In which I continue my studies at Reading University.
Wednesday 2 November
I had an early dinner and went by coach to Culham College. The ride was interesting. We went up the Thames Valley which is very picturesque. Owing to the heavy rains which we have had recently the Thames has flooded its banks and was at least twice its normal width. The game was a good one but we (3rd and 4th XV had to play their 1st XV and lost 29-0. We stopped for two hours at a pub on the way back.
Saturday 5 November
I saw three more Warship class diesels this morning but perhaps the most surprising wa the appearance of a County 4-6-0 No. 1024 on an up train terminating in platform 1.
It is Guy Fawkes night and we turned up in force for the procession by Halls to Whiteknights. When we arrived at Whiteknights the fighting broke out. The object was to get our banner on to the fire while at the same time we were to stop other Halls from getting theirs on. We got into a group. linked arms and charged the other Halls. the mud was very deep and my trousers are plastered up to the thighs. Afterwards i got a ride on the bonnet of a Land Rover to the gates of Whiteknights and we went back to Davids (Hall) via the Vice Chancellors house, Wantage, Wessex and Andrews (all Halls). I've cut my little finger during a scuffle with some girls from St. Georges (Hall).
Wednesday 9 November
I played for the 3rd XV against King Alfred's College 2nd XV and lost narrowly by 6-3. If only we could get together as a team we would do much better.
Friday 11 November
I went down to General station from 1.00 to 2.30, hadn't been there at this time before. Just before two o'clock there was quite a queue of goods trains waiting to go into the up yard at the west of the station.
Saturday 12 November
In Reading General I saw three Granges which I hadn't seen before, also a 2-8-0 (28xx class) and an old chocolate and cream bow-ended coach with windows in one end, possibly a converted slip coach?
I played for the 3rd XV against Abbey A XV at Palmer Park. It was a good game, the best I've played in up here, which we just lost 6-3
Sunday 13 November
I went for cycle ride round to Southcote Junction. I saw three trains in the space of 15 minutes (and just missed another). Two passenger trains, one from the Newbury direction hauled by a 2-6-2 tank and one from the Basingstoke direction hauled by a Hall 4-6-0. I also saw a down goods train hauled by a 2-8-0 which consisted of bolster wagons of rails and sleepers. Coupled into this was a diesel mechanical service locomotive No. PWM653. (this was presumably headed for the Theale Permanent Way Depot). There was a ballast wagon turned over on its side in a siding opposite the signal box.
Wednesday 16 November
Played for the 2nd XV this afternoon because several of the 1st XV players are injured. We played Royal Vetinerary College 2nd XV and won 16-3 (surprise, surprise) It was rather a scrappy game. We scored 13 points in the first tem minutes and from then onwards we tended to rest on our laurels.
Saturday 19 November
Nothing special at Reading General - it was foggy until about 13.00. A WD 2-8-0 was on an up freight and two 28xx class 2-8-0s on down freights. It is quite interesting watching a WD get a long train of wagons in motion. This particular one, No. 90174, was very clean. It started off very slowly although the coupling rods soon seemed to be revolving at a great rate because of the small driving wheel diameter. Soon, the characteristic "clank" was accompanied by a rush of steam with each piston stroke. The crew received a signal from the guard when all the slack had been taken up, then a hoot on the whistle and they were away full tilt.
Played for the 2nd XV this afternoon. We were overwhelmed 27-6.
Sunday 20 November
I dodged out to see a 2-8-0 on a relaying train (at Southcote Junction?) - of course, it didn't come through. All I saw, in just under half an hour was one King Arthur 4-6-0 No. 30772 which I must have seen at east thirty times at St. Mary Cray and Orpington.
Wednesday 23 November
I was to have played for the 3rd XV today but was transferred to the 2nd XV at the last moment. We played University College London and lost 6-0. It was quite a punch up. I have a lot of bruises on my shins and a bruised foot. The coordination with the hooker went better this time.
Friday 25 November
I had an early breakfast and went up for an early lecture. Afterwards, I came back, collected my kit and started to hitch along Berkeley Avenue. My first lift took me to the other side of town and after 5 minutes I got a lift which took me to Harrow and Wealdstone. I caught a train to Charing Cross and arrived home at 2.15. Mum and Dad were pleased to see me although the cat didn't take much notice.
Saturday 26 November
At Orpington. I spent much of the morning cleaning up my number plate from withdrawn E1 tank engine 32689. It is very sooty and greasy but it will be better once I have cleaned it up.
Monday 28 November
Time to go back to Reading. I caught the 10.18 train from Orpington and after breaking my journey, the 11.54 from Waterloo to Reading South. I saw aa couple of engines of interest including a "700" 0-6-0 and a Battle of Britain 4-6-2 I hadn't seen before.
Wednesday 30 November
Played rugger for the 3rd XV against the Trade Training Battalion R.A.O.C. They were much heavier than us and it wasn't surprising that we lost. Even so it was a good game and we did quite well in teh scrums.