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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

Northward Ho! In which divers misadventures befall our correspondent..

Well, that was fun. For family reasons, a long and difficult journey at a difficult time, in which some showed to better advantage than others.   First leg, Cross Country, Plymouth to BNS. Cross Country consistently fail to impress, and this was no exception; a crowded, short-formation train (4 car Voyager instead of 7-car HST; reservations in disorder, charging sockets not working despite the new overhead reservation displays). The diversion for the incident on the line was just one of those

rockershovel

rockershovel

Cross country, in every sense

Today’s venture is Peterborough to Plymouth, by way of Birmingham New St.   First leg, Peterborough to BNS with Cross Country. 3 car DMU, fairly new-looking. Seat backs sprinkled with accumulated reservations, some clearly for journeys in the opposite direction. Occupancy perhaps 20%, so no problems. Strong free WiFi, no charging sockets. Ticket check, no card check. Bought a pastie and coffee on the station, just as well as events turned out.   Unremarkable journey, good time.   Interest

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

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

Avon Bridge... wonderful...

I really must get a dashcam.   Off to S Wales this weekend for my annual dose of Sportster racing. Actually not the only time I ride this bike but the only place it gets a “proper” outing on its natural habitat, a half-mile trotting track. Where’s Bruce Brown when you need him?   So I drove over the Avon Bridge heading West, with the evening sun glittering in the cables; absolutely glorious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big layouts, by any definition..

Found this while looking for something else entirely. https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/model-trains-that-are-model-worlds?utm_source=Atlas+Obscura&utm_campaign=1e4b4303fe-Newsletter_5_12_20165_11_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_62ba9246c0-1e4b4303fe-61415829&ct=t(Newsletter_5_12_20165_11_2016)&mc_cid=1e4b4303fe&mc_eid=529d3fd6f7   There was a thread a while ago, about "how big is a big layout" and I'd reckon that any of these would qualify...

rockershovel

rockershovel

more 12" = 1' , it seems...

people have definitely woken up after Xmas, now. The phone has been ringing all over the place and I've just picked up a couple of months' work in 12' = 1' scale, Quality Engineer for platform doors on the CrossRail project. It's only a short job, closing out at the end of the project as the original team move on - but I don't doubt that it will be very busy, these end-of-project roles always are and it's rather satisfying to have done some work on the CrossRail project after all.

rockershovel

rockershovel

6N ... more malarkey...

Sorry to say it, but I think Italy are going to be in for a long, hard tournament. Seven tries against, a disallowed try from an obvious forward pass in what looked like a set-piece move which didn’t execute; an obvious foul that would certainly have been a penalty try if it hadn’t been given anyway, and not one, but two consecutive muffed short kicks. It’s not promising.   Looking forward to Wales at Twickenham. England by 7 to 10, I think. Can’t fancy Scotland against France, although home

rockershovel

rockershovel

6N time again..

It’s “that” time of year again... I quite enjoyed yesterday’s offering.   Scotland appear to need a sustained search for their “thinking cap”, they were obviously missing some important part of their preparations against Wales. The chaps in red looked good, though, loved the interception try and AWJ and Leigh Halfpenny are always good value. I’ve never seen a dull game there.   France v Ireland was the sort of game I always enjoy, a proper “forwards game” in the wet, with long passages of ru

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 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

MMI 2-8-2s - on the test track

Took both 2-8-2s to the Club test track this afternoon. Tried them on a NCE Powercab controller, the Gaugemaster was packed away as part of a general reorganisation that’s been in hand for some time.   Very impressed with the slow running, in particular. Very steady and controllable. The brakes need thinking about, as does the regulator - I’ll have to practice these. They definitely need driving, and have different characters.   The K27 is the more sure-footed of the two, over the occasion

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

Colorado 2-8-2s, now with sound!

I’ve just heard that my two MMI locos are ready for despatch, complete with DCC and sound. I’m really quite excited about this, partly because the job has been subject to a fair amount of “mission creep” due to developments in available hardware and software along the way   Here they are https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nW6r7ydm6k8&feature=youtu.be   My venture into 12”-1’ Scale seems to be over for the foreseeable future, various family matters are in abeyance, the clubroom refurbishment

rockershovel

rockershovel

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

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