First thing Tuesday I had visitors to attend to at the 'shed. This was fine but there was also something Andrew had spotted on e-bay and as he'd be out at work, counted on me to try and secure it. So I put a bid on it just before I set off for the shed, and once down there had a phone call from my visitors to say they were stuck in traffic and so would be late, and I contented myself with drilling a few fixing holes through the marked up purlins until I broke a pilot drill in the hole saw.
At the end of last week, Cheedale and Charlie were awaiting a fuel delivery, after which Charlie would take the works train to Darley to resume work on the tracks in and around the shed, leaving Cheedale to act as works shunter at Rowsley and Ashdown - well Ashdown is a bit more pernickety and only Rob and Harvey are authorised to use it.
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.
So here we are again. The tourist season has burst into bud and the trains have been running betwixt Rowsley and Matlock. And has 14 901 been doing its stuff? You'll have to read on to find out.
11th August 2013
I haven't mentioned much about the sale of Briddon Towers of late. Suffice it to say that after going on the market on July 1st, we had our first offer within 3 days (before the “For Sale” sign actually went up), and by agreement with the Estate Agents, opted for written bids to be in a week or so later. In fact 8 such bids were received, all of them in excess of the original asking price, and after a bit of a hiccough the sale is going through. I am using a Licenced Conveyancer located in South Wales: I only say all of this to observe that a Freepost envelope, posted on Wednesday 24th July, finally arrived with the Conveyancers on Monday 5th August.
14th July 2013
Of course, when I said that next Friday's plans were set in stone, what I should have said was that they were set in er - Blu-tak - and might be slightly ply-able.
7th July 2013
Years ago, when I was working at Thomas Hills, a new competitor appeared on the scene - Wilmott Brothers, a plant dealer/hirer based near Nottingham. Now, to my mind, if you are in business and representing your employer to customers, there is only one way you can regard a competitor. He is the Brand X your powder will out-wash; he is scum, nothing he does is right and he has no right to exist. It is your job, every day (but without openly slagging him off, the etiquette of business does not allow it, that is why he is referred to as Brand X) to get out there and ensure that the customers know that you are the better supplier than he can ever be.
30th June 2013
If Andrew had been paying me for the time spent on his behalf this week I would be a wealthy man. For amongst the hours spent back at Briddon Towers, furiously painting (my shoes now have so many paint blobs on them that they match the mottled non-slip flooring at my dentists - I think this non-drip paint is wonderful) I have been chasing to and fro getting bits organised and generally being in the wrong place at the right time.
23rd June 2013
We were back in to Rowsley on Monday night. While I did some measurings for a new cross-shaft on the Drewry, Andrew and Rob made some highly satisfactory bangs and crashes as the Whiting jacks, having been offered for sale through Andrew's website with no interest, were loaded gently into a brand new, bright red scrap skip to go to Mr Booth's emporium. The main issue of the mid week has been the turbo off 14 901, but I am pleased to say that this has been quickly and satisfactorily resolved and we should see it back (and restored to health) in a few days.
16th June 2013
Andrew had Monday off again, and after popping in to the Peak Rail office at Matlock, where I provisionally agreed that 14 901 would do a trial passenger run on Wednesday afternoon, we headed in to Rowsley to investigate where this fuel leak was coming from. Between the vee of the two banks, where the fuel pump sits, it was awash in diesel and we deduced that one of the fuel hoses, which I made c.2008, was leaking. But in any event the header tank, which is mounted on a tube above the engine, needs to come off for a crack in the mount to be re-secured. So far, so good.