web analytics

Steam-powered Britannia


Once and sometimes twice a year, on Hope Farm in Sellindge, Kent, Britain comes out to play. The old Britain. The steam powered one.

There are vintage cars and motorcycles and tractors and musical automatons and, older still, shire horses pulling the plough. There are people selling old screwdrivers and thumbplanes and tires (or tyres, if you prefer) and cakes and teacups and books. There was a Magic Accordeola playing Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

And there are steam engines. Steam tractors, steam motorcycles, steam rollers.

We ate a good Dutch cheeseburger and listened to a bad garage band. Mostly, though, we looked at, listened to, smelled the bitumenous exhalations of and otherwise enjoyed keeping company with steam engines.

It was a happy end to a happy two weeks. And then the rains came. And the weather, which had been sunny and fine the whole time, turned mizzly and cold and entirely appropriate to my mood. London tonight in the drizzle, Boston tomorrow night in the…whatever.

Oh, well. That’s tomorrow.



Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: May 28, 2007, 7:19 pm

Has it been two weeks already? Gracious, the time does fly by.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 29, 2007, 7:02 am


Steam powered motorcycle. Much coolness.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 29, 2007, 7:04 am


Beeg horsie. Not quite as big as a Clydesdale, but with the same fluffy feet.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: May 29, 2007, 8:29 am

The Clydesdale’s were originally Scottish (I think), so that could be one – or a close-related kind.

One doesn’t truly get a feel for their size until you’re standing next to one. The local beer co. here keeps a stable of ’em. They be beeeeg, by cracky. Each of their stalls is (uh, used to be – I haven’t seen ’em recently) about the size of a one-car garage. Beeg.

They do not run on steam.

Comment from Frit
Time: September 16, 2010, 5:01 am

At one point I had a pair of Shire geldings I’d rescued from some idiots who didn’t know squat about how to care for, or train, horses.

They were full brothers, a year apart, aged 3 & 4 by the time I sold them to a very good carriage company. they were already 17-2 HH (That’s 5.8333etc feet to the withers/shoulder.) and they were not fully grown yet!

I also recall going to some drought horse fairs and meeting a set of black Percherons who were 19 HH – bloody HUGE! One of their heads was as large as my torso! (Ok, so I’m not a big person…still!)

Good thing they are called “Gentle Giants” for a reason. 😉

Comment from NIlan
Time: March 30, 2011, 1:41 pm

Antiques are always calling and warms the heart. In the world of antiques can enter … but it’s a ticket, only one way! 🙂

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny