Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Railway Children

We went to Oakworth Village today, famous for the filming of 'The Railway Children' in 1970. All the station shots took place at Oakworth with the rest of the filming taking place in Haworth and the London scenes in Hampstead. I've been to Haworth loads of times but it wasn't until last week that I realised The Railway Children had been filmed just one mile down the road.

If you've not seen the film some of the blurb I've written won't mean anything to you but it's a lovely film to watch, should you feel the inclination.

There are too many photos to post so I've decided to split our day out into two. Oakworth Station today and Haworth tomorrow.

We arrived about 10.30am and it took us about an hour to get there. Parking at the station is free but to get onto the platform you are asked to purchase a ticket from this old machine in the booking hall. The charge of 50p goes towards the upkeep of the station. 

This is the opposite side of the above photo. The booking hall was used in the film and was where the Russian was taken to rest.
Through the red doors and you are on the platform of Oakworth Station. It was opened in 1867 and closed in 1962. Thanks to the hard work of locals and railway enthusiast volunteers it re-opened in 1968. 
This is where the presentation ceremony was held for Roberta, Phyllis and Peter after they averted a train disaster due to the landslide and where 'Bobbie' uttered those famous words, "Oh, my daddy, my daddy". 

At one end of the platform is this little shed where 'real' drivers would have stopped for their brews and something to eat. Tom was a train driver and he's been in many a tiny shed having a cuppa and his butties on his break.
At the other end of the platform is the ladies waiting room which was used as the Porters Office in the film. Just through a door there is an old fashioned pull chain toilet and a washstand set up with a jug and basin of water.
Within 10 minutes of arriving a train pulled into the station. Just look at the beautiful Yorkshire countryside it travels through. There's something very special about the noise and smell of an old steam train chugging along the track and the old fashioned whistle announcing its arrival certainly added to the atmosphere.
And it was interesting to see the modern day station master having to run down the platform to open the barriers just like Mr Perks used to do. 

The station master was very accommodating and let us into his office for a look round. Piles and piles of tickets neatly stacked in their own little cubbyholes.

And all the paraphernalia that can be found in an old-fashioned office including a safe mounted into the wall. No fear of anybody running of with that.
He also opened the tiny Goods Office just behind the station so we could have a look inside.

 And there was plenty to see. The best bit was that he just left us to it. No warnings, no signs, no rules, no regulations. We could touch, pick up, open and read what we wanted.
I love looking at old things, wondering who worked here in years gone by.
 But as soon as I started looking through the old ledgers Mark wandered off and left me to it, preferring to sit on the platform soaking up the sun.
And the final bit of the 'Oakworth Station Part'. The house where Mr Perks the station master lived. I love Bernard Cribbins and he was born in Oldham, my birthplace and just over the border from where we now live. We do produce some good actors from up North. 
It's Haworth tomorrow. The Doctors House, the shops where the children collected gifts for Mr Perks and the Three Chimneys where the family lived.


Monday, 29 June 2015

Sleepy Hollow

Amy had 3 friends sleep over Friday night. It was a last minute request. They'd been to school to see their Year 11 friends off to the prom and I think they were feeling a bit deflated at being left behind and wanted to do something fun themselves. They soon came round after a film, a takeaway and a bit of a pamper party. They were happy to crash on the floor but we got the blow up bed down for them and left them to fight over that, the settee and the chair. I don't know what it is about camp beds but I could hear them all rolling around on it giggling. I'm surprised it stayed up with 4 of them bouncing up and down on it. 
When I came down in the morning I found Amy flat out and adopted daughter writing on her forehead. The old jokes are the best aren't they. 
Amy and adopted daughter have completed their first day of work experience. It's at the local cats home and they started at 9am and finished at 2.30pm. Tea was at 5pm and afterwards they went straight upstairs and promptly fell asleep. I don't know, the kids these days have no staying power. 

It's been housework for me again today. I get very little satisfaction from cleaning these days. In a way it was better when Amy and Thomas were little and made a mess. A quick tidy up of anything primary coloured and a good hoover up of wotsits and biscuit crumbs and it felt like a show home. Now it always looks the same whether I clean it or not. 

I do get satisfaction from this though. I've not done any over the weekend but I've managed a little bit of the ship this afternoon, inbetween bobbing in and out to watch Wimbledon.
The best news of the day at Number 38 is there are flowers in the garden. The hanging baskets came into their own over the weekend and we finally have colour in the garden.
I've even got two red strawberries. I wonder what the chances are of being able to pick a bowlful for the tennis finals in 2 weeks. 
Which reminds me, we've still not been strawberry picking yet. But before we do that, we're off on another outing tomorrow. We're going to West Yorkshire to Oakworth where they filmed The Railway Children. All aboard!


Sunday, 28 June 2015

84 Today!

The birthday party went well and Tom seemed to enjoy the get together. Even Joan was happy to comply and didn't fret too much when the taxi came for us, although I think the promise of grandchildren and chocolate eclairs at the other end helped. 

The staff had set the room up lovely for us. This is the bar where the residents can go and have a drink if they want to and where they hold their quiz nights etc. They'd put banners up and set the tables with cloths, glasses, napkins and vases of flowers. The weather was gorgeous so we were able to open the doors onto the patio as well. 

It wasn't long before Joan spotted the big chocolate cake and asked for a piece, so we sang 'Happy Birthday' pretty much as soon as Tom arrived. Even though I'd only put 10 candles on he struggled to blow them out so Mark had to help.

When everybody had gone he said to Mark "the best bit of the day was seeing Joan". If you knew Tom you'd know those few words are a true declaration of love. 
The whole thing lasted about 3 hours and by the end of it he was shattered. He's been feeling a bit out of sorts for a few days now and his breathing seems to be more laboured lately.

Anyway, today was much quieter for him. Just Mark and myself popped up to see him and he seemed quite at home sat in his chair watching TV surrounded by all his presents and cards that he'd been given.

Another good memory for Number 38's blog diary.


Friday, 26 June 2015

Today I...

Today I ... bought a birthday cake for Tom. He'll be 84 on Sunday so we've invited his family to the home for a 'birthday tea' tomorrow. Saturday was easier for everybody to get together and I'm sure Tom won't mind celebrating a day early. It's a surprise so I hope he enjoys it. I've been tasked with escorting Joan in the taxi, not that she wants to go. When we told her her about it she said "I'll not bother going, just bring me a piece of cake". 
 Today I ... had a dabble at the jigsaw. Most of the sky is done and the funnels and ship will be next.
Today I ... Finally got rid of the Pyramid. It has now gone to school where it belongs. I'm glad to see the back of it to be honest. After making it Thomas lost all interest in the finishing touches, (an inside plan and a title in hieroglyphics), and there was a lot of cajoling for him to get it done. We got there eventually though.
Today I ... bought Thomas a green t-shirt for his "Be Seen in Green" fundraising day at school next Friday for Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. When Thomas was 3 he broke his leg jumping off the couch. He had it x-rayed and set at Booth Hall Children's Hospital which was only a 5 minute drive from where we live. Several months after the cast was off he was still walking funny and Booth Hall had been closed down so we were referred to RMCH. It's a great hospital and is only 8 miles away but what with city centre traffic it's a nightmare to get to and can take well over an hour. Thankfully, we've never had to go since. Touch wood. 
Today I ... wondered if I should buy one of these adult colouring books that are all the rage. Or should I really be doing something more constructive. I am very tempted though. I might have a quick peek in The Works next week to see if they have any. 
                                          Color Me Happy: 100 Coloring Templates That Will Make You Smile - Coloring for Thinkers (Paperback)

Today I ... couldn't think what to cook for tea. I left it that late to decide on something that we ended up having fish fingers.

Maybe a family cookbook would be better than a colouring book.


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Our Postie

It's weight loss Wednesday again.

Martin, 'Our Postie' of many years, delivered two things today, both of which I was expecting, but I was still excited to get. Just as an aside do you have a regular postie and do you know his/her name?

The first was an invitation to my brother's wedding in July. I don't see him or his family that often so it will be lovely to catch up with them all. They're getting married in Cheltenham so myself, Thomas and Mum will go down on the train and stay overnight. Amy is in Bulgaria and really miffed that she's missing a wedding and Mark can't say for definite whether he'll be there or not, depending on the state of play with Tom and Joan. But the 3 of us will definitely be going to help celebrate their day. 
The second thing was a new jigsaw. I've tried to resist the urge to buy one - too much of a good thing and all that - but I'm missing wandering over to the table and whiling away half an hour here and there. I found this one on Amazon and straight away I knew I'd enjoy doing it. It wasn't too expensive either at £7.16 - what a random price. 

As a reward for doing well in her subjects and for having good attendance Amy has been invited by school to go on a tour of Old Trafford. I don't think she's that keen really, she'd much prefer an outing to the Trafford Centre, but it's a day off school and they don't have to wear uniform, so no doubt she'll put her name on the list.
Mind you, we're debating whether to sign the consent form or not. We're Blues at Number 38 not Reds so it's a massive parental dilemma for us!


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Eyam: Pronouned Eam as in Stream

We woke up to sun and blue skies this morning so a visit to Eyam was definitely on the cards. 

It took us about an hour to drive there. This is Eyam Museum, placed in a perfect position directly opposite the car park. We'd planned to have a look around but our day trip coincided with a school trip and a whole group of children were making their way in just as we arrived so we decided to give it a miss.
Instead we walked down the lane and within 2 minutes look what I'd found. Yes, the ever elusive elderflower.
A little further on and we came to the village green complete with stocks. 
Just opposite the village green is a small row of cottages where the first victim of the plague died. Poor George Viccars,  the unfortunate tailor who opened the package of material which the flea was in, lived here. 
There are signs in each of these gardens listing the names of everybody who lived in the cottages and died. In fact there are signs on houses and in gardens all over the village naming the dead.
Eyam church is beautiful inside and out but we only had a quick peek in because we found ourselves in the middle of another school excursion.
To be honest I think Mark was glad he was surrounded by all these school children. It meant he didn't have to stand in one place too long with me while I read all the information boards. Instead we walked into the village centre...
And did something much more up his street. We chose a cafe...
... and sat outside drinking tea and eating toasted teacakes and sausage muffins.
Then we decided we'd really like to find Mompesson's Well which was the place where food and medicines were left for the villagers to collect without having to come into contact with anybody.
 We walked up a lane into the woods
Across fields of buttercups and daisies
Found ourselves face to face with these gorgeous alpacas
 And took in the breathtaking beauty of the Derbyshire countryside.
 But no matter how hard we tried we couldn't find that well. We did find this though which was really touching. It's impossible to imagine burying a husband and 6 children in one week. And the fascinating thing about a lot of the signs is how so many people in one house died yet one or two would survive, completely unaffected by the plague.
Anyway, time had moved on pretty quickly by now. I'm sure we walked 10 miles looking for that well so we had to make our way back to the car and head home for Thomas.

And would you believe it, no word of a lie, on a road out, high above the village we spotted this. A sign for Mompesson's Well!
 And here it is. The 'boundary' and 'drop off point' set up all those years ago which prevented the plague from spreading out of the village. It was a little underwhelming to be honest. A bit scruffy and unkempt and considering it's a major part of the village history you'd think they'd spend an hour or two keeping it clean.
Mind you Mark reckons it's that high up and that far from the village that people probably give up trying to find it. His other theory is that only half the people who died actually had the plague, the other half died of malnutrition and exhaustion trying to get to the well to pick the food up.

I have to say I think he might be on to something and that the villagers of Eyam might be having a little 'touristy joke'. That signpost with 1km on is way off the mark and my aching shins can vouch for that.


Monday, 22 June 2015

The Plague

I got the sewing machine out today. I've not done any sewing for a few weeks and I've got half a dozen dresses cut out ready to be made for the Dress A Girl charity. It only took an hour to complete this. I love making these dresses. They're a perfect little project to see through from start to finish without taking up too much time.
I also made some peanut butter and banana cakes. It was only a 2oz mixture but by the time I'd added a good tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter and a mashed up banana I managed to get 12 little cakes in total. I'm not sure whether Amy and Thomas will like them but if not, I'll freeze them for myself. They may not be very big but they're just right for when I fancy a little treat now and then.
I'm beginning to get fed up of this weather. The garden looks as grey as it did at the beginning of the year. There are plenty of buds on the plants but still no sign of colour ready to burst forth. Look at this little posy I was able to pick from the garden on 22nd June last year. What's going on?

I'm hoping the weather improves tomorrow. Amy is going on a day trip to Lake Windermere as part of her geography coursework and me and Mark are planning to visit Eyam in Derbyshire, also known as The Plague Village. We've been trying to get there for ages but haven't managed it yet. I'd be happy to walk around in the rain but Mark's a bit of a fair weather man so I'm praying for dry weather.

I've unashamedly cut and pasted the text below about Eyam for anybody who's interested in such things. Personally, I love this sort of history.

Eyam, a village in Derbyshire, was badly affected by the Great Plague of 1665 even though the disease is most associated with its impact on London. The sacrifices made by the villagers of Eyam may well have saved cities in northern England from the worst of the plague.
At the time of the plague, the village had a population of about 350. The most important person in the village was the church leader – William Mompesson.
In the summer of 1665, the village tailor received a parcel of material from his supplier in London. This parcel contained the fleas that caused the plague. The tailor was dead from the plague within one week of receiving his parcel. By the end of September, five more villagers had died and twenty three died in October.
Some of the villagers suggested leaving the village for the nearby city of Sheffield. Mompesson persuaded them not to do this as he feared that they would spread the plague into the north of England that had more or less escaped the worst of it. In fact, the village decided to cut itself off from the outside would. They effectively agreed to quarantine themselves even though it would mean death for many of them.
The village was supplied with food by those who lived outside of the village. People brought supplies and left them at the parish stones that marked the start of Eyam. The villages left money in a water trough filled with vinegar to sterilise the coins left in them. In this way, Eyam was not left to starve to death. Those who supplied the food did not come into contact with the villagers. 
Eyam continued to be hit by the plague in 1666. The rector, Mompesson, had to bury his own family in the churchyard of Eyam and held his services outside to reduce the chances of people catching the disease.
By November 1666, the plague was considered at an end. 260 out of 350 had died in the village but their sacrifice may well have saved many thousands of lives in the north of England. Mompesson survived the plague and died in 1709.
Right, I'm off to have a shower now. I'm meeting friends for a drink and meal tonight. We've been trying to get together for weeks but that dratted thing called life keeps getting in the way.