Thursday, 10th March 2016

Bob Stark Reports:-
Dear Bill,
    The day’s task list was supposed to be overseeing the construction of the interview platform for “At the Races” to be used next week for the Cheltenham Festival. As usual, however, the task list expanded to include an interview on camera for a couple of University Journalism students and guiding an unexpected lady meter reader to the remote Station electricity meter, now situated on the wrong side of our boundary fence.
    Cotswold Scaffold sent a team of 2 out to erect the scaffold platform and whilst the Company boss was on site for a fleeting visit I asked him to view the task of erecting a scaffold in the summer so we can paint the 2 Evesham Road sides of the metal station roof and high level bright paintwork that were left undone last year. I have requested an estimate from the Company for a May 2016 start on this task and we will seek a competitive quote from another supplier.
Above: Job done, the Happy Cotswold Scaffold team – well I did make them mugs of tea
Below: Ben Amor and Declan Flannery from Gloucestershire University about to interview Bob Stark in the Station Booking Hall – they had tea and coffee – all part of the friendly GWR service
      The 2 second year Journalism students had arranged through Ian Crowder to come to the station to carry out an interview with a member of the Railway who could spin a yarn or two on the history of the station vis a vis its role in supporting the Cheltenham Festival. Ian asked if I would provide the interview and the 2 students, Ben Amor and Declan Flannery duly filmed a short question and answer piece for their presentation on the Cheltenham festival. Having a son in the media business helps, even if some of my “advice” apparently contradicted their teaching! After this was over I suggested that they might like to film some other aspects of the station and with the arrival of an unexpected G4S meter reader to read the station electricity meter I left them to film on Platform 1.
    With our station meter cabinet now located on the wrong side of the new Racecourse boundary fence on the North Coach Park the young lady concerned had to endure a little embankment and fence climbing to examine our meter. It was not apparently quite what she normally encountered, or expected.
    Having escorted the meter reader off our property I returned to Ben and Declan who were filming on Platform 1 and offered to show them round the Signal Box – they were so enthusiastic I felt like Santa Claus! More pictures were taken within the box and a couple of  “hands on the levers” shots were taken as I made sure that no levers were moved from their safe positions. Ben and Declan have agreed to provide a copy of our interview on a memory stick, so watch this space it may appear on this blog at a future date – I doubt however that it will get and airing on the BBC.
    On the way back to the Ticket Office I noted that one of the dead trees at the top of the Platform 2 embankment had at last succumbed to the forces of nature and fallen down during Wednesday’s gale force winds. This will sve on tree surgeon costs, but it is another task and lots of firewood for the Saturday volunteers.
    On the domestic front, repairs/servicing have been carried out on one of our angle grinders and our Dyson vacuum on Platform 1 – like some of our volunteers  they were in need of TLC. During the week Mick best has also continued with the installation of the Platform 2 electrical cabinet and given a dry day we may be able to complete the wiring on Saturday.
    And finally: A suitable wheeled and powered leaf vacuum has now been identified and with the station lamp hut now available for its storage we intend to order the machine this week. This long running saga (the acquisition, movement, installation and renovation of the lamp hut to house the vacuum) has involved many departments on the railway (a big thank you all) and should enhance the lives of the pine needle “sweeper upperers”

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