As we drove back this evening, Andrew and I were trying to work out exactly what we did each day this week and were struggling to slot it all into place. The trouble is, he has had the week off (although you wouldn't believe it from the number of phone calls he's taken) and I had sort of agreed that I would keep pace with him, so let's see if I can get it right and in logical order.
As usual there's a hec of a lot to get through, so here goes....
Aaah, where to begin. So many disparate threads this week. Welcome to the first blog of April. Again, my apologies to those of you who had difficulty last week. Some little s*d managed to get into the site and added a “script” that put the server into a tizz. Other ISPs latched on and blocked access and it took a number of hours for the good news to filter through after it was fixed. Indeed, one reader phoned me Monday afternoon to say he could get it on his phone, but his office computer still insisted the site was down. Ah well, all passwords have been changed, all computers scanned for malware and I will remain vigilant.
Work resumed at Darley Dale on Monday with the gable ends, side purlins and various concrete panels still to complete. A framework for the personnel door at the side was duly incorporated, but a framework for the other door, which goes at the far end between the planned roller shutters, is not yet ready leaving that end of the building strangely skeletal.
So, there we were on Monday having a quick meeting with the contractor and reviewing progress to date. We are all agreed that the floor design wants modifying, and that none of us can work out exactly how we are supposed (in reality) to get the DPM to go the way the drawings show it, so I have gone back to the Structural Engineers with fresh drawings and asked them to come up with an alternative scheme. Meanwhile I was sorting out the personnel doors, and the concrete panels that will form the inside walls of the building up to head height. We had agreed with the contractor that work would commence on the steelwork on the 17th February, and I planned deliveries accordingly.
And so, Weekend Rails breaks into another year. Yet before I quite say bye-bye to 2013, there were two days this week when Andrew was off work and I was apparently available. So on Monday it was back into Rowsley – I had some work to do on a customer's loco but we brought Ashdown in to the shed (having drawn Austerity “Lord Phil" outside for a while) so that we could reach it with the MIG welder, and having removed the new sliding windows, Andrew cracked on with welding in the radius'd corner pieces and filling the holes for the old bolt holes from the original wooden droplight frame. For comparison sake, you may decide for yourself which looks better- (the welded bits had been hurriedly primed and sprayed back to prevent rusting).
There are times when the wide range of people now reading this blog comes home to me. Like when one day this week, Andrew popped down to Darley to recover something from the container, and as he left and was locking the gate, was engaged in conversation by a man walking his dog. After revealing that he (the dog-walker) is a lapsed Peak Rail member and asking after the site clearance taking place (sidings, it seems he helped lay) he suddenly declared “oh, you must be Andrew Briddon” - and that he regularly reads this blog.
The phone line between the Briddon Country Pile and the Structural Engineers got warm at the beginning of the week. Far from picking up an old drawing, as I had thought, the burying of the foundation pads below ground level in fact had a very important and insurmountable reason - the damp-proof membrane.
Christmas is on the horizon. One of the satellite TV channels we get has been showing “Christmas movies” for weeks and now even the usual commercial channels are beginning to show adverts to convince us of all the things we simply must buy if our Christmas is going to be fulfilling. Quite why a 47” TV is absolutely essential for this Christmas when we have had perfectly acceptable Christmas's before without one, I know not. Is it my imagination or did the “Christmas season” not begin until December 1st when I was a lad? No, OK, so you weren't born then, don't rub it in.
6th October 2013
As I was saying, Andrew had the day off on Monday and so we were to spend it at Rowsley. In a surprisingly generous mood, he invited me to nominate what I would like to do (aside from heading back home, sleeping, resting, etc) and on reflection I decided I would like to start on “Ashdown”'s new windows.
8th September 2013
In a post back in February ('of the locos at Scunthorpe') I bemoaned a certain magazine that took text from either this blog or Andrew's website, condensed it, and in so doing made it inaccurate and our work seem ineffectual. The latest edition came out on Thursday, and guess what? They've done it again!