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About this blog

trial and error....

Entries in this blog

 

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

 

God’s Wonderful Railway..

Just been to Cardiff for a client visit.    XC Plymouth to Bristol PW was its usual scruffy, short-formed disappointment (also grossly overcrowded past Taunton, XC being apparently oblivious or uncaring about Cheltenham Week). GWR produced a pleasing change of scene with a rather swish 800 class for the 45 minutes or so to Cardiff; the first time I recall travelling on one if these, and I was rather impressed.    Return journey started with a new-looking DMU from GWR, quite c

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

 

M6, M5...

I’ve been travelling the M6 the last twelve months, a motorway I knew little about.    Most motorways seem to have their own style of services, and on the M6 it’s those over-bridges containing noisy, cramped food outlets and at Forton, the (mostly abandoned) “observation lounge” reminiscent of a set for a Gerry Anderson puppet show. Whoever thought they were a good idea? The 1960s were truly, a different time...    One worthwhile innovation is that Travelodge have apparently

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Disappointing start ..

Watching the start of the London Marathon, one of the wheelchair racers failed at the start due to a puncture.   That surprised me. I’d always imagined, insofar as I’d thought if it at all, that elite level wheelchair racing would be attended by support teams like cycle racing, but apparently not...   

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

DC, DCC, scales and gauges, and all things in between

So, first things first; control system....   This is a big change from my last venture in the hobby, too long ago to be worth discussing at this point. At that time, DC ruled the roost and most "serious" layouts were divided into blocks and sections, with a maze of under-board wiring. Now, it seems, not so.   So, I set out to buy some stock. Like many engineers, I do like technical gadgets.... So, what have I learnt?   Firstly, On30 isn't OO9. There is one main supplier, half a dozen sec

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Heirs to Basil, 2019..

So, here I am in sunny (occasionally) Lincolnshire. Road conditions mean that the 60 miles or so to work, can be anything from 1hr 40 to 2hrs drive, so I stay out two or three nights a week. I’d mercifully, largely forgotten about English notions of hotel keeping, so it’s all come as rather a shock to the system.    Mostly this means local hotels, booked by the company. These can charitably be described as “variable” and as a sort of bonus, tonight has produced a neighbouring room who
 

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

 

Eurovision...

My good wife spelt the evening watching the blizzard of pyrotechnics and strobes which after a while, I realised was Eurovision... Ho hum, business as usual.   I did watch the voting, more or less, it’s no fun any more. The new voting format seems designed to gloss over the more obvious politicking and settling of old scores between “far-off countries of which we know little”. None of the hostesses QUITE fell out of her dress, and they all had ample supplies of cheesy, laboured “humour”. One

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Club night..

Went along to Club Night last night, best one in a long time with quite a high turnout.   - a club exhibition layout I hadn't seen before, but obviously a long-established one, set up and running with a couple of younger relatives of one of the members, being guided through the complex "cab control" control system.   - the O gauge project which has caused more controversy than enough, now cut down to a workable space with a group around it working on whatever it's next incarnation is intend

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Bulls, china shops and red herrings.. new direction.

I've been starting on a new direction lately. I tend to have a reputation for "bull in a China shop" methods but these have their uses and reasons.. mainly that they are the outcome of many years of taking decisions based on totally inadequate information, or getting to grips with subjects where I don't have a starting point or a clearly envisaged outcome.   I'd come to conclude that it was time for me to move on from the oil and gas industry, or at least my present sector. The industry is in

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

 

Ethical tea!

Just been into town on various odd errands, and had tea and cake in the Church in Cathedral Square.   Cup of tea, very nice piece of walnut and coffee cake, £1.90 including the rather glorious setting. No organ recital this morning, apparently. Why anyone goes in the Starbucks opposite, I have no idea.   Also found a new barber in Priestgate. My old place has changed to the point that there’s no real point going there any more, and this place does wet shaves with a hot towel! Didn’t have a

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

 

Lancaster!

Heard an unusual aircraft noise, went out into the garden and saw a Lancaster bomber approach from the North, bank and turn, and head off North again.   From BBMF at Coningsby, I suppose... quite something to see!

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

 

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

 

Last Night Of The Proms...

Last Night Of The Proms tonight, which I always rather enjoy. The Guardian informs the world that "a secretive on-line campaign" (no, I don't understand that either) has raised the money to distribute 5,000 EU flags to prom-goers and opines wistfully that "tonight we may find what they really think", whether they are "jingoistic or ironic".   Personally, I suspect that all they will really learn is that if you had out freebies to a large crowd of excitable twenty somethings who have come to bo

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Oh dear, it's Christmas...

Some quite versatile multi-tasking on display tonight. My good wife is snoring like a tractor on the sofa, having turned the tv to a Michael Buble "Christmas Special" which gives me an overpowering impression of being trapped inside a lift, or hotel reception.   Whenever the snoring reaches a crescendo I turn it over, or just turn the sound down... at which point, she stirs, and turns it back on...

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

 

Declining standards...

Had a rather disappointing lunch today, in several ways. Ventured down to Cambridge to see someone, and stopped at a pub near Duxford for lunch. I’ve been here occasionally over the years, but shan’t be going again...   The once-rural setting of this former coaching inn has been progressively eroded by piecemeal light industrial development, and it now has no garden left at all. The parking is now charged (you enter your registration on a screen inside to get exemption, but there is no sign ou

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Back where I hadn’t expected to be...

I’m out on site again, on a rather spectacular location overlooking the Solent. This is my first “site” job in the U.K. for almost ten years, back on a drilling site after a long time away from that field, so I’ll see how it goes.   The specialist contractor, my employer, are the British arm of a Dutch contractor and rather unexpectedly, I find I’m more comfortable there than I was last year, working in an office in Birmingham. I found the general flow of office conversation in Brum, trivial

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Crash, bang, sparrowhawk!

So there was a loud crash on the roof over the bay window, much flapping and scrabbling, and this...     My best identification is a female sparrowhawk, apparently they specialise in hunting pigeons and are well known to hunt in gardens...

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

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