The fact that Wimbledon coincided with a certain football match against Croatia meant that fewer members than usual were present to welcome our speaker, Geoff Burch, a former engine driver in the Age of Steam.
Geoff’s reminiscences included a train, too heavily loaded to go up a hill; the effects of heavy snowfall; a runaway train that left its driver behind (amazingly none of the passengers realised the train had no driver); transporting circus animals; Butlin’s Camp trains; and the problems of driving in a pea-souper fog when a change in the noise of the engine indicated a tunnel, or the smell from certain factories would mark the progress of the train.
Geoff recalled when wooden boards across the engine displayed the name of the train, such as the Bournemouth Belle, the Cornish Riviera, and the Cathedral trains.
Geoff’s vast collection of photographs included many contributed by former colleagues.
Morning coffee at a nearby Lavender Farm will be this month’s W.I. “Extra”. Other business matters included plans for the August meeting, which will be a social evening when members may bring a guest, and more details of plans for our Centenary Year in 2019. (Watch out for the one hundred golden daffodils in the churchyard next Spring.)
An idea from the floor, that it was time for a refresher course on First Aid, was welcomed.
As a result of so many business items we finished a little later than usual, but just in time to go home and console those who were disappointed by the result of the match with Croatia!