4th March 2012
Even as I was packing to go away for the (previous) weekend, I got a phone call from Peak Rail reporting that Charlie’s stop solenoid had given up the ghost. Let me explain. Left to its own devices, most engine fuel pumps head to the “run” position, it is what they are made to do. Therefore you need a device to pull the lever on the pump to a position where there is insufficient fuel delivered and the engine stops.
13th May 2012
Back in the 80s, when I was working at Thomas Hills, we had an ultimately unsuccessful deal with the Illinois-based Varlen Locomotive Corporation which brought me into contact with real live Americans. "Kojak" - with Telly Savalas playing the lollipop-sucking detective - was on our TVs at the time and several of our visitors fitted the mould. More than once they would take off their jackets and over their waistcoats I expected to find a leather shoulder-hoster. I learned a few new phrases - "Can we sue?" was one that stuck in my mind perhaps because it came from one of the (I thought) more level-headed of our Transatlantic colleagues.
7th May 2012
With the last weekend before the AFRPS gala, attention once again has concentrated on D2128 - or 03 901 as it has started semi-seriously to be called - with the intention of getting it running. Indeed, a large part of Friday was taken up with touring various suppliers collecting bits and as a result, we set off for Scunthorpe on Saturday morning with a van well-loaded, including 80 litres of hydraulic oil for the transmission, 40 of engine oil for the Cummins, anti-freeze, over 20metres of hose in assorted bores and ends (my little swager is good for up to 1/2", anything bigger I get ready-made by my local supplier), various fittings, 5" bore exhaust pipe in solid and flexible, together with clamps and a bend, and so on.
1st April 2012
Dead on schedule on Monday morning the “big green parcel machine” that is Tuffnells rolled up outside Briddon Towers and their man staggered up our drive with a large, flat-ish and relatively light parcel – D2128’s cooler group fan had arrived from Breeza. After Andrew declared that he would be taking Friday off from work to crack on with things at Scunthorpe, I thought I had better plan the same. After all, unless I had an exceedingly good reason, disappearing off in the van and leaving him with few tools and only his “I don’t want anything dirty in the back of this” Golf to get him there would have been foolhardy.
3rd June 2012
Andrew has had a rough time of it this week. His eye was getting worse over last weekend so he went to see his GP on Monday and got prescribed anti-biotic pills bigger than pound coins and an instruction to go to the hospital eye clinic if it got no better. 24 hours later he was at the clinic, which immediately stopped the anti-biotics in preference to heavy-duty eye drops. The eye is no longer painful and hopefully will soon be better. In contrast, me and Steph put an offer in for a house on Monday,. which was immediately accepted, so we should be moving at some point later in the summer.
18th September 2011
It has been a busy but sad week in the run-up to my father’s cremation at Bournemouth. We were surprised at how many came – the chapel was full to overflowing – and in the “wake” afterwards we learnt how many New Milton area residents were on his publicity circulation list. It seems that he had a group of avid readers of all Andrew’s press cuttings, and I was asked “you are the one who was on Scrapheap Challenge, aren’t you?” by people I’d never met before.
30th December 2011
Having had the whole weekend before Christmas “off” I resisted the urge to do something on Andrew’s locos without his being there. For such a dereliction of duty not only was it inevitable that he would “book” me for Christmas Eve but 4 days between Boxing Day and New Years Eve to boot. Oh, well, what else would one do?
30th October 2011
A year ago, it would have take several weeks for us to produce a bracket. For once I had drawn it up and sent the drawings on to my profile supplier, gone up to collect them and dropped them off at my favourite fabricators, it might have been 2 weeks or more before they got around to assembling and we would not plan the day to go and fit until we knew they were ready.
8th November 2010
Saturday: Plan A had been to head out to Scunthorpe, but during the week I’d had trouble with a leaky ball cock on the loo and Saturday morning it started again, so I cut another washer and when that made no difference, headed down to Wickes to find that of the 6 ball cocks they stocked, none looked remotely interchangeable.
17th April 2011
So, did anyone miss me, I wonder? (Don’t all shout “No!” at once). There was no “Weekend Rails” last weekend because, although Andrew had a (rather unsuccessfull) day on his own at Rowsley, your truly was to be found at the Leander Club at Henley-on-Thames Saturday night on one of those “family occasions” that necessitated swapping overalls for a Dinner Suit.