Seven a.m. on a Sunday morning and a rather pleasant fantasy is ruined by the youngest. He is requesting his breakfast with all the tact and restraint that a 10 month old baby can muster. Still it looks like a fine day. A cup of coffee and an accident (who left that roller skate there) later and I've escaped to the workshop.
First of all, a five minute sit down is called for I think. I browse through an LOB catalogue and wonder if it is possible to buy the loco bodies separately....they seem to sell everything else as spares. Yes, the tram body would make a nice quickie....I could use that ex U.S. torpedo motor recently purchased from an M.E. advert (usual disclaimer, but it really is a super motor). Oh well, this won't do....I really must get rid of this chair from the workshop!
I should explain that the Compton Down Rly. is a rather ephemeral body whose raison d’etre changes depending on what happens to be running at the time. It's basically 16mm n.g. but when the fancy takes we whip the buildings off and run 0 gauge or even a touch of 4mm Brunel. In practice it means that my motive power varies from steam, battery, 2-rail, clockwork, sail, and airscrew driven. I have yet to emulate the railway at Hasler Hospital where the motive power was described as...."usually eight sailors".
Track cleaning for 2-rail used to be a chore until I discovered electrolube....then it merely became expensive. This I solved by changing to using a car wet start aerosol (I use STP) which is just as good and very much cheaper. However, I think I'll give my "Brick" a go today (!). When you can get it, Methanol is the stuff to use out of doors. It needs to be handled with some respect as consumption is none too good for the eyesight. My particular "Brick" appears in three guises:- there's the as built, there's running with an all over cab made from steel or (and my favorite), with a simple weatherboard so that it looks like a stretched 'rich". It may not be correct but the effect is very pleasing.
Whilst waiting for steam, I'll give the Rye and Camber 2-4-0 a turn round the track. This is built mostly from printed circuit board as I find it cheap and easy to solder. The chassis is bodged out of a Timpo American 4-4-0. Incidentally, the coach that came with the set makes an excellent streetcar in 10mm scale (well....I'm not proud) running of course on 0 gauge track. Talking of railcars you've no doubt seen the play people one by Faller. I got one intending to do some major surgery, but by the time it had been painted, it looked acceptable and there the matter stayed- it runs quite often and I've grown accustomed to its face.
I notice, incidentally that Faller look like selling a continental 14mil-ish e.g. tank engine, again as a play people accessory. What's more it can be got as a push along toy so I don't have to waste money throwing that nasty chassis away....mmomm..yes....must have a think about it.
My reverie is interrupted by the rude raspberry of the safety valve spitting at me. Two minutes waggling up and down the track to clear condensate, a quick wipe to remove hot oily water from my eye (I never learn) and we are ready to go. There's a quick top up of the fuel tank and lubricator, ease it gently forward and....off it goes and the magic is there again.
The crisp exhaust beats trail steam across the lawn. Black always looks nice on an engine. Wouldn't it be nice if the Merioneth Rly. Soc. were to make its crest available as a transfer (you've got us thinking about it - ed.), stick-on or a Letraset rub on. It would look fine adorning many of those freelance locos on freelance railways. In the station yard a 16mm scale traction engine butchered from Mamod bits is coming to the boil. And so the morning goes. The sun is getting higher now and I relax a bit more as the Bagnall, now with a train behind, goes trundling on and on. It pauses for water at the tank. This is a rather ghastly arrangement that collects and filters rain water from the workshop roof and delivers it via a catheter tube into the vacuum valve.
In the steaming bays an 0-4-0 diesel (Lima with unspeakable things done to it) performs some desultory shunting and I settle back for another planning session, as I tend to describe it. There's a little space doing nothing that could usefully be filled in. How about a "standard gauge" feeder...let's see...that would work out at 2 1/2" gauge. I wonder if the 2 1/2" Gauge Society has any castings available that would be useful for 16Mm modellers. On the other hand I suppose I could put in a model, model railway. Let's suppose that Bessie Jones' husband has a yen for 5” gauge model engineering. That would work out as N gauge...yes you could...
But back to earth again. The cat, inspired by the divine wind, has yet again stood her ground. If she wants to sleep on the track everything stops. Brick is re-railed and the cat is entreated to depart. It responds more to the tone rather than the cultured turn of phrase. The opportunity is taken to top up the meths and things settle down once more. In the yard is a starter signal. It is made from Hornby tinplate parts mounted on a much larger post with a turned brass finial on top. Perched on top of this, two flies are copulating...fascinating.