Sunday 31 December 2017

Christmas Reading (2)

A Spectacular Sheffield Skid
Here is the junction between Gleadless Road and Leighton Road in safe and pleasant conditions.
Now look at a car descending the snowy hill. It is skidding sideways across the road (upper right).
At strikes an obstacle, almost certainly this one (bottom left):-
The car flips on its side ...
... turns right over and lands upright.
The chequered vehicle contained a paramedic and the somersaulting driver sustained a few cuts and bruises but nothing serious.
It was a Radio Sheffield staff member who observed the event!

Well Hidden Chariots
Yet again, fbb shows his deep ignorance of the world wide web! On Friday he wrote about a new minibus service in the USA called Chariot.
fbb bewailed the fact that whenever he tried to dins out more information, the web took him back to San Francisco. He had ignored a little blue arrow.
This did lead to info on the New York operation ...
... and Austin San Antonio.
The maps for Columbus and Seattle showed no coloured lines.

Thanks to a correspondent who pointed out that full details of he proposed London operation are shown (here) on the London Service Permit Bulletin No 390.

Wolmar Writes about War 
Christian Wolmar, as well as being a failed candidate for London Mayor, is a prolific and excellent author on matters concerning the Railways.
Mrs fbb obtained this (cover priced at £20) volume for £5 in Seaton's second hand bookshop.
Amazon's prices were varied, running from £377.96 ...
... to a more modest £1.84 ...
... plus postage!

It is no reflection on Mr Wolmar's writing skills, but the book is rather old-fashioned in its production style. It has a collection of maps all together at the front. Here is, arguably, the first ever military railway built to relive the siege of Sevastopol in 1855.
Also separate from the text are photographic "plates"; again Balaklava port is a typical example.
A more modern (maybe more expensive!) style would have these helpful aids to understanding printed as part of the text. But it makes the book hard work for someone like fbb whose world geographical knowledge is not of the best.

Balaklava illustrates the premise of the book. Wolmar claims, quite rightly, that the "invention" and development of railways changed the way that wars were waged. These changes continued until the present day - but the book ends with the Korean War which began in 1950.
Despite the extra effort needed to refer to plates and maps, the content is a fascinating tour-de-force from Mr Wolmar. The effort is well worth it!

He even refers to one of the UK's more bizarre pieces of ferroequinological militaria.
This was the armoured train which ran on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway during the 2nd World War.

It is doubtful whether the Luftwaffe would have quailed in fear as its planes sought out London targets, but as a PR exercise it was really powerful.

That is typical of the book - full of big warlike things and the little delights combined with biographical anecdotes to personalise the often horrific events.

A good post festive read!

Engines of War
Christian Wolmar
Atlantic Books
Widely available second hand
    Post-Advent CALENDAR - 31     
Stable/Cattle Shed/Cave, Smelly Shepherds, Temple Oddities, Zoroastrian Star Gazers plus a cruel King and a desperate escape to Egypt. Two years (ish) of excitement then ...


We do rather overplay Christmas, an event so relatively unimportant in the Gospel of Christ that only two of the four writers mention it. The main show begins with this man ...
... Jesus' cousin (in human terms), whom we know today as John The Baptist. He was a hairy weirdo from the desert who brought a revolutionary message to the people of his day.

So John appeared in the desert, baptising and preaching. “Turn away from your sins and be baptised,” he told the people, “and God will forgive your sins.” Many people from the province of Judea and the city of Jerusalem went out to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptised them in the Jordan River.

John wore clothes made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. He announced to the people, “The man who will come after me is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to bend down and untie his sandals. I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”

Over the subsequent three years, Christmas would, at last, begin to make sense.

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth from nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

** Just one incident from Jesus' childhood is recorded by Luke (Chapter 2 verses 41 to 52).
 Next Mega Logology blog : Monday 1st January  2018  

No comments:

Post a Comment