The trouble with having shed with only about three-quarters of its total roof and three of its four walls complete is that it is neither an open space nor a shed. Not that I should complain, even to have that much is a step up from having no roof and no walls higher than two metres. But if rain falls electrical things continue to need sheeting over, and if the wind blows you feel it.
I can't believe that 2015 is five-sixths over. I normally find this time of year depressing – the clocks go back, and suddenly the weather seems to be colder, the days massively shorter. Maybe if we kept the clocks the same the winter would never get a toe-hold.
Seems like I've been all over the place this week. I've been down at the shed most mornings opening up for the contractors at an hour at which I am normally just about to contemplate a slice of toast, then dealing with sourcing fixings and other minor crises. In between times there's been two wagons arrived and developments on a couple of other fronts – but I suppose as usual I had better take things in order.
Firstly, apologies to anyone who was trying to get on to either Andrew's website or this site during Saturday/Sunday morning. Apparently a server update ran foul of some of the security routines in the websites and as a result anyone trying to access got an 'Internal Server Error' message. They were back up again from about half-one this afternoon. Oh, and a thank you to all those who wrote or texted wishing me a belated happy birthday.
It was all planned out this week. The rails were to be collected from Wirksworth on Thursday, as was the due date for the arrival of the roof-lights, which at least had the advantage of my being at the shed for two reasons rather than one (remember, it requires locos and wagons to be moved to allow access to the forklift). Did it all go to plan?
It is amazing how difficult it can be to get an order placed with some companies. Years ago, I was at a steel stockholders in Rotherham. I didn't buy much raw steel in those days – most of it came in as fabrications made to my drawings – but I had managed to purchase something – on a cash sale – and was actually sawing it by hand into car-sized lengths, when the MD came by with a couple of clients.
Well, that wasn't a very auspicious start to the 6th year of this blog. To all those who came looking and couldn't find it, when I came to finish laying out all the text and pictures and uploading it, it proceeded to “lose” all the text and pictures and 'publish' a blank entry. I hurriedly tried twice more with the same result, then 'unpublished' to prevent confusion, though I know a few readers had already logged on.
It is appreciated, but certainly not obligatory, that the occasional visitor comes bearing gifts. What with Roger W arriving with fire extinguishers and such a couple of weeks ago, this time our favourite ex RR service engineer, Neil W popped in during the week and presented me with a box full of R-R genuine oil filters and a few old lift pumps that seemingly had been cluttering up his loft. I was quite happy to show him around the progress – or lack of it – on the building at Darley Dale.
E-bay has been a recurring topic for the week. As you know, we keep pour eyes peeled (well Andrew does) for bits-n-bobs, tools and the like, which will be of use at prices we can afford. Sometimes they have gone through without hiccup, others have been thwarted by people who refuse to honour the price the auction closes at. I have had the seller who simply refuses to answer e-mails or calls (and whose item, a 7.25” gauge loco, promptly turns up listed again by someone else) or the one who declared that “it had been stolen the previous day” (and yes, that too was re-listed a few days later by someone who was “doing it for a friend”). This week a new seller (rating 0) who had listed some material at a starting bid of £0.99, when no-one else bid, told Andrew that there was £2000-worth and he wasn't selling at £0.99, ring him and we could strike a deal. Now, I was under the impression that if an auction was completed then a contract existed, but all the so-called FAQs and help pages are strangely quiet on that. We haven't rung the guy, but we will probably give him a negative rating.
So, first thing Monday morning I started ringing around bearing suppliers in Derby and Sheffield, getting a range of prices and availabilities on the needle roller bearings we needed to restore our forklift to action. But the fifth supplier not only had two in stock, but gave the best price too, so I abandoned the search and set off for Sheffield.