Polbrock yard, and the weekly delivery of ale from the Marriott Foster & Dent Brewery has just arrived from Bath in an old unfitted ex-GWR van, the brewery being too tight to pay for a fully fitted train.
The beers are mostly for the Armchair & Pedant pub next to the crossing, the pub which as you know is popular with socially challenged squeaky voiced middle aged men who still live at home with 'mother' (dead and kept in the wardrobe). This pub reputedly was the inspiration for the BBC's dark comedy Psychoville, the Librarian being a regular to the 'A&P' along with David Sowerbutts who was his shandy drinking train-spotting buddy.
Just above the van in front of the halt can be seen 'Harriet', who today is dressed as a lady customs official. Don't be seduced by her flowery feminity, for when not in character is in fact a 'he', the hairy top lip and Adam's apple being the giveaway, though from this distance you'll be forgiven for not spotting that. 'Harriet', also known as 'Harry' in railway circless, is a keen diesel fan and can tell you everything about the inner workings of a Brush Type 4 in great detail. Harry dresses up up as all sorts of characters, 'Harriet' being only part of his huge portfolio, another favourite being the Beast of Bodmin Moor, though his slight frame is non-too convincing with the squeaky roar being more of a meow as he runs through people's back gardens in full costume. Other days he dresses up as a cave man (like Mister Muscle) and tries to bunk engine sheds, the notorious Guildford shed not known as the friendliest being always a challenge, his nimble sparsely leopard skin clad frame being ideal for nipping past the grumpy shed forman.
Harry is now getting on a bit, and until very recently it was thought that he'd passed on to the great humpyard in the sky, but recent sightings in Essex would suggest that he's still up to his old tricks, and I'm sure I saw him as 'Harriet' at a recent model railway show.
People often comment on the wooden ales casks, saying that they look nothing like wood; here's the secret, they're not wood at all but fibre glass finished to look like wood. In principle they work just fine as long as a full one is not dropped, and they do make the beer taste a little plasticky. Occasionally they've been known to explode too, fibre glass not being ideal for the secondary fermentation which takes place in the cask.
So there you go, that was Tuesday's load of old guff, and please let it be known that some of my best friends have squeaky voices, live with mother (often dead) dress as lady customs officers, lions and that I have several Brush Type 4 diesels.