24th June 2017

The flat we are in here is a top storey, corner flat. Light and bright with windows to two walls in the living room. The building used to be industrial – workshops and maintenance depot for the Glasgow Corporation Gas Department and is a category B Historic Scotland Building. Because it is on the top floor we have 48 steps to come up to reach the front door! That’ll keep us fit. Here are some pics of the apartment:

Living roomLiving room




viewView from living room window

There’s certainly a big difference in temperature here. We had 34 degrees in Bedford, it’s down to 13 here – and now raining as well. Bit of a shock to the system…

We went for a walk around today and I took some general shots of the city:

City 1City 2The old and the new side by side.       Can you spot Graham?

City 3


Who did that to Wellington? Must have been a good night out…

City 4

City 5There’s Graham again being a tourist…

City 7

City 8

City 9

City 10This one made us feel at home


City 12



Mercury…..you can leave your hat on..

Anybody got a spare sewing machine?




23rd June 2017

Our day started with a 5 hour train journey – Milton Keynes to Glasgow Central and then a taxi ride to Liz and Roth’s city centre flat. Very central – minutes to walk to anywhere. I just hope the injured knee holds up!

In Bedford Graham managed to leave both his phones behind, I left some medicine  and we incurred a £30 fine for inadvertently driving in a bus lane!! We think we know how that happened. Graham was cut up by a bus and swerved to avoid it – probably swerved into the bus lane. Never mind.

So we’ve been in Glasgow around 6 hours, seen 3 men in kilts – (all completely separate, not in a group and all wearing different tartans), a tartan van:


…a fabulous mural (on the wall of a car park)…

Mural 3Mural 2Mural 1

…and had a drink and a meal in the pub over the road with the intriguing name of ‘The Babbity Bowster’ who were selling dishes of Cullen Skenk. Google tells me that ‘Babbity Bowster was an old Scottish country dance which was often used to finish off a ball; it also became a children’s game with different rules in various parts of the country. ” Babbitymeans “bob” and “bowster” was the wheelshaft in a watermill.

Babbity Bowster

Cullen Skenk sounds a bit like a fish chowder made with smoked haddock. Irene will probably put me right on that.

Every day a school day, as they say…


22nd June 2017

This is our last night in Bedford as we move to exchange number 7 in Glasgow in the morning. So, this is a catch-up on what we’ve done over the last week or so. Two of the places we visited prohibited the taking of photographs inside, so there wasn’t much to write up about. The first of these was the Bunyan Museum in Bedford.


The only thing I knew about John Bunyan was that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress – but I’ve never read it. There was a precis of the book throughout the museum – which is only small but very well done. I did take one sneaky photo though – I couldn’t resist capturing another ‘Crompton’ mention. It’s a bit shaky, but readable:

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Mum and Dad went home on Saturday morning and we had a relaxing weekend in the garden, same on Monday because it was so very hot. Too hot to be walking too far. Tuesday was slightly cooler – at least in the morning – so we went off to see Woburn Abbey. No photos permitted inside, but we got some nice ones of the garden.

One of the things I liked inside the Abbey was a needlepoint bell pull worked by the current Duke’s mother.  It is really long, but not as long as the curtain header I’ve been working for the last goodness-knows-how-long (not much to do now, though), so I was interested to see how she’d finished it on the back. All my quilting friends will know that you always need to see the back to get the full picture! I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to touch it and this was confirmed by the guide so I asked him if there was any chance he had a pair of white gloves to hand to turn it over for me. He looked a bit taken aback but said that no, he didn’t. About 5 minutes later, he came chasing after me with a white cloth in his hand and offered to turn the piece over for me so I could see the back as I’d wanted. Very helpful. And it was beautifully finished, I must say. I hope I can make as good a job of mine when I get to that stage. Disappointed that I couldn’t photograph it though.

Here are some pictures of the outside of the Abbey gardens:

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There are lots of waterliles:



And a distinct Chinese theme – lots of red, lanterns, pagoda, little bridge etc.


And an interesting sculpture by Sophie Dickens. Five figures each one performing different stages of a cartwheel. I’ve had a look at her website – and she has done other similar sculptures. Brilliant piece of work. I only seem to have captured 4 of the figures on my photo but there’s a much better picture on her website:  http://www.sladmore.com/media/sladmoremedia/pdf/Sladmore-Sophie-Dickens-IWB.pdf

Sophie Dickens

One of our favourite haunts while we’ve been here – The Flowerpot. Great live bands at the weekends and a recommended Thai restaurant over the road – the Thai Lagoon. If you’re ever in Bedford…


I finally managed to get a bit of stitching finished while we’ve been here. Two little postcards done completely by hand. I’ve used a needlepunched handbag liner in place of the wadding and pelmet vilene that I normally use and I really like it. I’ll probably continue to use it when I get home:

The yellow one isn’t quite finished – it still has the tacking stitches around the outside. I only need to whipstitch the sides together and it’ll be finished – and just in time with these. The heart one is being left here as my Thank You, as I’m down to the last one of the ones I brought and I’ve thought of something else I want to do with that.

We are leaving the garden in full fruit and bloom. It looks gorgeous and we have carefully tended David’s lettuces and kept up with deadheading the surfinias while we’ve been here!

The cherry tree in full fruit:

Garden 4

The hanging baskets:

Garden 1

We’ve had a lovely visit here. Spent a lot of relaxing time in the conservatory and garden. We’ve had unexpected cold (and the wrong clothes) and heat that surpassed the famous summer of ’76, so a real mixed bag. What awaits us in Glasgow, we wonder?




14th June 2017

Cambridge was the trip of choice today.  We learnt a lot of facts while on the tourist bus looking at the sights. The ones that stick in my mind are that Cambridge has educated 80 Nobel Prize winners, that the railway station is a long way from the centre to stop the students succumbing to the attractions of London and that the students are not allowed to keep a car within 5 miles of the college so there are 35,000 bikes in the city. Here are just a few of them:


We travelled down the street that holds the dubious honour of being the originator of the term ‘pub crawl’. The students had to race down the street drinking a pint in each bar and not relieving themselves until they reached the last one, by which time some would literally be on their hands and knees.

There is an interesting sculpture outside the Guildhall.


The story attached this is the story of Snowy Farr, a charity fundraiser who mostly operated in the streets of Cambridge. He collected thousands of pounds for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. In recognition of his efforts he received an MBE.  He was often dressed in eccentric clothing incorporating antique military wear and was accompanied by tame animals including mice, dogs, and even a goat.

This memorial artwork, designed by Gary Webb, was unveiled outside the Guildhall in Cambridge’s Market Square in August 2012. The statue resembles a combination of Farr’s tame cat and mice, whereby his cat was trained to sit atop his hat, and the mice trained to run circuits of the rim.

We had glorious sunshine for a walk along the Cam watching the punting.



We saw just one college up close and that was Jesus – we couldn’t go into the grounds because – guess what – closed for exams!! Beautiful building and grounds though.


The next main stop was:

cemetery sign

It’s quite difficult to find the words to describe this. It’s beautiful, peaceful, well-kept, sad, humbling….and even that doesn’t say it all, so I won’t try and go any further. Judge for yourself.

Americam cemetery standard (2)

american cemetery 2

Americam cemetery

The wall at the side of this picture lists the missing. Thousands of them – and largely from bomber command.

One of the doors to the chapel:

chapel door

Inside the chapel is this wonderful piece of art showing the planes, ships and submarines involved in the war and who they belonged to. The picture doesn’t do it justice and I couldn’t even get the whole thing in the photo.  It’s a fantastic piece of work and very informative.

americam cemetery art




13th June 2017

The weather looked a bit indecisive today, so we thought we’d play it safe and have a road trip around some of the Bedfordshire villages.

First one we drove through was Bromham where there is a watermill – but it is only open at the weekends, so we didn’t stop. Stevington was next and was one that we took time to have a good look around. The village appears in the Domesday book and is a charming village which won the accolade of “Best Kept Village” in 1965,1969,1979 and most recently in 1985.  Stevington has one of England’s finest examples of a ‘post mill’ windmill.

The post mill is the earliest type of European windmill. Its defining feature is that the whole body of the mill that houses the machinery is mounted on a single vertical post, around which it can be turned to bring the sails into the wind.


The key to the windmill can be obtained from the landlord of the local pub The Royal George. We spotted the windmill from the road and found the pub with no problem. It was closed but the landlord was in there working on his laptop (phew! could have been another Crompton Special there!) and he gave us the key and directions for driving to the windmill.

None of us had ever been inside a windmill before and we were fascinated when we saw that the whole of the top part – the bit where the sails are attached – can be turned around to make the most of the wind direction. There is a large, thick pole sticking out from just behind the staircase and to make the job easier (easier??? really???) for the miller, he had a yoke which he attached to this pole to pull the top of the building to face the way he wanted.

I took a photo of the information inside the mill…

Mill Info

…and then didn’t think any more about it until I uploaded the photos this evening. The two names – Pool and Keech were the same names that we came across time and again in the graveyard in the grounds of the local church.

The inside of  the mill is small but has reasonable light from the two small windows:

Inside mill

The millstones would have been in the centre and the post that turned the structure (and maybe turned the millstones, as well?) is quite low and can be seen at the top of the photo.

The photo below is my feeble attempt at capturing the workings from below. Quite difficult to get the idea in such a small space. The main post is the wood with the crack in it and around it is the circular wooden structure that does the turning.

post in mill

Below is a windmill sail and the view from the site:

sailview from windmill

In the centre of the village is the market cross. It is not known when the cross was carved or if this is indeed the original cross but a cross is thought to have been on this site in the village since the 1200s. The earliest mention of a cross at Stevington is in the Hundred Roll of 1279. The design of the present Cross indicates it is of 13th century origin. The base and steps were repaired in 1888.


The building for  sale behind the cross is what used to be the other village pub, The Red Lion.

We followed the road past the stone cross to get to the village church – the church of St Mary the Virgin:

St Mary Virgin

We couldn’t go into the church as it was closed, but we could see that there was a very old, roofless, derelict part to it. This apparently dates to the early 10th century – and the church does have a Norman look to it.

The church has what is known as a Holy Well – it is outside of the church walls and you have to go down a track to find it. It is probably a spring, but it has never been known to freeze or fail in times of drought.  In the Middle Ages various miraculous powers were ascribed to the waters, particularly in respect to curing ailments of the eyes. It has been suggested by some researchers that the waters may have been the site of earlier veneration, possibly dating back to the Iron Age. The area around the well is protected as there is a proliferation of Petasites Hybridus, a plant commonly known as Butterbur, so named because its leaves were commonly used to wrap butter in times past. I managed to get myself nettled taking the photo, but we found a dock leaf at hand to soothe the sting.

The Holy Well:

Holy Well

The Bedfordshire villages are very pretty – but in quite a different way to those of the Norfolk villages. The old stone is a lovely honey colour – very like the Cotswold stone. Here is a selection of the houses that we liked in Stevington:

What to do with an old car…



We left Stevington and passed through Pavenham and Felmersham and by the time we got to Odell it was definitely Lunchtime. We were all pretty hungry as the time had run past us and it was getting on for 2.30 by the time we reached a likely looking pub that was advertising food:

Pub no food

Doesn’t it look lovely? The menu was very tempting as well – but sadly, after serving our drinks , they told us that the kitchen had closed at 2pm! So four rumbling tums got back in the car to search out somewhere that didn’t put a time limit on when you could eat.

Next to view on the journey in search of food were Harrold, Carlton and Turvey – Turvey is simply gorgeous but the need for food prevented us stopping to take photos – and then on to Olney where we were assured that there were lots of unusual little shops and eating places:

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As you can see Olney is actually in Buckinghamshire and holds the title of best kept town.  Olney is a popular tourist destination and is best known for its Pancake Race which we saw advertised.


(picture from wikipedia – mine didn’t come out too well!)

First mentioned as Ollanege (Olla’s island) in 932, the town has a history as a lace-making centre. The place, later called Olnei was held in 1086 AD by Bishop Geoffrey of Coutances as its overlord, according to the Domesday Book.

During the English Civil War, Olney was the site of the Battle of Olney Bridge on November 4, 1643, in which Royalist forces attacked the Parliamentarian forces holding Olney Bridge. The Parliamentarian forces held the bridge, and the remaining Royalists  retreated.

The bridge for which the battle is named remains to this day. A memorial to the dead can be found on the site – sadly, we didn’t know about this, so didn’t go looking for it.

In the late 18th century, William Cowper and John Newton collaborated here on what became known as the Olney Hymns. John Newton, author of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’  was curate of Olney and is buried here. His guest was William Cowper (English poet and hymnodist (1731–1800)). The town has the Cowper and Newton Museum dedicated to them. The museum was adapted from Cowper’s former residence, which was given to the town in 1905 by the publisher William Hill Collingridge (who had been born in the house). Newton was succeeded as curate in Olney by the biblical commentator Thomas Scott (1747–1821).

We found a lovely little cafe called The Courtyard, situated in a delightful little courtyard, where we got some delicious food at very reasonable prices. They did have Olney pancakes on offer but by the time we’d eaten the generous portions we were served, everybody was too full to sample one!

Part of the pretty courtyard:


Some of the buildings and sights around Olney:




12th June 2017

We brought with us a ‘summer’ case and a ‘winter’ case because we didn’t want to take 2 cases on the plane to Ireland. So, we took the winter case to Ireland and left the summer case with our daughter, Jenni, until we got back to Runcorn. We then left the winter case with her and took the summer case with us for the months of June and July while we are in Bedford and Glasgow. First day or so in Bedford was glorious weather. Then it got cold – and it rained – and it rained some more – and the wind blew – and we only had the summer case. All the wrong clothes. But, to be fair, even if I’d had a raincoat with me I still wouldn’t have gone out in the downpours we had, so we’ve had a week of chilling out. David has a lot of music in the house, so we’ve listened to some of that, read, watched tv and generally had some r&r.

Finally, the weather has brightened up and my Mum and Dad have timed their visit to us well, so we managed to get out and have a proper look at what’s around us.

A prominent feature of the town centre is the sculpture ‘Reflections of Bedford’ by Rick Kirby. Two enormous faces, 5 metres high stare at each other almost nose to nose at the entrance of the pedestrian precinct. It represents the diversity of ethnic backgrounds in the town and its links with brick and lace. The faces are etched with designs of brick and lace at the front (facing the high street). The backs are plain. It was apparently quite controversial when it was first erected – but that’s often the case with public works of art. As a visitor to the town I was quite impressed with it.

The river that runs through Bedford is the Great Ouse. The locals seem to refer to it just as the Ouse which made me wonder if it was the same Ouse that York stands on. It isn’t. Apparently there are several rivers called Ouse – this is the longest of them and, at 143 miles, one of the longest rivers in the UK –  and the name comes from a Celtic or possibly pre-Celtic word that means simply ‘water’ or ‘slow-flowing river’. Its best known tributary is the Cam which flows through Cambridge.

The Great Ouse has been historically important for commercial navigation, and for draining the low-lying region through which it flows. Its lower course passes through drained wetlands and fens and has been extensively modified, or channelised, to relieve flooding and provide a better route for barge traffic. Though the unmodified river probably changed course regularly after floods, it now enters the Wash after passing through the port of Kings Lynn south of its earliest-recorded route to the sea.

We had a lovely walk along the embankment today. The area is very pretty and well-kept and obviously well used by the locals. There are loads of swans on the river. More than I have ever seen in one place before.

Swans on the Great Ouse:


The War Memorial

War Memorial

The sculptor Charles Sargent Jagger was commissioned in 1920 to create this memorial which was unveiled on 20th July 1922. Although it was initially created to commemorate the men of Bedford who died in the First World War, it has since become the town’s main war memorial and now also marks the Second World War, the Korean War and subsequent conflicts.

The armour-clad warrior figure is made from white Carrera marble and is named ‘Justice Armed’. When it was completed, the sculptor visited the town to see its proposed location and was told the story of a great 10th century battle thought to have taken place in the area between the Mercians , led by Queen Aethelflaed and the invading Danes. This story had an immediate appeal to him and he felt it appropriate to encompass it into the design. He decided to rework the figure revealing pigtails and softening the face so that its appearance was changed from male to female.

We ended our Sunday stroll at a local hostelry and enjoyed a lunch before returning home to sit in the sunshine in the garden.

4th June 2017

Home exchange number 6 is in Kempston, Bedford. We arrived feeling pretty tired late on Thursday night (June 1st) and we’re here until the 23rd. Our time in Runcorn was busy, busy, busy. Every spare minute spent with family and grandchildren. Our time with them is limited so we made the most of every moment – hence not much in the way of blog updates for that period. If I had the time, I didn’t have the energy and if I had the energy I was doing something else!! Had a great time with everybody and we’ll be back there in July.

We did manage to revisit Speke Hall while there. I can’t remember the last time we went. I do remember going by bus with a friend when I was about 15 or 16 (it was a very long walk from the bus stop!!) and we walked around the gardens with Grahams Mum and Dad when Jenni was a baby, but other than that…it’s the old adage; if it’s on your doorstep, you don’t do it.

Speke Hall

Speke Hall

It’s a lovely old place – I’d forgotten how much charm it has. The 2 big trees in the courtyard known as Adam and Eve estimated to be around 500 years old. Curious features such as the Priest’s Hole and the Eavesdrop where a maid would look and listen to make sure whoever was at the door was welcome.

We listened to a fascinating talk on the mores and morals of a Georgian gentleman when in London. The heiress married one such gentleman who spent a lot of time in London. Gentlemen those days could buy a book which listed the addresses, skills and talents, and prices of the current ‘ladies of the night’. The ‘ladies’ themselves were referred to merely as Miss S or Miss A. Can you imagine? It had it’s downside though as they were all pox-ridden and syphilis was rife! The symptoms of which you don’t really want to think about.

Spent a lot of time with these 3 – Anaya, Kit and Lucas in that order:

And now here we are in David and Ellie’s house in Bedford:



We arrived by train on Thursday night – easy journey. Runcorn to Crewe and then the Milton Keynes train from the same platform. Only took just over 2 hours. Then a taxi from Milton Keynes station to the house. Friday was shopping and unpacking and getting ourselves organised. It was also our anniversary (38 years) and David had recommended us some restaurants. We chose a Thai and there was a lovely old pub over the road – The Flower Pot – that had live music, so we returned there after the meal and had a great night.

Saturday and Sunday have been chill out days. A bit of time to take a breath and catch up with ourselves. Lots of places to go and things to see around here, so we have a list….

And finally – a happy 2nd birthday to Lucas who has gone to Gulliver’s World today with family and friends.






22nd May 2017

Visited Dunham Massey today. Another one I never got around to when I lived in the area. Lovely house – very authentic. It’s pretty much as it was left when the last owner died and left it to the nation. This was because he had no male heirs and death duties would probably have meant the break up of the estate. Everything in the house belongs there. Some items – particularly the silverware – have been traced and brought back, but there is nothing in there that doesn’t belong.

At the time we were there, there was an exhibition telling something about the life of the 7th earl – who had a knack for choosing women that were not acceptable to society at the time. The first was a servant’s daughter whom he met whilst at Cambridge university and the second was a former circus performer!

There has been a building on the site since Norman times, so there’s a lot of history there.

The house:


The deer which roam freely outside.

I didn’t take many photos inside the house but thought this chandelier in the dining room was wonderful:


The Fountain


A sculpture


500 year old tree…

500 yr tree

Some tangled trees…

Tangled Trees

And a handkerchief tree:

Handkerchief Tree

The swans – the female on her nest and the male grooming himself:

The cottages below are tied cottages occupied by staff members. The one on the left of the picture was the chauffeurs cottage – his youngest daughter, Dorothy, continued to live in it until 1998.

Davenport Cottage

The dog kennels – would probably house 2 families comfortably!

Dog Kennels

We finished the day with a meal in the new pub/restaurant in Runcorn – The Ten Lock Flight (something to do with locks on canals maybe?) and the cinema – Alien Covenant.

17th May 2017

Already we are up to exchange number 5 out of 11. We are now in Natalie and Gary’s house (daughter and son-in-law) in Runcorn, Cheshire while they are in our place in Spain having a holiday. We’ve had some lovely pictures of the boys enjoying themselves. Look forward to seeing many more.

I have to admit I am seriously missing the Spanish sunshine. We’ve currently been here 42 days and had 4 nice ones. Less than 10%. I do hope it cheers up a bit soon.

Just before I move on, though, to Runcorn things, I realise I never posted the pictures I took of Wymondham (pronounced Windam) which was the local small town when we were in Norfolk. It’s a lovely, old village with a lot of history. There’s a very nice lady there, a quilter, called Georgette who does walks and talks around the town on the first Wednesday and Friday of the month. I had taken some pictures but we intended to do her walk so I didn’t post them. I wanted to post them with the information I got from the walk. Sadly, we never got to do it. I wanted to do the one on the Friday, but put my back out on Thursday, so couldn’t move on the Friday, never mind walk!

So, here are some belated shots of Wymondham:

Info centre

The Information centre. This building is the market cross. The original was destroyed by a great fire that happened in 1615 and this was built in its place between 1617 and 1618. It was built stilted to protect valuable documents from both floods and vermin. There is a story that says that live rats were nailed to the side of the building by their tails to act as a deterrent. The practise was stopped when a child was bitten and died of blood poisoning as a result.



The 900 year old abbey

Green Dragon1

The 14th century Green Dragon where we had a Sunday lunch.

Old house

Two medieval houses.

Tiny House

And a very small house!!

So those are the last pictures from Norfolk. Now on to Runcorn…

First trip here was to Quarry Bank. All the years I lived in this area, I never managed to visit there. Always the way, isn’t it? If it’s on your doorstep you don’t do it. And all the miles of cotton fabric and thread I’ve used in my life I never knew how it was made. Obviously I knew the basics but to see it being done and to learn of the sheer hard labour – and danger – that people (including children) went through in the past to produce it was quite humbling.

A picture of the mill building itself. It’s not terribly clear, but it’s the only one I got:

Quarry Bank

We saw different methods of spinning from the very basic single home spinner where 8 hours of spinning produced only enough thread for 1 hour of weaving, to the Spinning Jenny (below), which heralded the start of the industrial revolution, to the huge ring and mule spinners that spun hundreds of threads at once. We saw all of these in action. Fascinating – especially to someone who loves working with cotton cloth and thread as much as I do.

Spinning Jenny

The picture below shows 580 warp threads going to one of the engine-driven looms.

580 warp threads

An old hand-weaving loom. It doesn’t actually look much different to the ones I’ve seen for sale today. Hand weaving loom

Some interesting facts about cotton and its production:

  •  Because wool had been the staple cloth of England, cotton was seen as an intruder that was taking business away from the wool traders. Women were actually attacked in the streets if they were seen wearing it.
  • For some of the simple repetitive jobs done in the home, children as young as 4 were considered old enough to work at them.
  • Children as young as 9 years old were used as ‘scavengers’, ducking under the working mule spinners to remove fluff and lint from the floor that may cause a fire if left. They had to get in and out quickly so as not to get caught in the machinery as it moved back. Quite a few were maimed or killed in the process!

If you haven’t been and get a chance to go, do. The guides and demonstrators are very knowledgeable. There are also gardens there to look around but as it was tippling down, we gave that part a miss!

And just as a parting shot – the Cromptons managed to get a mention again…






11th May 2017

While we were sitting having a little drinkie last night, the house phone rang. Graham answered it and had a conversation with the lady on the other end. We have no idea who she was but she recommended that we go to Bressingham Gardens, which she said was fairly local and worth seeing. So we made that today’s trip.

The site has several narrow gauge rail lines and a number of types of steam engines and vehicles in its collection and is also the home of the national Dad’s Army exhibition. I have to admit, I never really watched Dad’s Army as it was aired mostly during my disco-dancing years – and I was never in, so I didn’t watch much at that time! So that part of it didn’t mean all that much to me, but the rest was good.

Lots of information about the history of steam, how it worked and what it was used for – to supply power to factories and hospitals as well as powering the steam trains that we all know about.

In the collection of engines are royal steam trains all kitted out with comfortable furniture, beds, bathrooms etc. The train that was used in the recent Tarzan movie, Travelling Post Office trains fitted with sorting equipment so that the postmen could get the mail ready for delivery on route, steam rollers, working trains you can have a ride on and (best of all!) a steam-powered bobby horse carousel.

Some information about the impact of the introduction of stationary engines:  The introduction of the stationary steam engine coincided with, and was a part of, a revolution that saw the change away from an agricultural economy to an industrial one.  The process led to many people working in factories who had previously worked on the land, or in their own home-based industries. The stationary steam engine played an important role in this, since it ran on a non-natural power that was not tied to its location and was capable of running a large number of machines off one engine. The large investment involved in setting up a steam-powered factory meant that engines ran continuously so as to be at their most economic. Employees, including children, worked a 15-hour day and were fined for any act that wasted time. The reductions in labour costs per item that the machines brought led to an increase in trade as products became cheaper. 

A stationary steam engine

Steam 4

The engine below provided the electricity at St. Andrew’s Hospital in Norwich:

Steam 5

Here are some of the other engines we saw:

Steam 1

Steam 2

Steam 5

And some trains:

TRain 1

Train 2

And the train used in the Tarzan movie – complete with ‘cosmetic dust’ to make it look the part:

Tarzan train

The Carousel

The Victorian Steam Gallopers Roundabout is Bressingham Steam’s Centrepiece and one of the finest sets to be seen anywhere. Built by Savage’s of King’s Lynn in 1897 and then rebuilt by Savage’s with a new centre engine in 1900.  It was owned and operated by the Thurston family of Norfolk until 1934. It was later operated for 6 years at Whitley Bay by Mr Hickey.

The centre engine, originally built by Tidman’s of Norfolk has been completely rebuilt and fitted by Bressingham engineers. The Gallopers organ is a 48 keyless Bruder-built Chiappa. The set came to Bressingham in 1967 and is an ongoing restoration project.

The Carousel


The workroom

Beauty pARLOUR

And a carousel horse being beautified:


Here’s a bit of food for thought. Has our postal system progressed in these modern times? Or not…

post fact

And look at this slogan on the Butcher’s van:


Families waited upon daily…..how nice would that be? I sometimes get the impression that some businesses slogans should be – Do it Our Way or Do Without!

And a lovely old fire engine. This is one that was used in the Dad’s Army series:

Fire engine

Fire engine 2

The Gardens

The gardens at Bressingham were established by Alan Bloom (Mr. Bloom, the Gardener?) who was a plant expert of international renown, particularly in the field of hardy perennials. There are several gardens to look at and all are wonderful. He laid out the Dell Garden with its island beds and his son, Adrian laid out the Foggy Bottom garden.

The gardens cover 220 acres and are a real pleasure to walk through. Very imaginatively done, wonderful mix of plants with regard to height, colour and season and even a giant sequoia and a redwood that were grown from seed.

Just a few pictures:

Garden 1

garden 2

garden 3Garden 4

And just to give you a chuckle – we didn’t actually want to go on the fair, but if we had…