Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Vintage Digital


It’s Tuesday morning at Combwich as the 8.35am from Evercreech Junction via Highbridge arrives. 3206 can be seen to the right shunting the yard. 

This early digital photograph dates from around 2003 and was taken on an HP Photosmart 945, which at the smallest aperture gave the most incredible depth of field. When the camera was released 19 years ago, it was cutting edge, with what was then a whopping 5.3 million pixels. It lasted to around 2007 before making a strange pop and expiring. It most likely now graces exported landfill somewhere in Asia after futile attempts to fix it. 

Monday, 16 May 2022

Before Colour Was Invented


It’s monochrome Monday at Hemyock, the day of the week when all colour is removed. It can be a hazardous day, because green and red lights look the same and can cause dangerous confusion on the roads and railways. This is why semaphore signals were used on the railways in the olden days, we simply had to look at the angle of such rather than colour. Busy road junctions were often policed by a chap (or a chapess) wearing big white gloves to direct traffic. But we didn’t know any different back then, unless one was really rich and could see in colour or lived in the USA where everything has always been in colour.


Hemyock was unusual, in that it had no signalling due to the ‘one engine in steam’ (or diesel if you can afford it) status of the line. This by the way, is the main reason for the location being a popular choice with railway modellers, for they don’t need to mess about with pesky signals that are a pain in the whotsit to get to work - okay, I made that bit up.


Anyway here we are at the terminus, as old ‘sad eyes’ runs around its recent arrival of milk tanks destined for the creamery in the distance. Norman and Barry look on, and are keen for Tuesday when colour is to be invented.


As always, click, swipe, tap, lick, wiggle or whatever you do to enlarge. 

Help me to make tomorrow’s post a colour one www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Coal Mines Have Talent

Terry Tuttle Thomas Smythe hosts the very first ‘Coal Mines Have Talent’ competition, that’s our favourite smarmy chap stood on the engine announcing the next act. And here we have the The Railway Guards’ Barbershop Sing & Dance Troupe from nearby Midsomer Norton about to perform their short set. Liz & Margo have been invited as celebrity royal judges for this inaugural event. Somehow or other Nasal Nigel has managed to get on to the ‘stage’, that’s him in the sticky green bus-spotter flasher-mac (it has special pockets with holes on the inside to allow him to adjust himself surreptitiously in public) on the right. Secretly he’s thinking of entering the competition next year with a bus-spotter flasher-mac dance troupe. The thought of that is pretty horrific to be honest, for Coal Mines Have Talent we all know is a family show. 

As always, click, swipe, tap, lick, wiggle or whatever you do to enlarge. Secure your spot in Nigel’s dance troupe next year www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Saturday, 14 May 2022

New Diesel


It's the first day of diesel operation on the Hemyock line, and Derek is a little less than impressed with the replacement for the trusty former GWR 0-4-2 tank engine that worked the line until yesterday. But instant starting would at least get rid of the super early shift to light the fire to build up steam.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Devon Knows


It’s a hazy light overcast morning in rose tinted rural Devon. Arthritic Arthur builds up courage to swing the water filler pipe around to Clive stood on the engine. As usual Clive is looking at his wretched notebook. He’s always looking at it, and is so absorbed he’s often blissfully unaware of the world around him. Poor old Arthur suffers with his arthritis, but he won’t let it get in the way, especially now he’s dating local award winning custard maker Nelly Nibbles who is a good 25 years younger that him. But she keeps him active stirring pots of finest custard for various competitions, with tonight being the highlight of the East Devon & District Custard & Cottage Cheese Society’s annual gala at The Half Moon. How Arthur will keep up after a full shift on the railway, Devon knows. 

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Model Rail 300

Model Rail issue 300 is out today. Lots in it from me including a feature on wagon weathering using easy to source paint and simple easy techniques. The cover was particularly fun to photograph. https://www.greatmagazines.co.uk/model-rail-june-2022





Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Sea Ageing


Down by the canal, Colin is trying out a cunning plan to replicate ‘sea ageing’ with the latest batch of illicitly produced ‘brandy’. The main problem is that they have a whole tank wagon of the stuff to ‘age’, the aforementioned wagon lurking behind the engine masquerading as a petrochemical tank. More wooden casks will be needed, and certainly more boats, or even a ship to carry out the task. As usual all the usual suspects gather around to advise, but will no doubt soon come to the conclusion that they might as well pop a few casks on the veranda of a rough riding old brake van, the effect will be much the same. But with sulphurous sooty air creating its own unique character instead of the more traditional salty air. 

As usual, pinch, tap, swipe, click, or whatever you have to do to zoom in. And  if you like this post, you can help to buy more casks here www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Monday, 9 May 2022

Birmingham Screwdriver

Monday morning deep in The Forest of Dean, and Eric & Ernie check over unreliable 13 which has appeared to make a new squeaky grinding sound in addition to the other 23 squeaky grinding sounds. Things should be okay after a few tweaks with Ernie’s new Birmingham screwdriver. He has quite a collection from bull nosed through to sledge, the latter being his choice of tool today - it also being his latest precision instrument. 

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Flat Earthers will like this….

 

Another scene in the making with the naughty little people. Every time I point a camera at them they freeze. I pop out of the room and they carry on whatever they’re up to. To any Flat Earth Club members looking at this post, this is what the edge of the Earth looks like. 

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Knitted Swimming Trunks

It’s Saturday morning high up on Mendip, and a few lengths of rail are about to be deposited for a track replacement session. Later, single line operation could mean a few delays, but nothing will stop the Pines Express.  Shortly this busy train will be passing through with beige clad dowdy holiday makers destined for their spring break in Bournemouth. Once there, many will be playing bingo or sitting on the beach with a bottle of warm flat brown ale and head protected with a knotted handkerchief. Mother will be keen for her late middle aged still-living-at-home boys to try out their newly knitted swimming trunks. Such wonderful times. 

Friday, 6 May 2022

Chuff Chuff


Front and rear end Friday. Hubert the conversational Latin speaking horse is photographed here trying to converse with Terry the tank engine. Terry only knows how to speak chuff chuff. Derek & Clive try the be translators, but with little success I fear. 

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Mystery Train

Another scene from that strange miniature parallel universe of 1950s little England. Farmer Piles looks on at what appears to be a former Midland loco with a single ex Southern Railway coach and a couple of milk tanks arriving at Hemyock. Deep in former GWR territory, this is a most unusual sight, and one that will almost certainly play havoc with many an enthusiasts’ inner Nasal Nigel. But if we look across at the platform, we see Barry Bullhead from the Ministry of Misery, Shamus O’Flatbottom, Derek, Clive and Beryl, so something dodgy must be afoot. Upon further investigation it would appear that the train is from the creamery at Bason Bridge, with the tank wagons being destined for the creamery here Hemyock just out of shot to the right. But why this wagon exchange? Any thoughts? 

Monday, 2 May 2022

Welded Rail

Monochrome Monday. At an unknown location, possibly somewhere along the Thames Valley, a short passenger train catches the evening light in the early 1960s. Note the long welded rails. Such permanent way inspired PECO to produce their popular flexitrack. 

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Gaylord Grip

Down at the engine shed, new boy Gaylord Grip joins the shed crew. He’s a staggering 6ft 13 inches and has an equally huge character, with plenty of yarns about his days working as pro boxer in the East End of that there London. Being from near the Thames, there isn’t anything he doesn’t know about pickled whelks, jellied eels and knuckle sandwiches. Nervously, Colin has his feet over a crate of moonshine spiked bottled farmhouse cider from Mrs Miggins farm. He’s doing his best to hide the contents with his tiny size 6 boots, being sure that Gaylord Grip is capable of downing the whole contents in under 30 seconds and will want to practice fisticuffs.
As always, flick, tap, bash, wiggle or whatever you have to do to zoom in. And if you really like it, help Colin to hire a bodyguard www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Somerset Snail Culinary Society

Saturday morning at Polbrook Gurney, as the Frome to Bath via Chilcompton service slows. Barry Bullhead and Deliberating Derek are heading for a lunch meeting in nearby Nettlebridge, they’re both key members of the Somerset Snail Culinary Society. Cooked snails are actually a thing up on Mendip - true! Bungalow Bert is daydreaming about gnomes, a miniature working windmill and that garden railway he wants to build for his recently purchased retirement dwelling. Doug is trying to chat to Clive, but as usual Clive on his latest notepad. He never gets off the darn thing, so rude. And finally outside The Pedant & Armchair waiting for it open, Comical Ned (with the funny shaped head) has a date with Beryl. Ahhhh, bless. 

As always, flick, tap, bash, wiggle or whatever you have to do to zoom in. And if you really like it, I’d love a Saturday pint www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Friday, 29 April 2022

Warm Hands


With warm hands deep inside his special heated pockets, Nasal Nigel enjoys the warmth of his bus-spotter green flasher-mac whilst watching the 9am goods from Frome trundle between the pub and the colliery. Mother will be pleased.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

China White

Clad in dandy high vis, former estate agents Toby and Timothy plan their next TikTok video, as trainspotters’ champion 37422 rumbles past with a bulk trainload of finest China white destined for that there London.

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Combwich

Wednesday morning, and here we have the 09.35 to Evercreech departure. A scene on my Combwich layout that I started around 1981. Apart from 15 years or so when it was stored and wrapped up in my parent’s attic, it’s been in my possession ever since. It’s much modified and enlarged since its original incarnation, but the track is original. The soldered construction is a little dated now, but it very much has stood the test of time (and no, I’m not going to relay it). Only tie bars for the point blades being replaced maybe 20 years ago. 

As the layout has evolved it’s had several names, it was initially called Churchstanton, then Stogursey, and finally Combwich when I resurrected the layout around 1999 from its polythene wrapped incarnation. 

Combwich never had a railway, but in my make-believe world it grew in to a town which warranted a railway, an extension of the SDJR from Highbridge. A ridiculous idea, but that’s half the fun of the parallel universe. 

But people in the real world have been taken in, several years ago I received an email from a resident of Combwich saying that they know where the station used to be. I didn’t reply, for I didn’t want to spoil their joy. And whilst the layout is completely fiction, the last bit is completely true.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Duels & Zimmer Frames

It’s a lovely late April morning at Combwich, as the 9.30 to Bridgwater and the 9.35 to Evercreech Junction via Highbridge prepare to depart. These services are usually quiet, the earlier trains carrying the few commuters, for in the old days people tended to live close to their employment. Passengers on these later no doubt soon to be axed services are mostly shoppers and old folk out on a jolly, walking stick and zimmer frame duels very much a thing after consuming too much rough farmhouse cider. 

Saturday, 23 April 2022

St George & Prize Cabbage


Every St George’s Day, Nasal Nigel swaps his trusty sticky green bus-spotter flasher-mac for a brown suit. It dates from his office days working for a company that manufactured sprocket holes for 16 and 35mm film. Every Friday the boss allowed the minions to ‘dress down’, Nigel confusing this with ‘dress brown’. Next to the gates is our loveable little chap (well, mother loves him anyway) chatting to Daphne Dando the crossing keeper about her prize cabbage. Daphne is a keen gardener, and between trains attends her vegetable patch, giving it much love and attention growing runner beans, sprouts, carrots, hemp, cabbages, weed, magic mushrooms and marijuana. The latter of allegedly being very popular in nearby Glastonbury. 

As always, click, swipe, tap, lick, wiggle or whatever you do to enlarge. Buy me a magic mushroom to keep the nonsense flowing www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Friday, 22 April 2022

Pipe Organs & Spam Fritters

It’s front end Friday again. Little Peter Peckett pushes his wagons under the colliery loading screen. Once loaded it might be a slight struggle pulling the wagons forward up the steep grade. But Peter Peckett and his partner in crime Noddy Nobhob make a great team, extracting every bit of power from their tiny engine. On days off, Peter Peckett plays his full sized pipe organ literally built into his ‘two up-two down’. It’s taken him 20 years to build it from plumbing spares and old engine boiler tubes. Noddy Nobhob, on his time off is building a huge website in his garden shed for his dead spider collection using those woven nylon string bags oranges come in. Noddy also collects model buses and loves a sunday fry up with spam fritters and mushy peas garnished with a whole raw sliced onion. Much to everyone’s surprise, Peter Peckett and Noddy Nobhob are currently single, but are actively seeking free and single ladies for fun nights in and maybe marriage. A working pulse not necessary. 

Thursday, 21 April 2022

The Man From the Ministry


It’s a lovely sunrise at Combwich West (not many know that Combwich has 2 stations, but that’s a story for another day), as the first train of the day departs. To the left we see lights are on at The Thong & Flasher, well that’s what the locals call it anyway. The pub has 2 letting rooms, they’re popular with crab fishing types and trainspotters, also Cindy Proper-Job the landlady attracts a certain type of customer. As our train trundles over the crossing, we note that the lights are on in the loco shed office. It looks Barry Bullhead’s powder blue Morris Minor is parked outside (he wanted a Vauxhall Cresta as a company car really). Barry, the former time and motion man from the Ministry of Misery has just started his new position under the infamous Dr Beeching. We all know what that might mean for the railway. The good people of Combwich have been expecting Barry Bullhead’s visit for some time, and have been putting clothing shop display dummies on all the trains to give the appearance of more passengers than there really are. It’s hoped that Barry won’t actually want to travel on any of the services, shop dummies aren’t exactly known for their conversational skills. Fingers crossed. 

As always, click, swipe, tap, lick, wiggle or whatever you do to enlarge. 

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Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Andrew & Barclay


Andrew and Barclay are chatting to the engine crew, favourite subject being  beer and OO gauge checkrail flangeway clearances. Poor old Dave is desperate for the loo, and wishes they’d hurry up and move the engine nearer to the water tower so he can fill the tank. Spotting the crate of beer at their feet, Dave moves it closer to the water tower. Magically Andrew, Barclay and the engine follow. Result.

As previously seen in my regular spot in Model Rail magazine. 

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Comeuppance

Sunday morning, and Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe finds his beloved Triumph ‘babe-catcher’ balanced on some ale casks. The cad and bounder finally gets comeuppance for his regular cheating ways which are often at the expense of those closest to him. Many of our regulars have come to witness the amusing spectacle. Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe (aka TTTS) demands the crane is used to lift his pride and joy off, but despite bribery with a crate of out of date bottled beer, the key for the crane has gone missing. TTTS will have to try harder if he wants a favourable result. From left to right… Derek would like to borrow TTTS’s ‘babe-catcher’ next weekend. Dennis (on the loco) wants a nice new shiny diesel. Doug wants a new shovel. Arthritic Arthur wants a new hip. Comical Ned (with the funny shaped head) would like a date with a lady who doesn’t come with a puncture repair kit. Clive would like a new notebook (he’s always on the darn thing and he’s been after an upgrade for ages). And finally, Nasal Nigel wants some well-soiled latex gloves, we’ll leave that bit there…. 

As always, tap, click or pinch, or whatever you do to zoom in. 

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Saturday, 16 April 2022

Photo in the making…


 Apologies for late post today, real life and all that, and it’s a lovely day to be outside in the UK. But I did pop the lights on earlier and woke the little people up. As usual they’ve all been up to no good overnight. I turn the lights on and they freeze. Sneaky….

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Customs & Exorcists


Thursday morning and our much loved Beryl starts her new job in Customs & Exorcists. There she’ll be investigating illegally imported ectoplasm and other illicit spirits. Her old Austin Seven isn’t really up to the windy country roads to take her in to town, so she’s travelling by rail. As the train arrives, she spots the spooky looking exhaust being emitted from the engine. Something doesn’t look quite right, it looks slightly odd and supernatural. For our Beryl, it looks like the the beginning of a long day, for she also notices that the engine doesn’t have a crew 👻 

As always, tap, click or pinch to zoom in. 

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Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Mother Knows Best


Nasal Nigel in his new slightly sticky green bus-spotter flasher mac loves to watch the passing trains at the level crossing. But he really must stop putting his wiener through the wire mesh. He’s been here all morning shuffling to and fro with the gates as they open and close. Still, it’s okay, mother has some ointment to relieve any tenderness later. Mother always knows best.

Monday, 11 April 2022

Jolly Farmer

Whilst The Pedant & Armchair is a popular pub with Hornby fanciers (other brands are available) and trackmat fiddlers, the newly opened Jolly Farmer is starting to be a hit with the enthusiast fraternity. The quality of the passing trains and engines is a cut above that if the grubby old Pedant, it even has proper outdoor seating and The Royal Mail can deliver those recent toy train purchases straight to your pint glass table. You might even spot a jolly farmer, but it’s said that they’re a thing of folklore, rather like Bigfoot or politicians who have your interest at heart before theirs.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Footplateman’s Fry up


Sunrise at Combwich, the warm radiant light illuminates an ex GWR ‘Small Prairie’. I’ve no idea how some of these names were arrived at in the pre war clenched buttock world of tight British stiff upper lip formality, but I’m sure Nasal Nigel will advise. A mile from Combwich, the railway split, with the S&DJR line to Highbridge and a GWR line to Bridgwater. The railway history here is complicated, much like the railways in Wells - the complexity requiring a book to explain. I’ll probably get it all wrong even if I try. The little goods train here is destined for Bridgwater shortly, the crew are in the cab frying their bacon and eggs on the firing shovel, this culinary delight being called a ‘footplateman’s fry up’. 

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Horsepower


It’s a right old cavalcade down on the docks with further experiments of the new ‘Motor Railway’ car carrying service. With the cost of diesel at an all time high, Hubert (the conversational Latin speaking horse) is rostered the pull the short train. But Hubert is an old boy, and has suggested that the dockyard shunting tractor which runs on used cooking oil from the local greasy spoon is a far more capable tool. Hubert, being such a resilient horse, during the 2020-2022 Zombie Apocalypse of Doom, successfully completed the highly regarded online ‘Teach Your Horse How to Drive a Tractor’ course. And here is the clever chap demonstrating his newly acquired skills to an appreciative audience. And as we can see, all our regulars are here. From left to right: new boy Frank Twist with his crooked hip, Comical Ned (with the funny shaped head), Herbert (the conversational Mayan speaking horse) enjoying an elevated view, bullish charmer Barry Bullhead (the time and motion man from the Ministry of Misery), Derek on guard duty, our Hubert of course, local bounder and cad Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe, Clive and his notebook, and finally our favourite posh girls Liz & Margo who’ve borrowed Beryl’s bubble car for the weekend. 

As always, tap, click or pinch to zoom in. 

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Friday, 8 April 2022

Alphabetti Spaghetti

And it’s that #frontendfriday thing again, the day we go all wibble about fronts with sticky-out pointy bits and bumps. 

These are the men who work on the track, all lining up in acknowledgement of the passing goods. From left to right we have Cyril Flagshaft, on days off he’s a pigeon fiddler, enthusiast and Piccalilli fanatic. Next we have Edwin Jones, originally from Caerphilly, he creates miniature tea clippers from matchsticks with sails from cut up pillow cases. He sails them on the local pond where they capsize and sink in finest Mary Rose style. Next we have Albert Clenchworm, he’s been digging a deep hole on his allotment for decades, no one knows quite why, but he keeps muttering about Australia after too much brown ale. Then we have Doug, we all know Doug, the 1954 gravedigger champion from Plymouth. And finally we have Harry Hi-viz, he loves everything orange. His favourite meal is a big bowl of tinned Alphabetti-Spaghetti washed down with a pint of Lucazade. 

As always tap or click to zoom in. 

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Thursday, 7 April 2022

Airfix 4F

A short ballast train trundles over the crossing at Catcott. The engine is an Airfix Midland 4F 0-6-0, bought from Beatties in 1982. Originally tender drive, around a decade ago I got ace loco fiddler Philip Hall to re-motor and re-chassis it to loco drive with Comet components. Phil did the clever bits, whilst I detailed up the loco, chopping off moulded bits and replacing them with bits of wire and brass followed by a repaint and light weathering. It’s a seriously great runner and has impressive hauling power, much of that being due to the fully compensated chassis, for every wheel touches the rail fully irrespective of how wonky my track is. Anyone spot the cat? 

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Wibble Wednesday


It’s Wibble Wednesday! That’s right, your chance to wibble away to your heart’s delight! I’m sure there’s much here to bring out even your most Nasal Nigel hidden within! Please don’t comment when driving though. Off you go…..

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Winkle Raffle

Combwich quayside next the The Star. This rough old pub is popular the local rowdy types, with the weekly ladies’ wasp chewing competition being one of the many highlights on the event calendar. On Wednesdays there’s the popular ‘open mic’, where anyone called Mike is invited to open his gullet and drink a pint of fish bladders in one go. The winner gets a quart of fish bladders mixed with old ale to take home. And on Sundays there’s the hugely popular pickled winkle raffle, the winner getting his or her choice of supersized winkle for their Sunday supper, or sliced for sandwiches during the week. 

As always tap or click to zoom in. 

Pickled winkle fund www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Monday, 4 April 2022

Crane Loco

It’s a misty Monday morning. And we have the arrival of a former Great Eastern Railway J15 converted in to a crane loco. The complex mechanism lives inside the modified tender and is operated from a control room in the box van behind. The loco is now oil fired, the oil being stored in the tank wagon. Derek & Clive have a few choice words, starting with “how the £¥€$§^ is that going to get through the £&#+% archway to the right?”. Barry Bullhead (the time and motion man from the Ministry of Misery) is concerned about all the extra crew required to operate the new contraption, it replacing a Ruston crane which can be driven everywhere and operated by just one bloke called Bob. 


Sunday, 3 April 2022

Norfolk


Sunday at Windmill Sidings - in a part of forgotten Norfolk which cannot be found on any maps. It’s first thing, and not a soul is yet to be seen next to the ancient disused windmill, which last saw traditional use 100 years before the railway came. However, the locals maintain it for pagan correction rituals; those with eyes too close together, witches, vegans, tee-totallers, Prius owners, those who wear spandex sports attire, Lambrini drinkers, shandy drinkers, young men who wear their jeans too low, latte drinkers, those who leave half a pint of beer undrunk, couscous eaters, trainer wearers, politicians, despots, local government officers, those who order posh coffee in busy pubs, pot noodlers, virtue signallers, those who demand sprinkles on their ice cream, shouty people on mobile phones, Candy Crushers, smug app users in pubs to order food & drink, banjolele players, and anyone from out of town. These often lost souls are attached to the windmill arms and spun around until they repent. Other than that, it’s a lovely spot to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Afternoon Tea

Hemyock in deepest East Devon, a showery July day in 1956. The little loco has just run around its single carriage and collected a milk tank full of Devon’s finest from the creamery in the distance. As usual Barry Bullhead (the time and motion man from the Ministry of Misery) and Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe are plotting some semi-legal business, very much in their own collective favour of course. Colin is checking the vacuum pipe between the engine and the milk tank, it’s been playing up most of the day. Hopefully it won’t delay departure for the 7 mile run to Tiverton Junction, for old Mabel, the only passenger needs to connect with the Bristol train for her afternoon tea with ‘a nice young man’ she’s been a pen-friend with since before the war. 

Hemyock is my current project in OO (Hornby sized) and very much a work in progress. More images will appear in due course. 

You can buy Mabel a tea here www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Friday, 1 April 2022

April Fuels Day

Down at the docks in Little Britain, Customs & Exorcists welcome the arrival of the new ferry service, (P&O having had their operating license withdrawn). From now on, due to zero customer demand, only small ferries will be required - for fully working unused fishing boats are easy to source. They discuss between themselves what a ridiculous April fool the government are playing on the little people of Little Britain, ”54% on the price of an average household fuel bill, that’s even too unbelievable for the 1st of April!”


 

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Wooden Leg

The rails to Fountain Colliery squeeze themselves between The Miners Arms and Betty Beaver’s cottage. Any passing trains are instructed to make themselves known with plenty of horn or whistling, for it’s not unusual for tipsy drinkers to be on the crossing. It would appear that the crew of the engine trundling towards our intrepid photographer have done a good job of clearing the crossing of drunks, hopefully our photographer and former pirate will be able to move out of the way quickly. He’s not a quick mover with his wooden leg, he having lost many a wooden leg to passing trains and nautical misdemeanours. His wooden foot often gets jammed between the rail and the solid granite ballast as he quickly moves out of the way. His current batch of wooden legs and feet are made from balsa wood, the key advantage being light weight and easy to break in times of hazard. Though I feel our photographer should take his own personal safety more seriously, but you cannot change the ways of a retired pirate. 

Click to zoom in as always…

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Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Demolition


 Catcott, 6 months after closure in the early autumn of 1966, and the demolition trains are the only action. The local bus still stops at the station though.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

05.30 At The Brewery

05.30, Tuesday morning at the brewery. New to the job, WPC Pickle normally directs traffic at busy junctions in city centres. Today she’s guarding the rail entrance to the brewery, but is struggling with the fact that trains can only go where the rails take them.

 

Monday, 28 March 2022

Mother

Monochrome Monday. A single wagon of coal is propelled on to the canal wharf. A small amount of coal still goes via canal to a foundry a few miles away, the railway having never got there. Meanwhile milk is delivered to The Pedant & Armchair, many of the customers being elderly single men still living with mother. Mother won’t let them drink beer because it makes them angry, especially when toy train manufacturers announce their new line ups for the year. So, for these often socially challenged souls, one of the beer pumps serves warm milk and is often accompanied by a small bowl of pickled winkles. Mother approves, because the two together will make a good source of calcium and protein for her growing boy. 

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Room With A View

The view from the first floor of The Pedant & Armchair pub. Back in the day it was popular with railway societies as a meeting place, the great view being one of the key attractions. And it looks like celebrated photographer and film maker Ivan Locksmith was in attendance, I imagine he was putting on a film show. Ivan was a keen amateur film maker, who throughout the final years of steam shot many miles of 16mm Kodachrome. 

As always, tap or click on the photo for a bigger view.

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Saturday, 26 March 2022

At The Races

And it’s race day at the colliery. Prince v Princess prepare for a 100ft sprint. Technical advisers and race engineers Pete & Dud have prepared both engines to the same steam pressure. Drivers are Barry Bullhead and Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe, and upon the blowing of the whistle they’ll run to their allocated engines in finest Brooklands ‘running-start’ style. On the left, betting girl Beryl has her money on Prince, her choice of loco being the closest she’ll ever get to a real Prince. Liz & Margo on the right love a flutter on the engines, and of course have chosen Princess as their champion. Hubert the conversational Latin speaking horse, is on hand as third party in the event of there being a dispute. He will decide on the winner in the event of a draw, though Liz & Margo have carrots just in case. 

As always, tap or click on the photo for a bigger view.

Winning bribes accepted here www.buymeacoffee.com/Nevardmedi3

Friday, 25 March 2022

Old Bob

It’s that ‘Front End Friday’ again! Clanking up the bank towards Titfield, the daily goods from Bath rumbles past old Bob re-roofing part of an old terrace.  He’s been on the job for well over thirty years, hardly changing position whilst balancing on the timbers with little squares of grey painted card. He’s only left his post when knocked to the floor from time to time by that ‘hand of god’, his glue covered feet being testament to such previous ordeals. Such a champion, though I wish he’d speed up and finish the job, that sky looks a little stormy. 

Click to zoom in as always…

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Thursday, 24 March 2022

Back to the Future



20 years ago I bought my first digital stills camera. A Canon Powershot A40. I’ve not used it for well over a decade, so yesterday popped 4 x AA batteries in and was surprised to find it still works. The tiny postage stamp sized screen on the rear is rather more low res and wishy washy than I recall. But of course we’ve got used to today’s modern retina type displays with their high res and rich colours. Trying to operate the camera in anything but ‘auto’ was a little challenging, but finally managed to stop the lens down to its smallest aperture of a mere f8. So here we have the result with Comical Ned (with the funny shaped head) and Colin posing in front of a grubby Andrew Barclay chuffer.

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Johnny Bestfinger & Cindy Clapper

Wednesday brings another familiar view of Catcott, as the mid morning Evercreech Junction to Highbridge slows for an empty platform. Average photographer Ivan Locksmith has his Rolleiflex loaded with Ektachrome to grab 43216 with the incorrect headcode. But in deepest, wildest most open Somerset nobody really cares (apart from Nasal Nigel), for control is a long way away. But little does he know, the BBC are on the train with poet laminate Johnny Bestfinger. They’re shooting a documentary about the railway, stopping at various spots along the line. Later in the day they’ll return to film Cindy Clapper the crossing keeper opening and closing her gates, something she always likes to do for an enthusiastic audience. She’s always wanted to meet poet Johhny Bestfinger, having borrowed many of his books from the library in Glastonbury a few miles down the road. And now she’ll be on film, destined for the Friday 6.30pm regional opt-out after the main news bulletin. The train departs, and Ivan Locksmith pops his camera back in its case, he being blissfully unaware of what he doesn’t see; but in 60 years time he’ll discover a bootleg copy of the film on YouTube, and think, gosh I photographed that train, let me scan that old 6x6cm slide for all to see.

Click to zoom in as always…

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