Monday, 1st May, 2023

Today was my friend Darryl's birthday so we had a Zoom meeting with him together with Jenny, Joan and Russell. It was lovely to catch up with them. It was 8:00am for us but 5:00pm for them,

After breakfast at... McDonald's... we headed off to the Swindon and Cricklade Railway. This is a small heritage railways which operates steam trains over a small section (4km) of the Midland & South Western Junction Railway that ran from Andover, Hampshire, to Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. We enjoyed a ride on the train and took the opportunity to take a few photos and videos.

Derek Jones, I took this for you!!

Blunsdon Station

Our next stop was another railway museum, the STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway. Housed in a part of the Swindon Works of the Great Western Railway. The works was one of the largest in the world and operated from 1843 to 1986. In its heyday, it covered more than 300 acres (120 ha), and could turn out three locomotives per week. There were lots of exhibits including reconstructions of sections of the works, locomotives, rolling stock and videos of former workers describing their experiences. Althugh there was no live steam, it was still an interesting and enjoyable visit.

Satoshi is with Islambard Kingdom Brunel who was a famous civil and mechanical engineer and the founder of the Great Western Railway.

Not, I thought, the best name ever for a locomotive!

The Caerphilly Castle

Another photo of Satoshi and Islambard Kingdom Brunel

The North Star (A replica of a locomotive built in 1837)

A budding engineer


Dean Woods 2516

Satoshi using an interactive exhibit.

North Somerset Junction Signal Box

Some of you may remember these machines in the ticket office of stations in Melbourne. In the days of the rectangular cardboard tickets, the station master would insert the ticket into the machine which would print the date on the ticket.

Can you guess what this is? (I bet you can't!!) You can find the answer at the bottom of this page.

The next place on today's list was Buscot Park. This is another house filled with wonderful furniture and works of art. This time, we were allowed to take photos!

The stables (part of which is now the visitor centre)

The front of Buscot Park

The Hallway

One of the fireplaces in the hallway

The Dutch Room

The Dining Room

A Clock in the Dining Room

The Saloon

The four pantings above known as the "Legend of Briar Rose" series painted by Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1998)

Instead of "Don't Touch", visitors were invited to play this Broadwood piano. Some music was provided too!

"Madonna and Child" by Il Sodoma (1477-1549)

The Drawing Room

"Imari" plates and vases

"Barbara St John, Countess of Coventry" painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)

The Driveway

We chose Christ Church Cathedral for Evensong tonight. It was sung by the College Choir (rather than the Cathedral Choir). The standard was good, but not as good as the Cathedral Choir. The music was the Responses by William Smith, the Canticles by Dyson in F and the anthem "Peace I Leave with You" by Amy Beach.

We had dinner at Bella Italia Restaurant in Oxford. Satoshi enjoyed spaghetti carbonara and I had lasagne.

And now... the answer!

It's a silver coffee pot! It's built in the form of an early Great Western "Firefly Class" locomotive. This coffee pot was used in the Refreshment Rooms at Swindon Station in the 1840s. Small burners under the engine kept the coffee warm.


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