It was a full day out when the 60s Up group boarded the bus bright and early in Levin for a trip to Ekatahuna. We were off to visit the Middleton Model Railway, a huge layout built up over many years. Set in the English Midlands the trains trundle around the imaginary town and surrounding countryside of Middleton. The layout contains over 300m of track, 227 points, 10 stations, a marshalling yard, harbour, ironstone mine and a chalk quarry. Colin set the trains running on the main track, and there are plenty of buttons to push to get things moving on the other lines of the layout.
The ”00” gauge trains running represent the decades from the 1950s to 1990s, and are rotated regularly. Currently trains from the 1960s are running.
And for those model train enthusiasts who want to start or add to their own layout, the shop has plenty of things for sale. Engines, rolling stock, tracks, and items to make realistic looking sets line the walls, just waiting for a new owner to take them home. We believe that this layout is insured for 6 figures.
The more limber visitors can clamber through a low slung tunnel and pop up in the middle of the train set. I tried it, but oh, my aching back when I scrambled through the low opening looking rather like to Hunchback of Notre Dame. Cheese maker Biddy then told us that the easy way through is to sit on the wheeled chair and scoot yourself through. So I made the return journey like that, but you still need to keep your head down low so you don’t bump your head.
Biddy runs the cheese side of the business, and had samples for us to taste, and each had the name(s) of the cows who produced the milk. I tasted cheese produced from Holly and Patsy, and some by Holly and Isobel, and a little from Dizzy, and some from just one cow. Milking four pampered Jersey cows, she knows exactly which milk goes into each cheese. We love boutique cheeses, so I just had to take two pieces of Cwmglyn Farmhouse Cheese home with me – made with the milk produced by different cows of course. These cheeses have a royal connection and were chosen to be served at the official reception during the recent visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to New Zealand. It was also served at Prince George's playgroup when he met up with some Kiwi Plunket group youngsters and their Mums.
It was an interesting morning with plenty to see. It’s nearly lunchtime – all aboard for our next destination.