Monday, 25 August 2008

Steam festival

I've been trying to get around to putting up a post on the steam festival at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum for the past week , but there's been so much going on I haven't had a chance.

Anyway it was a fantastic day out last Sunday, with lots of wonderful stream engines, most of which were chugging away giving out a nice bit of warmth from their furnaces on what turned out to be quite a cold windy day.

I don't know how many of you have stood next to one of these engines, but they really are like a living beast and the rhythm of the pistons is just like a steady heart beat. You might gather I'm rather smitten, to the point where when they announced that the public could have a go at driving one I was first in the queue.

There was a beautiful carousel (on the video clip with a wonderful organ) that was powered by an equally lovely steam engine that had always been used in the fairground, and was lovingly kept in an immaculate condition. And just to prove what I mean here's a close up of one of the wheels.

And the star decoration on one of the boxes, fancy cleaning all this brass, that's dedication for you. To give you an idea of just how much it takes to bring these engines back form the brink, here's a wheel that hasn't been restored.

Even more brass

This amazing man not only created this steam bike from scratch, but also made a steam gramophone (also on the video clip)

The final event of the day was a series of steam engine races and in this one they had to roll the barrel up the field without crushing it, the marshal you can see running had the job of putting the barrel back under the roller if it went sideways. It was of course instant disqualification if they squashed him :-)

One crew got a bit excited and squashed a barrel under their wheel so tightly that they had to call for this chap to get them out of trouble.

I made a small video with my digi camera, so please excuse the quality, it's on my list of 'must haves' to get a an upgrade, but I wanted to try and give the nostalgic flavour of the show. On the end of it you'll see a beautiful old steam engine who's name is Ebeneezer, he helped to build the road that leads to the original Wembly Stadium, but more of that on a later post as you'll see the significance.


Helen Suzanne said...

oo sharon! I love them too. I remember being obsessed as a child with the size and smell of steam rollers (I liked those and the steam organs best)... always imagined it being so easy to squish people.

The video is very much fun - thanks

Shirley Anne Sherris said...

Another good day out. We have a steam fair around now - will have to check the dates. All the fiels up here are still waterlogged and many events have been cancelled. Such a pity as such a lot of time and effort goes into orgnising them.

Aussie Jo said...

Wow, you've made those steam engines come to life, I usually leave my hubby to wander around the engines on his own when we have our local show, I'll have to take more notice in future.
We have a wonderful restored steam driven carousel on the waterfront in Geelong. A local artist has written a children's book about the restoration which Claudia loves.

hippopip said...

Well you are a strange one Sharon I used to do the Great dorset steam fair in the craft tent and lovely as some of them are I do not think I would go to see them now,I just remember muddy fields soot and noise, but maybe I am just an old misery!