Monday, 1 September 2014

The Swing Commanders

My epic journey to Carnforth turned out to be well worthwhile - although I already knew it would be. We had booked tickets with some friends that we don't see as often as we'd like to see the Swing Commanders a group that plays 40's classics, boogie-woogie, swing, 50's Jazz and similar stuff.

We'd seen them before, but tonight's concert was rather special in that it was held on the platform of Carnforth Railway Station.  The film buffs amongst you will know that Brief Encounter - that classic 40's weepie starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson was filmed at Carnforth. 

The Refreshment Room (which featured in the film) had laid out tables and chairs on the platform and even set up a bar selling real ale - "Brief Encounter Bitter" , what else? and a capacity audience sat back and enjoyed the music, interrupted only by trains to Barrow, Leeds and Manchester calling at the station and at which we all, of course, waved. (Some passengers even waved back). Best train of the night though was the steam-hauled "Fellsman" excursion returning from the Settle & Carlisle Line which arrived about 9pm!

The Main Line platforms at Carnforth are closed now so even though the expresses came through nobody got a speck of dust in their eye and there was no need for a doctor to gaze into anyone's eyes. The station clock made famous by the film has been restored and put back in place and kept watch over the proceedings all night.

It was just the tonic that Hilary needed. Her father had a stroke and died last week, but she's a firm believer in life carrying on and this was her way of coping. As a teetotal Methodist Yorkshireman her dad wouldn't have enjoyed the evening, but he'd have approved of the rest of us going ahead, especially as we'd already got the tickets!

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