR, we headed back to our accommodation in Ruswrap.

Scarborough North Bay


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Whitby 2016 – Scarborough – 18 September 2016

Visiting friends in Scarborough, we went for a walk along North Bay.

Beach Huts at Scarborough North Bay

Beach Huts at Scarborough North Bay
18 September 2016

Taking the path down to the beach, the first thing that is of notice is the redundant pylons for the dismantled cable car.

Redundant cable car pylons

Redundant cable car pylons
18 September 2016

At the south end of the bay is the 12th century Scarborough Castle located on the headland that separates North Bay from southern beach.

Scarborough Castle

Scarborough Castle
18 September 2016

Where the road comes onto the seafront, onto Royal Albert Drive, is Peasholm Gap. Nearby is Peasholm Park, with its lake and island.

Peasholm Park and island

Peasholm Park and island
18 September 2016