I thought I'd start off this week with a service announcement. If you are a Virgin Media customer, you may have had difficulty getting in to Weekend Rails for the last month or so. A while ago somebody tried to hack in to Weekend Rails from a VM account, and the security software banned their IP address. But as Virgin Media uses a generic IP address, it effectively banned all of VM from access.
I foresaw two possible scenarios this week. One was that I would be on my way down to the studios and wouldn't get the time to write the blog at all, the other that, for various reasons, there wouldn't be much to write about. I think my crystal ball wants new batteries.
Are you feeling all Christmassy yet? Can't say I am: just been trying to work out what effect it will have on cash flow for those customers whose bills are due on or about the 31st December. Will they pay up before they break up and thus let me have a good Christmas? Or will they get boozed up at the office party, fall asleep and wake up in time to go home early and s*d paying anybody until well into 2017? Yeah, that's my guess too.
Winter seems to have arrived: we've burnt the last of 2015's kerosene in the space heater and seen snow on the hills between here, Sheffield and Buxton. But the Geoffrey Briddon Building continues to provide a tolerably warm space out of the cold and wet as we slowly get things straightened out and maybe squeeze a bit of loco work in now and then. If a lot of our time seems taken up with shed-work and not enough loco work, well, the locos will benefit from the more productive facilities (we've become conscious that overall, we are getting more done than hitherto) and the time and money allocated to getting the building right is well-spent.
One of my readers commented recently that one of the things he likes about this blog is that 'there is always something happening'. I have admitted that on occasion when I resort to reminiscing here in print it is because I've got little really to talk about. Is this going to be one of those weeks? I doubt it.
Several readers speculated, after my teaser at the end of last week's edition, whether things had kicked off with Peak Rail's management again, which was logical but actually not so. 'It' has had a significant effect on events this week though, and resulted in the title being apposite (not a house move, but count them!). Plenty of pictures too, so should be a colourful edition.
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.
Ok, let's be clear. This is not a competition. I am not offering prizes. Just because I mentioned that one of my readers texted me before 07.00 on Monday a couple of weeks ago, it does not mean that you have to jostle to surpass it. (But for the record, it was an 06.35 e-mail which at least didn't disturb my well-deserved [desperately needed] beauty-sleep).
Apparently my opening remarks last week about the joys of being self-employed struck a chord with a few of you – not least one of my regulars who texted me in support of it before 7am Monday morning!
For those bemused at my recent reports of mileages accrued in the course of trying to earn a crust, this week has only clocked up 750. Quite relaxing in many ways, and hopefully slightly fewer in prospect this week (though events might dictate otherwise). At one time, or rather, in the early days of the Geoffrey Briddon Building concept, I saw myself commuting the seven-eights of a mile, there to potter on with some clean and tidy project – perhaps wiring up a loco here, programming a PLC there – with a return to the Briddon Country Pile for a leisurely lunch. But it doesn't seem to be working out like that. And if you're thinking how nice it would be to be self-employed, your own boss, out of the rat race, etc., etc. Dream on. You're at the beck and call of all your customers, you can't pass the buck to anyone else and you spend an extortionate amount of time in administrative work, worrying about when certain big companies will get around to paying you and when someone asks you 'where you're going on holiday to this year?' you are tempted to punch them on the nose – well I am.