Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

railway

Decluttering and moving on.

Thought for the day…”If you count all your assets you always show a profit.”

“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.”

Over the years it is easy to accumulate more and more stuff.   It is very easy to end up with boxes and boxes of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and a host of other possessions which were stored in the hope that they would be needed again in the future.    I am currently having a major decluttering session, so all the CDs and DVDs are being scanned, old photos sorted out and boxes of books thrown out.    It is surprising that so much of what was stored turns out to be just junk or things that are no longer important.   Whilst it might have been important years ago, now that I look back I find box loads of things that are not relevant or no longer mean anything.

There is a very easy solution to this….decluttering.    And declutter have I done….getting rid of so much stuff and am moving on.    A sort of mega Spring-cleaning exercise.

Here is a photo from the collection, originally a 35mm negative taken about 1990 in England.   The negative was scanned then destroyed, so now it is just a digital copy (but reduced here for the internet).   A British Rail HST125 at Penzance train station waiting to depart back to London Paddington.   A very unusual clear blue sky too !

and another photo from the archives – a steam train on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn BRB in Switzerland.

RESPECT,  CONSIDERATION  &  FAIRNESS

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Houston – we have a problem

Thought for the day…”Happiness is good health and a bad memory.”

“Prosperity tries the fortunate, adversity the great.”   (Rose Kennedy).

You just have to feel sorry for the NASA astronaut who discovered recently whilst on a space walk that he had forgotten to put a memory card in his GoPro camera.    We have all done that, or have forgotten to recharge the camera batteries, but to be out in space on space walk and discover that you have no memory card in the camera must feel very bad, very bad.     And to make it even worse, the omission was even broadcast, the link for the video from NASA is here –

Back down on Earth, here is a photo from a religious even held in the Swiss town of Brig recently –

The Interlaken (Switzerland) to Lucern express train of the Zentralebahn arrives in Meiringen.

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS


The worm has turned (at least for today)

Thought for the day….”When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”

“A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

I recently flew with Lufthansa from Oslo via Frankfurt to Zurich.    Apart from the usual rush to get onboard and the usual problem to get space in the overhead luggage bins, the seats on the A320 seemed even closer than before.   But the real insult was the ‘meal’ that was served onboard.  This is what Lufthansa, one of the legacy airlines, served as the ‘meal’….

And not only that insult, but the coffee was served in micro size cups too (the watch is in the photos to give an idea of the small size) –

and the ‘dinner’ on the leg to Zurich was 20g, yes 20g of dry crackers.   Again, no refills of coffee offered, despite the small size.   I had paid an ADULT fare, yet was given these micro sized portions.   Can you believe 20g ??  Lufthansa have also been devaluing the air miles on flights too, so I wonder what is the point in paying extra to fly with the legacy carriers when the service has fallen this much???

BUT fast forward to my next trip to Zurich 3 weeks later.   I am lucky to be able to choose a lot of the time, so due to Lufthansa becoming less good, I chose the German Railways train instead.   What a breath of fresh air. No check in 1 hour before departure.   I could get onto the train carrying tubes of toothpaste, a Swiss army knife and liquids without anybody worrying.   The seats had lots of space.  I could take my own baggage (and be sure that it was going to travel with me on the same train).    The staff on the train were excellent, the coffee in the restaurant car good and in normal sized cups.    I had space to walk around, I had comfortable seats and there were films and TV programmes to watch on the DB entertainment channels.    Despite a much longer journey time, it seemed much faster than flying.  I arrived feeling good, relaxed and that I had enjoyed the journey.    We tend to forget that the train can be a great way to travel.    Just because air travel is fast does not mean that it is good, or that it is the only option.   The train down through Germany was so good that I am not considering using the train for many more future trips.    To quote a great British railwayman (Peter Parker) ..”this is the age of the train”.    Perhaps if airlines continue to pack people in and treat passengers as an inconvenience, then more and more people may discover the train.

No prizes for guessing where the photo below was taken…..yes, a souvenir shop !!   Typically Swiss.  Taken with the Fuji X-T20 camera together with the excellent 35mm F2 prime lens.

and another photo from the archives…..bright colours in Cape Verde Islands….

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KFC goes into space

Thought for the day…” Do not watch the clock, do what it does…keep going”

“You can’t expect to hit the jackpot if you don’t put a few nickels in the machine.”

Saw an interesting story in the news recently about KFC, who are going to send one of their ‘Zinger Burger’ chicken sandwiches into space, through a company called World View.    The project is partly being finance by KFC.   So it will be interesting to see the effects of zero gravity and no oxygen on the burger.   Of course, KFC will be posting the details on their webpages live.  Not that KFC are first with their idea,  previously a pie company has sent one of its meat pies into space to space to study the effects of space on it.   Interesting, that ‘launch’ took place from outside a pub in northern England !!

Today’s photo comes from 70 degrees north, in Finnmark province at the top of Norway.   The reindeer are easy to spot at this time of year, especially as they come near the towns lower down to feed on spring grass.   The photo was taken hand-held using the Fuji X-T20 and Fuji 100-400mm lens.

and another photo….a cross country train starts it trip from Penzance, Cornwall, England

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RESPECT, FAIRNESS & CONSIDERATION


Swiss mountain town bans photography

Thought for the day..”Public opinion is no more than this: what people think that other people think.”

“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.”  (George Patton)

What is the world coming to?    News on the internet is that the Swiss town of  Bergun in the Graubunden area has voted to ban photography in it’s area.    People taking photos will be fined CHF4 under the new bylaw.     Apparently, the local council has already taken down publicity photos from the internet.    So many places in the world are restricting photography, you have only to think of the USA where photographing public buildings is now likely to lead to trouble with the authorities,  and in many places in the world, taking photos near an airport is also likely to lead to problems.     It is amazing that the central government in Switzerland has allowed the town of Bergun to introduce the new photography ban.   It would certainly change my decision to visit any town if it had a photography ban.  What has happened to freedom?   And what is the town of Bergun so afraid of???    Surely any town should be please that people want to visit and take photographs.    And because Switzerland is usually a civilised country, then the photography ban is even more surprising.     Recently Sweden introduced a complete ban on filming from drones/quadcopters without special permission, and other countries are gradually introducing more restrictions as well.

Today’s photo is a scan of a slide taken many years ago, a local train from St. Ives passes the beach at Carbis Bay in Cornwall, England.

and another photo…..a scanned slide photo from the 1990s.   A Penzance to London train in the Glynn Valley near Bodmin Road in Cornwall, England.

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RESPECT, CONSIDERATION & FAIRNESS


Out of the camera -JPEG photos

Thought for the day…”Dreams do not work unless you do”                 “Do not wish for it, work for it”.

One of the great bonuses of the Fuji X-E1 camera is that the photos straight out of the camera are so good, even in jpeg form.    Previously I would spend many hours with RAW files, adjusting and ‘developing’ the RAW image into finished JPEG photo, but now things are so much easier (and quicker).   The standard jpegs straight out of the camera are so good…..have a look at the 2 photos below.   Great colours, great sharpness and great contrast.  Not quite ‘point and shoot’  but certainly much faster and much easier than previous digital cameras.    And having been so impressed by the quality of the glass in the Fuji lenses, then another lens purchase might just be on the horizon..but will I be able to bring myself to pay the 2000 euros for the new zoom lens??????   Quality costs.

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and another photo from the archives…night train to Oslo from Trondheim….

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Fast and Slow, Albania to China

Thought for the day…” Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving”  (Einstein).

” If you do not know where you are going, any road will get you there”.

Around 3.2 million people live in Albania, which borders Greece in the south and Montenegro in the north.  Italy is just 72km away across the sea, yet Albania remains one of the poorest parts of Europe.   One strange difference in Albania is that shaking your head means ‘yes’ whilst nodding your head means ‘no’.  Today’s photo shows the train from the Albanian capital, Tirana arriving at the second largest city of Durres.    At the time the photo was taken, trains ran all the way from the capital, however now the main train has been demolished to make way for new roads !  Even when it was operating all the way, average speeds were extremely poor, with the 38km journey taking around 90 minutes.   Compare that to the world record for a conventional train, held by the French TGV which reached a top speed of 574.8 km/h in April 2007.    Up to July 2011 (when its top speed was limited to save energy) the Chinese CRH2 Harmony train covered the 922km from Wuhan to Guangzhou at an average of 313 km/h.

LOW-RES-Albania-Durresand another photo from the archives….boats in Essiouria, Morocco.  Spot the man on the boats….

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Crossing to Tibet – A portrait in colour

Thought for the day….” Never ask a barber if you need a haircut”

”  If past history was all there was to the game, then the richest people would all be librarians”.

Sometimes it is open, and sometimes it is closed, so getting into Tibet is a bit of a lottery.   Around 3 million people live in Tibet, which is officially regarded as a Chinese autonomous region.    And to complicate matters even further, the ‘borders’ of the Tibetan kingdom are much larger than the official Chinese autonomous region’s borders.   It contains the world’s highest plateau (at over 4000m), and includes the Himalayas.  Tourism is controlled by the Chinese government, and a special permit is needed to visit, even if a Chinese visa is held.  Trains to Lhasa started in 2006, with the trip from Bejing taking around 48 hours.   Interestingly, the train is said to be the highest railway route in the world, and due to the altitude on the trip (up to 5231m altitude) then the trains are provided with an oxygen supply.  They also have windows with special protection against the strong ultra-violet rays at the high altitudes.    And having enjoyed the train trip, then travellers can look forward to yak meat and the (salty) butter tea, and perhaps a photo like the one below……

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And another photo from the archives…..a black and white photo from the old town in the centre of Tallinn, Estonia.

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Heading to the Fjords, more blue skies

Thought for the day…” If at first you do not succeed then skydiving is not for you”.

” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance”.

Staying in Norway for the photo again today, and a shot of the famous Oslo to Bergen train.   The train still has over 400m vertical to climb at this point, but the views will be fantastic as it reaches the summit at over 1237m.   It has just passed the half way point of its 493 km journey from Oslo to Bergen.   The opening of the line in 1907 was delayed due to snow (often a problem on this route due to the altitude and exposed nature of much of the route), but the full route opened in 1908.   Despite several new tunnels, the route is still one of the great railway journeys, and is highly scenic.  About 5 trains cover the full route each day, including a night sleeper service.   Soon the passengers on the train will get their first views of the glaciers, as the train will shortly be above the tree line before it starts its long descent towards the fjords and Bergen at seal level.   Highly recommended if you are in Norway !!

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and another photo out of the archives….a timeless scene from rural Ethiopia…..

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23.13 Night train to Oslo, Norway

Thought for the day….” Do coffins have lifetime guarantees?”                         ” If heat rises then shouldn’t Hell be cold?”

Gladys Knight and the Pips had a big hit with the song “Midnight Train to Georgia”, but the photo today is of the 23.13 night train to Oslo, which is a long way from either Georgia the country or Georgia, USA.   Not much sleep ahead for the drivers of the night train from Trondheim, Norway south towards the capital, Oslo.     They still have about 495 km to drive through the mountains at night.   I had forgotten that travelling by train could be so pleasant, especially when compared to air travel.   Boarding the train is completely fuss free, no security goon worries if I am carrying a tube of toothpaste (which apparently, is dangerous now) and nobody at the station had a panic attack because I was carrying a Swiss army knife.   I also did not have to stand in a line anywhere, nor did I have to undress to get onto the train.    Once onboard the train, the coffee came in normal sized cups, and actually tasted like good coffee, unlike airline economy-class coffee.   And was the train any worse off because the passengers had not been through security checks???  No.  It even arrived in Oslo early.  Almost forgot to mention that they were serving hot, fresh cinnamon rolls from the oven in the cafe onboard.   Well done NSB !  Already sent an email to NSB to congratulate them, as it is good to give positive feedback when it is due.

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And another photo out of the archives, and from the other side of the world……coral reefs surrounding the islands of Fiji.

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Ultimate Swiss army knife !!! – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement”.

”  Happiness is a road to travel, not a goal to reach”.

Did you know that the original Swiss army knife was grey, not red?  And in the beginning, when the knives were made for the Swiss army, they did not feature a corkscrew because soldiers were forbidden to drink whilst on duty.  Apparently, on modern Swiss army knives, the corkscrew is the one part that is not made in Switzerland (it is manufactured in Japan instead).  The Swiss army knife started life in 1897 after being developed by Carl Elsener.   His idea was to manufacture something to stop emigration due to unemployment.  The design has been so successful that it has even been used in the Space Shuttle.  It is now possible to buy a Swiss army knife WITHOUT the knife part, so that it can be carried on flights (a knife-less Swiss army knife!) .   Wenger, one of the two main companies producing the knives (the other is Victorinox)  produces a knife known as ‘The Giant’, with some 87 tools included on it.    And here is a photo of one…which was on offer in Switzerland for CHF 1200……

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One strange or odd fact about the Swiss army is that they accidentally invaded the neighboring country of Lichtenstein in 2007 after getting lost in a rainstorm !!

And a photo from the archives, this time from Cuba….4 modes of transport in this shot…..

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Busy doing nothing – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..” Never let perfect be the enemy of better”     ”  It takes twenty years of hard work to become an overnight success”

A photo from a few years back, taken on the main railway station in Tallinn, Estonia.  Estonia has been independent from the Soviet Union since 1991, although there is still a lot of Russian influence there, with around 45% of the population speaking Russian.  It still shares a border with Russia, and another with Latvia.   Around 430 000 people live in the capital, Tallinn.   It has become known as the Silicon Valley of the Baltic due to the large IT industry there, with Skype being its most famous development.    More than 1.5 million tourists visit the city each year, with about 1/3 of them arriving by ship.   Plans to link Tallinn to Helsinki (Finland), some 80km away by an undersea tunnel have been put on hold, although they were part of the European Union plans to improve links to the area.

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And one from the archives, taken a few years ago, the rare Rothschild giraffe.

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Canterbury hills in evening light – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….’ When one door closes, another door opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully at the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us”   Alexander Graham Bell.

I used to fly a lot with Norwegian Airline.   In the beginning they were reliable and good, but recently have decided to outsource their cabin crews.  Just before Christmas they made their Swedish-based staff redundant but the staff were able to continue to work via an employment agency (albeit with worse working conditions).     Redundancy must have been a lovely Christmas present from the company to its staff.   Not only that, but the airline is crewing its new long-haul flights with Thai staff, presumably because it is a lot cheaper.    The same thing happened onboard ships earlier, the end result being that jobs are lost in many countries when the workers are replaced by cheaper foreign crews.    So now Norwegian Airline is at it too.  So from now on I will try and avoid flying with Norwegian Airlines.   Companies that treat staff like this do not deserve support.

Looking almost like a painting in the soft light of evening, the photo today is from Spotswood in the Canterbury region of New Zealand.  This area is a big sheep farming area, although vineyards are also becoming popular as well.   Just crossing the lower part of the picture is the main north-south railway line which nowadays only sees one passenger train a day during the summer months, as well as regular freight trains.

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Breaking records SPEED – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….”Out on the edge, you see all sorts of things that you cannot see from the centre”.

” Losers make promises that they often break, winners make commitments that they always keep”

A photo today of the world record holder for conventional trains, the French TGV.  The train, seen here in Lausanne station (Switzerland) carries a special paint scheme, and includes details of the world record which it broke on 3rd April 2007, when it achieved a top speed of 574.8 km/h.   Although this is the world record for conventional trains (that is, those running on normal rails) the Japanese MAGLEV train set an overall train speed record of 581 km/h.   At the other end of the scale, the world’s slowest train is said to be the last running train in Cambodia, which has a top speed of only 17 km/h.   The normal top speed of the TGV (as in today’s photo) is 320 km/h, although there are plans to raise this in time.

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Swiss Bells – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can see from the top of a mountain”.

” A ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are for”.

I had forgotten just how good travel by train could be.  I recently travelled down through Europe on long-distance night train, and it was very interesting to compare this trip with the return trip, which was by air.   No early check in at an airport, no expensive airport ‘box’ hotel, and no long queues to endure.  No silly security checks, and nobody on the train was worried that I was carrying toothpaste or liquids which at an airport would be taboo.   No need to check in at all, just board the train and find the sleeping compartment.   Pleasant evening on the way down through Europe, good snacks in the cafe, and coffee that was far better than airline coffee.    And add to that a good nights sleep and it makes a very pleasant journey.   Then next morning breakfast in the train cafe and voila, it was time to arrive (and on time too).   Compare that to the hassle and frustration at airports and being squashed in economy class for the flight back.  Flight back was late, on an old aircraft and delayed even further due to passengers travelling with far too many carry on bags.  Perhaps one day the train will be THE way to travel again…….The recent trip was a very interesting comparison.

Today’s photo is from the central part of Switzerland, with a photo of Swiss cow bells on a woodland hotel.  Very Swiss !

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Scenic railway journey – Bergen to Oslo Norway – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….” If money does not grow on trees, then why do banks have branches? “.

” Why do round pizzas come in square boxes?  “

When we travel now, we are never really out of touch, because with internet and mobile phones, then there is always a link, even in surprisingly ‘remote’ places.   In the news from Japan is a story that they are launching internet ‘fasting camps’  so that the estimated 1/2 million children in Japan who are addicted to the internet can receive help.    California in the USA already has a digital detoxing resort for adults but the Japanese Education authority is now targeting children in an attempt to get them to do more activities WITHOUT internet.

Today’s photo shows one of the great railway journeys in the world, the Oslo-Bergen line in Norway.   Seen here on an early autumn day, is the train heading for Oslo, not far from the town of Nesbyen.   The 493km journey crosses the Hardangervidda plateau, and reaches a height of 1222m at Finse before descending to sea level near Bergen.  The newer tilting trains that were introduced on this line in 2000 are gradually being replaced by locomotive hauled trains (as in the photo) which handle the snow and conditions on the line better.

web-version-Bergen-to-Oslo-trainhttp://www.qualitysparesort.com                  http://www.qualityresortnorefjell.com                http://www.norefjellspa.com

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Train Driver – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….”Good management consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people”
“Goals are like underwear, you have to change them once in a while to feel better about yourself”.

Did you know that the North Pole and South Pole have only 1 sunrise and 1 sunset each year?   And because the speed that the Earth rotates at is slowing down, the years are also getting shorter, around 400 million years ago a year was about 410 days, although the days were then only 21 hours long.   Even on the Equator, the days are not exactly 12 hours long, due to changes in the size of the sun and atmospheric conditions, and daylight can up to 7 minutes longer.   And due to the unusual orbit of the Earth, then the Northern Hemisphere has longer days than the Southern Hemisphere, with the sun being north of the Equator for 4 more days than in the Southern Hemisphere.  People who build sundials will also know about the Equation of Time, which is used to make corrections for the uneven spinning of the Earth.

Another steam train photo today, but this time the engine driver.   The photo was taken recently in Uppsala, Sweden during one of the weekend steam train specials, and is a timeless photo.  All aboard please!!

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Photo of the Day Saturday 9th February 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…”The first to apologise is the bravest, the first to forgive is the strongest, the first to forget is the happiest”.

“The only real mistake is the one that we learn nothing from”.

Melbourne, Australia and St. Petersburg, Russia have the largest tram systems in the world, but the photo today shows a preserved tram in the southern Swedish city of Malmo.  Interesting to read that at one time, Milan had hearse trams which were used for funerals up until 1920.  Also, at one time, Melbourne had a dog car tram, which was used to transport dogs to the showgrounds.  As well as the usual restaurant trams, they have also been used as a mobile library ((Munchen, Germany) until 1970, and also as cargo trams.  Amsterdam has again experimented with using trams for moving goods inside the city.  And a few cities still use double-decker trams, such as Hong Kong.

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Photo of the Day Sunday 27th January 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Anxiety is the space between the  ‘now’ and the ‘then’ ”

The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.”

“Common sense is like deodorant, the people who need it most never use it”.

A photo today of a German ICE express train, seen here at Interlaken station in Switzerland.   Something of a success story for Siemens who build the train, as similar versions are now used in Spain, Russia and China.   At one time, an ICE train held the world train speed record of 406.9 km/h. Between 1991 and 2006 ICE trains have carried over 550 million passengers, and have perhaps Europe’s most comfortable interiors.

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WORDPRESS CH Interlaken Ost ICE 21 Sept 2012 (3)


Photo of the Day Friday 21st December 2012 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…..” Why is there only one monopolies commission?”

A photo today that looks like a black & white photo, but is actually a colour photo, but one where there is not a lot of colour!!!  It was taken early morning in Switzerland in Interlaken, with a morning fog from the nearby lakes.   A weekend special stream train was passing through on its way up to the resort of Grindelwald, and I was just lucky to be at the station when it was there.  Being Switzerland, even the steam trains run exactly to time!!!    About 347 million people use Swiss railways and its 760 stations each year.  There are over 3000km of track, making getting around Switzerland very easy.

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WORDPRESS CH Interlaken Ost steam train 23 Sept 2012