Revd Awdry OBE

008Best known as the creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, the English cleric, railway enthusiast and children’s author Wilbert Vere Awdry, OBE sadly passed away 21March 1997. Born 15th June 1911 in Ampfield vicarage near Romsey, Hampshire in 1911. In 1917 he and his family moved to Box, in Wiltshire, moving again in 1919, and 1920, still in Box, the third house being Journey’s End  which remained the family home until August 1928.   Journey’s End was only 200 yards (180 m) from the western end of Box Tunnel. There the Great Western Railway main line climbs at a gradient of 1 in 100 for two miles, and a banking engine was kept there to assist freight trains up the hill. These trains usually ran at night and the young Wilbert could hear them from his bed, listening to the coded whistle signals between the train engine and the banker, and the sharp bark from the locomotive exhausts as they fought their way up the incline. Awdry related: “There was no doubt in my mind that steam engines all had definite personalities. I would hear them snorting up the grade and little imagination was needed to hear in the puffings and pantings of the two engines the conversation they were having with one another: ‘I can’t do it! I can’t do it! I can’t do it!’ ‘Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can!’” Here was the inspiration for the story of Edward helping Gordon’s train up the hill, a story that Wilbert first told his son Christopher some 25 years later, and which appeared in the first of the Railway Series books

The characters that would make Awdry famous and the first stories featuring them were invented in 1943 to amuse his son Christopher during a bout of measles. After Awdry wrote The Three Railway Engines, he built Christopher a model of Edward, and some wagons and coaches, out of a broomstick and scraps of wood. Christopher also wanted a model of Gordon; however, as that was too difficult Awdry made a model of a little 0-6-0 tank engine. Awdry said: “The natural name was Thomas – Thomas the Tank Engine”. Then Christopher requested stories about Thomas and these duly followed and were published in the famous book Thomas the Tank Engine, released in 1946.   The first book (The Three Railway Engines) was published in 1945, and by the time Awdry stopped writing in 1972,

The Thomas the Tank Engine railway Series numbered 26 books. Christopher subsequently added further books to the series.In 1952, Awdry volunteered as a guard on the Talyllyn Railway in Wales, then in its second year of preservation. The railway inspired Awdry to create the Skarloey Railway, based on the Talyllyn, with some of his exploits being written into the stories.Awdry’s enthusiasm for railways did not stop at his publications. He was involved in railway preservation, and built model railways, which he took to exhibitions around the country.   Awdry wrote other books besides those of The Railway Series, both fiction and non-fiction. The story Belinda the Beetle was about a red car (it became a Volkswagen Beetle only in the illustrations to the paperback editions).Awdry was awarded an OBE in the 1996 New Year’s Honours List, but by that time his health had deteriorated and he was unable to travel to London. He died peacefully in Stroud, Gloucestershire, on 21 March 1997, at the age of 85. His ashes are interred at Gloucester Crematorium

Severn valley Railway Spring Steam Gala

This years Severn Valley Railway Spring SteamGala takes place from 21-23march 2014.  The line-up of visiting locomotives has changed somewhat since it was originally announced, due to mechanical failures and one thing and another. However Visiting Locomotives this year have been confirmed as:
  • Hawksworth Pannier Tank GWR 1638 from Kent and East Sussex Railway
  • GWR 6435 Pannier Tank Autotrailer fitted, from Bodmin and Wenford Railway
  • Manor Class GWR 7828 4-6-0 Odney Manor from West Somerset Railway
  • Hall Class GWR 4936 4-6-0 Kinlet Hall
  • GWR 1450 0-6-0 from Dean forest Railway, which has also been Autotrailer fitted
34053 Sir Keith Park
34053 Sir Keith Park
GWR 4936 KINLET HALL
GWR 4936 KINLET HALL
GWR1450
GWR1450

 

 

 

 

 

the home fleet

  • Ex SR 4-6-2 Battle of Britain Pacific Class No. 34053 ‘Sir Keith Park’,
  • BR 1500 Class Panier tank No. 1501,
  • GWR Prairie tank No. 4566
  • GWR Large Prairie tank No. 5164. Has recently been retired after the boiler ticket ran out and can currently be seen on display at the Engine Shed Visitor and Education centre at Highley

Other attractions include:

  • The Stanier Mogul LMS 42968 Preservation Fund, who will have a Sales Stand at Kidderminster station during the Spring Steam Gala.  www.staniermogulfund.org.uk
  • The Severn Valley Railway Locomotive Owners Group will also be present
  • There will also be a model railway & road vehicles (including Ivo Peters splendid vintage Bentley) throughout the weekend, plus Railway books, videos, DVDs on sale
  • Sunday Lunch will also be served in the Dining Car on the Severn Valley Railway
  • The Engine House Visitor and Education centre at Highley will also be open.
  • New build Standard Tank 3 No. 82045 Group will be present
  • GWR 4930 Hagley Hall Group
  • 813 Locomotive Group
  • Patriot Locomotive Group
  • GWR 2857 Locomotive Group
  • Bewdley Station Fund Shop
  • GWR 7812 Erlestoke Manor Fund
  • Railway Artist at Bridgnorth Station
  • Replica Nameplate Sale at Bridgnorth Station
  • There will also be a Beer Tent at Bewdley Station – Friday/Saturday 11.00 – 21-00, Sunday 11.30 – 18.00 – HELL YEAH!! 😀
  • Visitors to the Gala will also be able to Travel aboard the comfortable observation saloon, which will be attached to certain departures during the Gala.

World Story telling day

World Storytelling Day takes place on March 20th and is a global celebration of the art of oral storytelling. It is celebrated every year on the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, the first day of autumn equinox in the southern. On World Storytelling Day, as many people as possible tell and listen to stories in as many languages and at as many places as possible, during the same day and night. Participants tell each other about their events in order to share stories and inspiration to learn from each other and create international contacts.The significance in the event lies in the fact that it is the first global celebration of storytelling of its kind, and has been important in forging links between storytellers often working far apart from each other. It has also been significant in drawing public and media attention to storytelling as an art form.

World Storytelling Day has its roots in a national day for storytelling in Sweden, circa 1991 At that time, an event was organized for March 20 in Sweden called “Alla berättares dag” (All storytellers day). The Swedish national storytelling network passed out some time after, but the day stayed alive, celebrated around the country by different enthusiasts. In 1997, storytellers in Perth, Western Australia coordinated a five-week long Celebration of Story, commemorating March 20 as the International Day of Oral Narrators. At the same time, in Mexico and other South American countries, March 20 was already celebrated as the National Day of Storytellers.

When the Scandinavian storytelling web-network, Ratatosk, started around 2001, Scandinavian storytellers started talking, and in 2002, the event spread from Sweden to Norway, Denmark, Finland and Estonia. In 2003, the idea spread to Canada and other countries, and the event has become known internationally as World Storytelling Day. Starting around 2004, France participated with the event Jour Mondial du Conte. World Storytelling Day 2005 had a grande finale on Sunday March 20. There were events from 25 countries on 5 continents, and 2006 saw the program grow further. 2007 was the first time a storytelling concert was held in Newfoundland, Canada. In 2008 The Netherlands took part in World Storytelling Day with a big event called ‘Vertellers in de Aanval’ on March the 20th; three thousand kids were surprised by the sudden appearance of storytellers in their classrooms.In 2009, there were World Storytelling Day events in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Australia, and The theme for the 2013 World Srorytelling Day is Fortune and Fate

International Day of Happiness

The date 20th March has been designated ‘International Day of Happiness’. It was organised by the United Nations and ‘Action for Happiness’ to highlight the importance of wellbeing in a world that is otherwise dominated by financial woes, relentless self-interest and laborious daily routines. Although a dedicated “day of happiness” may sound like a lovely idea in theory, you may find yourself wondering: what can I do to celebrate the occasion and make the world around me a happier place? Our own sources of happiness can vary; you may be tempted to go out for a delicious meal, embark on a shopping spree, or even just laze around all day and relax. But the main focus of the International Day of Happiness is to direct our kindness towards others – and make both them and ourselves happy in the process.

Some may find themselves momentarily happier when somebody performs an act of kindness to help those around them. Likewise, it can cheer you up if you do something which makes someone else happy. That’s not to say that our kindness is motivated by self-interest; it’s just a nice by-product of our actions and the smallest of positive actions can have a major impact on yourself and those around you. Extensive research also shows that making other people happy activates the same reward sensors in your brain, so it’s a win-win situation. Even if you just hold a door open for someone, spare some change or simply smile at someone in the street, it can really make a difference. These ideas may seem trivial but they can transform our psychological health. Businesses should do more to prioritise the happiness of their workers too. It’s been proven that the happier an employee is, the more likely they are to be motivated, productive, and form good working relationships.Here are three suggestions for a happier life:

A – Affirm the pledge. A simple act of adding your name to the thousands of others who have declared that they will “try to create more happiness in the world” around them.

C – Cheer ‘Happy Heroes’. Spreading the word on social network sites and paying tribute to those who go out of their way to make other people happy. Twitter users are encouraged to use the hashtag #HappyHeroes in their tweets.

T – Take part on the day. In addition to making others happy, there are numerous events going on around the world to celebrate the day, including a ‘positive messages’ flash mob at Liverpool Street Station on Wednesday evening.

InternationalAstrology Day

The annual International Astrology Day 2013, is observed on March 20th, and is celebrated by astrologers and astrology enthusiasts. It is seen by astrologers as the beginning (first day) of the astrological year. It is the first full day of the astrological sign of Aries and thus marks the beginning of the tropical Zodiac.International Astrology Day is celebrated/observed depending on the exact day that the Northward equinox actually occurs (Spring equinox in the Northern hemisphere, Fall equinox in the Southern hemisphere). This varies year to year between March 19–22, though it usually falls on March 20 or March 21.The date of the holiday occurs at the same time of the Iranian new year (Norouz), which is celebrated in many places throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. It also corresponds with the beginning of the Bahá’í calendar, which is celebrated as Bahá’í Naw-Rúz. Other holidays occurring around this time include Ostara (amongst neopagans), Chunfen in China, and Vernal Equinox Day (a public holiday in Japan), among others.

The Northward equinox (or March equinox) is the equinox on the earth when the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading northward. The Northward equinox is the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also The point where the horizon crosses the sun’s disk at the celestial equator northwards is called the first point of Aries. However, due to the precession of the equinoxes, this point is no longer in the constellation Aries, but rather in Pisces. By the year 2600 it will be in Aquarius (hence the phrase “the dawning of the Age of Aquarius”). The Northward equinox passed from Taurus into Aries  1865 BC, and passed into Pisces in year 67 BC, will pass into Aquarius in year 2597, and Capricorn in 4312. The equinox can be as early as March 19 or as late as March 21, the precise time being about 5 hours 49 minutes later in a common year, and about 18 hours 11 minutes earlier in a leap year, than in the previous year. It is the balance of common years and leap years that keeps the calendar date of the equinox from drifting more than a day from 20 March each year.

During the equinox, the horizon crosses the sun’s disk directly in the east at dawn and crosses directly in the west at dusk. However, because of refraction the horizon will usually appear slightly below the sun at the moment when its “true” middle is rising or setting. For viewers at the north or south poles, the horizon moves virtually horizontally along or below the sun, not obviously rising or sinking apart from the movement in “declination” (and hence altitude) of a little under a half (0.39) degree per day. For observers in either hemisphere not at the poles, the further one goes in time away from the March equinox in the 3 months before that equinox, the more to the south the Sun is seen, and for the 3 months afterwards the sun is seen more and more to the north. It is  one point in time commonly used to determine the length of the tropical year. The length of the Northward equinox solar year is relatively stable in the time from 6000 BC to 10000 CE at 47:37 to 49:20 in excess of 365 days and 5 hours. However When tropical year measurements from several successive years are compared, variations are found which are due to nutation, and to the planetary perturbations acting on the Sun.

The March Equinox also has an effect on the calender and traditions, for instance The Persian Calendar begins each year at the Northward equinox, observationally determined at Tehran. The Indian National Calendar starts the year on the day next to the Vernal Equinox on March 22 (March 21 in leap years) with a 30-day month (31 days in leap years), then has 5 months of 31 days followed by 6 months of 30 days.The Julian calendar reform lengthened seven months and replaced the intercalary month with an intercalary day to be added every four years to February. It was based on a length for the year of 365 days and 6 hours (365.25 d), while the tropical year is about 11 minutes and 14 seconds less than that. This had the effect of adding about three quarters of an hour every four years. The effect accumulated from 325 until by the 16th century, when the northern vernal equinox fell on March 10 or 11. In Abrahamic traditionThe Jewish Passover usually falls on the first full moon after the Northern Hemisphere vernal equinox, although occasionally (7 times every 19 years) it will occur on the second full moon.The Christian churches calculate Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox. The official church definition for the equinox is March 21; however, as the Eastern Orthodox Churches use the older Julian calendar, while the Western Churches use the Gregorian calendar, both of which designate March 21 as the equinox, the actual date of Easter differs. The earliest possible Easter date in any year is therefore March 22 on each calendar. The latest possible Easter date in any year is April 25th.