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The Finkerbury Files

Mikkel

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Yesterday I went to get some things in the attic of the old apartment block where we now live. Each flat has a tiny storage room, and as I entered the attic I noticed that one door was ajar.
 

 

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Feeling curious, I had a look inside. The room was empty,  but someone had left an old filing cabinet in the corner.

 

 

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Imagine my surprise when, inside the cabinet, I found a number of files marked “Farthing”. With trembling hands I opened the first file, and…

 

 

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Pleased to meet you Ladies and Gentlemen! I am Pickle S. Finkerbury, autodidact railway historian and time traveler. My works include “A Complete and Exhausting Survey of Farthing Station” and “Abandoned Occupational Crossings of Wiltshire, Vol. 1-3”. 

 

 

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My specialty, however, is to document the more, shall we say, unusual aspects of everyday railway operation. I have a certain knack for being in the right place at the right time, and have collected a number of files with previously unpublished information. 

 

 

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Today I should like to share an interesting finding that I came across in the bay platform at Farthing station, one fine day in the summer of 1907.

 


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The branch passenger train from Overburne was just arriving, exactly on time. 

 

 

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The train pulled into the bay platform…

 

 

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…and came to a halt at the stops, where Station Master A. Woodcourt  was waiting.

 

 

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It was then that I overheard a most interesting conversation between the Station Master and the newly arrived loco crew.

 

 

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- 'Gentlemen, can I have a word?'
- 'Yes, Sir?'

 

 

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- 'I’ve been reading in the papers about all these dogs that have been disappearing.'
- 'Dogs, Sir?'

 

 

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- 'Yes, it seems a lot of people have lost their dogs. The police are without a clue, but I’ve noticed….'
- 'Noticed, Sir?'

 

 

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- 'I’ve noticed that the missing dogs all came from houses situated along the Overbourne line. You work that route together a lot.  And it got me thinking…'
- 'Thinking, Sir?'
 

 

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- 'The two of you, you’re our best men on the footplate. Very eager, aren’t you, about optimising performance. Always experimenting with the firing and the fuel.'
- 'Fuel, Sir?'
 

 

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- 'All right Perkins, that’s enough! I’m not an idiot. We’ll keep this to ourselves, but there will be no more firing with people's pets! It was bad enough with the cats last year. We certainly want a good fuel economy, but not at the expense of our four-legged friends. Understood?

 

 

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After a long silence both men gave an almost imperceptible nod, and got back to work on the footplate. 


 

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They set the train back… 

 

 

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…did the run round…

 

 

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…and eventually pulled away with the train. As we watched them go, I heard the Station Master reminding himself to inspect the ash pit that evening. I shudder to think what he found.


 

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So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. You are now privy to one of the best kept trade secrets of Great Western footplate men. And you know why GWR engines had such a lovely bark.


Till next time!


 

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So the loco's a collie-burner?  Could be worse.... I've just finished reading The Revenant Express where the fuel is something a little more nightmare-inducing. 

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Yet another superb insight into the Edwardian GWR lifestyle unbeknownst to many of us.

 

A closet tale to rival the likes of G.K.Chesterton, J.M. Barrie and Edith Nesbit in its simplicity, yet keeping the reader on their toes.

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1 hour ago, James Harrison said:

So the loco's a collie-burner?  Could be worse.... I've just finished reading The Revenant Express where the fuel is something a little more nightmare-inducing. 

 

Uh-oh that sounds gruesome. Or maybe just Victorian!

 

1 minute ago, bgman said:

Yet another superb insight into the Edwardian GWR lifestyle unbeknownst to many of us.

 

A closet tale to rival the likes of G.K.Chesterton, J.M. Barrie and Edith Nesbit in its simplicity, yet keeping the reader on their toes.

 

Thanks Graham. I had fun taking those close-ups. And I swear I'm a dog person, normally :D

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Hi Mikkel, Camera work is really nice, perhaps I need a few tips.

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Nah, a kilo of collie is about 5000kCal, a kilo of best Welsh (anthracite, not Corgi) is about 7000 kCal...

 

i suppose you don’t have pay for the local fauna...

 

best

Simon

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

25 minutes ago, snitzl said:

Hi Mikkel, Camera work is really nice, perhaps I need a few tips.

 

Hi Snitzl, nothing particularly fancy - down low and up close are the main principles. I suppose it helps that the layouts are designed to position the viewer in the "middle" of the scene. This means that there is no major expanse of foreground to reach over when taking photos.

 

20 minutes ago, Simond said:

Nah, a kilo of collie is about 5000kCal, a kilo of best Welsh (anthracite, not Corgi) is about 7000 kCal...

 

i suppose you don’t have pay for the local fauna...

 

best

Simon

 

Ha! Simon did your family work on the GWR I wonder? :lol:

Edited by Mikkel

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There's always a whole new world underneath that Farthing canopy.  The extensive glazing helps of course...

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Glorious stuff. Winding the tale round the characters and period setting, very cleverly done . 

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, Silver Sidelines said:

Got there - looks great, reads even better than Flickr.  Cheers  Ray

 

Thanks Ray. The photos are linked directly from Flickr. I sometimes wonder what the random Flickr visitor makes of the photos :D

 

9 hours ago, Northroader said:

Dunno about the fuel but I could look at the pictures all day.

 

Thanks Northroader. I haven't been giving this layout much attention in recent years, so it's nice to "rediscover it" and run something other than goods trains again. The original idea with these layouts was that I could dispose of one, build another, and it would still be the same station. But they have grown on me (not literally!).  

 

9 hours ago, Miss Prism said:

There's always a whole new world underneath that Farthing canopy.  The extensive glazing helps of course...

 

An added bonus of the glazing - which the camera doesn't really capture - is that it filters the light in a nice way. Especially now that time has passed and a thin layer of dust clings to the glazing. I've decided not to remove the dust for that same reason!

 

Here's a view of the canopy from the alternate side. It must be some 15 years old now. The plan is to build an extension featuring the main station at the far end of this shot. 

 

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8 hours ago, Platform 1 said:

Brilliant!  Gave me paws for thought...

 

 

Haha :D We used to live in Vientiane in Laos. There was an influx of Vietnamese labourers, and whenever a dog went missing our Laotian neighbours were convinced the Vietnamese were having it for dinner.

 

8 hours ago, Dave John said:

Glorious stuff. Winding the tale round the characters and period setting, very cleverly done . 

 

Thanks Dave. The stories are a nice additional way to "use" the layout. There are traps though: There's a poster on this layout advertising "New Fishguard Route". It was opened in 1906 if I remember correctly, so stories showing that poster can't deviate too much from 1906-1908!

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Beautiful Mikkel, as always. Glad to see you back in action, you are an inspiration.

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According to Wikipedia "The National Canine Defence League (NCDL) was founded in 1891 at a meeting during the first Crufts show chaired by Lady Gertrude Stock. The NCDL campaigned against vivisection, unnecessary muzzling and prolonged chaining, as well as providing care for stray dogs. It also campaigned against cruel treatment of dogs by railway companies.........."

 

You have shed new light on this matter.  I suspect something about your tale must have reached the ears of Blanche Wilcote, who spoke to her friend Gertrude about it.

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Excellent and evocative as always Mikkel.  I hadn't noticed the rivet detail on the canopy supports before, it's very effective!

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Hi Mikkel, once again a great story of life at Farthing with lovely photographs. I did wonder if the move would effect the output from Farthing but it seems not which is good to see. It reminds me that I want to reveal the diary of 'Ralph Keinton Bell' about Hemyock when it is finished so thanks for the inspiration to get out and sort my shed out once more.

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, No46 said:

Beautiful Mikkel, as always. Glad to see you back in action, you are an inspiration.

 

Many thanks Matt! You may be interested to know that Finkerbury claims to be in possession of all the secrets of GWR wagon red. Unfortunately he has mislaid the file... :lol:

 

13 hours ago, MikeOxon said:

According to Wikipedia "The National Canine Defence League (NCDL) was founded in 1891 at a meeting during the first Crufts show chaired by Lady Gertrude Stock. The NCDL campaigned against vivisection, unnecessary muzzling and prolonged chaining, as well as providing care for stray dogs. It also campaigned against cruel treatment of dogs by railway companies.........."

 

You have shed new light on this matter.  I suspect something about your tale must have reached the ears of Blanche Wilcote, who spoke to her friend Gertrude about it.

 

Fascinating information Mike, I had no idea! Reality wins again. Once you know the truth, all the little signs suddenly fall into place....

 

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As for Blanche, I have long suspected her of being part of a conspiracy of some sort. There is an air of Mata Hari about her. Anyway, I had better not go on. This is all becoming a bit brutal, and I do so like dogs :)

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12 hours ago, wenlock said:

Excellent and evocative as always Mikkel.  I hadn't noticed the rivet detail on the canopy supports before, it's very effective!

 

Thanks Dave. The canopy is a kit bash made from modified Ratio kits and etched valances, so I can't claim to have produced the rivets - they were in the original kit. The support columns etc in the Ratio kit are not too far from removed from those at Newbury, which provided the inspiration for the bay layout.

 

11 hours ago, aberdare said:

Hi Mikkel, once again a great story of life at Farthing with lovely photographs. I did wonder if the move would effect the output from Farthing but it seems not which is good to see. It reminds me that I want to reveal the diary of 'Ralph Keinton Bell' about Hemyock when it is finished so thanks for the inspiration to get out and sort my shed out once more.

 

Glad you enjoyed it Dave. The move has actually had a positive effect on the modelling. Since everything happens in the living/dining room now, it ironically all seems more accessible and relaxed than in my basement days. That diary sounds intriguing! I'm trying to picture what Ralph might look like.

 

6 hours ago, 5&9Models said:

Fabulous! 

 

Thanks 5&9, you've got a great setting for similar stories on your own layout, I think. The yard in front of "The Greyhound" for example.

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11 hours ago, Mikkel said:

 

Many thanks Matt! You may be interested to know that Finkerbury claims to be in possession of all the secrets of GWR wagon red. Unfortunately he has mislaid the file... :lol:

 

 

Fascinating information Mike, I had no idea! Reality wins again. Once you know the truth, all the little signs suddenly fall into place....

 

take_your_dog_with_you_black_scottie_the_wooden_postcard_company_grande.jpg.d5ffb37bfcf506c28dea6cc54d16f9cc.jpg

 

As for Blanche, I have long suspected her of being part of a conspiracy of some sort. There is an air of Mata Hari about her. Anyway, I had better not go on. This is all becoming a bit brutal, and I do so like dogs :)

 

Lucky dogs get to go to Cornwall by a superior service:

Lucky Dogs

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12 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Thanks 5&9, you've got a great setting for similar stories on your own layout, I think. The yard in front of "The Greyhound" for example.

 

Thanks, although I need to build the other houses in Greyhound Place and complete the Bridge, then there’s plenty of scope for a yarn or two. Currently being distracted by making masters for some early SER carriage kits. No rest for the wicked!

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7 hours ago, Bishop of Welchester said:

Lucky dogs get to go to Cornwall by a superior service:

Lucky Dogs

 

Oh dear, this is getting out of hand! :O 

 

6 hours ago, 5&9Models said:

Thanks, although I need to build the other houses in Greyhound Place and complete the Bridge, then there’s plenty of scope for a yarn or two. Currently being distracted by making masters for some early SER carriage kits. No rest for the wicked!

 

Sounds like very interesting projects, not least the SER kits. I have some of your LCDR wagon kits on the build list - not sure how appropriate they are for Farthing, but I simply like them.

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Mikkels stories always lead us into meandering thoughts, which is no bad thing . 

 

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Though really it should read one dug ..... 

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Hi Mikkel, I think all the complements are already given. I loved reading your story with those beautiful pictures.

Have to learn to look more often to my notifications on the RM web. I almost missed your entry.

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