TToT 8:2 A very steamy day

Before I begin, don’t forget to enter the raffle by starting your comment with ‘Raffle’ in the top line – you can win a lovely, custom made blog button.

Today I had the absolute joy and privilege of not only revisiting the high point of my childhood summers, but of taking Niece and Neff along with me for their first time at a Steam Rally.

Ever since I was tiny, I’ve had a deep and abiding passion for traction engines. I watched The Iron Maiden one day at my Grandma’s and fell hopelessly and irrevocably in love. I love how they look, how they move, how they smell. Since then, I have waited with eager anticipation for summer and the (finally) heralding of the Netley Marsh Steam Rally – a place of many treasured memories (and some sad ones, in the years I didn’t get to go). It was early decided for me that absolutely *the* most desirable place in the world was to be up on that footplate, greasy and soot-stained, with that gorgeous smell puffing around you, the gentle but strong ‘choof-choof-choof‘ and flywheels and fan-belts spinning all around. It’s still my dream.

The past ten years or so I’ve fallen out of the habit of going – I’ve been busy or had no-one to go with or whatever – it just hasn’t happened. And I’ve been a little bit bereft each year when it hasn’t happened. And today, FINALLY it did.

And it was every inch as glorious and magical as I remember it being.

For your delectable delight – a video (not mine) of the ACTUAL fairground organ which was there – Geoff Radcliffe’s 89 Key Marenghi Fairground Organ. It was super-special for reason traction engine #9

So with no further ado, and a blissful infusion of a dizzying height of GORGEOUS engineering, I give you, as a special one-off – Ten Traction Engines of Thankful

 I’m super-glad that I got to take Niece and Neff (and Husby) with me. For both Husby and I, steam rallies were an important part of our childhood – a day where parents were happy and engaged with us and (mostly) chilled out for the day. Treasured memories happened here, and it was a very special thrill to think that we are beginning the process of memory-making for the next generation.

 Wonderful, lovely friends of ours live 200yds from the showground. They know what a nightmare it is to find parking in the Big Field Full of Everybody’s Car-in-the-World, and offered to let us park in their driveway. Which we did, and it was amazing. We knew exactly where the car was to come back to, AND we didn’t have to wait in a massive queue to get in.

 I’m really thankful that we had enough money to go. A few months ago it wouldn’t have been possible. We loved every moment. The traction engines were EVERYWHERE – tiny ones chuffing round with people sat on the back, great big BEASTS of ones, dainty ones, chunky ones – all absolutely stunning feats of engineering and design. And I really, really want one. But I can’t afford that much traction engine.

 I’m thankful for Neff’s hilarity. He sometimes doesn’t realise *quite* how funny he is, but when, after lunch, he got up and semi-whined “I need to spend some moneeeeeey” and I fell about laughing, he did at least see the amusing side and joined in.

He also described the day as “Like sparkly rainbows” – SO CUTE

 Lunch was awesome. We found a spot in front of a motorcycle stunt arena, and were entertained by a couple of adults and a few seriously tiny (like 8 or 9 y/o) kids zipping around on dirtbikes, taking leaps and going up and down obstacles. It was fascinating and they were very brave.

 The steam rally also had a traditional fairground with all the overpriced rides and crappy prizes. Niece went on a carsy ride-around thing and Neff won a squeaky inflatable hammer at the strongman stand and proceeded to whack seven bells out of us throughout the rest of the day. It was adorable.

I’m very thankful for the beautiful fairground organs which played such cheering music. We stopped for slushies in front of one, and sat and danced and enjoyed the very violent colours and flavours of the drinks along with the awesome music. It’s very ‘of a type’ but SO fun.

On the way out, I noticed an organ which offered to play Happy Birthday, along with discounted CD of some of their repertoire. I asked, and was told by the devilishly cheeky old man that I could have the discount if I remembered him when I listened to it! I told him I’d remember his generosity and then went and sat in front of the organ and basked as it played me Happy Birthday. A completely gorgeous new memory to treasure.

Slightly unrelated to the steam rally – I found that making banana sorbet by freezing a slightly old banana then thawing it for 30 mins, peeling then mashing, TOTALLY works. And is completely delicious. And prevents throwing away old bananas (I hate wasting food with a passion which is borderline psychopathic) so I am utterly psyched by this one.

I was thrilled to pieces that I managed to take my camera (a big clunky-but-awesome-with-a-wicked-zoom) with me and manage to juggle holding my shoulder bag, a Tote-Bag-of-All-Things, holding a small, excited hand, and taking pictures (see end of post). I felt I scored some serious ‘Aunty points’ for that.

It also meant I got to snap some awesome new things I’d never seen before, like (possibly) the world’s first Accessible Traction Engine. How cool is that?!?!

And just to keep things real – a thing of UNthankful (I know! How could I? But when you read it – how could I NOT?!?!)

Husby is a totally lovely, wonderful, adorable uncle to Niece and Neff. But there’s one thing.

He’s soft on them.

Like really, really soft on them at times.

Especially Niece, who snuggles with him and absolutely loves him to pieces.

So when she turned her big, puppydog eyes on him at the fair and asked if she could spend some of her money on a doll, his heart turned to candlewax in a kiln and he melted and let her buy it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to present Syphilissa, Niece’s new doll.

It’s a grimy, disgusting, horrible, tatty, fairground piece of crapola which has probably been soaked in STDs and bottom-of-the-bin-juice. And he let her buy it, and HOLD it, and CUDDLE it!

And I had to have it in my car. Where it’s staying until I can throw it in the bin (unless she remembers about the revolting thing and then I don’t know what I’ll do! I’ll probably tell her it ran back to join the fair!)

Steam Rally Photo Dump

And play ‘Happy Birthday’ they sure did. With me and Niece dancing and clapping like goons

How unbelievably CAMP is this guy?
There was a skydiving display, too

All our family feet at the rally

Toldja the slushies were violently coloured!
Ten Things of Thankful
Ten Things of Thankful
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35 thoughts on “TToT 8:2 A very steamy day

  1. I'll probably wash it. It made its way in from the boot of my car and is currently crumpled on the floor in the kids' bedroom, staring at me creepily every time I walk past. Keep thinking I'm going to turn round and find it's moved…

    It was a totally awesome rally and I can't wait til next year! And yes, talk about your high-point memories – certainly extra special 😉

    She has my Sis to thank for that (as do I – Sis is the fashionable one and her influence has gradually rubbed off on me, though I've taken it in a slightly funkier direction than I think she would've)

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  2. Aw, I'm glad he let her have the doll. Nothing a quick wash can't fix. Sure, she already carried it around all day, but being exposed to germs actually helps kids build their immunity and be healthier. He done good!

    That is so a fair our family would be all over. It's fun to revisit places you went as a child, full of fond memories. Especially when fond family memories are few and far between.

    I love the layered sock/tights look Niece is sporting. Seems her aunt (with the awesome striped shoes) may have a bit of an influence on her and her stylish ways. 🙂

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  3. Toby was the bus. Not half so cool.

    lol could've been Lakeside at Eastleigh – they've got tiny trains there. Not been yet, but I might have to explore it.

    Bognor's fun. I have fond memories one summer of helping my Dad to renovate the organ in one of the churches there. Sea, sunshine, pebbles and chips. Good times 🙂

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  4. Trevor, of course it was! Thanks. I knew it began with T, but kept thinking Toby and I knew that was wrong. We never made it to the Dorset Fair no, but my husband and daughter did do a few of the Thomas Tank days – Ipcress or Bluebell line I think, or possibly both.

    And we all went on a TT day a that little train place just outside Southampton (can't remember the name of it, but tiddly little trains.) Our older daughter was 2 at the time and shrieked, “We're on Gordon!” all the way round.

    In-laws actually are more over Bognor way, but we lived in Chi for 3 years – which is why younger daughter was born in Portmouth when she decided to put in an early appearance.

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  5. She U-Gerly! Gotta do *something* with her/it.

    That's amazing. Witte's are stationary engines though, and I really want a turn on one you can ride round on… they're still nice 😀

    (don't I sound intelligent? I had to Google it. Burrell's are my faves because they're so elegant – just beautiful machines.)

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  6. PMPL you very nearly did, you sneaksy thing! XD

    I hope so – I'm trying hard for them ('cept when they intentionally won't-go-to-bed AT me – then I stop being awesome and get stroppy, which (on reflection) doesn't help matters)

    It was such a wonderful day. Glad the pictures helped. If you ever need me to translate into American, let me know – I know LOADS of weird American words (well, not weird for you, I guess. Um…)

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  7. Trevor! How can you forget? He was the best! He got rescued from the scrapyard by the Vicar, then lived in the orchard at the vicarage, worked a little and gave the children rides at the church fete.

    Did you ever go to the Great Dorset Steam Fair? That's awesome on a WHOLE NOTHER SCALE!

    Your in-laws are in Chi? Hmmm… *cogs working*

    I had an awesome time, thanks 🙂

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  8. You weren't missed – you're in 🙂

    YES! Aren't they SOOOO gorgeous. Sadly no riding 😦 I'm allowing myself 30 more years in which to network my way into friendship with one of the owners so that I *can* have a go one day…

    It was *awesome* having the use of their drive – so sweet of them. My friend got in touch with the offer – I didn't even think to ask them!

    When were you exploring an abandoned hospital Jak? I feel there's a post exploring your nefarious past in the requiring….

    (I *might* be kind and wash the disease-ridden doll on a high setting then let her have it back….)

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  9. Raffle! (See, I know I'm doing this right…so do I get two entries? 😉

    You have got to be, hands down, the BEST auntie in the WORLD. Your niece and nephew are BEYOND lucky to have you! Sounds like a fun day for all…and thanks for all the pics…helps me understand what in the world you are talking about (because even though we both speak the “same language,” sometimes it is obvious that you speak English and I speak American and I don't always follow what you're saying. 🙂

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  10. I had to look up Netley Marsh Steam Rally's site! I can't believe we never went when we lived down your way (ish – Chichester.) Our older daughter was steam train daft at that time and would have loved the traction engines too. (It was all Thomas the Tank's doing, and there was a traction engine in it, though I forget the name.) And my husband would have loved the vintage motor-bikes.

    Perhaps one day when we're down visiting the in-laws, though I suspect my daughter is not so keen on engines now…

    Anyway, this was very interesting and it sounds as if you all had a great time.

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  11. Raffle! In case it was missed in the last entry haha

    Aha! So that is what you were talking about. Those seem pretty cool, probably even more so up close and personal. I don't recall it saying, but do they allow you to ride on any of them?

    Pretty sweet you knew people so close to the fairgrounds where you didn't have to wait and try to find a parking spot and then worry about getting out at the end of the day. I always hate that. It can sometimes add an extra hour to the return drive home.

    Speaking of fairgrounds, that carnival music is okay sometimes, but not if it suddenly starts playing from out of no where in an abandoned hospital you are exploring or the like… just saying.

    Awwww don't let your fear of creepy dolls, destroy your niece's joy! lol I'm sure it is STD free and if it isn't it's too late now! For everyone! dun Dun DUN!

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

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  12. A relief! I was brought up to find the waste of food anathema.

    I had an amazing day – I'm so glad I can share it and allow you a little vicarious enjoyment 🙂

    I love those new shoes of mine. They're amazing.

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  13. Lizzi, you are such a clark! (she say's with affection). Zoe Byrd hit the nail on the head. LOL
    We who know you, would know your sneaks anywhere!
    Sounds as if you had a most awesome day. I'm jealous!
    And just so you know, you are not a borderline psychopath. If you are then so am I 😀

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  14. Bwahahaha! Hopefully he won't ever find out that you *did* tell that! I think all this doll would have to do to fish successfully is put that ugly face in the river and all the fish would jump right out.

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  15. we had even accused the bear of pooping in the house when the dog did it…but it didn't hold any weight with getting rid of him…My partner, Tseering made up the fishing story…He would kill me for telling that!

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  16. I just went back and reread cuz there was something else I had wanted to comment on but couldn't recall…OMG! it was the grungy, syphilista! We had a problem like that with an old bear from God knows where…luckily he had to go fishing one day and never came back!

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  17. I still imagine it was brand new when she first had it…

    Worst thing I ever saw was a kid (not in any way related to me, thankfully) who had this toy rabbit she carried around in her mouth. Its ears were nearly dissolved and you could smell it at several paces. It was VILE!

    Syphilissa doesn't smell, but she's still vile.

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  18. Looked like so much fun and trust me my girls have their own disgusting things that they adore. Lily, has her “blankie”, which she just adores and needs to go to bed with and even bite the darn thing, because that helps her fall asleep. I know crazy, but it works apparently!!!

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