Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Road and Rail - 11 September 2011

We have very vivid memories of watching 9/11 live on TV, as we were new to the UK, and happened to be home, unemployed and unusually had the TV going in daytime. But while the rest of the Western World were remembering 9/11, we were a world away on Sunday with a group of Y Type MG owners. These cars were designed before and built after WWII, so started out in turbulent times.

The day started at the Stondon Transport Museum, one of the largest private collections of cars in the country. It's amazing how many collections there are around the country. This one had a very wide variety of items; cars, bikes, trucks, buses and the slightly more obscure such as a Russian ballistic missile, a Flying Flea, a 1920 street sweeper and a gypsy caravan. But probably, most surprising of all, was a life size replica of Captain Cook's Endeavor, built from the original plans.

An interesting route took us via picturesque villages and minor roads, including one that said 'Not suitable for motor vehicles', a great pub lunch at The Globe, to the Steam Trains at Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway.

This rail track was used for sand excavation from the many pits around Leighton Buzzard. Prior to WWII, sand was brought to the UK as ballast, but this was not possible during the war, so sand pits known from as long ago as Roman times, were developed and sand is still exported from here. In particular filtration sand from this area is exported all over the world.

After a ride on the train, there was time for a coffee and we managed to dodge the black rain clouds all the way home, as the remnants of Hurricane Katia edged to northern parts of the UK.

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