Sunday, 9 June 2013

A Great (Central Railway) Weekend

I decided, back in May, to try and have a fairly frugal early summer, as there are some events coming up that I desperately need to save for - the Twinwood Festival and Goodwood Revival among them.  So much for best laid plans, though...  It was Friday evening when the telephone rang.  A couple of friends who like the 1940's scene were planning on making the trip from Manchester to an event in Loughborough, and asked if I wanted to share travel costs.  My mouth had agreed before my brain engaged properly, so early Saturday morning (and I mean early - 6.30am!) I was pulling on stockings, wriggling into my dress and slipping on some (fairly) high heels for another trip into nostalgia and glamour.

We arrived at the Great Central Railway station at Loughborough just after 9.00am.  The lovely old station was fairly quiet, and having 45 minutes before the train arrived we had time to look around the wonderfully preserved setting.

Dexi - Great Central Railway 1940's weekend 2013 - Loughborough Station
 A quick cup of tea in the gorgeous vintage station tea-room was welcome and warming, as the promised sunshine was arriving a little later than the forecast planned.   And then, with a glorious huffing and puffing, the steam train arrived with it's complement of old carriages to whisk us down the line.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm certainly no train-spotter, but some of the old machinery has a real beauty in it's construction and design - and steam trains are one of those examples.

We climbed aboard and settled into our seats, and right on time the station master's whistle blew and we set off.  The Great Central Railway has four stations, and for the 1940's event each one had it's own identity.  The plan was to travel to the very last station at Leicester North, the 'American' base, and make our way slowly back up the line throughout the day.  I did wonder, as the train took us through the countryside, if there would be any lovely GI's there who would insist on strip-searching visitors...

Dexi - Great Central Railway 1940's weekend 2013
 Along the way we passed through the stations that we would be stopping off at later, catching glimpses of the 'German' base at the Rothley station.  Some 25 minutes after leaving Loughborough we arrived at GI Central, though sadly all the soldiers appeared to be too busy setting up for a German attack (the re-enactment was later that day) to check any troublesome-looking ladies for hidden treasures.  Oh well.  The cafe at Greenacres, a few minutes walk from the station, had entertainment from Fiona Harrison and music from the wartime era, stalls and a lovely blue Cadillac - used in the film Captain America (shot partly in Manchester, of course!)  I managed to have a very long chat with Len Smith, the owner of Ace Prom Cars, who had some great tales of being around film sets with his cars.  It had to be worth a photograph...

Dexi - Great Central Railway 1940's weekend 2013 - 1940's Cadillac
Just before lunch we were back on the train and heading for enemy territory - the 'German' base at Rothley.  It was great to see the effort put in at Rothley - I hear too many stories of German uniforms banned at 1940's events, so to see the German vehicles and encampment was a real pleasure. 

Dexi - Great Central Railway 1940's weekend 2013 - the German Base
I was disappointed not to find any of the Venus Soap advertised at the station, though - I was intrigued as, according to the sign, it 'Saves rubbing'.  I just fancied trying it the next time I was in the shower to see it was more fun... but somehow I doubt their claim!

Dexi - Great Central Railway 1940's weekend 2013 - the German Base
Just after lunch it was back on Allied territory.  The Quorn and Woodhouse station was the British, French and American base.  This was the largest of the stations, with vintage vehicles, beer tent, vintage machinery and stalls.  There were more lovely old cars here, a beautiful traction engine and old farm tractors, fire-engines and ambulances. 

Dexi - Great Central Railway 1940's weekend 2013 - the Allied base at Quorn
I managed to spend a little more money here on a stunning pink button down dress - perfect for stocking-revealing photographs, so no doubt you will see it soon!  I also bumped into old friends from last year's Twinwood event and friends from London.  It was a truly great end to a fantastic day.  There was, I have to say too, a massive number of people dressed up in suitable outfits, all of which added perfectly to the nostalgic atmosphere of the day. 

Speaking of nostalgia, it's time for a new Picture Of The Week.  Last week's was taken near Manchester's Oxford Road on a Friday night.  Yes, I simply whisked off my skirt and posed in the leather jacket, lacy panties and high-heeled boots. A couple of young student-type chaps who had been making their way noisily down the street suddenly went very quiet and still and remained like that until I left the scene.  Anyway, back to nostalgia (see what I did there?) - this week's, as always on the Gallery page of my website,  is very much vintage-styled - even if a little, shall we say ruder, than usual.  I hope you enjoy it!

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