Sunday, June 11, 2006

going home

Cwmbrân to Chelmsley Wood
At about 3:30 pm
Cwmbrân County Hall The panoramic windows at the top are of the balcony of the civic suite, I tookthe lift downstairs and out through the terrace door, and down about three flights of stairs (this google map makes the terrraced car parks look flat) and took this picture, and hobbled very slowly to the bus stop. At Cwmbrân station google map NP44 1QX
the first train out was an Arriva Trains Wales lovely and cool air conditioned with good trolley service and an ice bucket, but too bad about the colour scheme of the soft furnishings.

the hay crop has been cut and rolled up into great cylinders - off camera to the right
I remember when this work was done with horse drawn machines in the nineteen fourties and as little boys we helpd

the branch line to Usk and Monmouth used to be here
change at Pontypool Road Junction station by GWR railcar to my granny

History of the railways around Monmouth and the Wye Valley branch ...
The route was from Little Mill junction, some two miles north of Pontypool Road Station, to the Monmouth Railway at Wyesham near Monmouth the google map shows trees growing on the old railway

darn tree !!!obscures a herd of black and white cattle drinking from the River Usk on a very hot day (by Glen Usk Farm?) - about half of them were up to their knees in the cool water - a scene of the lush meadows for thousands of years except originally they would have been red or like highland cattle. unfortunately the aerial photographs of google maps are of low resolution here, multimap NP7 9HH but this map shows the family farm High Mead NP7 9SU was quite close to here〈=&pc=NP79SU
Date 1886 copy paste this co-ordinate grid Ref: 331600,212300
or a post code as an address search

the steps to the left could be the remains of the walls of a three or four thousand year old hill fort where all the cattle could be hidden from raiders and guarded by the farmers and villagers

note the ghost image of my left hand (click to about full size) holding the Sony Ericsson phonecam
we are climbing up through the pass through the hills to England

arriving in the second of the great cathedral towns of my day.

Hereford station was very empty the line is closed to the north is closed - probably the engineeers are working on the points at the junction this Saturday and Sunday
originally the centre two tracks would have been used by the endless coal trains from the South Wales Colleries with high grade anthricite for the steam boilers of the workshops of England and the atlantic liners sailling out of Liverpool (for example)

outside buses await mine will be here in 40 minutes, so I asked where to shop and was told to go to Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc
"Station Approach, Commercial Road"
Hereford HR1 1DN
click to see map and zoom out to see my journey as a whole

Morrisons Supermarket a lattice pork pie, Weight Watchers hard water flavoured with grapefruit and lime, and three kinds of cider incudign Westons scrunpy
BULMERS is the local firm but I no longer like their sweeter weaker ciders

Cider remains the 'core' of the Bulmers business, its main brands, Strongbow, Woodpecker and Scrumpy Jack, are all market leaders
BTW my grandfather Alfred Lapham brewed his own cider and the Watkins farmers did too
my mother started my drinking off, when I was aged about 11 or 12 with a glass of Bulmers Woodpecker cider (or a shandy) with sunday lunch

Clinical research trials have proved the health benefits of drinking cider, in moderation. The key results of the independent trials show high levels of antioxidants in cider. In fact, a half pint of cider contains the same amount of antioxidants as a glass of red wine.

It is established that a diet rich in antioxidants may help to protect against diseases, such as those types of cellular damage that can lead to cancer and cardiovascular problems.

It is important that no-one drinks more than the recommended daily intake of alcohol, which for women is 2 to 3 units per day and for men, 3 to 4 units, an average cider having about 2.5 units per pint

the noble facade of Hereford Station and our coach is loading up - next time I will take a close up of the clock. I was very tired and dozing off because the smooth driving, but the country was rich and beautiful with many missed opportunities for snaps including fields of hops, and well worth the detour.

look beyond the double electricity poles the grey plastic tunnels probably cover strawberry beds which bring the crops to market two weeks earlier. A current local scandal - do they spoil the countryside?

the viaduct we should ahve been on

outside my window when the coach unloaded an ancient section of traditional walling with lime and sand mortar

it really hurt climbing the steps of the foot bridge loaded up with my purchases - and I was worried the trainwould leave before I got down again.
Ledbury station would make a fine subject for a first historical model railway layout not too big and after the tunnel an unseen loop with a couple of sidings for exhibiton use.

waiting for the off at Ledbury station single line working meant we had to wait for the other train to arrive first

This Centro train was the slowest from Bromsgrove up the Lickey Bank I have experienced in the 60 years I have travelled that line. The guard told me that the eight year old rolling stock ws purchase second hand from Midland Mainline 8 years ago had been re-engined a year later and was now worn out. I suspect that it was over heating and the driver therefore had to keep the speed down, and once you are late on the run in to a big city you get a string of double yellows as you follow, out of time table sequence, a goods or stopping train which should have been after you. A bit like getting in a stack at an airport when the aircraft flies a race track pattern over a radio beacon waiting to come in and land. Well I had chosen the slow route !

The climb is just over two miles, at an average gradient of 1 in 37.7, between Bromsgrove and Blackwell (near Barnt Green). It is on the railway line between Birmingham and GloucesterGrid reference SO985710). The Lickey Incline is the steepest sustained adhesion-worked gradient on British railways. Shorter, steeper sections of climb exist on elsewhere. It climbs into Birmingham from the south over the Bunter geological formation (one or two exposures are visible from the track-side), and passes about a mile and a half away from the Lickey Hills, a well-known local beauty spot. Wiki
Of which I got a very good view this time.

desperate for a loo McDonalds Bull Ring just before closing time - the security guards onthe Bull Ring lock the toilets at about 7:30 pm. My mother aleways walked in to the finest hotel available to visit the ladies, but no hotels on this route - my knee was hurting and I was dog tired after 14 hours on the road

8:05 pm At Martins and down to the 97 Allison Street, Digbeth bus stop
and home by 2100 a cold wash and on line - but too tired to do much more than empty the phone camera of 72 snaps


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