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About this blog

trial and error....

Entries in this blog

 

Yay Spoons!

At Stansted, another place much changed since I last saw it, in no wise for the better.   However it DOES have a Witherspoon’s, who served a quite acceptable g&t WITHOUT the shovel full of ice in a half-pint balloon that so many places dispense, and even had some Angostura bitters.   I quite like ‘Spoons...

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Yaaaarrrr!

Didn't see it myself, having better things to do, but my good wife informs me that the one-handed pirate(?) on Poldark had a Mummerset accent implausible even to her... praise indeed!

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Xmas music... it's the silly season

I play tenor banjo and like to play in pub sessions when I get the chance. There tends to be a "crush" in December and this year is no exception. Plus, it tends to be the "silly season" when all sorts of things get aired.   Last night was no exception, a "French night" at a local pub with very tasty onion soup and crusty bread served part-way through, a ceilidh band specialising in Breton music to give a general direction ... plus a digression into various Christmas carols for banjo, melodeon

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Xmas music

Christmas always includes something you would never have thought of but works out really well, and this year it was Radio 3... my good wife has a truly, deeply awful 1970s medley which she plays incessantly on "shuffle" in the kitchen, quite loud, when I'm away or when major projects like Xmas pud are in hand.   It used to be a CD but now it's on the iplayer and has become something of a menace, a long way up the "oh, FFS" scale; not quite level with blocked gutters on a rainy day when the 6N

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Wonderful stuff!

Stranded in a Premier Inn in Preston, writing pre-contract documents for a cable landfall job, thought I’d watch some tv. Browsing around the sort of selection of channels on offer in such places, I hit on Voyage To The Bottom If The Sea!   I haven’t seen this in years! Glorious cheesy 60s adventure sci-fi, utter hokum with the production values of a 1980s Trabant... I’m quite enjoying the evening...

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

where to begin?.

so, I registered in here as "oilman" and discovered that I was formerly signed in as "rockershovel", and it was still live, so I'll stick to that and let "oilman" lapse, or whatever the mods do to dud screen names.   where to start?   well, model railways are a problematical hobby in the offshore oil business, for one thing. I started to become interested about six years ago after a very long lapse, because I saw the MMI D&RGW locos and HAD to have one.. I'd intended to be at least, se

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Western adventure, sort of..

Made the journey from Plymouth to Peterborough by train, in a spirit of enquiry. Not tremendously impressed.   The Plymouth to London Paddington train was absolutely choked with students. The train was, apparently, an 8-car set instead of a 10-car set. It had been fitted with newer seats and the ad-hoc looking conversion to power sockets at the tables that you see on Great Central trains, but otherwise looked its age. Quite good free WiFi, though, evidenced by much bleeping and trilling of sm

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

We're all doooooomed..

Very disappointed indeed by the BBC this morning, picking up a story and promoting it verbatim to peak coverage (how convenient that the erstwhile travellers had an MP who writes a column for the Guardian!), but on to happier things.   Looking forward to watching "We're Doomed! The Dads Army Story" on iplayer, when time allows. Strong reviews and a top class ensemble cast, should be good. I'm not an unqualified fan of Perry and Croft - I thought "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" was well below par, an

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Track trials and train sizes

Back to work soon, so I took the opportunity of an afternoon club opening to use the test track   Loco #420, the modified "Colorado-style" Bachmann 2-8-0, pulled steadily away with the SJCC pipe train, 5 gondolas and 6 flats. This is a difficult train to get right, and I haven't quite managed it yet; the alternate light and heavy cars don't help its running. The flat cars are also rather sensitive to the sometimes less-than-perfect point work on the club test track. But, 11 bogie cars is a goo

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Technobabble....

Just been clearing my desk and closing out my report.   My role essentially consists of acting as a supervisor and observer for a survey team, carrying out a task which has moved on at least one generation since I was actively involved, apart from the parts I never DID know anyway.   Mostly I am there to offer an experienced eye ... my back-to-back is much closer to th technical side, and between us we provide an overall perspective. As it happens I am the last rotation, so I have the job

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

tanker cars

I've been looking at tanker cars, after acquiring a collection of Lionel items.   there's some debate about quite what scale they ARE, but comparison with the SJCC UTX frameless car ( a very accurate scale model) shows them to be very similar in overall size (bogies here are Bachmann log skeletons, for immediate purposes)       time for some serious consideration, I think

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Sunday tv (2)

Saw the trailer for “Biggest Little Railway”. Still feeling mellow after three episodes of Onedin Line followed by gammon and veg for dinner, opted for a hour in the garage and a soak in the bath while the wife watched Call The Midwife..

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Sunday evening tv...

Just had a hour or two watching tv. I do enjoy watching actual programmes when I'm home, provided (a) no one rushes about shouting and (b) no manic driving and gunplay.   More authentic frontier gibberish from Matt and team, the incomprehensible Scottish sheep-breeder explaining about breeding sheep for worm resistance was a minor gem, the badgers eating £3000 worth of wine grapes were rather good and the Syrian refugee woman breeding whatever-it-was in Lancashire was... very BBC.   I'm an

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Sunday afternoon finesse...

Played a finesse this weekend, spotted that “Onedin Line” was on and steered the good lady wife to that. Hearty Mummerset accents, swelling orchestral soundtrack, occasional tall ships footage and a blessed lack of ill-bred people accusing each other of murder, great stuff!

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Strange sort of evening...

Came in from a day out and about around Lincolnshire, turned on tne tv and discovered Warren Gatland's lugubrious comments on the latest from the Lions... 12-3 defeat of Crusaders with no tries scored. Switched over and found the highly entertaining Argentina - England game.   Meanwhile my good wife (who I increasingly suspect of being even deafer than me) has the garden bay window door open, admitting loud and (to be charitable) enthusiastic music from a local festival-of-sorts, one of those

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

stoney creek kits

just had a longer-than-usual leave during which very little got done on the modelling front   However, feeling rather flush I splashed out on a Stoney Creek Designs kit from EDM Models. I have always intended that my layout include a drilling rig and some nodding donkeys and couldn't resist this http://www.stoneycreekdesigns.com/2014oilwell.html   I'd date this rig at around the 1910s or 1920s, although rigs of that type continued in occasional use until around the Second World War.     O

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Stan and Ollie

Whiling away a miserable wet weekend in Plymouth (I don’t go home every weekend because of the time and cost), went to the pictures for the first time in a long time.   Much impressed with the new layout at the cinema, big semi-reclining airline style seats with ample legroom. Being 4:30 in the afternoon, only 7 or 8 in the auditorium... the film was Stan and Ollie, and I loved it.   I was never a huge fan of Laurel and Hardy, being (I suppose) the generation that “didn’t want to see a Lau

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Speedway...

Just spent an unexpected day with No 1 Son, reassembling a Jawa speedway bike from parts in the workshop, we are both going to have an end-of-season canter tomorrow (Sunday). I haven't ridden for a LONG time and he rarely rides these days, and we haven't ridden with the club before... what can possibly go wrong?

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Rolling Stock rosters...

Having (mostly) sorted out the couplers, I've turned my attention to the various rolling stock.   The Bachmann stock is really TOO mismatched in size, to coexist with the SJCC and AMS stock. Plus, I can't see any use for the logging bogies.   So, I've decided to clear out any remaining logging stuff, and the small Bachmann bogie tank cars. I have two AMS tank cars which can be fettled to serve with the Bachmann couplers, and a box of bits which started as a project to build Bachmann compat

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Railway job... maybe...

Just had an interesting job come in from an agency I haven't worked for before. Basically, clearing an accumulated backlog of NCR and related paperwork, with a possible extension to drive and implement improvements.   So far it has only produced various excuses and delays, the start date having slipped by about ten days so far. A common problem with jobs for European companies, theres a contractors joke to the effect that the most important meeting with a German company is the one at which th

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Pipe trains..

Had a spell at the clubroom this afternoon, fettling and experimenting.   Sorted out the unhappy running on the Bachmann 2-8-0 by closely examining the motion; located a couple of possible pinch points, tweaked them slightly with a jewellers screwdriver. Running like a good 'un now. Must have distorted them when handling the loco, or maybe not boxed it correctly (this loco doesn't have its original box but lives in a 1L plastic box)   After various experimentation, located one, or possibly

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Peterborough show

Got a gate pass from helping No 1 Son sort out his house and walked round to the Showground.   Very enjoyable, good show and worth the money. Interesting to see the trade stands.   Some very good layouts, some impressing by sheer size. Loved the Fn3 Colorado one, and Lough MPD. Bought a couple of copies of SL&NG Gazette. Spent some time at the Hornby OO Live Steam Group stand, fascinating things but I can see why they missed the mark commercially.   Had a most instructive chat at th

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

On3 and On30 couplers..

Another long-delayed job has been sorting out the couplers. My stock having mostly come as three job lots from abandoned projects, I have every coupler and coupler height known to man amongst them.   To get round this I bought two AMS flat cars fitted with couplers to serve as "match trucks" to allow Bachmann locos to pull consists fitted with SJCC or other On3 couplers, these now seem to be reliable after a certain amount of fettling and track trials (the various Bachmann and Kaydee couplers

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

On the buses....

My good wife appears to be plumbing new depths in her doze-in-front-of-ancient-sitcoms marathons, three consecutive episodes of On The Buses ... astonishing to think of Reg Varney’s sometime popularity...

rockershovel

rockershovel

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