Saturday, 20 September 2014
Conversation overheard on platform at Carnforth railway station. Wife to husband: 'It's not a girls' film. It's got trains in it.'
I'm not sure I'd agree ... I think it's the very epitome of a girls' film. But as I'd started the holiday at the Midland Hotel, where Trevor Howard stayed during the making of the film, I couldn't resist breaking the homeward journey south with the full Brief Encounter Experience on Carnforth station. Free to get in - the film runs on a loop so you could settle down in old-fashioned cinema seats for the whole afternoon - and there's tea and homemade buttered Bara brith in the old station master's office, where Celia Johnson used to warm herself by the stove when they were filming. No Banbury cakes, though. They ought to have Banbury cakes. Fresh this morning.
One night they didn't finish filming until 7.30am by which time, the fish train from Aberdeen had gone through - leaving a smell of herrings. Happy? No, not re-all-y.
Nobody there but us and a few old train buffs who knew every line of the film, pointing out details we'd never spotted before like the train driver leaning out of the express in the opening sequence. This was 1945 and the driver wouldn't have seen a station lit up at night since the start of the war. But by then it was almost over and there wasn't much likelihood of bombing raids on Carnforth.
Far too late, it dawned on me that we should have made a detour here while we were still in the Lake District. So that's still on the bucket list.
PS I completely forgot to mention in the post about Morecambe this amazing secondhand bookshop on the promenade - keep walking past the seaside rock shops - which looks (and smells) like something out of Diagon Alley. I wouldn't have been at all surprised to stumble across the mummified body of a booklover who got lost in the towering stacks.