Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Mince Pie Special – Llangollen Steam Railway 2013

We drove over to Llangollen to catch the late afternoon train.

The loco was the Great Western Railway Freight Loco 2802, an 8F 2-8-0.
It breezed smoothly up the incline to Berwyn Station pulling the 5 coach set with ease.

We enjoyed the mulled wine and mince pie in the company of a couple who had just bought a canal boat, berthed at Chirk.
Mince Pie Special

The cab

From the archives!

 3802 standing in Llangollen Station

A great way to see out Christmas 2013!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Shutlingsloe - Annual Christmas Run 2013!

This year, to celebrate my increased levels of fitness, I took to the hills above Macclesfield Forest for the symbolic fell run to Shutlingsloe – sometimes referred to as the 'Matterhorn of the Peaks'!
Surprisingly, it was snowy above the tree line with some ice.

Looking up at the forest ridge through a felled section

A view back down to Macc Forest
A view up to Shutlingsloe – with the characteristic profile
I took the path down the northern gully and saw tracks of hares in the snow!
This view is looking east from this track.
A photo looking up to Shutlingsloe peak
The climb to the top

Trig point @ 506m/1660ft

It just remained to slither down the snowy slopes to gain the open access path back to Macc Forest.
 Looking back down to Macc Forest

The top fell path across to the 'top' car park
The run was a great 1 hour of snowy exhilaration and challenging terrain!

Unfortunately, the slippery surface got the better of me on the last descent as I missed my footing and fell – giving an ungainly impression of someone falling on ski Sunday!
There was no-one around to see my nil-point floundering – though a cut and bruised shin painfully reminded me of the challenges of the fells!

Happy Christmas 2013!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Bed 'Ole Floor – Job Done!

This job has been in process for a while so with Christmas arriving, it was time to just 'get it done'!

The bedroom corridor is not an easy place to work and it took some figuring out – and some cutting of the oak floor panels to get it all to fit.

Using the open radiator edge to start from. Note the drawer fronts have been taken off

Front hold being used as a workshop!

Floor cut into the drawer recesses – held in place with clothes pegs!

One drawer front back on

 With trim in place - job done!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Blowing my own Trumpet!

People may know how much I enjoy playing trumpet with the Wychcraft Big Band.

We had a trio of gigs just recently – finishing with a concert in the new E-Act Academy in Winsford.
Our trumpet group has 6 players and we try to gig with 4 trumpets to cover the parts.

I usually play 3rd trumpet in the Section and have a couple of solos – one on Sing, Sing, Sing and one on the band classic, Peanut Vendor.


Wychcraft Big Band at Winsford

Go to our Wychcraft Big Band website or our Band Facebook page to get the links to a couple of numbers.

Blowing my own trumpet!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Winter 2013 arrives!

With the colder weather arriving, especially with clear evening skies, we have some great sunsets.

Sunset over the marina

I have lit the boatman's cabin stove to give some heat at the back of the boat!

Chimney smoking!
Warm glow from the cabin doors

Early winter also means our Rode Hall Silver Band is fully engaged in practice for the Leicestershire Brass Band Contest.

We have all been practising hard and put in a last, full band, rehearsal at the church in Congleton. Chris came along to listen and thought the piece – Music for a Festival by Philip Sparke – sounded great!


 Front row

Lower band section  

Cornets and Nigel, our Conductor

We set off on the band coach to Leicester on Sunday and took to the contest stage in our 4th Section.

Overall, we came 7th out of the 14 bands entered – a creditable performance for a harder piece of music this year. Nigel our Conductor is to be congratulated for his musicianship and leadership in taking this on – of course we were disappointed that we didn't get a higher placing. However, we did make mistakes! The Adjudicator made many positive comments about our playing which was pleasing.

Proud Rode Hall Silver Bandsman!

Friday, 22 November 2013

RAF Cosford – Museum Visit

Last week, I met up with my brother Mike and we drove down to the RAF Museum, Cosford. The weather was foul so fortunately we were mostly in the hanger areas.

We started in the Restoration Hanger, not usually open, so it was pretty busy with interested and knowledgeable visitor and the Volunteers/Museum Staff doing the restoration work.

Our immediate attention was drawn to the Vickers Wellington Bomber – in pieces – being lovingly restored. The Wellington has a special significance for our family as it was the plane our Father flew towards the end of the war when he was with Coastal Command.

Surprisingly, there are only 2 remaining Wellingtons left – this one is the Mark T.X MF628 which first flew in May 1944 and was later converted in 1948 to a navigation trainer hence the T.X designation.
The aluminium wing section – minus it's fabric covering
The fuselage section with some repairs to the covering
Rear gun turret
Nose gun turret

For those interested, check out this link to a visit by an enthusiast.

To my delight, there was also a boat (!) in the shed.
RAF Range Safety Launch 1667, built in 1956
Timber framing

Twin screws – no engines to be seen though!

Another plane in restoration that caught our eye was the sister WW2 medium bomber to the Vickers, a Handley Page Hampden.

  Hampden P1344 – shot down in Finland in September 1942
Bullet holes still in situ
Part of the tail – shot through
A new section fabricated in aluminium

After a well-earned coffee and buttie, we went onto the War Planes hanger.

The iconic Spitfire
My brother stands next to a Consolidated PBY Catalina Flying Boat. Our Father, having learned to fly in the USA, flew one of these from Newfoundland to Ireland, I think in 1942/3

The amazing Harrier Jump Jet

We also saw the Dornier Bomber that has recently been lifted from the sea and is being washed down in tunnel tents – unfortunately, my camera ran out of battery power!
See this link for interest.

It was a really good day out – albeit wet and cold! It was good to spend time with my brother Mike as well. There is still more to see and hopefully a further visit next year?!