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 am writing this having just returned from Christmas spent at our daughter's house in Darlington, and as we went there on Christmas Eve, there has in truth been not all that much put in to the collection during the week.
Welcome once again to this, the last entry in Weekend Rails before Christmas. I see even last year I was muttering about the Humbug of Christmas so I had better be all light-hearted and looking forward to the festive fracas. So imagine yourself stood outside the door of the Geoffrey Briddon building, a holly-wreath welded to the middle, whereupon it opens to reveal a cherubic father and son, smiling sweetly and wishing you all a Merry Christmas.
If you notice, I try to start off each week's piece with something sightly philosophical, a perceptive observation or maybe an insightful commentary on something topical. And guess what? I can't think of anything that fits into any of those categories this week. Ah well.
December is upon us, and all around houses are lit up with garish lights, a large Christmas tree has appeared at the crossroads by Station Road, and tinsel and twee models of Santa and reindeer will shortly be taking over shop windows. It's not just that at my age Christmas has lost its freshness – I just have to tell myself it's for the kiddiewinkles anyway – but heavens, on our Freesat service there's been a channel broadcasting 100% Christmas tosh since... well it seems like forever now but it was probably about the beginning of November.
There really ought to be a fanfare at the beginning of this week's blog. Not because there is some magic number (actually it's the 282nd edition) nor interval to celebrate, but rather, the cladding contractors have done their job and departed.
You don't hear much about the Pipeline Industries Guild. Well I certainly hadn't, and still wonder why they stick with the name when its initials cannot be seen as being entirely complementary. But I got to hear a bit about it this week as Steph and I ventured north to Edinburgh.
Andrew has had a week off between finishing with his old employer and starting with his new, and it was fortuitous that this coincided not only with getting the conflats ready but further work from our contractor on the building. We are now about 95% weathertight.
The trouble with having shed with only about three-quarters of its total roof and three of its four walls complete is that it is neither an open space nor a shed. Not that I should complain, even to have that much is a step up from having no roof and no walls higher than two metres. But if rain falls electrical things continue to need sheeting over, and if the wind blows you feel it.
I can't believe that 2015 is five-sixths over. I normally find this time of year depressing – the clocks go back, and suddenly the weather seems to be colder, the days massively shorter. Maybe if we kept the clocks the same the winter would never get a toe-hold.
Seems like I've been all over the place this week. I've been down at the shed most mornings opening up for the contractors at an hour at which I am normally just about to contemplate a slice of toast, then dealing with sourcing fixings and other minor crises. In between times there's been two wagons arrived and developments on a couple of other fronts – but I suppose as usual I had better take things in order.
Firstly, apologies to anyone who was trying to get on to either Andrew's website or this site during Saturday/Sunday morning. Apparently a server update ran foul of some of the security routines in the websites and as a result anyone trying to access got an 'Internal Server Error' message. They were back up again from about half-one this afternoon. Oh, and a thank you to all those who wrote or texted wishing me a belated happy birthday.
Tata lived up to – or maybe lived down to – what I expected this week. Having placed an order for the additional sheets early last week, it took them well in to this week before they got it on the computer and managed to raise me the Proforma invoice. I paid it straight away and it took them until Friday to get the order slotted in to the manufacturing programme with the result that I now have a delivery date of 23rd October.
After the abundance of pictures last week, I fear a dearth this week as there was little that really was worth photographing, or what was worth recording found me without a camera (and my phone, well it takes pictures, but I bought it as a phone and never thought about it at the time).