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All in a day's work - part 4 (1914)


Mikkel

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The men stood in silence and stared at the broken crate. It had fallen on its side and the contents had spilled out. There was no mistaking it: There in the middle....

 

 

 

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.... was a human skull.

 

 

 

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Station Master A. Woodcourt was the first to speak: "Well it may be a murder, but it's hardly a recent one!"

 

 

 

 

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At this point the director of the travelling theater company launched into a major outburst: "A murder? Are you mad? We use that skull for Hamlet! Didn't I tell you we were playing Shakespeare? And now I really must insist that your men hurry up with the unloading, or there will be no play tonight at all!

 

 

 

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And with that, they all got back to work. All except T. Gradgind, the carter. For a long time, he stood looking at the skull: Those cheekbones, that forehead. It strongly resembled his aunt Augusta. Augusta, the would-be actress who disappeared under mysterious circumstances a few years ago. Should he tell someone? He decided against it. They wouldn't believe him. They never did.

 

 

 

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Meanwhile, Station Master Woodcourt had returned to his favourite spot at the end of the bay platform. He was thinking that it might be time for a toffee (and that he rather deserved it) when one of the men interrupted his thoughts. A point failure had developed at the entrance to the carriage sidings. It was being worked on, but the problem was what to do with the Slip coach off the 15:55: It was still sitting in platform 3, blocking the up main. Would it be acceptable to store it in the bay for the time being?

 

 

 

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That sounded good to Woodcourt, and so the handsome Toplight Slip was propelled into the bay siding....

 

 

 

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....with the trusty No. 835 and driver T.F. Oberon in charge.

 

 

 

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This particular Slip was a compo to diagram F15, originally introduced in 1909. Like the other Toplight designs, it clearly signalled the modern and functional style that was becoming apparent everywhere on the GWR after the beginning of Churchward's reign.

 

 

 

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As the coach came up against the buffer stop, a new problem became apparent: The coach would block the exit to the run-round when the first branch train arrived tomorrow morning.

 

 

 

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Uncharacteristically, Woodcourt decided to deal with the problem tomorrow. It had been a long day and he really was feeling his age. Perhaps tomorrow would be better. Tomorrow was June 28, 1914. That sounded peaceful enough.

 

THE END

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So that concludes this little story. Apologies for the long delay, it's been a rough summer and there hasn't been much time or energy for this sort of thing. But things are looking better now.

 

Much kudos to Ian Smith, who among all the hillarious suggestions came closest to guessing the outfall of the, er, murder riddle:

 

All being well it will just be a mannequin that's fallen out of one of the crates and there won't be any scandal in Farthing after all :-)

 

:locomotive:

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Terrific stuff as always Mikkel.

 

You've been missed and its great to see you back posting again as its always high quality work...and very engaging.

 

Glad things are looking up too...

 

 

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Hi Mikkel -

Echoing the others - welcome back & hope any troubles are behind you!

 

With regard to the skull & putting my forensic archaeology hat on - with those prominent cheek-bones and prognatheous orbital arches, aunt Augusta would have been a striking-looking woman!

 

Regs

 

Ian

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Hi Mikkel, yes you've been missed... and yes I too hope that things continue to improve. I did like this story... but then they're all fab! Hmmm, so will we see some difference in the stories from now on one wonders.

 

Jon

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The sides on the coach are pre-printed? I'm always astounded by how much detail your mind perceives when I see pre-printed sides. I wish there were some in this livery at half the size: it would save a lot of effort with the lining!

 

I've looked forward to another blog post for some time and you never fail to disappoint. One question: What is Gradgind planning on doing with that sack?

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Great to have you back, Mikkel. The Farthing Chronicles have been much missed!

 

David

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I 'd been wondering where you'd been.Beautiful modelling and excellent storytelling too.

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Thankyou Gents, it's nice to be back in the modelling world :-)

 

Yes those pre-printed sides really do look the part from most angles. In fact I find that it's only when you shine a light directly at them that they look wrong.This one's from the PC/Wheeltappers range. There's a bit more about it here: http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php/blog/75/entry-1150-low-tech-pre-grouping-stock/

 

Agreed that Aunt Augusta must have been a formidable woman! In fact the skull is from my son's Warhammer range - which also explains the rather large head she must have had!

 

Dunno what Gradgind is up to with the sack - he always seems to carry it around. Maybe Hamlet will have to make do without a skull in tonight's play!

 

I think the stories will need to be put on the backburner for a while now. Fingers are itching to model some trains :-)

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Great to have you back Mikkel and to look at and read those wonderful models and stories. I look forward to whatever it is that you produce next.

 

Jim

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Evening Mikkel,

 

I'll reiterate what others have said too. Great to see you posting again and loved the story!

 

Glad things are better and I'm looking forwards to seeing some of your modelling again.

 

That PC coach looks very good as well.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

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Alas poor Yoric (or Aunt Augusta) - thought I'd say it before anyone else does!

 

Great stuff as usual Mikkel - great to have action at Farthing again. Those buildings and brilliantly painted figures have been much missed - you almost want to go and have a look at the timetables over that man's shoulder at the end of the bay.

 

More please!

 

Regards

 

Mike

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But what is the the true story about Aunt Augusta? Could that skull really be her ... ?

 

I guess we'll just have to wait for the next exciting episode from The Farthings :)

 

Meanwhile: I have to say you're a great story-teller Mikkel and you really know how to bring life and character to the figures on your layout. I enjoy your imaginative stories and your skill at translating that into exquisite pictorial cameos.

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Good to see you back in full swing Mikkel.

 

With a skull that size are you sure aunt Augusta wasn't a Titan?

 

Next up; Mr Woodcourt and the Argonauts... ;)

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Mikkel,

 

Absolutely fantastic as usual!! I can't help but feel Aunt Augusta would have been a bit butch judging by the prominant brow ridges, unless of course "Aunt Augusta" was a stage name for a drag queen :-)

 

As others have said, you have been sorely missed, and I too have waited longingly for this episode.

Ian

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Thanks everyone.

 

The timetables are real ones from the period, found on the web, scaled down and faded a bit with watercolours. Sadly the departure times are too small/blurred to read!

 

It's a good thing Aunt Augusta isn't around to hear your thoughts about her looks, or she'd be after you with this !

 

Alas, poor Yorlik, I knew him backwards...

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Hi Mikkel -

Echoing the others - welcome back & hope any troubles are behind you!

 

With regard to the skull & putting my forensic archaeology hat on - with those prominent cheek-bones and prognatheous orbital arches, aunt Augusta would have been a striking-looking woman!

 

Regs

 

Ian

 

Not to say quite a LARGE woman!

Welcome back Mikkel

:)

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One important question remains.

What type of toffees does Station Master A. Woodcourt favour?

 

Paul.

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A belated comment about the date.

 

28 June 1914 came to be recognised as a momentous date in European history, after which nothing would ever be the same again. But the significance of the events of that day in a remote province of the Hapsburg Empire took a little while to sink in.

 

Station Master Woodcourt would still have been occupied only with his purely local concerns on 29 and 30 June, and for several weeks afterwards. It was only towards the end of July that the true impact of what had happened in Sarajevo on 28 June would finally impinge of everyone's conscience in this sea-girt isle.

 

In fact, it wasn't until the first week of August that it finally became clear that we really were 'in for it'.

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