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Friday, 03 January 2014 13:49

Christmas to New Year - Laughs and Tears!

Written by Mike
'Wimblebury' making a spirited start away from Dilhorne Colliery on the Foxfield Railway.  29 December 2013 'Wimblebury' making a spirited start away from Dilhorne Colliery on the Foxfield Railway. 29 December 2013

The funny period between Christmas and New Year has absolutely flown by.  Here’s the highlights of what we’ve been up to in that period.  It’s been a time of extreme emotions, both positive and negative.  At times I’ve laughed till my tummy hurt and I’ve also cried buckets at times.


We saw Gina, a colleague from T-Systems days.  She came over for coffee and we had a great conversation – Gina you are such a laugh, come again soon.

Foxfield Railway

We did Richard Newton’s photo charter at the Foxfield Railway.  It was a brilliant day – harsh, rasping sunshine coupled with great sound effects led to my best video ever?  Check it out on YouTube (Opens in a new window).

I had a bit of a shock to discover how far my mobility and stamina has reduced since my last visit to Foxfield just two months ago.  Day-by-day you don't notice change, a two month comparison is stark.

I still need to get the stills photoshopped and onto my website.

My sister Liz made the trek down from Lancashire to see us and that was great.  We also saw Ed again and that was great.  Both Ed and I have been away from the UK steam scene for some time  – we’ve spent five years in Cyprus, Ed has spent five years in Australia.

Phil, Olwen and Ian

Ian, me, Olwen and Phil

We saw Phil, Olwen and Ian, from sixth form at Bicester School days.  It’s quite amazing how 30 years just flowed away as we talked about times then, times since and times now.  I picked up the job of organising a proper reunion to include the rest of our group – now I need to get amongst organising that.

New Year’s Eve

We had a quiet night at home on New Year’s Eve – and it got very emotional.  We were both very conscious that barring a miracle this is our last New Year celebration together.  There were lots of hugs and lots of tears.

Digging in my archives

Having the disk array set up with everything on it has opened up a load of stuff I did in the 1990s.  I’ve also been going back through old negatives to get them digitised and then publishing some of the older pictures and projects on my website.

Dams Raid

One such project was a flying competition I won in 1993 about the famous 1943 Dambusters raid on the big dams in Germany.  Going back through my report and pictures from the time brought back happy memories of an interesting research project at the Public Record Office in Kew followed by a day of over eight hours solo flying to the dams and back.  This one is pretty much completed on my website, just a few final pictures to add.  See Dams Raid on my website.


I took on a challenge from Simon, Ken and Roger to create a book of my railway pictures.  Don’t get excited, we’re talking Blurb, not Harper Collins.  It turned out to be fascinating project looking back over pictures I’d shot from being aged 14 to today.

Memories of all sorts of times came flooding back as if they were yesterday.  It also became a labour of love.  From a ‘content’ perspective I was pretty much done before Christmas, but then came the tickling to get it right.  It was only yesterday I felt confident to press ‘Go’.  Check it out at the Blurb Store, but please don’t buy it at that price.  I’ll find a better way of commercialising it – like cheaper.  Its set up so you can ‘preview’ the entire book.  If you full screen it, you can read the text too.


Just yesterday Nick re-appeared on the scene.  He had been in touch with me about the deserted villages in Cyprus some time ago.  But when he went to Cyprus he was struck down and ended up spending his holiday in the hospital.  We went to go and see him at the time, and subsequently last summer I finally took him around some of the better deserted villages.  As two keen photographers we had a great day out.  And out of the blue, yesterday he got back in touch.  See you soon fella!

NHS and treatment

The NHS are keeping up their campaign to fill every hour of every day of my time.  A District Nurse even called on New Year’s Day morning to come round.  Don’t they take days off?

Seriously, I’m grateful for all the attention I’m getting, but sometimes I wish the various departments involved could or would co-operate better with each other.


I’d set my objective to make Christmas, and I’d done it.  I’d then extended the objective to make the New Year.  And I’ve done that too.

My next two deadlines are to get onto the footplate of 70013 at the Great Central weekend on 25/26 January (Thank you Nick!), and after that, Russ Hillier’s photo charter with three of the A4s and two A2s at Barrow Hill on 6 February.


Last modified on Friday, 03 January 2014 15:06


Mike McCormac has been a photographer since about ten years old.  He's a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and splits his time between living in Olney in the United Kingdom and a village in the hills near Paphos in Cyprus.

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