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.
One of my readers commented recently that one of the things he likes about this blog is that 'there is always something happening'. I have admitted that on occasion when I resort to reminiscing here in print it is because I've got little really to talk about. Is this going to be one of those weeks? I doubt it.
You may be aware that I get a number of comments, observations, mickey-takes etc about this blog during the week and many of them – most really – come direct through one of my e-mail addresses as most 'regulars' have long since got to know them. I sometimes forget though that others use the 'contact page' on the Weekend Rails website and occasionally this can give a spot of bother.
Several readers speculated, after my teaser at the end of last week's edition, whether things had kicked off with Peak Rail's management again, which was logical but actually not so. 'It' has had a significant effect on events this week though, and resulted in the title being apposite (not a house move, but count them!). Plenty of pictures too, so should be a colourful edition.
The first week of September has seen us having to turn our temporary lights back on inside the shed by nine pm and mourn the passing of yet another summer. It doesn't seem that long ago that we were able to work outside as late as half-nine at night, but the nights are drawing in quite markedly, and the need to crack on with the proper electrical installation to get those ceiling LEDs not to mention the various sockets around the shed that will obviate a multiplicity of extension cables, is, well maybe not uppermost, but always in the back of my mind.
Welcome back. Traditionally the Bank Holiday weekend marks the end of the summer season on heritage railways, and services reduce as the schools return. The nights have noticeably started drawing in (and I did promise myself we'd have the lights up before this winter, but there's still time): and maybe this is all because I've been feeling a touch morose.
Ok, let's be clear. This is not a competition. I am not offering prizes. Just because I mentioned that one of my readers texted me before 07.00 on Monday a couple of weeks ago, it does not mean that you have to jostle to surpass it. (But for the record, it was an 06.35 e-mail which at least didn't disturb my well-deserved [desperately needed] beauty-sleep).
For those bemused at my recent reports of mileages accrued in the course of trying to earn a crust, this week has only clocked up 750. Quite relaxing in many ways, and hopefully slightly fewer in prospect this week (though events might dictate otherwise). At one time, or rather, in the early days of the Geoffrey Briddon Building concept, I saw myself commuting the seven-eights of a mile, there to potter on with some clean and tidy project – perhaps wiring up a loco here, programming a PLC there – with a return to the Briddon Country Pile for a leisurely lunch. But it doesn't seem to be working out like that. And if you're thinking how nice it would be to be self-employed, your own boss, out of the rat race, etc., etc. Dream on. You're at the beck and call of all your customers, you can't pass the buck to anyone else and you spend an extortionate amount of time in administrative work, worrying about when certain big companies will get around to paying you and when someone asks you 'where you're going on holiday to this year?' you are tempted to punch them on the nose – well I am.
It's been a long hot week up here in Derbyshire (and the other places I've been to for that matter) and I especially enjoyed being sat on the M25 Tuesday evening after two cars and a foreign forty-footer closed it at Junction 25 when they all decided to occupy that bit of raod at the same instant. OK, not as bad as the poor souls stuck overnight in their cars trying to make it out of the country through Dover, but why is it that traffic always seems to increase, never matching the rise or fall of the economy?
Sunday again. I've driven over 1000 miles this week and I'm beginning to feel it. It's an age thing, obviously. Back in the '90s, I once did 800 miles in 24 hours, starting in Germany in the morning, back home through the Channel Tunnel, pick up my tools and bits for one of my fitters in Warwickshire, meet fitter just off the M6, carry on up to Sellafield, fix a loco, leave site only to decide it was too late to start looking for a hotel so drive back home to Sheffield (Briddon Towers as was), arriving as the sun rose and ending up in the office at around 10.00. But you do that sort of thing when you're young and (insert your own adjective). Nowadays it's - have I really got to drive all that way?
After starting rather later than intended, the move of Weekend Rails to new servers was duly completed and judging from my visitor stats, hardly anybody noticed. This week my own site is on the move, and probably nobody will notice that either...
So here we are going into the second half of the year. After the drama of the last few weeks this edition should be rather quiet by comparison. On the good news side, the transfer of Andrew's site from one server to another was completed with only a few minor snags, and the site was back up on line before the weekend. It is this site's turn this week, so it will disappear temporarily on Tuesday and reappear around Friday. If you are one of my regular mid week readers, you either have remembered my warning last week, or this was why you couldn't find it!