…I loved trains. Back then, the only trains I knew were hauled by coal-powered engines. Yes, old memories have surfaced again. Thank you, EC, for the nudge.

If you’ve been wandering around Idle Thoughts for a while you’ll know that I grew up* in a country of some ingenuity. This problem-solving was due, in no small part, to the geographical location and geological peculiarity of the land.

Now, I’m not going to enter that age-old argument between neighbours over who first made use of a wire loop and a stick as a gate and kerosene cans for storage drawers.  Or who made the first Pavlova. (But if I ever met the bugger I’d shoot him!)

No. Today I dips me lid to the engineering brilliance of NZR. Specifically, the lines they built in formidable country. And, mostly, to the engines that rode those rails, to the delight of little boys and girls up and down the Main Trunk line: the mighty K Class.

The mighty K. (image and more info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NZR_K_class_(1932)

Also from Wikipedia   State Highway 2 (Rimutaka Hill Road) near the top of the range..jpg

That photo, above, is of the road, but terrain was much the same.

I recall a “bit of a miff” with my mother on a trip to Wellington (probably late 40s, early 50s) because she would not let me get off the train to pick foxgloves.  We had 5 engines on the train and our speed was so reduced that quite a few people (including my father, who, I still believe, ought to have taken his Darling Daughter with him!) had stepped off the slow-moving train to walk alongside the track for a while.(Imagine Health and Safety wearing that today!) And the foxgloves, spilling in purple ripples down into the steep gullies…Oh! how they called out to me to be picked!

As I said, a bit  miffed …

This is for parochial nostalgia – my home Province (State or County for others.) If you like older forms of transport, this blog has some nice pictures.

One day, when I’m back across The Ditch and have the time, I’d like to take a train ride to Wellington. But it wont be the same.

Of course, New Zealand does have other steep, twisty roads. It’s  known as The Shaky Isles for good reason. And it’s largely our geography that has thrown up so many innovative minds.

* I should say “spent my early years” as it’s more accurate to say I “grew up” in London!

ED   In the previous post’s comments, mention was made of a tree that smells like peanut butter (which, I have to say, would tend to put me off!).Possibly not something that would cope well with my environs, but some of you might care to give it a try. Clerodendrum trichotoma.


Beginning with my header image.

This, a typical Fenland view, was taken from the train when I travelled up to Ely the other day. I went to visit a friend I’d not seen since I left England. Have the years been kind? Mostly, yes! She showed me  around the little village she now calls home and I felt, once again, that slicing wind that cuts across the flat land, giving no quarter. Ah! But on a clear, sunny day it’s magical.

The old weigh scale at the Fountain pub in Soham.

Now, I did mention changes, didn’t I? Well, the first change was to the train timetable. (Imagine a broad, rustic accent…)   ” Thiz train will be starping at Cambridge. Pazzengers for Diss, Narridge, Colchester…thoze trains av left! So you should take the negzt train back to Ely and get the Crarss Country train frarm there, for Diss, Narridge, but not Colchester…”

Glad not to be heading for Colchester, I changed  for my London train!

It’s not just rural trains- London’s underground services are chaotic, too. Engineering work, improvements, a  load of codswallop about getting ready for the Olympics…

But the stoic Britisher tilts his chin and soldiers on!

And tomorrow I’m off to Spain! Y viva Espana

You didn’t think I’d let you off that hook?  bwa-hahaha.Y’ never know, maybe someone will rattle his maracas just for me! 🙂 Hasta la vista!


Remember, a few weeks back, I was the lucky winner of Sherrie York’s blogiversary giveaway?

Well, on Thursday I heard the postman’s scooter squeak to a halt at our mailbox. “More election bumf!” I thought and didn’t bother going down to collect it til later. I mean, just how many “vote-for-me!” bits of paper do we need?

So it was a great thrill to find, not bumf, but art in the box. Now, I knew what the prize was and I’d admired the work on Sherrie’s site.

But, people, no photograph does it justice! After framing it yesterday and hanging it, the sky had darkened and we needed lights on. “Tomorrow,” thought I…

But today has proved no better! In the end, after trying  just about every wall in the house (yes, even the bathroom!), I took the print out to the front verandah. And it’s still a pretty rough picture…

But this is it! I chose a mat that picks up the deep, pine-y green at the top of the print and you’ll just have to trust me when I say it looks brilliant!

Thankyou, Sherrie.


I haven’t managed to see all of the knitting that’s decorating various trees, park benches and shop fronts in celebration of the Arts Festival, but I did manage to catch this picture…Look! A cane train!

Alison and I had driven up to Gargett Gallery to see the exhibition and the train rattled by while we were having coffee. I missed my chance , but Lesley said,”It’ll come back in  about ten minutes.” Sure enough…and this time I was waiting. Highlight? The driver waved! Yay! Oh, that made my day as I thought train drivers  didn’t wave anymore!


The rain, while very welcome, has made the palm trash too soggy to load into my car. So I’m off to cut down as much as I can for mulch and the rest will just have to wait.

But I’ll leave you with this:

Australia’s  top three positions are held by women.

Yes, the ladies have a trifecta! One of my book making* buddies is celebrating here and I thought I’d go out with this…That’s a woman switching the points. (True, a man was driving, but maybe driving is  not as much fun as switching!)

And the cats have an amusing post today

* Oops! Not the sort of book making that involves trifectas.