Characters, — April 3, 2011 13:56 — 0 Comments

Train memories

I thought it a good idea, good enough to share with you. If the notion of the 36 mile round trip by bicycle to Portadown deters you, how about halving it? If you’re my age and have the Smartpass…  

(You don’t HAVE to be smart, my friend and neighbour, Joe Murphy assured me to my considerable relief, when he handed it over) you’ll get it for the cost of the bicycle carriage only. It may cost a little more than the 8d shown on the ticket below!

Cycle up to the lovely new Train Station: buy your bike ticket: embark: enjoy the trip: disembark: do a little shopping or sight-seeing: find the towpath: cycle home. Peace, perfect peace. Nice way to spend a morning.

Talking of trains, I was reminiscing with John Barry this morning of the times we used to sneak aboard the Newry-Warrenpoint train, back in the age of steam engines. There were several tactics employed, mostly too embarrassing now to detail.

The carriages were all linked and we’d spend the twenty minute journey racing back and forth: when we tired of the to-and-fro, we’d reverse it to fro-and-to. There were no guards on board (the reason we often got free passage) and we’d occasionally steal a hug and kiss from not-unwilling young maidens of our acquaintance on the way. The windows had a leather strap with holes in it to insert into a fixed pin so that ventilation could be offered. We’d let them down fully and foolishly stretch our arms out to ‘brush the leaves’ of passing trees as we hurtled by. Luckily they were always out of reach.

The dense smoke from the engine fire contained burning embers that occasionally got into our eyes. 

Did we learn? 

Never.

John Barry was one of those Meadow companions of old. He lived next door to my mate Paul McConville in Clanrye Avenue. He had an older brother Nicky who was a real character.

I’d welcome his reminiscences. If he wants to read mine, they’re all here. SEARCH ‘Meadow’, or alternatively, go to Reminiscence: School Days or Reminiscence: Places ; then ORDER alphabetically so that all Meadow stories are happily listed in sequence for you!  Anyway they are all now linked by URL (colour-highlighted) for your convenience.  There read all the Meadow stories!   And more, if you wish !

Happy memories!

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