Apologies for the lack of an update yesterday. Not only was it a busy day, the evening was too as I managed to (responsibly) catch up with some old friends whilst I was in Cornwall, which was lovely after so many months of being confined to West Yorkshire. Something had to give – and that was blogging.
I’ve moved on yet again. After a night in London and a morning touring some of the main stations and commuter routes into the city I headed out from London Waterloo via Clapham Junction and Basingstoke to reach Reading, where I caught a train to take me to Truro. It was the longest continuous journey of the trip, and also instructive – as were my other little hops around the area before I ended up in Par.
Today I travelled from Par up to Bristol, then crossed over the border (via the Severn tunnel) into Wales. After dumping my bags at my hotel in Cardiff I headed out to explore some of the Valley lines then take a trip down to Barry Island. It’s a place some of you will know because it was featured in the hit TV show ‘Gavin and Stacey’. I last went there on a rail excursion way back in 1974, when Dai Woodham’s scrapyard still contained over 150 rusting steam engines. Today was the first time I’ve been back and I didn’t recognise a thing as the area’s changed so much – and not all for the better.
You’ll be able to read the full story in RAIL magazine next month.
What I can tell you about was getting back into Cardiff city centre. I was desperate to find something to eat, but to be honest, the place was a nightmare. The centre was packed with groups of lads and gaggles of girls, all intent on having a good time, which meant that many of them were pissed as farts as early as 8pm. Social distancing and respect for others was out of the window so I ended up walking around with my mask on as a precaution. Having found a quick fix noodle bar I had a lovely spicy hot meal then got the hell out of there. I’ve been back at the hotel since 9pm and this was where I was determined to stay!
Tomorrow is my final day of the Rover. My plan is to visit Worcester before heading back into London via Paddington, then travelling up the Chiltern main line to pitch up in Birmingham tomorrow night, where my RAIL trip will end. On Monday I’ll travel home under my own steam (as it were) for some quality time at home before beginning to convert my experiences into 12,000 words (over three articles) for RAIL. Oh, and all the other stuff I’ve not been able to do whilst I’ve been away!
Meanwhile, here’s the picture of the day. This was Bristol Temple Meads station this afternoon as many young people flocked into the city centre. I couldn’t help but observe that by wearing face masks some of these young ladies probably increased the amount of cloth they were wearing by 10-15%…
I’ve a favour to ask…
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