The Railway Era Celebrated

Thursday 28 July 1664
Pepys has a good day in the office – business looks good – he is content with life

My present posture is thus: my wife in the country and my mayde Besse with her and all quiett there. I am endeavouring to find a woman for her to my mind, and above all one that understands musique, especially singing.

I notice that when Pepys is content with his work, he finds time to look after his wife and consider her needs. The whole entry is a good read.

We like to do something interesting and different over the weekend and what with the weather forecast showing showers, possibilities are not very great. Either today or tomorrow we must dig up our potatoes which are starting to show signs of interest by slugs and I think I would rather eat them and have the slugs do so. I’m getting about seven pounds weight from two tubers  so the yield is really rather good but the question is, where are we going to store them?  Folklore says it’s better to keep the dirt on which we will do. I have bought some hessian bags and I may give some potatoes away. I’m sure the Victorians had the ideal way of storing them and I suppose I should really  stir myself and look on the Internet. I did. Visit this site.
The article starts:

The method of preserving the root vegetables was known as ‘clamping’ and it involved storing the vegetables in what was known as a ‘clamp’.

The principles were:
To store only those vegetables that were in sound condition and to remove excess stalks and leaves that could rot in storage
To keep the stored vegetables slightly moist so that they did not dry out while keeping out the wet which would have made them rot
To prevent the frost getting to them
To prevent the light getting to them.

The Somerset and Dorset Railway  originally went from Burnham on Sea right through to Poole in Dorset but Dr. Beeching saw that this was an unprofitable line. it was closed in about 1966 so in historical terms not really very long. It passes through beautiful countryside with bridges and tunnels and it is regarded with affection by locals and tourists alike. if you want a wonderful site on Britain’s old railways and bridges then try this site.

The Two Tunnels Group and the footplate association had been working together for the past two years to fund raise, create and install a History Trail along the Two Tunnels Greenway, which used to be the root of the  Somerset and Dorset Railway, along which ran the famous Pines Express from Manchester and Bournemouth.

Former fireman and Somerset and Dorset railway employee, Tim Hughes, came up with the idea to tell the rich history of the railway through a series of five Historical Information Boards, containing many wonderful archive photos and detailed research articles and texts. These boards are due to be installed along the Two Tunnels path during July 2017 and an unveiling ceremony is taking place today at 12.30  at Midford  station.

We decided to go along and set the GPS to do the country route. At 9.3 miles it was so not too bad and in the country it is possible to cover the miles much faster than the same distance in for example London or Manchester.  The only problem is that on narrow roads you have to be prepared to back up a long way especially in the face of a tractor or large agricultural vehicles that are not going to turn back for anybody.

When we arrived at about 12:20 PM there were about 60 or 70 people mostly of a senior age and it was obvious by their disposition that they were either canal enthusiasts or railway enthusiasts. They were gathered on the platform of the abandoned Midford station including the originator of the project and the Mayor of Bath. There was also an ukelele band who entertained us. It was a pity, but they had not practised the songs so all we could hear really was the sound of ukuleles but they were jolly enough and people didn’t seem to mind.

There was a chap of 99 who was the last footplate man in the area. The speeches were jolly enough and consisted of fulsome thanks and acknowledgement for those who carried out the thankless task of raising money, clearing tunnels, making the whole thing presentable.

After the event we adjourned to the nearest pub, the Hope and Anchor. A splendid buffet had been provided together with Proseco – pretend champagne – and orange juice. We got to talk to one or two people and also talked to the Mayor of Bath and her friend. She is going off to the Scilly Isles for a holiday, well-deserved I’m sure. What a thoroughly pleasant and friendly bunch of people.

the scene on our arrival
an advert for the very interesting website
the Mayor of Bath is the Lady in Red ( do I remember a film of that name?)
Speech given by guest of honour Keith Cooper, former Midford stationmaster
the cutting of the cake
the unveiling of the informative board
the cake itself
the original rail route
posters of the day
posters on display in the local pub shortly to be erected
a good time was had by all

The Promised rain had not materialised so we decided to go to another local event in  Camerton near Timsbury, a so called ‘fun day’. It was held in a field which itself backed on to the Village Hall. The attendance was sparse and a few stalls once selling second-hand clothes, one selling plants, one selling cider, a bowling alley and the usual tea, coffee and entertainment in the village hall.   I can’t say it was the most exciting event in the world. If you are only going to have half a dozen stallholders you should have them closer together rather than spread in the four corners of a large field. I saw some very interesting presentations of flowers placed within purple painted tyres which I have never seen before and which I enclose.

mounted on a wall
ground-based version
and one of these lovely electric bikes that I must investigate sometime




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