Monday, 8 July 2013

Gotta' pick a Peckett or two

Somehow or other I seem to have got a week or so behind in keeping this blog up to date (you just can't get the staff). This covers the weekend starting Saturday the 29th of June. I was returning from a week of breaking in walking boots and testing waterproofs in preparation for the impending rather circuitous walk to BroadwayIt seemed to make sense to just stop in at Toddington over night rather than drive all the way home and then turn round and drive all the way back at the crack of dawn for my cleaning turn on the Sunday.  

It seems that there had been a wedding charter booked during the day on the Saturday and there was plenty of food left over. You'd be hard pressed to find any member of the steam loco dept who doesn't come running at the merest hint of free food.
Even Rod was enticed out of the machine shop by the prospect of free food
George spotted a bag of scones, strawberries and clotted cream.  He has mentioned in the past that I only ever seem to show photos of him on this blog eating chocolate biscuits, so just for a change, here is George tucking into a cream tea.
How does he remain so skinny on a diet of cream teas, chocolate biscuits & beer?
Tina emerged from the footplate of 5542 after a hard day of firing looking more like she'd been eating the coal rather than shoveling it into the firebox.  That is quite a rich diet. At the current price of coal it would be cheaper to run the locos on caviar. I hadn't been going to upload this photo, but this last weekend she complained that it hadn't appeared on the blog yet and that I was slacking.
Has my mascara run?
 Far be it for me to offer anybody hints and tips on fashion or any matter related to domestic chores.  Suffice it to say however that you won't find many footplate crew turn up to the wearing anything white.   Few and far between are the members of the steam loco dept who can cajole their better halves into doing their railway related laundry in the first place, never mind wash anything that might have once have been meant to be white.  Tina can carry it off, but I don't think that any of the rest of us could.

Pretty much the last thing to happen on the Saturday evening was that the 8F was failed with a broken spring.  As she was meant to be out on the Sunday, that meant that the first thing that I needed to do on Sunday morning was assist Mike, Kev & Chris with getting the broken spring swapped out.
Bust spring on the right, dropped down, new spring on the left ready for installation
Meanwhile, we appear to have benefited from a defection.  Nick who is currently passed as a Traveling Ticket Inspector (TTI) has decided that his true vocation lies with the steam loco dept and turned up to help out with the cleaning of 5542.  I was pleased to see him as I was supposed to be cleaning 5542, but was spending rather more time underneath the 8F changing its spring rather than doing what I was supposed to be doing.
TTI defector Nick becoming assimilated into the steam loco dept
Nick appears to have quite a liking for making brass gleam and later spent much of the day getting the brass on Foremarke Hall to sparkle.
A nicely buffed up 5542 setting off for Cheltenham
Once the locos were off shed and earning their keep on the day's services, the next thing to do was give Foremarke Hall a bit of a deep clean, so whilst Steve & John got on with giving her an exam, Ed, Dan & myself got underneath and started removing as much crud as we could.  Steve was heard to complain that the cleaners usually only clean the clean bits and it would be nice if even the dirty bits that the public rarely see were cleaned regularly too.  Dan collected all the oily goop that he managed to remove from underneath the front bogie in a green bucket.  Ed and I being no fools chose to start Steve off on a long discourse on the why's and wherefore's of vacuum brakes which meant that we didn't end up having to do much real work at all..... sorry Dan!
Dan with his bucket of goop
 I am given to understand that in certain circles, ladies with rather more money than sense will pay extortionate amounts of money for face packs made with mud/oil from various obscure places.  We intend to market this stuff as the 'Foremarke Hall Face Pack'.
We'll have to work on the packaging a bit though
Now who can we get to model it for our advertising campaign I wonder?

After lunch, Ed, Dan and myself decided that Ian Carpenter's Peckett would benefit from our attentions.  Ian must have thought that it was Christmas when he found that he had three willing volunteers to help out. 
Dan needle gunned the frames
Ed started sanding the con rods to a mirror smooth finish
This thing was the counterweight for the reverser... I removed the red paint from it
And finally, more work has taken place on 35006:
The radius rod is now attached on the fireman's side
The driver's side return crank rod is in the process of being installed
And the smoke deflectors have arrived, though as can be seen, not yet unwrapped, painted or fitted

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