An Unexpected Lift

It has recently come to my attention that you haven’t lived unless you have been to the Fork Lift Truck Heritage Centre at The Midland Railway in Butterly.  My friends Dean and Nat took me there, for all those reasons that people venture to such places over Easter and other public holidays.  Namely it’s something different, aids recovery of the night before and doesn’t cost a penny.


This Easter weekend has had a decidedly retro theme to it, it began when entering a valley and realising for the first time since circa 2003 that  I haven’t had to actively seek a mobile phone signal.  I had to resort to all those old tricks for getting that elusive and solitary bar of communication heaven.  I tried shaking the phone vigorously, lifting it high up whilst standing on tip toes and my personal favourite – which oddly always did the trick for me back in the day – of standing on one leg.

I also found out that the floor of D and N’s house has a subtle, in fact almost imperceptible slope so when I walk to the living room window I felt little, it gave me an insight into how the short half live…Rounding off my retro indoor musings was the totally rogue thought ‘whatever happened to hover crafts?’ Back in the day they were all the rage but since Jackie Chan’s film Rumble in the Bronx I haven’t seen any mention of this form of transport.

After these revelations and weirdness we had our wander through a nice community owned bit of nature, it had streams, trees and lots of potential places to fall over which adds to the danger and makes me feel like James Bond, of which coincidentally there were three films on this weekend…for those none British readers Bond films are synonymous with pretty much every bank holiday we have.

Photo0108I suppose I don’t get out enough but I had no idea such a trip of nostalgia was hidden away and waiting for me just around the corner, not only was there a steam train but also a signal box, station, model railway and obligatory high-priced eatery.  I have a soft spot for train stations and old beat up trains and carriages…the new experience is so sanitised and uncomfortable, there’s such a lack of style these days.

The fork lift experience was something unexpected for all three of us and as I would imagine there isn’t a lot of interest in such machines unless you are a fan of all things niche, although the variety is a little overwhelming and unexpected.  In order to entice would be browsers in, it was cleverly combined with a shop selling books and magazines, in fact there were a couple of second-hand book bits dotted around…pleasingly there were also a lot of vinyl singles and VHS tapes which rounded off the experience most pleasantly.

All in all it was a great trip, we didn’t stay overly long but it was nice to see families out, children being educated and a sense of community with everything being volunteer run and cared for.  It’s little places like this that make me feel a little less jaded in the sense of all these big, expensive places that offer little in the way of interest and less in enthusiasm.  So that was my rare weekend experience, how has yours been?


20 Replies to “An Unexpected Lift”

  1. Sounds like it was an excellent day out. As for the hovercraft, my house overlooks the old hoverport here in Dover. There was one turned up here last year, but it was raining and you could barely see it.


    1. That’s always the way, I imagine Dover used to be rife with them…I am working on the theory that it was the Jackie Chan film that ruined it for the hovercraft.


  2. I love your people’s commitment to odd museums. When Mad Martha visited your country, she was lucky enough to visit the Cumberland Pencil Museum, home to the WORLD’S BIGGEST PENCIL!! (Which, disappointingly, is not actually a real pencil). But other than that, it was a highlight of the 6 week jaunt. I suspect that hovercrafts have dropped off the radar because after Javckie Chan’s outing with it in said film, perhaps people thought it had reached the limits of its applicability to amusing tricks.


    1. There is a hat factory in Stockport also, I never went to that but there wasa huge industrial chimney with ‘HAT FACTORY’ written on it. A museum so good it needs no other name…apparently they had so many hats they were selling them for they lacked room, they should have built up and added their own ‘hat’ to the building. I shall have to seek this fake pencil out so I can lampoon it on this ‘ere blog. Jackie Chan is a lunatic, you have to admire him for volunterring to do crazy things and refusing any sort of safety equipment. Perhaps they could have late night TV hover races with ramps all over the track, that’s get me tuning in.


      1. And a hat factory is a bit exciting too. I applaud their commitment to non-imaginative naming. I can’t really imagine the process of factory constructed millinery, but I’m interested to learn. The pencil museum is definitely worth the trip. Definitely.


  3. Niiice.
    And – time with friends is always great!
    and something different that doesn’t cost a penny sounds like my kind of deal.


    1. There was a bacon cob involved before we left for the place as well so it was even better! A perfect day out only enhanced with talk about tasting money…yes we are that kind of people.


  4. I love old trains. We have an old steam train that runs from Sydney to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains in the summer. I hear it blowing its whistle as it’s going past (the railway line runs along the next street over). Unfortunately, it’s too darn expensive for mere mortals to afford. It’s only for the likes of those on “upper management wages.” Yet they advertise it as a “affordable family day out.” Mum, Dad and three kids under the age of 16 would pay $640. For some people that’s almost a week’s wages. But, old aged pensioners are lucky, they can take three grandchildren for a nice day out for a mere $600.


    1. I just had a quick search of today’s exchange rates and that comes to £340 for a day out that is something pretty epic. I would expect a weekend for that at least. In fact spending fours in Amsterdam including the flight and spending money was pretty much that. It does make you wonder which intelligent person comes up with the pricing policy.

      I do love the whistle though, when the train did it, Nat elicited a small cheer which made me laugh as that is the traditional thing to do. There is a certain thing about old trains, they just so much better and more awesome…looking at the sate of the railways in this country it saddens me, the decline is disgusting.


  5. Just sublime reading. I now forgive you for all our text messaging confusion over the weekend!


    1. It is only ever one place when you can never reach me…unless I was actually sat under your window giggling away at my entirely fictitious rouse all weekend, which I could see me doing in all fairness.


    1. I like a bit of variation and it opens up more books for me to read in the long run which is always a pleasant side effect of any fun outings.


    1. I like to be randomly surprised in the English countryside and I do have an affinity with classic trains, it’s the romance of it all. It makes a change for me to get out and do things as well so all to the good, next stop a hat museum…or maybe not.


        1. I really should go, that could be a whole blog post in itself…perhaps a humourous vlog post or something, of which I need to do something vloggy soon.


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