Welcome to the first issue of The Anorak, hurriedly thrown together from contributions from the members and committee to try and bring a bit of lightheartedness and updates as to peoples health and how they're filling their time during these testing times.
So without further ado, let's get started.
A Message from our Secretary
Have missed seeing you all at our Thursday evenings at the Club.
The Chairman and I have kept in regular contact to check we are doing everything required to secure our future vulnerability when we come out of the other side of COVID-19.
We have arranged random visits to the Club to ensure our many years of hard work has remained safe.
Clearly, I had to cancel our booking at The Manger for the AGM and we will look to reinstate the AGM as soon as possible when Government advice states it is safe.
Matthew has returned to the NHS and I am awaiting for my application to Good SAM to be approved, so I can help with the NHS tasks.
Stay safe and well. In my opinion the current Goverment advice is appropriate. I say this as I was in the planning with Public Health England for SARS and MERS - you might remember them - in my former employed role!
A Message from Matthew Portious
Well a busy week. At the beginning we did not have plans for how surgery would respond to the Covid crisis but now we do with three phases of escalation. Somewhere at the centre of it all is yours truly as the Tactical Surgical Commander!
Lots of anxiety for the unknown but every one is getting on with the job. I think despite what you hear on the.TV. We are a couple of weeks away from things getting very bad here in Suffolk. If we are very lucky the clamp down ,igniting have come in time to prevent meltdown.
Sealy’s god bless them have given us several hundred eye protection visors which could not be had for love nor money, they are normally £30 or more and we got them for much less. Now many of the staff in ITU and theatre are already using them. Thank you Sealey!
Otherwise am currently shopping for my family (Bridget, 2 pregnant daughter in laws a grand daughter and one son) my mother in law and a friend who is isolating whose annex is where I am living to protect the girls. Busy times.
An Update from Chris Day
I've been rebuilding BoB into a full running entity - just have to shorten one baseboard by 5inches (sod metrification!) to enable it to fit and then assemble and connect - some track realignment needed but nominal except on the removable board which wasn't used historically and thats the one to be shortened. As you can imaging moving baseboards alone (especially the 4ft x 3ft boards) is difficult so I have persuaded the management to muck in - quite useful really when she puts her mind to it except has difficulty with "keep it level" and "dont do that" - the latter I have known for years however! Damned if she understands electrics though - but then that makes two of us - not quite but explaining the principle of resistance and Ohms was interesting - and she's a bright lass. There we go.
Well everyone - keep sane - keep working on whatever tickles your fancy and support your friends: neighbours and especially caseworkers in whatever way is possible.
An update from a less than happy Barry Norman
Barry did think during this lockdown that he'd have chance to get on with some modelling.
By the looks of it, this isn't going to happen anytime soon, unless he's working on an elevated section:
Many, many moons ago as I was approaching what must have been my 11th birthday my dad asked me what I'd like for my birthday?
I replied that I'd really like a Scalextric set, to which he said "What do you want one of those for?"
I said that my best mate, Anthony had a set and that it was really good.
My Dad then said "Wouldn't you rather have a model railway?", to which I replied, that I'd much rather have a Scalextric.
"I reckon a model railway would be much better rather than a Scalextric. You'll only get bored with it and think of the time it would take to put together and take apart, not to mention where you'd store it."
I said once more that I'd like Scalextric.
"Why can't you use Anthony's then and have a model railway here".
I really would like a Scalextric I said.
"Tell you what. We'll go and have a look on Saturday then"
The following Saturday dawned bright and clear and dad drove the two of us into Birmingham. At the time we were living in Lichfield, about 18 miles north of Brum.
Anthony and I used to often get the train into New Street and go and gawp at the Scalextric and Airfix stuff in Beaties, a massive model shop in The Bull Ring, which sold pretty much anything you'd ever likely to need modelling wise; radio control planes, train sets, Airfix models, paints and glues. The whole kit and caboodle.
Well, we drove straight past The Bull Ring and I thought "There must be another Scalextric shop, which I don't know about".
Anyway we ultimately arrived at our destination, Wyatt & Tizzard in Tyseley, near Yardley and Acocks Green in south west Brum. I can't remember much about the area, part from back to back Coronation Street type housing being bulldozed, cobbled streets and it being pretty damned grim. Perhaps that's too much to remember, I'm not too sure?
Now, this shop; Wyatt & Tizzard, it was a small double fronted victorian shop with bay windows and soot blackened bricks. Walking in was just like enteringDickens' Old Curiosity Shop. Mahogany glass fronted cabinets, a huge mahogany counter, display cases, all filled or covered with model railway stuff. Hmm I thought, I can't see any Scalextric stuff here. Perhaps they have it in another part of the shop?
I expect you can guess what happened next?
An assistant came through from the back and said "Good morning Mr Hamilton. Have you come to collect your N Gauge order?"
We have indeed said my dad.
I stood there gob smacked as the assistant handed over a couple of cardboard boxes of railway stuff - two locos, the generic Farish GWR saddle engine and the generic LMS 0-6-0 tank engine. An H&M Duet controller, an LMS Brake Van, a couple of private owner wagons and a pile of Flexitrack, some wire and 3 or 4 sets of points.
My dad paid the chap and we loaded up the car and went home, me quietly seething.
When we got back home and I relayed my tale of woe to a fairly unsympathetic mum, dad took me into the garage. There, propped up against the wall was a brand new, unblemished sheet of 6' x 4' plywood.
"We can lay the track on this" said dad "and you can keep it in your bedroom to use when you want and we can spend the weekend laying some track".
So, by tea time on Sunday, we'd laid an oval of track, with a short siding and managed to get the two locos working. I wasn't too impressed. Nowhere nearly as good as a Scalextric.
Anyway, fast forward a couple of weeks. I'd "played" with the layout a few times. Essentially mowing down lines of the polythene Airfix 1:72 soldiers all lads had at that time and running the locos round the track full pelt.
Coming home from school one afternoon dads car was on the drive - he used to work shifts and this particular week he was working nights. I went into the kitchen and saw my mum. "Where's dad?".
"Oh, he's been hammering and sawing in the garage all day. "I've only seen him a couple of times today". I went round the front of the house and swung the garage doors wide open only to see my layout board devoid of track, essentially a shelf about 15" or so inches wide running along the full length of the garage and along the back wall.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Oh, hello son had a good day at school?"
"What's have you done to my train set?"
"Oh yes, well, hmm, you see I've making a few changes to your layout" said dad.
"Okay" I said in as an unconvincingly way possible. "What are you going to do then?".
"I'm going to make the layout end to end he said" clutching a Peco track plan book to his chest.
That was the very last time I had any involvement whatsoever in my first N Gauge layout.
Dad used to lock himself away in the garage for hours on end. All he was interested in was the electronics side of things. There were no more locos bought, no scenery done or even any buildings. He was a computer engineer working on mainframes at the time and could read a circuit diagram like you or I would read a book.
I never did get to use my layout after that.
We moved house a couple of years after and he dismantled what he'd done and I think he sold it.
I should point out that I never did get a Scalextric set and never been tempted to buy one myself in the interim.
BoB Blog Episode 1
The onset of stupidity!
I know that many of you will have heard me whittle on about my layout at home and a few of you have of course seen it through its long birth and “childhood”. As the concept and the general development of the venture were a little interesting and back in the depths of time I thought that in these tiresome times of lockdown that there may be some general interest in relating the story and for what it’s worth incriminating some of the Members of the Club who have through no real fault of theirs, been involved!
It is my intention to spread the story over a number of episodes, hoping beyond hope that we never get to the end of the story and that life returns to normal, whatever that may transpire to be, in a few weeks, months or dare I say it a year ahead. Let’s hope that we at least get to see some of this summer under less trying circumstances and that we are all here to enjoy life at the Club once more.
Inception or conception dependant on view!
Way back in 2006 a group of Members and some now non-Members were regular operators on Latelee Town. This exhibition layout would go out 6 or 7 times a year culminating in that year with being invited to DEMU Showcase at Burton on Trent. Having been designed and built by Gary Thomas (past Chairman) and Ian Harper (past Member x 2 or 3 times!) taking it to that particular show, one of the foremost exhibitions devoted to modern image modelling was a fine closure to its exhibition life. “Latelee Town” was an end to end layout about 5m long and an “L” shape design with small fiddle yards at each end. The normal crewing was Ian, Gary, Kevin Waterson, John Russell, and Chris Day although others were “casual” support as required. The reason that the venue and exhibition are important is because the layout was to be retired. Gary had secured employment in the west midlands and Ian sold Gary his share of the ownership. Gary was going to use the layout as a static in his new loft – but that’s another story. Suffice it to say it is still in his garage – 14 years on! With that decision made there was going to be a void in the life of the exhibition “whores” who assisted, it was therefore pertinent that another layout was built. General discussion had been had around the topic of a while but as that exhibition provided and evening meal on the Saturday night the conversation degenerated into who, what, where and when and a little of how but not too much! The discussions were very well mannered and professional throughout the first two courses as I recall but as the wine flowed so did Burton Bridge ale and matters got somewhat intense, and not to say distracted. As the beer flowed so the minds raced. As the minds raced away so did reality… everyone had good ideas, and everyone felt that we should put all the ideas together and just “do it anyway”. After a frivolous, jolly and totally constructive evening the troops ventured of to be in their sozzled way content that the basis of a good idea was to hand and the way forward was bright and direct.
Next morning dawned as did breakfast. Four (Gary went home as it was only a 30 minute drive) tired and somewhat “morning after” bodies dragged themselves down and “feasted” over whatever their constitutions would allow them to indulge in… to some that wasn’t much. Conversation was however quite bright and when everyone was present the “agreed” elements were relayed – much to the consternation really of those minds able to take everything in. It was to be “a large tail chaser or roundy – roundy” as one or two present related. It was to be Modern Image, naturally and have “overheads”: a main feature large “bridge”: be DCC: be large enough to run prototypical length trains, Pendelinos and trains of 16 x 100t bogie coal wagons: working electric light signals: a postal platform designed around the raised floor platforms developed exclusively for Royal Mail use (to get Ian’s TPO’s sold) and to cap it all a fiddle yard able to contain at least 20 trains. Not too much to ask for when imbibing a very sociable beer with very sociable colleagues in copious amounts but over a headachy breakfast it seemed like a bit of a tall order and to some just maybe not what they fully remembered from the evening before. Never mind the conversation continued throughout the day as we operated and ideas were refined but bluntly didn’t get any easier “in theory” but in reality: that’s another story. As the day drew on and the reality of packing Latelee Town up for the final time and it going off to the depths of Brummie Land: never to be seen again we realised that we were going to have to build something and what we had discussed was just about to become more than a pipe dream.
Episode 2 will follow in the next edition of The Anorak. Watch this space . . . . .
Ian Norman our esteemed Exhibition Manager has submitted a railway biased crossword puzzle, which you can print out and complete away from your computer.
I'm afraid I'm not clever enough to make an on-line version.Here's the link to the puzzle.