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One morning long ago


Mikkel

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One morning long ago, an 1854 class shunted the Old Yard at Farthing.  

 

 

 

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The crew were slightly bored. Nothing much ever happened in the Old Yard. Just a handful of sidings.


 

 

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A carman (sic) watched them roll by, perched on his trolley (Birmingham pattern). The carmen at Farthing were famous for not using reins. 

 

 

 

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William Simmons was particularly skilled. Known as The Horse Whisperer, he worked without reins for 46 years and never had an accident. People did wonder why his rounds took so long. It turned out his whispers worked on women too.

 

 

 

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On the other side of the tracks, lad porter Herbert Pocket was busy cleaning the lamps.  

 

 

 

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Herbert had two goals in life: He wanted to drive locomotives, and he wanted to die like a hero.

 

 

 

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He was last seen in the Congo in 1924, hanging off the tender of a runaway loco. They say he was smiling.

 

 


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Meanwhile, porter Alfred Jingle watched the train draw closer.  The morning fog was thick as pea soup. He liked a good pea soup.

 

 

 

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As the wagons rolled past, Alfred tried to avoid eye contact with Thomas Grig up in the lamp. They hadn’t spoken since the lardy cake argument. They’d been friends for years, but you have to draw a line somewhere.

 

 

 

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Thomas, for his part, had other matters on his mind. A lamplighter for 26 years, he had so far scaled the lamps at Farthing 81.121 times.  He knew, because he counted. He counted, because secretly… 

  
 

 

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…Thomas had an intense fear of heights.

 

 

 

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When he finally retired, Thomas bought a one-storey cottage in Holme Fen, sawed the legs of all his furniture, and heaved a long sigh of relief.

 

 

 

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The train rumbled on through the pointwork. The unsheeted Open carried a shipment of Empty Promises. A local MP would pick it up later.

 

 

 

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Shunter John Redlaw changed the points to No. 3 siding.

 

 

 

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Known as "The Phantom" he had a manner of appearing from nowhere exactly when needed, only to disappear again as soon as the job was done.

 

 

 

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The loco propelled the wagons into the siding...

 

 

 

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... towards the covered goods dock. 

 

 

 

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Goods porter Samuel Slumkey watched the wagons approach. 

 


 

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As a veteran of the Red River Rebellion, the Urabi Revolt and the Sikkim Expedition, Samuel had travelled to the ends of the earth.

 

 

 

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It turned out, however, that the real edge of the world was right here in Farthing.

 

 

 

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As the train came to a halt, the porters prepared to put in some heavy work.

 

 

 

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Not Tom Roker though. Comfortably seated on his favourite barrow, he always found an excuse for not working. In fairness, whilst sat there thinking he invented a universal vaccine, a waterless crop, and an unlimited supply of clean energy. He never wrote it down though. He couldn’t be bothered. 

 

 


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As the crew prepared to pull back, George Rouncewell said good morning. Not to the crew, but to the loco. He often spoke to the locos.

 

 

 

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They all thought he was potty, but George had his reasons. He had worked ten years in the A shop in Swindon, before an errant bar of hot iron put a stop to it.

 

 

 

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So these weren’t just locomotives, they were old friends.  He would even order pints for them at the pub. And drink it all. On their behalf, you understand.

 

 

 

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Uncoupled, the loco backed away, leaving the wagons behind.

 

 

 

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As they drove off, bunker first, the driver said: “Staff here seem quiet today”.

 

 

 

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“Yep”, said the fireman, “Bit of a dull lot”.
 

 

***

 

PS: Most of the figures have been modified, some extensively. The captions are all true, only the facts have been changed.

 

 

Edited by Mikkel

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Superb storytelling Mikkel. 

 

The modelmaking is excellent and the characterisation outstanding. 

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Great to read a 'vintage' Farthing post.  So much to find in each photo!  I find those rather bare shots with no backscene very effective - they let my mind wander into that elusive 'what if' world.

 

I'm relieved to see that Froth & Bile do not make beer :)

 

Well worth the wait.

Mike

 

(PS I still think wagon underframes shoud be red.)

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Mikkel,

Just brilliant as usual.  It would appear that most of the options for modifying have been covered so the rest of us will just have to be more inventive. 

 

It would appear that the staff at Farthing are much more interesting than those at Traeth Mawr, but then again Mr Woodcourt is far more of a dark horse than Mr Price.  

 

The lighting is as good as it ever is, displaying your models to perfection.  Having said that I prefer to have mine in half darkness, or better behind the building as you do not see the blemishes so well.

 

Edit:  Just noticed that one of the 'Tags' is 'Lardy Cake'  Just brilliant!  :D

Edited by ChrisN
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11 hours ago, Corbs said:

Classic Farthing, I love it!

 

Thanks Corbs! I had good fun doing this one. Amazing how many different viewpoints you can find on a layout once you start looking, even a small one like this.

 

 

10 hours ago, Dave John said:

Superb storytelling Mikkel. 

 

The modelmaking is excellent and the characterisation outstanding. 

 

Many thanks Dave. Every person is a story, as they say. Especially at Farthing :rolleyes:.  Although you'll note that some of them are really just excuses for imperfect modelling - such as the lack of reins! (not practical on layouts that are regularly packed and unpacked).

 

 

10 hours ago, MikeOxon said:

Great to read a 'vintage' Farthing post.  So much to find in each photo!  I find those rather bare shots with no backscene very effective - they let my mind wander into that elusive 'what if' world.

 

I'm relieved to see that Froth & Bile do not make beer :)

 

Well worth the wait.

Mike

 

(PS I still think wagon underframes shoud be red.)

 

Thanks Mike.  The bare backgrounds are the blanked out fiddle yard or living room. I'm never sure how far to go with that. For the story I decided to just go with a light blueish grey. For the new layout I'm thinking of doing without a backscene altogether. As mentioned elsewhere, I think Rob has proven that this can work, eg:

 

 

Edited by Mikkel
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8 hours ago, ChrisN said:

Mikkel,

Just brilliant as usual.  It would appear that most of the options for modifying have been covered so the rest of us will just have to be more inventive. 

 

It would appear that the staff at Farthing are much more interesting than those at Traeth Mawr, but then again Mr Woodcourt is far more of a dark horse than Mr Price.  

 

The lighting is as good as it ever is, displaying your models to perfection.  Having said that I prefer to have mine in half darkness, or better behind the building as you do not see the blemishes so well.

 

Edit:  Just noticed that one of the 'Tags' is 'Lardy Cake'  Just brilliant!  :D

 

Hi Chris,  we are perhaps getting to a stage where the staff at Farthing need a dose of realism, it's all going a bit over the top :D.

 

I would like to illustrate some actual railway routines and practices at some point, using e.g. the GWR Rulebook as a guide. A bit more mundane, but could be an interesting exercise.

 

On the subject of your Mr Price, I think he is the darkest horse of all! I sense there is more than meets the eye beneath his stern appearance!

 

 

8 hours ago, richbrummitt said:

Bravo! 
 

The perfect tonic - cheered me up no end. 
 

Thank you. 

 

Thanks Richard, I'm glad you say that as I was also in need of a bit of a fun. These aren't the most cheerful of times, so I decided to have a photo session. 

 

 

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As usual a superb snippet of life at Farthing.

Each character is given a back story with only a few words,  enough to make us interested, even curious to know more.

The whole story is started and rounded off with a casual remark, the photography enhances the text and illustrates without being cliched.

Just utterly brilliant. 

Edited by Stubby47
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Thanks very much Stu!  I enjoy coming up with the captions, e.g. while waiting for the bus. I just hope I'm not talking out loud :D

 

The names are stil all from Dickens, and I suppose they sound more Victorian than Edwardian. However, if you are adult in 1902 your name will have been chosen in Victorian times, so I suppose that makes sense?

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Fantastic work Mikkel, highly entertaining and superbly modelled.

Have you received the carriage shafts yet? I sent them last week.

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Wonderful stuff, that has quite brightened my day!:)  

 

"The unsheeted Open carried a shipment of Empty Promises. A local MP would pick it up later."  Excellent!:D

 

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3 hours ago, 5&9Models said:

Fantastic work Mikkel, highly entertaining and superbly modelled.

Have you received the carriage shafts yet? I sent them last week.

 

Thanks Chris, I can imagine your superb Victorian characters must have some interesting stories to tell! 

 

No they haven't arrived yet, but it's all taking longer than usual at the moment, so nothing strange in that.

 

 

2 hours ago, wenlock said:

Wonderful stuff, that has quite brightened my day!:)  

 

"The unsheeted Open carried a shipment of Empty Promises. A local MP would pick it up later."  Excellent!:D

 

 

Glad to hear that Dave! 

 

Conveniently, loads of empty promises don't require sheeting :)

 

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Thanks FLW, although I was surprised when I looked at the photos and saw how poor the paintjob looked on the rear edge/underside of the cab roof. Amazing what close-up photos will reveal.

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Really witty comments for the bunch of characters, good to see you’re a Dickens reader. Not a great deal happens with a simple shunt, but I wouldn’t want to miss any of it. Showcase modelling thrown in as well.

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4 hours ago, Mikkel said:

Thanks FLW, although I was surprised when I looked at the photos and saw how poor the paintjob looked on the rear edge/underside of the cab roof. Amazing what close-up photos will reveal.

No, not a poor paint job, just many, many years of the engine crews' hanging on for dear life! :yahoo_mini:

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3 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

"The morning fog was thick as pea soup" - excuses, excuses.

I always thought that pea soup was green! :biggrin_mini:

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8 hours ago, Northroader said:

Really witty comments for the bunch of characters, good to see you’re a Dickens reader. Not a great deal happens with a simple shunt, but I wouldn’t want to miss any of it. Showcase modelling thrown in as well.

 

Thanks Northroader. Yes, certainly a Dickens fan, although I won't deny that for the names I don't plow through the books but simply look here: 

https://www.charlesdickenspage.com/charles-dickens-characters.html

 

8 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

"The morning fog was thick as pea soup" - excuses, excuses.

 

Brilliant as ever!

 

Thanks Stephen. A fog hut would be handy!

 

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It was supposed to serve as a re-purposed guard hut at the yard entrance, but it looks silly there, so will have to reconsider. Problem is, these wouldn't be found in a station area (i assume).  Maybe I should build a new layout around it! 

 

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8 hours ago, kitpw said:

At (model) Farthing, certainly no under-representation (in model form) of the people who actually operated the railways...Bravo! 

 

Kit PW

 

P.S. (I was tempted to ask...."what the Dickens is Herbert Pocket doing up a lamp post....?" but refrained).

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blogs/blog/2502-swan-hill/

 

 

Thanks Kit.  Well, Dickens got Herbert a bit wrong you see. Not nearly enough drama in his version! 

 

Dickens was a shareholder in the GWR, which seems out of sync somehow, but the railway existed for the last 38 37 years of his life. For those who haven't seen it, there was the wonderful matter of his christmas turkey: https://blog.railwaymuseum.org.uk/charles-dickens-missing-christmas-parcel/

 

5 hours ago, J. S. Bach said:

No, not a poor paint job, just many, many years of the engine crews' hanging on for dear life! :yahoo_mini:

 

Yes, of course! Excellent explanation, now I don't have to paint it :D

 

Edited by Mikkel
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12 hours ago, Mikkel said:

 

Thanks Kit.  Well, Dickens got Herbert a bit wrong you see. Not nearly enough drama in his version! 

 

Dickens was a shareholder in the GWR, which seems out of sync somehow, but the railway existed for the last 38 37 years of his life. For those who haven't seen it, there was the wonderful matter of his christmas turkey: https://blog.railwaymuseum.org.uk/charles-dickens-missing-christmas-parcel/

 

 

 

 

I'd seen somewhere that Dickens had something of an aversion to railways after being involved in/witnessing a serious accident?

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