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Blythe Bridge

June 24, 2013

Last week I visited the kids at Hampstead C of E Parochial School, London to follow up a previous Chavosing event earlier in the year.

On this occasion there was no Mexican food sampling or creative writing workshop but a cake/bake sale with all the profits earmarked for the charity that I founded several years ago to help street children.

The kids had made gooey chocolate cake and several creamy drinks and shakes. I don’t know whether they had more fun making everything or selling it but there was plenty of shouting and market bartering going on.

I was a little hesitant when it started to rain as they had set everything up outside ready to catch the parents as they left the afternoon assembly. Thankfully the rain held off long enough for the kids to raise over £100, which was remarkable and most exemplary as it was all their own idea – kids making money to help kids.

I then charged off to meet friends at my favourite Mexican restaurant, grab a couple of delicious tacos, followed by another business meeting and back to Yorkshire on the late train. Was I tired?  That was an understatement, in fact I can’t remember what I’ve done since returning from New York, but certainly never stopped, that’s for sure. Other than to sleep of course, and that’s not as long as I would have liked! Want something doing? Ask a busy person.

So from New York to London to Blythe Bridge! Ever heard of Blythe Bridge? May be you don’t want to but, a word of advice, don’t try to get a train there from Yorkshire if you have a dead-line. Another of my adventures or calamities depending on your view point!
So what happened? I was feeling tired that’s what happened. As I had to make the trip and still hadn’t taken time out since New York and all the other six million things that I had been doing…OK I exaggerate…but, Blythe Bridge being about 100 miles from my office, I thought how nice it would be to take the train, relax and not have to contend with busy motorways. Uhm! Listen to this……..

The trip was perfectly planned to arrive late morning – time to chat prior to lunch, business in the afternoon and return on the early evening train. Not so, and at one point it looked as though I was going to meet myself coming backwards. The first train – as it was running 30 minutes late or so – decided not to stop at my departure station and sped on by. Oh! The next train was scheduled for one hour later but was already 30 minutes late. Was there any guarantee that would even stop? Uhm. So how do I get to Derby? I quizzed. To be told to travel via Doncaster, probably a better option than waiting for nearly two hours on the present platform in the drizzling rain.

Bad idea…My connection in Doncaster was nearly one hour delayed. All part of the great northern rail jam or points failure I suppose. Whatever; patience prevailed and I kept smiling until my connecting train at Derby was cancelled on my arrival, this time, a mechanical fault on the train. Only one hour to wait for the next one. This all then posed the question; did I really want to go to this obscure little village in the middle of nowhere?
Well in actual fact yes, and I did arrive eventually somewhat tried and tested and very hungry and thirsty. Was it worth it? Most certainly! Ever tried to drive a car without petrol? Well I needed to meet with these people so thanks be to God that I didn’t throw in the towel and I prevailed on this arduous journey – although I do think next time, I WILL drive.

By the way, the countryside was beautiful, so I thought it may be a nice place to live if you want to live in the middle of nowhere.  It had one of those tiny little railway stations where the buzzer goes one minute before the barriers rise and you see the pedestrians speed up, expressive faces – can they make it before the train sneaks around the corner, crosses the road or hurtles by, as I discovered when I decided to Google level crossings and see how many of these were still in existence in the U.K. Personally it’s rare I come across one, but check out this story.

-A 61 year old man was detained under the ‘Mental Health Act’ when a jaw-dropping moment was captured by a local motorist as the man jumped over a barrier expecting to reach the other side, before the 140mph Japanese built train – the fastest in the UK missed him by inches. Check out You Tube, there’s plenty of these horror stories!

So do these crossings make me nervous? Yes. And do I want to live in Blythe Bridge? Nah! Who wants to leave Yorkshire anyway? Though I expect there will be plenty of them there old crossings in Yorkshire, now won’t there!

Chat soon and thanks for the fund raising kids