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.
It was all planned out this week. The rails were to be collected from Wirksworth on Thursday, as was the due date for the arrival of the roof-lights, which at least had the advantage of my being at the shed for two reasons rather than one (remember, it requires locos and wagons to be moved to allow access to the forklift). Did it all go to plan?
With the drama of getting the orders placed now behind me, this week has been something of an anti-climax. For one thing, the accountants have been nagging to get my paperwork ready for their audit, so that has taken precedence. But on Monday Andrew had seen on e-bay a chap advertising an office type 6ft cabinet at a good price, and although it was located south of Grantham, it was worth going after if it stayed low. At least I thought so, and bid for it and then set off to collect some bits from Sheffield. When I returned, I was the proud owner of another cabinet. After an exchange of e-mails graduating to texts, I arranged to go down on Tuesday to collect.
It is amazing how difficult it can be to get an order placed with some companies. Years ago, I was at a steel stockholders in Rotherham. I didn't buy much raw steel in those days – most of it came in as fabrications made to my drawings – but I had managed to purchase something – on a cash sale – and was actually sawing it by hand into car-sized lengths, when the MD came by with a couple of clients.
I set myself an objective this week, and I'm sad to say I failed: but not by much. Come to think of it, what happened to 'Management by Objectives' which I seem to recall was in vogue as a principle (that word again) of company control years ago. Did it fall by the wayside as greater employee protection measures migrated in from Brussels?
Early on in the week I had a phone call to say my two brackets were ready, so as early as convenient I programmed another trip to Sheffield to collect them. With luck, I thought, I might get the new header tank fitted at the weekend, but you know how it is...
That's it, pretty much back to normal it seems. Everything went smoothly last week, nothing disappeared, no error messages and everything seemed to be where it ought to be. Which probably means it'll all go wrong this week..
Apologies if you had trouble finding last week's blog. Poor old Bill Hyde has had his work cut-out trying to ascertain what has been wrong, and whether it was 'my' fault or some corruption that had crept into the database, but for a while the entry from what is now two weeks ago disappeared again, and last week's entry could not be found under either 'Latest Post' or 'Blog' but could be found by going through 'Categories' (down the left). I guess from the number of people on the site many of you must have popped back in later to see if things had been restored. And they were - eventually.
Well, that wasn't a very auspicious start to the 6th year of this blog. To all those who came looking and couldn't find it, when I came to finish laying out all the text and pictures and uploading it, it proceeded to “lose” all the text and pictures and 'publish' a blank entry. I hurriedly tried twice more with the same result, then 'unpublished' to prevent confusion, though I know a few readers had already logged on.
Even as I was writing up the blog last week, Andrew was hovering, finger poised, to bid for a couple of items on e-bay, and the first you will see depicted below (when you opt to 'Read more' that is).
This week, the van seems to have decided that I have been taking it for granted. And maybe I had, but it's rather like owning a loco. I coined a phrase once 'you never notice a loco until the day it isn't there'. I used it in copy for a leaflet at Hills promoting our loco hire services (I've got a proof but sadly it never went into print) and reflects the fact that unless you are so flush with funds that you have two of everything just in case, then when your one-and-only breaks down normal routines get severely disrupted.
It is appreciated, but certainly not obligatory, that the occasional visitor comes bearing gifts. What with Roger W arriving with fire extinguishers and such a couple of weeks ago, this time our favourite ex RR service engineer, Neil W popped in during the week and presented me with a box full of R-R genuine oil filters and a few old lift pumps that seemingly had been cluttering up his loft. I was quite happy to show him around the progress – or lack of it – on the building at Darley Dale.
Normally, this blog recounts what has happened during the week, but this week it might give me more to say if I tell you what hasn't!
I did say a couple of weeks ago that I would be reporting more about the inspection of the Mattersons after Allianz had decided to up the rate for LOLER inspection because it wasn't '4 locomotive jacks', rather 'a locomotive lift and two beams'. Well fairly early on Tuesday morning I was back at the Shed, opening up for another inspector.