24.3.11

Bluebell, Clarion and The Unthanks

Our loco No. 178
 P-class 0-6-0T No. 178
Yeh, I know, I haven't had a good old moan on here for a while, but we'll put that right a little later. On Sunday I visited the Bluebell Railway with the Clarion cycling club. It was a world-record turn-out of 20 riders. This usually causes problems on British Rail, but this time we also fell foul of jobsworths on the Bluebell. The uniformed man at Kingscote said only five bikes could travel in the guard's van, and also made a song and dance about our bringing the bikes through the booking office, - with the possibility of scratching the paintwork maybe? Any road up, we managed to get Nick on board (that made six) and the rest of them cycled to Sheffield Park. There was ample room in the guard's van and at £8.50 a ticket they were effectively tuning away £120 of badly needed revenue.

The 'cushy six' were hauled from Kingscote to Sheffield Park by South Eastern & Chatham Railway P-class 0-6-0T No. 178, built in 1910. The other loco on duty was Brighton-built London Brighton & South Coast Railway Class E4 0-6-2T No. 473 Birch Grove in Southern green livery. Then it was into the buffet for a pint of Harvey's and some food. I had an egg and cress sandwich and a bowl of chips, but there wasn't much for veggies (some dried up macaroni cheese) and the rest of the dishes on offer did look a bit institutional, with overcooked cabbage and carrots. Eventually, after an ardous ride over the High Weald, the rest joined us, but we were way behing schedule. I was going to Bexhill that night to see The Unthanks, and my old Guildford chum Sev was picking me up at 6pm. It was a long hard slog back to Haywards Heath and I was completely knackered.

I got home just on the dot of six and Sev arrived a minute or two later and off we set. Now here's the moan you've been waiting for! The De La Warr Pavilion is a fantastic venue, both outside and in, but... a 500ml bottle of Harvey's Blue Label (retail price about 2 quid) cost... wait for it... £4.85! Anyway, I had a front row seat, the support band The Trembling Bells, were OK, but here comes another moan: the gift shop and art gallery were closed by the time the 30-minute interval came along! The Unthanks were sublime, even though Rachel didn't do any clog dancing cos she was with child. She didn't say 'snow' either. They had a string quartet, trumpet, piano, bass and drums, with some uke and saw action along the way. The only downer was that the last train to Brighton had been cancelled so they had to rush along to get it all in. I had a lift home though and slept really well that night.

Previous visits to the Bluebell:
Post a Comment