Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Power Of Words..

I was thinking the other day how we express ourselves particularly when advertising what we do.

Take the railway for example, everybody knows what a heritage railway does, or at least they think they do. But how we describe ourselves can have a great effect on how successful we are and how visitors perceive us. There is no point in pointing out the obvious, we need to point out things people and potential visitors may not be aware of. For example that visitors need not drive to the main station but could visit and travel from one of the other stations.

I found a link to this video on another blog and I think it demonstrates the point beautifully of it’s not what you say but how you say it.

The Power of Words.

We all read advertisements both on line and in newspapers etc. The writers of these advertisements are experts at putting their word across. Perhaps the next time you read an advertisement that does not shall we say inspire you then perhaps give a thought to what they are not saying rather than what they are.

In between the busy bits

When I got home today from the station I had an email. Now that in itself is not unusual, but this email was asking a question, so I thought I would answer it in the blog.

The question was “What do you do between the trains?”

Now that’s a good question, and hopefully this is a good answer.

Actually we do all sorts of things from speaking to visitors wandering by, sweeping the platform, having a doze on one of the benches in the nice weather. The list goes on….

Take today for example, in between the showers of rain I got rid of the water in the guttering, this is due to the down pipe being blocked. Now I had Jason with me today and I sometimes forget he takes pictures. Here is one of Jason’s capturing the moment when I dodged some of the water.


I am sure you will agree he captured the water beautifully.

Now some are asking why I was using the broom in this exercise and why Jason did not assist. Well I did try to get him to put a fur suit on so we could shove him up the guttering downpipe like a Flue brush, but for some strange reason he declined.

Anyway we got rid of the water and only got slightly damp in the process.

Now seeing as I have added a few blog readers to my collection from the other side of the pond I thought you would like to see the super June weather we are having. So have a look at the nice dark sky in these shots. Isn’t the British summer wonderful!!!

100_0925     100_0926

With weather like this no wonder visitors are staying away from the UK.

Steam today and it was the J94. For some strange reason this weekend it carried the headboard “Orton Express”. Just a shame it ran late today!!

Here it is approaching my station complete with the headboard, and before you ask why the silly face? The answer is this weekend was Thomas’ birthday and he was having a party and the other locomotives joined in. (Yes I know I am crackers) but you have to enter into the spirit of the occasion.


Now I must say at this point that the smoke does nothing for my complexion but at my age does it really matter!!!

So there you have it, excitement at the station both between trains and when they arrive.

No wonder I feel tired at the end of a weekend, it’s all this excitement of smoking chimneys, blocked gutters and a dismal sky.

Right time now for a lie down to recover….

Both sides of the fence but not at the same time.

It was a funny old weekend, as on Saturday the wife and I were paying passengers. It’s rare that we have time to travel the line.

But it was nice to observe visitors who were unaware that we worked on the railway and listen to what they had to say.

We travelled from Ferry Meadows station and the awaiting passengers were all peering down the track for the steam service and what came along from the other direction to confuse things but a civils train. Here is it at Ferry Meadows on it’s way back to Wansford.


The above picture also shows the nice resurfaced platform at Ferry Meadows.

Paddy and Jason ran my station on Saturday and that’s like putting a comedy duo in two serious parts in a classical play.

But the station was still there on Sunday and almost in one piece so they did OK!!!

This weekend was also the weekend to say goodbye to the Polish Tank Engine which was having a final fling before it’s boiler certificate expires.

Here it is on the last of it’s runs on Sunday.


Shame the sun went in as it arrived at the station, but you can’t have everything.

Services were shared with the class 31 diesel so in the spirit of fairness here is a picture of the 31 on the last service of the day on Sunday.


So there you have it from both sides of the fence but not at the same time. An interesting weekend, and before you ask me what the visitors said about the railway… That’s for another place other than here.

It’s all about tactics

As those who read this blog on a regular basis will know the wife recently celebrated her 50th birthday, and after much manoeuvring and changing of mind she went from wanting a handbag to wanting an iPad.

Although she is as pleased as anything with the iPad, I could see her brain working in the background over the missed opportunity to have a Radleys Handbag.

Now I have been using Sues iPad when she has not so although I got very little time on it I decided I wanted one, heaven knows for what but I wanted one. I mean if Sue can use similar logic for a handbag then I can for an iPad.

So the tactical skirmishes began with me just slipping in that I wanted an iPad. This was greeted with a NO CHANCE!! which from experience means that there is every chance.

Well today after much manoeuvring and the like I went with Sue in tow and bought myself one.

Now Sue had been red hot on the keys of her smartphone ever since I said I was getting one and was looking up handbags. Then the clouds cleared and she found they are on clearance at John Lewis.

So with the impression of much inner debate I said I would buy her the handbag as I was getting the iPad.


You could see the impatience on her face as we left the station after the ice cream delivery and got the bus into town.

She gave the impression of patiently looking at stuff whilst I tackled the task of making my purchase.

Then she was off quicker than a rat up a drain pipe to the Upper Ground floor also known as the handbag mecca.

Then she went into female slow motion and looked at the bags again and again.

Eventually after much show she settled on a specific model, and joy of joys it came in at a shade under £90.

We left the shop with Sue on cloud nine, she was a happy bunny.

I gather the new skip whoops handbag has been filled with women’s things and she has a smile all over her face.

All in all I would say it was a successful day!!!

Fifty not out

Today has been a special day, and it’s nothing to do with the railway, trains or volunteers.

Today the wife reached the big 50 birthday wise.

Now for weeks she was going on about having a handbag for her birthday pressie, and once I had picked myself up after she told me it would be a shade under £140 I went along with it quite happily, after all not only is she the wife she is my best mate as well, and the better cook, so I know which side my breads buttered as they say.

Then came the fateful comment, “I don’t think it will be big enough!!” Well the only decent sized handbag for Sue would be about the size of a skip. There are more bits of junk in her handbag than you will find in a Chinese boat scrap yard.

So I braced myself for a change of plan, Sue bless her has the knack of changing her mind before she has even made it up.

Then came the shot across my bows, a quick battle and I raised the white flag. Sue had an iPad for her birthday, actually she had it a week early. If I had hidden it she would have wrecked the place trying to find it.

Now I must say that she loves it and spends hours playing with it, plus it keeps her quiet, perhaps I should have bought her one years ago!!!

Whilst writing this she is lying on the bed watching some film she has rented  online.

So a bit of advice for any men out there who’s other half is approaching an important age milestone. Don’t whatever you do buy the present until she has changed her mind at least twice and hinted at least four times as to what she wants.

Now what do I want for my birthday in November??????

Another one down

Well that’s another weekend off the calendar, they certainly seem to be flying by this year.

Nice to see a few people about this weekend but nowhere near the numbers we would like to see. without doubt for many money is short and they are quite rightly setting their priorities money wise.

Trains almost ran to rime both days which was nice and always pleases the passengers.

Weather was mixed but surprise surprise we had some sunshine today.

We hopefully will get more of the same next weekend, as I often say time will tell.

I am working on a mid-week blog so watch this space…..

I wont mention a certain guard today who when closing the windows on the Mk1’s on last service got his flag stuck between the closed windows and with a slightly red face asked me to hold the flag whist he opened the windows from the inside to free it. It would be cruel to mention it so I won’t!!!

A touch of Scarborough Fair.

Now be honest and tell me that you looked at the title and immediately thought “What’s the old fool up to now?”

Well it all concerns a pensioner, gardening and a play on words.

No dozing at the back I am just about to explain all.

We have a lady of shall we say advancing years who comes all the way from the flesh pots of St Neots to do the station garden when she can.

Her name is Rosemary as she informed me today, and I responded “Oh so you have Thyme to do the garden then.” See a play on words and concerning herbs.

Good stuff this, you would be hard pressed to find rubbish like this anywhere else I tell you. You would be amazed at how little much thought goes into these posts.

So there you have it all explained.

Oh yes your still wondering about the title of the blog, well you get a copy of the song Scarborough Fair sung by Simon & Garfunkel and all will be revealed in the first couple of lines.

Now come on admit it your impressed to find a blog that gives you homework.



We always remember the good bits!

I am sitting here at the computer looking out of the window and to put it in simple words it’s pouring with rain. Currently this neck of the woods has a drought order and hosepipe ban. The local view is that it’s the wettest drought in history.

But in ten years time say when we look back will we remember this summer for the rain and the cold days or will we just remember the good bits?

It’s the same when we remember what we fondly refer to as “The Good Old Days”. We have all heard this expression, when people remember back to when they were young and growing up. They always remember the good bits.

Take my mother for example, at the ripe old age of 84 it’s not surprising that when I talk to her she remembers these good old days.

She remembers fondly the first house she and my father had. What she conveniently forgets is things like my father bringing in the coal to light the fire in the morning to heat the water in the back boiler so we could have warmth in the house. Not to mention the fact that we were not what you would call well off.

She forgets the 30 minute walk to the nearest decent grocers and the task of humping home the shopping or the 10 minute walk to the nearest bus stop and the fact that there was a bus every 30 minutes into Birmingham or Solihull and nothing at all on Sundays.

She forgets the winter mornings when we got up and there was ice on the inside of the bedroom windows. All she remembers or to be more accurate chooses to remember are the sunny days when all was well with the world.

Now I am convinced this selective memory affects all of us except for one period of our lives and that’s the period of our school education. Almost everybody I know remembers vividly the bad bits of school, such as the terrible school dinners, the bad teachers, the bullies etc.

I have no experience of school dinners, I lived close enough to the three schools I went to that I could walk home for lunch. So all I can remember is that when I returned to school after having lunch at home I was greeted by the smell of pies, green vegetables and custard that seemed to seep through every crack of the dining room doors. It never made me want school dinners that much I remember.

What I do remember is one especially cold winter when we walked through three feet of snow to get to school, and it did not bother us we just did it. These days if we have two inches schools are closed and the road network grinds to a halt. I can remember walking past the local shop on the way home and the bottles of pop in the stand outside were frozen solid and had burst out of the tops of the bottles like frozen coloured fountains.

Come hail rain snow or shine mum and I on a Friday night used to go and get fish and chips for tea from the local chip shop, that was a twenty minute walk both ways, and on the way back as a treat we always used to have a fish cake each to eat hot, always welcome on cold wet dismal nights. Funny how I remember eating them and remember holding the paper wrapping pealed back so we could bite them. Just out of interest I can’t stand fish cakes these days.

If we wanted to telephone somebody we had a five minute walk to the nearest telephone box, phones in house were not that common and were expensive. There was often a queue at the box when we got there. Youngsters today don’t know they are born with there in pocket communication rocket, commonly known as a cell phone. In those days you carried change with you everywhere just in case you had to use a phone. Plus of course you hoped it had not been vandalised and that the local youth had not thrown up their curry and beer up the inside walls of the phone box on the way home from the pub the previous night.

I remember like it was yesterday when we had our first phone in the house, we all wanted to use it but had great difficulty in actually remembering anybody we knew that had a phone who we could call. Then we had to ring directory enquiries to get their number. You could actually hear the operator turning the pages of their directories to find the number, no computerised lists in those days.

These days we send our friends or more likely people we know a text or an email. The youngsters of today are losing the art of communication, their comprehension of the spoken English is sadly lacking, they just can’t express themselves in words. I can remember a couple of years ago seeing a boy and girl sitting next to each other on the bus both with blurred fingers as they sent text message after text message. Then it dawned on me they were sending them to each other, instead of looking at each other and speaking they were both looking at screens and sending digital messages to each other. That I will admit I found sad, if they can’t communicate verbally their thoughts needs and feelings how in heavens name can they have a meaningful lasting relationship? Assuming of course they want one.

So next time your sitting thinking back to the good old days take a moment to remember the bad bits that have since got better, but also remember the good bits that have since got bad.


Phew what a relief that’s over.

Well that’s the jubilee out of the way and we can get back to all the worries.

Whilst it was a time to celebrate, certainly the jubilee weekend did the railway no favours at all.

I have said it before and I will say it again, people had too much free stuff to do.

At least today could be described as the least wet of the four.

Hopefully our visitor numbers will go back up from next weekend on, but time will tell.

Running the next three days but I am not back at the railway until Saturday. I am finding it increasingly difficult to to week days due to other commitments.

Now back to the normal job.

Yes well……….

It was a funny sort of day today, a kind of mixture of several days.

We had sunshine, rain, warm breeze and a cold wind.

Cris helped me today, and hopefully he enjoyed himself, certainly he did not go running for the hills at any time and we had Earl Grey tea in which he likes.

Anyway back to the day. It did not really flow, it was like the tide in out in out in out in out. It never just flowed it was stops and starts.

Nice customers and no problems, but it was just a day of fits and starts. Still quiet but as I have already said over the last couple of days there is too much going on this weekend that’s free and we can’t compete with that.

Paddy with me tomorrow and Paddy on the last day of a 4 day bank holiday is like knowing that the best is too come, he will be cheerful, chirpy and like a terrier on speed all day. Am I ready for this after the three days we have had? Well time will tell.

Watch this space as they say.