Sunday, August 25, 2013

Small steps

Small Steps

When I first joined the Life Boat aka the Bereavement Group
(I call it LB as in ‘we are all in the same boat’ and it helps to get your life back on track) we had extravagant plans about trips we could make.  However - after two disastrous evenings – one of which involved dancing – when only two turned up, we decided to set our sights lower, hence small steps.

One of our men made a list of places we could visit in half a day, with comprehensive details and brought them for our perusal.  Incredibly – amongst a dozen or so individuals - we came to an agreement: Doniford Farm.

One of our members, C is a volunteer for the West Somerset Railway and she told us she was allowed to take three guests on the train to Doniford Halt so the four ’Minehead lot’ could go free and we agreed that we would  share the cost of any extra persons.  The rest from more distant places would drive straight to Doniford.

C was a teacher for many years; we knew she would take good care of us and promised to be at Minehead station at 10am in plenty of time to be escorted onto the train in the correct carriage.  It was another warm sunny day which made standing waiting on the station a pleasant nostalgic experience and the holiday makers and their excited children were reminiscent of that lovely old film ‘The Railway Children.’

Minehead is the end of the line and always had a turntable but it was scrapped when the line closed.  The present one was rescued from North Wales over 30 years ago and was finally renovated and installed in 2008.  The two- man crew can turn a 100 ton engine using their muscle power alone provided it is carefully balanced about the central pivot.

Once we had established who didn’t like going backwards we took our seats and felt privileged to be with C who knew all the crew and there was much banter and badinage.  All the country–side was unspoilt and when C spotted my camera she told me the best place to get a shot of Dunster Castle.  None of us could remember the name of Conygar Tower - a folly built in 1785 to enhance the view from Dunster Castle, but a crew member obliged.

The next station was Blue Anchor one of the three stations where trains can pass so some times there is a wait. Then comes Washford with its radio transmitters built by the BBC in 1933 and plainly visible for miles around –especially at night.
Watchet was our penultimate stop where Coleridge got the idea for the Ancient Mariner and we like to think that Watchet was the port the mariner sailed from.

Finally we reached Doniford Halt – a request stop.  C checked there were still four of us and we walked crocodile style along the road to the farm.
Gradually we met up with the rest of our group who inadvertently had ignored the table booked for us and claimed another.  Meanwhile some of us wandered round taking photos of the animals who seemed to delight in hiding from our cameras.  C – more patient than I got a lovely one of a meercat.

The menu was extensive and catered for both large and small appetites and there was plenty of time for relaxed chat.
The loos were excellent and the shop great for edibles ad small gifts.

Over the years we have visited many farms and animal centres in the area and my impression was that the animals in the fields – sheep, goats and llamas were much more animated than the ones in cages – especially when the lunch bell rang.

Thanks to perfect weather and everyone’s friendship and goodwill our small group returned on the train feeling we had taken an important small step.
Photos below.



OldLady Of The Hills said...

That is kind of a Miracle, isn't it---12 people! This was such a nice thing to do....!

Chef Files said...

Goats make exceptional additions to a family home Pat, obviously not if you live in a city of course, but do take care not to pick one that is clever enough to open pantry doors. I've grown rather tired of waking up to a contented sleeping goat with an enlarged stomach surrounded by munched fruit and the aroma of over ripe goat flatulence.

Granny Annie said...

I would have had to kidnap the guinea fowl in the last photo to bring home. My flock is down to four.

It would be nice to have such a group here. The only two social places I can go are to church or the senior center. I tried going to church last Sunday and did not last five minutes before the dam broke. I had to leave. When I had lunch at the senior center last Wednesday the fellow next to me asked, "Where's your old man?"

I do enjoy going in the afternoon to one of the nearby casinos. It is safe and easy to blend in a crowd of people who do not notice me or care that my husband just died. Plus the best food in our area is available in the casinos.

Ms Quotes said...

I don't mind going backwards or forwards just so long as nobody falls asleep on me.
Sounds like a lovely day out, Pat... much better than the dancing debacle!

Z said...

You are obviously all so good for each other, excellent to plan enjoyable trips out. It sounds - and looks - lovely.

LL Cool Joe said...

I can imagine the evening of dancing being a disaster. And I'm a dj I know about this kind of thing. I'm glad you had a good day doing something that everyone wanted to do. Sounds good to me!

Pat said...

Naomi: it's certainly a rarity in my experience.

Chef: I think goats can be fascinating.
I loved it in Greece when they would jump up on the café table for a chat and a bite.

Pat said...

Granny Annie: it's very early days for you and I realise how lucky I am with our group.
I'm surprised there isn't some sort of organisation. Perhaps- when you are feeling stronger you could start one. Meanwhile go easy on yourself. The casino sounds a good idea.xox

MSQ: fortunately I didn't consider the dancing for a nano second but I do go to the monthly meeting in a pub in the evening.

Z: I'm still amazed that I went along to my first meeting- which happened to be the pub evening knowing no-one. Thank goodness didn't chicken out.

Joey: certainly our train party enjoyed it. We'll have a post- mortem on Tuesday no doubt.

John Greenwood said...

So glad you're getting out and mixing! x

Mage said...

What fun. The pictures capture the adventure....and sunshine too. I am a rail fan and you captured the fun of it all from animals to castles beautifully.

rashbre said...

Amusing to hear the debate about forwards or backwards. As a commuter, a seat is the usual priority. Nice chocolate and cream GWR style carriages.

Pat said...

John: it's the only way.

Mage: you say the sweetest things:)

Rashbre: I see what you mean, and it's only about four stops - you'd think we were crossing Russia.
Chocolate and cream - lovely description.