In this blogposting...
Now - once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...
A hugely successful AGM XVIII took place at the Tanfield Railway on 25 August - as you’ll have gathered from the lovely comments, and even lovelier photos signposted in the Comments box of 214. For ease of reference, I’m posting a melange (as we francophones say) of photos here to give an overall flavour of an event which was very special indeed for at least one of those who attended!
It was a truly splendid occasion for Serge and I’d like to say, right here and right now, a big BIG thankyou to everyone who attended and thus helped to make it so; Vivienne, Linda (whose birthday I failed to commemorate last Friday) and Hildie, who brought along her sister Mary and brother-in-law Tony. A particularly warm welcome to them, too.
The weather was kind enough for us to enjoy coffee and scrummy cakes in the station garden before we embarked on what will, I hope, become an annual truckshunter tradition - our ride on the railway itself. That Serge was asked into the signal-box to change the points and signals beforehand was thrill enough but, as you can probably deduce from the pictures, Serge was beside himself with joy at then being invited to ride on the footplate and toot the whistle as the train made its stately way along the gorge of the Causey Burn.
Experiences such as these are indeed a privilege. Serge now has the unforgettable memory of taking part in the operation of the world’s oldest working railway - and catching sight along the way of the world’s oldest purpose-built railway bridge (the Causey Arch).
And almost none of this would have been possible without the affectionate attentions of Neville Whaler and his colleagues at the Tanfield Railway. He, and they, deserve medals the size of several frying pans - not just for hosting AGM XVIII but also for preserving the Railway and keeping its heritage alive.
All I can give them, though, is a very very VERY big thankyou from Serge and myself, and from all the other truckshunters who were there.
It was unforgettable.
...will probably take place on Wednesday or Thursday, 15 or 16 September. If you have any venue preferences, please get in touch.
A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
Yet more thanks are due now - this time, to the great and wonderful Lawrence Heppell.
Everyone knows (or ought to know) that Lawrence - with whom I am privileged to enjoy breakfast once a month or so - is a speedway enthusiast of some standing (or, more usually, sitting).
I have to admit that speedway is a pastime the alluring magic of which has generally passed me by over the years, despite my long association with Lawrence.
Serge, though, is keen on motorbikes and the redoubtable Mr Heppell was thoughtfully able to arrange for us to visit Brough Park in Newcastle for a clash-of-the-titans meeting between Newcastle and Sheffield.
It was awesome. The atmosphere was friendly but palpably intense. A goodly crowd - Serge and I included - watched and cheered as the speedway riders, all of whom I consider to be terminally insane, roared around the track time after time. Up in their little glass box (see the photo), Lawrence and his colleagues kept their records of times and winners, as well as making all the announcements.
I’m not kidding; it was positively exhilarating. Yet another thrilling memory for Serge to bring back with him here to France.
Thanks very, very much, Lawrence. I promise it won’t be my last visit to Brough Park. Perhaps there should be a special AGM there....
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