Salute to Youth


The County Championship season is once again underway and although hopes for my club – Derbyshire – were high of an improvement on last year’s wooden spoon, results so far have not been so; 2 games, 2 defeats.

In fairness, the first game was a narrow defeat in a set-up match, whilst the second saw them defeated by what I would expect to be one of the teams right up there at the end of the season.

All in all, I’m not overly disappointed yet. Although I am in one aspect; the team selection.

Last season Harvey Hosein (pictured above), a then-teenager given a chance towards the end of season, put in a string of performance both as wicketkeeper and batsman that left people purring. A string of half centuries and a maiden first-class century as well as excellent wicketkeeping meant he was seen very much as an essential part of our team for this year.

Except, it seems, he isn’t.

Two games in and winter signing, Gary Wilson (himself a good player and great signing), has donned the gloves. However, Wilson represents Ireland solely as a batter and, looking at the Derbyshire line-up, there would be scope for Wilson to play that role for the Falcons whilst Harvey kept. For a club that prides itself on producing and promoting youth, I find his omission baffling. One of the best prospects we’ve had in years – alongside paceman Will Davis (who incidentally has played both games) – isn’t playing. What message does that send out to the other youngsters? Come to think of that, what message does that send to Harvey?

I’m not sure.

I know what I said, but…

I like planning layouts. I like seeing pictures that inspire me and then doodling a plan of a scheme along similar lines. 

Therefore, having done nothing model related since my last post I’ve decided that I’ll keep on drawing and doodling layout plans. Perhaps one day one will stick with me enough to actually want to build it!!

An Easter Epiphany.

Having spent a long time thinking about what I’m doing in terms of a new layout over Easter I’ve reached a stalemate. 

Furthermore, having wasted a lot of time doing so, I’ve decided that’s it. Therefore I’ve packed everything up and put it up in the loft. My Model Rail subscription has expired and I’m not renewing either. 

So, for now, that’s it. No more modelling. I’ll be an ‘armchair modeller,’ but I’m fed up of starting, stopping and as a consequence, losing a lot of time.

Life is too short. 

(Old) new ideas

Despite the allowance of a lot of space for modelling I’ve found that I’m not fussed on using it all. Today I had a tidy up of the modelling box and left myself with just the following three items of stock out. 

I’d like another Oxford 7 plank wagon and a brake van, the acquisition of both – coupled with the arrival of my previously ordered Peckett – should see me through in terms of stock. 

Normally, once I’ve had an idea, I migrate back to looking at Juniper Hill. Therefore I’ve decided to head down that route, but turning the kick back into a run round loop rather like the left hand side of the second design above. The layout will be based around the end of a set of exchange sidings for a limestone line. 

I’ve recently ordered and received a Wills Goods Store. This will see service as the view block as the lines leave the layout. 

Happy endings and new beginnings

Long ago – and I mean a long time ago – I blogged about buying a jigsaw. With moving house and everything I had dismantled my progress and boxed it up. Last week I dug it out, re-made what I’d started and this morning, finished it off. I love how it’s Arley Station on the SVR but I’m sad it’s finished; I’ve found the whole jigsaw thing very theraputic. 

So that’s the endings, what about the beginnings? Well, when I blog (or do any work in the office, actually) I am usually propped up on my knees in front of the desk. Being not as young as I once was this is no good for my knees. 

Therefore I’ve dug an old chair out of the garage, and plan to sand it down and up-cycle. Sanding down has already begun and I’ve also bought a pastel shade of duck egg to paint it with. A low-cost project but one both myself and my knees are looking forward to!



Yesterday I made a trip to well-known Swedish flat-pack furniture emporium. One of my (many) missions this Easter holidays is to tidy up our office space (ok, it’s a spare room!) so with that in mind I purchased one of the excellent Kallax storage units – other makes are available.

Whilst SWMBO was at work I put it up; a super kit that goes together well and takes little time. At this point all was well with the world.

Then Amy arrived home. She headed through to check out my handiwork and then, to my surprise, uttered the following; ‘Lots of space for your trains there!’

Having picked myself up from the floor I looked at the domestic authority and asked if she was ok with that space (147cm long by 48 wide) being used for such a thing. ‘Yes,’ came the, admittedly slightly weary, reply.

Therefore today I headed up to the loft and dug out my B17 ‘Everton.’ It’s just placed on the top for now. Plenty of space to work with!


It’s half term. Finally. 

A chance to catch up on work. A chance to catch up with friends and family. 

A chance to catch up on sleep. 

Why then am I making a brew at 5.35 this morning having been sat wide awake for an hour?


Today I think I had an idea. When searching the net I stumbled across the Middy – the Mid Suffolk Light Railway. 

Ignore the car park and look at the railway. Could the bit you see on the picture be turned into a micro layout? A little like this?

Trains enter from the right, the exit to fiddle hidden by a low-ish relief shed. Locos exit the shed for coaling and taking on water. 

All in all there is plenty of activity from a couple of tracks. 

But is it too much? Is it a quart in a pint pot? I love the idea of a loco squeezing between the shed and the station but is it too squashed? If I want a station with a bit of shunting thrown in should I make a bigger layout? 

The layout shown above could enter the MRL competition but a bigger, more long term project that makes the most of the small funds I can put towards model trains, rather than using them up on a short-lived micro-micro. 

One to think on I think. 

A walk around Woodcote

Yesterday, Amy and myself took the chance to make the most of the beautiful weather that the weekend gave us. We made the short drive to Chetwynd Aston, parked up and walked the four mile ‘The Fox’ pub walk.




Although the fields were not quite as full of rapeseed as they have been when we’ve done the walk before, it was still a lovely hour and a half. Then it was back home to watch the football.

Which was a much less enjoyable ninety minutes!

Brick Laying

Right, back to model railways.

As SWMBO is out tonight (watching Beauty and the Beast) I’ve stuck the football on and dug out the Ancorton Models cottage kit I’d started last year. I’d glued it together, covered it in air dry clay and then left it. Having found it, it looked like this;

So, following the Chris Nevard school of building, I found an old nail and got scribbing. Plenty of scratching and dust later and I’ve ended up with… drum roll please!

Really happy with it so far. I love the big stone cottages that are littered all over Shropshire so I want to replicate one of those. The idea is that this will be a rehearsal room for the local industry (limestone quarry) brass band, tucked away alongside a couple of sleepy railway sidings. 

As you’ll see, I’ve not fully decided on a plan, my back story for the layout is in place; an industrial ‘end of the line’ with a couple of sidings, a couple of huts and a generally sleepy atmosphere. 

Work is manic at the minute, I’m doing a PE specialism course that is taking up lots of spare time, we’re planning a wedding and my fabulous band, the Lions Beginners, have two contests over the next two weekends. It’s very busy and modelling time is at a premium so to get a bit of time to model tonight was most welcome.