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THERE ARE FACES I REMEMBER .......

 

I'm a non-commercial photographer, and much of my work is of personal interest only. However, I often take people photographs for charitable and other not-for-profit organisations in Northampton, to help with their promotion. People photography is in fact my over-riding interest because, apart from animals, it is only people that convey emotion, feelings, and spirit: for me, photography is about those things.

 

The photographs I take of people could be categorised simply as either in a studio, or, out of a studio.

 

The 'advantage' of studio shots is that the photographer is (theoretically) in control of all aspects of the shoot, including choice of model for the specific purpose (such as fashion, punk or goth, or tasteful nude).

My preference is very much for moody black & white, and, artistic images, and I admire work by (eg) Cecil Beaton, David Bailey, John Swannell, and Barry Lategan amongst others.

Unfortunately though, I've done little of this style of photography lately, so it doesn't feature prominently on this site.

 

Photographs I take out of a studio use whatever combination of elements (eg people, weather, locations) that are present at the time. They could be sub-grouped into headings such as environmental portraits, street photography, reportage, or even photojournalism, etc. The images that I include in the category could be taken anywhere that the subjects frequent, such as home, work, at leisure, whilst travelling, etc, etc, and they could be taken in the UK or elsewhere in the world.

Although many photographers would disagree with me, I'd say that the border between the non-studio groups is often so blurred as to be meaningless. To further upset the purists, I should also make clear that I do not accept that street photography must be candid: if the subject / object is in or is visible from a place frequented by the public, and the elements have not been set up for the purpose of the shot, that is street photography as far as I'm concerned (in one or more of its guises). So sorry to all you dogmatists and bigots, but my opinion is just as valid as yours!

 

In these categories, I admire work by (eg) Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassai, Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, Don McCullin, and Steve McCurry amongst others. However, I also watch with envy the work of two rising stars: Chris Kingsford-Curram, &, Lee Welton.

 

....... IN MY LIFE, I'VE LOVED THEM ALL.

(with apologies to John Lennon & Paul McCartney).

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10 September 2019

Statfold Barn Road, Rail & Ale Event 2019

I believe that the Statfold Barn Railway has expanded its range of open days this year, and that the Road, Rail & Ale event on 6th, 7th & 8th of September, was one of its recent additions: I certainly don't recall it from 2018 anyway.

 

Had there been such an event in the past, the ale part of the event would have been ... read more

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4 September 2019

Leicester Pride 2019

The 2019 Leicester Pride took place at Victoria Park on 31 August.

 

It's not one to match the size and importance of Brighton, London, Birmingham or Manchester, and it's relatively sparse re the number of extravagant, flambuoyant individuals. However, there's still enough to make it a great day, with ... read more

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25 August 2019

Giles Duley at De Montfort University, Leicester

I attended an illustrated talk by humanitarian and conflict photographer Giles Duley, at De Montfort University, Leicester, on 22 August 2019.

 

Even though I knew nothing of Giles beforehand, I will never forget him from now on. That's because ... read more

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18 August 2019

People Power Passion etc at Luton

In keeping with my aim of photographing different things where possible this year, I decided to give Luton a try on 17 August. The initial inspiration was actually to visit an exhibition gallery, called the Departure Lounge, to see its current offering 'Back Catalogue'. However, the plan was to then ... read more

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12 August 2019

Blisworth Canal Festival 2019

The 9th annual Blisworth Canal Festival took place on Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th August, and I visited on the Sunday. I've attended a couple of times before, but after a very unpleasant experience ... read more

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30 July 2019

Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival 2019

The 35th Birmingham, Sandwell and Westside Jazz Festival took place from Friday 19 until Sunday 28 July. There were around 200 gigs, mostly free, and featured some of the biggest names of the jazz genre, such as ... read more

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21 July 2019

Leicester magic Of Thailand Festival 2019

The first ever Leicester Magic of Thailand Festival took place on 20 & 21 July 2019, in Victoria Park. It consisted in effect of lots of Thai food stalls, some Thai 'traditional' craft-type stalls, and a number of stage and ringed performances. Those performances included ... read more

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8 July 2019

NorthamptonTown Festival, and East Hunsbury Village Fete, 2019

The 2 Tones headlined the Northampton Town Festival music stage on 7 July 2019. They immediately followed on from Lunaxis, with the amazing voice of Carly Loasby.

 

Apart from the 2 Tones' hyperactive set itself, most notable was the ... read more

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1 July 2019

Northampton Armed Forces Day 2019

As with most of the UK, Armed Forces Day was celebrated in Northampton on 29 June.

 

The obligatory parade started from the top of Abington Street, travelling the short distance down to the Market Square. It then took the salute as it circled past the ... read more

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28 June 2019

Lou Boileau photography event at Royal & Derngate, August 2019

I had a pleasant surprise today, when I found out that local Northampton professional photographer Lou Boileau will be holding an event at the Royal & Derngate theatre on 1 August. Lou will show a selection of his images, and tell the stories behind them. In addition, he will be in discussion with BBC ... read more

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22 June 2019

Northampton Music Festival 2019

The 12th annual Northampton Music Festival took place in the town centre, on Sunday 16th June, 2019. It's a superb free  event, with a wide cross-section of music genres spread over 6 venues.

 

Unfortunately, the 'jazz' stage was a disappointment for me, with much of ... read more

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9 June 2019

Nazim Choudary, 779th Mayor of Northampton

Councillor Nazim Choudary, the 779th Mayor of Northampton, with representatives of his chosen charity The Lowdown.

 

 

The Lowdown is a ... read more

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9 June 2019

Northampton County Beer Festival 2019

The 2019 Northampton County Beer Festival was held at Becket's Park, between the River Nene and the town centre, from Friday 31st May until the Sunday.

 

Photos were taken on 1st June, and show ... read more

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9 June 2019

A new blog for a new website.

I'm starting this new attempt to build a blog with no promises regarding its longevity. I've tried twice before (on my previous site RobBolerShootsPeople.com), and both have ended in tears, so this one is in hope rather than expectation. Perhaps the fact that I'm making no promises will help it to survive though, as I'm putting less pressure on myself that way.

 

One thing I wanted to emphasise in this first posting, is the fact that this new site is ... read more

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9 June 2019

A new blog for a new website.

I'm starting this new attempt to build a blog with no promises regarding its longevity. I've tried twice before (on my previous site RobBolerShootsPeople.com), and both have ended in tears, so this one is in hope rather than expectation. Perhaps the fact that I'm making no promises will help it to survive though, as I'm putting less pressure on myself that way.

 

One thing I wanted to emphasise in this first posting, is the fact that this new site is (hopefully) mobile-friendly. That's been necessary because most website-access is carried out that way nowdays, but also because Google has apparently decided that mobile-friendly sites will appear higher up in its search results.

 

Anyway, it's now in business, on an ad-hoc rather than frequent / regular basis, so please give it a try.

 

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9 June 2019

Northampton County Beer Festival 2019

The 2019 Northampton County Beer Festival was held at Becket's Park, between the River Nene and the town centre, from Friday 31st May until the Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos were taken on 1st June, and show Arran, Karnal, and Paul. They're my three partners in boozing crime, with each showing their unique brand of contempt, knowing that they were to make up this rogue's gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The friends of Becket's Park (known as the Buddies of Becket's) have made amazing strides in the last two or three years to improve the place, with the result that an increasing number of outdoor events have made it their go-to venue. All credit to both the park and the event promoters.

 

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9 June 2019

Nazim Choudary, 779th Mayor of Northampton

Councillor Nazim Choudary, the 779th Mayor of Northampton, with representatives of his chosen charity The Lowdown.

 

 

The Lowdown is a counselling, sexual health and LGBTQ support service offering a free and confidential service six days a week to children and young adults in distress or experiencing crisis.

Photo was taken at an event at the town's historic Guildhall on 6th June 2019, where the Mayor was able to meet various sections of the community. Obviously, it was a great honour and privilege to be allowed to attend.

 

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22 June 2019

Northampton Music Festival 2019

The 12th annual Northampton Music Festival took place in the town centre, on Sunday 16th June, 2019. It's a superb free  event, with a wide cross-section of music genres spread over 6 venues.

 

Unfortunately, the 'jazz' stage was a disappointment for me, with much of what I think is called 'funk' rather than what I would call jazz: certainly not trad jazz anyway.

Making up for a trad jazz deficiency however, were outstanding performances on the main stage from Lunaxis, Kings Gambit, and the headlining Blockheads. (And luckily, I got my trad jazz fix a few days later, when I saw Edinburgh's brilliant Tenement Jazz Band at The Walnut Tree, Blisworth).

 

The photo features the charismatic Norman Watt-Roy, bass guitarist of The Blockheads, obligingly looking straight into the lens. The Blockheads originally backed the sadly-deceased Ian Dury, but is a great band in its own right, putting on a storming show.

 

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28 June 2019

Lou Boileau photography event at Royal & Derngate, August 2019

I had a pleasant surprise today, when I found out that local Northampton professional photographer Lou Boileau will be holding an event at the Royal & Derngate theatre on 1 August. Lou will show a selection of his images, and tell the stories behind them. In addition, he will be in discussion with BBC Radio Northampton broadcaster John Griff, talking about the trials & tribulations of being a pro tog in a world that's challenging (to say the least) for anyone trying to earn a crust in that line of work.

 

I first became aware of Lou several years ago. He had a studio / print sales outlet in The Ridings Arcade, that joins St Giles Street to The Ridings in the town centre. I said to him how surprised I was to find a pro, who does much work in London, opening premises in Northampton. He said that he was local, and would give it a go. Not long afterwards though, the place had gone.

 

Fast forward to November 2018, when I went into the White Hart pub in Far Cotton: I was amazed to see the walls adorned with lots of portrait photos, mostly famous people such as Rik Mayall, David Suchet and Norman Wisdom. I asked the landlord, and he said they were by the very same Lou Boileau. Not only that, but Lou was holding a party at the pub the following week (I can't remember why unfortunately), at which further work would be on show, and to which I was invited.

 

At the event, I discovered that Lou had recently opened up again in that same town centre arcade, and he told me that if I kept an eye on its window display, I'd see notice of upcoming activities. Well, I've been doing that for 7 months now, to no avail, but today I struck gold.

 

Narturally, I can't wait, and I encourage anyone with an interest in people photography to do the same: it will be an eye-opening, rewarding, and fulfilling experience. Contact Lou via info@louboileau.com or 0781 738 5780.

 

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1 July 2019

Northampton Armed Forces Day 2019

As with most of the UK, Armed Forces Day was celebrated in Northampton on 29 June.

 

The obligatory parade started from the top of Abington Street, travelling the short distance down to the Market Square. It then took the salute as it circled past the Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire David Laing, mayor Nazim Choudary, Northamptonshire County Council chairman Stephen Legg, and The High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, Nicholas Robertson. 

Another circuit of Market Square was followed by a short speech from the Lord-Lieutenant. Unfortunately for him though, I'm not sure too many people were swayed by his valiant attempt to counter the despondency and despair that pervades the town.

 

A selection of relevant side-stalls kept the attention of attendees, in conjunction with music from pipe & military bands, and, an enthusiastic young rock & roller Hayden Regan. The main attraction for me however, was obviously the chance to snap a few of the interesting-looking characters.

 

The photo shows a member of the Nene Valley Pipe Band taking a well-earned drink following one of the band's sets in the baking heat.

 

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8 July 2019

NorthamptonTown Festival, and East Hunsbury Village Fete, 2019

The 2 Tones headlined the Northampton Town Festival music stage on 7 July 2019. They immediately followed on from Lunaxis, with the amazing voice of Carly Loasby.

 

Apart from the 2 Tones' hyperactive set itself, most notable was the arrival of joint main vocalist Gav. Rushing onto stage at The Racecourse venue, apparently straight from a dash down from Edinburgh, he arrived 25 minutes after the band was due to start. A feasible explanation for their drawn-out 'sound-check' I suspect.

In the main arena, notable performances during our stay came from Wayne Vendors Wheel and The Devil's Horsemen.

 

Visiting the festival was a relaxing way to end the weekend. That's because I had been 'working' on Saturday 6th as the 'official photographer' for East Hunsbury Parish Council, at the inaugural East Hunsbury Village Fete.

 

The fete was genuinely a fantastic success, far larger and busier than what you might expect for a first year. I won't name names of the individual organisers, as I may offend by accidentally omitting some. Suffice to say however, that it was organised to a standard that even a commercial event business would find hard to beat. It will be interesting to see how the Parish Council can top the 2019 event next year.

 

My contribution was to rush around for an exhausting 4 hours, shooting as much as possible of the goings-on. Lots of the time I was photographing kids busying themselves, but two specific activities I had to record were the victoria-sponge 'Bake Off' competition result, and, the dog-show judging. In comparison to the doggy work, I can tell you that taking pics of kids is a piece of victoria-sponge!

 

Unfortunately, I can't publish any pics from the afternoon, as they were commissioned by East Hunsbury Parish Council. I can say however, that I did get what I feel are a few gems. Fingers and toes crossed that EHPC is happy when they see them!

 

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21 July 2019

Leicester magic Of Thailand Festival 2019

The first ever Leicester Magic of Thailand Festival took place on 20 & 21 July 2019, in Victoria Park. It consisted in effect of lots of Thai food stalls, some Thai 'traditional' craft-type stalls, and a number of stage and ringed performances. Those performances included a cooking demo, folk singing, a fellow spinning / juggling a pole that was burning at each end, Muay Thai, and Ladyboys.

The main attractions for me, the ones that I most wished to shoot of course, were the Muay Thai (a form of kick-boxing), and, the Ladyboys. As it was, I found everything that I saw to be interesting, although the Ladyboys act was a bit 'tamer' than I expected. For 'tamer', read cleaner, and it would be good to see them perform later at night I suspect. What was particularly surreal about the Muay Thai, was to see that one of their stars, a 26-year old world champion, was still sporting pink-painted toenails, even as she was kicking the **** out of one of her fellow fighters.

 

Overall then, it was a reasonable afternoon, and I'll keep an eye open for what it offers next year.

 

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30 July 2019

Birmingham, Sandwell & Westside Jazz Festival 2019

The 35th Birmingham, Sandwell and Westside Jazz Festival took place from Friday 19 until Sunday 28 July. There were around 200 gigs, mostly free, and featured some of the biggest names of the jazz genre, such as Digby Fairweather and Val Wiseman. My own main jazz interest is 'trad', and with many different versions of the jazz genre available, I chose gigs sparingly.

Many venues were typical, such as pubs, restaurants and clubs. However, in making the festival as inclusive and accessible as possible, there were more unusual locations, such as libraries, a shopping centre, a retirement village, and, the one shown in the image, Lee Longlands high-class furniture store. That specific venue was much-appreciated by both the Tenement Jazz Band and the audience, with free champagne the icing on the cake.

 

Apart from the festival being a fantastic mostly-free offering of top-notch entertainment, one thing that stood out for me was finding out that Festival Director, Jim Simpson, was the first manager of Black Sabbath. Very interesting, because I was in the same class at Holte Grammar-Commercial School, Aston, with Sabbath's Terence 'Geezer' Butler. Not that Geezer would remember me, or want to, as I once hit him in the face (accidentally) with a stiff-leather school satchel, making his nose bleed. But, it's always nice for no-bodies like me to name-drop, isn't it? Name-dropping apart though, the festival was an amazingly-successful achievement, and one I definitely want to attend next year.

 

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12 August 2019

Blisworth Canal Festival 2019

The 9th annual Blisworth Canal Festival took place on Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th August, and I visited on the Sunday. I've attended a couple of times before, but after a very unpleasant experience in 2015, I decided to stay away from then on. On that occasion, an arrogant and obnoxious Australian sheep-shearer accused me of being about to steal a scrap of fleece he had just cut. I complained to the organisers about him, and I'd like to think they took notice, as he was thankfully not there on the Sunday. But of course, anything could have happened in those four years.

Anyway, I've been looking for different things to photograph this year, as the novelty of events such as St Patrick's Day, London Pride, Leicester Rathayatra etc, is waning a bit. So, it was another chance for Blisworth. Not that it was a cert when I left the house mind you, as I first went to a new destination (for me), Milton Malsor Motocross.

 

I was hoping to be at Milton Malsor MX for some time, but realised I was out of my depth re getting any decent shots. The main reason I'd like to think, is that I couldn't hold a legacy Sigma 400mm lens (ie 800mm on micro 4/3) steady. That caused more than the obvious problem of camera shake, as it also made it impossible to pre-focus on a fixed point. That meant I got 99%+ out-of-focus shots, as I missed the correct instant to release the shutter, even in burst mode. Even allowing for the problems though, the visit has whetted my appetite to try again, if and when there is another meet there.

 

Back to Blisworth, nothing much has changed: the canal-side section remains a typical mix of narrow boats, various types of side stall, other transport exhibits, and some entertainment. In its favour though is the fact that it's not purely canal-based, but takes place in several locations around the village. All locals seem to participate with enthusiasm in fact, making it genuinely a village-wide effort. It's not enough to make me want to rush back next year unfortunately, but it may be a fall-back. We'll see.

 

By the way, the photo was taken with the 400mm lens, from a distance of approx 30 metres, and with slight support from a tree trunk. That was probably the success of the day, proving that the lens is pretty good. It just needs a decent tog to use it now.

 

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18 August 2019

People Power Passion, at Luton

In keeping with my aim of photographing different things where possible this year, I decided to give Luton a try on 17 August. The initial inspiration was actually to visit an exhibition gallery, called the Departure Lounge, to see its current offering 'Back Catalogue'. However, the plan was to then take a few pics, to continue testing my legacy Sigma 400mm lens.

On walking from the bus interchange to the gallery however, I noticed lots of large pictorial posters stuck to walls. All the posters were drawing attention to an event called People Power Passion, which commemorates the Peace Day riot that took place in Luton in 1919. That riot began when a celebration of the end of war turned nasty because only the well-to-do were invited, rather than any of those who actually did the dirty work.

 

People Power Passion has six parts, spread over a number of months, and I was very lucky to be in Luton on the occasion of one of those, the Justice 39 event. The title is taken from the fact that 39 poor people were arrested at the riot, and their situations were brought to life in St George's Square on Saturday by 39 young performers. All individuals were very talented, making their case with strength and conviction: I just hope now that they were not just acting, but were sincere in terms of their idealistic hopes, and don't become disillusioned as they get older, by the evils of the real world.

 

The image shows one of those budding thespians, leading a tribute to one of those arrested at the riot.

 

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25 August 2019

Giles Duley At De Montfort University, Leicester

I attended an illustrated talk by humanitarian and conflict photographer Giles Duley, at De Montfort University, Leicester, on 22 August 2019.

 

Even though I knew nothing of Giles beforehand, I will never forget him from now on. That's because he's an amazing, inspirational person, whose story should be heard by anyone feeling down, or lacking motivation to change their lives for the better.

Whilst photographing in Afghanistan in 2011, he stepped on an improvised explosive device, which blew off his two legs, and his left arm. He almost died on several occasions during both the initial rescue by American troops, and, later at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

 

Unbelievably, he pulled through, and continues to take photographs: not in actual war zones themselves of course, but in places where the knock-on effects of conflict are suffered on a daily and ongoing basis. In the hope that he can help to change the situation, he brings peoples' suffering to the minds of those who might be unaware that it's happening.

 

This is an exceptional achievement by Giles. However, it fits in well with his philosophy on life: that everyone should do what they can, little or more, to change the world. Interestingly, he believes 100% that it's within the power of each individual to effect that change, as long as they are realistic about the scope of their target. Also very interesting is the fact that Giles gave exceptional emphasis to that point at his talk, being constantly aware of how the question of whether to take, and why, has been faced many times before by one other amazing conflict tog (at least), none other than his hero Don McCullin.

 

Strangely, Giles' positive view of life seems to me to be in clear contrast to that of Don McCullin (who is also one of my own heroes by the way), who seems to have been psychologically worn down by the futility and evil of war. I think my own feelings would probably align more with McCullin to be honest, but there's no doubt in my mind that Duley's story is superbly uplifting and motivational. Go out of your way to see his talk: it could change lives.

 

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4 September 2019

Leicester Pride 2019

The 2019 Leicester Pride took place at Victoria Park on 31 August.

 

It's not one to match the size and importance of Brighton, London, Birmingham or Manchester, and it's relatively sparse re the number of extravagant, flambuoyant individuals. However, there's still enough to make it a great day, with a decent selection of stage acts, side stalls, and fairground attractions: certainly an impressive-enough list of goings-on to attract a big crowd.

The main source of photographic subjects is undoubtedly the stage audience, which gets well carried away by the numerous drag and music performances, and can't even be subdued by the foul British weather (see rain-sodden pic). And as with all Pride events, those punters seem more than willing to accomodate a nosy tog.

 

So, even though I've mentioned in a previous blog that the novelty of London Pride (eg) is waning for me, the fact that Leicester is an 'easy' bus ride away makes it more likely that I'll attend again: I'm convinced that one day in fact, Leicester Pride is where I'll get the pic that gives me my 5 minutes of fame!

 

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10 September 2019

Statfold Barn Road, Rail & Ale Event 2019

I believe that the Statfold Barn Railway has expanded its range of open days this year, and that the Road, Rail & Ale event on 6th, 7th & 8th of September, was one of its recent additions: I certainly don't recall it from 2018 anyway.

 

Had there been such an event in the past, the ale part of the event would have been the icing on the cake for me, combining with rail to offer two great attractions. However, I've managed to reign in my boozing in recent years, so it was purely the rail side that appealed.

There were numerous rail-based things of interest on the day I visited: an intense steam-loco-hauled passenger service of course, The Goose bus that is built on a Morris lorry chassis but runs on rails, the former Burton & Ashby Light Railway tram, a museum holding many of the other SBR locos, and a decent selection of rail-related side stalls. In addition, there was a steam excavator doing the business, and several steam traction engines, including one driving a log-sawing demo.

 

The only problem for me was the fact that there were long waits stuck on trains that were waiting to get through the pinch points of the layout. However, I noticed that ground works have started at Oak Tree Halt, the station at the museum and catering facilities, which I trust are related to cutting delays.

 

Overall though, it's a great place for rail fans on any of it's open days, and I'll be keeping an eye on developments there.

 

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