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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

Workbench loco cradle

I’ve just bought a workbench loco cradle from Proser in Germany. Nice thing, very useful, simple effective design. Should have bought one long ago!     

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

WFH and Covid...

So, the WFH is working out quite well, with important reservations. I was brought into this team for my particular experience, and I know most of the other members, I’ve worked with them in the past. The IT works, which wasn’t always the case at Werrington (some company servers can be a bit cranky about working through home WiFi systems).    However I had a laptop problem, which was eventually sorted out by a visit to the NW London office. Otherwise I’d have lost three days while they

rockershovel

rockershovel in General

WFH (2)

This WFH is a funny old business. It has taken a couple of weeks to create any sort of useful engagement, I am fairly sceptical of actual productivity, too. It’s a good way to get individual tasks completed but the absence of the general interfacing that goes on in the office, is definitely a limitation. No 2 Son reckons he needs 3-5 days a month in the office, averaging 2 half-days a week, to maintain impetus and tie up loose ends.    This isn’t a surprise to me. I’m used to remote wo

rockershovel

rockershovel in WFH (2)

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

Trust, American style

One thing I did notice in Florida, was the way they just leave their helmets and riding jackets draped over their bikes when they park, especially in State Parks. I wouldn’t dare do that in U.K... is it the guns? The alligators? 

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

The Big Crew Change..

Last year, I was moderately optimistic about getting some more offshore work in before I retired, but present circumstances seem to have completely collapsed the market. Any revival in prices, has quite gone; headcounts are being slashed and viable enquiries for work are non-existent.    Looks as though The Big Crew Change is pretty much complete. This is an industry term relating to the retirement, willingly or otherwise, of large numbers of older staff, working on to cover the gap in

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

Super Bowl

Just spent the evening on the sofa in Bradenton, Fla. with a big bag of crisps, half a dozen Budweiser and the Super Bowl. My good wife has occupied herself with her customary clattering about with the dinner plates, wittering on about “is it finished yet” etc but I give her no heed at such times.    I wont post any spoilers for those watching on Monday...   I don’t pay American football much attention, in the U.K.; I simply don’t have the time. I don’t feel any particular at

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

Star in the East...

Just spent a tiresome night in a Premier Inn in Grimsby. Why does a modern hotel chain at the upper end of the “business and overnight” sector think it’s acceptable to have no air-conditioning? Stuffy and unpleasant. Food was downright poor and the cider tasted watery, didn’t finish my pint (which is most unusual). Typical location on a nondescript light industrial estate made for constant traffic noise through the night.    I’m also finding that the whole “working in the U.K. to slow

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

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