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?
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.
I picked the title this week and wondered whether to start off with a “hell fire and brimstone” sermon. You know the sort of thing, you can find it on obscure satellite and cable channels, with some smartly-suited guy sat behind a desk, pronouncing how Man has lost his way and only by following the word of the Lord (or his interpretation of it) in the 'good book' (pick title of yours or his choices) can we redeem ourselves and gain ever-lasting salvation. (And there's a thought, we all know what is meant by the “good book”, but what would we understand to be meant by a “bad book”?) But then sermons aren't really my style. Meandering reminiscences, technical dissertations, maybe, but sermonising on Weekend Rails? Hardly.
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.
I imagine many a newspaper or magazine columnist has been in the same dilemma. Deadline drawing near, the keyboard sat ready and absolutely nothing coming to mind to write about.
As we waited for the guard's flag at Darley Dale this afternoon, one of the seed pods from a nearby tree passed us, attached to a brown leaf and twirling as it descended to earth, (though sadly this was tarmac so germination is unlikely) and I was reminded that the season is drawing to an end and autumn is almost here. We are nearly twelve months in to this shed-building mallarky and still not a roof that we can call home.
Well, I suppose I had better start from the beginning. On Monday, as forecast, Andrew set off rather later than planned for Scunthorpe, but rather fortuitously as it worked out, as the repaired spring for “Tom”, which I had arranged to pick up later in the week, arrived outside the Briddon Country Pile during the morning so we were able to hand-ball it straight out of the lorry and into the van. While he was over there, he refitted the buffer with a replacement spring (further information came to hand which revealed that the buffers on 03's should have but a single spring, not a nest of two as I had surmised, but that someone had bodged a completely incorrect spring into the place of the failed original).
Monday was Bank Holiday and the gala continued at Peak Rail, but as I said last week we had a VIP due so once we got onto site we dragged Ashdown around to a water hose outside the shed, and having replaced the suspect drain tap on the water pump with a plug, started to fill up.
As we drove back this evening, Andrew and I were trying to work out exactly what we did each day this week and were struggling to slot it all into place. The trouble is, he has had the week off (although you wouldn't believe it from the number of phone calls he's taken) and I had sort of agreed that I would keep pace with him, so let's see if I can get it right and in logical order.
As usual there's a hec of a lot to get through, so here goes....
Aaah, where to begin. So many disparate threads this week. Welcome to the first blog of April. Again, my apologies to those of you who had difficulty last week. Some little s*d managed to get into the site and added a “script” that put the server into a tizz. Other ISPs latched on and blocked access and it took a number of hours for the good news to filter through after it was fixed. Indeed, one reader phoned me Monday afternoon to say he could get it on his phone, but his office computer still insisted the site was down. Ah well, all passwords have been changed, all computers scanned for malware and I will remain vigilant.