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.
So, an apology first to all those who logged in last night or earlier this morning looking for this week's edition of the blog. Unfortunately the Briddon family were struck down by a vomiting bug – starting with Steph on Christmas day night. Andrew started Saturday evening and by comparison I had it easy – waking up at 5 am Sunday morning feeling very cold and nauseous and remaining so most of the day. Consequently I stayed in bed but not having eaten since Saturday night, my stomach was emptier and I managed to avoid the joy of up-chucking.
So, a few more days and all this Christmas humbug will be over and I can get back to more normal things. Even my daughter has taken me to task over last week's edition, pointing out that it was 1994, not 1997 when my mother died, but giving me the opportunity to blame any excess melancholy on it being the 20th anniversary.
I can't believe that it's less than two weeks to Christmas. For one thing, I don't feel at all “Christmassy”: although, to be fair, I never really do feel Christmassy. I have told people in the past that Christmas lost its appeal for me after 1997, when my mother died of cancer in the early hours, but it probably goes back farther than that.
Firstly, my apologies to anyone who had difficulty finding last weeks' entry – once I've uploaded it I normally check it by going to Categories and finding it on the current quarter's list. This I did and all appeared normal, but then Andrew complained it wasn't “up” and when I checked on the “Blog” or “Latest Post” headings it didn't show: in fact it did show on the RSS tab (upper left) so that was but 2 of the 4 places which you normally should find it. Whether it will happen again this week, I don't know. It may be a side effect of a recent “security mod” or just summat quirky. Either way if it happens again, try one of the alternative routes just in case. Of course if it does happen again this week this public service information will be of no use at all as you won't be able to find it...
So, back to normal timetable and with the nights drawing in, a slightly earlier start to this week's edition. Several times during the week I have driven over the level crossing at Darley and glanced across to check all was well on the site. And there, forlorn and exposed, has been my forklift, which as you will recall from last week, got so far up the site alongside the shed before effectively becoming marooned in the soft, dirt and ash surface. And as it quietly slumbered, its sheer weight has assured its slow but apparent settlement into the ground as if it was taking root. I did not want it to do so.
Judging from the website statistics, quite a few of you came in last night and this morning, looking for this week's edition, but I did say I'd be out, and by the time I got in, with songs like Boomerang Kids and Spending Nigel's Bonus still ringing in my ears, it was too late to even think about writing it last night.
Apparently the news of the bogie well wagon arrival was of considerable interest to the readers of the National Preservation forum as within half-an-hour of last week's instalment, a link had been put up and I accrued loads more readers than usual over the next few days. If you are one that has returned this week, hiya!
The clocks have gone back, the atmosphere has turned distinctly autumnal, and on the final run of today's trains with 14 901, I turned the headlamp from “Day” to “Night”. Darley Dale looked almost Christmassy with its station lamps lit as we went through south bound.
So as I was saying, I was hoping to set up a further meeting with the intended cladding contractor to try to get to the bottom of how the sheeting should fit. In the end, this took place Thursday morning as I had been waiting for completion of a fuel pump overhaul for a customer and it was wanted back PDQ.
After all the theatre and pezazz of last week's edition, here I am staring at the monitor trying to think how to produce anything of real interest this week. For in truth there have been a number of distractions that have prevented serious progress on any front. On the one hand, the weather has turned distinctly autumnal, with some misty mornings and a lot of rain.
There are some firms that are easy to do business with, and others that make you wonder how they stay in business at all. Around two-and-a-half years ago, I was in discussion with a firm – I'll not name them – about repairing and converting a tacho head (for the uninitiated, I mean the bit what goes in the desk and has a needle that indicates how many rpm the engine is doing) to suit a different input speed.