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trial and error....

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Christmas tree train

Put last year’s plastic toy train around the tree, to the amusement of various small nephews and nieces. No 1 Son dismantled the loco, placed a scrap of draught excluder over the speaker... lost one side of the “motion” .. now we have another similar train among the presents....

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

First World Problems..

No 1 Son came round yesterday with No 1 Grand-daughter, who certainly has a good set of lungs, on the evidence. She was apparently wearing her latest “Christmas outfit”, I’ve seen whole Third World relief appeals with less kit than this child .....   Cleared my desk at Vossloh Kiepe, having run out of budget and headcount. Ho hum. I’ve been to a couple of interviews but the recruitment process these days seems hopelessly dysfunctional, no results yet. There seems to be a general crisis in prog

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Change of scale..

So, the railway job ends next week, so that’s the end of working in 12”-1’ for the foreseeable future.   Time for a break I think, the refurbishment of the club room is now complete so perhaps it’s test track time!

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Electric trains..

Just been following the "early electrification" thread digression on the main forums.   I tend to be regarded in some quarters as something of a Luddite, having been generally deeply unimpressed with BR era diesel locomotives and the service they provided, and I'm certainly no great lover of MUs of various descriptions for similar reasons.   I was a great fan of the original 125 HST, which seemed a Great Leap Forward. However I find that I'm unable to take pleasure in the subsequent electri

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Colorado 2-8-2s

Heard from Paul Martin last week, seems that my MMI locos are currently on the workbench having sound and DCC fitted. I'm quite excited about this, looking forward to giving them a run on the club test track..

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

12" to the Foot..

After various delays I've now spent the past two weeks working in 12" to the Foot scale. QC for traction motor refurbishments, and related tasks on EMU sets, particularly type 321 ... which means nothing to me, except that they seem to produce an abundant crop of NCRs!   Seems slightly odd to be walking about in orange hivis and bump cap again...

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

 

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

 

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

 

Interesting night at the Club...

Went to MDMRC on Monday evening. Low turnout, attributed to the time of year. Should have taken some rolling stock - usually I don't do this on Mondays because of the test track being in demand   Very interesting visit from three Australians who were staying with a member for a couple of days, part of a highly ambitious trip involving visiting no end of steam railways; it CAN be done, apparently! One produced various photos of his exhibition layout based on LMS practice in the 1930s.

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Easter is here - steam sightings and lilac blossom

Daughter came round today with Charley Dog, which was all the excuse I needed to abandon my rather fitful gardening (not a great enthusiasm of mine, at the best of times) and accompany her on a walk around Ferry Meadows. She parks at ours to avoid the notorious parking system there..   Saw 34081 "92 Squadron" in steam on the NVR, just back from a lengthy rebuild. Saw the Ferry Meadows Railway 10.25" gauge DHR 0-4-0ST+T in steam as well, what a little gem it is.   All this and lilac blossom

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Enjoyed an evenings tv... for once...

Herself being out and about on her various retirement matters, left me in sole charge of the tv control for the evening. Usually I avoid the "babble box" between about 5 and 9pm, the early evening game shows followed by a protracted session of people she would cross the road to avoid in real life, yelling at each other...   But today, freedom beckoned! Watched Time Team, a well-worn favourite for its formulaic, knockabout quality. On to Michael Portillo in America, which seems to have stimula

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

 

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

 

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

 

Family tree

Spent a frustrating hour doodling about on a couple of those "find your family" websites, at my daughters' insistence. My late mothers' family tree was quite well known, at least the Cambridge end of it, given that they were quite a close family anyway. But my fathers' family.... after about an hour, I didn't have anything new except that my grandmothers' maiden name was Saunders. My fathers' military service was a blank, and I still have his medals, and know the outline of it. I didn't find oth

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

 

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

 

Gaugemaster vs NEC

Clubroom afternoon, spent some time experimenting with the Gaugemaster controller setup. This seems to be becoming something of a club project now, next step is to reconfigure the wiring so the Gaugemaster and NEC spreads can be swapped over by changing plugs on the track power wires.   Interesting comparison. Personally I prefer the Gaugemaster on first acquaintance, the larger, backlit display is easier to read. Flicking straight from loco to loco with no fussing about with "recall" is hand

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

Club night, DCC progress

Club night last night. Much discussion of the Show, packing and storing of Canons Cross (club exhibition layout) and discussion of next outing.   Nobody much using the test track, so I took the opportunity to ask some questions and follow some of the wiring. Plans to take the Gaugemaster setup there on Thursday, now I've worked out how to disconnect the NCE spread and connect the Gaugemaster.. doesn't look difficult in principle, no soldered joints involved and no risk of connecting both sim

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

 

Katyusha and confusion..

Over to the Three Pickerels at Mepal, for a good evenings music. I've been working on Katyusha on the mandolin during my last rotation, a classic Russian ear worm immediately recognised when heard... nearly as good as Thunderbirds, or Match Of The Day. Easily followed and well suited to accordions (Russians rarely play the balalaika, in my experience, but accordions and guitars are ubiquitous) so a good bouncy pub session tune, without the deceptively difficult fast fingering of that Pugwash tun

rockershovel

rockershovel

 

A day in the life...

Off to the Post Office, or at any rate the agents handling their Christmas casual jobs. A real window on the world, starting with the harassed-looking chap from the Kings Lynn area (35 miles away) who explained that he needed the work, because he needed to do enough work to keep his benefit claims in place - he had no expectation of supporting himself from earnings, there was no agricultural gang work (all contracted to East European gangmasters at rates as low as £3/hr) so not compromising his

rockershovel

rockershovel

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