Sunday, 24 June 2012

Olympic Torch in Oldham

Several weeks ago we discovered that the Olympic Torch Relay would be passing along the main road that our chapel is on. With the main road being closed and the travel difficulties this would cause, our Bishop decided to move the meeting times back a little. We beat the road closures and got there early with the chapel car park the ideal place to park to see the relay. Above Ruth can be seen as one of the first to take a position along the road side.

There is a building site behind the the blue/green temporary wall. The local schools had all made posters that had been fastened to the shuttering.


As the time drew closer more of the congregation joined the growing crowds, you can spot us, we are the ones that are wearing our Sunday best, ready for church afterwards.

My friend and I had a nice chat to one of the dozen or so Police motorcyclist.

About 15 minutes late, the Torch convoy arrived. Complete with sponsors floats.


Each Torch bearer gets to do around 300 yards and as well as lots of police cars and motorcyclists, each runner is flanked by police officers dressed in grey sports kits. 

There has been some controversy over the torches, each runner has an individual torch and the flame is passed from one to another. Runners are given the option to keep the torch as a keep sake, for a donation of around £200. Perhaps a little commercialism? One of the early runners allegedly sold their torch for £150,000 on Ebay drawing criticism. 

Overall, it was a great carnival atmosphere. I'm not sure it has made me more excited to watch the Olympics though and it did seem a little bit like the sponsors were taking over the show.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Wet Saturday in June

I had planned a couple of thought provoking posts for the weekend, but as I was awake at three this morning, thinking about my eighteen year old daughter driving home from a night out, my brain has been on a go slow all day.

As I sit writing this with my house full of ladies who are throwing a baby shower for my sister-in-law and the the afore mentioned teenager now returned and subsequently jetted of to Fuerteventura, for a relaxing post exam holiday in the sun with friends. My mind is closing down!!

So here is a short video I made this afternoon, this is how RJR relaxes ! I tried to get a few more "up close" "low level" clips this time and have decided my iPhone is a better camera than my camera is !



If all goes to plan, tomorrow morning we will see the Olympic torch as it passes through Oldham on its relay to London, if so expect pictures !

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Sunshine in the Garden

Garratt 138 Springhead Works

I don't know how the summer is going in your part of the world. Here in the North West of England some days have been more like winter than summer, rain wind cold, not what you hope for in the latter half of June 

Yesterday however the sun made an appearance so I had a dig at the back of the shed and found a couple of locomotives that haven't run for over a year. Batteries in and off they went. 

The one above is made form sheets of plastic and offcuts of plumbing pipe and is a based on Garratt 138 currently housed at the Welsh Highland Railway. 138 was designed and built by Beyer Peacock many years ago not more than 10 miles from where I live. Designed to articulate the Garratt locomotive was intended for narrow gauge railways with tight bends. Lots of power on small rails.

Mine in 1/24 scale took around 6 months to build and is probably the best running loco I have made to date. It is also fitted with a sound generator so the noise you hear when it passes is not dubbed on after.

The second loco I ran is a much simpler affair, in fact I don't mind it being referred to as a toy, because that's what it is. All my track and motors are made by Playmobil. They were bought second hand from Ebay very cheaply and recycled. The standard Playmobil train is this...

I generally strip the motors and wheels out to make the models like the Garratt above, but I decided to give one a make over and repaint. This has no sound unit but the replacement metal wheel make a pretty convincing Clack as it passes.

Pimp my Playmobil

Both can be seen on the following video, The Garratt is on second.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Same Gender Marriage

In the UK, for some time there have been undercurrents of disagreement as various groups share their expectations for the future of Marriage. I have followed various sides of the argument and have on a couple of occasions considered writing a blog about my thoughts. I don't hide the fact that I am a Latter Day Saint (Mormon) As you may expect my thoughts are influenced by my beliefs. As I write this I am aware some will read and disagree. I don't have a problem with people disagreeing. A fundamental tenant of Mormonism is found in what we call the 13 Articles of Faith 

"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

So you may agree with all, some or non of the following... let us not fall out about it.

The Governments thoughts are to change the current law to allow couples of the same gender to marry. This it is argued, would bring equality and improve the present situation, which allows for Civil Partnerships. Many of the arguments raised against such changes are described as outdated at best, bigoted at worst.

Yesterday the Church of England stirred up the debate considerably. They argue that because they are THE church of the state, with the Monarch at the head they have a different role in Marriage. It is accepted that as the states church their "Cannons" or church laws are accepted as state law. They therefore argue that changing a civil law to openly oppose a church cannon, completely changes the dynamics of the relationship between the church and state. Unlike other countries this also calls into question the role of the Queen. As the head of state she as mentioned is also the head of the Church of England. Known as the Defender of the Faith (Fidei defensor in latin) which is why all UK coins have the inscription FD or FD DEF.

Potentially changing the law on marriage could in affect make much deeper changes to the nature of the country, which gives me potentially the only ever chance to use the word Antidisestablishmentarianism in a blog post, meaning to oppose the breakup of the relationship between the Church of England and the State. Disestablishment may be difficult to do if you read the promise made by a Monach at a coronation.

The Archbishop of Canterbury: "Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolable the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?" 

The Queen: "All this I promise to do. The things which I have here before promised, I will perform, and keep. So help me God." (coronation)

So I think it's fair to say parliament has created a pretty large challenge for themselves to make what may be considered by many a simple change. There are however further changes that would need to be made in order for Same Gender marriage to work.

Although considered by many to be an old tradition or forgotten part of the law, for marriage to be legally recognised it must be consummated. This is still a part of British law and is still in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 Section 12
Failure to consummate a marriage is grounds for an annulment. With the legal definition being that "Consummation requires sexual intercourse which is ordinary and complete" Law Teacher Again this is seen as a simple fix, change the wording... To what? This also causes problems for the Catholic church who currently do not allow Divorce but will allow a separation based on an annulment.

Now there are those that say church and state are too close anyway. There are also comments that the church is really not affected as the proposed legislation "ring fences" churches so no church would be made to perform a Same Gender Marriage. This sounds good in principal, but it has already been suggested that such a ring fence will not stand up to European human rights / equality laws. In much the same way we never expected human rights laws to be used to prevent a Christian wearing a cross to work.

So I have above I have outlined some of the things I have read around as I have listened to many sides of the argument, but where do I stand?

Currently I have no problems with people choosing to have a Same Gender Civil Partnership.
I think there is far more involved in the word marriage than is made out by those that want it for all.
I believe that marriage is inseparably linked to religion for many people.
I don't consider myself to be homophobic, I accept people for what they are, regardless of race, religion or orientation.
I believe that "The family  is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan" Family Proclamation

I recognise that in a big world, we have to find ways to coexist and live together with differing beliefs, but also feel that I want to express my thoughts as openly as those who would have us make changes. Because the changes suggested affect more than those who would benefit.

What do you think ?

Further reading Telegraph Article


Saturday, 9 June 2012

Etherow Country Park

Over last weekend, we packed lots in. 
We watched hours of Diamond Jubilee coverage on Television. 
Spent Whit Friday at the local walks and band contests 
I refurbished my Garden Railway

The top picture was taken with my iPhone using a cheap (less than £2) Panoramic camera app.

This post is number 3 in the series of things we did last weekend.. On Bank Holiday Monday we went to Etherow Country Park to a "Help for Heroes" event put on jointly by the Sailing club and model boat club. The picture above is of the larger of the two lakes in the park that is used by the real yachts. On the smaller lake several model boats owners sailed their boats to add another dimension for the visitors. In my last post  I shared the models in my back garden the following is the boat I have recently constructed from sheets of plastic. At just under 4 feet long it needs a bit more room than my garden will ever offer !!

My Dad sat across the lake and filmed ..

Friday, 8 June 2012

Garden Railway Upgrade

I have made a big decision to combine my Model Making blog with this one.
From today regular readers here will also see my model making exploits. I came to the conclusion that this blog is about me and my life, modelling is just one part of that so fits with the scheme. You may notice the heading picture above has changed to reflect this. The normal stuff will continue to get posted, so you get two for one on the blogs..

After ignoring the garden railway for far too long it was time to make a decision, either refurbish the track or take it up. Boats have taken over the modelling time I have, but the onset of warmer weather means garden tidying time. To be fair the track laid in the garden has survived a couple of winters well with little or no maintenance, but the lack of care has taken its toll. 

The sections of track that are fixed on thicker depths of concrete have faired the best. The extra support underneath has protected it, in particular in areas where people walk, under the washing line, near the trampoline etc.

Also I had always had problems along the long straight where the track was laid onto flags as it was never really level enough which caused unexpected uncoupling.

These next three pictures are of the loop outside the shed, they show the poor condition of the thin concrete used as ballast. They also show how the track has lifted in some sections as its not held down.

After a lot of thought, I decided the track will stay and this week I have embarked on a Network Rail scale refurbishment program, that will see all the track lifted and relaid.

The first step was to screw 26' of timber onto the flagstones to level out the bumps, this also creates the new higher track level. The curved section were then laid on fine concrete "postfix" designed for fence posts.


After three 2 hour sessions it was all re-laid and trains have run for the first time in months

Finally, I have also added two new pages on the tabs above..Favourite Model Pictures and About Me

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Whit Friday

Whit walks The origin of the Whit Week processions of "Sunday school scholars" (which are still held to this day) dates back to 19 July 1821 when there was a procession of the children of Manchester to commemorate the coronation of George IV. On that day children of all denominations walked in procession from their schools and assembled at Ardwick Green to sing "God save the King". From then on the annual festival flourished and, in the course of time, St Ann's Square became the assembly ground. The numbers continued to grow and this was moved to Albert Square in 1878. Each Whit Friday, local churches or chapels in the region employed bands to lead traditional processions through the streets. Whit Friday was the "Scholars' Walk", or the Church's Annual Day when the girls would have a new dress and the boys would have new trousers, and neighbours, friends and relatives would give a penny for their new clothes. The church officers, clergy and children carried baskets of flowers or ribbons attached to banners. During the 19th century Whitsuntide became an accepted holiday week for all, with the mills shutting down and the workers taking canal boat trips and later, with the coming of the railways, cheap rail excursions. Brass band contests A brass band contest has been held in Stalybridge on Whit Friday since at least 1870. On Whit Friday 1884, 6 June, two further unconnected events in Uppermill and Mossley were held, inadvertently launching an internationally renowned and unique brass band occasion - the Annual Whit Friday Band Contests. The Whit Friday contests are now firmly placed in the brass band calendar and attract thousands of people, whether musicians or spectators, to listen to brass band music. The bands' discipline, stamina, and organisational skills are tested to the limit. Each of the contests on the Whit Friday circuit is organised by a dedicated committee who organise their own contest prizes. (Wikipedia)

The day moves from community walking to represent church allegiance, through an afternoon of kids sports in the park then from about 4pm the bands start arriving by the coach load.

Saddleworth, where we live, is made up of several villages with wonderful names such Springhead, Uppermill, Diggle, Delph and Dobcross. But for the last 24 years I have gone to Greenfield the home of my in-laws. Amongst many video clips I could have shown I picked one of the best known bands "Brighouse & Rastrick" Tragically in 2010 a fatal accident involving a band coach and pedestrian cut the contest short. In 2011 the award winning band played "There is a green Hill far away" on the spot as a mark of respect for a lover of Brass music.

Not all the music is quite as sombre and some of the bands are their with no chance of winning so just take it for fun. HERE is a video of several bands that I recorded at last years contest. 

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