Chairman's Dribble

Newsletter September 2018.

Well Hello! Where has the year gone? We had our first members running day back in May and then in July, we had The Weeting Rally, our Anniversary at the end of August, and now our AGM is only just a month away. What a busy year?.

Well the anniversary was a great success thanks to Peter and the members of the sub committee and everybody else that was involved.

We had a good Weeting rally, so in part, the year has been good to us.

We also now have six paid up junior members, so, all in all I think the club is doing well.

The members who have been working at the track on Tuesdays and Thursdays have done a great job and my thanks goes out to everyone who has helped to make this such a great club.

Well, I think I have dribbled on long enough. I hope to see you all at the meeting in October.

Bye for now. 

Dave M – Chairman

Secretary’s report

Below is my report on the Anniversary Dinner, as Kevin B did such a fantastic write up on the hardware at the show I have left this out, only to say WOW what a great show. Thanks to all you members who had a model on show.

Two things; first the Midlands Model Engineering show is on at Fosse Way, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 18th October to 21st October. Seniors on line tickets are £8.50. It’s a good show and well worth the effort to get there.

Secondly, our next Family running day will be our Halloween day,  Saturday 27th October. Fish and chip tea at cost and will go on till dark. Dressing up an option, an engine or traction engine is essential.

There is still a work party at the track Tuesdays and Saturday just now certainly after end of September no Thursdays as it is the shooting season and we do not want to be the targets. We are installing new cables for the digital signals and we are building a second steaming bay track at the loco shed, mainly for the larger engines and it will have an ash pit, work on the points it needs have already started, and going great. Still to finish is the ash pit and ballasting of the area around the turntable, so still work to do if you are at a loose end, tea is provided, at no extra cost, even if you just want a chat, we are always/well mostly always there.

40th Anniversary Celebration and Supper Weekend of 30th August to 2nd September 2018

Having now recovered from the trails and tribulations of the Anniversary weekend, I would like to whole-heartedly thank everyone who was involved or helped in any way on this fantastic anniversary celebration weekend.

I will not thank you individually, least I should forget someone, but, you know who you are, and I truly thank you all very much for putting in the time and effort required in making this a fantastic occasion.

When we first spoke about this year being the 40th, I found a newspaper cutting which said the club had been started in 1978 by a small group of people lead by Mr Ernie Perkins, bringing people out of the seclusion of their garden workshops, it had an active of 25 members. It was set up first in Brandon, but they were plagued with vandalism, so they moved to a second site in Brandon, again this was no better, so they moved to our current site around  1993, and the site was officially opened by Mr R Parrott on 21st May 1994, I believe , not a very nice day weather wise.

Back to our 40th Anniversary. A sub committee was set up and discussion’s started on how things were likely to go on the day. Food wise a “Hog Roast” was talked about, but the price prohibited this, other suggestions, pizza van, burger vans and the like were all put in the mix, but hey, this was our 40th Anniversary, it had to be better than what had originally been proposed. We talked about the date and it was suggested to have it over three days, a Friday, Saturday and a Sunday, set up on Friday with some running Saturday being the main day with food, and Sunday taking down and putting it all away, so 31st August, 1st September and 2nd September was selected. We were blessed with wonderful weather, thank you again who preyed for this, my knees still has callouses even now. I think in hind sight the biggest decision we had to make was what would we charge the members to supply a supper, what could we do which was “Good and Wholesome”, and could  be easily prepared and served. We had a sort of dummy run at The Hockwold Country Fair, and again the ladies stepped up to the plate, we had 18 members at this show and prepared the food, we felt would work, this was made at home and bought along and we all sat down to lunch in the sunshine, a “Ham salad with all the trimmings, including Hot Baked Potato” and this was followed by a Fruit salad with cream, Wow!!  And the surprise was a “Pimm’s” drink, what a revelation. The menu was set in stone, and we could do all this for £6.00 per head.

When we discussed numbers, it started with  70 members and wives 140 people, but as time went on it ended up as 80 people. So, some maths was needed we kept all the bills for the 18 original meals and simply arrived at enough for 80. As it worked out we were able to supply everyone with what they wanted with very little waste.

It was decided that paper plates were not what we wanted to use, so all the Brandon charity shops were given an order for 100 china  plates and 100 china bowls for no more than 5p each, and this was achieved. Knives, forks and spoons was a different matter and thankfully everyone bought along their own, so once again thank you every one. Another potential problem was going to be chairs, we had some but not 80, but we were able to borrow them from the Weeting Rally Committee, so thanks to them also.

We had some discussions, on do we let people serve themselves, but it was thought it would take too long, so we were to serve the supper, one serving table, 80 members could take 80 minutes, not acceptable, so 4 serving tables were proposed, and it might take 20 minutes, but we would need perhaps 10 or 12 servers, 

You can see it that it did not just happen. But again ladies stepped up to the plate/serving tables and when service started, we were sitting down to our supper within half an hour. Thanks, once again to all you lovely ladies and not to forget the gentlemen too. Thank you all.

The weekend was suddenly upon us, the orders had been placed, the shopping done, three large trollies worth, it was time to start erecting the three marques, 15 tables in the two big marques and 80 seats, just not possible, we could only manage 79, but there were a few members who were unable to attend. This was Thursday and Friday, the small marque was to be the food tent and the urn was set up here along with the beer and we just about had enough table area to put every thing neatly and in their correct place.

Opposite, we had the Big Bears Bash, an inspiration, I am sure I have seen that bear somewhere before? the music was just right and unbelievably it was ran from 12– volt batteries. Well done here again and thank you very much.

Saturday arrived, and it was 8am and suddenly it was 12.30pm and cake time, we must have had a slice of every conceivable cake known to man. Lemon drizzle, bread pudding, chocolate cake, you name it we had it. So again thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone who especially made a cake and thank you to every one who bought in a cake, again, simply wonderful. Cake cleared away and suddenly it was 5pm and time for the raffle, thank you for doing the raffle, great job, I do not think that we have ever sold so many tickets before, but then there was some awesome prizes, and so many, Thanks again. The raffle was taking a while and supper was to be served at 6pm, the potatoes which had been on since 4pm were cooked, thanks again to our BBQ cook, and the food which was prepared at four different locations had arrived, thank you to all the ladies and gentlemen who help prepare it. This was then divided on to the four serving tables, we asked when the raffle had finished for everyone to find a seat at a table and the Pimm’s was served.  6pm arrived and we started serving, and well everything was a blur, but every thing had gone according to plan. “GREAT”  Supper finished and we had some speeches, three presentations and the cabaret. Can anyone remember the punch line?

Just some of the comments received. “Who is getting married” “This is the first time in 40 years we have had anything like this, can we do it again next year” “ I have not laughed so much in a long time” “Very well done”

Sunday arrived and it was tidy up time, each marque was taken down and put away, so that we can use any one of them individually and we know all the parts are together, so again thank you for all this, as we had the BBQ’s still, we were treated to a Bacon Buttie with tea and coffee and cake if you wanted.

We left the field with one member taking 20 bags of rubbish, thanks to you “Sir” and during the day we had a former member, the very first Treasurer running a 3 1/2” gauge    “ Rob Roy” and it thundered round ten to a dozen. The time was 2.30 and we all went home.

We were all cream crackered and I certainty do not remember having my supper or going to bed. But we had all done what we set out to do, and were complimented by so many people, all worth every single moment.

Thanks, once again to simply everyone who helped us put on a weekend to be remembered.

See you all, I hope at the 50th.

BDSME 40th Anniversary Steam-Up Weekend September 2018

It is forty years since the Club was founded in 1978, and to celebrate this milestone a special version of our September running day was planned. The weekend was to include a road run for traction engines, various games, overnight camping, lots of playing with engines, all culminating in an Anniversary Supper on the Saturday evening.

Preparations for this event had been going on for many weeks with lots of effort being put in by the sub-committee as well as other members. I’m glad to say that their considerable efforts were truly worthwhile as this weekend proved to be one of the most successful and enjoyable events the club has ever embarked upon.

Friday afternoon saw a group of traction engines and wagons set off for the Saxon pub in the village. Everyone involved enjoyed their run and subsequent stop at the pub, although one engine developed a problem whilst there, which precluded it from carrying on. We hope this issue is remedied soon. The other participants returned to the track well before dark after enjoying a good run with their engines.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny with little breeze; perfect! Those who had camped overnight were up and about, with fires lit and engine cleaning begun. More members and engines started to arrive, and soon began to get ready for a day’s steaming.

Road steam was well represented. Roger had his delightful 6” Foden tractor and wagon in steam and chugging around. Models of this type of Foden are, like the full size, very rare indeed, and shows how the boiler and overtype engine could be adapted for various needs. A handsome engine that performs very well.

Terry Y was steaming his 6” Garrett 4CD tractor “Master Potter”, which is always a delight to see.

Steve had his 4” Foden “C” type wagon present and he appeared very relaxed whilst trundling around the site, enjoying his engine in the fine weather. The wagon’s flat bed also proves a very handy perch when it is parked, allowing people to stop and natter in comfort; ideal!

Terry B and daughter Jenny B had brought along their 4” Foster agricultural and 4” McLaren road loco. Both very well built engines, they were a great addition to the road steam contingent.

Geoff B was once again doing his best to wear-out his excellent 3” Burrell agricultural and road train, taking long circumnavigations of the field. Again this engine was beautifully turned-out and is a joy to see.

Chris’s 3” Minnie “Scallywag” was in steam, and I was able to have a close look at this engine. Built from his own patterns and castings, it shows what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. Apart from the high quality engineering that went into it, the engine also has other neatly fashioned features such as the Firehole and smokebox doors.

Peter G had his fine 1 ½” Burrell in steam and was exhibiting great skill in running this little engine.

Ray has his steam car running around and was giving rides to lucky passengers.

On the track we saw some of our “pod” of Sweet Peas. Andy had his 7 ¼” gauge version “Skylark” in steam and hauling passengers, with Peter E taking the controls for part of the afternoon.

Geoff E had his Darjeeling-inspired 5” gauge version “Sherpa” in steam, still looking superb in lined red livery.

Ken had his 5” gauge “Julie” running round, and I can say this engine goes very well, with plenty of power and a good, even exhaust beat.

 Hugh came with his loco-boiled version and had a good time running around the track.

Kev had brought his 3 ½” gauge version “Violet” along, though it was not in steam. Built by life member the late Eric S it was felt that it should be present on the Club’s 40th birthday even if it was simply on display.

Paul B had his 5” Simplex in steam and we look forward to Paul having a good crack at the whip with this lovely engine soon.

 Peter B had his stationary steam plant running for the afternoon, and very pleasant it looked too. This is another engine that was built by Eric S, and runs like a Swiss watch.

Jenny’s fiancé Sam had brought his 7 ¼” gauge “King of the Scarlets” for a run and enjoyed lap after lap of the track.

Ralph had his large petrol-hydraulic loco on the track which made for a very fine sight. In heavily modified and rebuilt form the loco looks splendid, and drives very nicely indeed. From the comfortable driving position you get the feel of driving a “real” engine, and there is always plenty of power available.

On the pond we had a small flotilla of boats. These included Geoff E’s graceful paddle steamer, Sam H’s little river cruiser, and Ralph’s impressive naval gun boat. The latter was patrolling or rather prowling the pond, making sure no pirates were present, whilst also keeping an eye out for the dreadful Kraken! Sadly the Kraken did claim a victim in the shape of Sam’s boat, but this was quickly rectified and his boat once again took to the water in style.

Games were available, including trying to burst water balloons with sticks over the heads of the passengers on the trains. This proved to have limited success, with the option of just throwing them proving far more effective! However I don’t think we’re in danger of having any of our members being called-up to the England cricket team anytime soon, such was the quality of throwing on display!

We were lucky to have 8nhp Burrell showman’s “Queen Mary” from the Burrell Museum come along to join the party. Resplendent in its weathered paintwork and shining brass work, this engine was generating lights into the night to the delight of those present.

Now we come to the catering department and I’m not sure that words can sufficiently convey the superb quality and excellent service to which we were treated. The small marquee housed the refreshments, with hot and cold drinks abundantly available all day, and this added to the relaxed atmosphere of the event. Members had supplied a splendid array of cakes for our early afternoon vittles’, and these were beautifully arranged and served by members and their wives. I confess to trying both bread puddings that were on offer and both were jolly good stuff!

Engine playing continued into the afternoon, although some members were busy getting ready for the evening supper. As I’ve already said, preparations for this supper had been going on for many weeks, and today was the day. The two large marquees were beautifully laid-out with tables and chairs, with table cloths and flower displays, candles and bunting. Such was the quality of this display it prompted some of those present to ask “Who’s getting married?!”, as it would be no surprise to see an arrangement of this high quality at any good wedding reception. 

With some of those attending neatly wearing dinner suits, we were treated to our aperitif of Pimm’s served at our tables. The air of conviviality was punctuated by one of our generous servers inviting us all to go up for our plates. An orderly queue was formed and we collected our meal, served to us once again by some of the members and their wives in a very organised and cheerful fashion. Our splendid supper consisted of freshly baked potatoes, salads, cheeses, baked beans, quiches, cold meats and bread rolls. Carrying our plates back to the “dining tent” we then sat down to enjoy our food and the company of those around us. Some had brought wine to have with their dinner, and whilst other beverages were consumed, we were also lucky to have a barrel of Beeston Brewery’s “Worth The Wait” at our disposal. A very tasty brew this proved to be, and many enjoyed a pint or two! At this point I was annoyed that I was not staying overnight, as I would’ve liked to enjoyed a longer sampling session! Dessert of cup cakes with “40th” icing on, and fruit salad with cream came soon after, and all reported themselves completely satisfied and that the meal was excellent.

Speeches followed, with thanks being given to all those who had played a part to make this event a truly wonderful and memorable occasion, and one that will live in the Club’s memory for years to come. We acknowledged the absence of Club President Richard, who at this time was in hospital, and we all wished him a speedy recovery. Presentations were made, and then it was on to the intriguingly-titled “cabaret”. What followed was a real treat, with Mick W and Geoff E giving us their rendition of how the Battle of Trafalgar would’ve been fought today. With Mick playing Nelson, and Geoff playing Hardy, we were given a very humorous insight into the differences between now and 1805. Poor Nelson was becoming quite frustrated at the encroachment of Health and Safety into the Navy, with such surprises as the crow’s nest being out of bounds as it is too high, the rum ration being abolished, and sails cannot be set unless the crew are wearing harnesses, full body protection and hard hats! However, Nelson did have a crumb of comfort when he discovered that at least one activity was still alive and well in the British Navy! A brilliant performance by these two members, and we hope to see them perform together again, so keep an eye out for them at your local Panto at Christmas!

After this most enjoyable dinner, the clear-up commenced, and dirty plates and platters were being boxed-up ready for washing up. Once again we are all so grateful to those who attended to this task.

With some members heading home, some members settled down to an evening basking in to the glow of the showman’s engine, having had an absolutely wonderful day. The clear up continued the following day. I just hope that barrel of beer was found to be well and truly empty by the morning!

Our thanks go to the generosity and dedication of those members and wives who made this event happen, and ensured that we celebrated the Club’s 40th birthday in most the memorable style.

A piece by our own Kevin B, thanks Kevin, glad that all the hassle and hard work turned out so well.

I was asked several times “ Who was getting married”

Our new ticket office

I suppose it had to happen, and well, now it has, the old ticket office has had its day. It was probably too hot this year, but the gallant ladies stuck it out and we probably sold more tickets this year than we have ever sold before. A new ticket office was required, no sooner than the message was received, a new ticket office appeared, with one or two alterations the ticket office now faces the public, and if the ticket ladies want to see the trains running the entrance door has be made like a stable door, top open if required, we have room for a coat rake and there is a mirror, if  the ladies need to adjust their hair or make up before leaving the office? well you never know.

Here is a couple of pictures. Signs are being made and will be there for our next Weeting Rally

We have started ballasting the area around the Ticket Office as the grass never grows here because of the trees, so from about the exit gate on the station right down to the Club hut will be ballasted as we have the track, this work is on going, and as yet is not finished.

Ongoing work at the track.

As in my report on page one, we have installed new cables for out new Digital signal system, the cables have been laid and Mike H and Paul B have installed the new box and changed the positions of  some of the electrical switches which were in the same area. We have installed all the cables into the box, but will run our “Halloween” day before we change the cables in the boxes under the Bridge and on the gantry. It is looking “very good” so come and have a look.