Sunday, 28 September 2008

The golden age of steam - Pattingham to Bewdley

Penkridge, Pattingham and Bewdley, all places I'd wanted to re-visit. Not just because they were nice places to stay, but more so because of the people I met there. Then, strangely enough, when it came to it, I didn't want to go back to Penkridge library, or the farmhouse B & B in Pattingham, because somehow I knew it wouldn't be the same. There was, however, one person I'd already planned to meet, and that was Adele in Bewdley. We'd exchanged phone numbers last year, but losing the phone, meant losing her number. Meeting in "The Pack Horse" Pub last year we'd shared histories over a glass or two and vowed to keep in touch. But perhaps it was just as well we were not destined to meet up.
The phone rang "Hello! Peter here! I've arranged for the press photographer to meet us at the Pump House at 3pm, is that ok?" I gulped, and quickly set the calculator whirring in my head. Bewdley to Worcester, 20 miles at approx. 3 miles an hour, with extra time for brief stops and getting lost, meant leaving at 7.30 am. "Fine" I said, breezily, "I'll see you there!"
Oh, it was so hot, sticky and unbearably humid today, I couldn't wait to get down to the river. To spur myself on, I earmarked a "blue cup" on the map, to treat myself to a large orange juice with plenty of ice, and what passed the time was meeting a retired policeman, full of local knowledge and stories of last year's floods. In the pub garden, it was hard to believe a year ago I'd have been 3 foot under water.
Was it the heat and fatigue that had made me imagine the haunting distance sounds of a steam train? Or was it all the nostalgic thoughts of yesterday? No, as I reached the river, there up above was the "Severn Valley Railway" chugging back and forth between Ardley and Bewdley. I had to take a look, not least because there might be the prospect of an Ice Cream. Sadly, it was already getting late and the shop was closed. As the last train to Bewdley pulled up to the platform, it was calling out to me "Come on Carol, you're tired, hungry, and it's only 5 miles, I'll get you there in a jiffy"
Now, can you imagine the powers of restraint I needed not to jump on board?