Another lucky dip into the vintage postcard collection put together by my mother's Uncle Fowler brings up an unused card dating back 90 or 100 years showing two engines of the Caledonian Railway Company. The earliest engine, we are told, was built by George Stephenson himself whilst the latest was "now running on 2pm Corridor Train from Glasgow Central to London Euston". Whenever I pick these cards at random I am always tempted to turn them into exam questions for unsuspecting students of economic and social history - "using the above picture as your source discuss trends in inter-city transport in Britain over the last 100 years". It is the kind of exam I would quite enjoy sitting : indeed I suppose that this blog is, at times, nothing more than am expansive answer-book to such an exam.
I am not very good on trains. Like all boys of my age I served an apprenticeship as a train-spotter, stood on windy railway bridge underlining engine numbers with a smudgy Biro in my Ian Allan Trainspotters Guide. But it was more out of tribal loyalty than a collector's enthusiasm. But what red-blooded human does not feel a thrill course through his or her veins when a real steam train passes close?
But I am getting sentimental and maudlin. Too many dusty old postcards. Time to look forward rather than back. Was that a Ford Focus that just drove past? Must go and mark it up in my car spotter's guide. .... Not the same feel to it, has it?