Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Watercress Line

Although I am finding it increasingly difficult to devote any time to this particular blog, I am determined not to give up as this is my only real outlet for things which I cannot neatly pigeon hole in any of my other blogs. I suppose on a positive note, it's been great that I have been so busy getting out and about doing the things I enjoy that I've struggled to find time to blog about them.

A couple of weeks ago we visited the Watercress Line, which is a heritage railway in Hampshire, running between New Arlesford and Alton. The weekend we went saw the line, its building and occupants all rolled back 70 years to what it would have looked like in 1942. As well as the steam trains there were vintage cars, people dressed in 1940's fashion, soldiers, spivs, and even a remarkable match for Churchill and Monty. The station cafes were selling cakes made to 1940's recipes, although hopefully not with 1940's ingredients.

 Steam train pulls out of Medstead & Four Marks Station
 Steam train pulls into Medstead & Four Marks station

Vintage cars at New Arlesford station

I particularly like this next picture which shows a vintage railway poster with the great strap line of Ease the Strain, Go By Train. If all the train journeys I took were as clean and peaceful I'd use the trains a lot more than I do. I can only imagine what the equivalent picture would have to look like today to match today's rail environment ... dirty windows, overcrowding, litter, annoying people shouting into their mobile phones.

Vintage railway poster at New Arlesford station

If I'm honest I have become a bit obsessed with rail travel, both vintage and modern, over the past few months and have started reading several accounts of train journeys that you can still take today which do take you away from the hustle and bustle of the daily commute, and also some books whioch document the rise and sad demise of our once great rail network. A few favourites are featured below.

    

So, I seem to have some spare time this weekend in amongst the ususal child related taxi services, so I may even get to complete another blog update before next week, when I am travelling to India on business for a few days.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Vintage petrol pump in Buckingham

Having attempted to make the most of the long, double bank holiday weekend, by taking 3 days leave, I have been somewhat annoyed that the weather has been dreadful. Despite this we have managed to get out and about between the showers. So far this week, the town of Buckingham has been the surprise of the week. We ended up there after having spent the day at Bletchley Park, home of the code breakers. Bletchley Park is of course very well known, so I don't think I need to say anything more about that here, but on the way home we stopped off in Buckingham to get a cup of tea. As a teenager I remember being driven through Buckingham on the way to see relatives, but cannot remember whether those 30 years ago there was a bypass or whether we drove through the town. Either way, I don't remember the town at all so it was a fantastic surprise. I guess I had assumed that it would just be one of those non-descript towns, with the usual shops, awful 1950/60's architecture and a picture of urban decay. However, the reality painted a very different picture with the river running through the centre, several old churches and lots of narrow streets line with old and interesting buildings. The weather was not great for taking pictures, so please excuse the poor quality of some of the shots below, but hopefully the convey the look and feel of the town.

St. Peter and St. Pauls Church, Buckingham

Buckingham

Vintage petrol pump, Buckingham

Vintage petrol pump (close-up), Buckingham

    

Monday, 4 June 2012

Jazz and the Westbourne Grove

I've not been able to get out and about as much as I'd have liked to in London over the past few weeks because of the awful weather. However, I did manage a couple of walks around the Westbourne Park area at lunchtime. I generally go from near Paddington towards Portobello Market, deviating from what would be quite a direct route along Westbourne Grove, to take in some of the smaller side roads. The first photo is of Wysteria growing against a mews house. The picture did not come out quite as I'd hoped but as the day was grey and dull, it's not a bad shot I guess.

Colville Mews, W11

I cannot remember whether the alley featured in the second photo had a name. I can't find it on google maps so will have to go back and have a look, although if I'm completely honest then I must admit that I'm not 100% sure exactly where it was. I know I walked north to south along a cobbled street (or perhaps a mews) and then found a couple of small alleyways off to the left, but other than that a bit blank.

Unknown alley, W11

Anyone who has read this blog before will probably know that I also have a passion for vintage, and I have a vintage magazines and a vintage postcards blog. I have been updating the former quite a bit over the past few weeks having found a collection of early 1960's Jazz Journal magazines. To compliment this I have also been listening to some jazz on lastfm. I can't say I am the world's biggest jazz fan, although some of what I've heard is hitting the spot. Memphis Slim is one of these artists and below is a link to some of his music ...



 
     

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