Monday 29 January 2024

Another Mono Monday

 Monochrome Monday 

A blustery stormy day in the early 1960s as a BR Std Class 3 tanks departs Combwich with the 10.05 Combwich to Templecombe service via Highbridge. 

There are few passengers these days, with the Hawksworth brake compo being more than adequate. However the bogie parcels van is always full of churns of milk for processing at the Bason Bridge creamery. And of course there is always moonshine, much of it hidden in children’s plastic toys, rubber ducks, footballs and the occasional milk churn to avoid detection. 

Life was so much more fun in the olden days, especially if a milk churn of moonshine ended up at the creamery by mistake. 


Top up the colour meter for tomorrow’s post

Saturday 27 January 2024

The Wheeltappers & Shunters Club

Saturday morning on Combwich shed, as ‘248 simmers next to the water tower. Over by the signalbox, linesmen Monty and Don are having a discussion about home-grown spring onions before discussing the state of the loo, which today is in an even more perilous state than normal. 

The reason being that at the local Wheeltappers & Shunters Club last night it was the annual pickled winkles championship, the winner imbibing the greatest volume washed down by pints of entire stout and moonshine chasers. The loo here being on the unofficial route back into Combwich from the club, for the effects of imbibing such a mix tends to manifest with 25 minutes of consumption and always after the club shuts. 


Bleach fund, can you help?

Sunday 21 January 2024

The Flying Scotsman

 Today we have an photo from my time machine as 4472 ‘The Flying Scotsman’, on The Blackmore Vale Express aka The Sherborne Lunch Express, thunders out of Salisbury on the 7th of June 1987 with a fine display of clag, something which will almost certainly create nightmares for the more neurotic climate alarmist. 

I remember the bridge, ‘Skew Bridge’ on the western side of Salisbury was rather busy that day, with dozens of squealing gricers including me, pointing their cameras at the spectacle. Being a poser, I had two Rolleicord cameras mounted on a bracket (basically a strip of aluminium with a 1/4inch hole at either end to bolt the cameras in place), one with Ektachrome 100 and this one with good old Kodak Tri-X, thus allowing a simultaneous colour and B&W exposure. 

Looking to the right of the train, railway allotments were still a thing back in the 1980s, but sadly they’re very much a thing of the past if you pop this view into Google Street View. I presume down to health and safety, but I’m sure more injuries occurred due to over enthusiastic use of a fork or pruning secateurs than unwittingly wandering on to the track in front of the 11.00 Waterloo to Exeter, but I’m happy to admit that I know nothing… 


This is thirsty work, refreshments always help

Saturday 20 January 2024

Eye Test

Tap to enlarge 

Occasionally at the colliery, under the watchful eye of Barry Bullhead from the Ministry of Misery, failed optician Pointy Pellegrino performs eye tests using whatever there is to hand on unsuspecting employees of the railway. 

Today, Fred the Flag is having a random eye test as Pointy Pellegrino points at a suitable subject with plenty of lettering and numbers, “Eh Fred, what letter is the second letter in from the left that looks like an ‘E’? And next, what is the letter that looks like a ‘Y’ on the right?” …. And so it goes on..

Needless to say, Fred the Flag, even though he’s colour blind and boss-eyed scores 100% as he correctly identifies every letter and number. This suits Barry Bullhead, for it confirms to those above him that everyone is happy, and has perfect eyesight under his watch, which means that he’ll get another bonus for outstanding services to The Ministry. He might even get an CBE in due course as he slowly gets his feet into the cat little tray of The Establishment. 

Alas poor old Pointy Pellegrino will be forgotten in time, and just have to settle for pointing out the obvious. Hey Ho. 


My tip jar for outstanding services to nonsense

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Waving Wednesday

Click to zoom in 

Waving Wednesday 

It’s Wednesday morning at Catcott, as the morning pick up goods collects an empty mineral wagon from the small goods yard. 

Standing on the bridge, Waving Willy waves over at his brother Waving Waving Wally who is driving the steam lorry over there in the distance beyond the ground frame (you can just see Wally in the cab). Like Willy, Wally also waves all the time, even in his sleep by all accounts. This can make for driving the steam lorry quite a challenge, it requiring at least two hands, sometimes three to keep it going in a straight line. But Wally manages to steer and even stoke the fire with just one hand. Champion. 

Driver and part time thespian at the local amateur dramatics society, Blessed Brian booms over to Willy from the locomotive, “hello dear boy, lovely to see you”, as he presumes Waving Willy’s wave is for him rather than Waving Wally on the steam lorry. But that’s okay, because Willy has enough waves for everyone. And Blessed Brian loves any excuse to boom with his deep baritone voice. 

Meanwhile Bob Geeza cat waves his long bushy tail in response to all the waving. Such a clever cat. 


If you like a good wave really helps to keep these posts regular.


Friday 12 January 2024

Front Ends Friday

It’s ‘Front Ends Friday’, for we have not one, but two front ends!

It would appear that Shrewsbury engine shed’s ’Coal Tank’ is on the wander again, suggesting some inch high mischievous activities are afoot. You’ll note that the little people are nowhere to be seen, probably to avoid incriminating themselves. Or simply more likely that they’re in the pub behind the engine having a liquid breakfast of beer and sloppy porridge made with moonshine. 

And of course over to the right, that our regular Peter and his Peckett over there on the right, though Peter cannot be seen. 


You can fuel the mischievousness here

Tuesday 9 January 2024

20 Foot High Snowy Arctic Storm of Doom

It’s a cold blustery morning at Fountain Colliery with showers of snow, hail and sleet making the morning shift a little unpleasant for those outside. But Hector Hi-Vis is a hardy soul, remembering the winter of 1962-63 at the beginning of his railway career trying to keep the trains running. He mutters to himself thinking how the lunchtime news will report the winter weather even the snow isn’t settling “20 foot high snowy arctic storm of doom my arse”. 

‘Celebrity’ Class 20 No 20064 ‘River Sheaf’ arrives with a rake of ballast hoppers from the quarry at Tintern, for the track serving the colliery isn’t the best and not helped by recent storms and floods washing the ballast away in places. 

Meanwhile Harry the Hammer - you can just make him out next the red and yellow oil barrel, lurks with his hammer secretly hoping the point lever will be stuck or that one of the wagons has a sticking brake shoe. As usual it’s almost the end of Harry’s shift, as it always is, and as soon as he’s wielded his hammer he’ll be off to the Miners Arms in the distance for a brew or five with a packet of salty pork scratchings in front of the warming fire in the lounge bar. Bliss. 


You can buy Harry a pint here, because where would we be without Harry and his trusty hammer?

Monday 8 January 2024

Monochrome Monday

Monday morning, and there’s a problem with the point which takes the line up in to the colliery on the right. Mouldy Malc, Hyperactive Hans and Deliberation Dave discuss on what to do. 

Mouldy Malc is happy to do nothing, for that’s his specialty, Hyperactive Hans is all for jamming it in the right direction with an old rail-chair, whilst Deliberation Dave deliberates over the options presented to him. Going to pub is not an option, for it does open for another four hours. 

There is no colour option with this photo for it was taken on B&W film, home processed Ilford FP4 on a Nikkormat FT2. 


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Friday 5 January 2024

Far Out Friday (man)

 Far Out Friday (man) 

Over there in the distance, as usual the local bus service is late, and is unable to be the other side of the crossing to coincide with the arrival of the 11.43 Evercreech to Highbridge service. Not that it is timetabled to anyway, because things are made as difficult for the passenger as possible to justify the removal of bus and rail services to please the beancounters in that there London. 

That’s Cecil Fish-Finger’s Morris 8 Series E parked next to the good shed. Very little in the way of goods are handled at Catcott these days, so it’s become a popular hang-out for Morris 8 owners, Cecil being the first to arrive on the scene. 

Nobody, whilst they have heard about this ‘hanging out’ thing, really knows what goes on in the goods shed, but occasionally jingly-jangly music, rattling bells and cracking of willow sticks can be heard from within suggesting the Morris owners are having some kind of dance or possibly pagan ritual. But the Somerset Levels are an ancient mystical place, which until only a few hundred years ago was under water, many of the locals still having gills and occasionally webbed feet to link them to their recent aquatic past, so anything is possible. 


If you enjoy these posts, every little helps

Thursday 4 January 2024

Foggy Thursday

 Foggy Thursday

Boatman Bruce Bottlenose careful eases his fully loaded narrowboat away from the wharf with a fresh load of coal. The load here heading for the canal water pumping station further up the valley. He does this trip twice a month, and always quite enjoys it because there are only 2 locks during the 5 mile trip. The Aqueduct Inn is right next to the pumping station, so that will almost certainly be visited on the journey, another reason for enjoying this run. 

Wifelet (he has several) Mavis Bottlenose is in the boatman’s cabin making tea and bacon butties. Something that will go down well on this chilly damp morning I’m sure. 

Peter Peckett and his trusty loco has just arrived to collect the empty wagons to take them back to the colliery. Part of the siding slopes down to the wharf, so there might be a little slippage as the tiny loco wheels struggle to grip the greasy wet rails. 

The ominous looking Standard Flying 12 has been parked on the wharf all night, but no one knows who owns it. Rumour has it some men from The Ministry are snooping about. They tend to be in camouflage, so are tricky to spot unless they move. Three of them are in this shot disguised as inanimate objects. Can you spot any of them? 


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Wednesday 3 January 2024

Where’s All the Colour Gone Wednesday…..

Where’s All the Colour Gone Wednesday…..

The morning goods trundles through Catcott Crossing with a brake van immediately behind the engine. Clive can be seen on the veranda keeping guard over a stash of moonshine on the go within which needs to be finished and all bottled up by the time the trains gets to Highbridge Wharf. 

But fear not nervous ones, there is a brake van on the other end of the 12 wagon train (it’s out of frame beyond the tree should any clever clogs comment), the consist today being coal, fertiliser, Clark’s shoes from nearby Street, beer from Burton, pickled gherkins, bagged brewing malt & hops, atonal apples, amplified heat and pressed rat's collection of doglegs and feet. Gosh there could be lyrics for a song in this plentiful load. 

Waving Willy is waving at his runner beans trying to get the colour back into them, for they were definitely green yesterday when he last watered them. But is looks like someone has poached the colour today, possibly due to a pigment shortage at the rainbow factory in nearby Glastonbury which produces delightful radiant aerial colour displays for use on showery sunny days. 

Tech. Nikkormat FT2, 55mm Micro Nikkor, Ilford FP4. 


Buy some colour here for future posts

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Tuesday Twaddle

Tuesday Twaddle 

It’s 2049 and everything is driverless. Even the passengers are passengerless because nobody will have the need or allowed to go anywhere, because everything will use screens, holographic and implanted miniature displays behind the retina. Even going to the toilet will be done via an app and performed virtually. 

But retro will of course be very much a thing, as it’s always been, apart from between 1955 and 1975 when everything old was destroyed. The battery powered bus here is powered by batteries and is based on a vintage design to appeal to the hipsters of 2049. Note it has a face to make it appear more friendly. The doors however do not open, because of course there are no passengers. 

Batteries will be pretty old tech 25 years from now, for most items will be powered by nonsense which is indeed plentiful and easy to harness with minimal effort. But there will be enthusiasts harking back to the era of queuing for 3 hours so they could continue their journeys for another 25 miles before queuing again. 

This is just one possible outlook for 25 years from now, but how do you think things might be? Preferably the more ridiculous of course, and nothing too serious, even if you might be reading this killing time waiting to charge your EV at Tebay Services on the M6 and twitching after your 8th coffee of the day. 


You can fuel the nonsense here, no charging point required…