A Day out in Carlisle

Yesterday, we set off on one of our day excursions along the fantastic Settle/Carlisle railway line and pulled by a steam engine. The train arrived at Leeds on time and we set off on one of the most picturesque train rides in the entire country, which takes in some breathtaking views of the Yorkshire Dales and crosses the famous Ribblevalley Viaduct.  We were being pulled by Black number 44932 an engine that we have never travelled behind previously. My brother (who is as enthusiastic about trains as I am) were travelling with us as they have never been on an excursion before.

Waiting for the train on Platform 12

SmileyWhere is the train?

Here we are all patiently waiting on Platform 12 for our excursion train to arrive.

Stretching our legs at Appleby

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Steam trains have to take on water, and our first water stop was at Appleby.

Enjoying ice cream

Here we had a good fifteen minutes to stretch our legs and enjoy an ice cream from a lady who was selling them on the platform.

Black no 44932 in Carlisle

The first chance I had to take a good shot of the engine was when we finally arrived in Carlisle and all the other passengers had departed! Everyone wants to take a good photo of the engine, everyone wants their photo taken in the cab, its not easy to get a clear shot of a steam engine with no one else on it.

Unfortunately we didn’t have long in Carlisle and so couldn’t visit the castle, so we had a walk around the shopping precinct there, we were shot at by two storm troopers on the way, and then we sat out in the glorious sunshine and enjoyed a Costa coffee (and some hot chocolate with marshmallows in Kerri’s case and Terry’s case.

Stormtroopers in Carlisle

Carlisle

Heading our way!

Kerri happily joined in with all the theatricals by getting out her invisible lightsaber and attacking them both. (Always the actress!)

We made our way to the Lane’s Shopping Centre where I took a shot of these attractive coloured lights in the roof, and also one of a very interesting statue at one of the shopping junctions. Shopping centre’s like this one will in my view be the only savour of our towns to counteract the threat from out of town supermarkets, plus they are ideal if the weather is bad as they are covered.

Shopping Centre in Carlisle

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It was a real pity that we hadn’t time to take in the Castle but we made up for it by sitting outside a Costa coffee shop and enjoying both a cappuccino (in my case) and the gorgeous warm sunshine.

Here for your enjoyment I’ve placed all of the shots I took with my camera and phone into a photo album. Click on it to view it as a slideshow.

Enjoy.

Technogran

Bus Station Woes.

 

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I’ve blogged about our bus station in the past.  It’s not all that old and is supposed to be a shining example of bus station design, with its unusual ‘big dipper’ shaped roof. It’s certainly something you can’t ignore if you happened to be driving past our little town on your way to Halifax. We passengers who have to use it have been less impressed. When it was first completed there simply weren’t enough seats. They provided just four seats to every stand, with the result that waiting for your bus became almost a scrum to the death if you needed to sit down for any reason. Many of the younger passengers had to resort to sitting on the low windowsills which wasn’t ideal or comfortable, not that the provided seats were any more so. You have to be near fainting with the cold or heat, or loaded up with a huge amount of shopping before resorting to actually sitting down on one of the seats. After some vigorous complaints from those hardy passengers with bottoms like steel who can endure sitting down, our seat tally has since been doubled and we have been generously provided with eight to every stand.

I have concluded long ago that whoever designs bus stations never actually use them themselves. The seats are made of metal and are not shaped for comfortable sitting, so they are freezing in winter and akin to sitting down in molten lava in summer. The ambient temperature of the bus station itself is not helped by the fact that it consists of windows from ceiling height to nearly floor level, none of which are double glazed.  In winter you daren’t sit down for more than a few moments for fear of freezing to one of the seats, you have to keep walking up and down the long concourse just to keep yourself moving.  In summer, someone could make a roaring trade growing tomatoes seeing as the station so resembles a huge green house. As I sat baking yesterday waiting for my bus, it was 72% outside the bus station and roughly 90% inside. I had to keep my eye on my sandwich which was in my bag in case it began to toast.

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In order to avoid the pitfalls of our bus station, we local passengers have, over the length of time that we have had to use it, learned to try and time our entrance to just before our bus is due to arrive to avoid freezing to death or being cooked.  And mentioning time brings me to the latest saga which has been taking place for at least the last few months with little sign of anyone from Metro bothering to put it right. Our bus timetable displays are constantly wrong. Not only wrong, but to confuse the unwary passenger, they contradict each other. We have two types of information displays in the bus station, the two largest one’s are hung from the ceiling, one at either end of the station, and the other smaller displays are sited just above each stand door, and only show the arrival and departure times for that particular stand.  In order to try and send every passenger who uses the bus station stark raving bonkers, the large displays tell an entirely different time to the one’s above your stand and neither are correct.

You enter the bus station, firstly gazing hopefully at one of the larger timetable displays with the vain hope that someone from Metro has paid the station a visit since your last attempt to catch a bus in order to fix the wrong displays.  The large stand might state that your bus is due in 20 minutes from stand D.  You make your way down to stand D and look up at the timetable display above your stand only to note to your horror that your bus is due in 10 minutes.  Either that, or its not even up there. Which one is correct?  Have you time to dash off to the shops for that item you’ve just remembered or not? It must be a worse situation for anyone who hasn’t used our bus station before and is not aware that Metro are on a ‘drive every passenger in Brighouse insane’ campaign.  They must think they are hallucinating and probably if they have any sense, will find another route to get from A to B that doesn’t necessitate using our confusing bus station at all.  Meanwhile the rest of us who have little choice but to endure every trick in the book that Metro can devise to thwart our journeys, are beginning to compensate for the wrong times stated by the displays, by simply ignoring them completely.  We arrive at the bus station looking as carefree as possible ( for the cameras and to annoy Metro) and make our way to our stands with the vain hope that we have managed to time it right.

They won’t get us down or turn us into gibbering idiots with all this confusion, no matter how hard they try!

Technogran

A visit by a Duchess.

Kerri and I have had a hectic morning this morning. Up at the crack of dawn, showered, dressed, we hadn’t time for a lavish breakfast, a small bowl of Fruit and Fibre for me with a glass of orange juice, and a breakfast bar and orange juice for her, backpack added and following a quick wash of the dishes, my bag complete with camera for me.  We were out of the door for 09.00am precisely and as the sky was a gorgeous unbroken blue, we bravely had only our thin raincoats with us.  Setting off down to town at a fairly brisk walking pace, we made good time.

“We won’t get a good spot to see her if we aren’t fairly early.” I reasoned with her as she grumbled to herself walking down, trailing behind me some several paces at least. As is usual, I ended up nearly breaking my arm by having to hold her hand and gently ease her along at a more steady pace than she takes under her own steam.  Finally we are through town and walking up to the station. As I thought! There are already plenty of others with exactly the same idea as us!  Ahh!  Two are stood in a very well chosen spot at the very end of platform 2.  I shout out to them from the walkway.

“ Which platform is she arriving on?”

“ Platform 1 but you won’t be able to budge on there as it’ll be packed, and you won’t get a good shot, that’s why were over here!”

Good thinking, so we continue on around the road and join the other platform on the other side. Kerri plonks herself down immediately on a seat whereas I saunter up to the two men in the advantageous position at the edge of the platform, and as is usual in these situations, we swop stories of our journeys, sightings, love of all things steam etc. Apparently they have been coming down here to get shots of the Duchess every week for the last three weeks. Not only on a morning such as today, but also at night when she returns. In fact, they are planning on returning tonight at 21.30pm. Of course it will be coming dark by then, but they both have expensive SLR’s that put my little point and shoot to shame, so I would imagine that they will still get some good shots.

The platform opposite where the Duchess is to pull in is now packed with people, not only the photo enthusiasts, but also all those who are boarding the ‘Scarborough Flyer’ for it is this excursion train that the Duchess is so ably pulling.  Some of you may remember Kerri and I also going on this excursion ourselves a few years ago, setting off from Huddersfield.

“Why is she coming through Brighouse anyway?” I ask my two new friends. (Kerri is still sitting on the bench fiddling about with something, probably texting on her phone.)

“ Because They’ve been doing work to the line and so she’s been diverted through here instead.”  Hmm. Wish I’d have known all of this. Kerri and I had planned to do this excursion again to Scarborough and we could have boarded here in our little home town!  And what a wonderful day weather-wise for a trip to the seaside!  As its turned out, I’m feeling fine following my chemo yesterday.  Isn’t hindsight wonderful!  I would have been fine for a day trip today to lift my spirits!

At last we see her coming round the bend in the far distance, a thin  plume of steam issuing straight up into the blue air from her chimney.  Camera’s begin to snap, people lean forward at angles to try and get a better shot or glimpse of her as she arrives, now decked in green livery, which personally I am not all that keen on, I preferred her in that gorgeous maroon when we road behind her a few years back.  She zooms past me and I forget to move my camera at the same speed as I take the shot, so its all blurry.  Sigh. As is usual with these excursions, she’s pulling behind her some nine to ten carriages, the middle one’s are Pullman dining carriages for those who are travelling first class and will have had a cooked breakfast since boarding and will also be getting a three course dinner on the return journey.

Note here she is decked in Maroon livery which I think suits her better.

We dash up to the other end of the platform in order to get some close ups as she waits for all the passengers to board and gets some steam up for the off. In the cab, a young lad is looking out of our side. It gladdens my heart to see the youngsters getting involved with steam train driving, or the mechanical side of it all, we need to keep all of our old skills alive or who will carry it all on when the drivers and engineers who have worked so tirelessly on keeping this part of our heritage going, are no longer around? 

She begins to pull away, a short whistle and she’s off! How I wish we were on board!  We wave to all those lucky enough  to be peering at us from their comfortable seats in the carriages and I silently wish them luck with the weather when they land in Scarborough for their day out.  We all begin to disperse, in our particular case, now off to do some shopping whilst we’re in town, others to wherever. It’s not often our small station see’s the sight of a steam engine, its a big event and one that I am so glad I didn’t miss.

Here’s a photo album for you to see the shots we took, as always, Kerri has managed to pull of a much better shot of the Duchess as she passed under the bridge than I could muster, despite getting my arm in it. I could crop it out of course, but hey! Its part and parcel of our natural amateur photos!

Enjoy.

Technogran

I should have stayed in bed.

 

She want’s to go to Halifax to sell some of her old DVD’s so that she can trade them for another. I’m not happy about going anywhere, but as usual I allow her to talk me into setting off to catch the bus. It’s already  beginning to spit with rain as we set off and I am sorely tempted to turn around and go back home.  Seeing as the bus is late at least we use our passes and by the time we reach town the rain is absolutely pouring down. Being ruled by the weather mood wise is one of my many Achilles heels. I can feel myself sinking into resentment and ill temper as we struggle to put the umbrella up and make our way through the puddles to the shop. She trades in her few wares but she hasn’t made enough vouchers and so I have to make up the difference by giving her money towards her longed for purchase.

As I wait outside the shop others quickly pass by clasping their umbrellas or huddled under hoods. No one is loitering, all are hurrying and scurrying past on their way to wherever they must be, dripping raincoats, scowling faces, black looks. I decide that my ordeal should be rewarded with a purchase for myself, a new pair of jeans from Bon Marche and maybe some new pyjamas, so when she emerges triumphant from the shop clutching her precious prize, we brave the wet cobbles and motor onwards and upwards to my chosen store. After finding some attractive pyjamas, we discover that they don’t have my size in my chosen jeans but hey! all is not lost as they have two pairs in stock in their Huddersfield branch! 

We decide to cock a snook at this ill fated day and continue onto Huddersfield. After all I reason to myself, it surely can’t get any worse can it? Arriving in the bus station, we see that the bus to Huddersfield is just pulling out of the stand, but he is having to wait to depart because other buses are in front of him. Looking like two demented idiots, we gesture and wave to attract the drivers attention, hoping that he will open the doors and let us on, but…… he casually ignores us and drives off.  Steam is literally coming out of my ears. We now have nine minutes to wait for the next one.  Leaving her waiting at the bus stand, I stomp off to the shop for some sweets to calm my tattered nerves and a drink for us both whilst we wait.

During the journey to Huddersfield, the rain really belts down in bucketful’s so that by the time we arrive at Huddersfield bus station, there are rivers of it running down everywhere and you have to take extra care where to walk.  Jeans finally purchased, we quickly find a cafe for some lunch and a welcome shelter from the rain. Even she looks ready to burst into tears, and nothing ever fazes her.  I feel like death. I ache from head to foot and feel so tired. As soon as we have finished our lunch, we return to the bus station for our bus home. I look around at the other people waiting for the bus at our stand. They all look so forlorn and fed up, blank dismal faces peering out from hooded raincoats which are dripping with raindrops onto the already puddled floor. We would all have been much wiser to remain this day tucked up in our warm beds, listening to the rain as it beat against our windows outside.  We should have all had more sense than to venture out on this particular day of all days seeing as it was Friday the 13th.

TG

The Journey Home.

I had kept the card for the taxi firm who had brought us to the Holiday park from Hayle, and so we rang them to come and pick us up to take us to the railway station because it was such a steep hill up to the station and would have been an effort for me to make with the suitcase.  As it turned out, we were there with plenty of time to kill before our train was due to arrive.  I was quite amused by the fact that you had to actually walk across the lines to get to our platform, a little discerning when you realise that most of the trains using this stretch tend to be express trains!

Hayle railway station.

I wiled away the time taking photos of the abundant flora that grew alongside our platform and also had a jog up and down from end to end. Eventually our train arrived and we made our way to our reserved seats for the journey to Birmingham New Street.  On arrival there, I was pleased that our train to Leeds was actually due in on the same platform so we didn’t have any changing of platforms to do, always a worry for me when you have suitcase and Kerri in tow and your in an unfamiliar station.

Our next train arrived on time and again, we made our way to our reserved seats. It was the train to Glasgow Central. Sigh.  I love Cross Country trains, they are always clean and tidy, and the staff are always friendly.

Soon we were seeing the familiar sight of Leeds station, and we caught our train home, where I rang for our usual taxi firm to collect us for the last leg.  What a wonderful holiday! Okay, the weather could have been kinder, but it turned out to be exactly as I had always imagined it would be, and I am so glad that I have had the chance to stay in Cornwall.  Enjoy my last shots taken of Hayle Station and our train etc.

TG

An enjoyable run-around.

Yesterday we went on one of our much missed run arounds. We haven’t been doing any since my operation in February. As it was such a glorious sunny day, we decided it was about time we did another one, if only to see how Bradford has changed since our last visit there. Beginning with the usual bus ride to Bradford, where we noticed that the route the bus used to take in order to arrive at the Interchange had now been blocked off to make a pedestrian precinct in front of the Town Hall. On arriving at the Interchange we proceeded to walk towards Forster Square. The area previously intended for a new shopping centre has temporarily been made into a park of some sort. Hmm. Lack of money apparently.

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Another Runaround. (illustrated.)

First leg by busAs my philosophy is ‘don’t waste those gorgeous days of sunshine’ we set off on one of our runarounds yesterday. The sky was cloud free, we were both armed with our trusty cameras and although K had planned to mooch around all day in her pyjamas watching her recordings, she eagerly embraced my idea to venture forth for a days journey via our usual transport, namely the bus and train.. It ended with both of us stuffing ourselves with calorie laden delights. (as usual!)

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