Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Friends Reunion

It is always a joy to hold reunion dinners with friends from the distant past. These usually take place in the chapel dining room at the Retreat. Once again, I would like to thank those who travelled a considerable distance to join us at our table on the occasion of April 13th. We toasted absent friends and paused to remember our much missed comrades who recently left us in very tragic circumstances. Some of us had known Jill and Gitte for a great many years. Jill was barely fifty when cancer took her while Gitte had just turned forty-five when she died in what still remains mysterious circumstances. The guests were nevertheless in marvellous spirit with much humour and merriment taking place throughout and after our cordon bleu dinner for which thanks are entirely due to Sarah (far left in the above pictures).

Guests are shown some of the newly refurbished upstairs rooms by Sarah where, like the dining room downstairs, Victorian decor prevails throughout. These refurbishments include my music room in which a rather magnificent Hornby Dublo model railway (comprising pre-war and 1950s trains) occupies one end. Keith Maclean could barely take his eyes off the layout while the others took equal interest in the sonorous tones of my baritone saxophone which is nowadays my instrument of choice. The room also contains other saxophones, guitars, keyboards, synthesiser and a recording/mixing studio.

Copyright © +Seán Manchester


  1. A fellow model railway enthusiast in Falkirk, Scotland, has asked me:

    "How long have you had you Hornby layout. Also, what locos do you run mostly on your track?"

    My layout is exclusively Hornby Dublo (3-rail). All is diecast and/or tinplate. I received my very first Hornby Dublo train set at Christmas 1952. Initially I added some track and manual points with a little extra rolling stock for the tank locomotive. Over the years I increased the layout exponentially, but it was not until I had more room in a spacious Edwardian house, such as I now reside in, that I could increase the size of the model railway to what it now comprises.

    I run three tank locomotives, plus the Silver King, the Princess Elizabeth, The Duchess of Atholl and the Duchess of Montrose. I was recently offered a Flying Scotsman, but declined as it proved to be a hybrid.

  2. In the Acknowledegements to his excellent book "Hornby Dublo Trains," Michael Foster writes:

    "As a diluter of the old social and age differences, railways in both full size and miniature must lead the field. From backstreet kids to Bishops, from engineers to accountants they all share the enthusiasm the railway locomotive creates."

    To which I can only add: "Hear! Hear!"