A report from Tim Winstanley
With a warmish and sunny morning in prospect I set out for CRC with the intention of sneaking up on a bit of fence painting on the slope down to Platform 1. [I attach a couple of sample of what ‘the before’ and ‘the after’ look like.]
It is a fine, rather mindless job on a dry day, especially suitable for the technically unskilled (like me) and mildly rewarding in providing visible evidence of progress – albeit rather slow progress! Tuesday mornings – unlike busy Saturdays or Monday afternoons – tend to provide a more solitary volunteer environment. As such there is more opportunity to reflect on what is going on and the simple pleasures of volunteering activity. So it proved this morning and, apart from a brief visit from Bob (delivering some ironmongery), I was solo.
The presence and comments of the paying public & station staff are, of course, all part of the fun when working in full view. This morning was no exception and the remarks were invariably cheerful and appreciative – mainly contributing variations on: “You’re doing a grand job” – but including allegedly humorous sallies such as: “No, no, they wanted it painted white!” and “You’ve missed a bit!” and “Stop when you get to Toddington”. Also forthcoming were various remarks on the nature of the paint being applied and its aroma – though no complaints were made audibly and one visitor actually went as far as to suggest the scent of the mixture (actually 50/50 ‘Creocote and used oil) would make the job more pleasurable. A sort of adult glue sniffing I suppose. Finally, I wish I had a pound for every comment to the effect that it (the fence painting task) is ‘…..a bit like doing the Forth Bridge’.
The number and variety of our visitors also provides some mental stimulation as I tried to work out who was related to whom. I think our most numerous visitors this morning were grandparents accompanying grandchildren which, I suppose, fits with it still being Easter holidays but probably a working day for many parents. I am always amazed at the dedication of this older generation in providing free childcare and apparently paying for trips on steam trains plus, no doubt, the odd ice cream or two. In that vein I presume GWSR do carry out some analysis of the passengers who come through our gates, who they are and what they paid – it would surely pay dividends in terms of our advertising and ticket offers. Anyway the engines appeared to be gleaming brightly in the sunshine making appropriate chuffing noises; a fine busy car park was the result and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. All good for our revenue stream I imagine.
For the record I reckon we have now painted 24 ‘panels’ (both sides plus the associated posts) with a further 43 to go. I make this approximately 36% complete, though I have not included the Clargester pit or the various other bits of wooden fence which one now tends to notice. I don’t want to be selfish about this job – it requires no training and anyone can enjoy a morning’s slapping on the black stuff with abandon. Hopefully we will complete the lot before the season ends!! And then there is always another potential fence on the slope down to Platform 2 to look forward to…………..