My TravelsHome / Church Life / Big Ted / My Travels
Here are some stories about what I've been up to and places I've been. Some of my other stories have become articles in the Parish Magazine, you can read them all again here.
Big Ted's T'riffic Transport Tales
2019 has been a fabulous year for me to get out and about and see new things. Not only have I been on an Autocar (see Big Ted has an Interesting Journey below) but I've also been on a train and on various trams! I wrote all about it in my diary and thought you might like to read it, with additional photos of ME!
Sunday 7th July 2019
Today I went on a train, it was really quite exciting. It had a diesel engine at one end and a steam engine at the other end. The steam engine made a lot of thick, black smoke (I made sure to keep well away from that; I wouldn’t want to get my splendid fur grubby).
I went all the way from Matlock to Rowsley, and fortunately I went all the way back again. I think the diesel engine pulled us one way and the steam engine pulled us back again – it’s a good job they didn’t both pull at the same time.
The photo on the left shows me at the Peak Railway station at Matlock waiting to go to Rowsley, the photo on the right shown me at Rowsley waiting patiently to go back to Matlock (before anyone asks, we changed carriages at Rowsley, that's why it looks different).
Monday 8th July 2019
Today I went on a tram. Actually, I travelled on three trams at Crich Tramway Village (I also sat on a couple more to have my photo taken)! It wasn’t nearly as smoky as the steam engine but it was just as much fun. The conductor gave me a lovely yellow tram ticket all for myself (it goes rather well with my splendid fur).
One tram was very posh, upholstered in blue and with big tassels hanging down (see photo on the left - London United Tramways No. 159; and me with my ticket). In another tram we sat outside (photo on the right - Blackpool Corporation No. 236), but fortunately it was quite sunny. The most exciting part was when we came down from the top of the hill at speed and I hung on really tight and went “Wheeee!”
Then I had a good look around and found a really big shed where the trams sleep. They had one sitting outside in the sun so I sat on the front.
The bottom photo on the right shows me sitting on the front of the Blackpool "toast-rack" tram (it's properly called Blackpool Corporation No. 166).
When I'm away on holiday and doing my Roving Ambassador thing, I don't only visit other St Mary's churches (while that's quite fun, it would soon become rather boring!).
So, when I went on holiday to Yorkshire in May 2019, as a change from visiting churches (see Lancashire and Yorkshire), I travelled to a place called Embsay. I visited the church, which just happens to be a St Mary, but then I went on a very special journey on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway – but, even more exciting, I didn't travel on a steam train: I went on a 1903 North Eastern Railway Electric Autocar!
An autocar is a sort of cross between a train and a bus. It has an engine producing power for its electric motors and it runs on railway lines. Apparently, it used to be powered by a petrol engine but for some reason that’s not very safe, so it’s got a diesel engine nowadays and an impressive control panel with dials and switches and flashing lights. Unfortunately it's in a locked compartment so I wasn't able to play with it.
Uncle Les took a picture of the autocar for me so you can see what it looks like.
We went all the way from Embsay to a place called Bolton Abbey in the autocar and then came back again (I s'pose the clue's in the name of the railway!). When we got to Bolton Abbey, we stood up, pulled the seat back back (snigger) and sat down facing the other way.
It was all very interesting and we saw lots of sheep, a hare, and a man flying a drone which was filming our journey (so I waved to make sure he saw me). Someone said they saw an owl, but I was looking out the other window at the time and didn't see it.
You can find out lots more about the autocar, steam trains, timetables and other stuff on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway website.
...and as if all that's not exciting enough - here's a picture of me in Skipton (near where we were staying) sitting on some cricketer chappie's statue (if you click on it you get to see a bigger version). I did want to sit on his head 'cos I thought it would look much more fun in the photo but it was all damp from the rain, and also a bit pigeony.
[The statue is of Fred Trueman, the Yorkshire and England fast bowler, who lived in Skipton for many years. The statue is sited next to the canal basin and was unveiled in 2010, Big Ted].
Big Ted Goes To... Northumberland (and Cumbria)
I've also been on a holiday to Northumberland. This is a county in the north of England and has a lot of history associated with it; mostly involving Romans and walls.
I had some sunny days, and on one of them I was driven to Maryport in Cumbria and I went to see the sea but it was out [snigger]. I had my photo taken anyway.
I visited eight churches called St Mary's. I've written about them and put photos on my St Mary's Churches page.
The last church I visited on my holiday wasn't a St Mary's, it was called St John's church and was in a place called Healey (Northumberland). It had lots of different stained glass windows including two really modern ones that Uncle Les photographed for me. He had to take one photo from the outside 'cos you couldn't see the funny clouds in the glass from inside.
The church has won a prize for these two windows: the ACE Award for Art in a Religious Context (see ACE website). The window on the left in my picture is called "Contrary Rhythm" and the one on the right is called "Untitled" [which is just silly].
Big Ted has Visitors
One Sunday in November I was visited by Titch the Tortoise in the Children’s Corner in Plumtree Church. He came all the way from The Elms School in Long Eaton, where he is class 3CL's 'pet' / mascot. He was staying with Kiki for the weekend and she thought we should meet. We had a lovely chat. Tich says that it's very tiring being a mascot for schoolchildren. Here’s a photo of us together in church.
Then, in January, on a snowy Sunday, I had two more visitors to the Children's Corner.
They were both very interested in my travels and I showed them some of the the pictures in my book (it's called Big Ted's Book and it describes all my exploits. You can read in the Children's Corner).
Auntie Jackie took a photo of us all together.
Big Ted Goes To... Suffolk
Then, another time, I went on holiday to a place called Lavenham in Suffolk.
The cottage was on a road called "Bears Lane" (I thought that was really funny - I'm a bear you see and the road name had "bear" in it so it's really my lane).
I visited lots of churches called St Mary's (just like Plumtree church). You can see all the photos of them on my St Mary's Churches page.
I also went to Essex (which is next to Suffolk, which is next to Norfolk - snigger) and visited Grange Barn in Coggeshall. This is one of Europe's oldest and biggest timber-framed buildings. And it is really, really, really, really, big! Here's a picture of me sitting a long way in front of it and you still can't see it all.
All these churches and things; I was glad to get back to snooze in the Children's Corner.
Big Ted Goes To... Wales
One time I went to a place called Bangor. This is in a completely different country from Plumtree, called Wales (I'd never been to another country before).
Bangor has a cathedral which means it is really a city, but it's more like a small town so it's called one of the smallest cities in Britain. It was a bit windy and cold in Bangor, but it has an excellent pier that I visited. It is a really long pier and it reaches a long way out into the Menai Strait, nearly to an island called Anglesey.
The next day I went on a trip to visit Anglesey. I stopped at a place with a very, very, very, very long name. It's so long and complicated they have to put writing on the bottom of the sign at the railway station that tells you how to say it!
Can you manage to say it? I can't! [Auntie Fiona says the people who live there call it "Llanfair P G", 'cos that's much shorter.]
The cottages in the distance aren't really all fuzzy to look at. It's just that Uncle Les, who took the photo, thinks it looks more artistic. But I just think it looks fuzzy myself!