Again a stolen title, many thanks to Bing Crosby. Gaurding invaryably brings more printable stories than footplate work as you have encounters with a greater variety of people and are pretty well on the front line of customer service work, hence that someone who joined the railway as a footplate man prints more stories about guards turns. Christmas is a time when railways can struggle for volenteers, as people natrually want to be at home with their families, particularly, in our case, the week after Christmas. Needless to say, if you are single, willing and live in Stourport-on-Severn, you will find plenty of work on the Severn Valley (non-locals with families are welcome too! lol). It is this state of affaris that saw me pick up 8 guards turns and two firing turns in December 2010, which is pretty well normal for me. With the cold weather and the snow, we were all set for some fun from the outset, and it was typical of my luck, the only weekend not affected by bad weather was the one I wasn't on! The first weekend of the month went surprisingly well, despite the extreem cold and some slight late running, however, the 18th, and things began to go pear shaped. A problem on the train ahead of mine saw me slip from 4 minutes Late leaveing Arley to 64 late arriving in Kidder, eventually arriving home 104 minutes late on my last trip, and running two paths out of postion, with my plans for the night well and truely scuppered! In railway work, such things are sent to try us. Christmas eve, and the railway was not able to run a full service because of the weather, so we ran two sets, both topped and tailed, but otherwise to time, so still no huge issues. Que the arrival of Boxing day, following a very cold christmas (minus 19 I belive) and a frozen guard having coaxed his car into life turning up at Kidderminster, and after a while wondering where the loco for the first train was. On phoning the signal box, it transpired that the loco had failed at Bewdley, and as had the loco for the second train, and I was to sit tight and wait, while we tried to get things running. Mean while, chatting to the other guard, it was apparent to the two of us, that only one set was likely to run, and we elected if this was the case, it should be me who took it. Eventually we got one loco working, with the plan being that I would work the diagram of the 11.40 train for one trip, then pick up my own diagram, knowing full well that as soon as I left Kidderminster, that the last train of the day had to run, as people would be expecting it. As we left Kidder, news began to come through that the Bridgnorth train had failed at Erdington. It was just a rumour at the time, and hopes abbounded about fixing the problem and getting things rolling again, although by the time I got to Bewdley, the rumour was confirmed as correct. I had my own problems, 103 minutes down on my booked diagram, and 28 minutes down for the train i was now working, with two coach parties both worried that they may not get to Bridgnorth to reach their busses. This was a clear case of how important information and re-assurence is to passengers, as their tempers had been a little frayed earlier, and had been calmed very well by my TTIs, one of whom was only on his second turn. We arrived at Hampton Loade to find that the failed train was still stuck in the section as the only available engine was the 08, which would not start. Our options at the time were, our loco rescues it, or we turn back from Hampton, our loco at that time had enough water to get back to Kidder, or wait around at Hampton for an hour or so before proceeding to Bridgnorth, but not enough to do both, we needed assurance that there was water at Bridgnorth, and a decission soon. Armed with this knowlege and the info about the coach parties the duty officer went aweay to think about it, while the lads at Bridgnorth tried desperately to get D3586 to start, in the mean time, myself and the fireman kept swapping places, him coming to the box for info, which I would return to the footplate with, and warm myself on Tom's fire, before returning to the box for the next up date, with Tom Heading back to the loco, and so on. Eventually, 52 minutes after arriving, we headed for Bridgnorth, where I met up with the Duty officer for further orders. "Are we doing the second trip Andy?" I asked "I would like you too, if you will," he replied. "Thought as much, ok, a late night it is then." It later transpired that if I had said no, it would have been taxis for any passengers who had waited for that last train. The rest of the day, we were at least safe in the knowlege we would not be delayed by crossing other trains, 15 and 30 second station stops being the order of the day, with us finishing just over an hour late. Well done to Tom Clarke, Andy Sweet, Denis Pike and Matty Breese who were my Footplate Crew and TTIs that day. The next day, my Driver and fireman reminded me that we had had a rough day with an ailing 6695 exactly one year before. My assurences that we had had this years bad luck the previous day luckyly were correct, arriving back in Kidder exactly on time at 6.24. The rest of the week managed to pass without too much event, however, I did not really want to be late on the 31st, as I was due to go to one of the legendry Bewley new year parties. Oh well, such is life!