Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Club Meeting 13 May 2018

Hi All,

Some days at the Club remind me of Garrison Keillor and "A Prairie Home Companion".  He always used to open his monologue with "It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon...".  On Mothers' Day, it was a quiet day at the Club, with only six diehards in attendance.  Acoustically quiet, too.  Alan still not travelling after his operation, and Judy in Japan, so no one doing the rounds making conversation.  And no Jack.

Rod and George were busy in SW Germany again, with the aim of having all the scenery stuck in place before Derek gets back.  That's so that the layout can be stood on end to make wiring easier.  I did ask George the name of the station.  Foolishly, I thought that I could remember it.  Should have remembered that I have trouble remembering my own name these days.  Forgot that, too.

Dale had brought the finished brick wall to close the glaring white gap at the foot of the backscene behind Stanley Creek yard, and that has much improved the appearance.  He was then joined by Geoff the Pres and they continued to tart up Mousehole.  Geoff the Sec busied himself with planting trees, weeds and undergrowth along the main lines behind Steward and the overall appearance continues to improve.

I had another of those "where is he?" days, hiding beneath Sayer yard fitting Hatton's motors to replace the above board Peco point motors that were not up to driving the 3 way point.  Next week I will power them up, and find out whether I was wasting my time.  If all is well, then I can have another happy upside down afternoon fitting microswitches to them and, perhaps, trying to fathom Derek's wiring diagram of cunning wiring that drives each of two motors the correct way to select the desired track with but a single touch.

No mention of goodies at smoko, 'cos no one brought any.  We also forgot to plan for next week, so I will bring the Tim Tams.

'Til the 20th
Pete

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Club Meeting 6 May 2018

Hi All,

As is commonly the case, numbers were down on our running day. (Do people think that physical exercise is involved?).  Next week we lose another one as Judy heads for Japan, and yet others are planning for warmer climes in the months ahead.  Rod held out until after smoko, finally succumbing to running Percy in SE Germany.  Up to a point, that is.  He finally gave up trying to figure where the gaps had been built in to the track, and declared that it was Derek's job anyway.  Martin, I think, held out all afternoon, planting weeds in his river.  Geoff the Sec, George, Dale and I did clean track, then drive trains.  Geoff the Pres was a couple of bays to the West helping a grandson get older, but was with us in spirit.  

At smoko we skipped any suggestion of a committee meeting, and belatedly celebrated a year's occupation of the Pool Room with the aid of choccie things surmounted by a four candle power train, and delicious (word of the week) little shortbread and cream devices, all organised by Heather.

I do confidently predict that next Sunday is a work day.  I do not predict what form that work will take.   I doubt that it will raise a sweat.

Until the 13th
Peter.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Club Meeting 29 April 2018

Hi all,

Eleven of us gathered around the tea table for a well earned and well catered break.

The well earned bit came from an industrious couple of hours of mostly scenic activity.  Except that Derek ( who, it turns out, had not been near Japan since last year - I must eavesdrop more carefully) spent his time under the bench fighting with the 3-way point at Sayer yard.  I had trouble persuading it to function properly when I installed it.  Even the assistance of Geoff the Pres was not enough, and they gave up the battle at around 4pm.  During Derek's forthcoming absence in Sicily (I think I have it right this time) I will exchange the above board Peco motors for a couple of under board Hatton's units.  Then we shall see how the immovable object deals with the irresistible force.  

The divider between Mousehole and the Stanley Creek yard received some attention.  Dale had brought a tapering brick wall to obscure a startlingly white area and , having proved that it would fit, took it away to finish off.  Geoff the Pres, in between talking with Judy and helping Derek, improved the appearance and security of the edge capping on the divider.   The end no longer reaches out to ensnare the casual passer by.  In the yard itself I continued the broad acre work of laying hard standing, ballast and weeds.

Our shearing shed has been trimmed a little (shorn, I suppose) and lifted a couple of inches to settle into place amidst the snowy white plastic paddocks that have appeared.  A mere wave of Paul's magic static gadget will turn these into swards of green sheep pasture I am sure.    

As usual, to find George or Rod one had to time travel to Baden-W├╝rttemberg.  Martin made the trip when he was engaged as cassette consultant.  David appeared to be out of work at some point, but only briefly.  Geoff the Sec did things around Steward.  

One reason that tea was well catered was the unheralded appearance of Helen with muffins and little square things to add to the cream sponge.  I am not sure who brought the sponge, but it was certainly Rod who took the remains home.  Next week will be catered by Geoff the Sec (really, by Heather).

Next week, first Sunday of the month, will be a running day.  First job, I suspect, will be to scrape all the wayward scenery and glue off the tracks before anything will move.   No suggestions of timetables or schedules that I am aware of, but I think that I will set the Flying Scotsman off on a non-stop run and let all lower forms of life practise hiding in sidings as it comes through.  There is a remote possibility that Geoff the Sec may decide that it is time for a committee meeting.  In case you forgot - every one is on the committee.

Peter

Monday, 23 April 2018

Club Meeting 22 April 2018

Hi All,

The question of "When did we start in here?" came up yesterday.  For some time I had been meaning to look at my old "Notes" to see when we were due for a birthday party, but never quite got around to it.  Geoff the Sec hauled out his trusty smart phone and found a photo of an empty room dated April 9th.  I have just looked up the notes, and they indicate that the room was "ours" on April 2nd, 2017.  So we missed our first birthday.



This was the start, April 2017


Yesterday was totally given over to scenery, not that I am too clear what every one was up to.   David had brought Joyce along, so the backscene around the John Falls area was repaired, and blended into the photo scenes on either side.  Nice work.  At one time I saw Joyce judiciously applying sky blue to the back scene, then I glimpsed sky blue floating along on the other side of the layout.  A closer look revealed that Judy had chosen to wear a sky blue top to club.  It must have rained in the hills behind Mousehole, because water has appeared in the nameless river, supervised by Martin.  Paul paid us one of his flying visits, continuing to develop Port Gary.  Geoff the Sec did things around Steward,  George and Rod time travelled back 100 years to SE Germany and reshaped the terrain.   I reluctantly started to apply ground cover to the Stanley Creek freight yard.  That's a lot of area, and I like my scenery in small doses.   Dale is working up a brick wall to cover the gap between the ground and the back scene in this area.

George told us that he held the recipe book open for Jane while she created ?  He forgot to look at the heading, so I can only identify it as not exactly a sponge cake, filled with, and topped off with, things that had been bought at local markets.  I can confidently say that it was very good.  As usual, we forgot to organise for next week.

If it seems to be a long time since we had a running day, that is in part because this year April has five Sundays.  So next week is still a work day.  Word on Grant is that he is making better progress than the church .

See you on the 29th
Peter

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Club Meeting 15 April 2018

Hi all,

A slight shuffle of the members pack changed some of the faces this week.  No Derek - he is in Japan - but Rod rejoined us, with 4 feet of platform under his arm.  That kept Geoff the Sec quiet all afternoon, working around Steward.  Paul arrived with a container crane/lifter/traverser thing for Port Gary.  Also a visiting tugboat and sailing dinghy that looked quite at home.  George turned up for an unscheduled session.  He had to be around the island this weekend to take delivery of a new fridge.  Which he does not expect to equal the 37 years service that the old fridge gave.  And it turns out that I was in the wrong corner of Germany last week.  Should have been Baden-W├╝rttemberg, not Bavaria.  (Did you like the umlaut?).  Geoff the Pres fixed a point motor that wasn't throwing properly - some operation that involved being under the bench with screwdriver, spare screws, superglue and dedication.  He then went off to join Dale at Mousehole.

This is what we left behind

Dale had news of one of our invisible members, having met Tony on a shopping expedition during the week.  Tony still has other commitments on Sundays, but one of these days.... .  So yes, footpaths and railings going in at Mousehole.  And a road that comes from nowhere, and goes back there.  A solution will be found.  I think that I have finished servicing all the KaDee couplers currently in residence.   Judy decided that the sensible thing to do was to stay home and turn up the heater.  Not silly, that girl.  It must also be said that at the club we are well looked after by the big unit in the corner that kept us at a comfortable 22 degrees.  Unlike the big hall, where the Greek Association were having lunch.  It seems that some one had turned all the aircons to the cooling cycle, which Alan D did not pick as he tried to get the place to warm up.  After they finished their lunch, we had lots of visitors - all very complimentary.  Martin was also particularly welcome this week, as he brought some of Carol's choc chip biscuits.  Also my thanks to anon, who brought buttered slices of fruit cake.  Next week George has promised us something from Jane's repertoire.  
During the week, David Hall and I took the original Grossard Court layout to Wonthaggi, to show to the residents at Rose Lodge.  Those who know about these things (e.g. David and the lady in charge of such things at Rose Lodge) deemed the visit a success.  Not at all welcome was the news that Grant had suffered a minor stroke.  The prognosis is that it will be a few weeks before he is allowed to drive again.  The silver lining is that he will eventually arrive with the church that he has been going to build for a while.  This has been taken on as therapy to improve co-ordination.  Best wishes from us all.

'Til the 22nd,
Peter.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Club Meeting 8 April 2018

Hi All,

Welcome back to the little fella with the big operation.  Alan called in for a while and brought Denise along to see what we have been up to.  They did not stay long, but he is up and about and looking good, so I don't suppose the peace will last much longer.

The traffic had slackened off since last week and Derek and David were able to make it all the way to Cowes this time.  As I thought, Derek was able to find some more wires to connect and it is now possible to drive a train in and out of the Stanley Creek yard from the North end.  And to use the turntable at Mousehole.  Dale and Geoff the Pres spent the whole afternoon in Mousehole, polishing up this, that, and the front door knob on the Town Hall.  George occupied centre stage, artistically laying out a pre WW I Bavarian village on our upcoming exhibition layout.  At a first glance it looks quite Tudor English, with half timbered houses in the majority, and this led to a sort of "where have all the trees gone" chat, and why the "New Forest" is so named.  David and Judy were trying to help the farrier get established at John Falls, and wondering about a quiet track of into the forest.  Hmmmm.   I spent the day getting graphite dust on fingers as I persuaded KaDee couplers to behave - principally to uncouple.  They are very clever little units when they are properly set up and little dogs when they are not.  In the course of this I discovered three more wagons had been hiding away on the dreaded plastic wheels.   

And Jupiter must have aligned with Mars, or the like.  I have been thinking for a while that the second noisiest vacuum in the world does a great job on cleaning up the bench, but is not the ideal machine when it comes to carpet - and we now have a lot of carpet.  So I was about to appeal for anyone with a spare beats as it sweeps as it cleans machine.  And there was the Hoover, parked against the wall when I walked in!  Thank you, Simon.

See you next week

Peter

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Club Meeting 1 April 2018

Hi All,

It was Easter Sunday on Phillip Island.  There were to have been nine of us, but in the end we settled for seven.  David and Derek phoned through to say that they were about to do a U-turn and go home to play trains.

Those of us that had less traffic to contend with ran trains in a manner that reminded me of our dog - rushing hither and yon with great joy and no purpose.  At one stage Geoff the Pres and I re-enacted the great race to the North.  I had the A3 Flying Scotsman with a rake of blue Pullmans while Geoff had his Dutchess class City of Bristol with a rake of BR coaches that would pass for LMS at first glance.  Geoff the Sec commandeered the 80 class with the track cleaning box car and trundled around with definite purpose.  Dale explored every siding on the branch line with various British outline diesels.  Jack ran his battery powered diesel on the main lines with fewer incidents than usual.

                                                                              John Falls

As the afternoon rolled along Greg had set up the Raspberry Pi, and various associated boxes of electronics and helped Geoff the Sec, Dale and myself to install JMRI Engine Driver on our phones.  Being Pres, Geoff the Pres had to go bigger and better, so installed it on a tablet.  It is not altogether a silly option, the wider spacing makes it easier to touch the thing you want, and avoid the one next to it.  Engine Driver is easy to use, and it is a joy to be able to walk around without being restricted by the length of the cord on the throttle.   At this stage I still prefer the small Digitrax throttle for shunting work, (because I don't need to look at it, and don't need to walk around) but it is early days, so there is plenty of time to change my opinion. 

Our thanks to Judy for the Easter Eggs at smoko, (I'll bring something next week) and thanks to Alan Droscher for the snags.  The Seniors had held a successful garage sale on the Saturday, and a few snags were all that was left from the catering.  He had also called by earlier with serried ranks of family in tow to show them what we get up to.  (Rushing hither and yon with no purpose, in case you had forgotten). 

See you next week for a spot of gardening, er, scenery work, and there are always a few more wires to connect.

Peter