Thursday, August 16, 2007

A day out on the train

I was going to say that I’ve never been on a steam train before. But that is patently absurd. I have, of course, been on Puffing Billy. Better to say that I’ve never previously gone anywhere on a steam train. And certainly never been to the seaside on one!

Lindsey, Ian and I did yesterday (the poor Builder is still at work while we are holidaying bravely!). We were off to Scarborough on the Sherwood Forester.

So. Off we trundled nice and early to catch a bus to catch a train to Leeds where we were joining the steam train ride. The buses, which are normally entirely reliable, were conspicuous by their absence. We waited. A lady at the bus stop opposite told us nonchalantly that we might be there for some time. Derby road was absolutely chockablock. There had been an accident on the motorway. Traffic was very very VERY slow. A 98 trundled past while I was pondering this. The 98 will take you to Chesterfield but it goes all around the Wingerworth estate, take much longer than the 51 and goes to the coach station rather than the railway station. “Why didn’t you catch that?” asked the lady opposite. Because I think we’ll miss the train. Let’s take the car. And if we’re going in the car, we might just as well drive to Leeds.

We came back, collected the car keys, Jenny the Sat Nav and the car and off we went.

You should have seen the M1 heading south. It was like one of those absolute nightmare scenarios they sometimes dramatise on the BBC or Channel 4. The accident was between Junctions 29 and 28 and the motorway was closed. The traffic was being headed off at J29 but was backed up solid and unmoving from Meadowhall onwards (so Junction 34 or so). Checking the traffic alert, all the alternative routes south were solid and stationary too. Quite glad we were heading north!

It took an hour to get to Leeds. Would have been much, much longer doing the bus/train route. Jenny the Sat Nav guided us neatly to the station. We were very, very early! So we headed into town in search of breakfast. Bacon butties in BHS in the end.

And then our train arrived at Leeds station. And off we headed to Scarborough.

Steam trains chuff like a proper train as they get going!

And people stop to look as you go past.

And they wave!! Everybody waves. The station staff come out to admire as you pass their stations. Little old men lean on their walking sticks and wave. There was an old lady sat up in a first floor window who waved. There were two boys doing star jumps on a trampoline and they were waving. I wonder what it is, this compulsion to wave at steam trains.

The sheep do not wave. They run away!

The train goes on that route three times a week for around six weeks during the summer. You’d think people would get a bit more blasé about it. Or that the sheep would get used to it. But they don’t.

We were extremely fortunate in Scarborough. Rain and occasional deluges had been forecast. They got rain and deluges in most other bits of Yorkshire and North East Derbyshire. We had about ten minutes of drizzle while we were walking along the seawall. Can’t complain about that at all.

We didn’t do much in Scarborough. We were only there for 3 hours. We pottered in the shops, had fish and chips for lunch, had a walk, had a glass of wine before coming back. We weren’t really out for a day in Scarborough. We were out for a trip on the train. There wasn’t time to do the castle; I think The Builder and I might go back during the autumn or winter and play up there.

And if the train company does the same trip next year, The Builder and I might take a few days in York and do the trip from there. For it goes to Knaresborough and Harrogate before it gets to Leeds and then heads back to York. That would be a fine trip. Though I think we would get off on the return at the first stop in York. In time for dinner.

We had dinner at home. Ian and I cooked it together. With Marlo supervising. And everything except the sausages was home grown. Mashed potatoes, caramelised onions, runner beans, peas, herbs and all. Was a very pleasant end to the day

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