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local news as it happens in and around Brindlecliffe and Eaton St Torpid     April 2019

Great British Railway Walks in Norfolk

In 'Great British Railway Walks in Norfolk' – a new TV series presented by the retired politician Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo and the illustrious radio and TV celebrity Alan Gordon Partridge – the duo happily jog and saunter along the former trackbeds of Alan's home county. Along the way they meet and greet the county's almost-as-illustrious sons and daughters, such as Lord Nelson, Delia Smith, Stephen Fry and Sir Eustace Kibitzer CBE, the model for 'Useless Eustace'.

Kibitzer's great-granddaughter, Nunda Weiser, when interviewed about her ancestor, said 'Well, he set a standard for the British Civil Service which those coming after him have struggled to maintain,' to which Michael inscrutably replies, 'Indeed, indeed… ', leaving us none the wiser as to whether in his ministerial dealings with civil servants he met the likes of Sir Eustace.

In a brief interview with Cambridge research felloe Nigel Spokenave, who is researching eighteenth century East Anglian wheelwrights' secret societies, the presenters are informed that Nunda Weiser is the estranged wife of the indefatigable Professor Morcanby Dunn, whose contributions to YouTube have aroused interest in recent months.

In the programme featuring Brindlecliffe, Michael Portillo focuses on the 'free traders' of the eighteenth century. Was the Peddars Way once an 'underground railroad' for the movement of contraband? Were the supposed sightings of Black Shuck – a 'phantom black dog' – along the Norfolk coast merely distractions contrived by the smugglers? Alan Partridge claims the limelight for discovering the true understanding of the murkiest aspects of Norfolk's past. Though someone living in the area interviewed by the duo enigmatically responded, 'Oh, so we're still living in the past then? You must have been watching the wall, my darlin'.'

Michael and Alan Portilridge
Michael Portillo and Alan Partridge walking towards a bridge under the trackbed of the West Norfolk Junction Railway, as anticipated by Rowland Emett in the late 1940s.

More information about
Great British Railway Walks
in Norfolk


How many of you remember when newspapers had a partly-blank 'Stop Press' column?

Unlike the Good Old Days click on these links for more information:

Dodman's Gazelle

St Torpid's Bay track plans leaked

'The Alex' to loan Van Gogh's 'Starry Night at St Torpid's Bay'

Museum loco name undecided

Rocket-powered B-type bus announced






Graffiti in the style of the artist known only as 'Banksy' appeared overnight in late March on the door of the currently-derelict public house in Eaton St Torpid which last traded under the name 'The Albion Arms'.

The artwork reads 'If grafitti could change anything it would be illegal'. However the artist's web site and social media make no reference to this artwork, suggesting that it is not authenticated by the artist. Banksy has claimed to have created similar artwork in the past, although with the words 'If grafitti changed anything it would be illegal'. Could this change of words indicate a shift in the artist's worldview? Or is it subtle confirmation that the work is inauthentic?

fake Banksy
The 'Banksy' on the door of the former
Albion Arms is thought to be a fake.

The owner of building formerly known as The Albion Arms, who did not wish to be named, said 'We need to get to the heart of this problem. The parish council are good only for spewing forth spleen and bile. They have failed to staunch the vandalism which infects this town. They need to take matters in hand and explore alternative approaches before I will invest any money to make The Albion great again.'

The Parish Council have been approached for a response but the Clerk said that the next meeting is not until the end of the month. She offered to add this matter to the agenda but advised that any decision as to how to respond may not be reached until later in the year as the council meetings are rarely quorate over the summer months.

The Curator of the Queen Alexandra Arts Centre in Eaton St Torpid, Ms Cynthia Smythe-Smith FRSA, opined that 'While such illegal activities are impossible to condone, public wall paintings are accessible pieces of art that provoke, on some certain level, interaction between themselves and their audience. They dare to contradict everybody and not just the ordinary educated and cultivated art-friendly viewers.' When asked to clarify her remark she retorted, 'Well surely everyone knows what I mean?'

An unmissable day out
when at Friars Ambling

sandy cove sand co logo
An outdoor adventure in a sandstone quarry.
Covering nearly two acres of reclaimed quarry Sandy Cove Sand Co takes you back to when there were sand mines under Canindringham. Although local folklore
has it they were really treacle mines…
This unmissable opportunity allows you
– and your friends, children or pupils –
to experience an awesome industrial heritage. View the sand extraction exhibition and learn why this sand has been especially important throughout history. And there are fascinating nature trails to explore too.
Oh, and we forgot to mention:
take a train trip into the sand mine
Click here for more information


discover everything
that's been happening
at 'The Alex'


While you are at 'The Alex'
don't forget to visit
the Ace Caff

Menu de l'Année now available


from the series of silk screen prints of lavender and lavender soap packaging specially commissioned from Angi Werhil
click on image for more details

Jackdaw Works advert

'Monarch of the Glen'

After several weeks of unremitting prevarication Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway's 'Scottish coach' has been fully fitted out, complete with specially-commissioned branding on the sides.

The resident bagpiper, Don MacDonald, said that 'Although not as grand as the battlements of baronial houses and castles where I usually perform pibroch, they do not move at up to 25 miles an hour. It's quite a somewhat different way of doing what I've been doing for most of my life.'

The 'Monarch of the Glen' will form part of a rake of coaches including 'Glendower Rheilffordd Gwibdaith' and 'the Alnwick to Bamburgh Express'. These vehicles are normally drawn by the 'Irish loco' named after An Cailleach Bhéara or 'The Old Woman of Beare'. Transport for the Houmout Ostrich Polo, based in Cornwall, may also be coupled to this 'multi-regional service'.

Click photos for more details of the 'Monarch of the Glen'

'V-2 Rocket' transporter

In anticipation of plans for steam-powered 'hot rod' cars to be raced along the beach at St Torpid's Bay the management of Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway have been loaned a car to check the suitability of their rolling stock for transporting such unique vehicles. The hot rod on loan has a Model 'T' Ford body and is powered by a quarter-size version of Robert Stephenson's Rocket locomotive.

This custom-built car is known as the V-2 Rocket because, unlike the lomotive, the cylinders are arranged in a twin-'V' configuration. The name, presumably intentionally, prompts confusion with Second World War ballistic missiles known in German as 'Vergeltungswaffe 2' and in English as 'V-2 bombs' or 'V-2 rockets'.

Basil King, a volunteer with the Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway, said that they had experienced no difficulties loading, transporting and unloading the V-2 Rocket. 'It is surprising how many visitors to the railway have commented on this unusual vehicle,' according to Mr King. 'As and when we are able to organise steam-powered drag racing on the beach at St Torpid's Bay then I am sure the event will attract large crowds. Once we have completed an environmental impact assesment and prepared multifarious risk assessments we hope the local council will give permission.'

Click photo for more details of the V-2 Rocket transporter

Coupling development concluded successfully

The tribulations with designing couplings to link Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway rolling stock together, mentioned in last month's ECHO!, were successfully resolved by the engineering team at the railway's Jackdaw Works during the early weeks of March.

Since then extensive trials of all the rolling stock have been operating on the railway's tracks, often quite late in the evening. Someone who lives near to the tracks was asked if this evening running caused any concern. She replied, 'Oh no! They just look dead prit as they puff along about sunset.'

Crepescular Operations Procedures introduced

Retrofitting of suitable lighting was prioritised to avert any health and safety concerns when running at dusk and the Railway's Regulations augmented with a section on 'Crepescular Operations Procedures'. One of the railway's engine drivers said that he wasn't sure, but maybe this part of the Regulations is for when operating conditions are 'dim or indistinct'.

'More than fit for purpose'

The Engineering Manager at Jackdaw Works informed the ECHO! that 'All vehicles now perform according to design specifications. Along with the new drivers, who have picked up any additional skills quickly, the railway's rolling stock is more than fit for purpose for the main operating season this summer.'

When asked about whether the rather unusual appearances of many of the wagons and coaches affected how they operated, he replied 'We may have quirky vehicles, but the engineering team here at the Jackdaw Works ensure that, while they might look quirky, their operation is never even slightly idiosyncratic. Rolling stock which does not operate reliably does not enter service until everything is fully corrected.'

Monarch of the Glen logo

Scottish coach

The 'Monarch of the Glen'.

V-2 Rocket transporter

V-2 Rocket transporter

When in north-west Norfolk
be sure to visit
Eaton Lavender Experience!

new stock now available

Pure Isle Baby Goo
by Noofoods of Teesside

Established 1969
~ celebrating fifty years of innovative para-nutritional synthesis ~

All our ingredients are hydrocarbons carefully synthesised by organic chemists
Our raw materials are sourced
from selected MarketTraderTM
coking plants which only use
natural deposits of coal


To advertise in the Brindlecliffe ECHO! contact the Asst. Ad. Mngr. 'Wee' R. D'Esperate at

Russell & Hobbs (ft. Glöda the Toasta)

Russell and Hobbs

With apologies to Bill Watterson

The complete collection of the Brindlecliffe ECHO!'s very own Russell & Hobbs (ft. Glöda the Toasta) cartoon strip is available exclusively from the Whittlecreek and Eaton St Torpid Heritage Railway gift shop.

March 2019 news
February 2019 news
January 2019 news
December 2018 news

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