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Winter weekend.

We opened today and closed after the third of six services.

Darn cold would be an understatement, and we did not have a single customer to buy anything.

So knowing when to quit we called it a day, we will not be open tomorrow.

We should have terrible weather during the coming week, we are ordering the ice cream for the start of the year!!

Short blog because after all there are only so many ways you can describe rain and a biting cold wind.

I may have been a bit early.

Last Sunday saw me back at the station after a few weeks off suffering from the lurgi.

I was firing on 3 ¾ cylinders, but decided a bit of fresh air would do me the world of good.

I may have been a bit premature, I woke up on Monday feeling like the proverbial dogs dinner, had breakfast and went back to bed.

This was the wife reaction when I said I was not feeling too good again.

Whilst I have been ill Sue has been looking after me, I am not sure if she has been mothering me or smothering me!!

So hopefully I will feel OK for the excitement this coming Sunday. We shall see.

Other exciting news is that we have a few other types of coffee for the station staff from the Tassimo machine and now two different hot chocolate. All at 30p a pod. Normal free tea and coffee still available of course for working members. And I don’t class working as being the only thing you do is work at getting a free drink!!

One final bit of excitement was a bag of dog dirt by the station name sign on platform 1. I am going to have to declare war on dog owners, it will not be a pretty sight!!


Well it’s Thursday and here I am still down with the lurgi.

So Orton Mere will be closed on Saturday although of course the train service will still stop at the station.

Sitting here feeling quite terrible, and it’s costing me a fortune in screen wipes to get rid of what I am spluttering over the computer screens!

It’s fair to say I would not wish this on my worst enemy, that’s how bad it is!! Still I am sure we will get over it, but a Sunday freezing at the station would do nothing to help at all. Hopefully normal service will be resumed next weekend, we shall see.

So I will sit here now coughing sneezing and generally feeling miserable….

This is a good visual indication of how I feel

Good start to the year

Well that’s Christmas and New Year out of the way. The wife bought me a cordelss drill at Christmas so heaven knows what jobs she has planned for me over the coming months.

Tomorrow sees a steam service running, though how many visitors we get will very much depend on the weather. Unfortunately my station will be closed although the trains will stop. But the wife and I are down with a dose of the lurgi, and I am coughing enough to be mistaken for a misfiring engine. Hopefully normal service will be resumed next week all being well.

My target at home at the moment is to have a cull of my computer stuff, I have no room for anything and it’s really irritating me no end. I did say I would have a clear out when I retired at the end of November but at the moment I have one more computer than I did then, which was not the plan at all. So I can see that sometime next week when I no longer cough everywhere I will start the clear out and I think I will have to be quite ruthless..

We also have plans for a sort out at the station and perhaps a bit of a move round, so watch for progress on that at some stage.

Now to find a bit of paper and make a list of what I can get rid of…..

This could be at the station.

This is taken from

If you substitute the station for the car park mentioned and substitute a couple of other words. This could be Orton Mere Station at a typical weekend.

(A guy with a dog walks up to our car park.)

Guy: “Can I bring my dog in here so it can take a dump?”

Me: “Sorry, we can’t allow you to do that. Plus, you don’t even look like you’re carrying anything to clean up the mess.”

Guy: “No, I’m not carrying anything to clean it up so you’ll have to do that. My dog needs to go to the toilet. You’re not being very helpful here.”

Me: “Sorry, I’m just here to direct people to where they need to park.”

Guy: “Look, my dog needs to go to the toilet and I’m bringing it in.”

Coworker: “Look, you bloody moron. This is a car park, not a g**d*** toilet! Take your dog and piss off!”

Guy: “You are not being very helpful at all! ¬†I’m going to go and issue a complaint against you but after I bring my dog in here and let it do its business!”

Coworker: “You bring your dog in here and we’ll have you fined. This car park is located on government property and allowing a dog to go to the toilet carries a fine.”

Guy: “It’s people like you who are what is wrong with the world!”

Some people never cease to amaze me.

I sat here today my attention split between sorting out some software, watching the snow coming down outside and watching the Wansford station Cam on Railcam.

Today the weather was to put it mildly, horrible. I don’t go out in snow and ice as I have this knack of going horizontal, and that I am not keen on.

However, looking at the webcam I saw working members beavering about in the cold and the snow, clearing paths, points and anything else that needed clearing. They were guiding visitors who had braved the snow to take their children on the Santa special trains. Making sure they had an enjoyable day despite the weather.

The one thing the railway excels at is adapting and coping in the face of adversity. Today showed the working members at their very best, they never cease to amaze me.

I am privileged to work with them, and I am aware of that every single time I do so.

What do Santa’s little helpers do the rest of the year?

Now one question that’s often asked is what Santa’s little helpers do for the rest of the year?

Well I am now in a position to tell you that one of the helpers secretly works the rest of the year undercover at Nene Valley Railway.

He carries out many tasks but the most important one is that he takes the minutes for Board meetings.

During the year he does like to try and keep in trim, for what exactly nobody is really sure. But last night at the board meeting we were treated to him arriving in his Christmas uniform. Apparently he has to try it on at the start of December every year, and if it does not fit he goes on several cross-country runs with a couple of reindeer prodding him along with their antlers until it fits.

As you can see from the picture below he just avoided the runs this year.

So here is the person you know as Philip at the railway, in Santa land he is known as Bunny, mainly because he hops it when there is work to be done.

Apparently as a side line he recycles reindeer droppings as mince pie fillings, but he assures me he does not sell the pies in question onto the railway.

Please wish him a merry Christmas when you see him as he has to work over Christmas.

Please always remember.

I was sad to see the following in a tweet from Wansford today.

Our Santa special trains were very busy today, full of happy passengers! But oh dear, someone’s going to be on Santa’s naughty list… the new MP3 player that was playing some festive tunes was stolen from our cafe today! Naughty step and a piece of coal for someone.

Please always remember that every member of the public who visits the railway will be one or both of the following.  A potential customer or a potential thief.


It’s been a strange week or so.

Well here we are well into the Santa train season and as I have said in previous years it was strange to have a weekend where I was not at the station.

Mind you we managed a proper Sunday dinner at the right time which was very nice.

One of the things that happened the last weekend we were at the station was that the urn sprang a leak. I mean this is major!!!

So Sue and I have bought a 4 litre instant water unit for the station, so no more simmering urn.

We will pop down a week on Sunday and set it up and give it a test drive. It will be much easier to use and maintain. But knowing the staff as I do Sue will be giving them a run through showing how it’s used. What with that and the Tassimo coffee machine for the staff we have come a long way from when we just had a dodgy kettle that had seen better days.

Last Monday saw me cease my self employment, I have taken early retirement and it’s hard work!! If only keeping a few steps ahead of the wife who is chasing me with a list of jobs to be done! I may have to resort to hiding out at the station, at least I wont run out of hot water and hot drinks!!!


A lovely start to the day.

Over the years I have found some strange things on the platform when I have arrived for the day, from ladies underwear to the homeless having a kip.

However, today was a new experience. Sitting on one of the benches under the canopy were four bags of dog dirt, complete with a note…  The note said the following… Please dispose of as no bin on station platform.

I was lost for words.