Yorkshire 14 - Elsecar a beam engine, a railway and a trip into the past / a ride up the Great North Road/Breakfast pasty, Sunlight and Cliff

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October 28th 2017
Published: November 22nd 2017
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So where have we been today ? Elsecar - an industrial site just outside of Rotherham. I had always wanted to visit Elsecar since I studied the industrial revolution for my degree. It has taken over 20 year to get here. The weather was cold and chilly but for Autumn it actually was not that bad. To be fair we have had a reasonable Indian Summer. Long may it last. But before we get to Elsecar a lot has happened over the last few weeks . So we have to go back a little way and backtrack to our recent holiday in Europe .

You probably remember the weather, the puncture, the wait for our tyre and our chat with the Globecar owners. On our first morning we woke up and felt quite subdued as we spoke and put the beds away for what might be the very last time. We ate our breakfast over very little conversation. We were home and might be eating the last breakfast in Suzy. It was likely to be the last trip up the Great North Road towards home. The last time if we got the right part exchange price for Suzy. Glenn is a glass half empty type and it was odd that he had an idea of what he wanted for Suzy which was considerably higher than what I hoped for. I was aiming low even though I am a glass half full type of girl. What happens we thought if they come nowhere near what we wanted and needed for Suzy to make the change to a new motorhome possible?

We hit the road which was full of vehicles heading into both into Cambridge and out. Inwards they were heading for work in the world renowned university and hospitals. Out towards a day in the city of London. Stop and start until we got on the Great North Road and headed north towards our first stop of the day which was the company we had bought Suzy from all those years ago. We expected little and to be fair we were not keen on the models of panel vans that they were selling. We just wanted an idea what Suzy was worth.

Arriving at just after 9 we parked up and went in search of a salesman. Why do you always feel on the backfoot when you are selling something? We sat and were offered a coffee which we turned down as we had a date with breakfast in their cafe as soon as business was concluded . We told the salesman what we were looking for and asked him for a ball park figure for part exchange . He shot off to discuss options with his manager. They always do that and make you wait . Do they think that if they leave you waiting you will want their product more? We went to look at the two panel vans they had in stock. We could have one straightaway if we wanted it. If we waited then we were talking of waiting six months before the next lot came into the country. Of course we had been there before and did not want to wait. You don't know what you are going to get and you have little idea what price it will be . The ones in stock were priced so we knew exactly how much money would change hands and just how much we needed for Suzy to make it work.

We returned and were given a figure just above half way between what Glenn would have liked and what I expected to be offered. So that was Ok - buying a new van was still on target. The vans we had seen were described as being called a Sunlight and the other one Cliff . Sunlight - was that not a soap that I used as a child? A soap that mum used to scrub collars and cuffs clean. Was it not a village on the Wirral where the soap was made? Cliff - I had a cousin Cliff. It is a name that sounds rather old fashioned. Just like Ernest or Gwilym. We were rather off put in a strange way. Cliff - is that not something that you drive off?. Inside they did not excite us . We took the brochures and went for breakfast to mull over everything. A breakfast pasty for Glenn filled with bacon and sausage. I ate toast washed down with a pot of tea. No it was not for us.

We drove off again to our second stop . SMC Motorhomes at Newark. We had never really noticed them amongst the other motorhome sales companies. We parked up in the wrong car park - we did not know that at the time. The salesman sat us down and went for a cup of coffee for us. He showed us the Globecar . It was everything we had hoped for. A gold colour which glinted silver from one angle. It was a demonstrator and had a huge discount on it. Ok there were a few miles on the clock but it was unregistered and suited us down to the ground. Fitted with awning, radio and extra kit it was bargain whichever way we looked at it. Nigel went to look at Suzy and came back with the same part exchange price that we had been offered by the last dealer. Perhaps I should have hidden the documents from the last dealer which had the part exchange price written on the top. Perhaps we should have pushed for a bit more but we are always a bit reluctant and not that good at haggling . The price we were offered was OK - more than half way to what Glenn wanted and much better than I had expected . That settled it - we ordered a solar panel, we ordered a reversing camera and other bits to make our life easier . We paid our deposit and left after we took another long look at our new van.

How had we come to this point? We don't really know. We hadn't intended buying a new van when we left for our holiday. We had no intention of buying anything when we got to Italy. Perhaps if we had not had had the puncture we might not have ended up in Bologna where we saw our first Globecar. Perhaps if Mirko had found a tyre in stock we might not have ended up talking to the welsh couple . Perhaps .................

Destiny or fate - call it what you will but we are now the proud owners of Gabby which we pick up next week.

The following day we emptied Suzy. Harder to take things out than put them in. Glenn cleaned and I carried each precious box into the house. Clothes from the wardrobes. pots and pans, utensils , bedding . It all came out and Glenn polished , vacuumed and cleaned. Suzy was ready to be taken to SMC early . They had planned to repair the fridge which was only just still under guarentee . A fortnight left on it . How lucky was that? We knew we would forget something and left the blue toilet bottles under the sink. We remembered them just as Glenn drove Suzy off our drive . For the last time I followed him as he drove her away. It seemed odd. She had served us well over the last few years and we were on the one hand sorry to see her go . On the other we would seriously have lost money on her had we kept her another year . Another 5K on the clock and not one dealer would have wanted her. So we had made the right decision. We dropped her off and patted her on the back . Thanks Old Girl for taking us to Dubrovnik, for showing us the wonderful country of Croatia , for taking us to Greece . Hopefully our new purchase will take us to even better places. We drove home after having another look around Gabby the Globecar. Yes she has a name - Gabby or Gabriella in honour of both her German and Italian heritage. Glenn did jokingly suggest we call her Peter - now where has that come from? Peter the Possl he said . Let's forget that one - Gabby she is and she Gabby she will remain.

Sunday - remembered we had left things in the overhead locker. Monday another trip to Newark to pick them up. Another look at Gabby, we sat in her seats, Captains ones - I have always wanted a Captains seat, a small table with extension so that we can sit and eat breakfast or play games. Never used the table in Suzy . A smaller sink, a smaller cooker. We pondered on what was different and wondered how we would cope with the changes . In two weeks we will find out.

Today we found ourselves at Elsecar a mining village built around the pit owned by the local landowner who lived at nearby Wentworth Hall. After parking we headed off to the café where we sat in the warmth drinking tea and eating sausage rolls. The site is sprawling and owned by Rotherham Council. They using Heritage lottery funding have spent a lot of money renovating all the old buildings around the site. Each building was filled with cafes, play areas and shops. All were decorated for Christmas. We left that area and walked to the old railway station. We fell into conversation with one of the volunteers who told us that they received no money from the council which meant that the trains only ran at weekends. He told us he was emptying collection boxes. They needed 85K to get the engines running again.

The main reason we were here was to see the beam engine built by Newcomen, A beam engine still in its original position. It took a little while to find it hidden away in a small corner of this industrial estate. Sadly like the trains it was shut up, locked and we were unable to see much of it. A flash of red of the bob. How wonderful it would have been to see it working. A hiss of steam, the engine belching smoke and the water being lifted from the depths of the pit workings below. Perhaps another day we might get to see this mighty engine running.

There was little else to see . Up the road is a garden centre owned by Wentworth Hall and the hall itself. Perhaps one day we might see the hall but with an entry fee of £25 each that will have to wait for another day.


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