Day 180: District Nike

Spaceships hovering over Willsbridge. They’ve come to take our steam trains!

June 29 main 2

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Well, that’s not something you expect to see on a Sunday morning. Personally I always expect an alien invasion on a Tuesday morning or a Thursday evening. But not a Sunday morning. Aliens over Willsbridge. Lord knows what they want. A ride on a steam train perhaps?

Have I mentioned I live really near to Bitton Station (which confusingly is in Willsbridge)? It’s not much use for getting into Bath, to be honest. Despite some estate agents cheekily claiming that Willsbridge is “handy for the station” you’re only going to travel about a mile and end up at a platform in a field that’s actually nearer to Bitton than Bitton station is…

Bitton station

It must be Britain’s shortest steam railway. Admittedly, from Bitton Station the tracks runs in two directions (the alternative to the field is another platform in the middle of some trees), but the whole line can’t be much more than two miles. In all the years I’ve been in this area, I’ve never felt the need to travel on one of the trains. Don’t get me wrong; the steam enginess themselves are magnificent (though oddly my favourite is a Diesel engine which use to run to Calder Hall, for some reason even I can’t fathom). I still own all of Rev W Awdry’s Little Engine books, and insist in calling all the engines Henry or James. They do sometimes even have a guest appearance from Thomas.

But why travel on a train two miles at most, when the engines themselves are the most impressive thing about the railway, and you can’t see them from the inside of a carriage?

The most exciting thing about the line, though, is that the station itself looks authentically “period” and so gets used for filming a lot. Every time I’m convinced it’s going to be Doctor Who, but it never is. Last time it was for an independent film which one of the crewmembers told me was called Light Years, which had me momentarily excited, but he then explained it wasn’t sci-fi but a drama about teenagers in care. Apparently War Horse filmed there as well, but it must have ended up on the cutting room floor – I never spotted the scene.

I’ve actually had today’s photo and pun planned for ages, but typically the supply of Nikes dried up until these ones were donated by an old mate from university.

Watched the new episodes of Dominion and Defiance last night. Still can’t get on with Dominion because it’s all so pompous, cheesy and cheap-looking. Poor old Alan Dale has to deliver lines so leaden and hokey, he looks like he’s just been taking oxygen off camera to help him with the trauma of saying them.

Defiance, though, despite some cringey scenes, remains a fun and surprisingly intelligent slice of sci-fi action, helped by a cast of colourful and intriguing characters. What’s really amusing me at the moment about the show (apart from it’s sudden obsession with Carry On-style humour) is the collateral damage caused to innocent passers by every time Nolan chases a criminal through the streets. There’s an accident  insurance claims scam begging to happen:


“Have you suffered an injury caused by a blundering lawman? Was your baby knocked from its pram by a careless cop? Did you have concussion after a Han Solo wannabe shoved you out of the way? Then call 0800-Nolan-Victim and we guarantee to take up your case. No win no fee.”

See you tomorrow.

Usual Sign-Off

• Current total: £1,015 (many thanks to Boo and Phil Shipley for yesterday’s donation!)

• Remember this is all for charity, so any pennies or pounds you can spare PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING HERE.

• Follow me on Twitter to make sure you see what trainers I’m wearing each day.

• If you have any trainers you could donate (either on loan or old pairs you’re getting rid of) which are size 9 (ish – I can do anything  from 8 to 10) contact me at so I can arrange collection.

• Please, please, please leave comments below! I’m after ideas for mini-challenges, future photoshoots and how I can find enough pairs of trainers!


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