Hoping to see 60019 Bittern this morning, I had an early start and wandered over to New Covent Garden Market in SW8, ten minutes from my flat.
Bittern is one of only six A4 Pacifics left. This is the same class of locomotive as 4468 Mallard, which set the world speed record for a steam engine in July 1938. They were nicknamed “streaks” for their appearance and speed.
I drove 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley 20 years’ ago! The cab of an A4 is much more comfortable than that of a GWR King – I’ve driven 6024 King Edward I, too.
Bittern was due to take a train from Waterloo to Exeter via Salisbury but by 8.30 there was still no sign of it so I went home for breakfast.
A rainbow appeared while I was waiting in the unlovely environs of New Covent Garden Market. It was a lovely sight but, being a curmudgeon, I was reminded of Richard Thompson’s beautiful and cynical song “The End of the Rainbow”:
Tycoons and barrow boys will rob you
And throw you on the side
And all because they love themselves sincerely
And the man holds a bread knife
Up to you throat is four feet wide
And he’s anxious just to show you what it’s for
Life seems so rosy in the cradle,
But I’ll be a friend I’ll tell you what’s in store
There’s nothing at the end of the rainbow
There’s nothing to grow up for anymore