Sunday, 9 October 2016

Sunday Afternoon Steam At The Rising Sun...

Hi all. After a most enjoyable day out yesterday with 5043 on the Tyseley trip to Oxford and back, today's entertainment was a little more relaxing. Earlier in the week, my mate Phil had mentioned that he and some friends of ours were heading to the Rising Sun in Shackerstone village. Their transport was the Aveling & Porter steam roller "Rosetta" and Phil said that I ought to come along if I was free. With the sun trying its best to shine on this typically Autumnal day, I thought I'd take him up on his offer and have a ride over to Shack. I arrived a little before 12:30 and, from the car park, spotted the trails of steam issuing from the Austerity "Cumbria" as it arrived back from Shenton on a Battlefield working...oh how things change! "Rosetta" was already outside the pub having arrived not long before from her home at Nailstone. The assembled gathering spent the next few hours enjoying the sunshine and a chat over a pint...
One of the pleasures of the Rising Sun is asking for a "Pint of Guest". The Guest Ale's are ever changing at the Sun and are always lovely to sip. I enjoyed a pint whilst admiring the other engine that turned up today: Statfold's 1928-built Foden...
"Here's To Road Steam...Cheers!"
There is something about a well maintained steam lorry. I'm not the biggest fan of road steam by any means, not least because I've grown up loving railway engines, but I can very much see the attraction in them. The Foden in particular is a lovely thing and I've been eyeing it up at Statfold for some years. I forget now how long Statfold have had it but it must be five years or more. I believe she lived in Cornwall before moving to the Midlands and she is one of the Foden Compound Tractors. This one is often known as a Timber Tractor. The Foden's employ a fairly standard boiler arrangement, with the boiler horizontal on the frame much like railway practise. Other well known manufacturers of steam lorries, such as Atkinson and Sentinel, opted for vertical boilers and their engines were often slung beneath the chassis. The Foden's have the engine mounted above the boiler as per usual traction engine practise, with the valve gear spinning above the barrel and firebox...
"Cab Of Foden Tractor 13222 of 1928"
The Foden had travelled the 12 miles or so from Statfold in around an hour, a time that would not be possible with a roller or traction engine. Common estimations of the engines cruising speeds come out around the 25mph mark, whilst topping out at 30mph is apparently not uncommon with a following wind! With the pleasant chit-chat only broken by the occasional bursts of steam from "Rosetta" or the lorry, the afternoon was most enjoyable. When the food was served I managed to get a clear picture of "Rosetta" simmering away outside the Rising Sun. The Aveling was built in 1919 as a Class BS single cylinder roller and now sports an impressive chime whistle...
The food I mentioned earlier was actually cooked by that faithful oven that is "Rosetta". "No, not on the shovel", but in the smokebox! Smokebox cooked jacket potatoes are normally the choice for road steamers and you may have seen the late Fred Dibnah try that on TV once or twice, but today it was two joints of meat: Lamb & Pork. The cobs that were served following the cooking were most enjoyable and cooked to perfection. Until you've tried something that has been cooked inside a steam engine you haven't lived...
"Joints of Meat Freshly Cooked In "Rosetta"s Smokebox"
After the food, following my continuous admiring of the Foden, Nick offered to give me a ride around the block in the cab. "Hurrah, I've been wanting to try this for ages!"...
Pulling out of Shackerstone onto the Congerstone road, the Foden took off like a thing possessed. Although shes on pneumatic tyres rather than the more common solid rubber types, she is still quite noisy due to the gears and valve gear so ear defenders are a must. Leaving the village up the road, the engine was flying along. I couldn't believe how quick the motion was spinning round, strategically ejecting blobs of oil up onto the stained underside of the cab roof. The Compound engine was steaming beautifully with the needle hugging the red line and no shortage of water. Despite the whirring of the various rods flashing round above the barrel, the engine gave a remarkably smooth ride and Nick seemed to have no trouble doing the steering. We steamed up into Congerstone before turning round at the triangle in the middle of the village. Steaming back, I took this video...

The Foden was a lovely thing to be aboard and if truth be told I'm quite taken with it...what a lovely old thing. The view below was taken as we steamed towards Shackerstone having just passed the Primary School on the corner...
"Cab Ride in Foden 13222"
Steaming back into the village and pulling up neatly outside the Rising Sun, I was most impressed. I thanked Nick for the experience and couldn't help wishing for a Lottery win. Even today, a Foden like this will set you back a lot more than an agricultural traction engine or steam roller. Its just a lovely thing and another new steam experience for me. I'd never been in a full size steam lorry before, not on the road anyway. Amazing. We walked down onto the main road to watch the Foden depart for home soon after...
Nick accelerated with such a burst of speed I thought I wouldn't capture the thing!...
With that the Foden steamed off into the distance, barking loudly as it climbed towards Congerstone and ultimately Statfold. I am so impressed with this engine. Back at the pub, "Rosetta" was also getting ready to leave. The light would be fading soon, now that the Autumn weather is upon us, and the crew wanted to be home before dark. They steamed away homeward at around 3:30pm. I left the Sun soon after, having enjoyed a most pleasant afternoon yakking, drinking, eating and best of all riding in the Foden! Great stuff. Many thanks all for reading once again... 

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