I learnt from the County Council's latest issue of 'Your Derbyshire' that they have responded to the questionnaire on bus service subsidies by keeping some, amending others, and amalgamating the remainder. I found out, from Branch Line News, that Ilkeston station is to open on 2nd April- objective now, is to be on the 1st train. I failed to go to the HS2 presentation at West Park Leisure Centre on 28th January, and the protest meeting, the same evening, at the Soldiers & Sailors'.
|A pair of swans at Attenboro|
I went on the West Park Walkers' Attenborough Floodbank Walk on Tuesday 24th January, where we got the traditional acknowledgement from the driver of the 10.30 High Speed Train from Nottingham-London. It was a beautiful morning, and later I went to the Transport Enthusiasts' Group at The Last Post, Beeston. On Wednesday 25th, the Derby Rethink Support Group meeting, at the Thomas Leaper, Irongate, was the Burns' Night lunch, where I had Haggis, Neeps & Tatties (1124kc) with a nice pint of Caledonian Edinburgh Castle (4.1%), the lot, a good deal, at £7.25. Not such a good deal, was a single measure of Glenmorangie whisky (they didn't have any of the advertised Jura malt) at £3.90.
I cancelled my visit to Matlock Railway Club, on Thursday 26th January, as I needed to get to bed early for the following day's excursion, and it was bone-chillingly cold. I got up good and early, managed to miss the 07.08 Zoom (which was probably a good thing, due to the cost, even on Mango), so walked to the station, and purchased an Anytime Day Return to Derby, having time to get my tickets to Newcastle for February 25th, from the machine. I caught the 07.34 East Midlands Sheffield train, which was 4 minutes late, at 0738, the time I should have gone anyway. I walked to the bus station, and met Alf (who used to drive the 16) in The Coffee Shop- he was waiting for the Hawkes' trip to Meadowhall, with his sister. I went out to the coach stands, and waited, and waited, and waited. Whilst I was there, I chatted with Steve, who was driving one of the Hawkes' coaches. He agreed that the Skill's fee of £23, for my trip, was good value. Their coach was 23 minutes late. I was the only passenger they had to pick up at Derby. The journey to Ironbridge Blists Hill Victorian Town took 2 hours, including a 17 minute stop at moto Tamworth Services, jcn. 10 M42, where I purchased a single espresso, earning 150 bonus points on my Costa card. It was a misty morning. Anyway, on arrival I went to the fried fish dealer, which I knew the location of, due to having downloaded the site map the previous evening. There was a bit of a wait, as opening was late. I had fish and chips (£5.40), which was delicious, and filling- I calculated about 800 cals., but, due to how scrummy it was, I could have been about 400 cals. short. It was fried in beef fat, and you really should try it. I then went to the New Inn pub, and had a pint of Jennings' Bitter, 3.5% & £3.50. Next, I set off to walk along the Shropshire Union Canal the half mile, in the emerging sunshine, to the top of the Hay Incline, where boats were raised and lowered on a twin railway. The path led me part way down, then through the wood to the Mission Church. I went in the Toll House, originally on the A5, and the 1st building to be erected on the site, in 1974. I went past the blast furnaces, bought some fruit cobs from the bakers, into the Estate Office, the tinsmiths, the printers, and the doctor's, and had another pint in the pub- this time Banks's Amber Bitter, 3.8%, and again £3.50, very nice. They had run out of pork pies, from the butchers, which were being sold in the pub, on that day. Then, it was up to the brick and tile works, past the Coalbrookdale 1802 locomotive replica, the original made by Richard Trevithick, and the 1st railway engine in the world. Then, in the post office, and to the site shop. There was a mug at £12.50, and a tankard at £16.95, both too expensive, but I did buy a fridge magnet for £1.50. The coach departed just after 1/2 past 3, and took slightly longer than 2 hours to get back to Derby, again stopping at moto Tamworth Services, with 1 or 2 delays. I caught the 1A to the station, and then the London Midland Cross Country train to Long Eaton. The coach had come from Mansfield but the total of passengers, including me, was only 27, hardly a profitable operation for Skill's. I had had my doubts about this company, due to previous experiences, but, on this occasion, they performed well. I was home just after half past 6, and watched East Midlands Today.
I decided to go to the Great Central Railway Winter Gala on Sunday 29th January. This meant getting up early, to be back before it was dark. Julian was just opening up the booking office when I got to the station, but I needed a ticket immediately, so I used the machine. Two minutes. after I got to the platform the train showed up- this was formed of two 5-car Meridian units, and it was on-time- this helped me get to the GCR with 2 minutes to spare before the 1st train, the 9 o'clock, with the griddle car on it. First snag I encountered, was that I had left my camera's memory card in the slot on my computer, which meant I had to use my "new" camera, which I do not find easy to get along with. I immediately ordered my GCR all-day breakfast, which didn't take long to arrive. It is still £6.50, which is good value, and you get about 1000 cals. worth. I had eaten this by the arrival at Leicester North, which meant I could get off to record the run-round. Special guest engine was Southern 'Q' class no. 30541, from the Bluebell Railway. There were a number of double-headers during the day, including this 1st one. I did a number of trips during my stay. It had started off sunny, cloudy- very pleasant, then became cloudy, sunny for the morning. The afternoon was cloudy, with rain from about 1 o'clock, which some people found very unpleasant, but I didn't mind. What I did mind, though, was some (expletive deleted) person interfering with my recording equipment, because he wanted to look out of the window, causing it to fall, which eliminated the recording in progress- I will have to investigate media recovery software, because whatever is put onto digital hardware leaves an imprint, even if it is erased. I had no beer during this excursion, which you may think is unusual- I left that 'til I got home, finishing off my then current brew- Hambleton Bard Amber Export. Surprisingly, my handyman hadn't taken any, which meant I got a full barrel, a pleasant revelation. Apart from the 1st one, the trains ran about 15 minutes late throughout the day, which made it tricky getting my East Midlands Trains High Speed Train back to Long Eaton- I had to run the last 100 yards to Loughborough Midland station, as it was arriving. But, that was on-time, and I was able to let my pussy cat out in the garden for a few minutes, before it was dark. Interesting sight, was what appeared to be a Notts. & Derby ex-Trent Excel bus, scouting out the new 12/12A route, on Ruskin Avenue, with 'Not in Service' on the destination. I enjoyed the day, which was a boost, and I can do with many more of the same kind. I sorted-out a problem with my DVD recorder (when I found the manual!), and got the 1st of a batch of cheap DVD-RAMs to work, which was of the cartridge type, advertised as "cartridge removable", but not, by ripping off the cartridge, and easing open the case.
The West Park Walkers went on the Sandiacre two Canals walk on Tuesday 31st January. It was very enjoyable, despite the rain. I bought a DVD of Woody Allen's film "What's Up, Tiger Lily?", being a fan of his work, from Long Eaton Flea Market, then went to the Transport Enthusiasts' Group, having bought a pair of Boots' insoles in Beeston, thence home.
C R Davis