Monday, 5 December 2022

Cloud Porn

Monochrome Monday. The morning goods passes Combwich shed shortly after what would appear to be the demise one one of the many booze production facilities that have appeared since the county of Somerset became an independent tax free principality. 

Either that or atom bomb testing over the Quantock Hills, a regular occurrence in the 1950s allegedly, so some bloke called Brian claiming to be the love child of the ghost of King Arthur dressed in a tutu and green wellies told me during particular boozy evening in a Glastonbury pub a few years ago..


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Sunday, 4 December 2022

Rotten Turnips

It’s a slightly stormy Sunday at the edge of Armageddon. But that’s not stopped young farmer George taking Rufus Hound for a brief walk around the docks after dropping off a consignment of rotten turnips. 

Local ‘businessman’ (you can see him between the engine and the crane) and ladies’ man, Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe, has discovered that fermented turnip makes a great inexpensive addition to the mash in the latest moonshine recipes. The docklands here providing many opportunities for covert moonshine production, with its many empty buildings, storage tanks, and ‘security’ who are in on the act. 

Much to George’s surprise, young flirty popsy of the butter blending department at the local creamery, Deidre Dinkle has just alighted from the train. And unless you’ve been under a rock quivering behind a plague mask for the last few months avoiding any eye contact, will know that George has been trying take Deidre for a ride on his throbbing tractor, albeit unsuccessfully for some time. 

Quite why Deidre is here I’m unsure, but being very much a people person, I imagine she’s involved in moonshine sales, especially with the build up to Christmas and recent price hikes of legal booze. So, I’m sure she and Terry’s dodgy business will do well. 

I almost forgot Harry the Hammer stood to the right, his been fixing something on the crane with his trusty hammer (that’s his only tool btw). And as usual, is almost at the end of his shift, that always being the case irrespective of the time of day.

As for George, will Deidre get to ride on George’s throbbing tractor? Sadly, that I’m less sure of - but I’m sure the tales will continue. 

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And back to reality; as a test, this photo was taken on my slightly elderly iPhone 7, shooting via the Adobe Lightroom app which allows *RAW capture - something that is desirable for serious photography (*Google why). The results were then *focus-stacked to increase depth of field (*Google that as well, but I’m not giving anything else away ‘cos it’s my day job), and then tossed in to the glitter of Photoshop. I however want to illustrate that almost any camera is suitable - and as with any tool or musical instrument, the bit holding it or behind it, is the most important bit. For we all know that buying a posh typewriter doesn’t necessarily turn you in to a great author, that bit has to be learned. 

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Friday, 2 December 2022

iPhone 13


It’s ‘Front End Friday’ at the colliery, even though we only have a view of Tony’s rear end as he grabs a photo of Deliberation Dave stood on the veranda of a rather grubby diesel shunting loco. 

I’m not sure the full reason behind the photo opportunity, but Deliberation Dave has a pen pal down under called called Nervous Ned. They regularly exchange letters and photographs of themselves (fully dressed by the way, I know many of you have smutty minds) stood on engines or in bars clutching pints of beer - though beer is unusually missing here - but it is the workplace I suppose? 

As usual, that’s Harry the Hammer stood on the left, and as usual he’s almost at the end of his shift - that always being the case, irrespective of what time of day it is. 

Back to reality, this shot is a test using ‘Er Indoors’ new iPhone 13, I being keen to see what such a fangled tool could do. Mine still being a Nokia 3210, which is rather like a cockroach or Hammant & Morgan controller, which we all know will survive and apocalyptic event, even though they’ll be useless for their original purpose. Btw, ‘Er Indoors has yet to comment on the toy chuffer photos that have appeared on her new toy is if by magic, which is slightly ominous. 

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Thursday, 1 December 2022

The 1st of December

It’s the first day of December, and the first day of snow in Little Britain. Deep in the docklands, in the middle of nowhere and in the centre of nothing (a bit like Bedfordshire), the light railway passenger service back to civilisation slows to pick up a solitary passenger. 

However the crew notice that it’s Nasal Nigel, and as usual, he is wearing nothing apart Wellington boots and his sticky green flasher-mac (with special pocket to warm his tepid sticky right hand), so quickly decide to open the regulator and keep going without stopping. 

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Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Trunk Route

In the land of the inch high, sometimes those from the land of the 6 foot high like to mess with the little people. Inch high Hi-vis Harry, whilst per going about his daily line inspection thinks to himself, ‘I know we suffer foam scatter and static grass on the line this time of the year, but this is simply taking the piss’.

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Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Snivelling Little Tick

 “What do you want you snivelling little tick? Stop looking like you want to propose and get back on to the engine and start your shift. I’ve even rostered you a small engine, so you won’t need to shovel too much coal!” To which Neil replies, “Please sir, I’ve been under my trainset all weekend at a model railway exhibition trying to fix a faulty point motor. In the end I was underneath it for two days solid moving the point manually, I’ve done my back in and I can’t stand up. I’ve crawled for 2 miles to get here today”. 

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Saturday, 26 November 2022

Hello Big Boy

Stood on the platform, former lettuce plant fancier Dizzy Lizzie accompanied by the darling of the butter blending department at the local dairy, Deidre Dinkle, have heard there’s a ‘Big Boy’ passing through, so have popped down to the station expecting to find a tanned muscular chap showing off his well toned body and 7 pack pushing wagons around the goods yard single handed. 

However, they are surprised to learn it’s the trial run of the new BR Standard ‘Big Boy’ Class 11 mixed traffic  2-8-4-6-4-2-8-6-9-4-4-4-6-8-10-12-14-0-2-2-2-6-8-4-9 wheel arrangement  locomotive - not quite the ‘big boy’ they were expecting. But even though the girls are not really in to railways, they look suitably impressed at magnificent hot sweaty pulsating beast pushing past them. 

Based on a design from the USA, the almost gargantuan locomotive has been adapted for Little Britain and shrunk to around 7/8th of the original locomotive size - so rather than being gargantuan, is simply ‘rather big’. This is to allow it to fit within the Little British Railways loading gauge, because those Victorians like today, went for the cheaper option - smaller basically. 

Celebrated photographer, Ivan Locksmith has arrived with his trusty camera to record the event accompanied by Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe. They’ve both been for a race having chased the beast all the way from Bournemouth West through the narrow lanes of Dorset & Somerset. 

Thank you Kernow Model Rail Centre for allowing me to be a temporary custodian of the loco. 

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Friday, 25 November 2022

Nothing to be seen….

Front End Friday….

Peter Pug is a cheeky little engine, and being light fingered (or light buffered in this case) likes to pinch wagons freshly loaded with bottled beer. He uses a chain rather like a cowboy snares cattle with a lasso. 

Today he’s made the mistake of trying to catch a freshly loaded wagon of bottled premium oyster stout from an awkward siding served by a wagon turntable. But due to the complexity of trying to do such a stunt on his own, has been apprehended by PCs Mulder & Scully who have been enjoying an overnight lock-in at the Brewhouse Tavern. 

But….

Mulder & Scully love a bottle of two of premium oyster stout, so rather than arrest the naughty little engine, they’ll help to spin the turntable in exchange for a few bottles of the dark boozy bounty. “Nothing to be seen, please move on. Thank you”. 

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Thursday, 24 November 2022

Fearless Thursday!


Fearless Thursday! Local ‘businessman’ Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe and Hubert the conversational Latin speaking horse love to show off, but maybe they’re going a little far? Deliberation Dave on the right is training to be an Elf and Safety officer, and doesn’t look too impressed. To the left, this is probably a stunt Arthritic Arthur shouldn’t get involved in, even though he’s pretty old school and fearless.

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Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Geekdom


It’s Tuesday morning, and half an hour or so before sunrise. The colourful sky suggests a ‘shepherd’s warning’, which basically means it’s going to piss down shortly. A short ballast train arrives, and because the quarry siding a mile of so away faces the colliery, the only reason for the train being here is so that the engine can run around its wagons before heading back to the mainline. 

The local spotters will later be distraught to hear that this minor celebrity of a loco, 20064 ‘River Sheaf’ has been allocated to this working which is usually a class 47 turn. But of course the internet isn’t yet a thing, so keen spotters have to know someone that works on the railway for the latest ‘gen’. 


On the left, Harry the Hammer wanders out to peruse the scene, to him it’s just the arrival ‘that train’, which twice a week appears half an hour or so before the end of his night shift. So for that reason, he’s pleased to see its arrival. 


Light bulb enthusiasts (they do exist), will notice the mercury vapour yard lamps giving off their distinctive slightly eerie soft green glow, but they’ll be sad to hear that they’re due to be replaced with those orange sodium bulbs which give faces a zombie like complexion. But I’m sure in time, they too, will have a following in one of the many circles of geekdom, something us Brits are world leading experts at. 


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Monday, 21 November 2022

Albertus Titling


Monochrome Monday. The crossing at Catcott is temporarily blocked as the 8.52 Templecombe to Highbridge passes through the gates. Young sign writer and Roman army battle re enactment fanatic, Albertus Titling, waits patiently in his Morris ‘Woody’ estate car for the gates to open, for today he’s heading to Cheddar to repaint a sign on one of the touristy cheese shops. 

For those viewing in monochrome, the car is a sort of sage green colour and somewhat faded due to sunlight taking its anger out on the cellulose paint. The varnish on the wooden frame is starting to peel as well. But we used to like dull faded colours in olden times, it sort of reflected the austerity of the era, the stiff upper lip and reserved nature of the clenched buttock whispering aspiring middle classes who shuddered at the idea of any flamboyance. That was only for Americans. 

Owning one of these cars was rather like owning a wooden boat - something only really for the enthusiast. Most British cars from the era requiring a very proactive ownership if they were to last more than 3 years before completely rotting away. But unlike today’s vehicles, all you needed was body filler, a hammer and an imperial socket set to keep one on the road. And of course a set of feeler gauges to tweak the distributor points, which from my experience of owning a couple vintage MG cars back in the day, tended to need adjustment every hundred or so miles - and usually on the verge of the Maidenhead bypass at rush hour. 

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Sunday, 20 November 2022

Nigel & Nosferatu


Much to the amazement of ‘Oh My Gawd’ Oliver and Bicycle Bill, Deidre Dinkle, the flirty sweetheart of the butter blending department at the local creamery jumps out of the cab of the unusual little engine. She’s just finished a ride around the network of dockland lines learning all about the hot steamy grubby brass control knobs, dials and levers used to operate a steam locomotive. 

To the left, Nasal Nigel appears much like Nosferatu rising out of a coffin at midnight - he being well rehearsed at appearing when least expected or wanted - especially at busy urban bus terminals around pub closing time. He’s never been this close to a ‘gurl’ before, other than when on a busy bus clutching his beloved TT gauge Tri-ang ‘A1A A1A’ diesel electric loco (in green of course to match his attire) which he keeps in the ‘special pocket’ of his sticky green flasher-mac for company.  

‘Mother’ has warned him about such creatures, especially the more outgoing ones, though the real truth is that ‘mother’ doesn’t want him to leave home, even though he’s 50 next year. Nigel best be careful though, because with all the excitement, he’s rather close to the edge of the platform and hasn’t noticed the arriving train. Don’t be like Nigel. 

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Friday, 18 November 2022

Notebook

59 year old Eddie has been acting like a teenager ever since he got his new notebook. He just won’t put it down and is forever flicking between the pages trying to find something he scribbled down a few days ago. Dave looks up and shouts “Oi, Eddie get off that &#£% notebook and fill the $€¥§ water tank, you know that you’re not allowed to use your personal notebook when on duty!”

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Thoroughbred Thursday


Thoroughbred Thursday. 

It’s been a windy overnight in the land of the inch high, with several fallen trees. You’ll note that many of our regulars are here to work out what to do, though to be honest few of them have any skills apart from moonshine production. Luckily, Hubert the conversational thoroughbred Latin speaking horse has just arrived to instigate a well needed plan of action. Such a clever horse 🐎 

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Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Widescreen Wednesday

Widescreen Wednesday. Harking back to the hazy days of summer, We witness Templecombe’s 4F number 44417 pottering about the goods yard at Combwich, as 43216 prepares to depart with the 8.30 service to Templecombe via Highbridge and Evercreech Junction. 

The eagle eyed will note that the wrong SDJR lamp head code is on the loco - it being back to front, for it should be the reverse of this for a passenger working. But the loco fireman who moved the lamps, ‘Brylcreem’ Bill, rather fancies himself a little too much and spends so long grooming himself that he tends to get things reversed, thinking he’s still looking in the mirror when performing everyday tasks.

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Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Takeaway Tuesday

Takeaway Tuesday! ”Hey little ones, I’m home, I hope you’re hungry, daddy’s got pizza!” 🍕

Monday, 14 November 2022

Monologue Monday


Toy train nuts aren't known for having the most positive outlook on life. But here are a few comments I've picked up over the years, some on internet forums - though I tend to avoid those these days, social media, working for a magazine, commission enquiries and general earwigging at exhibitions and clubrooms. 

Of course this is only the tip of the iceberg, but I'm sure you can add to the list in your comments. 

  • Hope they do it in N gauge soon
  • Didn't buy that mag it because it was plastic bagged
  • Why do I have to pay for it?
  • There's nothing in it for me
  • Photography, these days it's all Photoshop!
  • Not enough modern image
  • Not enough steam
  • Not enough Z gauge
  • Not enough N gauge 
  • Too expensive
  • The hobby is dying out 
  • They never reply to my emails
  • Help me, I don't know what to model
  • Why won’t manufacturers listen to my suggestions? 
  • Which scale is right for me?
  • Hornby 
  • After mother died I converted the bathroom in to a railway room
  • Armchair
  • You don't want to do it like that, you want to do it like this!
  • That question has been answered many times before, why didn't you think of using the search function?
  • Not enough time to make a layout because I don't know how to turn the computer off!
  • I hate television
  • Grrr, the X-factor!
  • Grrr, Britain’s Got Talent 
  • Don't like gurls
  • The car parking is dreadful at that show
  • Buses parked on model railway bridges 
  • Lima class 50s look much better than Hornby ones
  • Female
  • Mother has lovely hands
  • Said engine
  • Said poster
  • S&D means Stockton and Darlington not the Somerset & Dorset!
  • My mate said he saw a Deltic on the SDJR in 1961
  • Giving up and taking up stamp collecting
  • It’s printed on nasty paper, I’m sure it’s thinner than last year 
  • They don't do the number I want
  • They don't do the colour I want
  • Warley parking is far too expensive
  • Warley is too expensive 
  • Cake 
  • Sausage rolls 
  • Prototype or fiction?
  • Prototype is better!
  • Fiction is better!
  • The Titfield Thunderbolt 
  • I want mummy
  • Too much detail
  • Not enough detail
  • Plastic handrails 
  • Don't like colour
  • Don't like B&W
  • Wrong shade of BR Blue
  • Hornby BR Blue
  • Wrong shade of GWR green
  • Traction tires 
  • Why don’t Heljan do ready to run P4? There’d be a huge demand for it
  • Can you build me a layout, I can’t pay you but will give you the materials
  • Can you build me a room filler layout for £100?
  • Design me a layout for free
  • Giving up
  • It can’t be 1963, that car didn’t come out until 1964
  • I don't smell do I?
  • I stink because I wash in beer once a year!
  • My rucksack is bigger than yours
  • Rucksacks 
  • Bachmann seconds scrum 
  • I ordered a Bachmann 3F 3 years ago and I'm still waiting
  • Ex-pat; why don't I get the same deal as UK readers?
  • It's not fair 'cos I can't afford it
  • I think you might find…..
  • Help!
  • Can I get Waterloo onto a sheet of 4 x 2 in O gauge?
  • Mummy!
  • Why don't manufacturers make that loco?
  • Duplication 
  • P4 is better than S4
  • I never throw plasticard off cuts away however small
  • I like sniffing PVA, it makes me happy. 
  • My workbench is so untidy
  • I have workbench OCD
  • It's my trainset…
  • Bad grammar
  • Grammar police 
  • Manufacturers should move back to the UK, it would be cheaper. 
  • Youth of today
  • Why don't magazines employ proof readers?
  • That feature on the Class 87 was all wrong, they should have asked  me first!
  • In my day...
  • Divorced
  • Too many adverts
  • Off to put the kettle on
  • Real Ale 
  • Craft beer is too expensive 
  • Foreign muck 
  • Just dropped onto the doormat
  • Can't wait, mine was posted today!
  • Lost my modelling mojo
  • Why don't gurls like me?

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Sunday, 13 November 2022

Merddin Emrys

 

A Sunday morning in the autumn of 1995, as a ballast train arrives with a short rake of ‘codfish’ hopper wagons with 47145 ‘Merddin Emrys’ on the front. Nobody knows who ‘Merddin’ is or was, but it’s thought that she used to run a 2 star bed and breakfast a few miles north of Cardiff. But to be honest that’s only a wild guess. Though I’m sure those of you here that identify as a blue locomotive will be able to enlighten me, and indeed most others here.

Meanwhile, on the wireless, traditional jazz bands Blur and Oasis are as usual are fighting it out in the charts on Radio 3. It’s been going on for months, and to be honest everybody is tired of the Britpop battle apart from the members of Blur or Oasis, or maybe even Pulp who wish they were as popular. 

Brian, on overtime, is stood in the doorway pondering over the day ahead. Casually he looks over at the arrival of the train, and remembers back to when as a lad the only engines were steam and that the sidings here were full of loaded coal wagons. But it’s very different to now, in that demand for coal is much reduced. But he’s not too worried, because he’ll be retiring next year so isn’t concerned about the future of the colliery which looks increasingly like it will close, and then in due course be flattened to make way for a Toys R Us superstore or a drive through Blockbuster video hire shop. 

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Saturday, 12 November 2022

GWR Steam Railmotor

There is much excitement down at the docks this morning. Regular readers will know that the inch high people been after a passenger service on the light railway system for some time, with various types of generally unsuitable motive power and trains trialled. 

But finally, could this be the answer? A steam powered ’Railmotor’ which can be made to run on whatever is chucked in to the firebox - as long as it burns of course. There is always rubbish littering the dockyard which can be used, and of course moonshine to help the less combustible items to burn like banana skins and Barry Bullhead’s Y fronts. And there are rumours that it can even run on electricity if power is run through the track, but that’s a silly and dangerous idea. 

Regulars will know that moonshine is literally everywhere in the land of the inch high people, and of course these days far cheaper than petrol, diesel or oil! But there is of course coal, which to be honest is the best option as I’m sure the more nasal of you will point out with firm but shrill delight.

Thank you to the Kernow Model Rail Centre for allowing me to be custodian of their forthcoming new fangled ‘Railmotor’ for 24 hours. I’m dreading telling the little people that its appearance is only brief, and that they’ll have to continue their pursuit of a suitable train. 

https://www.kernowmodelrailcentre.com/pg/144/KMRC-Locomotive---GWR-Steam-Railmotor

Friday, 11 November 2022

Riding the Cushions

Barry Bullhead from The Ministry of Misery and Driver Colin decide to ride the cushions to Highbridge today, despite the offer of a lift from local cad, bounder and ladies’ man Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe in his Triumph Roadster. Whilst Terry’s speedy little number is quick, it’s cramped and handles like a barge. Not great on those windy lanes across The Levels, especially at the speed Terry likes to drive. 

Barry and Colin are heading for Bristol, so once at Highbridge they’ll change train for their final destination. And of course Barry would always rather ride on the former Great Western Railway rather than the old ‘Slow & Dirty’ via Evercreech Junction, Bath and eventually Bristol. Colin would rather take the latter route, which takes at least twice as long. This is mostly due to it having more stops with good pubs near stations to help pass the time due the inevitable delays caused by single line working on much of the route. 

We of course have no idea what ‘business’ Barry has planned for today, but because he works for The Ministry of Misery, it’s unlikely to favour anyone apart from him, and certainly not us common folk. Colin is just going for the ride, and of course a cider or 7, this week he being on his rest days with free rail travel as a railway employee. 

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Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Competition


Third brother triplets (it’s complicated I know), Comical Ned (with the funny shaped head), former boxer Gaylord Grip, ‘oh my gawd’ Oliver assisted by Deidre Dinkle - flirty darling of the butter making department at the creamery and Rufus the Hound have formed a splinter moonshine collective. The old shelter and disused loading gauge hut being an ideal location for such an operation for a week or two. Though the occasional passing trains could be an issue, but their crews will easily be bribed I’m sure. 

Barry Bullhead, the corrupt official from The Ministry of Misery and moonshine moonlighter Deliberation Dave have heard about the new collective on ’their patch’ and have visited to ‘have a few words’. 


Barry and Dave might struggle here, because the third brother triplets are big chaps, Rufus the Hound has the ability to lick forever and Deidre has well known magic charms with any men she meets, even charmless types like Barry Bullhead. 


This story will continue I’m sure….


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Monday, 7 November 2022

Monochrome Monday

Monochrome Monday. A ‘USA’ tank loco trundles past The Kettle, a right old dive of a boozer. It’s known for its weekly ladies’ wasp chewing competition, knuckle sandwiches, snooker ball fights and rancid warm flat beer of unknown origin. 

That looks like Beryl’s old Austin 7 parked outside, we’re not seen her for a while, but I imagine she’s still in the pub from last night arm wrestling yesterday’s wasp chewing winner ‘well ard’ Rita Codfinger.

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Sunday Engineering

It’s a dull and damp November Sunday deep in The Forest. There has been some engineering further down the line, and a ballast train has arrived unusually hauled by a Class 20 to run around its train of ‘Dogfish’ ballast hopper wagons before returning the Lydney. For the number crunchers, it’s 20064 ‘River Sheaf’, and apparently a bit of a celebrity locomotive in spotterdom. 

The wagon on the left has been parked up here at the colliery since last weekend, it suffering a fault with one of its brakes, however it’s now been fixed by Harry the Hammer mostly using a mallet. The wagon will be attached to the train for Lydney shortly. That’s Harry looking a little cold stood next to the offending wagon, but with his work done for today, he’ll be heading over to The Miners for a jug or three of finest whilst warming up next to the pub’s open fire. 

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Saturday, 5 November 2022

Love Triangle

It’s Saturday morning, and the 10am goods from Highbridge has an unscheduled stop. Passed cleaner, confident Keith, knew that Deidre Dinkle, you know, the much loved flirty darling of the butter blending department from Hemyock creamery, was visiting her grandmother at Catcott. Of course, no description is required for what’s happening. 

Young farmer George has wanted to give Deidre a ride on his throbbing tractor for some time - albeit unsuccessfully. Poor George, for sadly it now looks like that’s never going to happen, Deidre would much rather have a man who can handle a hot steamy locomotive with the ability toss coal 45 feet with the quick effortless flick of a shovel. All George is able to offer her is the occasional day out muck spreading and a bumpy ride on his slow tractor. 

But, despite the preference for a man who can tame hot steamy beasts, Deidre’s body language very much suggests ‘no’ to the advances of confident Keith. The story will continue I’m sure. 

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