Thursday, 28 August 2014

Any opportunity...

Is it wildly inappropriate to take photos of oneself at railway stations, on the way to a funeral? Possibly. But undeterred that's what I did. The funeral in question took place in the South Yorkshire town of Wombwell, but that was never served by the North Eastern Railway (just the Midland and the Great Central) so of course, never appeared on the Big Tile Map. However, on my way, I had to change trains at Leeds, so here we go:
Luckily, the Wombwell train (the 09:33 to Sheffield, via Castleford), was departing from platform 17A, which is well out of the way of the crowds so I didn't feel like a total bell-end taking a photo of myself. The train shown was unfortunately not the one I was to board - I got lumbered with a crappy bus-on-rails Pacer thing - possibly a class 143? but it did the job, and got me to Wombwell exactly on time.

Wombwell station (formerly Wombwell West) isn't very exciting. It's got a plastic bus shelter waiting room, and a ticket machine, but that's about it. Oh well, at least it's still open.

After a short wait, by the park & ride car park, I was collected by Squirrille (last mentioned in this blog in a post about Sandsend I think), and she drove me the mile or so up to the church.

The funeral went without any major incidents (although the priest who read the eulogy had a really annoying voice - like Unlucky Alf from The Fast Show), but was incredibly long. I think it took over 2 hours in all - a full requiem job, as the deceased was himself also a priest. There were bishops and deacons and other random clergy milling about all over the place. At one point I thought I'd accidentally walked into the set of Father Ted!

When it was all over, rather than go to the cemetery for the burial, we decamped to Wetherspoon's on the High Street, for wine and a pie (so much cheaper than the ones round here!), then went to look at the grave afterwards, once everyone else had gone.

So Squirrille could drink more wine, we then drove over to Wath-on-Dearne and went to another Wetherspoon's by her house. As it was after 4pm, the wine was down to £4.99 a bottle! Bargain.

When it was time to set off home, rather than returning to Wombwell, I got the bus over to Bolton-on-Dearne, and got the train back from there instead. Bolton is the most southerly NER station on the Big Tile Map - sort of like this blog's equivalent of Lands End I suppose, so I took the required picture. Please bear in mind I'd had a shitload to drink by this point...
I've waited for so many trains in Bolton over the years - it's the place my grandmother used to live (not on the station, obviously, but not far away on Station Road). It used to have a big brick building on the northbound platform, which in the mid 1980s was derelict (I think most of South Yorkshire was derelict in the 1980s), and I have fond memories of standing under the rusting iron canopy, and floating leaves in the puddles where water seeped through the broken glass. 

It's totally different nowadays, the buildings are all gone, and they've taken away the foot crossing with the little traffic lights to tell you when it was safe to cross the lines. Now there's a bridge, with an incredibly long disabled access ramp, and lots of new fencing, and CCTV cameras watching your every move, but in my mind, it'll always secretly be 1986, and I'll be going to Nanny Millie's house to eat hotdog sausages, or a Mr Kipling almond slice...

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