Thursday, 22 December 2022

A very Merry Xmas to all our readers.

 Having spent a little time attempting to understand the STATS page on this blog,,, I discovered that after UK the most views are from Australia,,, and one of them even sent me an Xmas card which I thought I should share with you all.

This little gem was sent by Bruce Goodhey,,, well that's what it said on the envelope,,, and he did point out that as it was taken last year when he was on his holiday it is unlikely to look as prominent right now as our antipodean friends are in the middle of summer.  Well thank you Bruce,, it really is the festive thought that counts.

To add some actual news to the yuletide proceedings I can also advise, with proof, that I have spent a couple of days in the garage and what a productive time we had,,,, the C4 now has stoneguards fitted not the earlier boulder guards,, and the LMS Scot is getting very close to completion.

Definite proof that up here in the frozen north we have passed the winter equinox,, things are heading in the right direction and not all posts are absolute twaddle.

Have a Merry Xmas everybody,, stay calm and solder on,,,, you know it makes sense.

Tuesday, 13 December 2022



Further to the extra-ordinary business meeting which was called late yesterday evening by the Salmon Pastures Urban District Council I offer a brief appraisal of the outcome of the meeting.

Apologies were received from Mr S Klaus who understandably could not attend the meeting at such short notice. 

Motion 1,

For affiliated members of the Salmon Pastures Operating Group to join in the current industrial action being taken by the RMT Union. 

The members of the operating group decided against joining the action by 14 votes to nil,  It was felt by all members that considering the difficult circumstances experienced over the 2020 and 2021 Festive Seasons that our paying passengers had quite probably experienced enough hardship in recent years and were in no position to take unpaid industrial action at the current time. 

Motion 2,

For affiliated members of the Salmon Pastures Operating Group to offer support to the nursing staff  with their industrial action at the Salmon Pastures Cottage Hospital.

The members of the operating group decided against joining the action by 14 votes to nil,  it was felt by all members of the operating group that even if support was offered it probably would not fit or be of a  size to be of any use. 

It was agreed that a hefty portion of moral support be sent to Matron H Jacques with the condition that it is returned as and when they have no further use for it and providing it was still in a useable condition.

Motion 3,

That a testing sequence be instigated by the permanent way and motive power departments as soon as possible to ensure that a full Yuletide service can be carried out at short notice over the Festive Season.

This motion was passed by all members present and was then carried out of the chamber to be disposed of by the sanitary department.

As there were no further motions presented to the meeting all members ajourned to the Ball Cock Inn at approximately 21.45 hours.

Full minutes of the meeting are available for perusal at the council office's.

The Chairman [male] wished all present a Happy Xmas, Successful New Year and positive modelling during whichever trials and tribulations are likely to be thrown at it over the coming 12 months. 


PS: The World has gone absolutely mad,,, and we can't blame this one on Putin, Brexit, or any other spurious excuse our leaders are likely to come up with.

If in doubt, just smile and solder on,,,, and for any interested party my 25watt iron costs me 3p an hour  [ I know co's I've now got a smart meter] which I see as damn good value for money,,, especially as Mr Hatton is trying very hard to sell me 3 x decidedly dodgy,,sorry "genesis" 6 wheel coaches for £150,,, as Mr Meldrew once said,,, "I just don't believe it" the world really has gone bonkers!!!

Have a Very Merry Xmas everybody,,, stay away from the sherry,, avoid,, the lager and just go full tilt into the single malt of your choice,,, you know it makes sense!!!


Sunday, 6 November 2022

You don't have to be mad,,,, but,,,, it certainly helps.


A recent report published by the British Medical Journal advised that various recent "polls" [or should that be "poles" ] had concluded that living in UK over the past 10>12 years had seen a dramatic rise in the number of suicides and felt honour bound to advise all it's readers that committing suicide can seriously affect your health!!!

Do they really need to spend 5 years at Uni before coming out with such momentus insights,,, come on,,, even I, with my semi-addled brain remember the:

Financial crash 

Tory Lib Dem coalition

Austerity,,, [made a lovely 0-6-0 saddle tank]"


Jousting with Bruxelles,, [I've been and I know how to spell it properly]

Covid's 1, 2, and 3

Boris,, closely followed by Trussonomics,,,

and now just to round the square off we can all enjoy some "Politically Induced Poverty" just to keep our minds of it whilst we all go completely bonkers. 

Suicide,, I considered it myself once but the date of choice clashed with an appointment at the hairdresser's so I gave it a miss,,, and I'm glad I did,, co's soon after I rediscovered railway modelling and just look at what I have been up to recently.

Yes the L1 has fought it's way through the cobwebs and is now being fitted with a new cab roof!!!

Yes,, you guessed it,, the caravan season is over and I am back at it in a rapidly cooling garage.

Still no exhibition's to report on,,, perhaps I should add that to the above list!!

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Dad's Army gets another recruit.


Well here is another blast from the past a 1962 version of a Robinson GCR 11F or LNER D11.
1962 was a very special year for yours truly,,, firstly it was the only year at technical school that I managed to produce  school report that father was relatively happy with,,, the other 4 years reports were most definitely of the "bite the bullet" variety.

I do remember him being somewhat profound on reading the 62 report with "those who put in the work get the rewards" at the time it meant nothing.

Secondly,, come December 25th 1962 this appeared at the end of the bed,, and I have to be honest in 1962 not many schoolboys had a scratch built D11 and it became a bit of a celebrity and was instantly promoted to the vaunted position of "pride of the line".

Less than 12 month's later Mr Bec decided he would bring out a white metal kit for the same loco and to say father was not impressed was a bit of an understatement,,, his anger matched the level achieved on reading my school reports!!!

The D11 served me well but the purchaser was never happy with 2 things,,, the cab looked nothing like a Robinson cab and the chimney was miles out even to my untrained eye.
It starred on my exhibition layout "Clossett" for some time in the early 70's and on one occasion father and myself were sat behind the layout and he disclosed how much he had paid to have it built,, £45 and £18 to have it painted which at that time was a considerable amount of money,, he then announced he'd been had as it looked nothing like a Director,,, I reassured him it did "but" it could be improved,,, and agreed with his comments that the cab and chimney were well out of order.

Well you'd better get on and improve it then,, but I'm not paying you for it,,, "hang on I thought it was my Xmas present" cried I,,, "actually it was ours" replied father "you have the tender and I'll be responsible for the loco,,, which is why I have awarded you the contract" say's he with a rather large smile beaming through his somewhat extravagant handlebar moustache.

So in a moment of madness when the garage warmed up for a couple of days lately I set about improving the cab and replacing the chimney,,, unfortunately father shunted off to the great engine shed in the sky very nearly 20 years ago and as I've mentioned on several occasions I am not very good at doing things quickly,, but the contract will be honoured,,, eventually!!!

It was made in the early 60's and having inspected it without it's paintwork it shows,,, vice jaw protectors obviously hand not been invented in 1962,, you can still see the teeth marks all over it,,, but the paint always did a good job in covering such shortcomings and will do again.

It has a certain rough charm but the memory's it evoke's are priceless,, so it will be improved as agreed and it will then join the J52 in Dad's Army,,, as mentioned on an earlier post I bought an etched chassis for that but when it came to put it together I convinced myself I would destroy it's heritage of a Triang chassis and XO4 motor which is exactly what drives the D11 and so I will do what was agreed and just leave the rest alone.

Sorry it took so long father,,, but very soon the contract will be complete!!!

Sunday, 13 February 2022

and another thing,,, last post continued.


The world has gone mad,,, how do I know???,,it's easy,, I have this very morning received a written request for an update to the blog!!!

WHAT,,whatever happened to the freedom of information act,, I'll decide when the blog gets updated.

In fairness I may need a bit of reminder now and again that I haven't been active for some time,,mmm,,[and it's not only on the blog] but have you checked out the statistic's for this year,,, not to be sniffed at,,, especially when I'm in the garage!!

Where was I,, Oh yes,, the clandestine improvements to a foreign tank engine of questionable parentage and I forgot to mention,,, and let's be honest it should come as no surprise that this GW pannier is actually backward,,, I bet I shouldn't say things like that anymore so let's rephrase backward with erm,, special needs.

Why,,, well,,, if I put any of my LNER, GCR, GNR, NER, LYR, LMS engines [and I have a fair few] on the track and select reverse,,, they go in reverse,,, if I select forward,, believe it or not they go forward,, but not satan's chariot,, oh no,,, to fall in line with the ridiculous lamp iron scenario,, if you put this thing on the track and select forward it ignores you and go's in reverse,, and vicky verky.

It really is very hard to find any positives about working on this thing,, and believe me I have tried.

                                            GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING.

The Ministry of Technical Advancement would like to advise any person using a digital soldering iron for either commercial or non commercial purposes that the pre-set temperature at the working end of the iron [that is the sizzly end for all railway modellers] is the same for all interchangeable tips,,,,,,,,,,,, SO BE WARNED.

What this means in practice is if you have a small spindly soldering tip in place  and set the temp for working with 145 deg's solder and work nicely attaching lamp irons to unspecified white metal lumps,, then life is fine.

If you then change the tip to a more substantial item which retains heat much better than a spindly tip then life is not fine,,, especially if you do not change the temperature setting to compensate for this fact,, and so if you then go into action, full of confidence, based on past successes, with the bigger tip without lowering the temperature then you can very easily burn wacking great big holes in substantial parts of unspecified lumps of white metal,,,,, OH DEAR WHAT A SHAME!!!!  just mentioning this for a friend.

PS: I do hope you all like the new header photo of the soon to be completed Jersey Lily.

Memo to manufacturing: 

Either lengthen the stone guard irons or rename them as boulder guards,,, how the heck did I miss that!!

A light to show us the way.

 "Bring out the smelling salts Mable,,,, he's done more posts before the end of February than he did all last year" I hear you cry,,,

And what is the cause for this sudden urge for endless blogging????

That's right LAMP IRONS,,, until recently they all looked the same to me,,, ha de ha ha,,, how little did I know and that was all before I won a spurious contract to affix some lamp irons to [puts paper bag over his head so not to be recognised] a GWR 57xx pannier tank.

Getting the wretched thing into the workshop without being spotted was difficult enough but to be honest I was surprised how restful modelling at 3am was but by 4am I was totally bewildered.

Everybody else in the railway world who wants to make a lamp iron takes a 10" x 2" piece of mild steel puts a 90 degree bend in it at 2" and promptly rivets it to the footplate, smokebox or bunker,,,, 
But not the loopies at Swinedon,,,, 
Oh No No,, life was never intended to be that bloomin simple.  

 There is at least 3, yes 3 right angle bends in a GWR lamp iron and if you attempt to go for the simple version  you can expect a visit from the horse hair shirted boys from the Scalefour Society,, so best not mess about going down that route.

Now it transpires if you want to get it right you have to purchase the Affixing GW Lamp Iron's Manual from "the SS boys",, a weighty little tome which gives you all manner of detail on how they are affixed properly and best you pay attention believe you me,, I had to giggle when they suggested I rang their coordination office to get a compass reading so I could get the smokebox correctly aligned with Swinedon before commencing the operation,,, that surely is taking it all a little bit too far.

Understandably perhaps,, if you are into horse hair shirts,,, all the bends have to face in a certain direction,, to the left,,, if you are looking at it from the back and to the right if you are looking at it from the front,, and WHY I hear you ask is it all so wretchedly complicated.

Well would you believe GW lamps don't have the fixing slot at the back of the lamp they have it on one side so the access door is easily opened,,, I'm not surprised all their engines looked the same,,,, they spent so much time inventing the most ridiculous lamp iron in the world they didn't have time to mix things up a tad when it came to the  aesthetics of the locomotives.

Anyway they are done,,, I am meeting the owner in a shady layby on the A11 at some ungodly hour on a date which is non of your business and after that clandestine meeting the whole sorry saga will be behind me,,, and as we started with a picture I will finish with one,,, this is what I think of GW lamp iron technology,,,  with one simple digit finale,, believe you me I won't be doing any more!!

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Kindred Spirits

 Until recently Tuesdays have always been a sort of non-day,,,, but not anymore,,, Tuesday [or Toosdy as it is pronounced locally] is Squitters Day

Now your understanding of squitters may be different to ours but in rural Norfolk parlance having a friendly conversation with friends is to have a "Squit",,so as we get together on a weekly basis to have such a meeting Toosdy's have become a day to look forward to as it is full of Squit,,,, and yesterday was no exception.

The gods were with us and for the first time since last October I spent 2 happy hours squitting in the garage and DID NOT look like one of Ernest Shackleton's minions,,, yes folk Spring is on its way!!

We have been know to have so much fun that my neighbour recently asked me what we actually get up to in the garage on a regular basis,,,in the words of that well known maxim,,,,"you've either got it or you ain't" and when the weather is balmy and wind is in the right direction just like yesterday then we definitely HAD it all,,,, good friends, kindred spirits so to speak, worthwhile conversation and my repeated ability to prove quite conclusively that the various lockdowns have had a serious effect on my Mental Wellness as I had completely forgotten how my train set worked,,, and it showed,,, much to the delight of the assembled squitters.  

As the enforced isolations appear to have finished and without a shadow of a doubt my modelling mojo has returned,,, the L1 Zeppelin continues on it's haphazard dash to the finishing line,, I'll squit no more but leave you with a few piccies of progress so far,,,, Enjoy