October 8 2017: stations in life

Birthday lunch and since there are only about 11 weeks to Christmas, the granddaughters – aged two and four – insist on getting out the crackers.

“Why aren’t ghosts any good at telling lies?”

“Because you can see right through them.”

Gosh, says Sharon – or words to that effect – that joke’s nearly as old as granddad.

For once, the only football-related present is a new Shildon scarf. Since a real Indian summer is forecast for next weekend, it may not make its debut at Guiseley.

Among the other presents is a splendid book by Simon Jenkins called Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations. Though Shildon is inexplicably not included, the North-East is well represented. Readers are invited to identify the following: answers tomorrow.

“The grandest of provincial stations, if not the most lovable.”

“Some distance from the centre of the ancient town….everythig has the sunny appearance of a greenhouse. The adjacent station restaurant claims a bizarre affinity to the Indus Valley.” (The hard one.)

“Some distance from the centre of town. Crowned with an extraordinary tower, with pilasters, arched windows, a clock and finally a steeple.”

“In a town struggling to recover its spirits….a heavy responsibility rests on the restoration of the station.”

“The station sits at the end of an eleven-arched viadict overlooking the town….and from which the view is one of England’s great spectacles.”