Sunday 31st July 2016

The grand opening of the Richard Jefferies Halt

Well that was a lot of fun! The grand opening of the Richard Jefferies Railway Halt.

I’ve mentioned often how much I love a miniature railway, or cable car or funicular or land train. So today was simply lovely. It was all a bit ‘Railway Children’ for sure! But we had flags instead of red flannel petticoats.

The Coate Water miniature railway

I’ve written before about the Coate Water Miniature railway. ‘Tis a wonderful thing and has been so since the 1960s I’m sure. But now – with the extension to the line and the addition of the Richard Jefferies Halt it’s even more fabulous fun. So all aboard, full steam ahead, toot that whistle – you get the idea!

All aboard!

Mike Pringle et al, the Swindon 175 team and Arkell’s brewery made today’s opening very special. I’m so glad I was able to attend. And ride the trains. Twice! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Not forgetting of course the volunteers on the miniature railway.

While not quite up to Disneyland Express standards the route round had been brilliantly peppered with stuffed toys of every kind, gorillas, tigers and teddys. Plus a collection of garden gnomes. A cheeky TIC nod to Disney perhaps? Brilliant fun. Well done.

Gorilla in the undergrowth - Richard Jefferies Railway Halt
Gorilla in the undergrowth

Here’s a few photos to give you a flavour:

It’s all a super homage to Jefferies and his work with references to ‘Bevis’ and ‘After London’ around the garden:

welcome sign - Richard Jefferies Railway Halt

A bit about Jefferies

“John Richard Jefferies (6 November 1848 โ€“ 14 August 1887) was an English nature writer. Jefferies was noted for his depiction of English rural life in essays, books of natural history, and novels. His childhood on a small Wiltshire farm had a great influence on him and provides the background to all his major works of fiction.

Jeffries’ corpus of writings includes a diversity of genres and topics, including Bevis (1882), a classic children’s book, and After London(1885), an early work of science fiction.

For much of his adult life, he suffered from tuberculosis. His struggles with the illness and with poverty also play a role in his writing. Jefferies valued and cultivated an intensity of feeling in his experience of the world around him. A cultivation that he describes in detail in The Story of My Heart (1883).

This work, an introspective depiction of his thoughts and feelings on the world, gained him the reputation of a nature mystic at the time. But it‘s his success in conveying his awareness of nature and people within it, both in his fiction and in essay collections such as The Amateur Poacher (1879) and Round About a Great Estate (1880), that has drawn most admirers. 

Walter Besant wrote of his reaction on first reading Jefferies: “Why, we must have been blind all our lives; here were the most wonderful things possible going on under our very noses, but we saw them not.”

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