09 May, 2013




Her days of delivery and service were done. They replaced her with the fast, new and the strong and planted her out in the middle of a paddock to bleed the need out of her while she wasted away with rust. A slow death you could say, this cruel Dance of Decay. The kind that weathers you away with the very substance that put you together. Forgotten, weakened and alone, she stood as sturdy as able, trembling in faith, hope and belief. “This is not it. This is not my end.”

Sitting quiet in a busy office a world away was another Woman with a brave, bold thought. “I’m going to get an old train carriage, renovate it and turn it into a second dwelling on my farm!”

That’s how they both met. The Old Train in the paddock and the Bold Woman in the office. On E-bay. Technology!

Australia is a big, long, wide-open space and the trip up the east coast from Victoria to Queensland was a slow, exciting, intricate process on the back of a semi-trailer truck. Plucked out of one paddock and lowered gently into another by a crane, the Little Red Caboose sensed she was unwanted again. This time by the neighbors.

“What an ugly sight? This cannot be done!”

After a hard fought legal battle, it was being done. The train carriage set in permanence was now being restored and loved and each new day, the Little Red Caboose started to shimmer and shine just that little bit more.

History with a heartbeat has a heat that new items just can’t radiate and the Little Red Caboose found her pulse again. She was named the “Spirit of Progress” for lots of reasons but more obviously after a train that was built in November 1937. It was a premier express passenger train offering comfort and speed not previously seen in Australia. It seemed an appropriate name. Seventy six years on and this 21st Century “Spirit of Progress” would offer an evolved form of comfort and speed that had never been experienced before either.

The farm was in Samford, the home of the Powerful Owl with rolling green hills and valleys featuring a Sun that clearly favored this precious place on earth. It was dusk now and a hard days work had settled into the lines on our grubby hands and the laces of our soil-heavy boots. My friend, Leanne, picked up a glass of fine red wine to toast her dream, the journey, the accomplishment and in her perfect little giggle, she looked at her beloved rolling stock companion and said “Get comfortable and settle in old girl, but I still require your high standard of speed. The speed of love, the speed of friendship, laughter, warmth and community. Whatever you deem that to be!”

Everything is made of the same clever stuff. In living things it moves, in inanimate things it can’t. But one can save the other in ways never before conceived. Your ability to imagine these ways is your key to contentment and freedom.

Congrats Leanne Kemp! Toot Toot!