Friday, 14 June 2013

On Didcot

Elly and and her husband, Collin, live in a rather nice if slightly perplexing house in Didcot with two friendly if undisciplined black labs. They are remarkably bouncy and playful to the point that I asked how old they were as they displayed puppy-like exuberance. Elly laughed at that as Bella, the oldest (and most exuberant) is roughly ten years old!
On Saturday morning, I assembled Leonardo. I then went on a shopping expedition with Elly and Collin. Afterwards, we went to the Barley Mow for lunch. The Barley Mow is a pub on the Thames featured in Jerome K. Jerome "Three men in a boat". It was a nice sunny if slightly cool day so we ate in the beer garden where we could admire the thatched roof of the pub.
After lunch,  I took Leonardo on a short trial run to the Didcot Railway Centre where I rode in not one but two steam trains, including one drawn by a tank engine that might have been Thomas' brother.
The Centre had very large number of old steam engines in various states of repair. It also had a section of pipe from Brunel's failed atmospheric railway. The theory behind this was that the trains would be propelled by a centrally located vacuum. It didn't work well in practise. I'd heard about it on Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention.
The Centre is largely run by steam enthusiasts who are mostly men older than I. It is very much dependent on the love of steam engines.

No comments: