A large package arrived during the week. We had decided that the lack of a heater was a serious impediment, and having recognised the shortcomings of the old one, went for one that was about 4 times bigger both physically and in terms of heat output. Once I had got it assembled and filled with kerosene, I timidly switched it on and it proceeded to make a noise reminiscent of a jet-engine starting up before blasting forth with sufficient heat to make a haze farther down the shed. Of course, at ground level it makes little difference, but I daresay if I were up in the eaves again I would find it unbearably hot. But no matter, after a little while the shed is noticeably warmer and that's the idea. Not only that, the filler cap on the new heater is more accessible than the old and I can pour a complete 25litre drum of kerosene in at a time, so hopefully less will be spilt as well as much more burnt.
Anyway, so much for irrelevancy, what about loco work.
I've been running round most of the week trying to catch up with things so that I wouldn't feel too guilty with another day filming work. Not that I object to the filming (it pays better and more rapidly than most of my customers) but it does mean that I am out of contact for any breakdown or other call needing a rapid response.
So other than assembling the heater I haven't had a great deal of time in the shed until the weekend, when a smaller-than-usual contingent from Team Frodingham arrived to resume work on 1382. Andrew's and my time was first concentrated on a commercial job, which we needed to know was running freely before refitting its side rods, but sadly a bit of shunting proved that it wasn't, so it was lifted back off its wheels for investigation, a set-back that will have knock-on effects in moving the concrete panels currently inaccessible behind the Mattersons. But it did give us the opportunity to deploy the new stands after rolling the wheels out. (I've probably said this before, but you should not leave a loco standing for long periods solely on the Matterson threads, always put it on secure stands, timbers, whatever, before leaving it or working underneath.)
That done Andrew concentrated on assembling some new racking which he'd picked up during the week. Our container has been racked out in stages, the plan being that much of the smaller stuff will be parked in there, enabling us to sort stuff that is currently in the VBA and in move larger items into the VBA for covered storage. After all, there is much on the Midland bogie well wagon and restoration work is due to begin on that once the PCV has been rendered mobile again.
Team Frod have been concentrating on paintwork again, having done the eastern side wheels last week, Charles was lining these while on the other side, the western side wheels were receiving attention.
Steph came down at lunchtime with the welcomed bacon and sausage sandwiches, but we had to pick her up as the Micra has developed an electrical problem that the local garage cannot address but when I contacted the nearest Nissan dealer, was told that they were booked up until w/c 3rd March (the Sheffield branch was similarly committed to 22nd February) which left me somewhat underwhelmed.
Just as we finished lunch a pre-booked enthusiast arrived for a tour of the collection so after plying him with tea I broke off for that. He left making a generous donation which was much appreciated.
Today was a late start as Andrew was still in bed and I was ferrying Steph out to church and back from Sainsbury's, but we got down immediately after an early lunch. Our examiner for the forklift and the Mattersons is due for his periodic inspection shortly, and as the tilt rams have been leaking for some time (he flagged one up last inspection) but we haven't had the opportunity to deal with it, we decided that we had to take the bull by the horns. Thus the forklift was stripped and the two tilt rams removed for re-sealing, as the pictures show. I finished stripping the old heater of useful bits and de-fuelling it before throwing the carcass into the scrap bin.
Late in the afternoon a small working party from Darley Dale station came over for a cup of tea, and were crossing the road just as Mrs Statham – Peak Rail's joint MD - was driving by and saw where they were headed. A little while later we discovered that she had driven round and parked in the nearby DFS car park, walked up the footpath and was standing by the far corner of the shed. We can only assume that she was trying to eavesdrop, as she returned to her car as soon as we became aware of her presence.
Anyway, that's it for the week, I must pack and get ready for another few days of waiting around punctuated by “Action Train!”. Once again I'll be wearing my greasetop with its “Fox Rail” badge for the occasion – ah, but I haven't shown you that, have I? Maybe next week.