Greetings from Inversnaid, now an official module since I went, with Sue's permission, to get the box on Saturday. The advice was to leave SWMBO at home, I went one better - she went to see David Essex at the Mayflower at which point she couldn't really complain about eleven quid for the box and four for a livener halfway back to the theatre on foot.
I said I'd send a postcard, and there's one in the envelope, but there's too much to tell.
I got here yesterday, pretty much exhausted, but I've had my first ride on the railway already. I arrived at Ardlui to discover that the ferry stops running at the end of September. The helpful lady at the station, however, told me that there's a bus to Inverarran that connects with what she called the 'wee train', and sold me a through ticket. There was twenty minutes until the bus left, so I went and had a pint of Heavy in the pub opposite. That was something I couldn't do when you brought me here. I looked out over the building that used to be the terminus for the 'wee train'.
The bus left on tie and connected precisely with the train. It's tiny. I guess, even though I spent a week walking along the tracks and so on, I was expecting something like the Tal-y-Llyn. But it's much smaller, kind of like the one at Skegness. Dad would have been fascinated - he was always talking about the tiny loco's they built at Macton in the forties and fifties. This was a toy-like railbus towing a luggage van, that I discovered later they've borrowed from somewhere in Belgium. The line runs through the trees with occasional views of the loch, but I was a bit too tired to appreciate it properly. That's for today.
The village is much smaller than I remember it as well. I know we stayed in the hostel, but I'm sure the houses were bigger back then. I really enjoyed that holiday: I know it was intended to take my mind off my sister's school cruise to Yugoslavia, but I reckon I enjoyed that wekk better than she did. They say you should never go back, but I'm glad I have, and not only because the railway is running again.
I got to the hotel and put my little pack in my room - just as well it's a small pack because the 'loch view' room is under the eaves. I had a nice piece of steak and they were puzzled when I sat facing the street, but it was so that I could see the last train run through towards the sheds, which are out by the hostel. Everyone wanted to talk (just like anywhere in rural Scotland) and when I asked about the plaque with your donation on it in dad's memory, I was taken through to look at it and when I found the name several people wanted to buy me a 'wee dram'. If I have to reciprocate tonight it'll probably use up most of my spare cash and the nearest bank is in Ardlui, but it was fun, and surprisingly I didn't have a hangover this morning.
The sun rises over the loch so I opened the skylight and just stared. Then I went down and they had kippers and floury rolls for breakfast - more fond memories. The lady who does the breakfasts said I ought to bring you here once your hip has been fixed, and I think that's a good idea, although maybe we'll stay in Ardlui and perhaps use a taxi - the bus was a bit scary going over the river bridge.
Today I'll take some pictures of the town, which won't take long, and then ride out on the train - they say tram - to Inverarran, where I noticed that the pub does lunches, then walk back part of the way to Ardleish, where there is a sawmill, and catch the train back. I could walk all the way easily enough but the whole point is to ride up and down on the 'tram'. Since it only seats eight, I gather they have an open coach they built themselves out of bits of the old stock. It's chilly, but I think I'll try to get a seat in that in one direction at least.
I'll post this now - this involves taking it down to reception, because for all its small size, the hotel is also the post office, tram station and gift shop. I have three days left, so I'll write again.
I said on the Humby's lane thread that I'd had a Good Idea. Having realised how long the scenery on that layout is going to take, I decided to make a list of all the things that were slowing me down. With what remained I started sketching and came up with a concept that I could sell to Sue. Inversnaid is the name of the house where she grew up, named for one of her grandfather's favourite places.
She's always loved the tiny pastel cottages, and I decided to make them the focus. She's picked pink and yellow, and is currently deciding on the colour for the third. (Note that the real Inversnaid is nothing like this, according to Google Earth.) They wouldn't work as flats, however hard I tried, so they occupy about a quarter of the depth. 75mm for the street, and two 4" long scene blockers, one end of the Inversnaid Hotel and one end of McSeiGn's Fisheries. I haven't put the roofs on those and in fact they're just taped together because I'm still working on the angles to break up the straight lines. I photographed it quickly because the slightly dodgy masking tape might explode.
But it's taken less effort getting this far than to do the sunken track at the front of Humby's Lane and not make the fence at the back work yet. And I think I've got the first APA back-story as well.