A whistle blew, a flag waved, the train hissed. Engine wheels spun until they caught traction, and our car juddered and shook ever so slightly. We were on our way.
Our vintage train chugged out of the platform, billowing thick smoke, puffing and spluttering along, unhurried by timetables. We had to close the window every time we passed under a bridge or went through a small tunnel. But when we could, we leaned out the windows, enjoying miles of magical woodland and embankments tumbled with wildflowers. Tall grasses and hollyhocks seemed to sprout from the sides of soot-red bridges. Regiments of pink and purple foxglove stood to attention as we passed by and, not surprisingly, great swaths of bluebells gently swayed in the train’s wake.