Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tuesday 19 September - Walk along the River Severn

Our neighbour's guard cat has just completed a patrol
A screenshot from today's Shropshire Star.  This is a drone picture of the Quarry Gardens

Early fall morning in the Quarry

We used up a two for the price of one voucher for the Carvery lunch at the Coach and Horses today. The meal was good, especially the roast potatoes but the beef could have been better,

This afternoon we went for a walk along the downstream section of the river Severn.
It is surprising to see a flock of sheep so close to the center of town

Mud, mud, glorious mud

There is a good crop of berries this year
At the alley leading up the hill into town we saw a kingfisher fishing from the quay.  It is rare to see these birds with their iridescent plumage but especially so this close to town. The bird was diving right into the water, not just on the surface.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday 18 September - Machynlleth and Talerddig Bakery - Mystery Solved

We took the train from Shrewsbury to Machynlleth this morning, about an hour and a quarter.  I knew the train would be busy so I made seat reservations which happened to be in coach D.  The two car train came in with coaches A and C.  I pointed out to the conductor that we had reservations in coach D which did not exist - he just shrugged.  We found two seats right next to a large party of noisy schoolkids from Birmingham.

The ride down was very pleasant and there was little chance of rain.  At Talerddig I pointed out to Mary that when we had visited Montgomery we had eaten bread from the Talerddig Bakery. Talerddig is at the summit of the steep railway grade from Machynlleth and there was only ever a signal box there and that has now gone. I often wondered where the bakery was.

Machynlleth station is in poor shape, the railway is obviously not looking after it.  We walked into the town which has a population of only 2000 although it seems much larger than that.  The tower is a fine landmark in the center and there are several good looking buildings.  There are a large number of pubs and a lot of charity shops which suggests that Machynlleth is fighting for survival and suffers from unemployment.

Interesting building made from thin slates

Mystery solved.  The Talerddig Bakery is actually in Machynlleth

Built in 1628

This attractive clock had four faces, each one had a different time and each one was wrong

Site of the first Welsh parliament - dates from the 1400s

Quite an ornate front for a mere shed

Art for the front garden

The Skinners Arms
 We picked up a snack from a bakery and walked down to the bridge over the river Dyfi
River Dyfi
On the way back we had reservations in coach F.  The two car train turned up with coaches A and C. I wonder how Arriva Trains Wales can get away with providing passengers with seats in non-existent carriages.

Click here to see all pictures taken at Machynlleth

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday 17 September - A Lazy Day

No great hurry today. We ambled out in time to see the end of the annual ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Britain. It was at the Quarry memorial after a service at St. Chads.  It was attended by a couple of coachloads of servicemen from RAF Cosford and the Mayor and Councillors were there in full regalia.  The Quarry was also used today for the start/finish of a marathon.  This space is well used by many different activities.  Yesterday there was a dog obedience circuit.
Black pudding and Stilton cheese tower

The main event today was at the Carvery lunch at The Coach and Horses.  It came up to its normal standard. I had roast chicken and Mary had roast turkey.  The roast potatoes were exceptional today, more like chips with a wonderful crispy skin.  Our plates were both very full and I didn't deem it prudent to take pictures.  The blood pudding and Stilton tower was a novel starter, the assertive flavor of the cheese making an excellent to foil the dark sausage.

After lunch I staggered down to the station to buy tickets for tomorrow and joined Mary for drinks at The Three Fishes.  No trains were running.  The line to Chester was closed for engineering work but the rest of the station was also closed because a person was hit by a train in platform 6.  At one time there were two air ambulances and a full police terrorist team out.  The person was not killed and there was talk of attempted suicide.

Saturday 16 September - Vale of Rheidol Railway at Aberystwyth

The Vale of Rheidol Railway (1 foot 11 1/2" gauge) in Aberystwyth was holding a 20s and 30s weekend event at Aberystwyth. All staff were dressed in period costume and the workshop was open. I took the train from Shrewsbury, just under two hours through pleasant scenery through Welshpool, Caersws and Machynlleth. There was nothing to see as we passed the Ospreys nest at Dovey Junction, I believe they had three chicks this year.

The VofR was running two types of train, the regular service trains to Devils Bridge, using two of the ex-Great Western 2-6-2 tanks while visiting locomotive Britomart worked a series of short run shuttles.
Britomart working a short turn shuttle

This is no 9 with its GWR number 1213

2--6-2 tank no. 8 was the second "main line" locomotive in operation
However, the main reason for my visit was to see the recently acquired Beyer Garratt ex-South African Railways no. 60.  Paul and I had previously seen this last year in Switzerland in a garden centre, the Scnitznacher Baumschulbahn near Brugg.
The locomotive was too large for some of the curves and has now been acquired by the VofR. It was difficult to photo in Switzerland and, although better in Aberystwyth, if was still difficult here.

2-6-2 was under repair/rebuild

Much of No. 7 looks new

The machine shop is well equipped and the VoR does a lot of work for other preserved railways
I watched Britomart switching and being serviced while the Devils Bridge trains came and went. The narrow gauge trains can be readily observed from the standard gauge platform.
A diesel was standing by but was not used

Click here to see all pictures taken at the Vale of Rheidol Railway
Standard gauge train to Shrewsbury and Birmingham
The train coming back was on time as far as Sutton Bridge, Shrewsbury where we were held for five minutes while the signallers found a route for us into the station.  The trains are fast and the countryside is very pleasant indeed.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday 15 September - Mary's special day and coracle racing

Only in Shrewsbury could you find a pansy growing happily and in flower in the sidewalk
For her special meal Mary couldn't decide whether to go to the Armoury or the Henry Tudor House. I suggested we compromise and have lunch at the Armoury and dinner at the Henry Tudor House (HTH). The Armoury was very good and we had a relatively light meal.  The HTH was very good and I enjoyed a glass of Shropshire Gold which is almost as good as Timothy Taylor's Landlord.
Seared Scallops


Pineapple upside down cake with clotted cream

Chocolate tuile with black cherry sorbet
In between meals there was the World Championship Coracle Races at the Pengwern Boathouse. This was a lot of fun and was primarily to raise funds for charity.  Many local firms entered teams in the event.  It was a four person relay race with one person steering a coracle from the boathouse dock to the end point where another member would assist getting the person and the coracle out of the water when the two would race along the footpath back to the start and number two would then go in the coracle - and so on.  The number four had to get the coracle out of the water and touch a pole to finish.  One or two of the races were so tight that a photo finish was used at times.

A rescue team were standing by at the downstream finish and were frequently brought into use to help the many capsized coracles as well as the few who could not control their craft and were floating helplessly downstream.

The boathouse before the action started

Racing in full swing

The finish area with the rescue team ready to spring into action - the vessel on the right is out of control
One of the rescue team swimming out to help a coracle way out into the stream and out of control

A kayak assisted the rescue team