Oh, I do like to travel with a choo-choo,
Oh, a choo-choo’s the thing for me and you,
Oh, I do like to listen to that chug, chug, chug
While I take in sherry with a glug, glug, glug
So just let me travel with a choo-choo
The best way that you can go online,
At the whistle’s whoo-whoo-whoo
You’ll esteem to line up too:
Steam on a train line, is simply fine!
(Parody on old Music Hall song ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’.)
The Creighton Aloe Festival train excursion from Creighton to Riverside costs R200-00 per ticket, but for the experience and spectacle it is a good buy indeed. Even when the aloes aren’t at their best, or not even blooming at all, it is most pleasant to travel past fields of cattle with cranes, duiker and reed buck also in them, and then follow the river while occasionally crossing from bank to bank on ancient iron bridges. This time round, the aloes hadn’t yet come into full spectacular bloom, but were pretty enough.
We last undertook the trip in 2013 (looking back at that, I think my camera equipment was far better then) and much is the same, except that the derelict hotel is more plundered, and Riverside is more run-down. Dancers did turn out to give a show for the tourists, but I think it would have been worth their while to do it with greater numbers and enthusiasm. Still we, and some (more) visiting friends from overseas did enjoy the whole experience.
The weather tended to be a bit nippy, but some sherries on board did much to warm the cockles of our hearts (I won’t attempt a Spoonerism on that!).