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What the Duck? Quackers over Sir Nigel Gresley’s Missing Duck

So, yesterday, we were interviewed by the BBC South East Today.

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To make a long story that’s not my story short — A statue was created of Sir Nigel Gresley and he was to have a mallard duck at his feet to commemorate his love of birds and as a nod to one of his most famous engines – Mallard. Family members of Gresley opposed the duck, so a petition was started by the Gresley Society to reinstate the duck.

This all leads up to the unveiling yesterday at London King’s Cross and a faceboook post made by my friend M. He wanted to get a group together to show support for the Gresley Society and the sculptress by bringing along ducks. Well, how could we refuse?

#givenigeladuck #sirnigelgresley #sirnigelwantsaduck @gresleyduck #Hamish #ducksoninstagram

A photo posted by Rebecca L (@beccajanestclair) on

As it turned out, our ducks made quite a stir with the press there to cover the event. Because we were peacefully standing on the mezzanine just waving and squeaking our ducks, no one minded that we were there, and in fact, lots of people told us they liked the ducks and wanted the duck with the statue! Hamish (and his friends) have had their picture taken sitting on Sir Nigel’s newspaper by mane people, including the press. While Hamish did not make it into the newspapers (and really, wouldn’t it have been better to have a Scottish duck?), one of the other ducks I brought and gave to my friend Han did:

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Our picture has now accompanied articles all over the place!

BBC – ‘Deamining’ Duck Absent from Sir Nigels Statue
ITV – Rail engineer statue unveiled… but lack of duck ruffles a few feathers
The Daily Mail – Feathers are ruffled as statue is unveiled of genius behind world’s fastest steam train the Mallard – WITHOUT a duck at his feet
Yorkshire Post – Nigel Gresley statue unveiled at King’s Cross – and he’s out for a duck
Edinburgh Evening News: Sir Nigel Gresley statue ruffles Mallard fans’ feathers

and the Times:

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(It’s a subscription service, so could someone who subscribes get me screenshots?)

And, well, it looks like people are still leaving ducks there!

We had a great day. Our little group had 6-7 people, but we kept meeting other people who had brought ducks as well! After, we all headed to the Parcel Yard for a much deserved pint.

#hamish #ducksoninstagram #givenigeladuck

A photo posted by Rebecca L (@beccajanestclair) on

If I find more links or photos, I’ll be adding them to this post. I still have to unload my camera too and see what other people in our group managed to take. If you spot me or the ducks on another site, please let me know!

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Photo credits when the photo was not mine or embedded:

1 – Screencap from the BBC SE Today, capped by Dave Rudderham
2 – Press Assoiation
3 – BBC
4 – Rob Bough

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Abbey in the Backyard, Part 2

In March 2010, I blogged about Barlings Abbey, an abbey ruin located not far from Tim’s grandad’s house. In April 2010, we were to find another random abbey ruin while driving with my mom.

We had discovered the remains of Tupholme Abbey.

Tupholme Abbey was founded between 1155 and 1165. The area was picked primarily for it’s location to the River Witham, and was expected to do well. However, this was not to be the case at all. While it was operational, the abbey suffered many debts. In 1347, an abbot was accused of “forgery and counterfeiting of the coin of the realm”. In 1482, the canons were forbidden to leave the abbey due to unruly behavior, and in 1497, an abbot was banished to Leicester for having a child with a local woman.

Tupholme Abbey was dissolved in 1536 under King Henry VIII.

The land and abbey changed hands many times, becoming part of a mansion and later a manor house. In the 1970s, the site was even used for a music festival. Finally, in 1988, the National Trust took over the property.

You can visit the ruins for free – but you might want to make sure you have your Wellies when you go! We had to walk through sheep grazing to get to the ruins. The pasture was rather squishy with what I hoped was mud, but I fear wasn’t!

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Tattershall Castle

With my mom’s December visit less than a month away, I thought it was time to finally blog about a place we took her while she had her “extended” visit (thanks to volcanic ash) in April. My friend Lynne had invited us over to her house, and so we decided to go to Tattershall Castle in the morning.

Tattershall Castle has six floors to explore, and you can go out on the roof to look at the spectacular views of the area. Tattershall Castle was built between 1430 and 1450, and despite there being plenty of stone available, the owner decided he wanted to build his castle out of brick, making it look more modern than being built in the 15th century!

We enjoyed a walk around the grounds, and then explored the lower levels. Tattershall Castle has 150 steps up to the battlements, so Mom decided to sit on a bench and enjoy the sunshine while I bravely accompanied Tim up the steps….and then he bravely went out on to the roof with me!

The walls and stairwells of Tattershall Castle are littered with etchings of people’s names and dates – going back as far as the 1800s!

Tattershall Castle is open from 15 March to 31 October Saturday – Wednesday, and on Saturday and Sunday only the rest of the year. Admission is £5.30 for adults, and members of the National Trust get in for free with their membership card.

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London Transport and War

It’s no secret, my husband is a big transport nut. And surprisingly, I’m starting to turn into one, too. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, one of Tim’s job benefits is rail passes. We get a certain amount per year, but each time we use it, it’s valid for 48 hours. We try to plan overnight trips or back-to-back daytrips to make the most of our passes. I put in a request to go to London, as London is in my top 5 places to visit in the UK, and I hadn’t been to London since I moved. Tim agreed, and I’m sure I shocked him when I told him where I wanted to spend the day – The London Transport Museum and the Imperial War Museum.

The London Transport Museum is in Covent Gardens. If you’re approaching the market from the underground station, walk around the left side and you should see the entrance straight ahead. Admission to the museum is £13.50 for adults, but this includes an annual pass to return at any time in the following 12 months.

The museum has everything and anything related to transport in London, including old underground cars from the ages complete with models dressed in the fashion of that era. When you walk into the museum, they have the walls decorated with maps of transit systems all over the world, and imagine my surprise to see a corner of a New Jersey Transit map!

In addition to underground cars, there are plenty of busses, trollys, trolly busses and trams on display – even some horse-drawn vehicles from the 1800s! They have over 80 assorted transportation vehicles in their collection, 20 of which can be seen at the museum daily. If you want to see the other vehicles, you have to pay a visit to the depot Acton Town. Many of the vehicles are open so you can climb aboard and see the interiors.

There is so much to see at the Transport Museum, if I went into detail you would feel as though you were reading a novel, so I’ll let you go down and explore it on your own.

Our second stop for the day was the Imperial War Museum. The IWM is surrounded by the Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, a perfect spot to have a picnic lunch before entering the museum. This museum is free, however if you want to see one of the special exhibits there might be a charge.

I wanted to go because they were having a Ministry of Food special exhibit showcasing life during World War I and II, including the “Dig for Victory” campaign and the Women’s Land Army, two topics that interest me.

By the time we got to the IWM, I was very tired and I was starting to not feel too good, so I skipped out on parts of the museum in order to make it to the MoF exhibit. The MoF is running until 3 January 2011 and there is a small fee (less than a fiver). To be honest, the exhibit didn’t have anything “new” in it. Everything that was on display was something I had either seen elsewhere or read about, but I think that was to be expected since this is a major interest of mine. I even have been trying to decorate my kitchen in the post-war style. But if you are unfamiliar with the MoF, this would be a great exhibit to take a look at, and you don’t have much time left to do so!

After the IWM, we wandered over to the Thames, and I debated getting a ticket for the London Eye. Tim doesn’t want to go on it, so I would have gone up on my own. I decided not to, and hope that I can ride on it when my mom visits in December.

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Beamish Through New Eyes

Ah, the long-awaited Beamish post!

A few months back, Tim and I were trying to come up with something to do as a day trip on one of his long weekends. We contemplated heading to one of our favourite railways (North Yorkshire Moors), but then I was on Facebook and saw on Beamish’s page that they were having a quilt exhibit that weekend, so plans were made for Tim and I to drive up and utilize our annual passes on the Saturday. We invited our friend, Helen, and her son, Mark. Helen was unable to attend, but Mark decided to come with us, so we got to experience Beamish “for the first time” through Mark.

Our first stop was the colliery and village, where Tim and Mark went down into the coal mine (I did it last time and it felt weird being able to touch the ceiling at 4’10”!) and we all explored the winding house and the engine shed, where Tim and I were surprised to find work was almost complete on the Coffee Pot engine!

I found where the quilts were and I spent lots of time in there talking with the women working there. The quilts were amazing. Oh, and Jen? I passed on the link to your website to the ladies I was talking to. They were really interested after the saw my bag you made! I found out about the guild of quilters and was invited to find a local group to join..I still haven’t. We have a local quilter’s group in the village, but their blurb in the newsletter always says “not accepting new members” and says that a non-member can attend three meetings and then go on a waiting list…and frankly, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to put myself into something for three months only to find out that I can’t do it in the end and have to wait for someone to quit, move, or die before I can join. No thanks. But the quilts on display were amazing. I asked if I could take pictures and was given permission, so a few photos appear below of just some of the quilts on display. There were both modern quilts as well as some very old ones!

The boys joined me in the quilting exhibit after they explored the tram/trolly shed and some of the other machinery on display. They discovered a model railway track behind the exhibition hall, and so we’re hoping we can find out when running days are to come back up and see it!

All-in-all, it was a fantastic day. Mark loved it and wants to go back (three cheers for annual passes!).

Recently, Tim and I received the renewal form for our annual passes in the mail and I’ve got to get that form sent back this week! I also noticed the steam fair is September 2-5, but unfortunately it’s right before we leave for Austria. As much as we both want to go to it, especially for the “behind the scenes” tour, Tim asking off for a day right before our long holiday might not be such a good idea, nor would travelling up to Beamish (3 hours each way) right before we make the long drive to Austria. 🙁

Here’s some photos I took while we were visiting:

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Digging Shakespeare

When my mom had her extended visit courtesy of volcanic ash, we decided to take advantage of Tim’s day off and took Mom to Stratford-upon-Avon. Tim and I had previously been there in October 2008, but we hadn’t seen all the attractions, and it’s just a nice place to go!

Fortunately, the weather agreed with us, and we had a fantastic day. We started with Shakespeare’s birthplace and walked on floors he once walked on as a child. We even got treated to an impromptu performance of selected scenes from Macbath, Othello, Romeo & Juliet, and several other plays. The performers were more than happy to continue to perform for us as the crowd kept asking for more!

We had a picnic lunch along the Avon before we wandered over to Nash’s house and gardens where they are currently doing “Dig for Shakespeare” – an archaeological dig to try to find the original house! Dig for Shakespeare includes a display where you can touch artefacts they found and I got to hold a 500yr old brick and some Roman coins. Pretty nifty.

After that, we headed to the car to drive out to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. We just made it before they closed, and as we were the only people there, the guide went above and beyond in talking to us, showing us everything, and telling us stories that had been passed down.

We had an absolutely fantastic day, and since the Shakespeare homes offer an annual pass with your admission, we can go back again within the year without having to pay again!

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Beamish Revisited

About a month ago, Tim and I took advantage of our annual passes to Beamish we got in September when we were there with my mom. I finally got to see sections I hadn’t seen before, including the farm and I got to pet a lamb! (which was trumped a few weeks later by feeding a lamb, but that’s another story!) But one thing was missing…

The Westoe Netty! It used to sit right outside the train station area, and when Tim and I were there, you could walk up to the netty and we took photos of Tim pretending to use it and me looking confused.

Oddly enough, a photo website has photos of the Westoe Netty posted on the 23 of April, only two weeks after Tim and I were there, so I’m really confused!

I’m trying to track down information from Beamish if the Westoe Netty is still there or not. Maybe it was moved and we didn’t see it since we only went to the sections I hadn’t been to before…who knows?

If you have any information about the Westoe Netty at Beamish, please leave me a comment!

But first, here’s some photos Tim and I took while we were there:

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