Amongst the various comments I received after last week's edition was someone who revealed a secret passion for sinks – apparently ours is a 'Belfast', actually I thought it had probably come out of a signal box much nearer home – and a suggestion that a photo of a mechanics coupling would have been much easier to understand than my convoluted description.
And they were right of course, but strangely I hadn't got around to taking one, remiss I know but sometimes even I forget to bring the camera with me. So for starters I can at least correct that omission -
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.
We used to say that the last weekend of the month was when everything went wrong, but for some time now the last weekends of the months appeared to pass by without anything untoward occurring. Of course, it couldn't last, could it?
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.
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.
I was a little dismayed last week when I came to post the previous edition of the blog – the readership figures had been somewhat down. Could it have been something I'd said? But no, it must have been the Christmas and New Year festivities as last week's figures are back to normal and even the week before's have picked up as presumably readers have logged and caught up. Could it be that many of you log in during breaks at work? Could it be mid-morning coffee, Pete's blog and bickies?
And welcome to a new year, and our best wishes to all of you for it. The gap between Christmas and New Year I always find a bit frustrating – due to years of being either self-employed or running my own business. All your suppliers and customers are shut down and you can't get anything progressed. Those customers who faithfully promised you a cheque – 'must be stuck in the Christmas mail' – are sitting back with their wine and turkey and I cannot tell them what I think of their latest little fib. But on the positive side, we have had the pleasure of having grandson up for the week, culminating in his third birthday last Saturday.
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.
Welcome once again to this, the last entry in Weekend Rails before Christmas. I see even last year I was muttering about the Humbug of Christmas so I had better be all light-hearted and looking forward to the festive fracas. So imagine yourself stood outside the door of the Geoffrey Briddon building, a holly-wreath welded to the middle, whereupon it opens to reveal a cherubic father and son, smiling sweetly and wishing you all a Merry Christmas.