Sunday 30 June 2019

A peek at Penkridge

Originally I planned to go to Bearley yesterday but I mis-read the train timetable so had to quickly come up with a plan B! That plan B was Penkridge which is a rather nice little town inbetween Wolverhampton and Stafford. It has a fine church, railway viaduct over the river Penk and a few interesting old buildings. You can see my photos here.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

BGLR : More adverts

Some more adverts have been added to the layout, this time on the new back wall and tunnel entrance. Not much else is going on on the BGLR at the moment though soon we will be making some improvements to the back scene storage siding.

Tuesday 25 June 2019

Churches (31) : St John the Baptist, Shenstone

The church of St John the Baptist in the Staffordshire village of Shenstone dates from 1853 when it replaced an earlier thirteenth century church which was largely destroyed as it was deemed "unsafe". However the tower and some other ruins from the earlier church are still standing over one hundred and sixty years later.

The church(es) were built on a plateau overlooking the village. The church has a rectangular tower, set on the North Eastern corner of the North aisle. The church has a long nave and two porches. Both churches were made from local dark sandstone.
The current church

Parts of the original ruined church

The 1853 church

The medieval tower


Saturday 22 June 2019

Tyseley Locomotive Works

Today was an open day for the Tyseley Locomotive Works in Birmingham, the closest the city has to a transport museum! As usual there was a good selection of steam locomotives on show, star was a replica of Stephenson's Rocket, arguably the second most famous locomotive after Flying Scotsman! No trespassers this time though. You can see my photos of the open day here.

Friday 21 June 2019

Peak District Lead Mine Museum

The Peak District Lead Mine Museum in Matlock Bath is an excellent little museum dedicated to (as the name states) mining, especially of lead, around the Peak District. I found their collection of artifacts very interesting indeed especially the mineral samples and the wagons which used to transport ore deep underground. I'm glad I didn't have to become a miner like my great-grandfather did (for coal)! You can see my photos at the museum in my Matlock Bath set.

Matlock Bath

I wasn't at work today as its the anniversary of my Dad passing away and I prefer to do something else to take my mind off things. That "something else" was to head up to Matlock Bath which is the spa town part of Matlock. Very pretty it is too though the promenade alongside the river has an interesting mixture of shops: it seemed to be mostly either chippys or amusement arcades! The main focus of my visit was the Lead Mining Museum which will be dealt with in another post. You can see all of my photos from Matlock Bath here.

Thursday 20 June 2019


A Blackpool "Toastrack" tram (you can probably work out why it's called that) at Crich.

Wednesday 19 June 2019

BGLR : Overside load

A while ago I bought a HO scale dummy tram. Originally I intended the tram line to be just for show but of course it is now a fully operational second line. I have removed the pantograph from the dummy tram and it makes for a neat load for the flatbed wagon.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Golden Age (20) : The Night of Fear

Moray Dalton's Golden Age murder mystery covers all the bases with aplomb. A murder is committed in a country mansion on a dark night (the victim is even in 1930s style fancy dress) and there are an assembled collection of suspects which the police and a private detective begin to investigate...

Although the crime and investigation covers little new ground what makes the story stand out is the romantic angle which becomes a major plot point, such things often missing or handled clumsily in Golden Age mysteries.

A well written and enjoyable little mystery.

Sunday 16 June 2019

In need of refurb

Now the second raised bed is progressing well its time to take a look at the first raised bed which is now over six years old. The sides of the raised bed are in need of some rennovation and the herb garden contained inside is a bit wild. The rosemary especially is huge, i never realised rosemary plants could grow this large, my knowledge of the plant was derived mostly from the small snippets you see in supermarkets!

Friday 14 June 2019

Calling at Crewe

Mid-June and my car is due it's MOT and service. So while leaving the Red Herring in the care of Ford I went up to Crewe to take some railway photographs. I was glad to catch one of the new Class 195s, i like the clean and simple lines. I was also able to photograph a train in the new Transport for Wales livery for the first time. You can see my photos here.

Thursday 13 June 2019

BGLR : The wall

Some more work has been done on the new side-wall / tunnel. Most of the "brick work" (in reality plastic of course) is now in place and i have finished the first coat of paint. Other layers will be added along with some lichen to build up the effect. I've used a Tamiya weathering stick to add a bit of dirtiness to the grey.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Golden Age (19) : Death on the Riviera

John Bude's familiar Detective Inspector Meredith returns for this post-war tale of bohemian excess on the French Riviera. Meredith is in France after money counterfeiters but soon murders begin to mar the glitz and glamour (naturally).

Like the earlier Meredith stories the story is well planned out and paced. The plot well thought out (in some earlier Meredith stories Bude could sometimes get mired in lengthy technical digressions) with decent characterisations.

Though Meredith himself seems rather different to his earlier versions in stories set back home in Blighty. Maybe it was the sunshine?

Sunday 9 June 2019

Statfold Barn Railway

The Statfold Barn Railway near Tamworth is an extensive private railway and museum that is usually closed to the public except for a select few days a year, yesterday was one of those days and I was able to visit at last! Their collection of narrow gauge locomotives is remarkable and there was a busy schedule of hauled trains, including a preserved tram... though this has been converted to battery operation. You can see my photos here.

Friday 7 June 2019

Thursday 6 June 2019

BGLR : Fixing down the tram

There hasn't been a great deal of activity on the Birches Green Light Railway this week, some work on the new scenery back wall which is starting to look really good. The major event has been to fix down the tram track for phase 2. I've still to fix down the latest phase 3 track but there is no hurry for that. No scenery work is due for the tram line until next year!

Wednesday 5 June 2019

Augmented reality

Augmented reality or AR is likely to be one of the next "big things". Virtual objects are overlaid on a view of the real world to portray extra information or just for fun. The latter is the case with Apple's Mac Pro AR utility to advertise their new computer. AR is used to let you see how their new computer would "look" on your desk using your phone's camera.

However I thought it would be more interesting to take my virtual Mac Pro for a walk around the business park at lunchtime. The technology is really interesting and it would be cool to try developing something with AR one day, it will probably have to wait until I get my next computer though as my ancient Macbook is a bit wheezey these days. My next computer won't be a Mac Pro though due to cost (unless I win the lottery)...

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Golden Age (18) : The Terror

The Terror by prolific writer Edgar Wallace (who is best known for writing the screenplay for the original King Kong) is a notable book as it was the launch title for the Collins' Detective Story Club in 1929 but is it any good?

Actually "The Terror" is one of two short stories collected here, the other being "White Face". The Terror is a set in a country house with a sinister monk and mysterious goings on. To be honest the story is a bit basic and far-fetched though has plenty of atmosphere. The story interestingly began as a play, was made into a film and then a novel. This might explain some of the story's shortcomings.

"White Face" is more promising. It concerns a murder in a seedy part of London and the hunt for the murderer who seems to be a master of disguise. The police investigation has a bit more meat to it than the other story though also is a bit lacking in some areas. Fine if unexceptional.

Sunday 2 June 2019

Attending Attenborough

Yesterday I visited Attenborough in Nottinghamshire. This is a small village next to the river Trent and home to the Attenborough Nature Reserve made of former gravel pits which have become wetlands after being worked out. The village also has a rather nice church. You can see my photos here.