Tag Archives: trains

Here be dragons

Well today is the feast of St George the patron saint of England famed for killing a dragon, which got me thinking about other incarnations of these mythical creatures.
The first that springs to mind is Idris a small, red Welsh dragon who is hatched out of his egg in the fire of Ivor the Engine a steam train featured in 1970's children's animation by Oliver Postgate.
Then of course there’s Smaug from Tolkein’s Hobbit story, as well as 'Puff' the Magic Dragon from the song performed American folk group Peter, Paul and Mary.
A person favourite of mine is Falkor the Luckdragon from the Never Ending Story – I love that film, but I have to confess I’ve never read the book. Perhaps I should?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit China where dragons are seen in temples, on boats and dancing at celebrations. From my travels there I brought back a dragon netsuke – although I appreciate these actually originate from Japan!
And then there are the real life dragons of Komodo – I’ve never meet one other than seeing them at Jersey Zoo, but I’ve had some encounters with some relatives of the Komodo dragon including Nile and Bosc monitor lizards during my time as volunteer worker at a pet rescue centre, as well as meeting the marine iguanas on my travels to the Galapagos. Maybe one day I’ll get to meet a Goanna in Australia just like the one in my story “Whose egg are you?”
Recently I’ve also been drawing dragons, I’m taking part in the #AnimalAlphabets challenge on Twitter so if I can keep it up I’ll have 26 mythical beasts to add to my illustrations portfolio!

Badges, Budgies and Books

Thanks to some internet searching these little badges tell quite a tale of their own.
They used to belong to my grandfather who wore them on his jacket lapels to show his affiliation to the world of budgerigar breeding.
I knew my grandfather was a train driver – what I didn’t realise was the history of The London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company. It would seem in its time (1923-47) the LMS was the largest Joint Stock Corporation operating a railway anywhere in the world and the LMS Fur & Feather Society was one of a number of groups organised by the railway employees. Competitions were organised between similarly interested groups around the rail network.
Similarly the heritage of Budgerigar Society also dates back to the 1920’s with the formation of the first Budgerigar Club at the Grand National Show at Crystal Palace in February 1925.
My grandad even appears in print – in A Locoman’s Log 1937-85 by Bill Alcock.
Who’d of thought there’s nearly a 100 years tradition hidden behind an enamel pin badge?