Tiny trains and cheeseboards

There’s a really hard frost out there tonight. The heating is on and the wood burner is going too, so it’s nice and warm in here. I’m glad I don’t have to drive tonight.

I did drive last night. Well, afternoon, evening and night. The total driving time is usually around 10 hours but with plenty of rest stops and the inevitable dead-slow driving on the M6, it took more than 13 hours to get home from south Wales. The car’s acceleration was affected by the luggage load, which included around 15 cheeseboard sets and a carrier bag full of cheeseboard tools. Also, an enormous quantity of N gauge track and some tiny trains to run on it.

There were weather warnings yesterday. Snow! Hail! Torrential rain! I drove around half the vertical length of the UK and didn’t see any of that beyond a few patches of drizzle at the Scottish border. If it hadn’t been raining I wouldn’t have realised I had entered Scotland.

There was a pretty strong wind late at night. No weather warning about that. It matters in the car I drive because it’s basically a box – fairly streamlined at the front but not at all at the sides. An invisible force trying to push you off the road does tend to keep your speed down.

Today, there is a smattering of snow outside and it’s freezing to the point where the driveway might be impassable in the morning. No warning about that either. The forecast for tomorrow is more snow and gale force winds – these do not merit one of the ubiquitous warnings.

It’s the north of Scotland. It’s February. Anyone who has lived here for more than a week knows the weather is going to be horrible. We do not need constant warnings that it might be a bit slippy outside. It always bloody is at this time of year! One day they’re going to warn about something really serious and nobody will pay any attention at all.

Anyway, that’s the standard British moan about the weather. We moan about it a lot because we do seem to get a hell of a lot of it and it’s mostly terrible. But if the weather was always nice, what would we moan about then?

I didn’t get any spectacular photos in Wales, most of the week was spent being sociable so I’m now enjoying not being sociable for a while. It could be a few days before I see my new granddaughter again because the roads are likely to be treacherous, especially at night, and I’m not going to risk it. I’d also be very much against my son and his family driving out here at the moment. It’s only just over a week since the birth. A bad time for a bit of slippery driving.

My granddaughter is nearing two weeks old. I wonder if she has a cheeseboard yet?

By now I expect you are wondering why I returned from Wales with fifteen cheeseboards and about five scale miles of N gauge track. Oh, I also have six chopping boards. I forgot about them. And a new dishrack. None of which I paid anything for.

Sometimes I have to just stop and wonder why I never seem to think any of this is in any way unusual, you know.

The trains first.

Oh wait, I have another Electrofag. It’s another 88-Vape one like the one I bought in Poundland some years back. This one was in Poundstretcher at £5.99 for the Electrofag and USB charger cable, £1 for a bottle of juice. Not quite the £1 Electrofag but it’s still available and cheaper than the cheapest pack of cigarettes for those who want a trial run. Poundland still have the juice, clearomiser and a ‘disposable’ battery for £1 each but selling the full kit at £1 clearly wasn’t feasible for long.

Digression over. I promise.

When I was really, really skint (I was living on food from Iceland) I sold off most of my N gauge railway stuff to pay bills. I sold a lot of tiny things I’d made that I no longer have the eyesight or rock-steady fingers to make again and I’ll probably always regret it but well, I was skint.

I didn’t sell it all. There were a few I couldn’t bear to part with. However, I had decided that if I was to make another railway I’d go for OO gauge instead. Prices are about the same but the pieces are a lot bigger. I can pick up a lot of stuff cheap on eBay since I don’t care about the modern DCC thing, so older models that don;t easily adapt are cheaper to buy. I’m currently working on replacing the awful Hornby Volvo-bumper couplings with Kadee buckeyes. They are more like American couplings but hell, I’m not sitting with tweezers joining up chain link couplings on a 20-wagon train. Oops, digressing again…

Okay. A friend of mine visited in the summer. This is the friend I bought some N gauge stuff from many years ago and some of that stuff was still here. So, as I didn’t think I’d use it again, I sent him home with a load of track and some trains.

Not all of it. I had plans to make a little N gauge setup, nothing like the one I had before which ran around the attic to the point where you could send off a coal train and not see it again for five minutes or more. There’s a sample of part of it (before the skint years) on YouTube.  A later one shows it after I’d sold the station buildings. I was thinking more of a little 4’x 2’6″ setup like one I made once before. Portable and can be stacked out of the way if necessary.

Well, it turns out he has no time to set anything up so he gave it all back to me. The train stuff I shipped from Wales to Scotland, then he shipped it back to Wales, I have now shipped back to Scotland. Some of the trains in this lot have done more miles than a few real ones, I’m sure.

This same friend was responsible for the cheeseboards and chopping boards. Also the bag of cheeseboard tools.

He has a woodburning stove, like me. Unlike me, he does not live on a farm with a load of ton-bags full of wood that is just there to be disposed of. This means he is always on the lookout for free wood.

His job takes him to various firms and he found one with a skip full of wood. Reject blanks that cannot be embossed with the company logo because of small flaws. He’s been using them as firewood, hence the bag of tools.

I’ll probably burn a few too but my son can make something else out of some of them. They are round so with a set of depressions and some marbles the tops would make good solitaire boards. I’ll use the tops of some to make pot rests, to protect the work surfaces from hot things. The bottom halves will be fuel. My son can use the tools for his own line in cheeseboards.

I can’t sell them as they are. They are designed by a specific company so are copyrighted. The cheese knives in them are pretty standard but the way the boards are made is company property. The same is true of the chopping boards. They are too good to burn but they can be made into something else.

So you see, there is a reason behind even the cheeseboard glut. It all makes sense in the end. well, it does to me.

That just leaves the dishrack. It’s a two layer one, and while I have a large kitchen I have a small draining board at the sink. My mother had one of these tower affairs and I made the mistake of commenting that it was a good idea. Next day, a new one arrived.

Never let your mother discover internet shopping.


9 thoughts on “Tiny trains and cheeseboards

  1. Old fellow, that looks like that was some railway, that was! I’m guessing you were going for the “minimal-industrialist-scenery-look-incorporating-contractors-still-working-on-site-and-updragging-the-spiralling-state-budget”…

    Liked by 1 person

    • On only solightly-related matters, “HS2” is not really needed, is it? It should be renamed “H2S”, ‘coz it smells. It’s a giant state-vanity project, isn’t it.

      All they’d have to do to improve train-density per mile per unit time is “6-up” the WCML as far as Weaver Junction, and then “four it” to Carlisle or Glasgow. I grant that the exciting scenery in Cumberland/Westmoreland and Beattock might be a little more challenging, but “it will create jobs!”

      Then the ECML could be “foured” up to Newcastle if they wanted, and “sixed” up to where it’s now still four running lines today. Easier, as fewer tunnels and cuttings. (The ECML would thus only require (on average) an extra three acres of ground per mile of every two extra tracks added.

      I’m working on a model of 8 yards width of extra ground required for two lines of permanent way added. I might even have been a bit generous…

      Liked by 1 person

      • That would be a far cheaper and easier option, although getting the space either side in some densely populated areas could be an issue.

        But then, the extra two lines could diverge from the main lines, especially if they are used for freight traffic.

        Liked by 2 people

    • There were plans for scenery, in fact some scenery had been applied but then penury hit and I had to flog off most of it.

      If I was guaranteed to stay here for a long time I’d make use of the vast attic over the kitchen. As it is though, I can designate an upstairs room as a railway room and we still have five rooms to spare up there 😉

      They aren’t heated but the one over the living room will stay tolerably warm. That means less track shrinkage/expansion too.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. By Jove I do agree with you on Iceland food. The quality of their prepared meals in particular, and their food generally, for the reasonable and sometimes remarkably low prices is amazing. My missus and I probably trust Iceland quality above any other supermarket based and many many years of food munching. PS –their Italian made pizzas–aaah.
    As for your railway—brilliant. As Henry Royce said -if something is worth doing it is worth doing well. What scale speed are those trains doing ?
    Lastly I was fascinated by the Dalek production line in the background. Is it still in use?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I found Iceland fish to be always a good buy, but some of the others were a bit of a risk 😉

      The trains I’d guess were 40-60 mph in scale. Out of video time I’d run the coal trains a lot slower so they’d go away for ages. It was important to have an easily identifiable end wagon in case it left a few behind 😉 I still have 10 of those coal trucks left and I’m looking for a few more now.

      Daleks, well, I have a lot more than could be considered ‘reasonable’ including three radio controlled ones 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • There was a legend that witches ran around the woods naked on Halloween. In Scotland at the end of October? They could have cut glass with their nipples! The men would have been difficult to spot with those button mushroom penises.

      Most of it was made up by mediaeval judges and inquisitors and some came from tortured old ladies who’d say anything at all to make it stop.

      And yet people still believe it now. People believe any old shit, I’ve found, if you play on their prejudices.


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