Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Behind with posting, but catching up

After the weekend in South Wales, I had the Welsh summer school, which was only a few minutes walk from my house, but was very mentally exhausting. I had let the Welsh slide, due to having to revise/learn all the HTML and CSS for the courses I taught last year, not to mention getting to grips with teaching GCSE English Language for the first time. So, the plan was that a week of speaking and learning Welsh would get me back to where I was a year or so ago. To that end, the course was successful and I've also discovered that there is group who meet for conversation practice in a local cafe. I went along last Wednesday and intend to keep going, unless I end up having to teach that day.

The following weekend we had a trip to Oxford. We travelled on the early train on Friday so that G could attend the final meeting relating to the maths education research he has been doing with Oxford University. While G gave his presentation to the group, I made my way to the hotel via a quick diversions up the high street and an hour sitting in the Starbucks near the hotel where I waited until I was able to check in.

Next day, we got the train to the Didcot Railway Centre. It is conveniently situated right next to the modern station and Pendolinos whoosh past as you watch the steam trains trundle up and down the line belonging to the centre.

Didcot Railway Centre

If you like steam trains, it's well worth a visit. There are lots of engines that have been restored and you can ride up and down their branch line as many times as you like, for free. :)

Steam engines at Didcot

Though there were lots of splendid big engines...

Engine shed with steam engines

This little rail car was the unexpected star of the centre.

Steam rail car, Didcot Railway Centre

It bustled up and down the branch line carrying people to and fro and managed quite a turn of speed. It had a steam engine built into the carriage, something I've never seen before. Inside it was all beautifully period but sadly the photo I attempted of the interior came out blurred. You could ride one way on the big steam train, which had carriages circa 1940s-50s, the sort I remember well from my childhood with the compartments and corridor, and then come back on the steam railcar.

We went round several times. :)

There was also a museum of Random Stuff, all relating to the Great Western Railway. This display of tickets from a rather swift tour around the Stratford-upon-Avon area caught my eye. It must have been quite a tiring day!

An ambitious day tour

When we'd seen enough, we caught the modern train back to Oxford and then, after a nice Italian meal, we journeyed via the Park-and-Ride bus to the Peartree services and our hotel.

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