At last I have joined the ranks of the retired! This means that I will be able to do all the jobs on the house and garden that I have been putting off for ages and will still have plenty of time to devote to the Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster Town Station in particular!
This is a very pleasant situation which I hope to make the most of. I have decided to join the 'Wednesday Gang' when possible. This is a team of Station Staff who, when not in uniform, carry out maintenance and other improvements around our station. I think it is well worthwhile getting a proper link established between the Friends and the Station Staff, as we have the same general aims in mind.
Due to the other commitments, the Station Staff generally carry out smaller projects which can be rapidly completed, whereas the Friends tend to concentrate on bigger projects taking months or even years to complete, so I have found the quick jobs a pleasant contrast to the more laborious jobs we tend to undertake such as re-manufacturing yards and yards of speartop fencing!
For example I have just painted the bodies of the security cameras dark stone - a half hour job. These nasty modern 'necessities' were brilliant white and stood out like a sore thumb. It is this sort of item that does so much to destroy the fragile heritage atmosphere we are trying to re-create. Now the cameras on the concourse blend into the brickwork a little bit and look less obvious, but I can't help but think that with a little more thought during their installation, they could have almost disappeared completely.
Another quick job was to put a final coat of paint on the back door of the Porters' Building. This had been primed and painted by the Wednesday Gang so I took the liberty of painting and lettering out the G.W.R cast iron door plate with my fancy little brushes to put the icing on the cake.
Also, the big G.W.R notice board in the station entrance (next to the old Coal Office) has been taken down and prepared by Pete Smith of the Wednesday Gang. Bob Brown has spliced in some wood to replace rotten areas rather than filling them. Once complete the board will be reassembled, painted and go back up with replica G.W.R pictorial posters.
Strange But True
It is well known that the G.W.R would stamp their initials upon every object belonging to them, and that the railway had so many fingers in so many pies that it would seem that almost any material object could have the magic letters stamped on. However, there are always a few surprises. On ebay at the end of May were a set of crown green bowling balls in their carrying case. They had the G.W.R roundel on one side in white on a red and gold background, and on the other side in the same colour scheme was G.W.R SWINDON S.A. Well, that explains it. They belonged to the Staff Association.
In case you are wondering, I did not bid. I might be retired, but I'm not up for bowls just yet.