We have been busy with one thing or another; firstly we finished the trailer, apart from painting the wheels, it looks fab and so much better for carrying all our water and coal etc.
We travelled from Hampshire to Sussex on Saturday 25th June and had a great trip. The night before we brought the trailer home with Jack’s tractor so we didn’t have to worry about fetching it in the morning and could have an early start. Up and “fire in the hole” about 7am, not to early as we have neighbours and like to try and keep in their good books! By 9.30am we were hitched up, the first time for us to have Victoria, trailer and then living van – the trailer used to go at the back but now it has a new tow hitch on it, the living van can travel on the back which means the crew can see the trailer all the time. We’re off! Within the first mile we have to climb out of our village so a lovely mile climb but as always Victoria just takes it in her stride. With her living van at three and a half tonnes, the trailer at one and half tonnes, a tonne of water, half a tonne of coal and then all the other gubbins we carry with us, it’s quite a weight behind her.
We soon reached the top of the hill and then before long it’s a long down into the next village where the road narrows and cars don’t want to stop, but luckily for us, we had Wendy in her trusty Landy with the flashing orange lights warning other road users of our arrival, although some still ignore the warnings and try and squeeze by. First water stop was early as we have nowhere else to stop on the first leg of the journey, and it’s very up and down, so just about 4 miles in and a top up of water for Victoria before the next one which is another 10 miles away. Through the next town and our worst part of the journey, through Cowdray, the road is twisty, up and down and not too many places for vehicles to pass so we try and stop a few times through this bit of the journey to let any traffic by. Before too long we were back out on the open road and onto water stop number 2, we also oiled up Victoria and made sure she was all ok, and of course she was, we also had a bit of lunch and drank plenty of water, it was a lovely day but not too hot. Back on the road we go, onto Petworth and then head out to Fittleworth, again a very up and down road but Victoria took it all in her stride. Out through Fittleworth and then onto Bury where we would drop down through the village to cut out the very, very steep climb up Bury Hill. Here we met one of our friendly miniature steam engine friends, Alfie, who lives in Bury and he and Wendy helped us through the lanes to where we popped out near Amberley Museum, up a nasty little climb straight out onto the main road. Here Alfie, Wendy and Harry took the precaution of stopping the traffic so Lloyd and Jack didn’t have to stop as it’s quite a tight turn at the top with the trailer and living van on, but it was all great and the car drivers were lovely and enjoyed seeing Victoria and her train pop out the top of the road. A quick blast on the whistle to let Nick at Amberley know we were nearly there and the last mile we travelled before heading into the gates of the museum, where the first thing we all wanted was a drink, including Victoria. Not bad, 24.5 miles in 5 and a bit hours with 2 water stops and 3 traffic stops.
The next weekend 2nd & 3rd July, was Amberley’s Steam Show. We arrived Friday lunchtime to set up camp and cleaned Victoria, we also had to put her brake band back on as by the end of her trip to Amberley it need replacing! Jack and Alice cooked us Pizzas in Jack’s pizza oven for tea and spent the evening chatting with friends.
We love Amberley, we camp in a quite corner and it’s just a lovely setting. Waking up in the morning with the birds singing, and you can just hear the odd noise of a loco being steamed, but before long there was the hustle and bustle of other engines and people, such a lovely way to start your day. Victoria was soon in steam and other engines soon appeared round the roads of the museum. Our trailer was off for the day, it was giving rides around the museum by whoever wanted to pull it. The other engines there were, Marshall Q Class, Garrett “Olive”, Wallis Advance “Wally”, another Wallis Advance, Burrell “His Majesty”, Burrell Roller “Daffodil”, Foden Wagon “London Pride”, Burrell Roller, Tasker “Will o the Wisp” and an Aveling Roller, so a good selection of different engines. We also had a lovely visit in the afternoon by Peter and Shirley Fagg (Victoria’s previous owners), we had a lovely catch up with cups of tea and of course Peter had to take Victoria round the museum for a drive. Soon the day had past and it was teatime; curry cooked in the wagon by Wendy while the naan breads were cooked to perfection by Victoria in her smoke box, a few chuffs around the museum and they were done. Yummy! The evening was spent riding around the museum in our trailer, we found a few friends who came along with us and then by about 10pm it was time to put Victoria away and chill. Then off to bed in the wagon, well for some of us, others went to their caravan… Night night.
Sunday morning and again waking up at Amberley is wonderful. Breakfast was cooked by Wendy; eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, sausage, baked beans and fried bread… Yum Yum! Victoria was steamed up and we were all set for another day. Today we were on trailer rides so off with the trailer went Lloyd and Jack before Jack got bored, so Wendy hopped up on Victoria with Lloyd and did a few rounds. Tea tonight; Victoria had the very important job of cooking the baked spuds, so about 3pm Wendy put them in Victoria’s smoke box and Jack and Alice then took Victoria off for a trundle round. About 6pm Wendy decided to cook the rest of tea, so sausages and baked beans were cooked in the living van and before long the spuds came out of Victoria, and they were perfect, well-done Tor… The evening again was spent with friends playing with engines, eating cake and having a great time, engines went to bed eventually at about 10pm again, then off to bed as we have another busy day tomorrow.
Monday and up again, doing something today that we have never done and that was a photo charter! No idea what it was going to be all about but thought as we were there, we would take part. We steamed up and were told to go and stand Victoria by the bus depot with the buses, so we did, then it seemed from nowhere all these people with their cameras came out and pictures were being taken in all directions. We were asked to go and stand on the engine and pose, which is quite difficult when you’re not moving. Then we move to another location, this time with the railway loco and up to the crossing, we looked like we were heading over the crossing. Again, the cameras came from nowhere, here we stopped for a while before we move just to another position. We spent most of the day doing the same thing, it was good fun we just wished we could see some of the pictures as loads must have been taken. Before too long though it was time to pack away our camp and head home, Victoria was parked up and her fire knocked out, the wagon was tidied and soon we were heading home.
We had a fantastic weekend, thanks to all at Amberley that made us fill so welcome and to Nick for the invite, we look forward to our next event there with you, oh that will be next weekend 23rd & 24th July and their Railway Gala weekend, see you there….