Monday, 24 April 2017

A big pile of chippings

That's what we received today! But first things first, Tea and a doughnut on the terrace.

Lucky the Dalmatian came by on his morning round. He soon worked out who was eating doughnuts.

He subjected Jim to an intense stare.

Jim can't believe the cheek of this young hound, can you believe it?

You're not having any, this doughnut is private! Rick in the background is enjoying the dialogue, and has his own mug of tea and doughnut, which seem to be quite safe from canine interest. For some reason Lucky always homes in on the same person...

Much to our delight, we had another visit from Steve today with the mini digger, to complete the works on the embankment, and help with the expected delivery of chippings. This delivery was late, then got cancelled, but later on reactivated, and finally arrived in mid afternoon.

Here we see Steve extending his embankment smoothings northwards, taking off the stubble and weeds, and giving the slope a more gradual surface, which goes all the way down to the edging. Meanwhile Rick, John and Paul rake out the stones to make the new surface ready for grass seeding.

Mid morning the class 73 trundled by light engine, heading towards Toddington. Tim makes good use of the new handrails, which Jim H has been painting. Julian finished off the little lead caps that Paul M had been making. Paul, our chief cook and teacup washer, is off sick at the moment and we hope he comes back soon in better shape than before.

As a diversion, we had two Hercules transport aircraft fly low over the Abbey, whereupoon they made a sharp turn to the left just a few hundred yards from us. Not a brilliant picture this, but look at the angle of the plane in the top of the tree! It nearly stood on one wing tip. They then headed off over Dumbleton hill at tree top height.

A shower of rain put paid to any idea of painting the corrugated iron shelter, but we did make an attempt at straightening some of the bent edges (with mixed success, have you tried straightening bent corrugated iron?).

Here in the picture we are barrowing out the last of the previous chippings pile. On the right is the slope before Steve got to work on it today.

Here Steve has nearely finished grading the slope. He makes such a lovely smooth job of it, finished off by John M and Rick, with Julian here spreading out the grass seed. We used so much of it that John had to go back cap in hand and ask our neighbours for some more. Mind you, it's not just our sowing, we've had a bad attack of mice in the container, and they chew straight through the polypropolene bags. The seed comes pouring out when you lift the bags up, the cheeky things.

A short while later the class 73 came back heading south, this time with the loaded Dogfish in tow. The Pway are having a major ballasting excercise on the newly stressed CWR section at Laverton, to make sure that it is boxed in securely and cannot warp.

Over lunch we had a visitor, John R, who came to tell us of the success of the wartime event held over the weekend. We did much better than last year but all the hard work left John quite drained. It's not easy organising such a big show, and we were very impressed and sympathetic.

Tim did some further work on the foundations of the shelter, and then moved on to the two rails for the trespass notices. Some further holes needed drilling, as it turned out that we could not use the holes in the 4 corners of one of them, as that corner, with its hole, was the subject of the repair and was no longer capable of load bearing.

Steve lifted both rails to their approximate positions. Now all we need to do is dig the holes for the posts, 75cm deep.

Mid afternoon the long awaited second load of chippings arrived. The lorry was expertly manoeuvered into our narrow entrance and the load discharged. A few minutes later, it was already on its way again.

With Stevie still about, we had the idea of using his wide bucket to fill two wheelbarrows at once.

During this short time, the two wheelbarrow operators can sit back and relax (for about 15 seconds, but hey). Then it's get up and heave them down the slope for tipping. This morning they also had to load them up with shovels!

Tipping the chippings on to the platform then carried on until we were near the shelter. This area is being left alone for a bit until we have finished painting it. You can now see the slope finished, with John M in the distance pulling out the last weeds and stones.

At the end of the day you can see the slope finished off and the chippings tipped as far as the shelter. In the foreground is one of the rails that will hold up the original trespass signs, which will be bolted on using shear nuts to prevent interest from unwelcome parties.

We're back next Tuesday, Monday being a bank holiday.

Last week afforded your blogger a day on the Bodmin & Wenford, with this picture of 4247 running into Bodmin Parkway. The return journey was a great pleasure, as it involves a steep grade and a veritable shower of ash particles for those who listened to the show while looking out of the window.

What great loco this is. Your blogger is a (modest) shareholder in 4253, and to hear this sister loco hacking up the hill just sharpened up the anticipation. The K&ESR is doing very well indeed with the restoration of 4253, an appalling wreck that not only spent a long time at Barry, but then an even longer time standing outdoors on a wet Welsh mountaintop.

The B&W impressed with its attention to period detail. They have selected a theme (1950s) at Bodmin General, then stuck with it, with charming attention to detail. This train, with its BR black engine and carmine and cream coaches, fitted in with that theme perfectly. Great stuff.


  1. I'll admit that geography isn't my strongest point, but if that 73 is supposed to be taking the ballast to Laverton then it seems to be heading in the wrong direction.

    Looking forward to the halt opening - it looks great.

    1. Read the text again - It doesn't say that the train was going to Laverton, just that the PWay were busy there :-)
      No doubt the wagons will be taken to Laverton in due course. There was also rail loading, and sleeper loading today, all very complicated.

  2. Great photos-also good to see 4247 at Bodmin Parkway. I have some shares in this loco (42xxs one of my favourites too) but haven't seen it for several years. The folks restoring 4253 are showing that even a badly neglected Barry wreck can be restored. Very inspiring!

  3. Hope you enjoyed your break, Jo. Great to see the Halt nearing completion. Also the pics of the B&W are wonderful as I live quite close to there. Regards, Paul.

  4. Busy days,with ballasting,sleeper loading,and new rail,delivered!.I,remember seeing 4247,on the GWR,back in the 2000s!.It was in late GWR,livery,then!. Regards, Anthony.

  5. Lovely to see a 42xx in the state I remember them when they were in BR service. Occasionally they would appear ex-works on shed looking like this but the shine didn't last for long! It's great that nowadays we get the best of both worlds with 4270 magnificent in GWR livery. Thankfully BR never (?) lined them out (certainly not the GWR); I think the SDR 52xxs look rather overdressed and the nameplates detract from their handsome lines. I hope that the K&ESR stick to tradition.

  6. It is a shame that we will not be able to attend the official opening of the halt. Please leave the keys to the doors under the flowerpot so we can get in when we get back from the outer reaches of Essex.(LOL!)Seriously though, great work by every one, the Halt is looking magnificent, just wish we could get there for the official opening but a previous engagement puts us in Essex!!! Please ensure more photo's of the opening and the work leading up to the opening continue to appear. Thanks for a great report.
    Paul & Marion.