Tuesday 31 October 2023

Pumpkin Fight!

Ever so often, masked crusaders and Zombie Apocalypse of Doom work-shy lockdown-lovers Sharon & Tracy love to relive those halcyon plague days when they used to fight over toilet paper and Camembert cheese. They both have really bad teeth and a wasp chewer’s pout, so they welcome any excuse to wear a mask again made from chopped up dishcloths.

Local businessman Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe has seen a business opportunity and decided to put on travelling roadshow on the back of a flatbed truck for our masked crusaders to fight thing out, with today’s choice being a pumpkin with a burning candle inside. There is is course much betting involved, with many of our regulars coming out to have a flutter for the chance of winning a few sovs. 

Nasal Nigel is in prime position standing on a beer cask to give him an elevated view, for he also has really bad teeth and a fetish for wearing discarded face masks when playing with his TT gauge Flying Scotsman. What I horrible little man, his mother loves him though. 


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Monday 30 October 2023

Grab Those Multi-coloured Marker Pens Monday

Monochrome Monday

No, not because I’ve run out of colour tokens, but because black and white film was used for this photograph, which unlike that digital thing all the cool cats use these days, it only gives you the option of B&W, and of course all shades of grey between. Though if you do want colour, grab that set of multi-coloured marker pens you were given as a Christmas present back in 2014 and colour your computer, mobile or tablet screen in. Or print out instead and then colour in, which will probably be better if using a shared computer in the workplace. 

And today, Roger Sprocket & Deliberation Dave have been given the job of counting the number of wheels on passing trains. The wheels are only allowed to be counted once, so when there is much shunting, it can get rather confusing especially with 16 ton mineral wagons. It’s not helped today being B&W making the beaten up and rusty light grey and bauxite brown wagons look almost the same - unless you are Nasal Nigel of course.


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Sunday 29 October 2023

Pumpkin Heads

Snivelling little tick Neil suddenly found himself kneeling in front of his pals with pumpkins for heads and thought that it must be rather painful with a hot  burning naked flame inside. He then wondered that if they had a cup of tea would the flame go out? He then wondered what would happen if they had a tot of 180% proof moonshine 🔥


Saturday 28 October 2023

Easter Sunday 1984

No miniature stuff today, I need to put some more material together. But I’ve been busy with my day job photography, and anyway the little people are getting rather tatty. Their paintwork needs a top up after so much handling. These modern acrylic paints are less hardy than the enamel of olden times. 

So today, a few more images out of my scanner from 22 April 1984, which was Easter Sunday. In those days on The Watercress Line you could wander around the engine shed at Ropley, maybe you can now, but I must admit that I’ve not been there for years. Shame on me, it’s only 30 mins away. 

I was a photography student at the time, and whilst all my fellow college snappers liked their bulky all singing and dancing Mamiya and Bronika cameras, but being an old fogey even when I was a cherub, I used a late 1950s Rolleicord. You can’t swap lenses, but the package is delightfully small and lightweight, and with the 6x6 cm square negatives giving loads of scope in the darkroom for cropping or displaying square. And just having the one lens, makes you focus on what it does best rather than having too much choice - which isn’t always the best thing. 

I still use this camera, albeit in a hybrid analogue / digital way, scanning the negs to about 45 MP and then doing the biz digitally which is so much more practical. Here being some of the results. Occasional digital prints are every bit as good as traditional wet prints, but without the mess. 

Friday 27 October 2023

Not Quite Full Moon Friday

It’s Not Quite Full Moon Friday. 

Here we are at Brew Street under a Hunter’s Moon. There is plenty of activity going on with the little people, but because it’s a long time-exposure they’ve blurred so much that you can’t seen them. 

Any Roger Sprockets here will no doubt point out that the moon here has just passed its peak, and has jentered the ‘waning gibbous’ stage. So technically I should have waited until Sunday to post this image, with tomorrow Saturday 28 October being true full moon. 

Personally though, I’d be more concerned about the lack of mooring ropes on the sailing barge to the left. But I’m trying not to let the lack of such spoil the photo, so in my world the vessel is arriving or departing, though with the long exposure it should be blurred with it being on the move as I’m sure Adenoidal Andrew will point out. 


Wednesday 25 October 2023

Everyone Knows a Nasal Nigel

 Patrick The Pannier Tank is dreading picking up the stray wagon after spotting Nasal Nigel on the platform. Nigel loves to pick holes in anything and everything in a most dull adenoidal condescending way. He’s an expert in everything, especially picking his nose and placing the little rolls of semi dried up mucous into his special pocket. He’ll use them later to attach photos of his favourite buses to his bedroom wall. His mother loves him though. Bless. 


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Tuesday 24 October 2023

The Joy of Being a Cat Servant

I wasn’t really sure what to post today, but then this quick iPhone grab appeared on my timeline taken at the weekend before I was summoned by dearest to do something more productive like empty the cat litter tray which to be fair was pretty minging. The hazards of being owned by 15 year old ex-rescue cat who has lived much of her life in the Bangkok Hilton for cats. 

She’s in a far better place now being free to do whatever she wants, but as much as we’ve tried she won’t do her business outdoors. I tell a lie, she did once, but then the dog found it. Elixir for dogs is cat poo apparently. And most unpleasant when they bound in all happy from their tasty snack and then jump up and lick your face. 

Anyway, here is the canal basin on Polbrook Gurney Colliery, straight out of the iPhone, bar a quick in-phone edit of ‘auto’ which to be fair has done a reasonable job. Though it is to my eyes slightly green, but I’m going to worry too much having more important things to do like pay the car insurance and make a few sovs so I can buy more cat litter.


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Monday 23 October 2023

Gold Top Milk, Drivel, Dust & Incontinence

It’s Monday again, gosh they come around quickly as we get older. I presume it’s that routine thing, same-ol same-ol giving us little to reflect on and thus instantly forgotten. The trick is probably to keep shaking things up and make every day slightly different, even if it means buttering your toast in a different direction, or if vegan, sprinkling dust on your toast with the left hand rather than right. Beware that indoor dust is mostly dead skin particles, so you are in fact a cannibal. 

I’ve posted this photo before, it was the digital colour version. This one though was taken on actual b&w film, or ‘fillem’ of you’re still wearing nappies and don’t know what film is. But of course you might simply be old and wearing nappies again. I’m going down a worm-hole here, so best move on from this load of incontinence also known as drivel, which actually sounds like dribble. We also do that when very young and often when very old. 

Righto, enough dribble, the nonsense today is that it’s Bob Geeza Cat’s birthday, and everything has stop so he can be given a crate of fresh full fat milk, you know the type with the golden foil top and 2 inches of rich cream floating on top. But if you’re not old enough to know what ‘fillem’, is, you’ll likely never have experienced the delight of being the first to open that bottle of milk and pour the cream over your cornflakes. Or water if vegan. 

Tech, ‘cos I know a few of you like such. Nikon FE, 35/2 Nikkor, Ilford HP5 scanned from the neg and dusted with digital glitter. 


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Sunday 22 October 2023

Keef & Rick

Shortly after sunrise and Keef (his real name is Keith, but ‘Keef’ fits in better with the prog-rock band he’s in) has arrived for a spot of overtime. But he’s missing the key to fire up the engine, so his partner in crime Rick (also a band, a blues band, his full name is Richard, but ‘Rick’ sounds more muso, man) has disappeared off to find a spare key. 

All this delay means their shift will overrun, resulting in additional overtime. But of course we know than it’s all just a ploy to earn a few more sovs, for that new Rickenbacker guitar won’t come cheap. 


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Saturday 21 October 2023

Upside Down Dimmock

It’s a dull, misty, damp October morning as the 9.01am Highbridge to Evercreech Junction service slows for Catcott. And it would appear that Driver Dimmock has again put on the incorrect lamp headcode for a passenger train, it should be the mirror of this. 

Headcodes on the former Somerset & Dorset Joint are a simple affair and like no other lines here in Little England. The one here being for ‘goods’ and the reverse being for ‘passenger’. It really is that simple. But Driver Dimmock has always struggled with left and right, he frequently jumps into the passenger seat of his Austin A30 then wonders where the steering wheel has gone and has to call his wife for help. 

He also gets confused with up and down, and regularly gets into bed the wrong way, only to discover Mavis’ slightly smelly feet up his left (or it it right?) nostril. And only the day before yesterday tried to pour a beer into his tankard which was upside down. Though he was on his 8th bottle, so that might be partially to blame. 


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Friday 20 October 2023

A 1950s Mirrorless camera!


A new mirrorless camera - they're all the rage I gather. An Ebay find for the price of a very small round of drinks down the pub. 
It's a late 1950s Zeiss Ikon Signal Nettar 518/16 folding camera previously owned by some chap on the Isle of Lewis somewhere near The North Pole. Everything appears to work as it should, so it will be fun to pop some 120 format Ilford HP5 roll-film through it. Those 6 x 6cm negatives are lovely to scan marrying the film era with the digital era. 
The 3 element triplet lens will render the out of focus backgrounds (geek speak known as 'bokeh') with a delightful circular swirl - something which is very 'now' over 60 years after the camera was made.
I find modern digital cameras, whilst excellent and vital for commercial photography, they're utterly charmless, sadly being disposable items. But these old cameras have a far greater longevity if looked after. 
When this camera was made, Rock and Roll was in the hit parade, Lonnie Donegan and skiffle was just hanging in there, spandex has yet to be invented, and you could still travel by steam train to the middle of nowhere and watch Pathe News down the local flea pit.



Oh Sam…..

 Front End Friday #FEF 

Waving Willy, Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe, Waving Wayne and Beryl are out to celebrate and watch The Polbrook Gurney Thunderbolt on its inaugural run. Meanwhile The Squire shouts across to Sam on the footplate about the tall chimney “Oh Sam, what an almighty erection!”

Thursday 19 October 2023

Number Collecting Wasn’t for Me

Some more neg scans from early 1983 taken around the Southampton area when I was still a knee high to a grasshopper cherub. Some say I still am.

Sorry I don’t have any more details like loco numbers, I like railways but was never interested in collecting numbers. I tried proper trainspotting with a notebook at Eastleigh station taking numbers for half an hour in early 1981 and thought ‘nah’. Also being a teenager at the time such wasn’t a great chat up line ”hello, what’s your name? I’m Chris and I like collecting engine numbers, will you go out with me?”  

Click to enlarge below… 

Between Millbrook and Southampton stations. Spring 1983. Minolta SRT101, 135mm, Kodak Tri-X

Between Millbrook and Southampton stations. Spring 1983. Minolta SRT101, 135mm, Kodak Tri-X

The grade between Bursledon and Hamble on the Southampton to Portsmouth line. Minolta SRT100, a borrowed 600 lens, Kodak Tri-X. Spring 1983

The grade between Bursledon and Hamble on the Southampton to Portsmouth line. Minolta SRT100, a borrowed 600 lens, Kodak Tri-X. Spring 1983

Between Millbrook and Southampton stations. Spring 1983. Minolta SRT101, 200mm, Kodak Tri-X

Tuesday 17 October 2023


Tuesday morning and ‘Punky’ penguin has started his new job as a postie. However upon his arrival to empty his first post box next to Ankle Bend Crossing on the outskirts of Combwich, he suddenly realises that he’s naked and has forgotten the key and sack. 

Then he wakes up and realises that he isn’t a postie and that the image here is all a dream. Phew, but the he suddenly becomes aware that he’s naked on a bus going to Whipsnade Zoo with only a tin of pilchards for company, no tin opener and is surrounded by fully clothed leopard seals and killer whales. 

And then he wakes up again and finds himself here naked next to a post box…. He really must stop going out on the piss during on a school night with his sidekick Woody the Penguin. 


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Saturday 14 October 2023

Big Bogies, Wheels & Brass Domes

It’s Saturday morning down at the docks as Jeremy, Richard and James inspect ‘Lord of the Isles’ which has just arrived with some fancy coaches in tow. 

Jeremy is hugely impressed with the large battering ram on the front and the chunky front bogie whilst thinking ‘we’ll have some fun with that crashing into things’. Richard meanwhile loves the huge shiny brass dome and the gigantic driving wheel. He loves huge shiny brass domes and gigantic driving wheels, and has built up quite a collection over the years, he even employs staff these days to polish his many domes. 

Meanwhile James is looking forward to seeing what first class is like, for he loves to travel in style ‘on the cushions’ imagining what it must have been like being a posh Victorian explorer like Phileas Fogg having a grand tour of globe in decadent style and comfort. 

It’s believed that Triang based their popular 1961 trainset on the loco and coaches here, paying particular attention to the huge battering ram on the front and the big shiny dome seen here. 


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Friday 13 October 2023

Race to the West

On a Friday the 13th in 1952, an administrative error resulted in 2 Devon Belle long distance trains being scheduled to depart Waterloo at the same time in the same direction. Though of course there is only one direction out of Waterloo. Thought I’d better mention that bit before Nasal Nigel or his sticky friend Adenoidal Andrew remind me. 

So for the few wealthy passengers and enthusiasts who could afford such extravagance, they had the choice of either train, with the observation cars on the rear of both trains making for a most fabulous advantage point to watch the race whilst enjoying champagne or a bottle of brown ale. Or Tizer and spam sandwiches made by ‘Mother’ if an enthusiast. 

Whilst this was wonderful for everyone involved apart from the signalling department, I’m sure the section after Worting Junction where the quadruple track line turns to double added to the challenges. But we don’t worry about such minor problems in the land of the inch high. 


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Thursday 12 October 2023

Attracting the US Market

High up in the Mendip Hills, the inch high pose with their new secondhand train for the launch of a new passenger service which will feature a fabulous moonshine bar within. 

The train and locomotive were imported from that there Europe, because most British narrow gauge trains are rather cramped affairs designed to transport hobbits, gnomes and small children who work in the treacle mines or up trees picking cider apples. 

However, our enterprising inch high want to appeal to the untapped American tourist market which will demand something a little more spacious. Though these carriages won’t feature air conditioning much demanded by tourists from across the pond, after a few tots of moonshine most passengers won’t care. 

Tech for the photoholics… 

Nikon FE, 35mm Nikkor f/2D stopped down to f22. The film is Ilford HP5 which was digitised direct from the neg and sprinkled with glitter. 


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Monday 9 October 2023

Joy & Energy

Monochrome Monday outside The Pedant & Armchair, the pub popular with a certain type. The type who do their best to sap every bit of joy and energy out of you, should you get caught by one at a model railway show. Or anywhere else for that matter.

To kick off the week, here we have nice posed shot starting with Peter Peckett trundling past in his Peckett, also called Peter. Though without a nameplate you’ll just have to believe me. And of course our dodgy champions of the inch high are here having arrived in their Sentinel steam lorry to drop off what looks like a large wooden box. 

What it contains we can only guess, but with average pipe smoking (something from his greenhouse) photographer and local businessman Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe, its contents are likely to be banned or almost certainly highly suspect. Any suggestions welcome, for you my regular readers probably know these two gents better than me by now. 

Today’s photograph was taken on real black & white film, Ilford HP5. The camera, my trusty Nikon FE with a 35mm lens slapped on the front. 


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Sunday 8 October 2023


Sunday morning, and turning up late for their overtime shift, creepy duo Toby the Dowdy Tram and Thomas the Smug Blue Engine have been overnight partying in the staging/fiddle yard again. They’ve been sniffing track cleaning fluid whilst messing about giving each other electric shocks with DCC power applied to their analogue DC circuitry. Oh the engines of today…. 

Meanwhile, Hubert the conversational Latin speaking horse mutters to himself “quid duobus iuvenibus fatuis”.


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Saturday 7 October 2023

Bed Bugs

Saturday morning down on the docks, and a ferry van from that there France has arrived filled to the brim with imported air. 

Former estate agents, now customs and excise officers, Ben and Jerry are terrified of insects, particularly bed bugs - the reason for them giving up their well paid jobs as estate agents selling grubby houses and letting vermin infested student rental accommodation. 

Eager to please Rufus Hound isn’t too worried about small insects, he being quite accustomed to fleas, has been given the job to sniff out any rogue insects on wagons arriving from across The Channel. Such a clever dog 🐾


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Friday 6 October 2023

Analogue Photography

It’s that #FEF #frontendfriday thing again, so much loved by #hashtag aficionados far and wide. 

Some you you might think that monochrome Monday has come a few days early due to me running out of colour tokens. But this shot actually required a greater budget than digital colour because it was taken on traditional black and white film with the additional costs of film purchase and subsequent processing. But I do admit that the camera, a Nikon FE was bought and paid for back in 1989 when I acquired it secondhand all those years ago, so that aspect is negligible. 

I’m not quite sure what’s going on here, but Terry Tuttle-Thomas-Smythe is standing in the doorway of the colliery winding house, possibly checking it out as a new spot to temporarily produce moonshine. 

Peter Peckett leans out of his cab and appears to be chatting to pipe smoking (something exotic from his greenhouse no doubt) Ivan Locksmith. Ivan is accompanied by the very wise Hubert the conversational Latin speaking horse. Hubert being such a clever horse, is learning conversational English, for whilst his Latin skills are exceptional, only old school Tory Party members can understand him, of course Ivan who is from ‘posh stock’, having also been educated at Eton.

Bene vale, Huberte, satis scio te facturum, nam tu tam ingeniosus es equus 🐎

Analogue capture using Ilford HP 5 black and white film which gives a gritty image, something I quite like. The camera, a Nikon FE with a 35mm Nikkor is set at f22 for maximum depth of field requires a 1/4 second exposure. I quite like this lens, for it focuses very close. I regularly use it with my digital Nikons. 1/4 of a second is far too slow for hand holding, so it’s resting an some spare plywood left over from a laser cut baseboard kit. 

The camera is then fired remotely using a cable release. The object on the right is my old Weston Master 5 light meter, I bought secondhand in 1983 - it was made sometime between 1963 and 1972. It’s selenium powered, so needs no batteries. The camera has built in metering, but I like to double check with the old meter. They both matched pretty well. Click


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Thursday 5 October 2023

From Our Westminster Commentator

Today’s post is written by our Westminster commentator Hilary Gove-Tuckshop-Fugg (with apologies to any northern readers who can read and might be offended). 

So without further ado, over to Hilary….

Here are are in ’The Grim North’, which curiously looks like the Somerset Levels, but I’m assured it is ‘northern’ - I mean, just look at all the smoke, that melancholic sky and steam lorry, not a Tesla in sight. 

Today’s the launch of the new HS2 ‘Network North Rail’ service between Birmingham and some northern town or village known as Manchester. But one being, as you lot call ‘a namby-pamby’ southerner living in the Westminster area of ‘that there London’, I know little of such, so please excuse any ignorance by my behalf. 

Here’s the first train, and most stylish it is in those bright colours designed to brighten up your almost monochromatic soot stained landscape. And because we in the south imagine most of you walk, use bicycles or horse and carriage to get to work ’at t’mill’, you’ll I’m sure enjoy this extravagant nod to Victorian times when Britain was at its height. 

And if you look beyond the fine red carriage, which at a push can get 78 of you grubby lot in, there’s even an unmanned guard’s van for your pet whippets, pigeons and of course your small children employed in the mills and pits. 

You’ve never had it so good, so stop moaning and get back to your bingo, vape and betting shops or whatever you do after an 19 shift in the frozen rag pudding factory.


Hilary Gove-Tuckshop-Fugg 


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Wednesday 4 October 2023

Wide Angle Wednesday

Wide angle Wednesday 

Former wrestler, boxer, wide boy and altogether top geezer, Gaylord Grip leans on his latest purchase, a 3 wheeled motorised tractor. 

He’s starting up a new delivery business transporting stuff from here to there, and there to here. He’ll even use it to transport drunks home from the pub, the flatbed on the back being easy to hose clean should one of his late night passengers make a mess.

This photo was taken on the bonkers iPhone 14 super wide angle. Other brands will do the same thing.

Monday 2 October 2023

Cyril Clumpfoot & Philbert Coppleshank

Monday morning at Polbrook Gurney, and Templecombe shed’s Midland 3F number 43216 restarts with the 7.35 Shepton Mallet to Frome pick up goods via the Nettlebridge valley, line having just dropped off a couple ex-private open wagons. 

Boatman Cyril Clumpfoot eases his coal carrying narrowboat away from the wharf with a fresh load of Mendip black gold. Little coal goes by the Dorset & Somerset canal these days, but there are a couple of nearby mills with no rail and limited road access served better by the canal. Cyril does this 2 days a week, though one of the mills will be going electric next year, but Cyril isn’t too bothered, for at the age of 80 he plans to retire before then. He’s always wanted to build a garden railway, also loves gnomes and has built up quite a collection over the years. 

The Standard Flying Twelve is owned by ‘the man from the brewery’, Philbert Coppleshank, who is on his weekly round checking out the pub estate. He’s always a little apprehensive about visiting The Pedant & Armchair, so tries to do his inspection outside pub opening hours, for he finds the regulars ‘slightly odd and rather scary’. 

And finally, today’s post was captured on Ilford XP2 b&w film using my Nikkormat, the negative was then scanned and popped through the pixel grinder - analogue meets digital, old school meets new school. 


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