My last year of bashing, and I suspect that by numbers, this was probably the single biggest year of retirals I dare say.
Why? Well the only dinosaurs were falling since 1979: 24s, 55s, 44s, 46s etc. Now the 40s were to go and boilered services to stop.
Also I feel my day was up. I had taken up cycling and venture scouts and kept an interest in mountain walking. Girls too, who had been a bigger thing in 1982 actually.
The social side of bashing was going down hill: all the bitter little rat bashers slagging the 40s ..etc. The top men didn't bother much to speak to us, and the gen also seemed to dry up a bit.
All and all I grew out of it, but I had one last big bang: the cambrians. More to the point, the first day of the cambrians under decent power!
Almost thirty years on I find the older me looks back and says, yeah a bit of a thrash, some great cameraderie and I got to see most of the UK. A sense of freedom, a taste for logistics, talking to strangers all the time, statyin out of trouble. Egalitarianism, which was brought out most of all by the range of people turning out for the first Cambrians: trashy scousers in pork pie hats, public school boys, scots, taffs, londoners, skinheads ( well at least one notable Fred the skin head)
The older me looks back and thinks he could have spent his time more productively: studied to be a doctor or a computer nerd, been a pro rugby player, done the cross country running to get into the marines, climbed all the Munro mountains, made some other "list of achievements" which other people might respect.
But the real me knows, if I landed back in 1978 then I would become a die hard fan of English Electric Locomotives.