In the summer time…

School’s out!

So, of course, that means lots of modelling time. 

Alas, probably not. Planning (lessons), planning (wedding), getting married and a honeymoon will mean I’m probably struggling for too much. 

However, I can’t wait to get married so I’m not exactly going to complain!!

Fiddling Around

Today – in between wedding things – I built a fiddle yard. Well, a fiddle stick. Actually, I built the world’s most overengineered fiddle stick. Mount board and foam board combined to build a solid structure that will hold two wagons and a loco. 

I logged the construction in a series of photos. As usual I won’t go through a written blow by blow account but there is a photographic one. 

All that is left to do is to create some mount board side walls to the stick to stop stick from falling off the side, glue the track in place and wire it. 

Finally, model railway progress!!

Another year gone

Photo Copyright Graham Shaw

Tonight sees the last concert of the academic year for my wonderful band, the Lions Beginners. It’s the annual Macclesfield Lions Concert which takes place at the splendid Kings School in the town. 

Looking back over the past year I think it’s been one of solid progress. Ok, it’s not been the rapid progress of recent years – and we’ve not added any prizes to the cabinet unlike the previous three years – but, when I look at the band that started the year and compare it to the one that finished, I can’t help but be pleased with what the band are doing. 

We started the year off with a young bunch and that bunch – due to player progression to the Juniors – got younger. This is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. Progression is the name of the game for our organisation after all. Yet it does make it hard to get the band to (and keep them at) my preferred standard. That’s the challenge though, and that’s why I love what I do. 

Looking ahead I feel the next year might offer than Band the chance to do something a little different and break out of its annual routine. I have plans in my head – which I hope come to fuitition – to offer the players new experiences to those they’ve currently had. There is new music to be rehearsed and, hopefully, new players to embed in the band, safeguarding the future of our fantastic organisation. 

Yes, the past 12 months have been tough at times, but the good times, they are a-coming!

Bring on 2017-18!

Board, board, board. 

Some of you may have picked up on the ‘planned’ layout comment in my last post. I don’t overly have anything planned as such but, in an effort to spark some modelling mojo, I did spend this morning putting together a baseboard. 

Laser cut from Tim Horn (excellent service and product) I built up one of his ‘scenic boards’ that I had squirrelled away somewhere, all 40x25cm of it. They go together a charm, as the pictures below show. 

In just ten minutes the job was done. After that I had a little play around with some ideas, preferring the one below – a small disposal point – as a potential starting point for a new layout. The idea is heavily influenced by Marc Smith’s micro 0 gauge layout and Mark Branson’s Juniper Hill. I’ll leave everything as it looks on the picture for a bit and see what I think. 

At your convenience

Today I decided to make a toilet. A nice, simple scratchbuild. A bit of plasticard, a bit of mountboard and some fiddling around left me with the following convenience. 

Needs the roof finishing and then a wash with some browns, blacks and greys before it’s done and people on my yet-to-be planned tuning fork layout will have somewhere to pay a call when required!

And just to clarify, the bloke hasn’t fallen over due to the, ahem, aroma emenating from the hut!

A(nother) day out at Ironbridge

We’re lucky enough to live around half an hour away from this rather lovely place. Yesterday we headed back for another day out there and, after a good fudge cake at Truffles, turned left from the station car park and followed the old railway line for a mile or so to Jackfield. 

Plenty of hints and nods to the paths former use as the Coalport line on the way as well. After Jackfield – one of the pictures shows either the remains of a station platform or a loading dock – there was just two stops before Bridgnorth and the start of the wonderful SVR route. 

All in all, another good day out and an interesting walk. Then it was home to listen to England’s disappointing start to the Women’s Cricket World Cup before another short afternoon walk that saw us take in half an hours play at Newport Cricket Club. 

Added to the fact that on our walk we found the band room of the Jackfield Brass Band (3rd picture above) I had a rather good day that combined all of my major interests; railways, cricket and music. 

Oh… and I finished the day off with a beer or two. 


What’s on my iPod?

Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Foden’s Band CD. Hailing from South Cheshire and spending a lot of my banding years in and around Sandbach, Foden’s should – in all probability – feature higher up my list of bands I listen to. 

Yet it’s only recently they have. And I’m glad they now do. A couple of cheap eBay purchases of CDs from their Patrons Choice range, added to a few earlier volumes I already own mean I now have a wide range of their recordings. However, as my own musical tastes change (I much prefer major work discs to ‘in concert’ items) it is their CD Masquerade that I find myself returning to. Partita by Heaton and the title track (another stoned from Wilby) are worth the price alone on what is a quite stunning CD. In fact, I think I would go as far as saying it’s up there with YBS’ ‘Music of the Spheres’ disc in my all-time favourite major works discs. 

I’m already awaiting Foden’s next disc!

The dream



If space and budget was no option the dream layout would be a station that is, now I’ve relocated, not a million miles away from me; Arley Station on the SVR.

It has a lot going for it. Firstly, the picture postcard location. It’s beautiful. The sloping, flower surrounded path on the platform for trains heading to Bridgnorth is rather splendid. The station building is imposing yet charming and the station is kept in excellent condition, with plenty of little details that are crying out to be modelled. There is a couple of sidings that adds shunting potential and play value, as well as the chance to model long trains – something space has never allowed me to do previously.

Amy and myself have often discussed future home plans (one step at a time though, we get married this summer) and I have been allowed a ‘man shed.’ Although this is mainly to get my train stuff out of the house it would also mean I have the space to build something such as Arley.

This is very much something I would see as a long term project. My first baby-steps would be to mock up some plans. The over bridge just south of the station is an obvious scenic break heading towards Kidderminster but the northern end would pose more problems.

Whether Arley will ever properly take off, I don’t know. However, it will remain a dream – my ‘forever’ layout.