Saturday, 31 December 2022

Armageddon

It’s a stormy Saturday not far from Armageddon. George on the left is looking after Deidre’s hound Rufus for the day, whilst she’s out seeking new customers for the moonshiner collective she’s a member of having recently given up her job in the butter blending department at the local creamery. 

George is chatting to the much celebrated posh average photographer ‘Oh dear boy’ Ivan Locksmith about home film processing. When Ivan doesn’t have a camera to his face, he tends to chew his nails - he’s doing it right now. It’s a bad habit, especially when they’re covered in toxic photographic chemicals, with almost-spent photo print fixer being the most tasty with its bitter metallic salty taste. 

Over in nearby Armageddon, the sky is particularly treacherous looking, the daylight being literally sucked away, and despite it being mid morning, the photocell on the streetlight has made the bulb turn on. Streetlighting fanatics I’m sure will be in awe of the Mercury vapour glow. I think the lantern might be made by GEC, but I’m no expert, but I’m sure one of you, my loyal readers will. 

In Little Britain, streetlight spotting is almost as popular as bus and trainspotting, it attracting a similar demographic which generally consists of lonely single late-middle aged men with an aversion to soap. The saving on soap and other hygiene products like deodorant and water, can then be spent on real ale with silly names in ‘old man pubs’, and of course yet another BR blue Class 37 to add to their already extensive collection. 

On the right, Shamus and Harry the Hammer are eyeing up the old wheelbarrow, and are wondering if it might be missed for a while. They have a crate of hooch that needs dropping over at Beryl’s a mile or two away. She would normally drive over to collect it, but she’s 97 and is currently halfway through yet another speeding ban. 

And finally, over there in the distance, for some reason the locomotive has been accidentally assigned a crew of 3, so they’ve just tossed a coin to see who gets to go to the pub. But it looks like they’ve just dropped the coin and lost it. Duh. 

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The set up for this post using an iPhone 7


Friday, 30 December 2022

George & George


It’s Friday, and the moonshiner collective formed of Deidre, Terry, Rufus Hound, Shamus and Barry are off to Shepton Mallet for a day out visiting various pubs on route to hopefully strike up sales of their illicit booze. A move which I’m sure will be popular with cash strapped publicans, as long as the hooch doesn’t make their customers fight too much or simply go blind. 

Celebrated posh but average photographer ‘Oh Dear Boy’ Ivan Locksmith accompanied by Kodak Keith, have just photographed ex LMS 4F No 44417 departing with a fresh load of coal destined for one of the Bristol power stations. Sadly the coal mined here isn’t the best, and not a patch on that shiny hard stuff from the other side of the Bristol Channel. Cue the Welsh cheers… 

Over by the the pub, Farmer George after dropping Deidre Dinkle off with his throbbing tractor (he knows how to treat a girl), can be seen chatting to his brother. George’s brother is not only an identical twin, but also called George just to confuse things. 

George’s mother and father at the time of the twins’ birth though it would be easier to give them both the same name, because there really is no way you can tell them apart. They even have identical throbbing green tractors. It’s rumoured that Deidre Dinkle is going out with both of them, unaware that they are in fact two. On the odd occasion she does see both of them, it’s usually down the pub after too much cider ,so simply puts it down to double vision. 

And finally, if Deidre does marry George or/and George, how will this work out at the alter? This isn’t Utah after all, which I think is about multiple wives, not husbands? Hopefully some of my stateside readers can enlighten us. 

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Thursday, 29 December 2022

Gradients & Gongoozlers

Thursday morning at the colliery, and the locomotive has just been sent down the wrong road by Dudley who’s on his damn notebook again and Deliberation Dave - both of who aren’t paying attention, despite them offering to change the point for shunter Shifty Sigmund stood with his back to us. 

The driver of the loco luckily was on the ball and quickly applied the brakes. Phew. But Sigmund’s language cannot be repeated here, despite most of you, my loyal readers being of more sterling stuff and not of the easily offended on behalf other people variety. 

This part of the colliery is interesting historically, because before the railway came and drastically changed the immediate landscape, there used to be a canal here. The humpback bridge in the distance used to cross over the waterway, but was kept when the railway was built. 

The locomotive is stood on a 1 in 20 gradient, quite steep for a railway I’m sure you’ll agree. And whilst it’s not the steepest adhesion railway in the whole of Little Britain, it certainly is in this part of the Somerset Coal Field if one ignores the nearby cable hauled inclines of Kilmersdon, Clandown and suchlike. 

A short flight of locks used to be roughly where the gradient is, with the one here being a 3 compartment ‘staircase’ flight, which made it particularly unpopular with the boatmen who worked the coal canal, especially in latter years with badly leaking gates. 

And finally, the canal now terminates out of shot to the left next to The Pedant & Armchair pub. It was formerly known as ‘The Coal Boat’, and had a very different type of customer back then before it became a favourite haunt of the squeaky voiced nasally afflicted railway loving hobbyist and narrowboat loving gongoozlers. 

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Wednesday, 28 December 2022

The Pines Express

It’s a blustery showery Wednesday, as the heavy north bound Pines Express heads back to the grim north from Bournemouth West, its load of holiday makers being slightly downbeat as they return to toil in the many mills, factories and pits. But at least the beer is far cheaper in the grim north, though much of it is just foam of course.

Here we are near Masbury at almost 1000 feet high up on Mendip, the two engines holding their own on the slippery wet rails and steep uphill grade. But soon they’ll be over the top, for a while anyway, and the loco crews will be able to take it a little easier as the train glides down through the North Somerset mining towns of Midsomer Norton, Radstock and beyond. 

But the respite will be short lived, for our train will then have to head up over the hills in to Bath via the infamous unventilated steeply graded single bore Combe Down and Devonshire tunnels - the ultimate badge of honour for any rooky and even experienced crew. 

Once at Bath Green Park, our two locos and crews will head for the shed, and another just single loco and fresh crew will haul our heavy train forward on its next step north towards Manchester, the final destination. 

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Tuesday, 27 December 2022

Time Warp Tuesday

Time warp Tuesday, you’ve seen this one before I’m sure. Some remember these times fondly, especially and those with really bad looking teeth. And of course toilet paper hoarders who collected the stuff much like model railway collectors. One to use, and another to store in mint condition as a future investment.

Monday, 26 December 2022

Boxing Day Races

It’s Boxing Day in the land of the inch high, and as is the norm, there is the annual race pulling a train with a tractor. And because it’s like Christmas in the movies, snow is everywhere of course, with even the canal basin freezing over. 

One at a time, many of our regulars take their turn driving the shunting tractor to see who can cover 300 yards the fastest. And here we have Hubert the conversational Latin speaking horse at the wheel, taking the consist up to a whopping 7.3 miles per hour. The only difficulty was getting Hubert up on to the tractor, but luckily there’s an excellent crane, and as we can see Hubert is rather good at driving with his rear two hooves - such a clever horse. 

Over to the left, we can see Hubert’s brother, Herbert the conversational Mayan speaking horse, he’s also taken advantage of the crane to get a rather excellent elevated view of proceedings. 

In the foreground, Nasal Nigel with his back to us (in his trusty sticky green flasher-mac with special pocket) has been allowed out to time the races as part of his education in being socialised, he being somewhat challenged in this department. As a thank you, he’ll be allowed to keep the stopwatch after this morning’s antics are over - and anyway, it will almost certainly be a bio hazard after he’s handled it for any length of time. 

And finally to the right, former Prime Ministers from The Misery Party, Lizzie and Teresa have appeared to observe today’s antics, though probably only because they’ll all be heading to the pub after. They like a gin or two. 

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Saturday, 24 December 2022

George πŸ’• Deidre


 It’s Christmas Eve, and like in all the movies, it’s snowing with many of our favourites having come out to watch the morning goods trundle through before they all head to the pub. What’s so special about this train, I’m not sure, but I needed to write something to establish today’s post. 

And much to my surprise, and quite likely yours too if you’re a regular reader of my drivel, it would appear that Farmer George and Deidre Dinkle, flirty darling of the butter blending department have finally got together after all this time. Phew, it was getting rather tiresome, so, 1, 2, 3 … aaaarrrhhhh, bless. 

You’ll notice that most are dressed to suit the weather, but not George or Deidre. But I’ve since found out, having never spoken to them until a short while ago, that they’re both from Yorkshire, so this is like summer. Readers and viewers of this post from the grim north, I’m sure will confirm that a coat, hat and scarf is just for those namby pamby bloody southerners. 

To the left, Arthritic Arthur is struggling a little with his joints, but hopefully as soon at the train has passed, Deliberation Dave will guide him to the pub for a bit of boozy lubricant to loosen him up. 

Posh photographer ‘Oh Dear Boy’ Ivan Locksmith, is standing next to Barry Bullhead with his back to us photographing the passing train on his trusty Rolleiflex. Barry for once is just enjoying the moment, but I’m sure will be back to his old ways at The Ministry of Misery as soon as the festive season is over. 

Outside the pub you’ll notice a 3 wheeled Scammell ‘Mechanical Horse’, for Dizzie Lizzie’s latest job is dropping off ale to local pubs. Lizzie, as I’m sure many of you know by now, only hangs on to a job for a week or two, this being her 17th job since September. And if you look closely, it would appear that Neil is proposing to her, but it’s most likely that he’s just grovelling for something - the snivelling little tick. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him stand up to be honest. Anyway, Lizzie is married to an accountant with aspirations of becoming a lion tamer. 

Local cad and ladies’ man, Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe is stood next to his Triumph Roadster in his standard ‘Hello Ladies’ pose. Once Neil has scuttled away on all fours, Terry will turn his attention to Lizzie, hoping that a quick spin in his roadster she’ll find more appealing than watching hubby get chased by lions at the nearby zoo. 

And finally, Hubert the conversational Latin speaking horse is giving Harry the Hammer some tips on how to swear in Latin for when he stubs his thumb - such a clever horse. 

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Friday, 23 December 2022

Crotch Fug


 It’s, ‘The Front’s at the Other End Friday’ aka #FATOEF init. 

It’s mid September and autumn is well and truly underway, as an unidentified Class 3 tank engine departs Combwich with the 10.05am service to Evercreech Junction. 

A heathy breeze is coming off the Bristol Channel, those heavy laden clouds bringing plenty of ‘squally showers’, the favourite autumnal phrase adopted by television weather forecasters across Little England. 

As usual the only ‘passenger’ is the guard, for nobody wants to travel at this time of day from almost nowhere to really the middle of nowhere, apart from the occasional railway enthusiast who got on to the wrong train. The year before, this service consisted of 2 ex LMS suburban coaches and a van, but now a single GWR designed Hawksworth brake composite is more than adequate and has the bonus of being a little more comfortable. 

However the bogie parcels van still sees much use transporting cheese, apples, vintage cider and a late strawberry harvest. Also there is the usual moonshine in glass jars hidden inside cuddly toys, and almost anything else that won’t attract attention like Nasal Nigel’s backpack (okay, that attracts plenty of attention, but would you go anywhere near it?). Of course it isn’t  Nigel’s actual backpack, but the booze runners have produced a whole load of identical copies, but without the stickiness and mild pong of ambient crotch fug, mothballs and pickled eggs. 

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Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Burton Snatch

Happy winter solstice, or summer if you’re from down under. I couldn’t find a suitable winter solstice pic for today, so here we are on a lovely summer solstice day in the land of the inch high. 

Business is thriving in this lawless miniature land, as a consignment of fresh moonshine ready for bottling sits at the end of the siding in a former 5 Star petrol tank wagon, the tetraethyllead giving the liquor a real extra kick. 

Trials are underway for a premium priced oak cask sea aged liquor, but lack of a suitable vessel to age the spirit through the gentle rocking of the oceans and all that salty air means a little inventiveness is required….

Colin has stepped in and offered his rather old dinghy for the trials in exchange for a crate of you know what. Obviously volume could be an issue, because only one cask at the time can be aged, and the water in the canal is rather static. It also has a rather nasty eggy methane smell due to all the dead fish, sewage and other detritus that’s pumped in to it by the local council and water board as they save money to spend on their plush new offices. But it certainly has plenty of character, but maybe not the sort that will create a sought-after premium vintage. 

But of course, that said, beer from Burton on Trent for well over 150 years for some reason, has thrived on brewing ale with a rather fuggy eggy type pong, so they could be on to something. But the famous ‘Burton Snatch’ as it’s known, is down to the high levels of calcium sulphate in the brewing water which creates a similar public loo aroma similar to that of canal water much sought after by bearded pot bellied real ale aficionados, and many a toy train nut of course. 

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Monday, 19 December 2022

Christmas Tree Arrival

It’s not monochrome Monday, because as a special treat on this dull wet and windy morning as I type this in Little Britain, I’ve found an old 49p coin to pop in to the colour meter. 

Local fuzz, former investigators of the supernatural, UFOs and little green men, Mouldy and Scullery supervise the annual arrival of the Christmas tree from the remote treeless Nordic island of BΓΈg BrΓΈsh. 

The island, whilst it has no trees, has a flourishing toilet brush factory, and with the pressure to reduce deforestation has suddenly become rather busy, especially at this seasonal time of year. 

HΓΈ hΓΈ hΓΈ πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„

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Sunday, 18 December 2022

Fun Loving Rufus

Rufus Hound is a fun loving playful doggy, and once he’s off his lead, is brilliant at evading capture. Here is the bouncy little fella winding up Farmer George and Neil in the crossing keeper’s vegetable patch. Deidre Dinkle and Dizzy Lizzie look on in amusement, for they like to watch the antics of two sweaty men burn off a few calories in the summer heat. George hopes that Deidre will be impressed with his canine control, but he really needs to take charge of Rufus quickly, for she likes a man who can rather than a man who can’t. Lizzie just hopes that none of the lettuces get trodden on. 

The crew of the 2.35pm Highbridge to Evercreech Junction service delay their departure from Catcott Burtle Halt to avoid any potential accidents. I fear they could be some time though, for the antics here have been going on for at least 15 minutes. On the right next to the cottage, you can just about see Waving Wayne, he, as I’m sure you know by now has been waving since 1952, so hopefully the crew on the engine won’t get confused πŸš‚

And now the tech, for a know a few of you like that sort of thing even more than Deidre. iPhone 7 capture though Adobe Lightroom Mobile app shooting RAW/DNG. Then on my desktop, the output was focus stacked from a dozen or so images with Helicon Focus to creat a greater depth of field. The result is then dipped in Photoshop glitter. The rest is practice. A quick search on Google will go in to plenty of detail about the benefits of RAW capture and focus stacking. 

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Saturday, 17 December 2022

Bill & Ted’s Big Adventure

Saturday morning at the colliery deep in The Forest of Dean. And as usual the weekly ballast train from the nearby quarry arrives to run around its load before heading back to the junction at Lydney. 

Much to Kevin’s surprise, he finds a ’Shark’ ballast brakevan blocking the end of run-around loop, with Bill & Ted inside taking turns to rotate the big brake wheel as they squeal and giggle to themselves like a couple of laughing gnomes helping themselves to the Bachmann seconds stand at the NEC. 

Socially challenged and easily led Bill & Ted (hey, that almost rhymes), always keen for a big adventure are gullible souls, and definitely not the sharpest tools, especially after a night out drinking spiked cider at The Miners nearby. For late last night (actually only 3 hours ago, there was a lock-in) at the pub, old bar fly, lush, retired railway guard and prankster Douglas, told them that the brake wheel is in fact a steering wheel, and that they could use the brake van to get home by road if their journey was all downhill - gosh, that’s all very Titfield Thunderbolt isn’t it? 

The Chubby Controller (I can’t say fat anymore apparently) won’t be too impressed when he hears about inebriation in charge of a brake van and potential theft. However, what happens in The Forest, stays in The Forest, so they’ll be okay this time. But don’t be like Bill & Ted, even if you are rather silly and love a drunken adventure, but instead cycle home without lights and frozen brakes, that’s far more fun.  

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Friday, 16 December 2022

Another Front End Friday #FEF

Front End Friday #FEF, I’m not quite sure why and if it’s really a thing, but I gather it started in the Twittersphere by some of the more hashtag aware toy train nuts. I’m sure some of you will be able to advise, though to me, as a weekend muso a # is a sharp, not some social media tool to attract attention from needy posters of drivel like yours truly. 

Looking back to the late summer, and unless you’re one of my loyal readers or viewers from that there ‘down under’, you’ll like me be looking forward to those warmer longer days. So with that in mind, here’s a rare visit by Guildford shed’s Q1 No 33019 departing Combwich with the morning goods to Poole via Highbridge and Evercreech Junction. 

I’m not sure what the wagons will be carrying, but possibly apples and other harvest time produce, new wicker baskets made by the local peasants, maybe the highly sought after Combwich crab packed away with ice in that new fangled expanded polystyrene to keep it cool. 

Of course there will almost certainly be moonshine! It will no doubt be hidden in children’s toys and other more innocent looking objects of lesser desire like paint tins and milk bottles painted white inside to hide their content - though I image 170% proof liquor is likely to react with the paint. But in these rose tinted olden days prior to colour TV, it’s positively healthy to smoke and sprinkle sparkling asbestos all over your Christmas tree. 

And finally, may you have a #fabulous #friday #wherever #you #are in #toytrainland. 

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Thursday, 15 December 2022

Dr Loo

Today the little people are shooting a new science fiction drama for the LBBC (Little British Broadcasting Corporation), it’s to be called Dr Loo. It’s mostly based around a urine smelling public telephone box that can travel through time and space, then manifest in awkward, silly and almost certainly dangerous places (mostly because it looks good on camera). 

The telephone box is far smaller inside than on the outside, that would of course be expected, but is really is far far smaller. Anyone wanting to use the box has to cling to the outside and hold on for dear life. And anyway, because it’s a budget production the door doesn’t open. 

Curiously, the now ‘Sir’ Nasal Nigel (read my post from a day or two ago to find out about the ‘Sir’ bit) has been cast as the main character ‘Dr Loo’ - it’s amazing what a knighthood  can do, allowing inappropriate people in to roles they’re really not qualified for, but of course this is Little Britain. 

In the storyline, an exiled engine has just flown through space from the planet Zob Beta XI on the unfashionable outer western arm of the galaxy Engine Shed 5. It’s occupied by robots that look like railway locomotives and trucks with animated fibreglass faces that smugly communicate with condescending voices. The battle scarred locomotive here which identifies as ‘Timothy’, a once blue engine with big eyes, appears to have struggled a little with the extreme heat entering the Earth’s atmosphere. So of course he’s now type cast an evil baddy with evil megalomaniac tendencies, the burning heat changing his character for the worse. 

But will Dr Loo, he also being a misunderstood social outcast, be able to extract the latent hidden goodness from the once irritatingly smug robot engine? Could introducing Timothy to naked bus spotting at 3am be the answer? 

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Wednesday, 14 December 2022

Industrial Action

No trains are running today, but nothing stops our inch high champions putting Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe’s Triumph Roadster up on a few ale casks before downing tools and heading for the pub. 



 

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

Trigger Alert

From time to time I’m contacted by you my loyal viewers/readers about what Brew Street is like in the present day. **BEWARE, this post is mildly political, so I’m issuing a ‘Trigger Alert’ for those who like to be offended on behalf of other people. But in contrast, rubber fanatics will enjoy this post, so you take your choice whether to read on or clutch your new TT gauge Flying Scotsman and quickly pass by. 

The illicit moonshine business is long gone, it being exposed by fluorescent yellow spandex wearing teetotal caffeine free do gooders on the local council. However the railway still serves the wharves, but any rail borne activity is based around breaking up old wagons and other metal recycling. 

A handful of small businesses use the few remaining buildings, more on that in a moment. Looking to the near future, planning is well underway to redevelop the whole site and build luxury apartments for foreign investors, the waterside location making it very attractive for big money made during the plague and the business opportunities it created in 2020/21/22

During The Zombie Apocalypse of Doom, as one of the many dodgy PPE contracts awarded, Nasal Nigel, who at the time ran a rubber factory at Brew Street making sticky green rubber sex attire and other dubious items for several back bench MPs, earned a contract making rubber plague masks. Unlike the light blue paper dishcloth ones (always worn under the nose) still much favoured by virtue signalling nervous types, bungalow dwellers, Prius drivers and those with rotten teeth in present day Little Britain, his rubber ones (available in Southern National bus green of course) were extremely effective at blocking out everything. They were so good, wearers tended to suffer suffocation, because not only did they block the plague, they also blocked out 99.765% of any air intake.

After just a few weeks in circulation, whilst they got quite a following within certain circles, the rubber masks were hastily withdrawn from the market. Surplus stock was then turned in to underwear liners aimed at those who unfortunately suffer prostate problems, or simply get over excited hanging around at bus stations, and of course railway stations when Class 37 ‘top and tailed’ bright yellow ultrasonic rail testing trains throb past. 

Oh yes, as an award to his services to ‘health’, back in the summer, Nasal Nigel was awarded a peerage, he is now to be known as Sir Nasal Nigel, and as if that isn’t enough he’s had a Boris Bus named after him 

**The ‘Trigger Alert’ has now passed, so you can peel away your rubber eyepatches and look forward to something more fluffy in this ‘space’ tomorrow. 

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Sunday, 11 December 2022

Freezing Fog

A foggy snowy morning at Windmill Sidings. It looks like the crew of the engine have let the fire go out, so somebody will be in trouble. Though due to the weather, the crew who’ve been taking shelter in a nearby pub all night can easily blame the late arrival back to the junction on some rogue snow drift blocking the line. Telephone lines are down, so there was no way for them to contact Control. 

The ancient windmill has been disused for well over a hundred years, and certainly well before the railway appeared invading its space so rudely. The more able members of the local history society occasionally perform cosmetic maintenance to stop it completely disintegrating. There are rumours however, that will be be used for Guy Fawkes Night next year, for it really is quite rotten and will likely blow over in next year’s autumn storms anyway. 

Rumour has it, that Airfix based their much loved and inexpensive kit on the one here. 

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Saturday, 10 December 2022

Hello Big Boy!


 “Oh, a hello Big Boy”, the girls cry out loud with much thill and joy. 

Friday, 9 December 2022

Fake Snow!

Cold Front End Friday. Lizzie & Theresa, are at some remote pretty place in the easterly flatlands even more nowhere than Central Bedfordshire, as they watch the arrival of the morning goods. 

Being former ‘ladies wot lunch’, they are good at chattering about almost nothing, but notice that snow has strangely settled on the hot steam loco. “It’s fake snow, fake snow I say”, they cry to each other. “Now I know why our legs aren’t frozen even though the snow is ankle deep!” 

Then they notice the shiny red van “The Royal Mail don’t have red Austin A35 vans, so it must be fake as well. And while we’re here, I’m sure that vulgar Christmas tree is plastic. We’d never have a fake one a Chequers!”  

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Thursday, 8 December 2022

Snow!

 Thursday morning is rather frosty, and now it’s starting to snow with the passing of the clear and crisp full moon lit night, the heavily laden clouds bringing potential joy to snowman creators and lazy types who want to skive off work. Sensible types will of course notice the almost complete lack of appropriate clothing. But in the land of the inch high, (they being mostly made of resin, metal or plastic) they are little more resilient and less susceptible to cold than some of the *6ft giants reading this load of old nonsense. *Other heights are of course acknowledged. 

As usual, Barry Bullhead from The Ministry of Misery, accompanied by his pet and snivelling little tick, Neil, is performing his morning inspection to ensure that everyone is unhappy. Dud should be topping up the water, but everything is frozen, so he’s warming up by leaning against the hot engine whilst he waits for the fire devil out of shot behind the engine to thaw the pipe from the water tower. 

To the left, former Prime Minister of The Line Your Own Pockets Party, Dizzy Lizzie, is on her way to a job interview, but since we last saw her she’s has had at least 8 or 9 jobs, so is unlikely to be taken seriously for the barmaid vacancy at The Kettle Inn. Though she is an expert at chewing wasps, a requirement for the role, and of course working at Westminster has given her plenty of suitable experience for tackling difficult drinkers this den of iniquity of a pub. 

And finally, retired boxer & wrestler Gaylord Grip and Comical Ned (with the funny shaped head) pop out of the warm warehouse to see what’s going on. It’s lovely and warm in there with the installation of 3 new stills which have been running overnight producing illicit hooch for the Christmas market. 

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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!” πŸ•

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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