Thursday 11 July 2024

Return of the SS Canberra from the Falklands Conflict 11 July 1982

 42 years ago today as a whippersnapper, I was standing with Dad’s camera on Weston Parade, Southampton witnessing the return of the troops from the Falklands conflict upon the SS Canberra. 

Whilst the focus was in the ship which I recall was covered in rust streaks, pointing the camera the other way captured possibly equally interesting cameos of those who’d come out to witness the spectacle on this calm, hazy sunny day - 11 July 1982. 

All photography my copyright

Wednesday 26 June 2024

For Streetlight Fanciers

Wednesday morning at the terminus, and Derek & Clive are reflecting on last night’s wasp chewing competition at The Star which was rather dull, but that’s quite normal in the build up to the finals a week or two away. 

Meanwhile Waving Wayne, or maybe Waving Willy is waving at Harry the Hammer and Herbert the conversational Mayan speaking horse for no apparent reason other than he likes to wave. They don’t notice him though, he being the other side of the engine to them. 

Streetlight fanciers will note that Combwich has just had its very first electric platform lamp installed, and look just how perfect and tall it is, it being made of concrete with rather fetching Art Deco inspired ceramic lanterns. It’s a shame that there is no electricity available to power it, for we must remember this is rural Little England of olden times. 

And finally, it’s rumoured that Ratio Models based their popular kit on the platform lamp here, which like this one also doesn’t work. 


This is thirsty work …


Saturday 22 June 2024

Ghost Lettering

Ghost Lettering

It’s an unusually quiet Saturday morning at Fountain Colliery deep in The Forest of Dean. The little people sometimes like to hide when a camera appears, so they’re probably here somewhere, with the pub in the distance being a likely choice. Others might be hiding in plain sight if you look carefully. They’re clever little bu§§ers. 

Note the former private owner ‘Northern United’ wagon, but with a British Railways numbering. Sights like this weren’t uncommon in olden times, for budgets were tight and a shortage of manpower meant wagons often weren’t repainted to reflect their new ownership, especially with wooden bodied wagons like this being near the end of their lives. 

So if you have a favourite private owner liveried coal wagon but it’s wrong for your era, grub it up a bit and pop a BR number on top. You can then feel smug when Adenoidal Andrew tells you off, for you can boldly reply “Wrong!”  

And finally, former private owner wagon numbering started with the letter ‘P’, that being for ‘private’, though of course P is not a number. Just for interest, ‘P’ is also the first letter in Peter, parp, pecker, pedantic, pint, poke, pecksniffian, persiflage, persnickety and not forgetting poppycock. 


This is thirsty work …

Friday 21 June 2024

The Railway to Stonehenge

It's 4.52 am and the little people celebrate finishing the 'Stone Henge' a day late after the Summer Solstice (some years it’s the 20th, others it’s the 21st of June), and as you can see, it's a bit of a rush job with broken and misshapen stones. It was also built too small due to an error interpreting the plan. Personally I think that was means of cutting costs, hoping that ‘nobody will notice’, though tourists are frequently heard saying “oh, it’s a lot smaller than I thought it might be”. 

But sadly now the railway has no further use, so it will shortly be turned in a new road called 'The A303' - though something more glamorous like 'Highway to the Sun' would be nicer, with it likely to be a popular holiday route to the West Country - especially with traffic queue fanatics and caravan fanciers called Malcolm and Doris. 


Quite a bit of effort goes in to these …

Sunday 16 June 2024

A Couple of Tools

Weekend engineering is underway, and Peter Pickaxe is performing some ‘technical work’ on the catch point. But Stan the Spanner suggests that a spanner might be better, because it can also be used as a hammer. What a couple of tools. 

And over there in the distance Nasal Nigel and Adenoidal Andrew have their hands in their special pockets. In Nigel’s pocket he has his usual Flying Scotsman, because he knows what he likes and likes what he knows. But Andrew today has a new Triang Hornby Hymek and is loving its silky smooth wipe clean finish. 

And finally, Rufus hound has aligned himself perfectly so it looks like he’s eating Peter’s leg. such a clever dog🐾


Send me some joy …

Friday 14 June 2024

Thwack, Bing, Bong, Crack!

Nothing of note here, other than Shrewsbury shed’s missing ‘coal tank’ has again mysteriously turned up at Combwich under a magnificent sky. Officially these locos never ran on the ‘Somerset & Dorset’, but this photo proves otherwise, something that will no doubt upset the joyless - but of course anything goes in the land of the inch high. 

Chatting away on the platform are Pete & Dud, or Derek & Clive, I can never tell the difference, but if you put your ear up to the screen and listen, you’ll almost certainly be able to tell. 

And of course that’s our Bob Geeza Cat balancing on the rail, he’s good at that, as most cats are. And finally you can see Harry The Hammer who has just tapped the wheels to check for cracks, and if they didn’t have any, they almost certainly will now. Thwack, bing, bong, crack. 


Bring me some joy …

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Boom Boom!

Local businessman, ladies’ man, shifty charmer and cad Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe watches the morning Burnham on Sea to Evercreech Junction goods rumble past. He knows that the railway has limited time, with so many railways closing around the country, with this one being high on Dr Beeching’s list of extermination. 

Facing the train with his trademark ‘look no hands’ pose, he thinks ‘this will soon all be mine’ as he plans to put in a bid as soon as British Railways decides to sell the land. He has many ideas, maybe a nudist camp, a trailer park, an open prison for shamed ex-celebrities, maybe one of those new fangled supermarkets or simply a scrapyard, because a scrapyard will compliment the beauty of the Somerset Levels so well. 

The railway will have plenty of old iron, steel, lead, blue asbestos and other deadly substances that need processing. A fat brown envelope will take care of any nimby councillors and planners who object on the grounds of water pollution and it being an eyesore. 

And finally we have Bob Geeza Cat, complimenting the scene as he always does so well. Many will notice that he is a rather large cat, this is because he’s one third fox who is rumoured to be related to TV’s foxy children’s presenter Basil Brush. Boom boom!


Help support the regular nonsense…

Saturday 1 June 2024

Dirty Old Town

Saturday morning down at the gasworks, young loves Farmer George & Deidre are dropping off a moonshine order disguised as milk bottles. We’ve not seen George & Deidre for a while, they’ve been keeping a low profile after rival Barry Bullhead from the Ministry of Misery was busted a few weeks ago running his illegal distillery side hustle. 

But PC Rob Banks is not to be feared up there on the balcony of the gasometer, for he’s heavily absorbed conducting the dawn chorus, with this elevated spot being ideal for the task in hand. Mr Banks has quite a knack of making the hedge sparrows and young starlings perform an instrumental version of ‘Dirty Old Town’ in C - the favourite key for all birds, it being known as the key of ‘chirpy chirp’. 

Below, Nasal Nigel and Adenoidal Andrew often hang about the gasworks at weekends, if you zoom in you can see them with their hands in their special pockets. Today as usual Nigel is clutching his TT gauge ‘Flying Scotman’ and Andrew an HO gauge ‘Big Boy’, how he crams it in there I’ve no idea - but maybe that’s why it’s called a ‘special pocket’. Though he’s often seen buying jars of petroleum jelly at the local chemist ‘for mother’s carpet sores’ supposedly. 

Bob Geeza Cat is meowing at Neil asking for pickled pilchards, but Neil doesn’t speak meow so just kneels sympathetically. I must admit they do look good together in this pose and is in just the right spot to balance the composition of this scene. 

Top blokey-bloke ex-boxer and wrestler, Gaylord Grip has just arrived in his lorry. And once PC Rob Banks gets into conducting the leading hedge sparrow to perform a complicated 8 bar solo with key change, he’ll will nip over to George & Deidre to collect his order of moonshine - I mean milk. 

And finally, is that Beryl’s supercharged Austin 7? If so, she’ll be in the cab of the engine with Peter Peckett, for she loves a sweaty man who can do a breakfast fry up on a hot oily coal shovel. 


Much time goes in to creating these scenes, help support the regular nonsense…

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Flangeway Clearances

Wednesday at Moorewood  Colliery. The morning goods hauled by ex GWR Collett No. 3206 of Templecombe shed trundles along the mainline, which since the takeover of the line by the Western Region of BR has become a regular performer. 

Meanwhile at the colliery, Hubert the Conversational Latin speaking horse is preparing to chase Barry Bullhead from the ministry of Misery off site. I’m not quite sure of the developing issue here, but Mr Bullhead does ruffle feathers regularly, or horse hair in this case. 

Meanwhile Reg, Clive and Egbert discuss flangeway clearances, their favourite subject and always a winning chat up line with the ladies down the Wheeltappers & Shunters. Needless to say for some reason, despite being late middle aged they’re still single and live at home with ‘mother’, though in Clive and Egbert’s case ‘mother’ is in the cellar under the trainset, she has been for many years and never complains. 


Help support the regular nonsense…

Saturday 25 May 2024

Super Shiny Saturday!

It’s Super Shiny Saturday!

At the little known Moorewood Colliery, high up in the Mendip Hills, it would appear that management have been out splashing the cash again with the arrival of a super shiny bright red engine that looks more like something you’d see on the rides at the fairground. 

Deliberation Dave thinks it’s a little too twee for a colliery engine which will mostly be pushing and pulling wagons about loaded with coal and occasionally potatoes for moonshine production. And why is the engine named after an Italian cheese frequently grated over spaghetti bolognaise he thinks to himself. 

To the right, snivelling little tick Neil who’s always taking the knee at any excuse, is in awe of the shiny smokebox door for some reason. And being super submissive, he’s looking forward to polishing the engine unpaid outside work hours at the command of his boss even though it won’t need the full up and under every day. 

Next to the steam roller, Waving Willy is waving at something out of shot to the right, but he always waves, so it’s probably not significant, but you my reader might have some suggestions, so fire away….

And finally, Rufus Hound is covering for Bob Geeza Cat (who is currently on holiday in Kathmandu), posing in just the right spot to balance the composition. Bob taught Rufus everything he needs to know. Such a clever dog 🐾


You can chuck Bob a Sov or two here for being such a good trainer …

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Thinking Cap

That familiar engine has escaped Shrewsbury engine shed again and is in dire need of having its water replenished. But alas things could be rather explosive, for the local moonshiners have recently requisitioned the tank for storage of their illicit liquor. 

As we we can see, Deliberation Dave up there on the engine has his thinking cap on. It’s very much an analogue device made from old clock parts, knicker elastic, and needs constant winding up with a small key. It’s amazing what you can get in a thinking cap these days, oh the wonders of the modern world. 

We’ve not seen arthritic Arthur for a while, but there he is about to stagger off and find a bucket so he can top up the engine with some local cryptosporidium infected water (a much sought West Country tincture keen with those wishing to lose a few pounds). Hopefully someone here will give him a hand, though looking at this shower that’s unlikely, apart from maybe Rufus Hound, however carrying buckets of water could be quite a challenge for him, but he is a very clever dog 🐾

This is a new work in progress scene currently being built, with the centrepiece of this shot being a kit-bashed ‘Ratio 506’ water tower. The main modification being the additional of a roof replacing the supplied (and rather too fiddly) walkway and railings. 


And finally, if you enjoy these posts…

Saturday 18 May 2024


In several parts of the West Country in Little England, the water supply is currently contaminated with cryptosporidium waterborne parasites. So the inch high have been advised not to drink the water, even though many of them are made from resin, plastic and pewter. 

Because of this, and with moonshine being plentiful, the little people and even the horses who are normally known for common sense have replaced their intake water with the intoxicating liquor. 

Scenes like this are currently quite regular, with all sorts of crazy antics going on, and most unusually from the normally placid Hubert the conversational Latin speaking horse who’s taken a liking for driving tractors along railway lines. 


If you enjoy these posts…

Friday 17 May 2024

WW2 Reenactment - Village at War (part 2 of 2)

And here we we have my second roll of freshly processed film, from 'Village at War' reenactment at The Rural Life Living Museum from Sunday 12 May 2024

Rolleicord Vb, Kodak Tri-X 400, dev'd in 510 Pyro. Click images to enlarge 

See my post from the other day here

Thursday 16 May 2024

Inspired by Titfield Thunderbolt Thursday

 Inspired by Titfield Thunderbolt Thursday! 

Before the famous loco was called ‘Titfield’ and later on ‘Thunderbolt’ it was known an ‘Lion’. And here we see this mighty beast heading away from stormy skies over the crossing at Catcott with ‘The Bog Express’ which ran every Thursday between Evercreech Junction and Burnham on Sea and return across the Somerset Levels. 

Those in the land of the inch high love this train, even though they never travel on it, and here we witness many of our favourite chums waving the mighty sight through travelling at a groundbreaking 22 miles per hour. 

Today, with the train moving rather faster than normal, this is mainly because without a cab roof and the impending rainstorm things could get rather damp on the footplate. They say that we were tougher in olden times, which is complete nonsense, especially if you’re a cat, and whilst Bob Geeza Cat is a bit of a geezer, like all cats he hates the rain. 


If you enjoy these posts…

Wednesday 15 May 2024

WW2 Reenactment - Village at War (part 1 of 2)

A handful of shots grabbed on Sunday at 'Village at War' at The Rural Life Living Museum near Farnham. I used Ilford Ortho 80 Plus which is an old style film not sensitive to red light, a type which was still regularly used 80 years ago. I used my Rolleicord Vb, which whilst a post-war camera has a Xenar 80mm f3.5 lens, a design which dates from 1919 based on the Tessar from 20 years before that which helps that old school vibe.

Click to enlarge…

See my second set of images here

Sunday 12 May 2024

The Hygiene Police

Just a regular Sunday down the docks, with Nasal Nigel and Adenoidal Andrew hanging around the public lavatory showing each other their TT scale Flying Scotsman locos. Such innocent days with PC Rob Banks from the Hygiene Police passing by to check that they’ve washed their hands after using the facilities.

Saturday 11 May 2024

Not The Northern Lights

 #notthenorthernlights Dizzy Lizzie calls across to Barry Bullhead “are those the Northern Lights?”, to which Nasal Nigel buts in with his irritating know-all voice and squeaks “No, that’s a stock sunset sky dropped in using the ‘Sky Replacement Tool’ in Photoshop, everyone knows that!” 

Meanwhile Hubert the conversational Latin speaking horse mutters “omne fun te amet homunculum spolias” (you spoil all the fun you boring little man).

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Counting Sheep

Wednesday morning at Combwich, and keen amateur cloud spotters Michael Storm and Freddy Fish watch the engine run around the train that recently arrived from Evercreech Junction. 

Once ready, it will form the 10am return to Evercreech Junction, which for those who don’t know is in the middle of nowhere, it serving a quiet pub and 9 sheep, none of which ever plan to travel by train, and certainly not to Combwich - the sheep that is, not the pub. 

Meanwhile the 10.02am bus to Taunton waits on the station forecourt, its passengers being mostly the recently retired without hobbies who’ve suddenly discovered that life has become rather dull. So for them, a day out in Taunton is indeed exciting, but maybe not as exciting as the prospect of morning at Evercreech Junction counting sheep in the fields around the station. 


If you enjoy these posts…