Two Years On
Blimey! It's two years since I returned from a 3 month contract in Switzerland and said (in my most recent blog post before this one) that now that I was back in the UK I'd be blogging more frequently!
Oops! I've been busy. What can I say?!
The short version of a rather tedious story is that two years on, and more by accident than design, I have moved out of London after 35 years of officially being based there, and returned to the city where I spent my late teens and early working life: Southampton.
I now live in a suburb of Southampton called Bursledon, and have done so for the last year. Actually, strictly speaking, I live in the village of Lowford in Bursledon, but given that the Royal Mail now refuse to recognise Lowford as a valid address, Bursledon is good enough!
Bursledon's Claims To Fame
A year after my move here I still hadn't visited the area's two biggest claims to fame: the Bursledon Windmill and the Bursledon Brickworks (which actually appears to be just over the Bursledon border in Swanwick!), touted as "the last steam driven brick works in the country".
So three weeks ago, having seen their web site advertise an Open Day about Trains! Trains! Trains!, I decided to put things right with regard to visiting the local amenities, starting with a trip to the Brickworks. My old school friend Dave Ashford and his parents came along too.
Of course Sod's Law says that the web site details proved to be incorrect (giving an incorrect date for the open day) although Dave and I had a fascinating tour of the brickworks, with an excellent volunteer guide. We learnt that there would be another open day around the subject of The Blitz, and so three weeks later I returned, as did Dave with his wife Ping and son Xiaoyu, to find it a little busier than our previous visit.
Open Day: The Blitz
On normal days the steam-driven brick works are not running because it costs about £200 to fire everything up, but today the heavy Victorian machinery was up and running. In the open forecourt at the back of the brickworks all sorts of extra activities were going on.
As well as numerous 'war time' exhibits, live entertainment was provided by the likes of the St Andrew's Pipe Band, Now That's Jive Dance Group and Steve Green, a Frank Sinatra 'Singalike'.
At a fiver for admission, and a LOT of volunteers working hard to make the day a success, I thought the day was good value for money, and the canteen even more so. It must be tempting when you're trying to raise funds to squeeze your captive audience, but I thought the £2.70 I paid for a hot egg and bacon bap, and £1.30 for a generous slice of Lemon Drizzle cake good value for money.
There were a bunch of activities for the kids, but by far the most popular was the small radio-controlled speed-boat racing stand. Even though this activity incurred an extra charge of £1 a go, there was no shortage of eager young captains. Kids love their toys as much as the grown-ups do!
All-in-all, it was good way to spend a couple of hours, thanks mainly to a LOT of hard working volunteers.
If you've never been to the brick works, I highly recommend a visit - especially on an open day such as this.
Two more open days are planned for this year: an End of Season Steam Up & Halloween event on the 20th October (2013), and Christmas at the Brickworks on the 24th November.