While recording the Talking Newspaper on Thursday, I discovered that there was going to be a special steam organ day at Hollycombe, over Liphook way. The added attraction of the biggest, complete Edwardian, steam driven fairground was enough to entice me, however, I thought Mirinda would like the organs.
Ever since Thursday night (when I mentioned it) I’ve been maligned and denigrated for my choice of weekend entertainment. Apparently, Mirinda thought it was going to be a collection of church organs (!) and she doesn’t really like church organs very much. Ignoring the fact that I’m not sure it would be possible to transport embedded church organs on a national tour, fortunately I still maintained she’d enjoy it.
Even Bob and Fi thought it fodder for hilarity during their weekly Skype session.
Well, everyone was wrong. We had a delightful time at Hollycombe Working Steam Museum…so there!
Once through the gates, we parked up, noticing how popular the event clearly was, given the amount of cars parked there before us.
Straight away, the sound of steam driven organs surrounded us. Joyful and bright, happy and gay, it was a fantastic cacophony of Edwardian noise. As well as the organs, there were the engines that drive them. From the massive to the tiny, single person steam engine that regularly drove around the site.
And the massive ones were a sight to behold. Magnificent and proud, giant wheels happy to show off the skills of long dead engineers at the top of their game.
There were a lot of organs scattered around the carpark, amassing around the entrance to Hollycombe but inside they were everywhere. A lot of these magnificently decorated instruments were once part of the fairground rides, pumping out the disco of the day as the Ferris wheel turned and the rotor tossed you round.
All of the fairground attractions at Hollycombe are steam driven. This carousel, for example. And, once you’ve paid your entrance fee, they are all free to hop on as you choose.
There was also the Razzle Dazzle, the scary ride of the day. It spins, it goes up and down and it tilts from side to side. A real winner.
Of course, we went into the more sedate rides. We had the poodles with us, which also meant we couldn’t go on anything together. Mirinda insisted I go into the haunted house which was comprised of a series of very dark corridors, oddly fluctuating floors and a number of small, scary children, prepared to jump out at you with frightening screeches.
Mirinda thought she’d have a go at the coconut shy. It was £2 for seven balls and if you could hit the coconut off, you kept it. She didn’t come close. When she told the man it was very difficult he told her that if it was easy, he may as well just sell coconuts. He had a valid point. He also said he had a cricket player earlier in the day who took four coconuts off him.
Possibly the best bit of the day was the train ride. A small engine pootled through the woods, stopping at occasional viewing spots, overlooking the north and south downs making everyone ‘oooo’ and ‘ahhh’ at the appropriate times.
All in all, it was a brilliant day so a great big PHOOEY to all the naysayers!