A steamy date with Michael Palin

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Michael Palin copyright Basil Pao

Michael Palin (copyright Basil Pao)

You’d think that Michael Palin  would have had enough of travelling, wouldn’t you? Well apparently not, because he has kindly trekked up north to open the Walker’s new transport-themed exhibition, ‘Art in the Age of Steam’. I can’t help being stoked at the prospect. Not only are his travels compulsive viewing, he’s an ex-Python. He won’t be the only star in the gallery though, as the exhibition features pictures from the likes of Manet, Monet, Van Gogh and Hopper. I haven’t actually managed to see the finished article myself yet - so more about that later - but we’re getting a great response from those who have. At Liverpool Cathedral’s craft fair this weekend, another star of the rail Frank Hornby will be in the spotlight. As well as model trains on display there will be a track where model enthusiasts are invited to try their own Hornby trains out. (Rather bizzarely, one of the office has just spotted French and Saunders hanging out there). If all this transport talk has whet your appetite, there are lots of steamy activities about - as long as you’re willing to travel of course. There’s East Lancashire RailwayUllswater Steamers,  Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways , Snowdon Mountain, Ribble Steam Railway, Severn Valley Railway, and Middleton Railway, Leeds.   As a special treat this Summer, you can also catch a steam train from Lime Street. 2008 is the 40th anniversary of the last ever scheduled steam train, which departed from Liverpool, so the Rail Touring Company will be running some special events. Once you’ve run out of puff, come and relax in the exhibition. I hear it's first class.