The Night Mail
As an addendum to the film version of The Night Mail available to view in the Cinema Coach, below is the text of W H Auden’s original poem:
This is the night mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner, the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb,
The gradient’s against her, but she’s on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily as she passes,
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.
Birds turn their heads as she approaches,
Stare from bushes at her blank-faced coaches.
Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course,
They slumber on with paws across.
In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in a bedroom gently shakes.
Dawn freshens, Her climb is done.
Down towards Glasgow she descends,
Towards the steam tugs yelping down a glade of cranes,
Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces,
Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen.
All Scotland waits for her,
In dark glens, beside pale-green loch,
Men long for news.
Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or to visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers’ declarations,
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial,
Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled on the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, the adoring,
The cold and official and the heart’s outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.
Thousands are still asleep,
Dreaming of terrifying monsters
Or of friendly tea beside the band in Cranston’s or Crawford’s.
Asleep in working Glasgow, asleep in well-set Edinburgh,
Asleep in granite Aberdeen,
They continue their dreams,
But shall wake soon and hope for letters,
And none will hear the postman’s knock,
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
As mentioned in the Showcase, a back of an envelope sketch of the LSWR ‘Bug’.
Steve Hall’s Black 5 Challenge
In answer to the question posed in the Showcase as to which Black 5 is which:
Black 5 No. 45208
This is built from a Brassmasters Kit, Ultrascale wheels, Portescap motor. Loco is fully sprung, tender is compensated and it runs like a sewing machine. Total time to build and paint = 200+ hours.
Black 5 No. 44694
The model is Hornby, straight out of the box, just re-wheeled with Alan Gibson P4 conversion wheels/3mm axles and screw link couplings fitted. The chassis , motor and valve gear are pure Hornby and is a rigid chassis apart from the rear axle which is sprung. Time spent on conversion = 25 hours.