Posts Tagged ‘2000’

Wantage Tramway

January 24, 2016

A look through old photos can find forgotten items – not just the photo forgotten but also much about the time and place when it was taken. I recently came upon a photo I took in the year 2000.


This building clearly had something to do with the Wantage Tramway Co Ltd and dates from 1904.

I remember going to Wantage but had completely forgotten this building. Having ‘discovered’ the photo I thought I ought to find out something about the Wantage Tramway.

It seems the nearest main line station was a couple of miles away and known as Wantage Road. The tramway was built to link the centre of town with the railway. It opened in 1875. The original motive power was four legged – the horse.

The little line prospered and went over to steam traction in the late 1870s.

Lives and habits change and by 1925 the passenger service was no longer making money and it was shut down although a freight service continued until 1945 when it was decided to close the tramway entirely, rather than spend what was needed to renovate the track.

My photo shows the company headquarters which were built during the time of plenty for the line. It survives in situ. One of the line’s steam locos has escaped the cutter’s torch and can usually be seen at Didcot which is not so far away.

The Jura

August 7, 2015

I recently came across one of my very early bits of website, dating back to the year 2000. So how is this as a simple introduction to…

The Jura

Wonderful limestone scenery. Spectacular waterfalls. Amazing gorges. Fabulous flora. That’s the Jura!

First of all, the gentle Jura near Geruge


A spectacular waterfall – Le Grand Saut


The gorge at Pont du Diable


And a martigan lily near the top of Cret Pela



Clunton and Clun

May 14, 2014

A book of poetry I have used before on this blog contains the following short verse about some places in Shropshire.

Clunton, Clunbury, Clungunford and Clun Are the quietest places under the sun.

It was the year 2000 when I visited some of these locations. Here’s Clunton.


Gorgeous house. What a shame I got a red van in it. Certainly there wasn’t a lot going on there.

And now Clun.


This is Clun Castle – seemingly deserted.

And a lovely bridge over the River.


The village centre has cars, but no people.


So those two places are certainly quiet, but definitely pretty. Good on them, I say.

The Daffodil Fields and the Railway

April 30, 2014

Not far from where I live there is a garden centre. Once upon a time it was called a nursery and it was famed for its daffodil fields.


And what a fine sight they still made into the 1970s.Towards the end of daffodil growing, it became a ‘pick your own’ business. But earlier, blooms had been taken to the local railway station and loaded on trains to take them up to London. I learned about this when I was out steam train spotting back in 2000.

I had gone to see a King class loco on a special train which was due to pull into a loop and take on water. This was where the old daffodil station had been.

I was not alone. A group of us waited at the bridge and amongst them was an older lady I knew. She described the dawn rising in the season, the selecting of blooms and the bunching and the trolley to take them to the station. It had been part of her life. She had done it. When the train arrived she led us down the station approach road.


There’s the loco – number 6024 and named King Edward 1. Water is being pumped into the tender from a road tanker. Once upon a time most long distance railways had water troughs from which engines could scoop up water whilst travelling. But of course, there was no need for these troughs after steam engines went out of use and now special trains need to build watering stops into schedules. Whilst stopped the support crew did a quick bit of engine servicing – oiling, shovelling coal etc.


There we have name and number. The Kings were the most powerful express passenger locos on the old Great Western Railway system. This particular engine was built in 1930 and stayed in front line service until 1962. The loco spent more than ten years on the scrap sidings at Barry before being rescued and returned to serviceable condition.

This loco would never have been involved in the daffodil business’ Locos like this didn’t haul trains which stopped at quiet country stations.


There’s the man we all envy. He’s the driver.


The old King gets under way and prepares to re-join the main running line for the rest of the journey.

Access to the old station site here is now barred and perhaps it was unsafe for there was no fence between us and the trains but I can tell you my old friend the daffodil lady absolutely loved seeing a steamer at close quarters again.




September 25, 2013

Many years ago my father with his second wife and young family rented a cottage in the little Welsh village of Abergwesyn. They had a problem. Their car gear box failed and guess what? British Leyland were on strike and so there was no chance of a new one. They extended a holiday until the next lot of visitors were due and still there was no car for them.

We were asked to go on a mission of mercy and rescue them. We could stay overnight by camping in the garden at The Post Office. Our love affair with that part of Wales began. It is a glorious, still unspoilt area and if ever we are heading out that way, we’ll find an excuse to travel through Abergwesyn and take the road on to Tregaron.

It must have been around 1974 for I have a photo I took of my half-sister in the Post Office garden. She was born in 1973.


The man who had the Post Office was called Dai Jones. He was as Welsh as could be and an absolutely delightful man. He had so much knowledge of all sorts; the sort of knowledge that people who stay hefted to one area get. It is so much deeper than the quick overview of the traveller, on a mind broadening experience. Travellers often consider men like Dai to be shallow but I wouldn’t wish to favour one way of life over another. Or maybe I would, by saying for me the deep knowledge is more what I go for, but balance it with some travel.

It was always good to call on Dai after that initial visit. We’d be sure of a warm welcome and could catch up on his news whilst he listened to ours.

One of the little things that Dai did was platting binder or baler twine into a rope. It was wonderful, when visiting the area in the year 2000, years after Dai had passed on, to come across a bit of Dai Jones rope.


This length was being used to fasten a gate. Wonderful!

Let’s have a bit of fairly local scenery to end with.


This waterfall is by a junction with the road down to Llyn Brianne – where stands the loneliest telephone box I know.


It must be time to travel again. I’d like to get back there!


June 28, 2013

Ah! The beaches of West Wales! There are some lovely spots and Mwnt must be something of a favourite. It is a few miles north of Cardigan.


There’s the little beach, way down below. This was on a quiet day in February 2000 and I was using my first digital camera which, on high quality managed 640 by 480 pixels which is something under a third of a megapixel.


There were great views up the coast on a glorious day.


Mwnt chapel appears to serve a car park and a small caravan site.


Now how delightful is that?


The beach is grand. Someone has written ‘I am 22’ in the sand which reminded us of an earlier visit one Easter time. We wrote a huge ‘APRIL FOOL’ in the sand and were delighted to see the incoming tide wash it away almost spot on midday. We realised our mistake when we turned on our radio the next morning to hear the news. The announcement told us that it was April 1st. So we had been true April Fools by being a day too early.



A Beautiful Bridge

November 14, 2012

Bridges come in all shapes, sizes, styles and ages. Here’s a modern one which I think is utterly elegant. Nerds can admire the modern just as much as the old. This picture was taken in August 2000 when my wife and I were on our way to the Alps.

If you associate elegance with France, you’d be right in this case. This bridge is at the Lac du Der-Chantecoq,  in Marne, France. The function of the lake is something to do with preventing flooding in Paris. It was constructed in 1974 and is about 180 kilometres from the centre of the French capital.

In terms of the photo, the colours generated by the setting sun help to make it, but for me it is the simplicity of the structure that makes it a magical structure. It is just a footbridge – the lake has many small islands.

In fact, the lake, the biggest  man-made lake in Western Europe has a good mix of habitats and is a veritable haven for wild life.

But spare a thought for the people of the village of Chantecoq which lies, submerged, at the bottom of the lake.