Malcolm's blog

December 2020
I have just spent four days in one of the snow huts at Dent Railway Station on the Settle & Carlisle line!

Originally built because of the inhospitable conditions and to enable the workmen to shelter from the snow, they have been refurbished and come complete with log burning fire and all the home comforts. It makes an excellent place to spend a few days away from it all and do some writing.

There was snow on the roads and on the hills, and the scenery was breath taking. The village of Dent by the way is four miles from the station! One evening while sitting by the log fire I had a visitor perching on the kitchen sill looking in — a wonderful snowy white Barn Owl.

I was there to write my murder mystery novel. "Murder on the Ribblehead Viaduct" which will be published next year. Why not join me for the launch on the weekend of 25th /26th September at Ribblehead Station — it's already booked. There will be drinks and a few nibbles and you may be lucky and see a steam train!

What is it about railways and their fascination? I really enjoyed my stay with the goods trains rattling past only yards away from the snow hut.

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March 2020
I was at Lord's on Tuesday 17th March.

The ground had a peculiar air and a sense, not of anticipation of a cricket season shortly to begin, but rather the shutting down of an institution.

I was visiting the MCC Library and that too was closing its doors. The guide was locking up the museum not knowing when it was to re-open. As I drove out through the Grace Gates and they closed behind me, I was reminded of the words of Neville Cardus.

Neville at Lord's in the summer of 1939.

"On the Friday morning when Hitler invaded Poland, I chanced to be in the Long Room at Lord's watching through windows for the last time for years. Though no spectators were present, a match was being continued; there was no legal way of stopping it. Balloon barrages hung over Lord's.

As I watched the ghostly movements of the players outside, a beautifully preserved member of Lord's, spats and rolled umbrella, stood near me inspecting the game. We did not speak of course; we had not been introduced. Suddenly two workmen entered the Long Room in green aprons and carrying a bag. They took down the bust of W.G. Grace, put it in to the bag, and departed with it. The noble lord at my side watched their every movement; then he turned to me. "Did you see, sir?" he asked. I told him I had seen. "That means war," he said.

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22nd November 2019
BLACK FRIDAY ARRIVES EARLY

It was a bad day, even a horrendous one but it began well.

I had been ill during the week with some kind of bug and spent three days in bed, not eating anything. I am not usually ill and felt so bad I didn't have the heart to listen to the F.A.Cup replay between Bradford City (my team) and Shrewsbury Town. It didn't even seem to matter-and they lost.

But Friday dawned with the sun shining and I felt a lot better. Off to Manchester in the car to Old Trafford for a meeting with a family to scatter the ashes of their mother, a life-long Lancashire supporter.

As I neared Manchester, I realised things were not well with the car. The engine spluttered and slowed down, and I quickly left the motorway and headed into Altrincham at a slow pace with the engine not responding to anything I tried. Eventually it came to a stop on a main road and I was becalmed. I should have known as the car had been causing trouble over the previous weeks and had been repaired only a few days before; it was on its 'last legs'.

I put on the hazard lights and phoned the A.A. They said it would be an hour before they could get there. The car was causing a problem for other traffic so I decided to get out and try to push it into a side road, hoping that someone would stop and help. I had had only just started when two cars stopped and three good Samaritans including a young girl came up and helped push the car into the side road. There I sat and waited wondering what I would do if I couldn't get to Old Trafford.

An hour later the welcome yellow A.A. van arrived with Colin from Stoke-on-Trent driving. He quickly diagnosed the problem, the car was undriveable! He offered to take me and the car back to Nantwich, to my local garage.

I had a dilemma. What to do? Could I disappoint the family who in a hour's time would be arriving at Old Trafford? I thanked him but said no, but could he drop me off at the Tram Station at Altrincham? No problem, he said as he loaded the car on the back of the vehicle and we were off.

I arrived at Old Trafford in time and met the family who were so grateful and the son so tearful as I conducted the ceremony. Afterwards I had a coffee with them and then headed into Manchester to get the train back to Nantwich. The tram to Piccadilly was fine but when I got to the station the concourse was full and the train would be another hour. I sat and waited. As it got nearer the time of arrival the train was cancelled. There had been a problem between Crewe and Wilmslow with the signals, no trains were running. Everyone had to go to Stoke.

Another half-hour wait. On the Stoke train, people were worried how they were going to get to not just to Crewe but Wilmslow and Wales. We arrived at Stoke. Another hour wait and the board suddenly showing 'delayed' for the train to Crewe. Oh no, this can't be true.

It was now 9'oclock and I had been traveling or trying to travel for five hours. The Crewe train was late by 30 minutes, but at last it arrived and twenty minutes later we arrived in Crewe with my wife there to meet me and take me to Nantwich. Cold, tired and fed up!

So what was positive about the day?

My car had arrived five hours before me in Nantwich. Did I have regrets for the day? You could say I should have gone back home with the car. But then I would never have met the three good Samaritans who pushed the car, Colin the smiling AA man and also helped a family with their grief that was far more important than my personal discomfort.

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June 2019
It was an historic occasion last week when Lancashire played at Sedbergh School.

It was the first new home ground that Lancashire have played on for over 30 years and only the 3rd since the second World War.

The ground must be one of the most picturesque first-class grounds in England. It nestles under the Howgill Fells with the scenic town of Sedbergh in the background, the bells of the nearby church ringing out on that first Sunday morning against Durham.

We found out that it is the first time county cricket has been played in a National Park and the ground is exactly 79 miles from both Old Trafford and Durham's home ground at Chester-le-Street.

The school even boasts a school cricket song written in the 1880's and the first cricket match on the ground was in 1841.

"If you've England in your veins,
And can take a little pains,
In the sunny summer weather, when to stay indoors is a sin,
If you've got a bit of muscle,
And enjoy a manly tussle,
Then go and put your flannels on and let the fun begin!"

Photo of Sedbergh (c) Barry Mitchell

Rev. Malcolm Lorimer.

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