Tag Archives: steam train

All aboard!

It’s been a decidedly grey and drizzly week here in Devon, making getting out and about that little bit more challenging. However it did give us the excuse to revisit one of our favourite local attractions: the steam train that runs between Kingswear and Paignton.

This train will always have a special significance for our family. It was on a day out just after Christmas in 2012 that my waters broke and I began to go into labour with Arthur. We began what I’m sure will be an annual tradition with a trip on the steam train for his first birthday, but haven’t actually been back since. This time round he was much more aware of what was going on: he responded excitedly with ‘choo choo!’ when I told him about our plans in the morning, and his excitement increased tenfold once we were actually on the train.

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We travelled in the Devon Belle observation carriage for the first time – it’s one of only two left in operation in the whole world, and gave us a fantastic panoramic view of the countryside as we chugged along. We were right up by the engine for the first leg of the trip, so the steam enveloped us whenever we passed under bridges giving everything an otherworldly aura that just added to the sense of travelling back in time.

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The stations decked out with their vintage signs added to that too, as did the engines in the sidings and the trains that passed us on the other track.

We travelled along the river and through verdant woodland, though the best views were reserved for the stretch of track alongside Torbay: even with clouds shrouding the headlands it looked pretty spectacular.

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When we pulled into Paignton we watched as the engine refilled with water before being moved to the other end of the train to pull us back towards Dartmouth.

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As well as being pretty awesome to watch in itself this left us with an unobstructed view for our return trip – just the line disappearing behind us as train made its way back along the coast.

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Arthur was keen to make the most of the view from every possible angle, enjoying the freedom of travelling without being confined to a car seat!

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I’m not sure there are many more perfect ways to appreciate the beautiful place we live in than by trundling along in a steam train. It gives me a little thrill every time I see the plume of steam rising up across the bay, or hear the whistle echoing in the wind. I’m very glad that Arthur seems to share my enthusiasm, and I’m already looking forward to our next trip!

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



 

Word of the Week: Oddparents

Today the word that sums up the week that was is:

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We had two very special visits this week, from two of my very best friends. Two out of the three people in fact who we chose to be oddparents to Arthur.

You may ask what an oddparent is, exactly. We were keen to have significant adults in Arthur’s life from outside his extended family, but as we’re not religious godparents didn’t seem quite right. He has guardians, but they are separate – much more of a legal, worst case scenario role. Rather his oddparents, Bez, Sue and Ryan, will hopefully imbue his life with some of the passion, creativity and uniqueness that has made them our friends for so long.

I think it was that spirit that has made this week so much fun. When Bez arrived with Huw, we threw ourselves into BrixFest – the 1940s themed festival that took over the town for the second May bank holiday weekend.

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It was awesome to see them both, but fab to have an extra pair of hands too: someone Arthur enjoys hanging out with so Leigh and I could remember what it’s like to hang out with each other!

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No sooner were they gone than Sue turned up. Arthur was very excited to see her and to show off his ukulele skills…

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Unfortunately our earlier visitors seemed to take the sun away with them, but that just made us even more determined to make the most of her stay. We took the ferry over to Torquay, which as it always does made me wonder why I don’t do it more often. Beautiful as the bay is from the land I always get a bit of a thrill from actually being on the water.

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We went to see the penguins at Living Coasts, and ended up getting mesmerised by the fish in the aquarium. I’m not sure who enjoyed the underwater bubble more to be honest!

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We even managed to squeeze in a trip on the steam train, travelling in the observation car which was pretty exciting for all of us.

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So all in all a brilliant week, though it was sad to say goodbye. Hopefully it won’t be too long before more oddparent adventures!

 

The Reading Residence