Friday, 4 July 2008

Barrow Hill Rale Ale Festival

Barrow Hill Rale Ale Festival, May 17th 2008.

A highlight of the year if you like the smell of anthracite, oily-steam, soot and coal-smoke with your cider or ale. Barrow Hill is the home of a steam railway
locomotive preservation group, and comprises the workshops and engine shed, including a round table. Sorry to disillusion those with an imagination full of
chivalrous antics and hirsute men in clanky armour, but this round table is the sort that was used to turn around real trains - those that lived on a diet of coal and water, and spoke in a voice rich of huffs, puffs and clanks.
Eeh, when I were a lad...

We travelled by train from Hucknall to Nottingham on the Robin Hood Line and then caught the train to Chesterfield; here we were picked up by vintage buses which took you up the hill out of Chesterfield towards the cluster of houses north-east of the town which bear the same name as the roundhouse. Which came first...?

When you enter the shed, the first thing that greets you is the immense bulk and brooding power of "Blue Peter", along side which are arranged the rows of casks of ales. Those of you who remember Peter Purves and Valerie Singleton, will also remember seeing this wonderful loco being celebrated on the BBC TV programme "Blue Peter". However, we had come along for the cider and perry selection, which has always been good - and this year was no different. Young Chris Gascoyne had a big hand in this year's collection of goodies and we enjoyed working our way through them all (apart from the sickly-sweet of course!).

To make the cider last longer - and so slow down the rate at which I was getting through it - a straw was procured which was very useful. That is until a certain Andy tied a knot in it... Must remember to ask Julie to keep him on a shorter rein...


Hairy biker said...

Is the red blob I see next to your thumb a squashed cherry by any chance??

Ray & Gail said...

Nah, its a submerged red umbrella, coming up for air.