Wednesday 31 May 2023

The Aldershot Grunt

Wednesday morning at Moorewood Colliery high up in the Mendip Hills Derek & Clive are looking at the motley collection of 2ft 3 inch gauge tipper wagons used for transporting the coal from the colliery to the mainline. Apparently it’s rumoured that Roco based their popular HOe gauge narrow gauge wagons on the ones here, but of course that’s probably just nonsense.

Hubert the conversational Latin speaking horse over the the distance is trying to confuse Barry Bullhead, the charmless time and motion man from The Ministry of Misery by only speaking in Latin. Barry is a straightforward man, and only really fluent in what’s known as ‘Aldershot Grunt’, which mostly only consists of ‘yeah’, ‘no’, lager’ and phrases like ‘you lookin’ at my bird mister’.

Derek & Clive, whilst being men of Somerset, served their national service around the Aldershot area, so understand Barry reasonably well, but pay no attention to him whatsoever by looking confused and replying in their best ‘Zummerzet’.

For narrow gauge fanciers, they’re standing on the 19 inch gauge railway which brings the coal tubs up from the coal face 600 feet below via the pithead in the distance. Hubert today being rostered to pull them up the bank for loading in to the tipper wagons here.


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Monday 29 May 2023

Fully Detailed Interior

A little earlier, the little people from the land of the inch high were very keen to see the inside of that new fangled 6 wheeled SE&CR brakevan from those there snazzy folk at Rapido Trains UK. They’d heard the rumour that it has a fully detailed interior, something you cannot appreciate seeing the roof is glued on. But Double Denim Dando, West of England Cider & Dance Festival Championship runner up 1952-1955 is good at opening up glued joints with the sharp end of his tap dancing shoes. 

Once inside, they were able to fully appreciate the fully detail interior with stove, benches and separately applied bracing. What a winner they came to conclusion, now only if we can get those doors to open. But Double Denim Dando is working on that. 

Beware you’ll most likely invalidate any warranty prying the rood off, but it’s only very lightly attached and is easily popped off with fingernails without having to resort to the sharp end of a tap dancing shoe.  


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Sunday 28 May 2023

Three Years Ago

Commemorating the toilet roll fights of three years ago much enjoyed in Little England during the Zombie Apocalypse of Doom £ovid era, Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe is exploring yet another business opportunity. Bets can be placed on who manages to end the bout with the most toilet paper. We’re currently in round 3, as masked crusaders Sharon & Tracy, champion toilet roll hoarders of 2020 do their best. 

Many of our favourite little people are here including Liz and Teresa who never miss out on a good flutter. Nasal Nigel is enjoying an elevated position from the top of a beer cask, and already has ideas for a similar competition involving cling film and a TT gauge Flying Scotsman loco. Maybe we won’t go there. 

As always, click, swipe, tap, lick, wiggle or whatever you do to enlarge. Help me to keep these scenes of nonsense going when I really should be doing something more productive or

Saturday 27 May 2023

New Rapido Trains 6 Wheeled SECR Brake Vans

Saturday morning down at the docks and a train of brake vans has arrived all the way from somewhere in Kent, not far from that there London. 

It’s going to be used for an enthusiasts’ ‘Brake Van Special’, because as we know, railway buffs would always rather travel in such a vehicle as opposed to the comfort of a plush passenger carriage. It’s all about getting soot in the eyes apparently, the sharp sting of that hot clinker getting stuck under the eyelids being a right of passage for the steam enthusiast. Diesel nuts of course will never experience such joys, unless sprayed with pepper spray by a ‘gurl’ who really didn’t want to be shown that OO gauge Triang Hornby English Electric Type 3 with full yellow ends whilst waiting for the final bus home. 

Meanwhile, Hubert the conversational Latin speaking shunting horse is hoping that he’s not expected to ‘pull that lot’. But luckily there appears to be an engine waiting nearby, but sadly for Hubert it’s been blocked in by the train of brake vans which have been dumped there by the mainline locomotive, the mainline locomotive most likely being a diesel. 

And finally the moonshiners a few miles away in the middle of the Bristol Channel on one of the small islands appeared to have suffered another exploding still if that huge cloud is anything to go by. 


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Thursday 25 May 2023

WTF Thursday

 It’s #WTFthursday, formerly known as #titfieldthunderboltthursday

Ever since the arrival of the smug virtue signalling do-gooder blue engine on the scene, the loco crew have been getting increasingly fed up being reported to control for bending the rules slightly like bricking up irritating engines in tunnels and other such harmless jovial malarkey. 

In revenge for being snuck on, they’ve filled the blue engine’s tanks with moonshine instead of the usual water in an attempt to make the loco fit in better in the naughty mischievous land of the inch high. 

It’s certainly had quite an impact, because the blue engine and its train forgot to stop at all the stations on route to Brew Street before finally running out of puff here right in front of us, for moonshine tends not to last nearly as long as water for powering a steam locomotive. Now the prank is over, the inch high better fill the tanks with water, because inevitable the hangover has definitely begun if those bloodshot eyes are anything to go by. 

*Disclaimer before I get get snitched on and reported to Barry Bullhead from The Ministry of Misery. Please never fill a teetotaller’s water tanks with booze, it’s not a nice thing to do, and could result all sorts of nastiness like glowing eyes and more serious hazards like silly dancing and ‘the wobbles’. 

And finally, I apologise to the many devoted fans of the smug blue engine which brings much joy to the young, old and lonely whilst making the super rich richer.


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Tuesday 23 May 2023

Repurposed Coal Hopper

Narrow gauge loco ‘Tiddles’ reverses its train of tipper wagons carrying iron ore up to the loading elevator hopper. The little loco and train will require several return runs to fill the standard gauge wagon. 

The loader was bought brand new off British Railways, it being surplus to requirements due to the ‘Modernisation Plan’ of 1955. It was built for loading coal at the larger steam motive power depots, but was easily adapted for the job here. 

It’s believed that Ratio based their well known kit on the prototype here, but of course that might just be nonsense.


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Monday 22 May 2023

Monochrome Monday

Monochrome Monday again, and because the colour meter isn’t topped up until Tuesday morning, today as with most Mondays will be presented in black and white. 

As Peter Peckett trundles by with a couple of empty coal trucks, Seth and Deliberation Dave ponder on the lack of colour and wonder later on how they’re going to play that game of snooker in The Kettle Inn. They might instead have to play a game of dominoes or toad in the hole, because at least the lack of colour will be less of an issue. 


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Sunday 21 May 2023

Just Stop Soil

Bob Geeza Cat is a well known activist in the feline ‘Just Stop Soil’ pressure group, a campaign started a few years ago by posh pedigree cats to stop their owners using garden soil as cat litter. ‘Just Stop Soil’, want only the finest odour reducing high grade absorbent clumping kitty litter to be used, and the use of mucky soil to be banned. 

Today in protest, Bob has glued his paws to the timbers in the middle of the level crossing and has blocked the movement of both rail and road traffic. As with most of these situations there is much faffing about, with a crate of fresh cream being supplied to ensure the wellbeing of our possibly until now popular cat being paramount over everything else. Even snivelling little tick Neil has dropped down to Bob’s height and is reciting some feline inspired poetry to calm his nerves, though to be honest it’s probably having the opposite effect. 

However, Bob is about to discover that when the crossing is flooded with 180 proof moonshine, the adhesive used to glue his paws to the crossing timbers will literally dissolve in seconds. Most conveniently, George and Deidre just so happen to be delivering moonshine, regulars will now doubt have spotted them standing in front of their mobile moonshine production and delivery lorry. 


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Friday 19 May 2023

Trainspotting Dog

Here we are at Whitby, and the little chap hasn’t seen a steam loco for some time. He’s pretty gung ho about most things, but simply stood mesmerised whilst looking and listening to the hot steamy beast before looking back for confirmation that all was okay. 

The engine, popularly known as ‘Schools’ class, a fleet of 40 locos named after posh schools, in the case ‘Repton’, was built at Eastleigh Works in 1934 for the Southern Railway. The locomotive was withdrawn in 1962 and now lives a long way from its original southern stomping grounds pulling trains of tourists, grockles and railway nerds along the delightful and highly scenic North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Monday 15 May 2023

iPhone 14 pro in mono mode

Monochrome Monday again, and because the colour meter isn’t topped up until Tuesday morning at the earliest, and because of colour overuse during the week prior, it usually runs out on Sunday night resulting in Monday’s monochrome post.

Read yesterday’s post for the full story…

This is PC Rob Bank’s angle on yesterday’s events. It turns out that he’s a keen railway photographer, and uses frequently his powers to get photographs that the likes of you and I can’t get, though this photo is taken on public land… 

Nonsense aside, I simply used the monochrome mode on an iPhone 14pro for this snap with just a light tweak in the built in editor to boost the shadows a little after. Imagine going back in time 60 years and telling a person of that time that if they’re still around in 2023 they’ll be able to do this with a telephone which they can keep in their pocket. 

Sunday 14 May 2023

You Can’t Do That….

On Sundays down by the canal, Doug and Dave love to ride ‘hands free’ on the locomotive veranda and speed past PC Rob Banks. The driver of the loco crouching down to give the impression of a driverless engine. PC Banks has no jurisdiction over the railway, and anyway at a whopping 17 mph they’re hardly speeding, but it doesn’t stop him waving his arms around whilst shouting ‘you can’t do that’. 

They’re having so much fun, this is their fifth run past, and hopefully the over zealous copper will go and do something more worthwhile like apprehend moonshiners or stop Nasal Nigel from messing about in public with sticky objects in his special pocket at the local bus station. 


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Saturday 13 May 2023

Meet Waving Willy

Down at the docks, and management are keen to get more people to use the train which runs from the middle of nowhere to the edge of nowhere and all points of nowhereness in between. 

Brew Street Halt, in central outer nowhere, just 1/2 a mile from outer-middle nowhere, only ever sees those seeking moonshine, for the huge tank which for years has been thought to carry water for the engines is used to store, mature and dispense illicit booze.

Today, new boy, Waving Willy, loveable half brother of Waving Wayne has been hired with Wayne to attract the attention of passers by in an attempt to get them to use the train. In addition to being paid to wave, something they even do when not being paid, they’ve been given a supply of moonshine hidden in a milk churn as a further incentive to wave really well. 

Waving Willy is getting very much in to the spirit (see what I did there), with his big bear-hug style wave, making him really popular with the ladies (and men) who love a good waving hug, so much so it’s known as a ‘Willy Wave Hug’ in this here part of the land of the inch high. And of course limelight seeking Bob Geeza Cat is getting in on the waving thing as well, but do remember he’s a cat, and not to be trusted.

And finally, it’s thought that Airfix based the fuel tank on their much loved plastic tank wagon kit on the tank here, though that might just be the moonshine talking. 


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Friday 12 May 2023

Parked Up The Rear

Front End Friday #FEF

Deliberation Dave watches Driver Andrew bring his Barclay built engine down the 1 in 20 grade out of the colliery. With full wagons it can be quite exciting watching the move as the loco and wagons sway and bounce around at ever increasing speed, especially if the rails are wet and greasy. Dave is a brave man, for the chances of being hit by flying coal are quite high. But we were tougher in olden times. 

Beryl’s rebuilt Austin 7.5 can be seen behind The Pedant & Armchair to the left. I’m not sure of the reason, because it’s not a pub she frequents as a rule, its customers being mostly dull old men with adenoidal voices who’d rather pontificate over the width of flangeway clearances than chat to a ‘gurl’. Mother warned them about such creatures. Maybe she’s just dropped by for a pint of milk for her tea, for the pub sells more milk than beer, so it’s aways fresh and it’s conveniently on her way home. But why park at the rear of the pub when she could simply have pulled up at the front? Thoughts….. 

Austin 7.5, what’s that, a typo? No, not at all, for when they rebuilt the engine, they overbored it a little and modified it to run on a 50/50 mix of moonshine and ‘Super’ for extra performance, it increasing the horsepower rating from the factory 7.2 to 7.5 - though unofficially it’s nearer 10 if the moonshine is particularly volatile. 


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Tuesday 9 May 2023

Telephoto Tuesday

 Telephoto Tuesday

Double Denim Dando as we know loves a shimmy, but today he’s wearing his tap dancing shoes, to make a clicketty clack sound in time with wheels over rail joints as Driver Andrew powers his Barclay built loco and train of coal trucks past the halt.

Apart from the wall of The Pedant & Armchair pub to the left, everything is leaning one way or the other. This is caused by the extensive mining and a network of collapsed tunnels several hundred feet underground. Okay, that’s my excuse for less than perfect model making. But there is a prototype for everything they say. 

Today, I used a 40 year old Tamron 70-210 ‘Adaptall’ zoom lens to make a change from the popular everything in focus style. You can find these lenses for just a few sovs on eBay and can be easily fitted to modern digital cameras with the many adapters available. Minimum focus even in so called ’macro mode’ is around 3 feet, roughly where the loco is, but that’s fine for a shot like this, with the narrow depth of field making a nice change from the norm.  


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Sunday 7 May 2023

Dodgy Leg

Arthritic Arthur, has never been too organised, always leaving it to the last minute, especially when heading for the train to get to Highbridge Shed. But with age, something that effects all of us, even virtue signalling support-stocking-metallic-beige Toyota Prius owners, we tend to get a little slower. A stroll from Arthur’s house to Catcott Burtle halt used to take 20 minutes, but now it takes 45 minutes, or 42 minutes if there is a good southwesterly breeze. 

Today it would appear that he very much has timed it to the last second, as the Evercreech Junction to Highbridge service rumbles over the crossing. But as soon as the train draws to a halt and the van is clear of the gates, they’ll be reopened. But here in the rural land of the inch high, it doesn’t matter if the train departs a few minutes late because it’s a long way from control, and the Western Region of British Railways have ensured that it’s timetabled arrival at Highbridge misses the Exeter train by 7 minutes, and the Bristol train by 4 minutes. 

But not is all bad, for next week, Arthur has an appointment at the wagon repair works in Radstock so they can replace is dodgy leg with a bespoke wheel, the works not only being known for fixing old wagons, but also able to undertake the fixing of old people. 


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Saturday 6 May 2023

Saturday Shimmy

Driver ‘Double Denim’ Dando, West of England Cider Festival Dance Champion regular runner up 1948-1955, that’s him with the red neckerchief is having a little shimmy - any excuse for a shimmy. Though he should really be on the loco footplate, but in the land of the inch high we don’t worry about such triviality. And anyway, there isn’t much space on the footplate for a good shimmy. 

The reason for his shimmy today is because on the Highbridge line, control are trialing a former Great Eastern Railway J15 class loco, its light axle loading making it ideal for a line which for much of its route literally floats on a bog. 

Deliberation Dave on the platform, with his acutely trained ear is listening out for wheel flange noise, for he wants to be sure that it’s the right kind of wheel flange noise. Shamus, just so happens to be waiting for the morning passenger service to Glastonbury, and has absolutely nothing to do with the locomotive trial, but he looks kind of cool in his leprechaun coloured attire. 

And to the right, Pointy Pete, station master from the unstaffed Pylle Halt for some reason is still on the payroll. Nobody quite knows why, so these days he pops up at various railway locations to simply point at things, today he’s pointing at something outside the photograph to make you, my loyal viewer think ‘what is he pointing at?’

And finally, Bob Geeza Cat, who in fact is 1/4 fox has positioned himself purely to balance the composition. 


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Friday 5 May 2023

Front End Friday

 Front End Friday#FEF 

Somewhere high up in the land of troll, hobbits, whippets and foamy bitter ale, the morning goods reaches the crest of the incline. It’s been a long slog, for even a banking engine was required, or at least that’s what I think it is at the rear of the train, unless of course the guard is having a barbecue. Something which is not unknown in the land of the inch high, though burning plastic is likely to taint the food, plastic not being

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Monday 1 May 2023

Old-Lady Knickers

It’s May Day here in Little England, so rather than the misery and austerity of Monochrome Monday, the colour meter has been topped up to bring you not one, but 2 shots! 

Some of you might recall Beryl’s ancient Austin Seven was taken off for scrapping a week or two ago, well that appears not to haven been the case. In fact the rust heap was taken to the railway wagon works in Radstock, where the clever souls rebuilt it. They can fix everything at the wagon works, they’ve even been known to perform hip, knee and denture replacements. 

Anyway, here is the little car, complete with a turbo charged V7 engine which has somehow or other been squeezed under bonnet being dropped off on the Monday morning goods. They just need to find a harness so as not to scratch they paintwork when they lift the car off the train, but that’s okay, Beryl has bought some old-lady knickers for the job. They’re so good they’re even approved by The Royal Navy for cradling high speed patrol boats in and out of the sea. Proper. 

Driver ‘Double Denim’ Dando, West of England Cider Festival Dance Champion regular runner up 1948-1955 arranged everything, that’s him with the red neckerchief having a little shimmy next to the engine - any excuse for a shimmy. So, not all is bad in the land of the inch high. 


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