Saturday 10 December 2022

Saturday Variety

Dashed Clever, These Swiss

You have just watched a carriage bogie changing gauge whilst the train is in motion. This is a practice now  used at the borders of systems with different gauges to ensure a seamless and slick changeover. In the olden days you had to physically change the bogies and it was very slow.

Tomorrow a new gauge-changing train service begins from Interlaken (narrow gauge : map top right) ...
... to Montreux (standard gauge : centre left).
Bet it's expensive!

Dashed Clever, These Chinese
There already is a splendiferous road bridge across the Hangzhou Bay ...
... about half way between Beijing and Hong Kong. Now China has announced a high speed rail bridge across the same expanse of wet stuff.
It sounds scary!
And it looks - BIG!
It is all part of China's massive expansion of high speed rail.

How  is the UKs High Speed 2 going. Probably only going to Birmingham?

Look At My Trainset!
Looking for oddments about OO gauge pointwork, the bane of fbb's modelling life, the old man came across this picture.
Clearly it is a right hand point about to be fitted into to very neatly ballasted track. There is even some of that new fangled static grass in the top left hand corner. Very realistic - or is it?
Indeed is is VERY realistic; it is real!

So, come with fbb to 1632 Centennial Olympic Parkway NE at Conyers in Georgia USA. There is a posh hotel ...
... hidden in trees.
Immediately opposite is ...
... nothing much. But look closely; even better, look from above, and something familiar is revealed.
It is a H-U-U-U-GE miniature railway. And fbb means huge. You can sort out the track plan and match it with the above aerial view. 

There is the top loop (called West End) ...
... the middle bit with depot and sidings ...
... and the lower (East) loop.
The line is built and run by a load of miniature railway enthusiasts with pots, no, vast tanks of money. It is open occasionally to the public.
And if fbb were foolhardy enough to stray from the tenth commandment ...
... just to watch it all happening, he might covet the opportunity!

It is called the "Conyers Live Steamers".

Puzzle Picture
What and where? As a massive clue, the bus is an Arriva 726.

You certainly need International Rescue to help you find your platform!


 Advent Calendar Day 10 

Joshua Judges

The transition from nomadic tribes to a settled community was never going to be easy. First there was the problem of getting settled. The indigenous population was not keen and several Caananite city states were unwilling to welcome the newcomers.

There is some evidence for the historical collapse of Jericho's walls but such a debacle is very difficult to date, especially as Jericho was beaten up on many occasions.
The marching, the trumpets, the shouting and, above all God, combined to bring about a spectacular victory.

Joshua's book is selective in its incidents and spends quite a lot of time recording the division of the land between the 12 tribes. There were disputes there as well - all very "normal".

But how do you "manage" the settlement, notably after the demise of their big-cheese leader, Joshua? Right at the beginning of the Book of Judges, the depressing pattern is outlined.

They stopped worshiping the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God who had brought them out of Egypt, and they began to worship other gods, the gods of the peoples around them.

They bowed down to them and made the Lord angry.

They stopped worshiping the Lord and served the Baals and the Astartes.
And so the Lord became furious with Israel and let raiders attack and rob them. He let the enemies all around overpower them, and the Israelites could no longer protect themselves.

Every time they would go into battle, the Lord was against them, just as he had said he would be. They were in great distress.

Then the Lord gave the Israelites leaders who saved them from the raiders.

The Bible calls these leaders "Judges", but they were a very mixed bunch. You will have heard of some of them; Gideon, Deborah, Samson,  Samuel, for example.

You may not have heard of your author's favourite, Ehud the left-handed Benjamite. The kiddies love this one as it involves a King sitting on the toilet! There is an extract printed below.

Our world hasn't changed very much. We still turn away for God by worshipping false gods; and it does sometimes seem like God has stepped back from humanity until mankind gets it right.

It was only when the Israelites turned back to God and stopped their pagan disobedience that things got better.

Which is why we need CHRISTmas!

Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the new-born king
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the new-born king"

P.S. Some representation of the Baal gods were a bit less scary ...
... but the practice of their religion was, generally, revolting. But it did seem fun at the time!

Sounds familiar?
 Next Variety blog : Saunrday 11th December 

Extracts from Judges Chapter 3

14 The Israelites were subject to Eglon for eighteen years.
15 Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he sent someone to free them. This was Ehud, a left-handed man, who was the son of Gera, from the tribe of Benjamin. The people of Israel sent Ehud to King Eglon of Moab with gifts for him.
16 Ehud had made himself a double-edged sword about a foot and a half long. He had it fastened on his right side under his clothes.

  Ehud's cunning.plan. Left handers were of no use in the hand to hand warfare of the day. But Ehud's sword would remain hidden as no one bothered to search on the right. Left handers were simply "left out" of any military or diplomatic duties.  

17 Then he took the gifts to Eglon, who was a very fat man.
18 When Ehud had given him the gifts, he told the men who had carried them to go back home.
19 But Ehud went back to Eglon, and said, "Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you." So the king ordered his servants, "Leave us alone!" And they all went out.
20 Then, as the king was sitting there alone in his cool room on the roof, Ehud went over to him and said, "I have a message from God for you." The king stood up.
21 With his left hand Ehud took the sword from his right side and plunged it into the king's belly.

23 Then Ehud went outside, closed the doors behind him, locked them,
24 and left. The servants came and saw that the doors were locked, but they only thought that the king was inside, relieving himself.
25 They waited as long as they thought they should, but when he still did not open the door, they took the key and opened it. And there was their master, lying dead on the floor.
26 Ehud got away .

30 That day the Israelites defeated Moab, and there was peace in the land for eighty years.

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