An extra day and a half tagged on to the front end of the Easter holiday means I am having a rare long weekend. Time has been divided between my two loves. Mrs Blazing had my undivided attention on Thursday, Friday, and today. She has also got the ‘Blazing remote’ tomorrow. On Wednesday night and Saturday I was pledged to Arsenal.

Easter Saturday had been fairly loosely planned in advance. I had managed to secure three tickets for the family enclosure with a view to taking a grandson for his first visit to Ashburton Grove. This was my key play in converting him to follow in the footsteps of Grandad Blazing. At nine he is reaching the point where he will settle on a team to follow for life.

Sadly though it didn’t quite work out like that, and as luck would have it he missed what would have been an unexpected bonus. On the train up to London we had not long passed through Didcot when we drew alongside and slowly passed a steam train. Hasty research this evening reveals it was one of the Easter special steamdays being run out of the Didcot Railway Centre. That explains the crowds trackside for the next few miles.

By the end of the day I was ‘steaming’ in an altogether different sense, but that is another story entirely! I am sorry though that the aforementioned grandson couldn’t make it this weekend. He would have loved this spectacle. It would have added to a memorable day, and he would have been converted, I’m sure. Next season, young man, it will have to be!

Now I am guessing I would have been around five years old when the last steam trains were running from the town where I grew up. As luck would have it that is the age of a good friend’s son so they became the beneficiaries of the other tickets to the football. I can definitely remember the steam trains, but I don’t recall vividly the football until I was six, going on seven. (No gags please about ‘well it was Arsenal!’)

It has been fun though, recalling those memories today nearly half a century on. Evocative stuff, the sight of steam, the smell of smoke, the strange rattle and whistle noises, but enough of Highbury in the sixties, that steam train was quite something too.

I hope you have all enjoyed your Easter.