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.
I said last time that I thought that this week would be a 'strange' week. It didn't really work out quite that way I had expected, but you can judge for yourself.
I have received complaints from readers this week. 'Not enough pictures' from one and 'no videos' from another. Well this is supposed to be a blog: if you just want to see pictures then I believe Tumblr may be more to your liking. But I shall try and appease all with a fair smattering of photographs and a little video.
Gee, hasn't the weather been odd this week? Fog and bloomin' cold most days, and then balmy and sunny at the weekend so that I've had to discard one of my many layers of clothing. Carry on like this and the annual hose-pipe ban will be declared early.
A pile of drawings arrived from an e-bay seller during the week. Ostensibly all of '04' class locos, some of them were relevant to '03s', several were duplicated, and some turned out to refer to the unique Southern 0-6-0DM numbered DS1173 (but inexplicably referred to on the drawings as a diesel electric!) which was mechanically like an 04 but whose jackshaft drove onto the middle axle and had a more simplistic style of bodywork. Ah well, I'm sure it will all come in handy some time.
Many years ago, when I was committed to n.g., I brought home a 3ton Orenstein & Koppel RL1b (4w Diesel mechanical) back to Briddon Towers with the expectation that having it immediately to hand would mean I'd be happily outside in all weathers getting it restored. Alas, I did not realise that (a) the thrill of lying on your back on a concrete patio awash with rainwater paled quite quickly, (b) I didn't have the tools at home to succeed in freeing seized bolts, etc., and (c) the commitments to a young family and full-time jobs in railway engineering left spare time at a premium. Night work in the open with regard to (a) and (b) did not appeal.
I'll start off with an apology to anyone and everyone who was unable to get on to Weekend Rails (or for that matter www.andrewbriddonlocos.co.uk and www.petebriddon.co.uk) on Wednesday afternoon and evening. At about 2pm the servers where our websites are held had to be shutdown unexpectedly and were off for several hours while checks were made and the systems re-booted. By mid evening one or two of the websites were up and by the early hours of Thursday all was back to normal.
They say that all human life goes through courtrooms. As we sat in the waiting area outside Court 7 of the Chesterfield County Court building on Monday, 1st February, Andrew and I had no reason to question it. A few yards away, a gentleman, dressed in trainers, jogging bottoms and wearing a baseball cap, and who from his demeanour was clearly influenced by what I assumed was excessive alcohol, asked Peak Rail's Jackie Statham if she'd like a coffee. Was he trying to chat her up? A few minutes later we looked over to see that he was now sat, fast asleep face down on a table. Some time passed and there was a crash. Perhaps a restless sleeper, he had slid off the chair and now rested on the floor with the waste bin that had been in the way as his pillow.. Andrew went and informed Irene, the Court Usher, who came over and got on her phone. Two security guards arrived: roused him, raised him and aided him off into the fresh air outside. The man's legal representative now had a problem – in Court the Judge was calling for his attendance, but the security staff wouldn't let him back in.
So, January is over and we move into month number two of 2016. It'll soon be autumn and I'll be wondering where the year went. We've had some more windy weather in the last few days so some more of the fence panels at Briddon Country Pile have blown down and some time before this summer rushes by and the evenings draw in again I must commandeer Andrew for a time to get it renewed.
OK, I think we've had winter for this year. Looking back at my diary, over the years it has always been the second, or sometimes 3rd week in January that snow used to descend on Briddon Towers and Sheffield would become paralysed. Now we're at the Briddon Country Pile in Derbyshire I don't suppose it is really much different, and the one day of snow we've seen this week is probably it for this winter. Not that I particularly relish cold weather or anything - it saves on the gas bill - but if we're going to have mild wet winters henceforward I think we may have to evolve by growing flippers.