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27 June 2011

Monday's word: STEAM

OK, this week's word is a little bit of a cheat - STEAM.  Today your first thought as a writer or reader might be 'Steampunk'. A genre which I would like to branch into myself one day.(When I first came across this type of speculative fiction it was called simply 'Alternate History' but I do find the idea fascinating

As long as I can remember I've loved two things - horses and steam engines. My earliest memories of both go back to when I was five or six years old. I loved watching steam engines and I was desperte to touch every horse I saw. Now I would say it's a hearkening back to times past, the countryside of 'Larkrise To Candleford' where the pace was slower and people had more time for each other.  At five or six though, I would have had no such thoughts of nostalgia and can't really say why I had such a fascination with the two things which helped man to farm his fields and power his early machinery, but it's a fascination that has stayed with me to this day.  Here in the UK there are steam rallies held all over the country in the summer months, where enthusiasts display their pride and joy, steam engines of every consceivable shape and size, with names like 'Victoria', 'Big Emma' and 'Moonlight Magic',  from workhorses like the humble steam roller, to gleaming painted showman's wagons.  Some of the bigger shows go a step further and have displays of steam engines powering balers, or threshers, or plank cutting machinery, and some have heavy horse demonstrations and lovely old steam driven carousels.  The mobile steam engines make an impressive show when they all parade in the main ring together!

Last week my husband and I, and our dog, visited a local steam rally, so I'll stop waffling and just post some pictures here for you to enjoy.



Just to give you an idea of the size of some of these leviathans!

 
Probably not a good idea to lie down in front of a steamroller!

 



 These beauties come in all shapes and sizes, including 'miniature' but all perfectly proportioned and to scale
A day out for the whole family!




The owners probably spent the night in the trailer behind, which would have been the living quarters for the workmen who travelled the country providing their steam power and labour years ago.





Vintage lorries, including some American ones!



 Old fashioned swing boats

A steam engine powering a plank cutter

A colourful steam organ provides the music


 Heavy horses in the main ring


Demonstrating the 'hay sled








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