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Author Topic: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story  (Read 2774 times)

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Offline Mito

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2015, 05:18:27 PM »
This is a great "sit on the edge of your seat" story. Can't wait for the next installment. I propose we put Chris up for a literature award. Anyone second me?
What more can I say but thanks for a great read! :thumbsup:
You know you're getting older when your mind makes commitments your body can't meet.
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Offline Chetcombe

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2015, 04:54:16 AM »
Great writing Chris, although I didn't see the Tardis sub-plot coming! Looking forward to episode 4...

Online Chris in Prague

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2015, 10:18:06 AM »
Great writing Chris, although I didn't see the Tardis sub-plot coming! Looking forward to episode 4...

Thank you Brian (Mito) and Mike (Chetcombe). I did mention the Doctor in a couple of earlier posts. However, I had in mind the First Doctor, the initial incarnation of the Doctor, 1963 to 1966.  I also was thinking of his granddaughter and original companion, 1963 to 1964, Susan Foreman (real Gallifreyan name, Arkytior), an unusual teenager (appearing to be 15 years old, in 1963) with an advanced knowledge of history and science, including physics and chemistry. Whilst a pupil at at Coal Hill School in London's Shoreditch, Susan eagerly samples the cultural fads of British teenagers. She comes to love pop groups such as John Smith and the Common Men and is also interested in beat poetry.

The 'Chelsea Girls' first meet Susan, in 1963, when she appeared to them to be a very mature 15-year old, at famed hairstylist Vidal Sassoon's London saloon who was styling Susan's hair. That same year, Vidal Sasson had devised the classic "bob" for fashion designer Mary Quant, who was doing for clothes what Sassoon was achieving in hairstyles. The 'Girls' then introduce Susan to more of 'Swinging London' including Sylvia's good friend, Mary Quant, who uses Susan as a volunteer model because of her lively personality and unusual good looks.

The 'Chelsea Girls' are part of the fashionable set which, having made their home at the other end of the Kings Road, discovered the gem that is the World's End which has become a centre for the counter-culture world of the 1960s. One of the 'Girls' favourite haunts, where they often took Susan (who appears too young to be taken to a pub or wine bar), is just round the corner on the Kings Road, the "Dragon Tea Garden", a meeting place for local aristocrats, bohemians and hippies who sit on floor cushions, play backgammon and sip exotic teas.

The area at the western end of the King's Road takes its name from "The World's End" [a now Grade II listed public house at 459 King's Road, Chelsea, London. This 1897 built pub has been described by English Heritage as "a fine example of a public house in the gin-palace genre".] It is, for unknown reasons, a favourite of the Doctor; perhaps because it is substantial enough building to safely hide the TARDIS?
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 06:34:10 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Updated. »

Online Chris in Prague

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2015, 03:50:04 PM »
Part 4

“Hmm, my dear, we seem to have a little problem,” exclaims the Doctor as he slowly rises from his crouching position, after replacing the TARDIS control console’s side panel.

“What is it?” asks Arkytior, looking concerned.

“With the synchroniser valve failing we have a choice, we can land where or when we like but not both!”

“Oh!” sighs, Arkytior. “Why, that’s no choice at all, Grandfather. We have to land no earlier than the 1960s if we’re to find a suitable transistor.”

“Quite so, my dear,” smiles her white-haired companion.

“If the TARDIS were alive, you would think it was in pain!” exclaims the young woman as the sound from the console gets ever louder and more discordant.

"SHE is!"

"Sorry; I sometimes forget."

Her grandfather thrusts his thumbs into the side pockets of his fawn waistcoat as he bends over the scanner screen. “Quite. However, I fear that the synchroniser valve now appears not to be our only problem . . . indeed, not even the most important . . .  You know, the TARDIS often takes me where I ‘need to go’ rather than just where I ‘want to go’ and this, my girl, undeniably seems to be one of those times . . .”

***

Still dreaming in her train compartment, Sylvia, stands in complete darkness as the soft but resonant female voice continues: “The world is increasingly out of balance. But you feel that, don’t you?” The young woman nods. “You, dear Sylvia, are the Chosen One who must bring the masculine and feminine energies back into balance this Winter Solstice. The two aspects, male and female, must unite in a harmonious whole if the positive energy flowing through the leys is to resist the negative flowing ever more strongly across the Earth. The monuments you saw serve to mark that energy network, to connect them together. Something vast and evil is positioned outside mortals’ perception, something that is draining the positive and replacing it with its opposite. For energy can be neither created nor be destroyed, but it can be transformed from one form to another.”

“But, today, I mean tonight is December 23rd; the Winter Solstice is already past.”

“Yes, indeed, Sylvia, but you were too far from the Bodmin vortex, the vortex which your female ancestors were sworn to protect, the vortex which lies on what humans know as the St Michael Ley which runs straight between the tip of Cornwall at Land's End and the Norfolk coast. It is formed of two interweaving strands of energy, (known as the Michael and Mary lines, the sacred male and female, knowledge of which was carried into the Celtic Church but then lost after female priests were banned, by Rome, at the end of the seventh century), crossing each other at many points of great power. Just outside Bodmin is one of the most significant ones. The leys I showed you are the Earth’s energy or meridian system and vortexes you may think of as the Earth’s acupuncture points. Vortexes were used as sacred places for meetings and ceremonies such as those once led by your female ancestors. Over the centuries that conscious knowledge was lost but your unconscious still carries the memories. It just needs to be fully awakened. You have been feeling that rising ‘black stream’ of negative energy. However, the closer you approach to Bodmin the stronger will manifest the female power which flows through you. Already it is visible and the earth, fire, and water elementals are responding to your unconscious bidding. But alone you cannot defeat the ‘black stream’. I can send you back to the Solstice between five and seven A.M., when the leys power is strong but you will be . . . fatally . . . unbalanced and unable to succeed in your task.”

“Wait! Just WHO are you? Am I just dreaming? Am I going mad? Are you some spirit, ghost, goddess or . . . an alien?”

The voce laughs a gentle, soft, warm sound full of love and compassion. “No, dear Sylvia! You are neither dreaming nor going mad. I am none of those things. Look and you shall see.”

A kaleidoscope of female images now passes before her, beginning with a very tall, slender, olive-skinned woman of incredible beauty with long dark hair flowing down to her narrow waist, in a shining robe of translucent blue, gold, and silver which flows about her, with a face, under a slender circlet of red gold, full of wisdom and beauty but, what Sylvia will remember most is the woman’s great eyes, silver grey, blue, brown, green – she cannot name the colour which seems to be constantly changing – eyes full of sadness and concern. “She was your first ancestor to set foot on the shore of what you know as Cornwall.” The image of otherworldly beauty dissolves as a stream of women, each slightly shorter and of a slightly less stunning beauty passes before her, predominantly dark-haired, but interspersed with blonde, brown and even red hair, their skins become paler with time, yet all share a natural dignity reflecting in their upright bearing and the wise, compassionate look in their eyes until the images stop, finally revealing . . . her mother, Lady Penelope, in all her beauty, wisdom and tireless energy. “THESE are who I am; for I am the voice of your female ancestors, an unbroken line from she who fled from the sinking lands of the Far West, known to legend as the Fortunate Isles or Isles of the Blessed.

“So, what CAN I do? I am sick in mind, body and soul and know nothing of such things! Help me, O Ancestors of mine; help me heal the Earth and . . . myself,” cries Sylvia into the darkness.

“Tonight, Sylvia, you must take upon yourself the mantle and power of the Eternal Female, she who the Ancients called the great nature-goddess, the Magna Mater, Giver of Life, the Queen of Heaven. But you need your male counterpart, who the Ancients signified as the solar aspect, represented by his head encircled by rays, to your lunar aspect, represented by the twin horns of the lunar crescent upon the your head. Together you must bring balance, equality and harmony to this unbalanced world. For the masculine and feminine are two, distinct poles of energy which must be united in balance and harmony.

Within you the feminine predominates but you must chose the man within whom the masculine predominates for neither partner can be half feminine and half masculine. Your mother, like all of us who came before her, ensured that you have fully developed your feminine characteristics, whilst at the same time allowing your masculine side to grow and mature as well. But recently, your masculine side has been on the ascendant. You must restore your inner balance, and now, by refocussing on your feminine power, Sylvia. The opposite is true for the man you choose to accompany you in this vital task for when a male and female in inner harmony combine their power, all things will be harmony. Whether called soulmate or twin flame, both of you must maintain that healthy balance of the male to the female energies within. Know that before many more years are passed, the feminine energy will rise once again and its influence will drive the spiritual transformation of our planet and all its inhabitants. But only if you, together, play your part this Solstice time!”

“But I am alone, on a train, still far from Bodmin! I have no male partner like that of which you speak!”

“Time and space are but relative concepts, dear one. Just speak aloud the name of your chosen male one, the soulmate whose masculine power will balance your feminine, and I will take you both, united, hand-in-hand, back those few hours to the Solstice to that once familiar sacred space outside Bodmin so that, together, at that optimum time, you may reverse the ‘black stream’ and restore the positive and banish the pain within you as you restore balance to this troubled Earth!”

***

Well ahead of its 4:30AM scheduled arrival, the 12:15AM ex-Waterloo, is nearing Exeter Central station. “We’re almost out of water, driver,” shouts the worried fireman. “I’m not surprised at the rate she’s been steaming,” the inspector exclaims. “I’ll bring her tender right alongside the water crane and you hook ‘er up, sharpish, lad!” the driver calls. “We should just make it in time, driver!” his mate responds. “Aye, I reckon so,” the inspector adds, intently studying the cab gauges.

Expertly, Driver Trevithick slows the heavy train down as it approaches the station from the east through Black Boy Tunnel then quickly passes, in succession, under the Well Street, Pennsylvania Road, Howell Road and New North Road bridges, which the three railwaymen can recognise by sound alone, before entering the station itself where the train gently stops alongside the front half of the very long down platform. Awakened and unable to sleep again, Sylvia moves the curtains to look out her compartment window. She hears the first crew of driver and fireman leave their compartment and then watches them walk to the locomotive’s cab. Greetings made, and the train’s brakes fully applied, leaving Fireman Rowse in charge, Driver Trevithick and the bowler-hatted traction inspector quickly jump down on the platform and ask the bemused first driver to join them as they give the shimmering locomotive a very careful inspection.

Shrugging his shoulders, Fireman Rowse swings the canvas bag of the water crane over the opened tender water tank inlet and lets thousands of gallons of water once more flow into the almost empty tank whilst the first fireman climbs up the nearest rear ladder of the big green loco.’s shining tender only to find the second fireman leaning on his shovel watching the water gushing in. The tender is still almost full of hard, black, shiny coal. There is hardly any space for him to move any coal forward to!

Just as at Salisbury Station, as soon as the train had drawn to a halt, the doors to the rearmost guard’s areas had been thrown open and the surprised porters and postal staff with their barrows suddenly swarm around the coaches to remove brown GPO mail sacks and pass parcels out. Further up the shortened train, a similar process, but in reverse, has also begun as railway and postal staff add mail sacks and parcels for the train’s remaining stops.

The duty stationmaster, the gold braid on his cap glistening under the platform lights, strides towards the locomotive and is about to admonish its crew when he notices the bowler-hatted inspector with them as they stand by the boiler talking animatedly. “Good evening, inspector, driver, fireman. I’ve had reports all down the line of very fast running . . . ”

“But not a single instance of excess speed,” the inspector, turning, quietly interrupts.

“I’m glad to hear that, inspector; I presume that this is some speed trial for next year’s new timetable, especially, as this loco. is . . . just out of . . . Eastleigh . . . “ His formerly confident voice fades away as he notices for the first time, the strange golden blurring of the locomotive’s outline before spluttering, “whatever is THAT!”

Meanwhile, an ex-GWR pannier tank appears from under the New North Road bridge and, once the platform staff give the all-clear that the rearmost darkened three coaches are empty and the doors all closed, it gently buffers up and stops to allow its fireman to get down and couple it up to the last coach. Three coaches forward, a leather glove clad railwayman in dirty dungarees appears from the trackside and uncouples the now empty Exeter portion from the train whilst the train’s guard closes and locks the corridor door of what is now the last coach of his train before getting out to set a new tail lamp in place. His work done, on the opposite side from the platform, the dungareed railwayman steps back away from the train and signals to the pannier tank’s crew who, with a brief whistle from their engine, slowly draw away the three empty coaches into the night. Now reduced to just five coaches the train will pose no test of the locomotive’s strangely enhanced capabilities for the remainder of its journey.

The starting signal for the down platform line is located on the platform itself under the canopy, where the restricted clearance means that this signal retains a lower-quadrant arm.

***
« Last Edit: December 27, 2015, 08:02:49 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Corrected. »

Offline Mito

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2015, 05:01:40 PM »
A story out of this world.  :thumbsup:
You know you're getting older when your mind makes commitments your body can't meet.
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Online Chris in Prague

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2015, 05:10:43 PM »
A story out of this world.  :thumbsup:

Thank you, Brian. There is more to come bringing all the sub-plots plus recent posts on various NGF threads together in time for Christmas Day and Boxing Day at Trevelver Castle!
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 10:15:41 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Updated. »

Online Chris in Prague

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2015, 02:09:37 PM »
Part 4

The evening of December 23rd, finds Jeremy Roskrow attending a boring cocktail party in Chelsea where he has, quite literally, been cornered by a tall horsey young woman called Annabel with a braying laugh and, very appropriately, a pony tail of mousy brown hair, who seems to find him fascinating. Trying to avoid glancing what her too tight and too short mini dress is revealing as she alternately leans forward and back clutching a flute of indifferent champagne, the young wine merchant feels a growing sense of unease and an intense desire to be somewhere else and . . with someone else! He glances at his Rolex gold watch, bought with the proceeds of his first full year of successful trading: half past 12 Midnight!

Muttering his apologies and something about having to meet an old friend he abruptly forces his way out of the crowded room’s corner, past the startled and crestfallen girl and, grabbing his coat, scarf and hat from the coat rack on the landing, bounds down the flat’s narrow staircase, forcing his way past the chatting partygoers and out into the mews, putting on his outer clothes as he goes, for the night is cold and damp. Quickly shutting the door behind him, Jeremy, briskly strides across the cobbles and out into the busy street. Standing on the edge of the pavement, he thrusts his arm out and whistles loudly as a black cab with a ‘FOR HIRE’ indicator appears out of the fog. “Waterloo station, driver, please; departures!” Even in this thick fog he thinks, more than enough time to buy a First Class ticket and find a comfortable seat on the 1:25AM Newspaper train to . . . Penmayne!

***

The evening of December 24th finds Elayne Guillou, Eli to her friends, standing outside her parents’ modest stone cottage after enjoying a traditional Breton Christmas dinner. Dressed warmly against the bitter cold with a chill salt-laden wind blowing off the nearby sea, together the three of them – for her elder, sea captain brother is still out at sea, delayed by winter storms – walk arm-in-arm through the crisp snow to Midnight Mass. Entering the lamp-lit small storm-beaten stone church shortly before its clock strikes the midnight hour, they find it, as always, on this special night, filled to overflowing with kneeling and traditionally dressed locals who nod and greet them as they pass by. On the right side of the small stone altar, a lantern-lit bower has been constructed of fragrant pine and fir branches, with great clusters of crimson-berried holly and waxy mistletoe glistening among the dark green. Under this luxuriant canopy sits, on a low wooden stool, a young girl of great beauty, her long black silky hair falling onto her loose bright white garments shining in the reflected lamp light. In her arms she holds a sleeping infant. Beside her stands a sturdy handsome young man, wearing a simple woollen robe and leaning on a heavy wooden staff, a ‘pen-bas’, or cudgel, as he holds a lantern over them, while an ox, a donkey and four sheep quietly munch feed from a couple of simple wooden mangers. Brushing tears from the corners of her warm grey eyes, Eli thinks she has never seen anything so beautiful in its heartfelt simplicity and it is only now, after being in London, that she can truly appreciate it.

Taking their reserved places on an ancient wooden bench, the celebration of the Mass begins. A small round-faced, red-cheeked choir boy sings out: “For unto us a child is born!” The deep bass voice of an adult chorister, hidden somewhere behind the fir-branch bower, gives the response of “Übif?” (Where?). A tenor chorister concealed near the sheep responds: “Bethlehem!” and then a baritone voice proclaims: “Come, rise and let us go thither”. Thereupon the white-haired little priest, his assistants carrying lanterns, leads the entire congregation in procession to the Nativity bower.

The kindly old priest, having sprinkled the three young villagers representing Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus, as well as the well-brushed and fed animals, with holy water, followed by the beaming congregation, the procession now follows him to the main entrance of the little church. Easing open the pair of heavy, wooden doors to the small porch, the congregation sees all the cattle and flocks of the village standing in the old churchyard, crowded together, in the silvery light of a full moon. Standing on the porch’s worn top step, with his lantern bearers and surpliced choristers gathered about him, the venerable priest, who has had charge of this Breton parish for nearly forty years, exclaims: “God, in His infinite loving mercy, my dear children, has sent me on this blessed Natal Night to bless your cattle and your flocks, because the animals which are your help and source of prosperity should also share in the joy which fills our hearts this special night. Now lead your flocks past me,” he beams.

As the assembled shepherds and cattle herders do so, the priest, tirelessly dipping the silver sprinkler into the matching ewer of holy water held by the senior chorister, sprinkles the passing oxen and the sheep; and over the clanging of the bells around their necks, the lowing and the baaing, and the calling and whistling of their drivers, can be heard the words of the smiling priest as he gives God’s blessing, before, the last animal having departed into the night, the choristers and congregation bring the blessing to a close with a resounding, “Amen”.

As Eli, entranced, watches the animals being blest, it seems to her if she had been transported back to the simpler days of the early Christians, and as if the fast-paced, materialistic twentieth century was not an everyday reality but only a bad dream from which she had, temporarily, awakened to something more beautiful. As happy as the time with her parents had been, and as beautiful as the service had been (she had memorised it as scenes for her sketch pad), Eli, realises that her Christmas will not be complete without her closest friend and business partner, Sylvia Trevelver and the other ‘Chelsea Girls’ who have welcomed her so warmly into their group. As she pictures them she wonders what had happened to the youngest, but all too brief, member of their crowd, the laughing dark-haired one who, one day, earlier that year, just disappeared, and who the dark-haired girl playing the part of Mary had somehow reminded her off. What was her name, now? Ah, yes, Susan Foreman!

Christmas Day morning dawns cold and calm with a weak sun shining down from a clear blue sky as Eli, after kissing and hugging her parents, carrying a small leather suitcase, sets off at a steady pace through the village on the well-trodden path to the nearby harbour of Port Regleun where the Harbour Master has promised to find her a berth on the first seaworthy ship going across the Narrow Sea to . . . Cornwall!

Eli had hoped to find a berth on a vessel sailing to South Cornwall, in the Lostwithiel area, from where she could catch a train north, but sitting in his office drinking strong black coffee, the Port Regleun Harbour Master regretfully informs her that he could only find a vessel sailing to Trepol Bay with a cargo of timber for finishing at the timber mill at Port Perran before transport to the "Castle Estates", at Cant Cove, where he had heard, a new, modern dairy was to be built. (Eli never ceased to be surprised just how close were the ties between her corner of Brittany and North Cornwall but, she reflected, her ancestors had been trading across the Narrow Sea since long before Roman times). After sitting, sketching scenes from memory of the Midnight Mass, in the private sitting room of the proprietress of Port Regleun’s Harbour Bar, where she had enjoyed lunch with the owner’s young family, a young sailor had come to announce that his cargo ship would leave Port Regleun early that Christmas afternoon due to adverse tides and anticipated bad weather later on Boxing Day. It proves to be a voyage that Eli will never forget.

***

Early on Boxing Day morning, at High Tide, the cargo ship carrying her ties up alongside the sturdy harbour wall. Not long after, at Cant Cove Station, a tired but very happy Eli steps out of the brand new BCK of the shiny green two-coach through train from Trepol Bay, hauled by one of Wadebridge's pair of similarly clean Ivatt 2-6-2Ts, and is delighted to find Trevelver Castle’s beaming Head Butler (alerted by telegram from Trepol Bay’s Harbour Master’s office) waiting to take her and her suitcase up to the Castle to await the return of the other 'Chelsea Girls'. As if the Castle's Head Butler, shaking her hand and warmly welcoming her whilst taking her small suitcase (her trunk had already arrived, with Sylvia's, from London, by BR's Luggage Ahead service, booked by her friend) was not a nice enough surprise, out of the station entrance, steps onto the platform the smiling figure of Giles, the Chelsea wine merchant. Without a thought, Eli rushes to him and embracing him, gives him the three-cheek kiss which the French reserve for dear friends. Giles blushes and stammers, "Well, Eli, I'm pleased to see you, too!"

"Oh, Giles, I thought you were in London and too busy to join us?"

"Oh, Eli, my dear, my business partner can take care of our clients for a few days. In any case, they are all fully stocked and should not be troubling us until after New Year. How was your journey?"

"Oh, simply wonderful, dear Giles. Everyone was SO 'elpful and charming to me. I 'ad heard you English were a little . . . " It is the Breton girl's turn to blush as, leaving the station, they step into the waiting Jaguar.

"Cold and distant, you mean?" smiles Giles.

"But Miss Eli," explains the Head Butler as, after checking the road is clear he smartly swings the car around and out of the station forecourt with a toot on the horn to the waving stationmaster, you're NOT in England, you're in . . . "

"Cornwall!" Laughs Eli. "And the Cornish are our dear Celtic cousins and you . . . are . . . my . . . dear friends!" Impulsively, she reaches across to Giles, who is sitting close, but not too close, to her on the leather-clad back seat and squeezes his hand. "Already, I feel at 'ome 'ere."

"Tell me all about it on our way up to the Castle."

And Eli does beginning at Regleun and ending at Trepol Bay. "I felt like royalty, when I saw that shiny new carriage waiting ESPECIALLY for me on the 'arbourside!", the excited young Breton woman beams as she explains how very grateful she is to her Breton and Cornish friends for enabling her to cross safely and very quickly from Port Regleun to Trepol Bay Harbour and how she was especially charmed by the Trepol Bay railwaymen who had gallantly provided a brand new BR SR Green BCK coach hauled by a ‘little black engine’ especially to take her, in style, up to the station where her carriage was added to the next special Christmas timetable through train to Penmayne. Everyone involved she explained had got a big Breton hug and a Gallic style kiss on both cheeks from her.

"Any friend of Sylvia will always be welcomed here," laughs the Head Butler as, after the Jaguar bumps over the branch level crossing, he changes gear to drive them up the steep hill away from Cant Cove Station, its receding lights twinkling in the gently falling snow.

The rest of the Chelsea Girls, dressed in their very popular Santa’s Elves outfits, have been spending most of December 26th on board the special “Boxing Day Ale and Rail Spectacular” charity tour looking after the 200 lucky ticket holders after joining them for a lavish a breakfast in Trepol Bay’s “Station Hotel”.

Their train had departed from Trepol Bay station at 11:30 with 34065 “Hurricane”, seemingly unaffected by its recent record breaking run – apart from a slight lingering golden gleam if you look at the locomotive out of the corner of your eye when it is not in bright sunlight. Whilst the passengers have been visiting various excellent pubs, the girls have been resting in the train, drinking tea and coffee and munching on sandwiches and mince pies (the train’s four-wheeled CCT van being full of hampers supplied by the North Cornwall Pasty Co., as well as the chef of Trepol Bay’s “Station Hotel”).

Night having already fallen, at 7:40PM the special train departs Okehampton bound for Cant Cove and a visit to “The Station Hotel” behind a specially cleaned and polished ‘N’ Class 2-6-0. However, as much as the girls would like to go up to Trevelver Castle to be with Sylvia and her family, at 8:50PM their train departs Cant Cove station, now behind a T9 4-4-0, on its last leg to Trepol Bay where it is scheduled to terminate at the station at 9:15PM where a late supper will be served at the nearby “Station Hotel”.

Having eaten more than their fill and said a fond farewell to the very happy, if not a little ‘tired and emotional’ passengers, the girls, carefully carrying their brightly decorated charity collection buckets, leave the cosy little hotel and, gratefully settle into the line of taxis booked to take them direct to Trevelver Castle where they hope that they will be also able to meet up with Eli. As no-one, including the Castle’s Head Butler, had wanted to drink and drive that Boxing Day evening, the Head Butler had taken the precaution of booking taxis with Port Perran Station Taxis, at a very generous rate, days before, to take the remaining Chelsea Girls from Trepol Bay direct to the Castle to meet up with Eli.

Stepping through the inner gateway of Trevelver Castle, the 'Chelsea Girls' are warmly greeted with hugs and kisses on their glowing cheeks by Eli, Sylvia, and a very happy Giles and . . . Jeremy still in his naval uniform together with Lord and Lady Trevelver and the Head Butler who all three shake them warmly by the hand before ushering them into the high-ceilinged entrance hall. After removing their outer winter clothing and boots, the girls are shown into the upstairs drawing room where mugs of hot chocolate with whipped cream and mince pies are waiting for them on side tables next to the semi-circle of armchairs drawn up around the blazing fireplace.

"I took the precaution of adding a little . . . cognac, ladies," announces the Head Butler. "Purely for medicinal purposes, you understand. It being so cold and all!" They all laugh.

As soon as they get the chance to lean over to each other and talk, both Eli and Sylvia, exclaim how happy each other looks, exchanging meaningful glances at Giles and Jeremy who are both chatting with Sylvia's parents in the opposite corner and how they cannot wait to tell each other what has happened since they were last together, in their London office. After Eli has had the opportunity to tell everyone something about her unusual journey from Port Regleun to Trepol Bay and then the Castle, Sylvia whispers, "My dear, you cannot possibly imagine what has happened to me since I left Waterloo on the 12:15AM, on Wednesday night. Let's slip out to the Library where there is another fine log fire blazing and I'll tell you all about it! I know where my father keeps the spirit bottles and glasses hidden behind some false book covers."

Eli nods her heartfelt approval, adding: “My dear, you ‘ave not heard ‘alf the story, yet!"

“Mine neither”, smiles Sylvia, throwing her long arm around the shorter Breton girl’s shoulders.

***
« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 08:48:58 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Updated. »

Offline port perran

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2015, 05:14:18 PM »
Thanks Chris.
Excellent story telling as ever. It is very clever that you have been able to bring the other various threads together.
Great stuff.
If it looks right then it most probably is right.


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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2015, 07:07:27 PM »
Thanks Chris.
Excellent story telling as ever. It is very clever that you have been able to bring the other various threads together.
Great stuff.

Thanks, Martin. I'm very glad that you and others are enjoying it. It is a real indulgence on my part but a very welcome change from my normal work. 1964 was a very eventful year, not least for the First Doctor and Susan and . . . the Daleks!

There is more to come: the most dramatic events. So far you've only read the beginning and the very end (tying the various threads on the forum together).

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2015, 08:53:58 PM »
Part 5

It is the early hours of the morning, Thursday, December 24th, 1964, high above England. On board the gigantic saucer-shaped ship, shielded from all detection from the planet below them, the Supreme Controller studies a giant screen showing the Earth's glowing energy meridians. “Once we have filled this planet’s energy lines with negative energy and recharged our damaged generator system with positive energy, the invasion can commence! Prepare the fire bombs!”

“WE OBEY!” choruses the second-in-command Black Dalek followed by all the Daleks on board.

“Supreme Commander, a trace of the Doctor’s ship has been detected, here,” the Black Dalek’s gunstick points to a glowing red spot on an adjacent screen showing London, indicated as the World’s End, Chelsea.

“The Doctor must be EX-TER-MINATED! Once our work is finished here, we will fire bomb London!” proclaims the Supreme Controller. "Nothing will survive!"

***

Seated in leather armchairs either side of the blazing logs in the library’s great stone fireplace, each with a glass of Armagnac resting on a little round wooden table, being the guest, Sylvia pleads with Eli to tell her the full story.

   “My dear, Sylvia, it is what I did not speak of that is the most remarkable.”

   “Me, too!”

   “Before I reached Port Regleun, I remembered to stop to pray to St. Nicholas. In my researches, in my last summer before coming to London, I could find no reference to ‘im in any Christian source. However, around my home, it is said that he was, like so many of the Breton saints, a disciple of St. Iltud. Perhaps, though, his legend is the survival of some long-forgotten pagan divinity. Who knows!” The young Breton girl shrugs her shoulders and, after admiring the glow of the Armagnac in the firelight, takes a delighted sip.

“St. Nicholas is specially the saint of seafaring men, like my older brother, who believe he brings them good luck, asking nothing in return except that they visit his shrine whenever they happen to pass. This is a somewhat tumbledown little stone chapel high on one of headlands above the harbour, of which the local seamen seem to be very, ‘ow you say, appreciative, from the very well-worn condition of the little path leading up to it. I knew I ‘ad plenty of time. I went in, knelt down and, knowing well the danger of December storms, prayed my ‘ardest to St. Nicolas, to protect me and the ship which would carry me across the Narrow Sea. As I prayed,” she looked straight into her friend’s widened eyes, “I felt a great assurance descend on my ‘eart. Getting up, and brushing the dirt off my knees from the worn flagstones in front of the tiny stone altar, I placed some winter roses on the old glass vase on it, bowed three times, as our tradition says, then set off once more for the ‘arbour.”

***

Giles had noted as he walked down the Waterloo platform to join the waiting 1:25AM Newspapers and Passengers train to Penmayne, first a long wooden-bodied van in the familiar green livery of British Railway’s Southern Region, a colour which always made him fondly remember childhood holidays in the countryside and by the sea, described on its side as a ‘Bogie B’ bearing a headboard stating: ‘WEST OF ENGLAND NEWSPAPERS: WATERLOO TO PENMAYNE’, surrounded by vans in the colours of various national newspaper companies from which a gang of casually dressed workers were busy transferring bundles of newspapers as directed by the railwayman in the van, followed by an older Bulleid Second Composite (SK), with its characteristic squashed lozenge windows in its doors, then a brand new BR Brake Composite (BCK), both in the smart dark green livery.

Comfortably settled in a corner seat of the leading First Class Compartment, Giles sees the train’s guard walk up to the locomotive’s cab and begin talking with its crew. Despite the cold night air, curious, standing up the young wine merchant opens the ventilators at the top of the window to hear their conversation.

“You’ve heard about the record run of “Hurricane” on the 12:15 AM to Penmayne, this night, then, Guard?”

“That I have, driver,” the railway gravely replies.

“It was the talk of the Nine Elms Mess Room,” excitedly explains the much younger fireman.

Both loco. crew, Giles, could see bore the, now familiar to him, round CLPG metal badges on their jackets.

“Seeing as we’ve also got another Bulleid Light Pacific, fresh out of Eastleigh, and with a much lighter load, eh, Guard, I’m sure with “Spitfire”, here,” the driver proudly gestures at the immaculate, simmering loco., “we could, I’m sure, do rather better! My fireman is game aren’t you, son!” A vigorous nod.

Entering his carriage, earlier, Giles, had noticed the long, green locomotive’s number, 34066, but not its name, “Spitfire”. It must, like the “Hurricane” they had mentioned, been named after the famous Battle of Britain fighter aircraft but both names seemed strangely appropriate names for an engine attempting a very fast run!

“I had wondered why we had a Pacific instead of a lowly ‘N’ Class on the ‘Penmayne ‘Papers’, this mornin’,” replies the guard, “but I’m quite sure that it was not rostered for a speed attempt, gentlemen!

“No, indeed. She’s been on a ‘running in’ diagram before returning to North Cornwall for the Christmas and New Year special trains we’ve got running down there.”

“I’ve heard about that, Driver. Pity I’m only booked to Exeter. I wish you a good run, then; but, please, remember I will be recording the principal passing times and any examples of over-speeding in my journal!”

“Fair enough, Guard. You’ve got to do your duty. We won’t be breaking any speed limits but, wherever we can, we’ll see just what ‘Spitfire’ can do with this lightweight three-coach load.”

As the guard walks off to see how the loading of the newspapers in the van is progressing, the train’s principal purpose, Giles knows, he closes the ventilators and settles back in his seat for what seems to be a run out of the ordinary. Just how out of the ordinary, though, he was soon to discover . . .

***
« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 09:12:50 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Corrected. »

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2015, 08:41:47 AM »
There will be a small rewrite re: the sailors' chapel above Port Regleun as I forgot the local information and was relying on my early 20th century chapter (in an online book) on Breton Saints. Apologies.

I'm travelling today so no update during the day. However, the climax of the story IS coming (written with a family audience in mind) featuring all the characters (including the other 'Chelsea Girls' -- who are feeling rather left out, both trains, the cargo ship, some mermaids and . . . Bodmin! (The place rather than the Bulleid Light Pacific.) I might, as last year, fit in someone remarkably Father Christmas, too! 8-)

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2015, 08:29:34 PM »
Part 6

The starting signal for Exeter Central’s down platform line is located on the platform itself under the canopy, where the restricted clearance means that this signal retains a lower-quadrant arm. Loading and unloading complete, the train impatiently waits at the now deserted platform for the signal arm to fall and the guard’s whistle to blow to mark departure time.

Sylvia, remembering the white envelope in her coat pocket takes it out and tears it open. Inside is a single piece of folded white paper headed, in the top left hand corner: The TARDIS, Time: Now. The handwritten message written in flowing blue ink, reads:

“I am the grandfather of your friend, Susan Foreman. You may call me the Doctor. The Great Man Theory of History, (as I’m sure you know, being a well-educated young woman,) was a 19th century idea stating that history can be principally explained by the impact of “great men”, or heroes. However, the belief that highly influential individuals, due to either their personal charisma, intelligence, wisdom, or Machiavellianism, can use their power in a way that has a decisive historical impact), has since been held to be wrong because history is, in fact, the result of events occurring over time which cause certain developments to occur. But this theory is both right, because individuals CAN change history and wrong, because it does not specifically include the influence of Great Women. Sylvia, this night, you will be called on change history, to be a Great Woman of History! You must not fail, no matter the challenges you are about to face! But you will not face them alone!”

Sylvia puts the letter down and pinches herself. No, she is not dreaming. Standing up, she opens the window ventilators and puts her face to the rush of icy air . . . hmm, the train is going very fast, this evening. No, the icy air feels very real. Shivering, she closes the ventilators and sits down on the well-upholstered seat. After leaving Exeter Central the train descends the gradient to Exeter St. David’s station and then runs along the Western Region line to Cowley Bridge Junction. Soon after turning westwards at the junction and back onto Southern Region lines, the warmth of the steam heating and the steadily increasing clickety-clack of the track sends Sylvia back to sleep.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 08:07:09 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Updated. »

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2016, 12:43:04 PM »
Part 7

“Sylvia! The time is fast approaching! This . . . railway train is travelling as fast as the elementals of earth”, “she means coal”, interrupts another, but very familiar, sharper female voice, “fire, and water can bring it to the vicinity of Bodmin. Now, we need you to select the male human who will have the singular honour of being your partner in protecting the first pair of the Earth’s cardinal points.”

 “Alright, Melinakora, enough! More than enough!” cries the once familiar and forthright voice of Lady Ailla, Sylvia’s sadly missed grandmother. “Enough of your long-winded speechifying! Time is not on our side. No wonder your civilisation fell if you spent so much time admiring the sound of your own voices! It’s time for action! We have to take this young woman back to the Solstice so that she may become the first of the Vortex’s four Guardians and NOW!”

“The Lady Ailla is right,” agrees the female chorus.

“Now, Sylvia, this is no time for coyness. Alas, I left your plane of existence when you were still a small girl but I know there is a man, a good, strong, brave man who you know will stand by your side as a Guardian. Now, name him!” commands her sharp-tongued grandmother.

“Most beloved, Sylvia, name your chosen Guardian of the North, of Earth!” chorus Sylvia’s female ancestors.

“I name . . .  Captain Jeremy Corentyn Cador!” pronounces Sylvia without a moment’s hesitation.

A new female voice, softer than the others but just as resonant with power then speaks: “Esteemed Ladies, enough of your verbal sparring, whilst I have not the powers of Melinakora, First Among Us, nor am I as close as you Honoured Grandmother, as the last of the Keepers Of the Circle I present myself as Sylvia’s Protector this Solstice Night.”

“Honoured Morwenna, we agree! It is most fitting,” agreed the female voices.

“Dear Sylvia, my distant descendant, you will take on my power and knowledge for this Solstice Night. Together let us now call Captain Jeremy Corentyn Cador!”

“I will ready myself to take them back to the Solstice Night,” declares Melinakora.

“Most Honoured Melinakora, we agree! It is most fitting,” agreed the female chorus, once more.

“Sylvia, dear granddaughter, even all of us assembled cannot cause you to be in two times and places at once so know now that your spirit will be travelling with Morwenna whilst your body will remain in the train under our protection whilst I will hold tight with all my power that golden thread which links your spirit to your body so that you may safely return,” spoke her grandmother in softer tones. “I wish your time in Cornwall had rubbed off on you a little more and your time in London considerably less! You would then, I’m sure, have been better prepared for what is to come!”

“Honoured Lady Ailla, we agree! It is most fitting that you do so,” interrupts the female voices.

Sylvia, sees the train compartment fading away as she recalls Lady Penelope telling her: “You know, my dear, some people are driven by greed, some by lust, some – alas far too few – even by love; your grandmother though, principally runs on indignation, an indignation that increases with her advancing years!”

After passing non-stop through Crediton and Yeoford stations, the speeding train smoothly turns onto the Okehampton line, where it diverges from the North Devon line at Coleford Junction, to continue westwards, still on Southern Region track. The signalman at Coleford Junction is woken from his slumbers by the roaring train. The signalbox still shaking from its passing, the signalman rubbing his eyes, thinks the fast disappearing train seems to glow with a bright golden glow. Normally, he would have sent the ‘Stop and Examine’ signal to the next ‘box but something tells him not to and, sitting back in his armchair, he is soon fast asleep, once more.

***

Once again, well ahead of its schedule, the 12:15AM ex-Waterloo, having passed at great speed through Bow, North Tawton, and Sampford Courtenay stations, the line having turned southwest, the speeding train is nearing Okehampton, 197 miles from London Waterloo and where it is due to arrive at 5.20AM and depart 6 minutes later after uncoupling the two coaches, a Bulleid design BSK plus CK, which will then be taken forward by a waiting Ivatt 2-6-2 tank loco. to Bude. On the footplate of “Hurricane”, Driver Trevithick is increasingly concerned at the ever increasing speed of their train whilst Fireman Rowse finds that he is having to add less and less coal to the speeding locomotive’s firebox. “Inspector”, the fireman asks, once more. “Look! Have you ever seen a fire that moves and burns like this?”

The Inspector gravely shakes his head. “No, Fireman Rowse, that I have not. Nor, have I seen such a . . . strange golden glow . . . like that which now . . . surrounds our train.”

“More and more, Inspector, I get the strangest sensation as if ‘Hurricane’ is . . . alive . . . and knows just exactly how fast to travel. Less and less is she responding to her controls and . . . yet . . . “

“She stays as steady as a rock upon the track,” adds the excited young fireman.

“A rock travelling like a rocket!” drily adds the Inspector gazing in incredulity at the Pacific’s speedometer. “If I was not seeing it with my own eyes, I simply would not have believed it! Best that none of us speak of this.”

“Agreed, Inspector,” states Driver Trevithick, “always assuming, that is, that we all live to tell the tale!”

“The nearer we get to Okehampton, the less coal she burns . . . yet the faster she goes”, adds Fireman Rowse.

“We’re fast . . . ”

“Fast being the word, driver,” interrupts the Inspector. Apply the brakes, man, and now!”

“ . . . approaching Okehampton,” continues the driver, “but she’s not responding!”

***

Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor is growing more and more concerned. “The TARDIS is taking us to 1964, late December, commendably exact . . . for a change.”

“Yes, isn’t it,” smiles his granddaughter, encouragingly.

“But not to London, not back to the World’s End, Chelsea, as I had planned, my dear; a little shopping for you and for me.”

“Where to then?” asks Arkytior, once more looking at her companion with deep concerned.

“With the synchroniser valve about to fail completely, we now have no choice about either where we will land or when!”

“That’s not all, is it, Grandfather,” states Arkytior standing by his side and studying the controls, too.

“I fear not, my dear. The TARDIS is suffering an ever faster drain on her energy. See here,” the white-haired man points at a dial labelled Petrol Gauge purloined from a previous visit to London, whose pointer is fast moving from ‘FULL’ to ‘EMPTY’, “something very powerful has hold of her and is sucking her dry!” He moves to the navigational screen and adjusts a pair of knobs below it. “Hmm, something is happening down below us in . . . Bodmin, Cornwall. But that is not all . . . “

Studying an adjacent screen, his companion adds: “No, there is something else out there, above Cornwall, above the Earth but the scanners of the TARDIS cannot detect what it is only where!”

“Hmm, move aside, let me see.” The Doctor irritably adjusts the control knobs to no avail. “It must be something vast and powerful. Certainly no technology that mid-twentieth century Earth is capable of producing. It seems to be linked to the energy point below, in Bodmin, and . . . now to the TARDIS! But WHAT is it? I have a terrible feeling about this. It’s something I should, will know? Something from my future or is it from my past? I confess, my dear, it is a trifle confusing and not a little perturbing!”

***

Meanwhile, on the footplate of “Spitfire” the crew are experiencing the same alarming phenomena as those of “Hurricane” but without the calming presence of an Inspector to reassure them. In his compartment, Giles Roskrow, dreams of Eli, a ship, mermaids and . . . a great storm!

***
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 08:33:23 PM by Chris in Prague, Reason: Updated. »

Offline port perran

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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2016, 01:15:35 PM »
I do hope that all will be well on arrival (or passing) Okehampton !
If it looks right then it most probably is right.


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Re: A Cant Cove 1964 Christmas Story
« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2016, 06:12:18 PM »
I do hope that all will be well on arrival (or passing) Okehampton !

All will be well as the loco. is still running on Boxing Day, Martin. 8-)

 

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