They call it progress by Jacqui Booth

 “When we destroy something created by man, we call it vandalism. When we destroy something created by nature, we call it progress.” -Ed Begley Jr.

Nope, I've no idea who Ed Begley Jr. is.  An American actor, says Wikipedia, but I liked the words in relation to these photographs of the local railway sheds.  Clearly, the scene has been 'created by man' (I've never seen a woman working in the sheds - they seem to be assigned to period dress and tea duty only in this microcosm), though I'd argue that it was nature enough.  Every time I visit the Great Central Railway, it's not the trains that fascinate me, it's this area of ramshackle storage containers full of useful odds and ends that eventually become restored engines.  Every time I'm allowed to wander through the sheds, smell the oil and peep at the work in progress, the tools and the workbenches I appreciate the access...and the people working there wonder why I'm taking photos.  "We had some students in here once taking photos..." they'll say, totally unaware of how special this unpretentious environment is.

I took these photos a nearly two years ago and since then I've had little time to devote to such things.  I haven't now.  I want to be studying but I'm cleaning the house ahead of Christmas, which is long overdue and hindered by a back that needs to be a little stronger for such things. Still, I'm making progress in my microcosm, though it's influenced by what I think a house should appear to be, criticisms from family and ideas about home style (mostly ignored) rather than simply providing a safe, warm environment for my family and friends. Tools and guitars will be moved, offcuts of wire and piles of sawdust eradicated, albeit temporarily. My own clutter will be tamed. Still, until tarpaulin chic is fashionable, it's probably for the best.

52 Rolls Week 5: Kodak Auto Colorsnap 35. Trainspotting by Jacqui Booth


One of my favourite weeks so far from 52 rolls...

This week’s crop of photos is from the local heritage railway, the Great Central.  I’ve just heard a steam train from my house, so this is still conforming to my doorstep rule, albeit a little bit cheaty as the dayticket for me and the smallster took us to Loughborough, but hey – it’s like entering a wormhole into another dimension so I’m going to let myself off.  And I’ve come to love the railway, in my own way.

We hand over a considerable amount of cash and nestle into the vintage carriages and trundle away, past the badger holes, my first house, past the allotment and friends’ backgardens.  The day is given over to a gentle trudge over familar ground and I get to spend some time with my lad, who is transported in his own way.  We both have our favourite things – he’s only just stopped being scared of the engine sheds in Loughborough, where I could always spend longer and he loves the trains themselves (you’ll notice I barely paid them any attention…ahem), running alongside them as they leave the platform.  I love the way the powerful trains loom over me…he still seems a little unnerved.  Neither of us quite know what to do with the more over earnest trainspotters but we love it when they’re swallowed up by steam, big lensed SLR and all, and we always look out for welly man, our favourite local trainspotter.

But you’re not here for the trains, are you? We need to talk cameras and it was with a little leap of joy that I realised I’d overlooked a 35mm camera – a Kodak Auto Colorsnap 35 and, as I’d never used it before, it was duly googled and fitted with film.  Its belly was full of expired Kodak Ultra Plus 200 which was to be exposed at 100 ISO as the camera dial only went to 160.  The idea was to adjust for this when the film was processed but after a couple of rather tense discussions about whether it was to be pushed or pulled (pulled – I was right) and weighing up the expired film element I decided to just do it in exactly the same way as Week 3. Pictures happened.

Well, it wasn’t that simple.  Some were the most woeful pieces of shit you ever did see. I don’t ever want to see them again and won’t be subjecting you to them.  A lot of the time I simply forgot to set the distance meter thingy, or simply didn’t employ enough care, and they were just awful.  The rest aren’t great but hopefully won’t be too offensive.  There’s a bit of film slippage and double exposures but I can live with that.  It’s as well as at some point I’m going to use my Bakelite Brownie again and that’s all that does sometimes.

I guess that the above area won’t be around for much longer in the way that it is now, as the track is going to be extended towards Nottingham, over the graffiti bridge and straight through the barbed wire topped fence in a year or two, which I imagine will mean that much of this must be swept away.  Right now, it’s well off the tourist track and one of my favourite places at the railway. (There is a real ale shed but I saw them draw the last pint of bitter…for the man in front of me.  I pulled up my big girl pants and survived.  Just.)

And so another day out at the Great Central Railway was complete.  We stopped off at Rothley to see the model railway but by then the light was fading and so you’ll just have to trust me that it’s one of the most bizarre set ups you’ll ever see.

And in case you’re worried, I did find a bottle of beer there which was sort of how we accidentally travelled back in First Class.  It was very nice, thank you.

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