Sunday, May 11, 2008

Barhill Bluebells & Birds

We visited Barhill Wood near Kirkcudbright yesterday - we'd heard it was a great bluebell wood but the view from the carpark wasn't promising much. But look what's over the hill!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Three chicks!

Trying really hard to keep the cats distracted as much as possible .. time will tell ...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I knew I kept it for some reason

I've been browsing through some old CD-ROMs. I might post some old photos up soon.

Meanwhile, here's something I'd saved from an email; obviously a viral message thing being passed around in 1999.

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the US railroads.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first raillines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did 'they' use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. Okay!

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe (and England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts? Roman war chariots first made the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels and wagons. Since the chariots were made for, or by Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Thus, we have the answer to the original question. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Specifications and bureaucracies live forever.

So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder which horse's rear came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman warchariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends oftwo war-horses.

And now, the twist to the story... There's an interesting extension to the story about railroad gauges and horses' behinds. When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. Thiokol makes the SRBs at their factory at Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses behinds.

So, the major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined by the width of a Horse's ass!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Beady Bird Eye

Beady Bird Eye
Originally uploaded by pebblesfromheaven
She's still there... it's 11 days since the first egg was laid ...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Kilmartin Glen - the Reprise Trip

So we had another trip up to Argyll a couple of weeks ago (17th-19th March) because it coincided with B's birthday.

We booked at the Dunchraigaig House B&B again, it was fab last time we went so of course had to go back there. B was already looking forward to the breakfasts a week before we left home.

I can't blog in extreme detail about the wheres and whyfores because sadly I've not anymore got the luxury of being able to sit at my desk all day!!

We set off in good time and the weather was predicted to be chuffing marvellous, and it didn't disappoint. Better than last September when it rained for most of our visit. We took the M74 (ages since I last went up that road) but at Glasgow the roadworks led us onto the old A74 so we had a bit of a merry jolly through the rougher parts of town, past the Celtic football social club etc, but took note of the massive rash of new flats being built in that area. Anyway the traffic wasn't bad at all so we made it through to the M8 without pain.

Taking the scenic route via Dumbarton M&S, Helensburgh & Faslane peacecamp (resisted the flickr moment), there were some lovely views especially when we got up to the Rest & Be Thankful. Stopped there to take some photos (doesn't everyone?), carried on through Inverary and past the site of the Connect Festival (looks completely different in daylight - last time we were there we opted to dice with the traffic along the main road rather than take the swampy route back to the car)

We stopped by at Achnabreck rock art to discover that the carpark was closed for repair - however we found a good place to park further up the track at the top of the hill, which we wouldn't have know about otherwise! We followed a path from here right to the new panels, which were still covered in tarp. The good-old "hollywood" panels were further round the hill and I had a wander around while B took his photos.

then back to the B&B, and off out for a meal at the Carinbaan Hotel. Now let's get this straight right from the start - we were absolute PIGS on this trip and ate ourselves silly. We had three courses when we didn't really need it, because the menu was wonderful and the food completely gorgeous. We returned the next night, because there were things on the list we still wanted to try!!

Blogged Blog Directory