Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Choo choo Party


Saturday - the day of the party - was bitterly cold and as we lined up on Minehead station lots of people were wearing anoraks, except yours truly. The one concession I made for the weather was smart black boots – comfortable – fortunately, as we stood quite a while waiting for our steam train. I should have got a superb photo as it chugged slowly towards us on the very long, flat approach, billowing clouds of steam, but the result is disappointing and my camera case seems to have got in the way.

It was good to see the birthday boy determined to give everybody a good time and I’m sure his late mother was looking on approvingly. Drinks were served on the platform and we were told the name of our carriage and our table numbers. Oddly the people we were sharing a table with were the very same we had shared a table with five years ago – and we hadn’t seen or spoken to them since. There were lots of camera enthusiasts so there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and shooting out of windows.

The train was warm and it was pleasant watching the changing scenery – at a sedate rate - whilst we were served a four course meal. Extraordinary to realise that our smartly dressed waiters were all volunteers as were all the staff except the catering manager. Our host has been a volunteer for over twenty years. It reminded me of when I was an occasional bar maid at our old Oast Theatre, where the odd person would treat you like the hired hand, so I remembered to be especially appreciative.

We reached our destination – Bishop’s Lydiard ( we long for the day when BL is linked up with Taunton) before dessert was served and were able to stretch our legs in the wintry sunshine. The train had travelled backwards, I was told, as the latest acquisition – a train turn-table - isn’t yet commissioned. MTL and I particularly enjoyed the trip as it brought back memories of taking all our ten grand-children on the train, when they came to stay, and the boys were smitten with Thomas the Tank engine.

On the way back everyone was in good spirits and it was fun to drift round and chat to people. Someone said the food was better than the Orient Express. The party was to continue the next day in a marquee in the garden opposite us and from the sound of it, went with a swing. We chickened out but as there were 64 guests, approx, we wouldn’t be missed.


R. Sherman said...

Looks and sounds like fun.

I regret I've never taken a long train journey. I do like watching the scenery pass and there's something romantic and sophisticated about train travel that's always intrigued me.


apprentice said...

Oh Pat it looks like such a great day out!

I love steam trains, I was lucky to see them at the end of their days.

PI said...

Randall: the most exciting one I took was travelling on my own from Kent to the south of France via Paris - alone -in a wagon-lit. I'll never forget the mournful cry,'Avingnon' as I looked out on a moonlit station.

Anna: beats standing - hanging on to a drink, munching sausage rolls and trying to talk above pandemonium.

sablonneuse said...

What a lovely idea - a party on a train. Great photos.

Kim Ayres said...

There should have been a murder and a Belgian detective on board. Or Belgian chocolates, I forget which.

john.g. said...

Oh, for the high life! *jealous*

PI said...

sablonneuse; It must have cost a fortune to say nothing of the organising - and a bachelor to boot.

Johng: well I don't get our much:)

PI said...

Kim: we did have chocolates - I'll have to wait for the local paper to see if anyone got done in. But you're right it was crying out for a dramatic happening.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a GREAT way to have a special Celebration, Pat....I love the whole idea of this more than I can say....!
I haven't traveled on a Train for such a long time....And taken a real TRIP on a train...Good Lord...It's been over 60! When I was a really little girl we used to go to Florida for the Winters and we would take the train....That was a lot of fun....And so very civilized!
This looks like a most Elegant Happening!

Guyana-Gyal said...

A party! I was just telling my sister that I feel like having a party. Then I thought of all the organizing and thought not. I enjoyed yours, vicariously.

PI said...

Naomi: wouldn't it be great if we could have a blog train journey - a cyber train that crossed oceans and mountains picking up all our friends en route?

GG: so come on our cyber train journey. Booking now:)