Another Isle of Wight development is the hovercraft. Much early development of the concept was done on the Island and many were produced in East Cowes. Hovertravel still provide a frequent service between Ryde on the Island and Southsea on the mainland. I got a couple of opportunities to shoot these hovercraft while visiting. On the day Pete and I went flying, we arrived over Ryde just as one of the hovercraft was coming in. Another was parked on the slipway at the time.
When we left the island, I headed up on the upper deck of the ferry to see what was going on and had two over the hovercraft come by in opposite directions. It was rather windy up on deck but I was able to get some usable shots of the two of them individually and as they crossed. Apparently, Hovertravel are in the process of acquiring new craft to replace the current AP1-88s that are in service. Given that they were built in the late 1980s, they have provided good service. It will be interesting to see what replaces them. I wonder whether the new vehicles will arrive before I next get back.
Times change! When I was still working in London, Kings Cross was a dump. I would often have to transfer trains from Thameslink to what was then GNER and would walk a short distance through the area. You could often experience some unusual people doing unusual things. One Sunday I rode through the area because the train I was on was not going the whole way due to maintenance. I found myself weaving through some interesting people who looked like they were still dealing with the previous night. All in all, it was not a great place to hang out.
The arrival of the Eurostar services at St Pancras seems to have been the trigger for some significant regeneration. We decided to check the area out while we were in London and I am glad we did. Aside from the changes to St Pancras itself and some expansion of Kings Cross Station, the surrounding area is undergoing a lot of change. The whole program is a work in progress with some elements done and others still being worked on. The area between the two stations has been transformed. It is now a nice walk up to the canal and beyond.
Restaurants and cafes have sprung up and new housing developments are shooting up. Some of it is very high end but there is also affordable housing. There is a swimming pool that uses a natural, chemical free filtration process. There is a limit on how many people can swim each day in order to manage the water quality. There is also a garden that is quite innovative. Apparently, it was hard to get permission for an allotment system (that might also be to do with the contamination of the earth around the station – I don’t know) so instead they filled a bunch of skips (dumpsters) with earth and they are used as the garden instead. Very thoughtful.
There is obviously still some work to be done in developing the area but the start that has been made is impressive and I imagine the whole place will thrive in the coming years.
As we wandered around the botanic garden in Balboa Park, I was quite interested in a plant that had branches with an odd oval shape repeated across their surface. I mentioned it to Nancy and she had seen something similar in another part of the garden but that had been cut off. The cross section of the branch was more interesting than the surface apparently.
We spent a short while hunting for where she had seen this before and when we found it, she was proved correct. The outside of the branch had the same pattern as I had seen earlier. The inside was certainly unusual. Rather than try and describe it, I shall just let you take a look for yourselves.
My trip to upstate New York had a certain sporty theme to it. We had a triple header of sports to watch. Today you get part two! My niece was taking part in a cross country meet for her high school. She was glad to be running again after having been out with an injury for a while.
The course was a fun one for spectators but less so for the runners I imagine. A section lower down the hill was apparently quite damp – one girl lost her shoe but continued without it – and the climb back up to the main viewing area looked like something I was glad someone else was doing.
I only saw Sara’s race in full. There were plenty of other age groups at different times and the guys were racing as well but I wasn’t there to see them. Family viewing is what counts. Here are a couple from the day. It’s hard to photograph cross country runners since they always seem to be in so much pain. Most of the pictures involve expressions that I am sure they would not be too grateful about if I were to share them with the world. I’m a nice guy I guess!