Season’s Greetings


Beside The Driver

When I bought tickets for a tour along the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway (EVR) in Derbyshire earlier this year, I had no great expectations. What I did know was that I’d paid a reduced rate – which always makes a Yorkshire-man happy !

Arriving at Duffield Station shortly before 1pm could not be described as an overwhelming start to the excursion, however the diesel train, built in the 1950s, was ready waiting to take us on the 8.5 miles of track into Wirksworth …

The outward journey was not exceptionally exciting, although it held some picturesque moments along the valley. A couple of level-crossings provided a quaint, and rather fascinating ‘ritual’, at which the ‘guard’ jumped off the train, opened the gates, flagged us through, closed them behind us & then jumped back aboard … coming from Doncaster, with its modern, automated crossings I found this most amusing:

After a couple of hours exploring the small market town of Wirksworth; enjoying delicious mushroom soup at the Country Kitchen; purchasing toys for the grandchildren and railway memorabilia for us, we were ready for the return journey – but not before sampling the brew in the charming Pullman Buffet Car, a converted carriage situated at Wirksworth station.

Now, I’ve never ridden in the driver’s cab of a diesel train – until this occasion, that is.

Having befriended the driver before the outward journey, by chatting to him and asking him questions about his work (e.g. how long he’d been employed with EVR) I was thrilled when, for the return trip, he invited me up front to sit with him and chat, as we trundled back to Duffield at a speed never exceeding 25mph .

His plus-12 years experience was obvious. He clearly controlled this powerful engine (capable of speeds of 70mph), and its passengers were completely safe in hands. He was extremely relaxed and did seem pleased to have me around. Happy to talk of his work, he explained the controls and gadgets in his cab, described various maintenance developments along the rail, and was totally unfazed in answering my dumbest questions … (what does this do, what does that do, what’s this for ?)

On reflection the experience is deeply analogic of my daily journey beside a far more experienced Driver, and has prompted some searching questions, such as: “Why don’t I trust Him as easily I did that diesel-train driver ?” and “Why do I find talking with Him far more difficult, and even irksome at times ?”.

I’m truly thankful that He never grows weary of my dullness, my profound ignorance, my frequent questionings – and is actually pleased to have me alongside Him.


Be Blessed

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Gunnerside Gleanings

After a recent visit with friends to this lovely spot in Swaledale, North Yorkshire

I penned the words below, and included some visual images

Simply click on a thumbnail to enlarge

Gunnerside GillGunnerside GillGunnerside GillGunnerside Gill

Stretching out beyond me

amid panoramic views of

wooded valleys and grassy hills,

a narrow, labyrinthine trail

twisting, turning o’er

uneven terrain, littered with …


… displaced rocks from

precipitous cliffs above

… gnarled tree roots

standing proudly prominent

 … low-hanging branches

wildly over-arching


All dampened by drizzly droplets

demanding utmost respect

ready to stumble or ensnare

the careless or the unaware.

A mirror and chronicle

of my enigmatic soul