9 DEC – GROUNDHOG DAY!

It was a fine clear day in Cheltenham, with the sun glinting off the slight snow covering on Cleeve Common to the east and the Malverns to the northwest.  The vast majority of tickets for the Specials having been pre-sold means that we are guaranteed lots of busy days from now until Christmas.  Hurrah for the income stream and our (mostly) happy customers!

The weather provided different challenges this morning, with a thin coating of frost adorning Platform 1 – very nice to look at but not great from an ‘elf ‘n safety perspective (Ho Ho Ho!) –  so a dose of salt was in order first thing (which was more than the roads in Prestbury seemed to have benefitted from!), especially on the platform edges.  Sadly, though the sun may never set on the Empire, it sun never quite gets high enough to shine on P1 at this time of year!  Nonetheless, I hope our customers enjoyed a skid-free and pleasant day out.

After providing  such small assistance to the Station Staff there was more concrete post pulling to achieve – to which the frozen ground added a further dimension of difficulty.  However, we appear to have finished this task unless there are any recalcitrant posts lurking in the nether regions of the station.

Here is the sledge hammer king himself making his way to the temporary tip with the last load.  Hopefully our friendly neighbourhood B&S colleagues will come along with their truck and remove the heap.

For the simple souls like myself that haven’t a watch and can’t reach their mobile, timekeeping on a volunteering morning is done by the periodic arrival of trains.  In particular the departure (1055) of the first train of the day usually signifies time for tea break.  Santa Specials disturb this local circadian rhythm so that, if not paying proper attention, one can find oneself scurrying up the ramp an hour early!  Anyway, it was great to see Dinmore Manor rolling majestically into the Station on time and (below) puffing impatiently as it awaits the signal for the return journey:

As last week many of our regulars were busy on the line as Santa’s assistants in one way or another so I won’t try to list all who contributed. However, in an adaption of the words of the 12 Days of Christmas:

one Bob was plumbing,

one Dave was painting,

one Dave was parking,

one Bill was lunching,

one Maurice gardening……………..etc etc

And just in case we have a fire, here’s the new assembly point sign:

 

Grid Reference: 51.923508, -2.069145; should you need to find it in a hurry simply put this into your smartphone!
Happy mince pies to all,
Tim