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    The mid 19th-century, in a frock coat.

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  1. I will give this my full attention when I have a bottle of lavender water nearby...
  2. Dear Chris, Thank you for your kind words and much-appreciated advice. Figure-painting is something I have put off, but these were just too good to resist. I assumed one did the 'big colours' first, and finished with the detail (the smaller the area the less likely one was to slip). I have noticed both how my eye-sight would benefit from an illuminated magnifier and my hands from being steadier now I am past the half-century. Another concern is trying to keep the layer of paint thin enough to maintain the exquisite detail. I was sorry to see the primer 'reduced' some facial expressions. Do people prefer slightly thinned enamels rather than acrylics? Another aspect to explore... Many thanks again. Neil.
  3. Unable to resist the allure of a well-dressed lady, I splashed out on Andrew Stadden's figures - who needs boring brick-work to finish a layout when you can feast your eyes on a crinoline or silk topper? - and they are stunning. These are my favourites at the moment, with the fullest skirts. The above is the full set, sorted by skirt size, three at the back being more of an Edwardian outline. And here come the gentlemen, sorted into coat style (frock coat single-breasted, double-breasted, tail-coat, 'sack coat')... I am the figure top row, 2d from right, to have a cane added. My photography is hopeless, and adding a coat of primer does not enhance the detail, but as you can see I have started playing around with sample 'slabs' of colour, an acrylic set picked up during the virus confinement at Wilko's. How you gents can get such precise detail on your figures I know not, but I hope with practice I can get some sort of decent finish. My partner bought me this for my birthday: ... which goes into even more detail than the 'joint volume' I cited earlier. If anyone has any queries they think might be answered by this book, please do not hesitate to ask me to check. Quite where I am to put these figures when finished, on a 1970's B.R. (S.R.) Goods Yard, I have no idea. But they were too good to resist when I had a few quid in my pocket. Hope this is of interest. Best wishes to you all.
  4. Not sure if of use, but I took a couple of the Chipman's train passing through Lewes on 21st June, 1988, pulled by 33 046:
  5. As a hopelessly romantic old softy I hope this service is a success, but I share the previous posters' doubts, and can attest to the sleep-denying qualities of high-speed running on the Cornish Riviera a few years ago. A trial run before spending a fortune on the V.S.O.E., it put me off sleeper trains for life, alas.
  6. Just wanted to send my congratulations on this volume. My partner collected my copies from our local book-shop yester-day, and it is a delight. The first photograph of your father driving on the Volks Railway was a lovely touch. Lots of photographs of scenes forgotten and trains in a proper livery. Not sure my father is ready to be reminded of his commuting days when I give him his copy though. Thanks for taking the trouble to get these pictures a wider audience, and spending time all those years ago - like many others - to record it all. I hope the book is a success, and I can barely wait till the 'Kensington Olympia' volume.
  7. An inspiration to all, if only the two months you have built it. Wonderful, and thanks for sharing.
  8. I am sorry M. Storey feels "told" by those who pressed the 'Agree' symbol button. As one of those who did so, perhaps I may explain what I thought Pacific231G was saying (although I have no wish to put words into her/his mouth) and hence why I thought the post had merit enough to which I would 'Agree'. Para. 1. The attribution of a "class war" might be 'direct', but the documentation of modern increasing income disparity and the slavishly uncritical adherence to neo-liberal economics is readily available. The continuing reward of the highly-paid for continuing failure (e.g., Baroness Dido Harding) is covered fort-nightly in 'Private Eye', for example, and probably many web-sites of which I am unaware. These analyses appear plausible to me, although if there is another socio-economic explanation for the phenomena I would be glad to learn it. Interestingly, I thought it was hinted at in the Williams-Shapps Report itself, in the passive-aggressive graphics at the top of p.97: "Over 30% of total rail costs in 2019-20 were staff costs [I believe in most firms staff costs are half of expenditure.]", "Rail industry wage growth has increased on average above the rate of inflation over the past decade", and ">250 days of strike action have occurred since 2016 [Presumably mostly the Southern Railway dispute provoked on the instructions of govt.; see 'Private Eye', etc.]". See also p. 101 about collecting "Comprehensive data". Coming from a Minister in a government whose slavish devotion to free-market economics and the Law of Supply and Demand, this hinted to me that the 'lower orders' were not to be permitted such pay privileges, which are to be reserved to those such as Managing Directors, Chief Executives, etc. I thought Pacific231G's remark was aimed at them, the firm's Executives whose pay has increased way above inflation. I am reassured to hear from M. Storey there are still many such industry stalwarts still in post in charge - Mr Tom Joyner, Cross Country Trains, is highly thought of, I believe - but I thought current problems (e.g., G.W.M.L. electrification) were caused by experienced B.R. staff having left the industry in large numbers. As to paras 2 and 3 - pricing vs over-crowding during different times of the day, and an 'average rule of thumb' to be applied to 'when to take the motor-car', I bow to M. Storey's superior knowledge of B.R. and current ticketing practices for para. 2. In simple terms, from a 'stake-holder' point of view, 'affordability' will depend upon the decisions made by the current government, which has been argued above and below more eloquently than can I. As one who does not hold a driving licence, I assumed the 'rule of thumb' for one deciding how to spend one's cash makes sense, if not taking account of the discounted tickets outlined. It did not appear outrageous to me, so I 'Agreed'. I confess I did not understand the suggestion of my and others being "without either any idea of the reality, or any intention to challenge the existing situation". I hope this inelegant, 'on the hoof' explanation makes sense. With my best wishes to you all, and apologies if I have 'put words in others' mouths' if trying to explain.
  9. I popped down to Lewes last weekend, and got time to toddle out to Southerham between the showers and take some photographs. To one who has not visited for thirty years, it was a bit of a shock. Hope they are of interest. Through the above gates: Looking down from the above bridge: Finally, looking down from the A27 bridge:
  10. At the risk of lowering the thread's tone to the lowest form of wit, I saw this gem on par. 1, p. 98: "Reform of the railways must begin with ensuring that everyone working in the sector has a fulfilling, challenging, flexible and modern role ... " How many people are lucky enough to say their job is thus? (Actually, this is more 'cynicism' than sarcasm.)
  11. Just wanted to say I picked up my copy to-day, and I am glad to have purchased it. Pictures of the (to me) neglected Bridgewater Yard freights which are useful, several Speedlinks, a couple of photos of wagons being unloaded (posted here before, but good to have access to without having to switch on a computer!), and full informative captions. I hope it sells well. Thanks for taking the trouble to get your pictures into print and accessible.
  12. Q.E.D. Could not agree more. And I bet the small gains alluded to in rail freight recently will soon be eroded by more road building and yet more tax concessions.
  13. My thanks for correcting my dismal error! I thought the dates overlapped slightly. Am I right in thinking there are no 'wagon load' trains now running through from the continent if only as far as Willesden? Is there any container traffic? Am I plain wrong in thinking the Channel Tunnel could help at all?
  14. Lots of good points have been made here, and far more articulately than I could. May I just ask, as it has been nagging for a few years, 'Why did the Channel Tunnel prove a failure for Speedlink?' I am sure it has been answered on this site elsewhere, for which I apologise for my dismal 'search skills', but surely European goods haulage, especially Spanish foods, could have been the saviour of a reduced Speedlink network into Britain. If someone could enlighten me, I would be grateful. It was not just the cost of anti-immigrant measures, was it? On a more political moan, observing my fellow English subjects, I doubt any will vote for a worsening of their living conditions, in the sense of higher taxes and restrictions (of any sort) on their motor-cars or increases in costs of living. Hence my retreat into a phantasy miniature world of blue and yellow locos, instead of waiting for a Green government to be elected...
  15. Unable to resist the 'wide-screen' temptation of my new brick background, I crept out into the garage after lunch to take a few shots, deluding myself I am Peter Greenaway's Director of Photography. A pity everything looks as if taken 'straight out of the box' (which it is); this will be my next challenge... And now in pretend 'Ultra-Panavision 70' ... And for art-cinema connoisseurs, the black-and-white option :
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