Monday, 2 November 2015

Spooky Special

The annual Steam Loco Dept's weekend away has just taken place in north Wales.  Many of the usual suspects were in attendance, however not all.  I had a "better offer" (yes I know, what could possibly have been better than a weekend skylarking on the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog Railways?), so I had to decline this time around.  As I write this, just a solitary photo to record the event for posterity has appeared.  Nothing related to any Welsh narrow gauge lines I'm afraid, just George regretting having ordered a breakfast several times larger than he could cope with:
No news on whether or not he completed it.  Photo courtesy of Mark Young.
I have received word from Donna that a full report of what transpired will be winging its way to me in the near future and will hopefully appear here sometime soon.

I also received a photo from Pete, taken during the week of the final bit of painting of the newly laid concrete in the David Page shed:
Photo courtesy of Pete Gutteridge
I say it was the final bit of painting, in reality, a second coat was applied on Saturday morning.  Chris, Eleanor & myself were the lucky people involved.  The paint itself is a concoction of two different parts that need to be combined together and whisked for a period of time, before a further quantity of water is added and yet more whisking takes place.
Eleanor combining the first two ingredients
 I started off whisking the paint with an electric whisk, amidst various comments relating to a Wallace and Gromit scene that I would be well advised not to repeat.  A little later, Chris gave it a whirl with no apparent ill effects either.
Chris whisks the concrete paint
 It seems that Chris is something of a chef and was keen to make the paint as frothy as possible, in much the same way as he would if he was whipping up a Yorkshire pudding mixture.  I'm not convinced that frothy paint is entirely desirable however I have little doubt  that we will see him in the next series of Celebrity Bake off.
Frothy paint
 The second coat was required in the new pit on road 7 in the shed.  The instructions from John were fairly vague "Just tart it up a bit".  Not being entirely sure what that meant, Chris & I applied paint to the large surfaces using rollers, Eleanor followed behind with a brush finishing off the bits that we couldn't get at.
Eleanor paints the bits that the rollers can't reach
Spaces for loco weighing kit to be installed
 We were interrupted at one point as Foremarke Hall's tender was wheeled out of the shed for a spot of therapy with the pressure washer:
Tender on the move
Phil looked like he was pushing it all by himself...
...but Sean was giving him a hand.
Interruption over, Chris resumed from where he left off.
 The paint was water soluble, just clean off the rollers by rinsing in water.  No problem I thought and proceeded to hold mine at arms length and point one of the hose pipes at it.  If you aimed the hose slightly off centre, the roller span round and swiftly sprayed the paint off.  The trick was to do it in such a way that you didn't get covered in paint yourself.  I managed to do this to good effect, remaining paint free and almost entirely dry.  Chris thought he'd give it a go too.
Chris, off to a good start...
...Ok, perhaps it didn't end so well.
 When he'd finished, Chris decided that his best bet to get the paint off was to hose down his overalls.  I volunteered to help, but curiously he didn't trust me.
Chris cleaning himself up.
 Dinmore Manor's own tender has made further progress during the week, with the intermediate buffers now being in place.  The springs hadn't been inserted behind them yet, but nonetheless, it's a step in the right direction.
Intermediate buffers in place
 Not all of the new platework had been painted, so David attended to that.
David applying some gloss top coat
 There were a few problems with the pressure washer, it wouldn't heat the water and it wouldn't add in the cleaning fluid.   Added to that, somebody overlooked the jubilee clip when connecting the hose pipe to it.
Sean tries to reattach the hose pipe, before giving it up as a bad job...
...but Clive wasn't going to let a little water get in the way of getting the job done..

...and soon Foremarke Hall's tender was being washed down, albeit with cold water.
 Saturday was also Halloween.  All sorts of ghoulish goings on and people dressed in outlandish outfits were to be seen... even some of the passengers joined in
5542 was out and about on the line sporting a "Spooky Special" headboard
 Jonathan on a fireman training turn fitted it to 5542.
Jonathan having fitted the headboard.
 He suddenly realised that he was wearing gloves and would get some grief from Phil (his firing instructor), if he saw that.  Jonathan swiftly removed them and asked me to retake the photo.
No gloves!  Don't worry Jonathan, your secret's safe with me.
 Phil had a few words to say when he heard the news and then returned to working on Foremarke Hall's ejector pipe.
Phil at work
 The task of cleaning up and cataloguing the items that have so far been removed from 3850 is underway.  Plenty of things had been left lying around loose on her running plate, which wasn't ideal. I fetched them indoors, keeping two separate piles, fireman's side on the left, driver's side on the right. 
Still in need of a clean though.
 Eleanor and Liam had a go at cleaning 10 years worth of accumulated grime off of some of the other components that were awaiting attention, before putting them away.
Eleanor (l) and Liam
Mike(l) and David continued cleaning parts of the brake rigging
35006 is awaiting the arrival of its centre bearing, before the middle connecting rod can be fitted. Until then, there are a number of small jobs for the team to be getting on with, on Saturday, it was straightening out part of a fixing for one the the springs that had received a clout at some point.
Steve refits the spring
And finally, I was being a little disingenuous earlier when I mentioned that Jonathan was on a fireman training turn, he was in reality being assessed as a fireman.  The good news is that he passed.
Inspector Lacey(l) congratulating fireman Perks
Congratulations Jonathan.


  1. Super blog as usual. I didn't get the gloves comment though. At risk of me missing out on an 'in' joke, may someone explain it to me?

    Many thanks!

    Southern Man in Exile

    1. Gloves on the footplate, particularly for firing are regarded as being a bit less than masculine. "Real me don't use gloves", or seomthing like that.