Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 11 July 2016


Joyce aka Sentinel 7109 looking as smart as paint
NAH adding the final touches ready for the big day

Saturday was a big day for NAH as it was the official launch of his beloved steam engine, Sentinel 7109. You may remember I featured her back in March, when she steamed for the first time. Since then, she's had a smart new coat of paint, had the all-important numbers and letters added, plus her nameplate fixed to the side.

Paul Atterbury, NAH and Nigel (the other joint owner) pose for the cameras

Official launches require a guest of honour, and NAH was delighted Paul Atterbury from Antiques Roadshow agreed to perform the ceremony. Paul has written several books on railways, so he was the ideal choice for the occasion, especially as NAH has one of his books (and got him to sign it!)

Cloth covering the nameplate ready for the naming ceremony

As you can see, no expense was spared for the naming part of the proceedings.

Paul Atterbury officially names Joyce

After a short speech and a quick flick of the pillowcase/peg combo, Joyce's name was revealed and Paul encouraged us to ReJoyce - trust NAH to coin the pun ;)

Joyce is doused in local cider to complete her launch

Then as befits her location, Joyce was doused in the finest Somerset cider to complete her launch and naming ceremony.

Paul spoke about her rarity, and how it's important to celebrate and preserve the workhorse engines for posterity alongside the 'glamour' engines like the Flying Scotsman. He started his speech with "I've not seen one of these before, and I'm sure most of you here haven't either...", just like he does on Antiques Roadshow.

NAH didn't get a valuation though!

Joyce heads off into the sunshine with her special guest on board
Joyce heads off in the sunshine with her special guest on board

Update: Callum has produced a great video of the event, including the full speech from Paul Atterbury. He also told one of the other volunteers at the railway, 'You have a gem of an engine there'.

Here's the link if the embedded version doesn't work:


  1. Congratulations to NAH! What's his next project??

    1. Well. there's the little matter of maintaining Joyce and gaining his driver's qualification. Then there's the turntable he bought on holiday (i.e. record player) to do up! Hi-fi is another of his passions ;)

  2. Very cheerful! Well done all. and I love the photo of Joyce heading off into the sunshine. That made me smile. Also, due to the subject matter, your blog post is the first one ever to be read by my OH. And it made him smile too :)

    1. Oh that's lovely to know you both enjoyed it Karen :) I nearly pointed out the greenhouse in the first photo for my regular gardening readers. It's a replica of the original one - Midsomer Norton won awards for its horticulture in its hey day. NAH is trying to get me signed up as a horticulture volunteer, but I don't like the idea of a 50 mile round-trip. I need to find something closer to home!

  3. Oh what a special day for NAH - he must have been really chuffed. We're just back from a week's holiday where we had a most enjoyable day out on the Kent and East Sussex Railway. We traveled from Northiam to Tenterden by steam, back down the line to Bodiam by diesel before returning to Northiam by steam. Great fun en route trying to come up with alternatives to Tony Hancock's phrase of "apricot jam" to describe the repetitive and rythmic noise that a steam engine emits. Northiam would be an ideal destination for you both VP - a fabulous garden and special trains all within a stone's throw of each other :)

    1. Hi Anna, yes I drove over the line at Northiam on the way to Great Dixter a couple of weeks ago. I've already mentioned to NAH it would be a great location for a his n' hers weekend ;) Apparently the Kent & East Sussex Railway had its own Sentinel steam engine at one time, which is now at the Elsecar railway in Yorkshire.

  4. It's wonderful!
    Congratulations NAH!

  5. The Undergardener wondered why I wanted him to look at a gardening blog, he thoroughly enjoyed it!

    1. That's lovely to hear Pauline :-)


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