Tuesday, 16 July 2019

In which I get to be sniffy about the accuracy or otherwise of a model

I first came across the term 'rivetcounter' at Newhaven Model Railway Club in the 1990s. I have no idea what I was doing at Newhaven Model Railway Club in the 1990s. It might have been something to do with regeneration. But I have always had a fondness for model railways, so I would not have been a reluctant visitor. 'Rivetcounter' seemed to be an epithet that veered between insult and respect, which side it fell being very subjective. A rivetcounter was someone who slavishly pursued accuracy in their modelling, and was quick to point out its lack in others'.

I have no chance of spotting any inaccuracies in model trains. But it is striking that those same people who wouldn't put a rivet wrong on their loco are remarkably casual about their boats. It is, of course, gratifying that one of the layouts at the Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway featured a canal
complete with tunnel, bridge, and a modern and a historic boat. And, excitingly, an accident waiting to happen as the historic boat - if indeed that be its fore end - makes a spectacular hash of exiting the tunnel (one worthy of me circa 2007, perhaps).

Now, joshers are not my forte, but this - unless it has stolen a set of cloths - purports to be one.
But it doesn't look much like one I've ever seen. When I first saw the model, I thought it was the stern end of a horseboat (and not a josher one at that). Rather like my icebreaker (thanks, anonymous commenter!), it appears to be sitting on top of the water.  It has no strings (how could they forego the joy of making strings out of sewing thread?) Likewise, ropes. It has no sidecloths, come to that. What is that protuberence, too big, too far back, and the wrong shape to be a mast? Was this, I wonder, based on a real boat at all; even a photo of one?

Not that this spoiled my enjoyment at all, as you can no doubt tell.

Monday, 15 July 2019

In miniature

Blame Sebastian for the beetroot latte. Baz the long-haired hippy lockboy has morphed into Sebastian the nearly-solicitor, the sort of person who goes to the sort of places where they serve beetroot lattes. It didn't taste of beetroot (which is just as well as I don't like beetroot); it tasted of aniseed, and dust.

I have had a wild few days (well, by my standards) which have been quite logistically challenging as my eleven days away from Sheffield comprised three days boating, three days conferencing, four days in Sussex charity shopping, dog walking, sunbathing and family partying and outinging, and a day driving back to Sheffield. I found it quite taxing packing for all these different activities.

The holiday finished on Sunday with a visit to the Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway, which I had never heard of, with Sebastian, Izzi and little Rory who is now one. Baz thought that there wouldn't be much there to keep us occupied for long, so we arrived about three.

Well, it was lovely. There were miniature steam locos pulling trains you could ride on - and unlike the ones from my childhood (which I am delighted to see are still running), they also had miniature carriages that you sat on top of.
We went for two train rides, and Rory had her first ice lolly.

There were lots of layouts - some 00 and N gauge in glass cases, and Thomas and Percy outside, which sprang into action on the insertion of 20p.
There were playgrounds for larger and smaller children
 And actually, before we knew it, it was quarter to five and the last train had left.

I have unilaterally decided that a visit to the Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway is to become an annual birthday tradition.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Icebreaker exercise

I'm at the Foundation Year Network Annual Conference and we had an icebreaker exercise, so I drew an icebreaker. And then during the AGM I drew another one.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Such hard work,

Ricky and Geoffrey both seem to enjoy boating, but they certainly don't see it as an opportunity to relax. They spend the entire time on the lookout, dodging from one side to the other, sniffing the air, never off duty for a moment. And then at locks of course Ricky has to do his barking to make sure they don't get left behind. So by the time we got back to Alvecote for an excellent lunch at the Barlow, the poor things were ready for a well earned rest.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Ricky rearranges his bed (again)

Oh dear.

When an upholsterer was fulfilling an order for cushions for the Alvechurch hire fleet some time back in the 1990s (or thereabouts). I wonder if they gave any thought to how their handiwork would end its life - and the various roles it would fulfil before that. One set of cushions ended up in a 70' boat called Tawny Owl. After its career as a hire boat, Tawny Owl was bought by Richard and Sue (and was to become a stalwart, nay champion, of the BCN Challenge). After a while, in 2011, Richard and Sue decided to change the upholstery (and possibly the amount of beds) and asked on CanalWorld if anyone wanted four six-foot long foam cushions covered in pale green Dralon.

Yes please, said the recent purchaser of Bakewell (that's me, for anyone who hasn't been keeping up), because I had no mattress for the butty's crossbed. The four six-foot cushions became eight three-foot ones, some still covered in Dralon, some not. Three of them stayed on Bakewell... maybe they are still there two more owners later. They were certainly very good and firm. One piece of Dralon-less foam is on the bench on which I am now sitting. Three pieces were the spare spare bed, and lived in the cratch awaiting being made up into a bunk (but I think now may be at home in the attic, for the same purpose) The final, completely Dralon-encased piece was a luxury dog bed for Little Ricky. Well, it's not quite dead yet - in fact Geoffrey is sleeping on it as I write - but it has rather suffered Ricky's attentions last night.

I wonder what has happened to all the other upholstery from that particular order, and how much of it is still in use. It certainly was very well made and long lasting - until it encountered Ricky's claws.

Friday, 5 July 2019

A narrows squeak

What a lovely half day's boating.  Jim and I met up at Alvecote from our separate directions in time for lunch, and set off at half past one. We've tied up somewhere short of Brinklow at about half past seven. The plank is deployed because I ignored the gospel of Kevin One Tooth, which is 'the first profit's the best profit' and decided against tying up to some very nice piling because if was on the outside of a slight bend.

The most exciting bit of today came about because I played chicken with a small boat from Yorkshire over some narrows, and we got stuck. My fore end was there first, I swear it! We got free without too much trouble, once I managed to convince him to try reversing at the same time as me.

Having seen two wide beams so far on the North Oxford, my suggestion is that if you can't get a breasted pair through the narrows, might as well make 'em eight foot wide as thirteen foot ten.

Ricky and Geoffrey have been very well behaved today, but constantly on the alert, which is obviously very tiring.



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