Tuesday, 4 March 2008

100 years of our branch line

Following on from my entry of last Thursday we duly had the continuation of the celebration of the centenary of our branch line over the weekend. Fortuitously the opening of the complete line in 1908 was on March 2nd meaning that Sunday was the correct day thus enabling plenty of people to join in the fun. Inevitably with a packed weekend of events there was much I missed including the various activities on the Devon side at Bere Alston. I was pleased though to see the plaques unveiled at Gunnislake and at Calstock on Sunday morning and with 'The Rubber Band' (who else?) providing suitable music at each of these two stations.

There were substantial crowds of people at each occasion with much cheering when the train pulled in. At Gunnislake a donkey from the local donkey park turned up complete with panniers containing daffodils. There was also a box of open daffodils packed in the way they used to be and this was put on the train, a reminder of the thousands of boxes despatched on this line in the old days. Several people, particularly the ladies, came in period dress and I was persuaded to wear a blazer, white shirt and tie to which was added a colourful waistcoat, pocket watch and chain (thanks Ian!). Although the weather forecast had been somewhat dubious a few days before we actually got away with a dry day. Just as well for the musicians especially - we had a cunning backup plan to bring in a couple of gazebos if necessary for the band but I never had to activate this thank goodness!

In the afternoon I looked in on the exhibition at Calstock Village Hall where in addition to the Calstock Parish Archive the Callington Heritage Group and Stoke Climsland Parish Archive also put on displays. All three organisations did very well I thought with their information.

Back to 'The Rubber Band' for a moment. Although I thoroughly enjoy their get-togethers each month in the local pubs they are inevitably limited on those occasions by who is available to turn up. The result is that they don't always have the balance of instruments to get the ultimate sound. Not a problem for me, they are incredibly versatile and you can still get great pleasure from the way they play. But on Sunday with pretty well all members there including the three brass players the blend was absolutely superb and the quality of music out of this world. Apart from the instrumental stuff there was some singing including our Cornish National Anthem 'Trelawney' with banners aloft spelling out the words so no excuse for not joining in!! A footnote here: 'The Rubber Band' have just recorded their first CD! Not available yet but I look forward to reviewing it in due course!

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