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I’ve escaped from home for the first time this week. The last few days have been spent on domestic duties, retiling our bathroom. It’s been fun but frustrating as (like most old Victorian properties) there’s not a level wall in the place!

I’m en-route to London on a flying visit to get some pictures for a magazine. It’s not ideal weather, as I write this I’m passing through the Colne valley which contains a Turneresque collection of low clouds and rainstorms. It’s not meant to be much better in London as thunderstorms are forecast. I expect I’ll be in for a soaking at some point today.
My recent absence from blogging has been due to a variety of reasons – including the fact that I’ve been writing for work, not pleasure. I’ve an article on the Heart of Wales railway line in the current issue of RAIL magazine which carried an earlier one on the ‘Three peaks by rail’ event for the charity the Railway Children. I’ve also been kept busy visiting 17 stations around the country in my role as a judge for the ACoRP awards. I thoroughly enjoy that. Not only does it give me chance to visit places I wouldn’t normally travel to – I also get to meet some amazing and inspirational community rail volunteers and Officers and see first-hand the fantastic work they’re doing. During our visits, I can talk about what other groups are doing and help spread best practice and ideas. This year the awards are being held in Derby, a town that’s at the heart of the rail industry (the awards move each year). It’s always a great event and I’m looking forward to seeing the faces of some people when they find out that they’ve won.
Part 2
Now I’m on a Virgin Pendolino, heading for Euston after a seamless connection at Manchester Piccadilly. Unusually, I managed to get a table seat on the earlier Trans-Pennine Express service from Huddersfield. They’re often packed, so the new (longer) loco hauled sets being built by CAF in Spain will be a welcome capacity increase – as well as providing something new to photograph.
My Pendolino’s busy but I’ve managed to find a seat here too. Whilst it was the school holidays I spent a lot of time sitting in vestibules as the trains were so rammed. I never bumped into Jeremy Corbyn tho…I take back my earlier comment about the unsuitability of the weather, there’s a glorious mixture of moody skies, sudden showers and outbreaks of blue sky or sunshine that would make for some great pictures if you’re in the right place at the right time. Hopefully, at some point in the day, I will be…
Right, that’s all for now folks, it’s time to stop scribbling and catch up on some reading.

Part 3
After a couple of hours back in London I’m heading back North, this time on a Virgin East Coast. Coast service. The performance between the two trains is noticeable. A tilting Pendolino irons out the twists & turns on the West Coast whilst you can really feel the curves or pointwork aboard VTECs Mk4’s. A couple of times my laptop has threatened to leap off the airline seat table its perched on. It’s POETS day (Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday) so this Leeds train is packed with people heading back to their roots for the weekend. Sadly, there was no chance for me to indulge in any moody weather shots as the capital suffered uniformly low cloud. Instead, I’m going to call in my local pub on the way home and enjoy their quiz. Friday night may seem to be a strange time to have one, but this is a bit special. It’s a small group who answer the questions printed in our local ‘Pub Paper’ read out by Mel, a woman with a booming voice and a broad Lancashire accent. She’s the only person I know who needs to come with subtitles! She won’t mind me saying this but her pronunciation of unfamiliar words can be a real source of amusement. The other week she came out with ‘Sarco Fagus’, it took a minute for the penny to drop. She meant sarcophagus!

Enjoy your weekend.