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10. Maturation.


Whilst I’ve always subscribed to the school of ‘If you’ve nowt to say – keep schtum’, I have noticed that it’s been over a year since I last blogged here. Even worse, I see that I will have returned to railway modeling for three years in January, yet still cannot run a train….


            Unfortunately, before I can erect the new woodshed extension to accommodate the model railway, I have to complete other building works at the farm – and I’m still living off-site, just to complicate matters. Model-wise, I have not been wholly inactive, since I have continued to build an alarmingly large pile of supermarket banana-boxes, stuffed with….well, modeling ‘stuff’…


            The really good thing is that time has allowed the maturation of my plans, and I haven’t seen the need to make any serious changes for some time. The direct blockage to progress at the moment is that the site for the building extension is partly above a large rainwater collection water-tank that I have to dig a vast hole to bury. I’m renovating a very ancient building, and at the same time turning it into an off-grid ‘eco-house’ for want of a better description.  It will have a private water-supply as well as drainage, and next year, hopefully, will be off-grid for power too. It’s been a really massive undertaking for an old bloke – so the modeling has had to take a back seat for now, as you may well imagine.


            Some of the lessons learnt on the main house will be incorporated into the model railway extension to the woodshed, principally in the form of vast amounts of insulation to walls, floors and ceilings. I’ve used the German ‘Passive House’ standard as my inspiration (  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_house  in case your curiosity gets the better of you…!) – but have not been able to follow it slavishly, as it’s intended for new-build, and the farmhouse is about six hundred years old…


            Railway modeling is not exactly noted for exercising one’s cardiovascular system, and, since I absolutely cannot abide being cold, and since the main heating system will be next door, the railway room will have some radiators, and the small internal control cabin will have it’s own small solid-fuel stove to avoid heating the main room every time – and handy for a brew as well.

            The space available will be approximately 50' x 15', so to be usable in summer – as well as warm in the winter, all that insulation and some heating is vital.


            Years ago, I bought a vast site hut that was surplus from Tarmac. It was an all-wooden structure and was entirely sectional, with one-piece roof trusses. It was easy to erect, and although I sold that property about twenty-five years ago, it’s still standing and in use today. Whilst that was pretty huge – I seem to recall about 25’ x 75’, the new building I’m going to erect will utilize some of the modular ideas so that I can make sections ahead of time and the actual erection should be quite rapid. I may blog about these works in case any of it is useful to readers of this blog. As well as being warm, cost is also, of course a factor, so whilst durable, it will be as cheaply made as practicable.


            I’m always loathe to get pinned-down to a fixed schedule when there are so many variables, but suffice it to say that the plan is to erect next year, 2020. The tank will go into the ground soon, clearing the way for the footings, once I have tidied-up the site. I’ll make the modules in the workshops in the dry, and by the time I have enough to start erection, I’m sure we’ll be back to the warmth and long days of summer.


     More once the footings are in.

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