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Behind with posting, but catching up - Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
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.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

6 comments or Leave a comment
davesmusictank From: davesmusictank Date: July 13th, 2014 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
My brother is really into steam trains and i have found a couple of books for him in Faversham which i will pick up on Tuesday.
artkouros From: artkouros Date: July 13th, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love old trains.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: July 14th, 2014 01:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
So do we! We're not as fanatical as some, but there is something about a steam engine. Also I have fond memories of the engines that pulled the trains that took us out of the smoke and grime of the city to our seaside holidays!
khiemtran From: khiemtran Date: July 14th, 2014 07:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Looks like a fun day! I'm sure Liem would have loved it when he was smaller...
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: July 14th, 2014 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's probably just the wrong age at the moment. If younger, he could have just enjoyed the train rides and perhaps when he's older, he might come to appreciate the history and engineering and all the technical information they have on display. For example they had some replicas of the Great Western Railway broad gauge engines, made from the original plans and also some coaches. They do work and sometimes you can get the opportunity to ride in them, in the replica early Victorian carriages! Here's a picture...
kishenehn From: kishenehn Date: July 14th, 2014 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
This would have totally been my kind of day. :)
6 comments or Leave a comment