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.
There has to my mind, been far too much 'playing' and not enough 'doing' in this blog of late, and so tonight's edition (and this assumes that I manage to finish it before midnight!) may make up for some of that, as the pressure switches to D2128, or as we are likely to refer to it from now on, 03 901.
As we waited for the guard's flag at Darley Dale this afternoon, one of the seed pods from a nearby tree passed us, attached to a brown leaf and twirling as it descended to earth, (though sadly this was tarmac so germination is unlikely) and I was reminded that the season is drawing to an end and autumn is almost here. We are nearly twelve months in to this shed-building mallarky and still not a roof that we can call home.
With D8 “Penyghent” having a holiday at Etches Park, it was down to '901 to maintain the diesel end of Peak Rail services, and not only was there a Tuesday and Wednesday but a Thursday too. With only two passed drivers that meant I was rostered for two of the midweek days and then Saturday, so no rest for the wicked.
Originally, I believe, 14 901 was due to return from Loughborough on Monday, but as Allelys had their prefabricated ramp in place to take the 66 back to Brush (from where it can rejoin the National network) the move was postponed to Tuesday, and as Reid's couldn't make Tuesday, a compromise was reached and it moved on Wednesday.
So, I left off the tale last night with '901 having arrived at Loughborough ready for the weekend gala. I had however, managed to ruffle a few feathers at the GCR with my remarks at the end of last week's blog, which was not intended. The truth was that, as of Sunday last week, we had had no communication from the GCR and only really knew we were going from their website. Apparently they had been having trouble with e-mails and amid the extra workload that goes to getting an effective gala together hadn't realised that theirs to us had not gone through.
Well, I suppose I had better start from the beginning. On Monday, as forecast, Andrew set off rather later than planned for Scunthorpe, but rather fortuitously as it worked out, as the repaired spring for “Tom”, which I had arranged to pick up later in the week, arrived outside the Briddon Country Pile during the morning so we were able to hand-ball it straight out of the lorry and into the van. While he was over there, he refitted the buffer with a replacement spring (further information came to hand which revealed that the buffers on 03's should have but a single spring, not a nest of two as I had surmised, but that someone had bodged a completely incorrect spring into the place of the failed original).
No sooner do I pose a question in this blog than someone responds with an answer – for such a specialist interest it still astonishes me how many diverse people read it. In this case, I had rambled on about the likely grade of oil to be found in the dashpots of the Matterson Overload relays, and first thing Monday morning, a reader working within the MoD had e-mailed me not only identifying the make of said relays but advising what type and grade of oil he had used in the past!
So, as we left things last week “Grace” was sat outside at Rowsley and 14901 was ready to head off for a week's holiday in sunny Bury. So first thing Monday it was down to see the swap over. Andrew had the day off, and ran a few errands to Matlock sorting out a replacement fan belt for the winch engine, meanwhile a ramp was assembled, and with all sorted Grace was rolled down and whisked away by Charlie, and I brought 14 901 over and on to the bottom of the ramp. The 14 was loaded and headed north up the A6 with Andrew in pursuit to see it off and through an FTR.
These weeks are anything but normal, though come to think of it, I don't know what is “normal” at the Briddon Country Pile. On Monday Steph and I headed back to darkest Norfolk to return our grandson from his long weekend with us, and although there was muttered talk of “doing some work at the shed after you get back” there wasn't really much chance of it.
I've had a couple of messages during the week from readers saying that they are enjoying the shed saga, and hopefully they should remain pleased as that will form the majority of the blog this week, I think. With Andrew back at work, progress has had to be maintained and with Andrew only there for some evenings, DPM and mesh were largely placed and prepared by Steph and I.