About Me

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South-West of England, United Kingdom
I am a retired cartographer and have recently completed a degree course as a mature student reading History. My main hobby is narrow gauge railway modelling.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

May to June plus a bit of April ......

Whilst I may be writing this installment in June, I must start off with a little bit about April that I forgot to put in my May installment.  Over the weekend of 6 and 7 April 2013, Yate Rocks Tramway journeyed up the M5 to Cheltenham where it was exhibited at a model railway exhibition for two days.  Its previous exhibitions had been only 'one day'ers', so Cheltenham was an interesting experience.  Very exhilarating, but also very tiring, especially  for the old vocal chords.  Profits from the Exhibition all went to CLIC.

One thing which came out of the two days was that the ideal locos, both in functionality and based on a possible prototype was for the little Minitrain diesels to take over, with the Pecketts being 'retired'.  So two more diesels have arrived at the works and the Pecketts have been transferred to another part of the GSCoLtd empire.

The new little blue diesel passes one of the now 'retired' Pecketts.

For my birthday treat, we went off in our caravan (part test run - part holiday  all the way to Tredegar House in Newport.  This gave us a chance to see the house, now a NT property, and get some wood form ISCA Woodcrafts.  Any way we wnet back there three weekends later when ISCA were having an open day with demonstrations by other 'wood nuts'.  That weekend coincided with our 24th anniversery .....  

ps Latest piece of wood turning:

X shaped bowl in Elm

More soon ....

Saturday, 4 May 2013


The Humours of May Day by Anon (1770)
What Frolicks are here
So droll and so queer
How joyful appeareth the day
E’en Bunter and Bawd
Unite to applaud
And celebrate first of the May

May has arrived and the sun has come with it.  Not that I've had time to enjoy it much, as 'her that must be obeyed'!!! got the whip out and forced me into rebuilding one of our raised beds in the back garden.  Okay, I was happy to do it, but it didn't do my back any good, I can tell you.

Fallen head over heels in love with lovely Natalie, the Hackney Girl made good.  I have followed MasterChef from it's early days and with out doubt the standard of cooking has improved no end.  However, I still feel the judging should be done by THREE people and there should be a clear scoring system.  Using a multi-stage cycle race as an analogy, both of the male finalists would have been eliminated in the semi-finals for failing to complete the stage.
It was also interesting the backgrounds of both Natalie and Larkin.  Their families must be really proud.

As for Scotch Eggs, as a Coeliac, these have been -off-limits'for quite a while, until last Sunday, when Mrs M. came back from 'WonderWool', with two lovely Gluten-Free  Scotch Eggs produced by the 'Handmade Scotch Egg Company'.

Last week I finished the best bowl I have turned to date.

Turned from a bowl blank in Elm, it required both the top and bottom section to be hollowed out, thus making it very light.  If I was going to criticize it, maybe the waist could have been even thinner.

Well done Argyle, you survived again JUST.  Time to move upwards again, but on a firm financial footing.
My 'twin' website is being vastly altered at the present time but will begin to feature information on the M,G&SLRly .........

Monday, 1 April 2013

April at last

Before I get onto talking about April and the events of March, I must tell you about what Mrs M has just been up to.  She had to search in the cupboard under the bathroom hand-basin and discovered toiletries that had a use-by date from before we moved some ten years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So where is Spring?,  does anybody out there know?????

Produced a super bowl for Mrs M..  It was turned from spalted beech, this is where a fungus causes thin slivers of rot in the tree and at the same time produced a super pattern in the wood, as can be seen by this photo:

Part of the problem with spalted beech is the hardness of the wood varies according to the amount of rot, so its easy to cause depressions in the wood.  However what is really special about the bowl is, and this is not that apparent from the photo, is the underturned lip, which goes in some 2 to 3 cms .  I'll try to post a better image in the near future.

The second photo is of Orchard the sheep, (named after where I have been taught wood-turning).  He was made from birch and african blackwood.

Nice to see Argyle are winning some matches, just hope they can keep it up and therefore stay up.  

Mrs M has recently acquired a Schacht Matchless Spinning Wheel.  Features lovely woodwork, jealous!!!

Getting Yate Rocks Tramway ready for an exhibition soon, then its time for the garden and caravan.

Thats all for now folks ....

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Its March and Spring is poking her nose out and beginning to scent the air ......

March is very nearly my favourite month, actually April is but that may be something to do with my birthday being in April!!!  For Spring is very nearly upon us and some of my favourite flowers appear in Spring,  daffodils and primroses (link back to Devon), but I will have to wait a bit for my favourite flowers, Sweet Williams.

Wood-turning is progressing well, even if I am 'handicapped' by Mrs M and all her demands for various wood-turned spinning objects.  Over the past twelve months I have built up quite a nice stage of wood, as bowl-blanks, as spindles or as planks,  ..... BUT why is it I don't seem to have the right wood when I get a request for a certain object.  Furthermore, just as I produce a new object, all I seem to get is something like "that's gorgeous, however, if you had done this or shaped that bit differently it would be even better"  ggrrrrrrr .

Last week had two very interesting days. On Thursday evening I went to visit a friend from my model railway club in Ward 103 at Frenchay Hospital, the very room I 'stayed' in when I first went in with my heart condition some three and half years ago.  Strange, but good, because that was the start of my period of heart repair.

When I got back home, Mrs M told me we had to go down to Petersfield in Hampshire either on the Friday or the Saturday to collect a spinning wheel she had just bought on Ebay.  Thats okay, but I'll just check to see if the Mid-Hants Railway will have started it's Spring Timetable on the Saturday.  Well blow me down, the season started that weekend with their Spring Steam Gala.  So on Friday we spent a good three hours on the Watercress Line, FAB !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Waiting for some new 009 locos to arrive from the 009 Society Sales Stand,   more on this next blog.

photo taken from

FolkestoneJack's Blog

Hope you don't mind

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Post Exhibition

It is now just over a week since my model railway club's annual exhibition.  It was a long and tiring day BUT it was well worth it.  The Exhibition was as far as I know the biggest it has put on and possibly the best ever.
My own layout was well received and I had some lovely comments about my new mini layout based on a canal lock in Staffordshire.  The night before the exhibition it poured down which washed the last of the snow away, but it then froze over.  Fortunately by the time the public were allowed in it had more or less thawed.
Yesterday we were driving along a Cotswold Road within a strict speed limit.  We had a car on out tail driven by what looked like a 60 odd year old with his wife .. she was the passenger of course ... As soon as we went into the 50 limit he passed us and was off like a rocket only to have to brake because the speed limit soon went back to 30, not he clearly knew what meant.  Once out of the limit he was off again around a dangerous z bend.  I don't suppose he noticed the wreck of another car that tried to take that bend at speed!!!!

Good to see Parliament is slowly working towards equal rights for gay couples.  Too many anti-gay marriage types go on about that marriage has only ever existed for a couple to produce children.  That means that Mrs M and I should not have been allowed to marry, because by the time we tied the knot both of our internal reproduction pipework had been knotted.  Surely whats important is that marriage is all about a couple wanting to show off their commitment to each other.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Further thoughts on religion

Latest astronomy research has concluded that there are at least some 17 billion earth size planets up there in space. Furthermore millions of these have probably already gone and  I assume millions having been formed but from which light  has not yet arrived.  It makes you realise how large the whole cosmos is and how small we are, that the Earth is but the size of a grain of sand  compared with all possible planets which together are the size of Earth.


A win at last !!!!!!!!

Well done Argyle, a win at last.  So much about winning or losing is often just about whats in the a persons head, such is life.  Managed a walk/push yesterday (Sunday), it was really sunny but cold here in South Glos.  Trouble with this time of the year are the short days and when it's warm it's wet and when  it's sunny it's cold.

New mini-layout is nearly ready for the SodburyVale MRC Exhibition.  The new layout is based on an actual setting in Staffordshire.  It will be interesting to see how it is received.

Watched an interesting programme last night (Sunday) on BBC about the the 5th Royal Tank Regiment.  I was particularly interested in the part about the Sherman Firefly, because it was in one of those that my father fought with the 86th Anti-tank regiment (5th Devons) RA through Normandy and onto Hamburg in 1944-45.

Photo sourced from http://www.strijdbewijs.nl/tanks/sherman/m4eng2.htm