Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society devoted to maintaining and keeping her in working order. From 1985 to 1990 she was used by the then Special Trains Unit of British Railways that ran regular ‘Sunday Luncheon Express’ services from London Marylebone to Straford-Upon-Avon before being chosen by Belmond British Pullman to haul their excursions. Naturally all passengers made a beeline for the front of the train to take photos for posterity, ourselves included. Having marvelled at her mighty ‘Brunswick Green’ splendour we made our way to our carriage.
Each of the British Pullman's cars has its own name, décor and history , we were seated in magnificent Audrey carriage seats 11 and 12. Audrey was built as a first class kitchen car in 1932 for Southern Belle (later renamed the Brighton Belle) service and made her debut on New Year’s Day 1933 as part of the worlds first all electric Pullman train.
penultimate outing before she retires to Crew for an overhaul on the 30th June. Our since thanks and admiration to all involved in Clan Line’s preservation and everyone on the Belmond British Pullman for making our day a memorable one.
Mark Smith filmed this wonderful video of Clan Line on her approach to Chilworth in the Surrey Hills.
The British Museum holds the largest collection of Egyptian objects outside Egypt and I needed my fix of mummies, sarcophagi and canopic jars! Another aspect of ancient Egypt that fascinates me is the mummification of their pets (I’m like that) particularly cats and the role cats played in their lives.
specimen was one found in Abydos, Upper Egypt believed to be from the Roman Period, perhaps 1st century AD. Elaborately wrapped it seems unlikely that the cat died a natural death as its believed that temple catteries provide subjects for mummification and sale to the pious. The purchase and burial of an animal mummy in a specially designed catacomb was seen as a pious act towards the deity represented by the animal. Unfortunately, many cat cemeteries were plundered before archaeologists could work in them: A shipment of as many as 180,000 mummified cats was brought to Britain at the end of the nineteenth century to be processed into fertiliser!
Theses ones were truly amazing! Then onwards to Room 56: Mesopotamia where we saw the 'Ram in a Thicket'. Discovered in Ur (modern southern Iraq) dated from around 2600-2400 BC it is one of a pair (The other resides at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia) discovered by Sir Leonard Woolley (1880 –1960) in the 'Great Death Pit' in 1928.
archaeology and met future husband, archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan, CBE (1904 –1978). She was involved in the excavation of the sites in Iraq and Syria cleaning, repairing and cataloguing many finds undoubtedly influencing many of her books.
There was still lots more to see but we had to leave, we had tickets booked…
The Mousetrap! Since its first opening night in the West End in 1952 the show entered the record books in 1958 by becoming the longest running show in the history of British Theatre. It has long since smashed that record and became the longest initial run of any play in history (clocking up its 25,000th) on its 60th Birthday back in 2012! St. Martin's Theatre (first opened in 1916) is gorgeous, after extensive interior refurbishment it has been restored to its former glory. The auditorium complete with woodwork, glass light fixtures and silk wallpaper has memorabilia from the shows past lining the walls and a beautiful wooden counter clock that clocks up each performance! As we took our seats the structure and design of the theatre impressed us both as Mrs Jones put it “how a theatre should look”.
18th November 2012 to coincide with the Mousetrap’s 60th anniversary and is in the form of a large book with a bust of Christie in the centre along with several familiar images from her work and well worth stopping to investigate. And that was our day, and what a day it was! I hope it was of interest!
© Arfon Jones 2015. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.