Portsmouth…The Fish & Ships Move

There is…or was…until the Railway Authorities chose to raise the price by over a quarter, almost overnight…a good value railway touring ticket entitled Freedom of the Severn & Solent, FOSS for short, amongst the railway enthusiast fraternity. Covering an area from Worcester and Malvern in the North, right down to the South Coast of England from Weymouth to the Solent, it is just brilliant for me during the warmer months to do a bit of travelling around with my camera. Take the three day version of the ticket, and travel in that pretty huge area cost an average of about fifteen quid a day, until some bean counter in an unseen office somewhere decided that we were getting far too good a deal. Now is about twenty quid a day, but still not too bad if it’s Bristol to Portsmouth or Southampton that’s on the agenda. One really has to have an appetite for three days in a week of quite intense travelling to make it pay now. But that’s a topic for another day, perhaps…

Last May was rather a while ago now, but rifling through my photo archive recently reminded me that there had been a really decent spring day that month, and armed with my FOSS, I had, indeed, been out for a wander all the way down to Portsmouth.

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Iconic “New” Portsmouth – Gunwharf Quays and the Spinnaker Tower

There is a simple reason to visit Portsmouth as a starting point – the Britannia Fish Bar just outside Portsmouth Harbour Station and the Navy Yard gates serves really excellent fish & chips. But fortune did not favour me as a representative of the brave that day, and I found the Britannia well-and-truly CLOSED…for refurbishments. Bummer! Much gyrating on the pavement in front of the scaffolding ensued, the sudden frustration causing a hiatus in my train of thought. So, off I trotted (or perhaps I should say, marched in a rather grumpy fashion, ‘cos I was right hungry by that point) in search of an alternative supply of the said fish & chips.

Well, dear reader, it is rather fortuitous that the Britannia was closed that day, as I was forced to explore further afield, for the day was just gloriously clear and sunny, perfect for the amateur photographer to practice the art.

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“…Really, I see no ships.”

Southsea is an area of Greater Portsmouth which is very familiar to me from my earlier childhood. My father worked extensively in the building industry as a Quantity Surveyor for Costain Contruction, and for about half a decade, that sent him to the area for work. And he would often take us, the family, to the city for trips out during the summer holidays. I remember well taking the ferry over to Ryde on the Isle of Wight, and indeed eating chips, and playing lots of pinball, at Clarence Pier in Southsea. Happy days! So, here I was nearly half a century later, and very much overdue for a retracing of my childhood steps all those decades ago. I’ve no idea if the Portsmouth city fathers have chosen to keep the building my father helped to build – things are always getting torn down and replaced at great cost – but I am certainly pleased that events took my father and me as part of his family to that place, to be a tiny microdot in its long history.

Portsmouth is very much a naval city, and an important base for the British Navy since time immemorial. Henry VIII set sail in his fleet to have yet another little scrap with his dear friends the French in the sixteenth century, only to have his flagship Mary Rose topple over and sink with huge loss of life on the way out. It looked very much as though dear Henry had simply overloaded his flagship with guns…but guns of that age do tend to be, well, bulky, and no-one had considered the basic schoolboy physics of something being a bit top-heavy and wobbly as a result. Ooops!

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A statue of Lord Nelson now stands close to the Royal Garrison Church

Naval history, however, has continued proudly and unabated since. Portsmouth was the last little bit of Good Ol’ Blighty that Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson was ever to see as he departed to join his flagship Victory in October 1805. Yet again, us Brits were off to have another scrap with our favourite friends the French; this time the French had the Spanish out with them, but that was an age when Britannia really did rule the waves, and we won. Poor Horatio, though, had had a french sniper take aim at him, and he died of his wound just before the British victory at Trafalgar was declared. For the 21st Century tourist, though, it is still possible to walk through the tiny gateway thought to be Nelson’s route as he left for his ship. I must say, I find the thought of all that naval scrapping in that day-and-age quite stomach churning – had the press gang arrived to take me out of the Britannia Fish Bar for service in His Majesty’s Navy, they would have had to carry me out feet first, and even once aboard, I think I would have preferred to walk the plank and take my chances with the little fishes. I like boats, but not ones like Victory in the 19th Century. Not at all nice.

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HMS Victory from the starboard quarter

Victory for its part is now a national monument, and can still be visited in Portsmouth’s Naval Yard, as can the remains of Mary Rose, which were raised from the seabed in the early 1980s.

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The Round Tower

During the 1940s, Portsmouth naturally received a good deal of attention from Hitler’s Luftwaffe: The nave of the Royal Garrison Church remains roofless to this day. But happily, much history has survived to be seen today. On my visit in May 2017, I still roamed happily around the Square and Round Towers, and in the grounds of Portsmouth’s Cathedral. Portsmouth Cathedral’s origins stretch back into medieval times, and, I think I am right in saying, was originally the parish Church of St Thomas of Canterbury. In 1927, the Diocese of Portsmouth split away from neighbouring Winchester, becoming a See in its own right, hence the elevation of the parish church to that of cathedral, the seat of the new bishop. It is a striking Romanesque building, well worth a visit.

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Portsmouth Cathedral from the south-west
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The striking Romanesque character of the West Front
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Beep! Beep! ‘Scuse me…!

History, fish & chips aside, there is plenty for the casual Portsmouth visitor to enjoy. Ships, lots of ships, and the famous hovercraft service to Ryde, leaving from right on the beach at Clarence Pier. The local gulls are up to their usual tricks, and sophisticated defences must be employed by the visitor to preserve his or her lunch. I generally employ the word Boo! quite loudly, then chase the gulls around flapping my arms wildly – it seems to work, and the chips remained all mine. One can also procure one’s own fish out of the ocean, of course, but that’s not something I generally do…I like to spend more time talking to the local pigeons…!

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Waiting for supper…
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Coooo! There was a time, as a boy of maybe four or five, that I might have chased this hapless fellow…
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The Well-Oiled Machine

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Picture the scene, quintessentially English, rolling hills, not at all far from the sea, ancient and historic landmarks. It was a lovely spring Saturday morning as I left home, 5am, the sun barely rising, but promising perfect lighting conditions in the fullness of time, probably no rain in the forecast. I must confess to being pretty used to leaving home at Stupid O’Clock for work at the bus garage, but now I find myself in the space beyond driving buses full-time, at least partially-retired. And with that comes the opportunity to get out and about; today I was bound for the Dorset seaside town of Swanage. The town boasts one of Britain’s foremost preserved railways, usually noted for running steam trains, but today offering those of a more internally-combustable persuasion the Swanage Railway Diesel Gala. Indeed, it was not for sea air that I was visiting that neighbourhood, probably more likely to be inhaling lungs full of diesel fumes! Nice.

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Corfe Castle Station. The calm before the storm. Give it another 20 minutes or so, and it would be bedlam here! Beer festival and all that…

Steam disappeared from the British railway network, finally, and for some, with great regret, by 1968, and on the Southern Region of British Railways, the end came in 1967. The diesels were taking over, the march of innovation and progress continuing a-pace. So, for this weekend’s Gala, the Swanage Railway appended the title, “Dawn of the Diesels”. And for good measure, they were throwing in the Dorset Beer Festival, hosted at Corfe Castle station. Oil of a different kind!

I was warned that the event would be popular, especially on the Saturday. Yes, today was Saturday… It wasn’t long after 8.30am, and the line for the ticket office was already pretty much matching the length of the entire permanent way towards Swanage. This was Norden Park & Ride, the first point of entry to the railway for most visitors approaching from the North. It was a good atmosphere, mostly middle-aged men, just a scattering of women folk, and some kids. Most had rucksacks over the shoulder, baseball cap on the head, and a well-worn tea shirt or jacket proclaiming allegiance to the beast that each fellow followed. And by beast, dear reader, understand the meaning of “railway locomotive” – the diesel railway following divides into tribes, much as do football fans, each devoted to their chosen engine – “Peaks”, “47s” (“Duffs or Spoons” to those in rival tribes), “Grids”, “Hoovers” (that would be “Smoking Logs” to rivals in another tribe). Then there were a few others potty about Class 20s (“Choppers”, or even “Chibbles”, probably on account of the noise they made), or Class 73s (or “Horseboxes”, even “Shoe Boxes”, in honour of their very rectangular lines). Mixed in among these die-hard enthusiasts were a few folk with distinctly worried and confused expressions on their faces: These were the “Normals”, non-enthusiasts, generally with a clutch of already-fractious kids in tow, unbelieving at the number of people already waiting for the trains. They were the folk who had had absolutely no idea that a major event was on at the railway; they were just bringing their kids out to see the “choo-choos”!

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Happy Crew.

I met up with some friends travelling from various locations around the south, many belonging to the Tribe known as 83Bonapartes. An interesting twist on the enthusiast tribe theme, this; a veritable mixture of devotions – the is Paul (who is of the “I love Class 50…Not!” brigade), Brian (a young and up-and-coming professional, and talented photographer), Nathan (a consummate railway professional), and Ian (aka “The Earl” – say “Kettle” to him [that’s “Steam Engine” to any of you reading this who are “Normals”], and you’ll see him turn a shade of purple with steam issuing from his ears, somewhat ironic considering how he just loves steam engines). Then there were honourary visitors to the group, Kev (a devotee of the Class 47, never “Duff” or “Spoon” for Kev), and Hotel Barry (who, rumour has it, works in a…hotel). We’ve met them all before, folks – see my posting from a year or two ago (“I’m not Bashing…I’m Photting“). So, the group duly assembled, the bashing and photting began once again. Confused about the terminology? Have a read of that post, and all will become clear, dear reader.

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Class 45 “Peak”, 45041 “Royal Tank Regiment“, enters the “up” loop at Harmans Cross.

Aboard the train, another interesting tribal behaviour could be noted: Each tribe staked out their own spot in the carriages, and there they stayed…for a considerable time. Just riding up and down, pens and calculators in hand, totalling up the mileages travelled behind their favourite engines. Hmmmm….whatever keeps them out of mischief, I suppose. At key moments in the day, any given tribe would actually vacate their space, and head…yes…to the beer tent, located in the lovely country station setting of Corfe Castle, at which point the space would be immediately taken up by another tribe.

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A nightmare for the environmentalists. Pure joy for die-hard diesel bashers! 26043 sends up a plume of “clag” as it restarts from Harmans Cross “down” home signal.

The British rail enthusiast, when not bashing or photting, indulges in the another quintessentially British pastime – Queuing! At the Dorset Beer Festival tent, there was much opportunity to practice queuing, but be in no doubt, dear reader, the wait was well worth it! For a fiver, each participant was allowed three half-pint samples of the beers on offer, some of the finest beers, craft beers no less, I have ever had the privilege of tasting. Two half pint measures (ooops that seems to be a little more than a half in there, but no-one was moaning about it) was enough to be putting me well on the way to well-oiled status. Travelling on a train, in the railway enthusiast vernacular, is known as going for a “wobble” – now just walking was wobbly, too!

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Brush Class 47, D1842, approaches Corfe Castle with a down train.

So, today we had history and reminiscence of a gone-by era of train travel all in one place. The train snaked its way past the ruins of the ancient Corfe Castle, a structure dating back to the 11th century. It’s final resident, one Mary Bankes, loyal to the Crown, held out against Parliamentary forces twice during the English Civil War, only being overrun on the second occasion of siege. The victorious English Parliamentarians – Roundheads – ordered Corfe Castle to be destroyed. The ruins are all that remain today, but are Grade I listed for posterity. I have to confess, the presence of castle ruins adds so much to the mystery of a place like Corfe.

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Don’t upset “The Ref”! The finger is already up in a warning fashion, but no yellow card, as yet. I’ve been trying for a yellow card for YEARS!

Dear reader, the video footage I shot on the day is now edited, and humbly presented here in an attempt to tell something of the story of the Dawn of the Diesels weekend at the Swanage Railway. My thanks to Ian, Paul, Brian, Nathan, Kevin, and the many hundreds of fellow railway enthusiasts for their tolerance of my waving a camera around – and I hope you all enjoy the result as much as I enjoyed making it. Alternatively, leave me a big, fat, raspberry in the comments section!

“Bashing” to Didcot

It just turned out that St Patrick’s Day coincided with a day off from driving my bus around, dear reader. Many with true green Irish blood flowing through their veins might celebrate wildly on that day. But I’m not the least bit Irish, sadly, so I wandered off with my little video camera for a quiet day, well away from the usual hubbub of daily working life. This time, it was to Didcot, an important railway junction on the Great Western Main Line to Bristol, a place where a traveler might just pause a moment to change trains, en-route to Oxford from the West Country, otherwise they might well miss it completely. A shame, really – there is a very decent (and good value) pub just across the road from the station, well worth a visit.

The result is 20 or so minutes of “train enthusiast” footage, but I make little apology for that…my mission is to record something of the passing railway history that unfolds before us, almost unnoticed, day by day – the skyline at Didcot has changed for ever with the departure of the once-iconic cooling towers of the Didcot (coal-fired) power station, and the arrival of the overhead wires which will supply electricity to the new fleet of (Japanese) trains which are supposed to be arriving later this year. And I particularly wanted to record the sight and more importantly the sound of the venerable High Speed Trains which have served this line for the last four decades. A hugely successful design, British-built; time will tell whether the new Japanese arrivals will ever be as good…

Here’s the video, then, on my channel at YouTube:

Recent Railway Happenings…

The last few days of my recent “FOSS”, or Freedom of the Severn & Solent rail rover ticket… Great value for those who wish to wander widely in Wessex and the Westcountry.

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No hurry at Yeovil Pen Mill today – The down token instrument at Maiden Newton is apparently jammed, and there’s a queue of trains waiting to head south over the single track section.

So, latest happenings over the past week: The token machine at Maiden Newton, south of Yeovil Pen Mill on the Castle Cary to Dorchester line, decided to act more like a petulant child than a well-oiled piece of railway infrastructure Saturday before last, leading to half-hour-plus delays for services over that single track section.

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Thomas, the Pen Mill station rodent operative, arrives in his Public Relations capacity to calm the nerves of anxious delayed travellers…

My unit down from Westbury was held for a good 25 minutes at Yeovil, plenty of time for a brew from the station cafe (I’m always happy to support independently-run station cafes), as well as affectionate attention from the resident station cat, who I now know to be named Thomas, aged about thirteen-and-three-quarters!

 

West Coast Railways ran their Last Days of Southern Steam tour from London Victoria to Weymouth via Bournemouth –

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Jubilee class 45699 Galatea arriving at Weymouth with WCR’s “Last Days of Southern Steam” tour

ironically producing an appearance of an LMS kettle, in the shape of Jubilee class 45699 Galatea. Shame they couldn’t conjure up a turn from a Westcountry Light Pacific such as Tangmere or something. But for the diesel bashers, there was a treat in the form of 33207 Jim Martin bringing up the rear.

 

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Class 800 at Bristol Parkway

Meanwhile, a couple of days later, something caught my eye on RealTimeTrains.com – a working from North Pole Junction near Paddington to Stoke Gifford; my curiosity was rewarded at Bristol Parkway, with my first photo opportunity with the upcoming Class 800 IEP (Intercity Express Programme). This particular 800 had already splatted its first seagull on the front, so for the sake of keeping my site of a family nature, I contented myself with photting it from the rear. The colour of the afternoon was completed with the appearance of a “Red Shed” on the Moreton-on-Lugg to Elstow Redland Siding.

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Moreton-on-Lugg – Elstow Redland Siding crosses Stoke Gifford Junction

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Through Bristol Parkway…

Fidelis Civitas

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The classic view of Worcester Cathedral, across the River Severn from the A44 road bridge

My developing interest in the waterways of Great Britain are taking me further into the heartland of Middle England in search of inspiration, and perhaps, eventually, a boat of my own to live on. I carry the name “Severn” – my cousin in British Columbia and I are the last of our line of the Family; all the descendants in this part of the clan are female – so the river also bearing our name, and flowing through my destination today, Worcester, is always of special interest.

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Diglis Basin Marina, a riot of colour, even under cloudy skies.

The Severn rises in the Cambrian Mountains of mid-Wales, thence flowing southwards through Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, to the sea in the Bristol Channel. The Severn Estuary has the second highest tidal range (if I am not mistaken) in the world after the Bay of Fundi in Canada, and as the water rushes in to the funnel-shaped estuary, it creates the phenomenon of the Severn Boar, a tidal wave spectacle which draws onlookers from far and wide – and many thrill-seekers who love to ride it on their surf boards and small boats.

Today, in summer, the Severn through Worcester is peaceful and picturesque, though England is famous for its rainfall, and the now placid river is very prone to flood in this area. Worcester Cathedral commands the view over the river in the city; English composer Sir Edward Elgar was born not far outside Worcester. Worcester is a place steeped in history and culture, notable not only for Elgar’s music, but as the location of some of the most significant battles in the English Civil War of the 17th century. Worcester was originally sympathetic to the Parliamentary cause, but spent most of the war under Royalist occupation, and the astute politicians of the day seemed to want favour from the new king, Charles II, after the war, in the hope of securing compensation. It lead to the invention of the epithet Fidelis Civitas, or “faithful city”, and this motto still forms part of the city’s coat of arms today, Civitas in Bello et Pace Fidelis (City, faithful in war and peace).

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Entering Diglis Basin at the start of the Worcester and Birmingham canal

For me, though, on this summer’s day early in the 21st century, I was looking for the colour of the riverbank and the cathedral, and also of the canal which begins its link from the Severn to the city of Birmingham not much more than a quarter of a mile downstream from the church’s dominant position. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal is some 29 miles long with 58 locks, which begins its course at Diglis Basin, then wending its way north-eastwards towards Birmingham at Gas Street Basin. Construction started in 1792, with the route fully open and complete by 1815. Of course, this waterway no longer carries commercial freight, but it is still a delight for narrowboaters with more leisurely pursuits in mind.

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London Midland Class 172 DMU arrives at Worcester Shrub Hill from Foregate Street, past the impressive GWR bracket signal at the north end of the station

I strolled pleasantly along the towpath back towards the city, before leaving the canal near to Shrub Hill Station, ready to join the eventual scourge of the canals – the railway – for my onward journey that afternoon. Shrub Hill station remains a riot of colour, and in many ways untouched since the Victorians built the line, still employing a wonderful array of Great Western Railway mechanical signalling to control the traffic. This sort of technology is dying off fast as electronic and digital methods in railway technology sweep this venerable old equipment away – so it was well worth pausing here awhile to photograph it. My onward journey took me down past Gloucester onto the welsh side of the Severn Estuary via Lydney, one of the best stretches of coastal railway in England, but that, methinks, is a subject for another day.

Quinessentially Saturday

Widewanderer has landed back in Old England. It is to be an indefinite sojourn in this green and pleasant land, although the world does still offer an open invitation for to explore. For now, the bag is packed with camera (and pack horse booked to carry it!), and out into the verdant landscape of south-western England we go.

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Quintessentially English… A few overs of cricket then tea, then…a pint of the decent stuff.

The cities are their usual bustling selves on a summer Saturday afternoon, not really much of an attraction for me; but only a half hour or so on a train gets one out into the countryside where typically English pursuits are to be found, just bubbling under the surface. Beer, cricket, puttering along the canal in a boat, cyclists, walkers, the polite “Good afternoon, how are you?” rarely to be found in the city, the country railway station complete with resident cat. Not necessarily in that order…

No more than twenty minutes out of the city of Bath on a lamentably crowded train, we’re into the valley of the River Avon. Mobile phone signal fades, and the incessant buzz of train passenger conversation is merely a background as I gaze out of the window at the gently passing landscape.

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A GWR Portsmouth-Cardiff working pauses at Bradford-on-Avon station

Farms, aqueducts and viaducts, weirs along the river, passing country stations at which the trains only call but occasionally, manor houses, ramblers out for a weekend hike (or older folk like myself, strolling in nonchalant fashion)… The robot voice in the train announces Bradford-on-Avon, my destination for the first time in five decades on the planet – I surprise even myself in the fact that I’ve never specifically visited this lovely little spot in rural England.

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Life in the very slow lane…

Bradford can trace its roots back to Roman times, and fragments of evidence of this civilization still exist. However, it found most of its prosperity through the woolen trade in the 17th century, and dozens of mills sprang up along the Avon to produce cloth from the raw material. Transport would be crucial to get the goods away to market: First to arrive was the canal, the original transport link from Reading and the River Thames in the east, to the Port of Bristol in the west. Use of canal declined in the 19th century with the coming of the railway, and it fell into dereliction. But restoration in the latter part of the 20th century created a working waterway once again, though more for the tourist trade than for the movement of goods.

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Two canal residents who seem to know each other…

The Kennet and Avon canal is also home to a vibrant community who make the water their residence, albeit constantly mobile. Meanwhile, the railway carries trains every hour or so in each direction from Bristol & Bath in the west towards Southampton, Portsmouth and Weymouth on the south coast.

 

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No churns, no porters, but the local station cat is still at home in Bradford.

Michael Flanders and Donald Swann sang about the railway, “The Slow Train”, essentially a lament about the impending closure of much of Britain’s rural railway under the Beeching Axe, “…No churns, no porters, no cat on a seat…” Today, though, the station cat at Bradford-on-Avon station was still on the prowl, across the tracks and sitting, majestically, on the edge of the platform. The cat is a cat, of course, and he didn’t stay there for long… He’s too expensive for entertaining the tourists, and he certainly won’t pass political comment about the up-coming EU Referendum!

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Bradford’s 14th century Tithe Barn

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Many micro craft businesses surround the Tithe Barn…

One of the most striking buildings in Bradford is the medieval Tithe Barn. It is a barn of a place in every respect, 168ft long by 33ft wide, built in the 14th century. Originally part of a group of farm buildings, known as a Grange, it was part of the estates of Shaftsbury Abbey until the dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII in 1539, at which point it became simply a farm building, in use as such until as late as 1974. In medieval times, it may well have been used to store “taxes” to the Church, or Tithes, hence its name. In the present age, it is now a tourist attraction, managed by English Heritage – and on this particular Saturday, its vast interior was set up as a theatre for a stage play. Well worth a visit if you are passing through, dear reader – and entry is free. As far as I know. At least that’s what is stated on English Heritage’s website.

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This is the life…

I reckon another visit to the Avon Valley is needed soon. This time, I may well get off the train before Bradford, perhaps at Avoncliffe, where there is a delightful walk along the canal or riverbank towards Bradford Lock and the copious tea shoppes and canalside pubs. Life in the slow lane, folks – and I am quite warming to the idea of one day owning one of those narrow boats, and spending retirement days just puttering along England’s inland waterways, camera (and maybe the occasional pint of beer!) in hand, of course ;-D

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Entering Bradford Lock, eastbound.

The world of the Railway Modeller

A day or two ago, I had the privilege of visiting the Taunton Model Railway Exhibition in…Taunton (!) Pricey to get in, and pretty packed with all sorts of middle-aged gents quietly indulging their innocent little hobby, and, I'm happy to relate, young families, perhaps with the modellers of tomorrow. But it was a treat – the detail in the layouts on display was astounding – the modellers are indeed artists in what they do.

His & Hers railway enthusiasts

And the modellers have a great sense of humour. It's worth spending a good half hour, at least, gazing at each model, and striking up a conversation with its creator if the said creator is willing and in the mood, as hidden in the various little nooks and crannies are all sorts of little cameos, little jokes and pithy observations on life.

Dr Who has arrived...

For me, model-of-the-day was Northbridge, a tiny 6'8″ by 1'4″ OO-scale shunting layout by Mike Kelly. Set in the British Railways London Midland region of the 1960s, it invoked every inch of atmosphere that once existed in the steam railway of that era. The whole layout was beautifully lit, conjuring up the mood of a dark autumn evening, while all along Northbridge's platform were little cameos of people up to all sorts of tricks. In the yard stood a little blue police telephone box, the sort of tiny structure put there back in the 1960s by the local Plod to enable the private citizen to contact the law while out-and-about – loooooong before the days of private mobile communications, other than jumping up and down, screaming and hollering, that is. Mike flicked a hidden switch and a small blue LED on top of the box began flashing on and off. And every visitor to the layout with even an inkling of knowledge about Dr Who immediately mused, “hmmmm… Tardis.” I certainly did!

Caught short?

Mike beckons me around to the side of the model. “Here, have a look at this…” I peer closely. OMG – there's a bloke in a tiny outhouse sitting on the loo! Mike flicks another secret switch and on comes the light in the loo. The bloke in the loo has his car parked at a crazy angle, and I cannot be sure I didn't see a small whiff of exhaust coming from it. Bloke must have been pretty desperate! Mike beckons my gaze once more, to a spot close by – another bloke has not been so lucky with the comfort of a cosy outhouse; he is busy “inspecting” (and probably watering!) the axle box on a coal wagon… Meanwhile, in a flat by the mainline overbridge, an artist is engrossed in his painting. Tremendous detail at every glance – Mike certainly deserved my vote. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the scene of the local constabulary raiding the local premises of ill repute!

There were many, many opportunities, dear reader, for capturing the mood and atmosphere of the model railway. I close with a selection…

The artist in his loft

Raiding the den of ill repute!

Northbridge Station by night