Say, ‘cheese’

I don’t.

Say, ‘cheese.’

I ask people to say, ‘sausages,’ if I’m taking a posed picture. It makes them giggle, look at each other, appear more interesting.

I prefer people pictures when they’re odd, casual, quirky.

Catching an elusive moment. And anonymous.

Like these, from Southport Air Show in July.

Through a marquee’s plastic window

Well, he’s playing, goodness knows what though!

Yep, that’s me on the pier with my camera

So I rarely take pictures of people posing.  Rarely take pictures of humans at all, come to that.

But something’s been happening lately.

My re-loved camera appears to have a mind of its own.

It lives in an old leather case. Hangs round my neck, looking borderline professional. Attracting attention.

It keeps finding me interesting subjects. Or making them find me.

Strangers sidle up and ask, ‘Seen anything interesting, have you?’

Or, ‘got some good pictures, did you?’

But so far I’ve only had this demand once:

‘Tek mi picture!’

That was my (pathetic) attempt at a Yorkshire accent with a  …

No, I’ll leave the rest for later. When this post has given it some context.

Instead, let me take you on a short ride.

If you’ve read many of my posts, or visited my other site,, you’ll know I like engines.

Steam engines, mostly. And steam trains.

On a less than perfect summer’s day, in August, then, what better way for the prof and I to spend holiday time, than afternoon tea on a steam train?

The station was a-blossom with flowers.

The train had a restaurant car.

Lovely ceiling above us!

We sat at a table, decked with a linen tablecloth, set with linen napkins. We ate scones with jam and clotted cream Drank cups of tea.

Not great tea, but tea.

It’s a short journey, on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway (KWVR), from Oxenhope, via Haworth, to Keighley. And a return ticket nicely whiled away a less than perfect afternoon.

I took my camera, not planning to take many pictures, having ‘done’ steam trains before.

But I hadn’t counted with two – no three, really – things:

1 the engine

2 William


3 his dad.

I can’t remember now who started the conversation about trains and his badges, me or William. But there wasn’t a hint of shyness, just sheer joy at being so close to his beloved steam engines.

His little cap was covered in badges, including one of ‘big Jim,’ the engine pulling our afternoon tea.

Big Jim is the grey one at the top

The engine was part of the USA’s war effort in Europe. Built in 1945 by Lima of Ohio, for the US Army’s Transportation Corps, it was shipped directly to Poland.

After the war it was absorbed by Poland State Railways, until it was withdrawn from service and went to the Polish Railway Museum in Warsaw. It was bought by KWVR and arrived in Haworth in November 1977.

‘I know a song about Big Jim,’ piped up William, ‘do you want to hear it?’

Did I?

It was a little hard to hear the tune coming from under little William’s hat amid the hissing, puffing and clanging, but he was plainly proud of his effort.

‘I’m surprised he didn’t do the dance as well,’ grinned his dad, later, when I told him.

Now that would have been worth a video.

As it was, we parted for separate carriages on the platform at Keighley and chuff-chuffed our way back to Oxenhope.

Where we were reunited.

William (with his brother, who had now taken a shine to the prof) was lucky enough to get into the cab with the driver.To see the glowing coals in the firebox.

Now that’s a happy face. In with the engine driver! Dad in the foreground (envious I suspect)

To chat with a volunteer down on the track.

And before I left, I felt I had to ask if I could take a proper picture.

The uninhibited joy that shone from his face was captivating. I wanted to put a drop in a bottle, cork it up, save it for brightening dark winter days.

You can see where he gets it from in this picture, can’t you?

Proud dad and young William


Well, it was, as Wallace and Gromit might say, a Grand Day Out.

Next day, a trip to Bradford. A re-visit to the new Hockney Gallery.

And an even less summery morning.

It didn’t sound quite so inspiring.

And, in fact, I’m not sure I’d call it inspiring. But it certainly turned out to be thought-provoking.

Not just for me, I dare say, but for two more boys, introduced to me – yes – by my camera.

As you will see in my next post….

Can you see us? Me in the middle, the prof on the left….


This entry was posted in Art, jaunts & going out, Britain now & then, Yorkshire and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Say, ‘cheese’

  1. Ardys says:

    We are from Ohio, have driven through Lima many times, but I never expected it would be mentioned in a blog post, especially one from England! I’m like you with not taking people photos. I want to, but I don’t want to invade their personal space so I don’t often do it. Yours are lovely. We are about to get on a plane to Melbourne, and tomorrow and the next day will be traveling closer to you and, popping out in Spain for a week before coming back to the UK. Keep well.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. SudsEats says:

    What a lovely, happy post. Never sure about eating on transport, travel sickness. Yours looked great.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thel says:

    Another lovely weekend in a charming town!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Certainly a grand day out. (Love the Whistle picture – and a bunch of others, too)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Although these days public transport is absent from my routine, and in the city it was work-a-day I’m a fan of trains. When I was a country kid it was a big thing to be old enough to take the train to and from neigbouring towns. Only once has it been part of travel, from LA to San Diego to San Fran to Yosemite including a dining car that your tea and scones… oh, I would be up for that, photo reminds me of. I hope we forever keep trains and proper books as part of our slower, more rewarding culture.



    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

    Liked by 1 person

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