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.
Here we are, nearly half way through the year. The longest day has come and gone. Wimbledon is in full swing. This time last year we were digging a test hole for the Structural Engineer, seeing site clearance finally underway at Darley and refitting the repaired turbo to 14 901.
This weekend has had the patter of tiny feet resounding around the Briddon Country Pile, as our grandson has been up on a visit, and while in forthcoming times this may well be an excuse to go visit other railways, it will of necessity result in some curtailment of activities directly on the collection. Anyway, there's plenty to talk about this week.
Today is our 40th wedding anniversary. Weeks ago I told a certain director who was planning out the loco rostering to keep the weekend clear just in case we wanted to do something to celebrate the occasion. But the wires got crossed, and I was rostered as usual on Saturday and have next weekend clear. Steph meanwhile, with pragmatic foresight (if you can have such a thing) had offered to help Lynn in the “Break Van” cafe at the railway today as it was the annual bus-rally. But I am not entirely mean and miserly – I bought her a lemon muffin.
Monday was Bank Holiday and the gala continued at Peak Rail, but as I said last week we had a VIP due so once we got onto site we dragged Ashdown around to a water hose outside the shed, and having replaced the suspect drain tap on the water pump with a plug, started to fill up.
According to the counting system within the software that runs Weekend Rails, this is the 200th edition of the blog, which began back in July 2010 on Railnuts. It has become a part of the Briddon family tradition over that time: indeed, we often find ourselves hunting back through it as a means of checking dates when things happened. If you are a new reader, feel free to trip back down my memory lane. If you have been with me for all or most of that time – well, I'm touched, but you should consider getting out more!!
I'll open tonight's missive with some photos courtesy of Toby, one of our colleagues from Scunthorpe. I said a week or two ago that “Tom” had been out on the plant with some real wagons to play with, and that I should have a video soon to upload. Well, all being well the vid will be uploaded this evening, but here's a few stills from the day.
First of all, let me thank all those who e-mailed during the week offering their best wishes after my daughter's nuptials. She and her husband are now somewhere in Japan and hopefully enjoying every minute of it. For us though, it is back to normal.
Well, by rights there shouldn't really be a blog this week. I mean, on Wednesday I popped down during the afternoon to meet D8 as it rolled in to Rowsley, as the Operation Director was on board and he would have with him his plan for utilising 14 901 during May. Basically this has the loco in use every Saturday and Tuesday after the first week, but I might as well have saved myself the trouble, for within an hour or two of me getting home, someone had put it out on the WNXX forum anyway.
As we drove back this evening, Andrew and I were trying to work out exactly what we did each day this week and were struggling to slot it all into place. The trouble is, he has had the week off (although you wouldn't believe it from the number of phone calls he's taken) and I had sort of agreed that I would keep pace with him, so let's see if I can get it right and in logical order.
As usual there's a hec of a lot to get through, so here goes....
(SPAD – of course UK readers will know, but for the benefit of my overseas readers [Hullo Sweden!] means Signal Passed at Danger; a cardinal sin.)
Readers who go through this prose with the proverbial comb will have noticed that there was no tally last week on the number of columns grouted, and that was because, with contractors busy digging and rolling, and the weather, we had not had opportunity to get any more done.
Aaah, where to begin. So many disparate threads this week. Welcome to the first blog of April. Again, my apologies to those of you who had difficulty last week. Some little s*d managed to get into the site and added a “script” that put the server into a tizz. Other ISPs latched on and blocked access and it took a number of hours for the good news to filter through after it was fixed. Indeed, one reader phoned me Monday afternoon to say he could get it on his phone, but his office computer still insisted the site was down. Ah well, all passwords have been changed, all computers scanned for malware and I will remain vigilant.