11th November 2012
There was frost in the grass as we made an early start across to the M1and then east to Scunthorpe. Andrew, still trying to get his body-clock straight after a few night shifts, was dozing in the passenger seat as I passed a plain flat-bed lorry. I was casually wondering what it was carrying in the red stillage on the back - some sort of engine? - a pump? Hang on, that's our powershift! I roused Andrew, who rang the driver. Yes, it was him. I pressed on, anxious to get in, unlocked and be as ready as possible before he arrived. At Tata's Gate D I drove up the barrier and waited. The ANPR did not recognise me and the light stayed red. Three guards were on duty and one came over.
4th November 2012
It has been a relatively uneventful week here at the Briddon Country Pile. Unlike the continual cacophony of fireworks being let off by the local underprivileged and underfunded youth of Sheffield, the nights have remained quiet and civilised. I did however have the amusement of being rung up by a customer who tried to congratulate me, or maybe Andrew, on our "lottery win", which a third party (who had better remain nameless) had told him about. Neither Andrew nor I play the lottery.
14th October 2012
First thing on Monday morning we were back at Rowsley, and after a quick bit of a shunt the casings were coming off the Sentinel and by eleven o'clock the power unit was out and the converter was being swung into the back of the van.
7th October 2012
Back when I was about 20, I was invited to an Open Day at a private railway not far from Southampton, then under the general auspices of the Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Society. They had started building a small circuit on land belonging to their Chairman, Barry Curl, in 1967 and I was there the day the finished ballasting the far side of the line and were able to do the full circuit for the first time, with ex Dinorwic 0-4-0ST "Cloister" as well as a selection of Simplexes and one of two O&K RL3 0-4-0DMs.
23rd September 2012
This has been one of those weeks where it has gone way beyond the "Weekend" of the title. On Monday I went off to collect "Pluto's" fuel pump from our tame fuel pump expert. Later in the day I got a call from the shotblasters to say that "Libby's" casing parts were ready, so I hired a pick-up for Thursday. On Tuesday I popped in to the fabricators to collect the 'power bulge' that will go over the exhauster on D2128. Finally on Friday I touched base with a company who have the tackle to press the louvres in the doors for the said 03 - they don't seem to think it much of a problem and will get back to me shortly. Given that in between I have received back Steph's Micra after 8 days in the bodyshop for a job that was only supposed to take two and you may well wonder whether I have managed much (profitable) work this week and you're not the only one.
9th September 2012
As I was saying, on Monday I had a Transit drop-side booked. It was a venerable old machine - "Y" reg in fact, geared down so far that it was best not trying for more than 60-65 on the motorway. I am not a fan of Fords - I ran two Courier vans of theirs in the early 90s - but this one quickly earned a soft spot, especially when after coming to rest at a traffic lights, the speedo would start flicking up to 10 or 15mph...
27th August 2012
Not only the Last Weekend of the Month, but the whole week leading up to it seems to have been excelling itself. At this moment, the move from Briddon Towers to Briddon Country Pile has gone into a sort of limbo. Yet it all seemed to be going so well. Then Tuesday came along. Tuesday was the day on which the landline at Briddon Country Pile was due to be connected. Not a major undertaking, since the copper and line box exist, and we even know what number it used to be, but BT took it out of commission when the old owner died.
19th August 2012
By rights, I should be able to sum up this weekends progress in a very few words. After all, Andrew and Steph were away at a birthday party on Saturday, and after a few jobs around Briddon Towers, I headed over to the Country Pile with more clothes and a few bits and bobs and entertained myself, imagining what it would be like when I finally get to live there, a state which it seems is getting closer, with a phone line due to be connected this Tuesday.
12th August 2012
"I've just saved £200 on my car insurance and I feel -" astonished at how much difference a postcode makes. Yes, all I did was tell the insurers of Steph's Micra that we were leaving the delights of Briddon Towers to take up residence at Briddon Country Pile and they reduced the costs without prompting. Yet the move is still tantalisingly far away and I must get on with the ordinary things of life, including pushing on with Andrew's locos.
5th August 2012
It's half past ten of a long Sunday night as I start writing this, and there is lots to say. Going back to last weekend, you may recall that Andrew got called away, leaving me to my own devices. As he had the Monday booked off anyway, he merely reversed his plans and summoned me to Rowsley to "make up for" his missed Sunday. Again I manufactured hoses for "Libby" and "Tom" while he crimped more battery lugs on cables, but otherwise, there was little dramatic to report.