When writing a blog, it’s important to be prepared at all times. You never know when you’re going to happen upon something that you later want to tell your Reading Several (ie Steve) all about.

Driving out of Alloa today, on our way to Crianlarich, the missus and I were conscious that something was going on and we weren’t at all sure what it was. There were lines of people outside Asda, groups hanging around on every bridge in town and other bunches of people standing around in fields.

My initial suggestion of a triathalon of Moscowvite-style shopping, mass suicide and, em, standing around in fields was rightly met with scorn. Then we remembered — today is a very important day in Alloa’s history because today sees the reopening of the Stirling – Alloa rail link and to mark the occasion, local dignitaries and some competition winners were making the trip in an Olde Worlde Steame Enginee.

I know. Who cares? Somewhat surprisingly, the answer seemed to be every sod in Alloa. The station is next to Asda, it goes under four bridges and canters along next to a field full of startled lambs and at 1:30 this afternoon, every spare inch was occupied.

The missus and I remained non-plussed until one of us — probably me — got caught up in the hype and decided to spin a you-ey and head back into town.

Because we forgot to lift the camera before we left the house, you’ll just have to take my word for it that driving over one of the bridges while a steam train was going under it was much like being chased by the Smoke Monster in Lost.

You’ll also have to take my word that I got a little excited when I saw the shiny old locomotive and a little more goosebumpy than I thought possible when I saw everyone waving at the train and everyone on the train, leaning out and waving back.

People don’t wave at public transport these days. Fire airgun pellets at it? Yes. Hurl dog shite at it? Yes. Jump in front of it? Well, sometimes. But wave? In 2008?

Seems the sight of an old steam train — such a textbook example of a bygone, simpler time — made the people of Alloa and surrounding environs get all nostalgic and weepy and maybe a even a little jealous of everything it represented.

I’ll keep my eyes open for a video to appear on YouTube or wherever, which seems bound to happen based on the number of people recording the moment, and if I track one down, I’ll post it and if you watch it, I wonder if you’ll get it. I wonder if it was one of those “had to be there moments” where for once, when your hometown goes mental, it was in a good way.

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