Down The Tube. 23rd May

Chipping Norton Theatre and Hampstead Tube Station

An early start for me, I was up and away from the boat at 6:45 to catch a train to Birmingham New Street. My journey was really quite pleasant. Plenty of space on the train, I even had a table to put my model box on. As the train approached Wolverhampton I caught sight of locks on the 21, each chamber empty and waiting for someone to head up. Then on the way into Birmingham I kept catching glimpses of canals, the water looking blue and un-churned by boat propellers. I had little idea of where about’s I was on the canal network only stations giving away vague locations.

Birmingham New Street

At Birmingham, which felt deep underground, we were kept waiting for our train to hitch up to another before we could get off. This made plenty of the passengers twitchy. As I got off I quickly ducked into a recess to avoid the mad dash of those heading for other trains. My experience of carrying models, that you have spent often weeks making, around on London tubes in rush hour coming in handy. I didn’t need to rush for my next train so when all was clear I just sauntered from one platform to the next.

Train with pampas grass steam

The next train took me through Leamington Spa where the topiary steam engine was looking very good with two carriages following it with windows. Next stop was Banbury, only a couple of minutes late, not bad for the new time table. Oleanna left Banbury heading northwards in mid December last year when the cut was partially frozen over, no chance of that today, I had little need for my jumper!

Will, the Producer picked me up and we soon arrived in Chipping Norton. Lots of hellos to people before setting my model up for our meeting. Today there was the Director, Producer and Production Manager. I worked my way through panto with the model. Various small additions were talked about, a few new ideas too. Everyone liked the general setting, based on an abstract Underground station. All in all a very good meeting.

Abstract underground

Gemma, the Production Manager, and myself sat down afterwards and went through the scenery bit by bit, discussing how things could be built. Marketing came along to take a sneaky peek photo for social media. I now have a list of jobs to do before I can move onto the next stage, colouring in, but they should only take me a day.

Will dropped me back off at the station and I made my way back to Stone, via Birmingham, then onto Stoke, standing next to the stinky toilet all the way, guarding my model like a pitbull! A late arrival meant I had 2 minutes to dash through the underpass to the other platform or wait another hour for the next train back to Stone. I legged it!

Tilly had been holding the fort for much of the day as Mick had taken advantage of me being away with work and had headed to London for the day.

Why London? Well for almost a year now he has been the proud owner of a 60+ London Oyster card, which gives him free travel around London. This comes as a benefit of our contact address being in London. It took quite a while for his card to be in his possession and today was the first time he felt he could head to London to try it out.

Hampstead Tube Station

What did he do when he got there? He got on the tube and headed to the deepest station on the network, Hampstead, 192 foot below ground level. Rose to the surface in one of the lifts ( deepest lift shaft on the underground) popped into Tesco Express, bought a sandwich, went back down in the lift and caught a tube back to Euston.

If he’d have known that both trains in and out of London would be delayed by an hour, he most probably wouldn’t have done the trip. On the bright side he might just get his money back.

0 locks, 0 miles, 5 trains for me, 2 car rides, 4 trains for Mick, 1 used twice, 2 tubes, 2 chicken and bacon sandwiches (1 gluten free), 1 chicken and avocado sandwich (GF) for breakfast, 2 hours model meeting, 3 thumbs up, 2 technicians, 320 steps not climbed, 1 really boring day, 1 good roll around on the towpath, 1 grey cat!

Dusty grey in highly fashionable right now
Especially on one side of the head!

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