January Playlist


It’s taken a while, but here is January’s playlist. It’s a bit of a big hitter in terms of the substance of the music but it’s an enjoyable – and listenable – selection.

Toccata Charles Widor
Black Dyke Band conducted by Nicolas Childs

Tallis Variations Philip Sparke
Cory Band conducted by Philip Harper

A Hebridean Lullaby Philip Harper
Leyland Band
Baritone soloist Katrina Marzella

Finale from Daphnis and Chloe 2nd Suite Maurice Ravel arr. Howard Snell
Eikanger-Bjorsvik Band conducted by Howard Snell

Some quite serious music, but what music!


Due to there being no water where I work today has been an unexpected day off! So I’ve got cracking with the baseboard for my new micro.

It’s a mix of laser-cut wood topped with foam board, cut away in one part to make it more uneven. A bit of paper-mache too and it’s currently drying. If I’m honest, I’m not sure how well the sloped foreground will turn out but, if required, I’ll revisit it. Below is a photographic record of how it took shape.

Moving to WordPress


Here it is, my first post on WordPress. I took the decision to move over from Blogger as I’m now an admin on another website that is hosted by WordPress. Therefore it seemed to make sense to have everything under one roof, as it were. Although I’ve moved hosts, you can expect more of the same content as before; sports, railways, music, life. Stay tuned.

Railways of Telford

At Christmas I received the quite excellent book ‘Railways of Telford’ from my future in-laws. It was a book I’d looked at several times and, having moved Telford way, is an area of the railways I’ve become very interested in, meaning it was a very much well-received present. Included within it’s pages is a chapter on the Lilleshall Company. This is of huge interest to me, as it is very much the area that I’m looking at basing my layout on.

The back cover of the book states that the author, David Clarke, is building a model of Trench Sidings and then, by chance, I discovered a thread on the Lilleshall Company and Mr Clarke’s own blog to do with his layout build on RMweb.

After some initial conversations we swapped email addresses and since then Mr Clarke has – very kindly – sent me lots of pictures of the Lilleshall system and it’s locos alongside more information about it.

One picture – included below – has solved a problem I was facing. Having weather the Cory Brothers wagon, I was wondering how on earth I could include a South Wales wagon on a Shropshire-based layout. Well, look at the wagon poking out from behind Lilleshall No. 4 (on the left).

Inspiration truly is everywhere!

Things to do in 2017

I’m not massive on New Years Resolutions, however I thought this year I’d have a few aims. So, here they are:

1) Build a model railway layout and get out of this modellers block! However, a future blog post might shed some light on the inspiration I’ve gained recently.

2) Finally get my music publishing service up and running. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while and am looking in to the hosting side of things currently.

3) Get back into a bit of brass playing. It’s probably been too long since I last played seriously. Perhaps a brass quartet or something?

4) Complete the Everton jigsaw I bought 18 months ago. I’ve not been able to face it yet as the thought of putting all that grass together has been putting me off.

Perhaps there is nothing too ground breaking there, however I’d like to get cracking with them all.

Oh! I almost forget…

5) Get married. 😉 11th August can’t come soon enough!

A Simple Project?

Today I took delivery of this little beauty. A Hornby J94 Austerity that I picked up via Rails of Sheffield’s eBay store. A low price that I made an even lower offer on and, quick as a flash, I’ve got another item of traction for my new layout to go alongside the Sentinel.
The loco was listed as repainted and the number 68012 and BR symbol you can see were added on via sticky labels. A splash of water and a gentle rubbing and I now have the following:
I’ve got a set of name and number plates for it already – Alexandra, 1877 – from a previous Sentinel project. All that needs doing on top of this is a repaint into blue, some weathering and the addition of a crew. Reasonably simple and hopefully a quick little project.

All Change at Crewe!

No, I don’t mean the railways. Today brought in the end of an era as Crewe Alexandra announced that they had ‘parted company’ with First Team Manager Steve Davis after five years in charge.

The general response on Twitter and Facebook was ‘good,’ as ‘SD’ seemed as though he was unable to halt a slide that had seen the team drop out of League 1 last season and slip down to 18th in League 2 this term. The irony of the decision that the board announced today being that when Davis took over he took over a team in 18th place in League 2.
I’ll be honest. For the good of the club I think that the right decision was made today. League status is paramount to a club of Crewe’s size. If we went down we might never come back; look at Macclesfield, Wrexham, Kidderminster. Yet on a personal level I felt very sad. SD seemed a decent, honest man. When manager at Nantwich Town he used to come in to a school I worked in to coach football as part of Nantwich’s community programme. He was great with the kids and, indeed, the school. Ultimately, today boils down to the fact that someone lost a job, no matter how good he was or wasn’t. 
However, one man’s loss is another’s gain. Hot on the heels of the departure of SD came the announcement that David Artell – formerly a promotion-winning captain of the club and Academy Director – was appointed as his successor. It’s his first job in management and everyone will wish him well. Passionate, whole-hearted, courageous and intelligent, (probably the first football league manager with a degree in forensic science!) Artell is already a popular, if somewhat left-field, choice.
But back to Davis. There is no skirting around the act that the last two or three years at Crewe have been poor. A small budget, player sales and youngsters not making the required grade all added up. Today it reached it’s head. But this troubled times, particularly the last 18 months, should not subtract from Davis’ achievements at Crewe Alex; A record-breaking unbeaten run that ended in Play-Off glory at Wembley and winning the Johnstones Paint Trophy in 2013 – another glorious Wembley triumph – that meant he was the first Crewe Alexandra manager to EVER win a competition outright. That’s how SD should be remembered by Crewe Alex fans, and that’s why my last comment on it isn’t a comment; it’s a picture. And it says a thousand words.
Thanks for the memories Steve. It’s been a pleasure and I wish you all the best in the future.

‘Oh no! I’ve ruined it!’

That’s what I thought several times whilst carrying out the work below. In an effort to do some actual modelling last night, I turned off the laptop, put Doctor Who (series 9) on the box and set to work with the MSC DH16 Hornby Sentinel. The goal was to remove the lettering and basically make her one dirty girl, ready to receive new nameplates.

Rather than post a blow by blow transcript of what I did (acrylics, cotton wool buds and the odd drop of water) here is a photographic account transformation. I’m very happy with it, but can’t help but wonder if I’ve possibly over done it? I’m yet to varnish it as I might remove a little bit more first. All thoughts and comments welcome.

End of the Line.

Two days ago I posted about my idea for the MRL 2017 box challenge.

I’ve changed my mind. Several reasons.

1) I get married this year. Any modelling funds – which aren’t high, unlike the wedding funds – are very small.

2) Therefore, I want any funds possible to go towards my main layout idea – the ‘for keeps’ layout – rather than losing them on something with little potential.

3) If I do anything it will be very much the diorama approach and I want to have tried something new out, like building my own track.

Therefore, staying in Shropshire, Jackfield Sidings, a curious place, seems a good potential idea.

What do you think?