A Funny Sort of a Morning!

As Arkwright might have said: ‘It was a fer…fer…funny sort of a morning’ at Cheltenham Racecourse Station this Saturday.  I’m not sure why that was but I think it may be something to do with the sense of anti-climax after last week’s mayhem.  The 1940s event is certainly good for business but what chaos it brings, and it reminds me what an awful lot we ask of our volunteers – especially the customer facing ones!  Anyway, enough of the polemic and on to this weekend’s achievements by the Saturday gang who included: Steve, Dave G, Mike, Bob & Ros, Andrew, Terry, Maurice, John, Mick & Ben.

Of the things I didn’t immortalise in pictures:  first up was Steve’s unseen and unsung skills in wheelbarrow repair (apparently he is about to make a YouTube video on the subject) since it is a rare week when there isn’t a blown tyre or similar to fix.  Second was the vital watering task on the new hedge line – since rainfall in Gloucs seems to have largely petered out!  (Am I tempting fate here?)  Third, our long term holidaymakers had returned tanned and revitalised to the Platform 2 project – looking even better after some clearance work (the Platform, obviously, not Bob & Ros), container removal and bank remodelling – now nicely set off by their flower display.  Well done the senior Starks!

Elsewhere, green fingered John was on garden maintenance – flitting ‘tween the Platform 1 allotment (where the unseasonal frost has had a nip at the spuds) and the revamped areas on the slope.  Here he is apparently watering his right boot!?IMG_20170429_122421

In the Station’s more nether regions Mick, Ben and Andrew (‘I’m never paving again’) Stark set about joining up our container entrance with the old path.  The command issued from above was to use the largest possible old slabs to make a ‘lazy dog’ approach*. Inevitably, it didn’t prove easy to align all this and the ‘Mad Angle Grinder’ was both seen and heard.  It looks better in the flesh (honestly!) and all comments about ‘crazy paving’ will, I suspect, be most unwelcome!!

Bill had also provided a further set of racking without instructions – as a attest of initiative one supposes – but the team battled through.  Pah! who needs instructions!IMG_20170429_105921

Finally, a motley crew (Steve, Maurice & self) worked to prepare the path beside the containers for weed membrane and ballast – to make an all-weather approach to our storage areas.  Not customer facing but, I think, good for our morale especially during the muddy months.

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Apologies, as ever, to those industrious individuals who I have missed from the narrative and/or photos – your work is still much appreciated.

And to anyone who would like to join us to help improve on the above, in Arkwright’s most memorable Spoonerism: ‘Don’t just crit there siticizing’!!



  • – slope up  (An old one that but I couldn’t resist)


An addendum from Bob Stark:-

Dear Bill,
    Tim was taking images of the activities on Platform 1 and its environs, here is a addendum report from Platform 2 and other activities carried out this afternoon.
    Whilst I was waging war with the herbicide spray on the remaining weeds on the back of Platform 2 that had apparently survived the first weedkiller onslaught, Ros was weeding the Platform 2 flower beds and planting some additional plants. Between us we hope to have the unwanted green life (weeds) out of sight and the wanted plants colourful before the May Steam Gala. Supporting our efforts on Platform 2 , but up near to the Evesham Road Bridge, Maurice was again carrying out the unsung hero task of raking down the branches, pine cones and pine needles that have rained down on the embankment during the winter period. Thanks Maurice.
    This afternoon following an email from Wickes that our ordered kitchen furniture for the workers bathroom had to be collected “this day” I loaded the items into our car with help from some onlookers in the Wickes car park and took them up to the Ticket Office where Station Master John and Booking Clerk Chris assisted with the unloading. Why are chipboard sheets so heavy??
The flatpack cupboards, work surface, taps and sink unit are now available for assembly on a rainy day when outside tasks do not appeal to the Cheltenham Dept workforce.
    This evening, after our visitors had departed, Ros and I took down the old distressed GWR Open/Closed sign from the front entrance to the Racecourse and replaced it with the new one that had recently arrived from “HQ” at Toddington. We can confirm that the Hawthorn hedge put up a good fight to resist our efforts, but the new sign is now in place and there are new scars to show for it . Yes, we did cut back the offending Hawthorn and Ivy leaves that can be seen in this image before anone comments!

PS. One of the long ongoing tasks that has suffered from the lack of indoor work space has been the completion of the painting of a memorial bench for Platform 2. Dave Griffin and Roger have been working their way through preparation, priming and final coating of the kit of parts that arrived for this bench. Today Dave Griffin finished the cast iron ends that Roger has been working on and it now remains to bolt the bench parts together and move it to its destination – well done everyone involved. The sharp eyed readers will have noticed that the new castings have a “Made In England” logo upon them – perhaps this is now a hot export item?

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