Yesterday Mum and I went on another trip with our lovely friends from Red Bus Days Out, but this time it was a bit different. We didn’t travel many miles – maybe 30 at the most – but we went on three different sorts of transport and spent some time back in the 1940s.
It started out as usual when Red Bus picked us up in our village with their big modern coach and took us to Embsay, near Skipton, home of the Embsay Railway which was having a 1940s weekend. A steam train was waiting at the platform to take us on the pretty journey to Bolton Abbey station five miles away, but unfortunately it started to rain and so we didn’t see the beautiful scenery at its best.
When we got off the train, Red Bus had a lovely vintage coach waiting to take us on to Bolton Abbey village, which is quite a way from the station. As the coach was made in 1949, it was a year younger than Mum and so she thought it was a bit rude to call it vintage, but she did think it looked nice with all the bunches of white roses along the ends of the seats.
I was quite excited about going to Bolton Abbey itself as Mum used to go there quite often when she was a little girl and she’d told me all about it. She said that, as well as the famous ruins, there was a big river with stepping stones and lots of lovely places that a little bear might enjoy walking in. But the rain that had started at Embsay just kept coming down. This meant we had to go to a tea-room instead and take our time eating a cheese-and-tomato toastie and a big slice of orange-and- poppy-seed cake, before making a quick dash across the road to look through a gap in the wall at the places we’d planned to walk to.
The vintage coach then came to take us back to Bolton Abbey station where there were lots of people dressed in 1940s outfits. Many of them were soldiers and I think we saw more “American generals” than they have in the US Army. The Home Guard had set up camp and there was a man on the platform singing songs from the period. There were also stalls selling vintage clothes and accessories. But my favourite was the waiting room where there was a real fire and three gigantic bears – even bigger than my enormous brother Rupert! – sitting on a wooden bench collecting money towards the restoration of a saddle-tank loco called Wheldale. I sat on the smallest one’s knee and had my photo taken, but even he was so big that I just look like a little pale dot.
Because of the rain, the busiest spot on the station was the cafe, where Mum had to have another cup of tea and another big slice of cake before the train arrived to take us back to Embsay and our coach back to the present day.
Follow my next blog: 04. Visitors From America