Monday, October 03, 2005

Steamin' and swimmin'

Sunday was a lovely sunny day and we went to the Museum of Technology, housed in the Victorian steam pump building. There are two enormous steam engines which used to power pumps, to get the town's sewage up the hill a bit! Cambridge was notorious for its stinky river and sewage-filled ditches, and this pumping station was working till the 1960s! Now the engines are all shiny and polished, but they weren't running because a boiler is being refurbished, and no one was very forthcoming about when it might be done. But, this weekend was a model railway weekend, and so there were things like this, a tiny steam-powered train. The water is boiled by burning butane/propane rather than coal, but
the steam actually pushes the wheels around! There were also people from the model bus collecting camp and the Meccano masterpieces camp, and people who had small working steam trains that they could actually ride. This fellow had a little train you can see in the background, and he sat on top of it and rode it back and forth along a small line, and the mini-truck in the foreground that he just stoked and polished and oiled, but it never moved, that we could tell. Lovingly looked after, these machines! There was also a full-sized truck, driven by steam. Because it is a technology museum and not just a steam museum, they also have an amazing collection of printing paraphanalia! Type of all sorts and sizes in wide flat type drawers, printing presses big and small, as well as old telephones, radios and whatever you could ask for! It's all volunteer run and so quite informal and chatty, and the people do seem to like showing these things off.

And speaking of collecting things and showing them off, here is my latest post box, and it has a sad tale! This George VI wall box is down on Mill Road, and the big ugly sign on it says it will be removed! Outrage! Do you suppose they auction them off or something? Look, dear, at the little souvenir I picked up!

We also finally checked out the local pool, which is fantastic! There is a wee shallow warm pool for the little ones, with slides and water jets and all sorts of fun things. Then they have a diving pool, which of course is very deep, but Arthur tells us that that is where his school has swimming lessons, because the floor is adjustable! Have you ever heard of such a thing? When we went it was 4 meters deep, but it must be about 1 meter when he goes. Maybe the floor is just a sort of mesh screen that goes up and down? Who knows? And there is a big pool for swimming lengths and fooling around, which was really too deep for the kids in most parts, but they had all sorts of kick boards and big floating mats. The drawback: over £10 for a family of 4 to go for a swim! That's more than $20! So we can't do that on a regular basis, though I will investigate season passes and such.

The knitting is proceding apace. I was so thrilled to make visible progress on the pink cardigan, but getting from 363 stitches to seventy-something is taking some time. I have decided I need to knit a hat for the knitted wedding, and so must come up with something for that, and Stephen will be needing his sweater next week, and really, if I sit down and do it, it'll get done, but somehow there is always something more fun to do than knit a buttonband...
The kids are getting creative, too. First we have Bread Man, made by Arthur with the help of black food colouring!

He was quite delicious, and so handsome, too. And we have the dog, courtesy of Elaine. If you click and see the big picture, you can see the little tail-wagging thingies!
And last but not least, my parents sent on my ribbon from the fair!

And now I have to unclog the sink so I can get back into the laundry groove!

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