Thursday, 27 May 2010

All Fired Up

Sorry about my absence. I have now moved to my other piano, as it were, and so can speak to Unmitigated England again. But thankyou to Only Daughter for stepping in, and Commentator Diplo for both verbal and written warnings to pull myself together. So how about this? On Saturday afternoon we raced over to Norfolk in order to get the remaining photographs for a book chapter. Without having seen a timetable, or even knowing exactly where it was, we broadsided to a halt at Holt, the terminus of the North Norfolk Railway line from Sheringham. Arriving on the platform I looked at the schedule. The trains were alternating between steam-hauled and diesel, and the next one was steam at 3.23pm. I looked at my watch. 3.23pm, honestly. And then immediately heard the screech of a whistle over the Norfolk pines. Youngest Son stared in astonishment as the black tank engine arrived with its rake of BR maroon coaches, tightening his grip on my hand as it clanked by with that heady scent of steam and oil. He's still talking about it.

21 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

Good to see that you're back. I like the iron notice with the big caps for the important words (what I call typographical SHOUTING): BUCKETS, WATER, FIRE. Yes, we've got that.

Now you'll be telling me the buckets all had sand in them.

The Vintage Knitter said...

Serendipity indeed. I love the bit about your Youngest Son tightening his grip. I became all excited last year travelling by steam on the West Somerset Railway; something which I'll be repeating in a months' time.

Peter Ashley said...

Do you know, I never looked Phil. Too busy running about snapping.

Thankyou Knitter for reminding me about the West Somerset, a firm favourite. I love the way you get the contrast between the Quantocks and the sea.

CarolineLD said...

Wonderful! It reminds me of waiting for my train in Bristol Templemeads one evening, when a steam train unexpectedly pulled up at the next platform: just magical.

DC said...

Speaking of magical, I was meeting my aged Aunt off a train at Kings Cross yesterday when I noticed two service trains at the platforms, a bevy of security people and a gaggle of teen girls + mums . On enquiring what was afoot, I was told that Harry Potter was being filmed on the station and right on cue a piercing steam whistle filled the air, to be repeated during the succeeding minutes. It wasn't possible to see the locomotive for hired goons, but the mere sound was evocative enough!

I too love the WSR, but the NYMR
full extended run into Whitby is worth an honourable mention.

Jon Dudley said...

Love it! Sun, steam and speed - a perfect day by the sound of it. I felt exactly like your little lad when I was first taken to watch steam locomotives at work. Welcome back by the way.

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou Jon. And DC, I didn't realise that the NYMR had made it into Whitby. What a perfect combination.

Phil said...

They've just reopened the Weardale Branch up here in Durham - see http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/8180460.Crowds_turn_out_to_witness_re_opening_of_rail_link/

Lovely to stand on the bridges and smell the soot and steam again as the train chuffs underneath.

Vinogirl said...

Great photograph, lovely composition. If the new book is going to be full of photos like this, sign me up for an advance copy!

Emile de Bruijn said...

I have just discovered your blog through English Buildings, and I will add a link to it from my blog (which is about acquisitions and other projects relating to the National Trust). I also bought your Unmitigated England book a few years ago - a visual feast.

Wartime Housewife said...

Ooh you and your fire buckets...

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou Vinogirl, and welcome Emile.

Martin H. said...

Good to have you back, Peter, and thank you, Only Daughter.

DC - Would I be right in thinking that the NYMR doesn't actually run into Whitby with its own stock, but that you can buy a 'through ticket' in Pickering, with a connection in Grosmont? or have I got that completely wrong? I haven't been up there for a few years.

Diplomate said...

Martin H - Goathland station is on the "modern" railway network and you can hop across the platform and get a mtu to whitby for fish and chips - OR - you can get an ancient bedford bus from Goathland to whitby (top speed 25) - the fish and chips are available both ways.

Diplomate said...

Sorry - I meant Grosmont not goathland

DC said...

No, indeed, the NYMR runs steam into Whitby three times a day (fitting around the "public" services) in the Summer. Fabulous to haer the whistle echo 'round the town and see the trains pass through Ruswarp and the countryside around Sleights.

E J Moore said...

I've been looking at your posts for some time, and it's only just occurred to me that you are the person responsible for all those lovely English Heritage books of photos of interesting things like signal boxes. It was the bright red of the buckets that reminded me. Well done. Given that I work for EH I should be a bit more on the ball.

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou E.J. Moore. I really enjoyed doing those 12 Pocket Books for EH, particularly trawling around the coast for lighthouses.

Martin H. said...

Thank you, DC and Diplomate for the info on the NYMR. I must go back soon!

Re: the splendid English Heritage Books - if it's of any interest, Bibliophile (bibliophilebooks.com) have four of them at half price or less in the 'Great Britain" section.

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou Martin, I'm going to the site now to see if they've got Guiding Lights, which sold out pretty much instantly and never reprinted for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!