Yesterday we had a belated Father’s Day celebration and went by steam train (yes a puffing Billy) from the little town of Bishops Lydeard to the seaside town of Minehead. When we were children, steam engines were an everyday but still exciting feature of our lives. A vivid memory I have is of walking with my grandma to visit my great-grandma and stopping on a bridge over looking the railway. I always hoped to see the little green engine, There was that wonderful steamy, coaly smell, and all the chuffing and clinking and rattling sounds.
When we went on journeys there were diesel trains I guess, but I only remember the steam engines which powered along like mighty beasts. There was that evocative smell and always the exciting change a smut might fly in the window – exciting to a child, but not to the mother who had to wash the clothes! For my next novel I’m planning to write something set in the 1950’s – there would have been lots of steam engines then, so I will have to dredge up my memories – and maybe even go on another train journey!!
As we were passing through the beautiful Somerset countryside, to Crowcombe Heath, to Stogumber, Williton, Watchet, Washford, Blue Anchor, Dunster and finally Minehead, I remarked to my husband that the sound of the railway and travelling on a train like this was so embedded in my mind and my memory that I didn’t really ‘hear’ it, and had to especially make an effort to listen to the song of the track!
If you want to share this experience, here is a link: