Elsewhere - www.andrewbriddonlocos.co.uk - you can see the "official" face of the locomotive collection my son has built up. Here on "Weekend Rails" you can read a blow-by-blow account of our work in restoring and improving them.
I foresaw two possible scenarios this week. One was that I would be on my way down to the studios and wouldn't get the time to write the blog at all, the other that, for various reasons, there wouldn't be much to write about. I think my crystal ball wants new batteries.
Are you feeling all Christmassy yet? Can't say I am: just been trying to work out what effect it will have on cash flow for those customers whose bills are due on or about the 31st December. Will they pay up before they break up and thus let me have a good Christmas? Or will they get boozed up at the office party, fall asleep and wake up in time to go home early and s*d paying anybody until well into 2017? Yeah, that's my guess too.
It has, as usual, been a busy week at the Briddon Country Pile and whilst I managed to take a few hours “off” on Friday afternoon I still felt guilty doing so: which is one of the penalties of being self-employed – no paid holidays, no sick pay and that self-reproach that not 'getting on with business' is letting down one's spouse and family.
Over the last few weeks I have (jokingly?) commented how we are allotted 3 enthusiast visitors per weekend, and that we had only two booked for this one. Well the final tally was a few more, but that is getting ahead of myself.
Winter seems to have arrived: we've burnt the last of 2015's kerosene in the space heater and seen snow on the hills between here, Sheffield and Buxton. But the Geoffrey Briddon Building continues to provide a tolerably warm space out of the cold and wet as we slowly get things straightened out and maybe squeeze a bit of loco work in now and then. If a lot of our time seems taken up with shed-work and not enough loco work, well, the locos will benefit from the more productive facilities (we've become conscious that overall, we are getting more done than hitherto) and the time and money allocated to getting the building right is well-spent.
Once again it has been a week where the work has mostly been on the shed infrastructure and is not particularly 'sexy'. The temperature has dropped, so the space heater was dusted off and fired up for several days, though I'll have to stock up on paraffin soon. This weekend we didn't get our regular allocation of 3 visiting enthusiasts, but three have already booked a visit next Saturday – thinks: must get around to making a collection tin.
Traditionally we have convinced ourselves that the last weekend of the month is the one where everything goes wrong and the first weekend of the month is where it all goes right. But this is one month where things have not gone wrong – well not for us anyway, but with two road traffic accidents nearby may it have rubbed off on somebody else?
The blog is a bit behind schedule tonight, not because I've been working late, rather because I was feeling a bit queezy – dunno if it was the paint fumes or I'd eaten summat, but it was all I could do to start writing this at all. But, knowing as I do that the first 5 or 6 readers are already into it within the first 5 minutes, I know I cannot let my public down (hand to head in mock heroic gesture). Oh and before you ask, as the Australians say I have had a 'groan down the white telephone' and feel a lot better.
Will you still need me?
Will you still feed me?
Oh, hullo again. Spreading the birthday over two days may have had a beneficial effect, or maybe the presence of grandson, smiling innocently and enthusiastically blowing the candles out on my birthday cake was the solution to the usual annual blues. Either way, here we go again for a weekly roundup.
A couple of years ago, I had a trip up in the cherry-picker that the steelworks contractors were using to access the purlins, etc., as the skeleton of the Geoffrey Briddon Building took form. I took pictures (see here) and asked Father Christmas if he would bring me one. Clearly I wasn't a good enough boy, or he couldn't fit it in the sleigh, as my own one was not forthcoming. But the Terrypicker is a good alternative, and I am much happier with cladding between me and the outside world so don't miss the view (or the draught).
The mornings have taken on a definite Autumnal feel, with a subtle chill in the air, although it is noticeably warmer inside the shed. The days though continue to be bright and encourage us to get out on our little piece of track extension.