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Having just got over the hugely successful Sweet Pea Rally it was time to turn our attentions to our annual Dreaming Spires. I had a feeling that we would not be as busy as we have been in the past what with fuel pricing etc but I was going to be proved wrong.
In this summer of very unsettled weather was it possible that we could have another fine weekend or had we used that up for the Sweet Pea Rally. Well, how lucky we were. The sun shone all of the three days, in fact it was a bit too warm but let's not complain.
Arriving around lunch time on the Friday most of what was to be done was complete and the track site was again looking superb. Very soon visitors started to arrive and get set up in the caravan area. Early evening and all was ready so we settled down for a bit of a chin wag over a beer or two whilst some decided to take to the track for an evening run. We had eleven caravans and one tent stopping so at least we were going to have some locos running.
Saturday morning broke fine and bright, unlike some that had sampled a few ales the evening before, and soon the smell of breakfast cooking mingled with the smell of the engines being steamed. Before long we had visitors queuing up at the gates and I must admit life was a bit hectic for an hour or so but under the control of the steaming bay staff order was soon restored and visitors took to both tracks. We have always been against time slots so as usual we just let them run for as long as they wanted with no complaints.
Away from the railway we had a display of three vintage English motor bikes, all in excellent condition, we also had member Malcolm Bason with his tool stall, the "Shiny Metal Men", Fred and John selling their wares and Richard Brown selling bits and pieces from the late Louis Parke workshop. There was a lot going on around the site but there was still time for visitors and members to sit and take in the sun chatting to friends old and new.
Early evening, and I was off to pick up our order of sixty or so portions of Fish and Chips etc which, along with the real fruit salad, everyone seemed to enjoy before settling back with a glass of beer and good friends, whilst those who wanted to continue ran on the railway. What a fantastic day. Sunday was again dry and bright but the pace was a bit more relaxed with just the one new visitor arriving so there was more track space for those that had stayed for the weekend.
By mid day the sun was beginning to get a bit on the warm side and by early afternoon it was really beginning to be a bit too hot for playing trains so visitors started to pack away for the journey home, however, not before the raffle in aid of the Clubhouse was drawn.
All in all, another superb weekend with the regular visitors and new all saying how much they had enjoyed themselves.
So what of the locomotives on show? Well, this year we seemed to have a high number of 3½" gauge, some of which ran for 5 hours or so. In fact we had a variety, 31 in total, across the gauges. One that did cause a stir was a 7¼" GWR "King". I would say that this is the largest standard gauge loco we have had on our track. A real beauty but it did not like the curve into the station, but easily went through the main line. We had diesels, electrics and it was nice to see a 3" Burrell traction engine running around outside the fence.
Thanks go to everyone who helped in anyway over the weekend. Whatever you did, it was really appreciated by all our visitors all of whom said they will be back next year.
Can I order the sunshine now please?