This isn't what you'd expect to come across on a very muddy walk in remote countryside, but it happened this afternoon. I am under pain of death not to reveal its whereabouts; suffice it to say it's just about the most fabulous collection of Hornby 00 gauge models I've ever seen. At least when what I was actually expecting to discover were holes in the ground made by Vikings. It reminded me of two things. 1) I have a train set, the most vital parts of which, viz: the locomotives and rolling stock, have somehow steamed-off into oblivion somewhere in an over-stocked garage, and b) what a great thing it was when commodities like oils were transported by rail, instead of by over-sized road tankers demolishing villages because their SatNavs told them to. And not only that, the railways did it in such great style. When I was a boy (hard to believe, I know) I took great comfort in hearing wagons like these being shunted about in the nearest goods yard, a reminder to a child afraid to go to sleep that there was actually someone out there, still awake. Shell Oils, Palethorpes Sausages, Cadbury's Cocoa. The stuff of dreams.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012) and Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012)