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Published: December 24th 2013
The day that Woolly had been waiting for had finally arrived, even more exciting than Christmas itself, although we will have to wait and see about that! After six months and many many emails he was to be re-united with his bestest friend Sion.
Woolly says – Even the short drive to our rendezvous seemed to take too long and as the brown and cream livery colours of the Great Western Railway line hove into view and the large sign for Severn Valley appeared I couldn’t wait to clamber out of Ollie and race into the café to see if Sion had arrived with his carers Jen and Glen. The café was incredibly busy and having grabbed a table I spent the next half an hour bouncing up and down in my seat checking out all the new arrivals. We had arrived far earlier than needed but as Woolly had insisted on getting up at dawn was breaking to make sure he arrived, we spent the time with a warming coffee and telling Woolly about the delightful station we were in. There are many family memories for me sitting here, especially at this time of
year when we would make the annual pilgrimage with my Dad to bring a very small Zoe to see Father Christmas here. I don’t know who’s excitement was greater on these visits, Zoe’s at the thought of presents from the man in red, Dad’s because of his love for steam and the joy of watching his little granddaughter or mine for being together and being able to go choo choo without anyone thinking I was completely mad.
Woolly says – From 1970 Seven Valley has run trains from Bridgnorth to Hampton Loade, before extending services southwards to Bewdley in 1974, then to Kidderminster in 1984 as a perseveration project supported by a huge group of volunteers. Originally built between 1858 and 1862, it linked Hartlebury, near Droitwich, with Shrewsbury, and covered a distance of 40 miles, a short but vital link for the area. The arrival of the motor lorry in the 1930's spelt disaster for this route although it provided a useful and strategic support for the troops during the Second World War. Following nationalisation in 1948, passenger traffic started to dwindle, largely as a result of the family motor car and from 1963 the stations
and track slowly went into decline. With so many people here today it is good to see the old buildings bubbling with life. After sitting as still as I could my patience finally paid off and I nearly exploded with excitement as I saw Sion arrive. While the humans chattered away about the many boring topics they seem to like to discuss, Sion and I compared notes on our travels and discussed the latrines and drain covers we have found on our adventures. Making the most of our time together we tried to get onto the platform for pictures with the steam engine but our plans were thwarted. Health and safety reared its ugly head, apparently you are not allowed on the platform anymore because of people!
Woolly says – the guard didn’t mention sheep or mammoths so we did try to sneak through, caught in the act we had to be contented with peering at the coal burning trains from a distance. Having taken what pictures we could Sion and I led the way into the small onsite museum. Wonderful iron signs greeted us showing many destinations that we have travelled to
and through, old telephones with their dials were great fun to play with. My favourite was probably the signal box where we tried to pull the huge levers to change the tracks (with a little help). All too soon we were leaving the hustle and bustle of the station behind us and with sadness in our hearts Sion and I parted again, back to messaging again until he can arrive in Turkey. I climbed back into Ollie and with a tear in my eye set off for the next leg of our trip. It was wonderful to catch up with Jen and Glen and compare our travels, seeing people in the flesh is so much nicer than our usual electronic methods. As we left Kidderminster behind us we looked back over the last few days.
Woolly says – It has been great, seeing Jo’s Aunt and Uncle (Carys and Les) and my friend Maxie was lovely and although we talked about it we didn’t get round to seeing their pictures of New Zealand – When are we going there? We arrived in the Midlands to stay with our friend Dave in his new pub,
though why he banned me from being behind the bar I don’t know! Spending the day in Stourbridge, our old home ground gave my fans a chance to see me and for pictures to be taken, I was delighted to oblige Kyle with my charming ways, before a quick drink with Sammy, Ray and baby Kayleigh who didn’t try to eat me this time much to my relief. An all to brief visit to everyone but as we sped through the Welsh countryside I could look forward to Christmas in Aberystwyth with daughter Zoe and all those wonderful presents that I’m bound to get. With Woolly dreaming of a white Christmas and chestnuts roasting on an open fire, We wish you all a Wonderful Christmas wherever your travels have taken you and a safe and prosperous New Year.
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