Aloe and Good Buy Choo!

Garret GM steam locomotive 63 years old used in the movie ‘Cry the Beloved Country’.

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.

Creighton station may have a rural touch …

… but it still houses the local Municipal offices. There is a full-scale boardroom inside, and this rather lovely artwork in the entrance foyer.

It also enjoys roses blooming in midwinter.

Some aloes, and showing the old SA Railways springbok on the window.

More aloes. The whole hillside beyond is covered in them, but they need to be in full bloom to show up properly.

River views were lovely.

The river is called the Umzimkulu.

The train stopped and let the passengers off so that it could do a show-off steam-past at speed.

I risked being in a cattle stampede to get the shot.

The Riverside destination …

… where we got danced at …

… and I visited this once-thriving hotel. There used to be a big timber mill in town.  but they used up all the timber and it went down the drain.

The blackwood stairs are now a bit difficult to get onto. If they were going to be swiped, why not take them from the top down?

Impatient whistles from the engine indicated that I’d better do a sprint.

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!).

© June 2017 Colonialist

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Africa, Excursions, Parody, Photography, Really Awful Rhyme, Wanders and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Aloe and Good Buy Choo!

  1. Pingback: Waiting for the Waitress | Colonialist's Blog

  2. My aloes don’t bloom, but these are lovely.
    How much fun it must be to ride a train – I’ve only been on a narrow gauge rain in Co. through the mountains for a short ride. Trains just drive history and suggest such stories.


    • colonialist says:

      I look back with great fondness to the days when travel by train was the method of choice, and in First Class trains were like mobile five-star hotels. When people even used to have their cars sent with them by rail to their destination for sightseeing trips. In those days, it was affordable.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. cupitonians says:

    Stunning pictures. What a ride that must have been!


  4. There’s nothing more exciting/exhilarating than being a passenger on a train that is being pulled along by huffing puffing giant of a steam train, except riding on said huffing/puffing steam engines footplate.
    Sadly I only ever had THAT pleasure once, and just for a short trip 😥


  5. Calmgrove says:

    Lovely post — a soupcon of nostalgia, a touch of the picturesque, a comforting reassurance — what’s not to like?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think I’d prefer that to the seaside. Nice parody


  7. Scottie says:

    Grand trip. We use to take the same intracoastal waterway dinner cruise every year and we marveled at all the changes from year to year. I am glad you and yours could go and have a good time. Be well. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  8. disperser says:

    Very nice. Definitively a trip I would like.


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