The Grand Tour 2018 – part 1

Categories: News and Rail Trips and Visits.

Melbourne – Perth – Heathrow

Aboard the all new Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner. I enjoyed the whole flight. It was on time. The food was really good, especially the breakfast as we were getting close to Heathrow.

The seating has improved and the seat back in front of you has great technology. A shelf designed especially to hold your ipad while you use it, complete with power. The TV screen is much bigger than the A380, all touch screen including lighting, hostess call button etc. 100’s of movies to choose from. I got about 7 hours sleep on the second leg of the flight. There is now a small ‘hammock’ to support your feet when you get ready to sleep. The toilets are bigger than on the A380. My only criticism is that I think the plane is noisier than the A380. With fewer passengers boarding, disembarking, clearing customs etc. was quicker than expected – quite a bonus.

Getting to the start of the first Steam Train Tour

I had a hire car from Hertz to get me around for my 2 months stay. I was within a kilometre of the hotel I was staying at on the second day when I was run in to by a pedestrian. I was on a main road, the traffic in the opposite direction was stationary and I was in a line of cars travelling at about 15 MPH. A 12 year old boy on his way home from school ran across the road between the stationary cars slamming in to the side of my car. He ended up lying in the middle of a busy road with all traffic stopped. Soon there was a first responder, a first aider, a Doctor, a grandmother, a step dad, 2 police cars, 2 ambulances, lots of witnesses and me. Mayhem for an hour.

Fortunately all the witnesses confirmed that the boy was at fault. He ended up going to hospital with 2 broken bones in his foot, a broken collar bone and a very sore head. I had to arrange a changeover hire car as the driver’s side wing mirror had been ripped off and the driver’s door does not close properly. With one mirror missing the left hand side electric mirror defaulted to a closed position. Check out the boys head imprint on the driver’s door window. 

Steam Train Tour

We visited a number of different heritage railways over five days in different parts of Norfolk. Only 9 people on the tour, all very friendly, we were staying in a lovely old hotel a couple of minutes’ walk from the ocean near the town of Cromer. Most of the photos are of the tour locomotives, we were lucky so many were in steam and operating.

Visiting my friend David

After the tour I headed through Ipswich to Shotley Gate to stay with David who I met on the Steam train Tour last year. He showed me the sites of the area over several days. Shotley Gate is near where there is a major sea port with large ships coming and going all the time. David has an OO gauge model railway that is far more advanced than mine. I have never seen so many buildings on one layout, he has been very busy.

We were enjoying each other’s company so much we have hired a narrow boat for a week in May. We are both looking forward to it.

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