All aboard!

Thanks must go to the Alexithymia blog, who pointed me in the direction of a sim that’s new to me. The Netherfield sim replicates, exceptionally well, the English Lake District. The teleporting-in point is the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway station, in the Lake District National Park.

Both the railway, and the park, are direct from real life.

(Above: real life photos of the station and a typical Lake District view)

There’s a story behind the railway. In 1965 the government commissioned a report into the effectiveness of the railways, when cars were becoming more affordable and widespread as Britain became more wealthy in the post-war years.

Lord Beeching implemented what were called ‘The Beeching Cuts‘. This recommended that over 2000 stations and 5000 miles of railway be closed…on an economic basis. Never mind that entire communities were held together by the existence of railways, even in 1965. They would go.

One thing I’ve always thought marked the difference between Germany’s post-war renaissance as the economic powerhouse of Europe, and Britain’s slow, unedifying decline, is the short-sightedness of the respective groups of politicians. Germany’s politicians largely get their forward planning right, Britain’s is a myopic vision.

Spool forward the fifty years since the Beeching Cuts and look at our world now (I’m sure some of you reading this will be nodding your heads in agreement about the short-sightedness of your own politicians, wherever you are, possibly even in Germany). As the world overheats due to our reliance on fossil fuels, as short-break tourism is now a regular occurrence for many of us, as we struggle to create a transport infrastructure fit for purpose to reduce traffic congestion, those railways that disappeared now feel like a lost (or more accurately, discarded) opportunity.

Branch lines were lost. But there were still enough railway enthusiasts around the country to ensure they didn’t completely disappear. Some were bought up by enthusiasts who renovated them, bought up steam locomotives and rolling stock and ran them as hobbies…that paid!

Such local railways are now a regular feature of the British tourist map, and I read some time ago that one such steam train line is now offering a timetabled, regular service! Take that, Dr Beeching!

Of course, there’s more, from a personal perspective. About 15 miles north of the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway lies the village of Ambleside, on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Images of Ambleside

Ambleside, indeed the entire Lake District, is stunningly beautiful, and it’s where we first thought of moving to when we made the decision to leave smelly, dirty, unfriendly London.

In the end, because a lot of rich people from London like to maintain holiday cottages in the Lake District, it has become expensive to buy property there. So much so that locals can’t afford to buy there anymore, and properties are snapped up for more than a 20 something couple born and brought up locally could ever afford. We looked at a property in the early 2000s that would have cost us £250,000, a quarter of a million pounds ($330,000 €280,000). Today, that same property will have been inflated to something like £600,000! ($800,000!!!!! €670,000).

I suppose we were maybe part of this problem, the difference being we didn’t want to just roll in there every year for a fortnight. We planned to live there, work there, raise our children there.

In the end, we had to move about 100 miles further north, across the border into Scotland, and bought a property for less than half the price in the Lake District and about twice the size with a huge garden backing onto the sea and about two miles were Gran -built in babysitter!- so it all worked out well.

Of course, we knew about the Lake District and its beauty from a couple of holidays we’d taken there in the early days of our relationship.

This being SL Naturist, there’s naturally a naturist story to tell as well 😉

I’d met Jim, who was buying his own place in a fairly low-rent part of London. I’d grown up in a relatively genteel part of the city, but was now living alone in an even grimier, squalid flat in an equally wretched part of town. We’d started dating, I’d stay over at his on a regular basis but I’d be up and away the next day to university, then work after I graduated. He knew I was naturist, we’d even gone on a naturist holiday together, all things I didn’t tell my Mum! 🙂

Jim suggested we move in together and I raised this with Mum, a Christian, church-going lady, who referred to it as ‘living in sin‘.

‘You’ll give away your most precious gift and then where will you be?’ [If you aren’t sure of the subtext to that phrase, follow the link! 🙂 ]

I could never align the fact that she thought this way while simultaneously never batting an eyelid when my cousin and I got jobs in a naturist resort some years prior. I’m not sure if she didn’t really think like that, but was merely echoing what my grandmother, still alive at the time, would have definitely said. Anyway, I’d already given my most precious gift to Jim a long time previously, lol.

Despite the fact that Jim was now going to corrupt and deflower her daughter, Mum loved Jim, so to deflect her views, he went to Mum and asked if he could marry me (my Dad had already passed away), produced the engagement ring he’d already bought, showed it to her…and she gave her blessing. Now, because he had committed, it was suddenly OK to move in and go on holiday.

Not being able to afford another naturist holiday, we thought, we opted for a break in the Lake District and fell in love with the place. Ultimately, though, I guess we could have camped in a naturist location in France for about half the price and, subsequently, this is what we did for numerous holidays.

I’m glad to say the real life station is in substantially better shape than the SL version. It’s a stunningly good build, though, exceptionally photogenic.

Oh yes…that naturist story! There are hundreds of miles of isolated lakeside locations where it was, and is, very easy to strip off and go for a skinny-dip. While there on that holiday, and just walking on the Fells (the hills of Lakeland) we encountered 2-3 couples and a similar number of solo, male walkers doing just that. It was part of the fell-walking tradition if overheated, it seemed. So when in Rome..

(Note : the ‘Nessie’ -Loch Ness monster– in the photo above isn’t geographically -or probably scientifically- accurate, being strictly a Scottish thing.

 

…and in turn, I guess we were spotted by 2-3 couples out walking. No-one batted an eyelid. Perhaps they’d just done what we were doing, or would be inspired to do what we were doing, cooling off on a hot summer’s day in cool, clear water.

It was a beautiful week in a beautiful part of the world, with the man who was and is the love of my life. Just visiting this wonderful looking sim brought back a raft of memories of the time, making it one of the best SL experiences I’ve had in quite a long time.

Ella

One thought on “All aboard!

  1. Pingback: All aboard! | Nudie News

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