Friday 31 December 2021

Review of 2021 : December

The final month then, with the weather reasonable and pandemic restrictions holding off the month began with a trip to Haddenham. After that was a trip to Stone including a walk along the Trent and Mersey Canal.

The final pre-Christmas trip was to Lapworth and i walked the canal to Rowington, a rather muddy walk! Finally, after Christmas was a final chance to take some railway photos at Rugeley Trent Valley.

That was 2021 then, despite everything an enjoyable and productive year. You can my map of travels here

Song of the month was "fields of stone" by Dodecahedron. Artist of the year was Roxi Drive. 

Thursday 30 December 2021

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Review of 2021 : Models

On the model kit front 2021 was frustrating, the year started off well and it looked like we might finally reach 100 completed kits, but then things ground to a halt mid-year and didn't restart. So, only four kits were completed in the end. However, there is a healthy stockpile of pending kits so hopefully next year will be more fruitful.

On the model railway front, Birches Green gradually increased it's rolling stock supply with a couple of locomotives and wagons. The goods yard was completely relaid with HOe track. The N gauge track which was replaced was used as part of the new N gauge Shard End layout which is also slowly taking shape. Progress on both, and maybe a third micro-layout, will continue in the new year.

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Model week : Get the bus!

Just one model railway related item arrived over Christmas, though not for a layout we are currently building. We got a fabulous model of a Daimler Fleetline bus in WMPTE livery. It is OO scale so can't be used on Birches Green (which is HO of course, and supposedly in Central Europe!) We are planning a OO scale micro-layout in 2022 though so the bus may be included there. In any case it looks wonderful, and includes interior lights too! In other model railway news we have added a second light over the layouts so this should improve visibility.

Monday 27 December 2021

Review of 2021 : November

Winter approaches, the pandemic as returns with a vengeance, but the travels continued. Firstly, i went to Beeston in Nottinghamshire, also walking the canal. A trip to Olton and Solihull was next, where i also did some Christmas shopping!

Finally, there was a trip to Gloucester, a fine city i must visit more often. This also included a visit to the amazing Gloucester Docks. That was it for travels this month, i was supposed to go to Oakham at the end of the month though a storm meant i canceled that trip. This was the first week without a rail trip since March so that is good going.

Song of the month was "afterlife" by Morgan Willis featuring Kel.

Saturday 25 December 2021

Merry Christmas

So, this is Christmas (again). The second Christmas of the pandemic, let's hope there isn't a three-peat. I went for my usual local walk on Christmas morning, i wished these geese a Merry Christmas and to you all as well.

Friday 24 December 2021

Review of 2021 : A-Z of 2021 Music

Our traditional A-Z of bands we have listened to this year. For the first time ever we were able to have a band which started with X...

Thursday 23 December 2021

Model Week : Plans for the new year

The Birches Green active freight pool has been refreshed with some wagons going into and out of storage. A new locomotive is planned for early in the new year, hopefully a main line locomotive. In other future plans we are considering a return to OO scale and building a micro-layout on a shelf! It can join the other two layouts which will no doubt never reach a state of completion...

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Review of 2021 : October

After a long period of restrictions, October was when i was finally able to reach some kind of normality with my rail adventures. Things started with the SVR Diesel Gala, the first time i had been to the Severn Valley Railway since the start of the pandemic. The next day i went to London and did a Hidden London tour (again the first since blah blah) of the Kingway Tram Tunnel. Next up was a trip to Evesham.

Then i returned to London for some more rail adventures, including a trip to Kent to Rochester and it's rather fine castle. I returned to Blakedown, this time walking to the adjacent village of Churchill. Finally, i went to Crewe and visited the Crewe Heritage Centre. Things may become more restricted again but at least this month proved that things can (approach) some form of normality.

Song of the month was "neon moonlight" by The Ice Choir featuring Jen Goma.

Monday 20 December 2021

Review of 2021 : September

In September i decided to visit a few more new places, of which more later. The month started, however with a return to Wootton Wawen and a walk along the Stratford Canal. A day off in the week saw a trip to Derby. Next i returned to Liverpool and explored more of Wallasey and returned to New Brighton.

Wilmcote was next, and included another walk along the Stratford Canal. At the end of September i decided to go somewhere new, and visited Acton Bridge in Cheshire.

I bought two more old typewriters as well. I intend to get a few more in 2022. Don't ask.

Song of the month was "waste of love" by Nina.

Sunday 19 December 2021

Lapworth to Rowington

Yesterday i headed to Lapworth for what may be the last rail adventure of the year. I walked the Grand Union Canal from Lapworth to Rowington. Because the towpath was so muddy i didn't fancy going back that way so went back via the roads instead! You can see my photos here.

Friday 17 December 2021

Review of 2021 : August

The Summer continued. A rail photography trip to Rugeley was followed by some train travel on local rails around Birmingham. This was followed by a return to Atherstone and a walk along the Coventry Canal as far as Mancetter.

I ventured further afield to Saunderton for the first time. Finally, i visited Stafford. A place i often take train photos at but for a change i went into the town itself.

I bought a rather fine Olympia typewriter, i would buy two more later in the year too! 

Song of the month was "operator" by JJ Mist.

Thursday 16 December 2021

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Review of 2021 : July

Into the second half of the year then which would concentrate mostly on revisiting places i had been to before instead of new. I started with a trip to Tackley in Oxfordshire, this time also walking to the nearby village of Kirtlington. Bearley was next, i had been to the station before (by car) but this was the first trip by train and also to the village itself. On my previous trip to Gerrards Cross a few years ago it had rained heavily but this time i enjoyed a visit in bright sunshine!

I made my first trip to Banbury for some time next, including the Grimsbury area of the town for the first time. I also walked the Oxford Canal in the town. Finally, was a trip to Willington in Derbyshire, i walked to the next village of Repton (home of the famous school) and also did another canal walk, this time along the Trent & Mersey.

Song of the month was "Do you think about me?" by Trevor Something.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

More clicky fun

I have an obsession with loud clicky keyboards. I use a Tecknet mechanical switch keyboard with my Mac mini, of course have bought a number of typewriters this year, and now i have bought a mechanical switch Bluetooth keyboard for use with my MacBook Air. It is not quite as loud as the Tecknet but is very nice, i can also type very quickly on it already (i can almost touch type). The keyboard is an Epomaker NT68 and is recommended, if you like noise.

Monday 13 December 2021

Review of 2021 : June

June was the big month, when i returned to London for the first time since the pandemic began (and indeed a fair time before that too). Firstly though, was a trip to Spondon in Derbyshire. The London trip involved three days of intensive rail travelling on the tube and other London railways. There was also a trip to Woolwich and a walk along the amazing foot tunnel under the Thames.

To round off the month were trips to Wellington and a canal walk in Solihull and Shirley. Also in June i finally succumbed to temptation and bought an Apple watch.

Song of the month was "the wrong place" by Hooverphonic.

Sunday 12 December 2021


Yesterday i visited Stone in Staffordshire, a place i have been to once before in 2017. I walked the Trent & Mersey Canal again, though in the opposite direction to last time. I also ventured into the town itself unlike last time, with it's interesting parish church with a mausoleum to an Admiral who was the patron of Nelson. You can see my Stone photos here.

Friday 10 December 2021

Review of 2021 : May

As Summer approached the trips got a bit more adventurous. Lydney on the Severn estuary was visited at the start of the month, including the Dean Forest Railway preserved line. This was followed by two trips in Liverpool in consecutive weeks, the reason for this being heavy rain ruined my plans at the first attempt so i just went again the week after!

Later in the month were trips to Uttoxeter and Leominster. The latter meant i had now visited every station in Herefordshire, though as there are only four of them its not that great an achievement!

On a sad note my second car, the Shark (a Skoda Favorit) was finally removed from my Mum's driveway and disposed of. It had been there rusting away for nearly ten years, so didn't go without a fight!

Song of the month was "dying breath" by Lukhash featuring Meredith Bull.