fighting procrastination fifteen minutes at a time

Tag: thoughts (Page 1 of 5)

Looping Levisham

Walking it off

Ok I am the worlds worst blogger! A bit like the rural branch lines of yesteryear. Where I train may come by and then nothing for hours maybe days. Which nicely segues into the topic of todays post. This Saturday gone I went for a walk along the North Yorks Moors Railway line. Following the route from Pickering to Levisham Station.

This is something I had been thinking about doing for such a long time. I even brought a leaflet about walks along the railway. But never followed through on them. hmm maybe a pattern there?! But now with the help of the OS Maps app and the relevant maps for the area, I could plan a route with no friction. I have long loved maps and can happily spend hours pouring over them to see the changing terrain and the funny place names.

I have started collecting maps for some walks I have always wanted to do. Not necessarily walks by railways. But the more I think about it there are loads of walks that I could do along railway lines that are not too far from me. But I get side tracked.

So Saturday.. I had been thinking about doing a walk that took in the whole route of the NYMR and at 21.85 miles I thought that might just be too far for me in one go. So I decided to split the walk up into smaller chunks. With maybe a ride back down the Dale on a steam train. However looking at the map I could see that I could do a route to Levisham that was about 6 miles and the around another 6 miles home to Pickering. Being a bank holiday weekend, I knew that I needed to get there early if there was any chance to park reasonably. I also want to park in the Station car park as then the money would go to them. So setting off at some ungodly hour was required. It was bliss sailing up the roads with little or no traffic to a Sun drenched Pickering. The first order of business was to watch the first train (09:20 ) set off. It is early in the season and although it was a bank holiday the station was pretty quiet. I had expected more activity, but it was nice not having to be jostled around in order to get some imagery. I am not a proper photographer and on the whole more interested in the moving picture. But I think we have all been places where shall we say the more involved enthusiasts seem will stop at nothing to get “their” shot or footage. As the last coach rolled out of view thoughts turned to breakfast. So we pottered into town. It’s been a long time since I have been in Pickering and forgotten pretty much everything about it. However after a few moments we scoped out an open cafe that did some really good bacon sarnies and good coffee. Fuelled up there was nothing left to do than to set off walking.

The Journey

Leaving Pickering we followed the road out to New Bridge level crossing. From there you dive off through a quarry. I wasn’t sure if it was active. Further on an M.O.D approved firing range marked the start of a pretty steep climb along a ridge. I must admit that I’m not good at heights and had to employ ninja breathing habits to reach safer ground. But once at the top, the track opened out into a very big field and wide open skies. Some typical NYM terrain followed, with rolling hills and 360deg views.

Arriving at the picturesque village of Arncliffe on Newton where everything seemed to be asleep from the previous nights revelry, well at least in my head it was. We followed through to the far end where the path started to fall away. What I hadn’t picked up from the map was the compacted contour lines. Reaching the point where I had happily traced the route, I was now confronted with what felt like a shear drop of a couple of hundred feet. There was no way that was going to be an option so out came the map and with a sigh of relief, an alternative route found to arrive at the same point some hundred feet below. Looking up I’m not overly sure that I would have climbed up it. I am better at going up than down! With a short walk down to level ground although in wet conditions would have been “interesting”.

We arrived into Levisham Station with a couple of minutes to spare for the impending northbound train. I hadn’t really planned it to be that way but in the back of my mind, if we did arrive at 12:20 then we would get to see two trains if we took an hours lunch break. So once the quietness returned we sat down to a fine cuppa tea and our sandwiches. The kiosk at Levisham does some pretty fine cakes. Just like the ones I remembered from childhood village fetes/events where the village halls were decked out with a grand spread! Once fed and watered we were ready for the journey home. After an initial climb up the side of the valley, it was a gently amble down to around half way back. At which point we came across some adept chickens. When they saw us they set off with purpose and got to the footbridge that had a gate on it but nimbly hopped around it and then headed for the local farm yard. I complimented Farmer on his ninja chickens. Crossing over the line and before another climb up I took some pics of a railway cottage that oozed so much NER character and the sight of a station that disappeared not long after the line opened. 

I’ll go on a bit of a digression. There were so many modelling dioramas that I could have recorded. From the buildings at Levisham, to signals out in the countryside. The little bridges the line crosses and the becks that flow the water off the moors. There’s just so much. Then my mind wanders and there is a bit of a battle between what I am seeing now and what it would have been like when the line was active. Yes I know the two things couldn’t be further apart, but in my mind there is a link there. The fact that the purpose has changed for the line, life still goes on around it. The fact it was saved doesn’t lessen the purpose of the railway. I want to return to document some of the things that interest me. But that will have to wait for another day.

Whilst near Farwath, heard a train chuff by but couldn’t see it so it was noted that there were a couple of suitable places to view either side of where we were. So up we went and pretty much away from the line and out into open country again. It was pretty much all downhill back to New Bridge Signal Box where we had cross about 4 hours before. Again unplanned! As we crossed the line the buzzers went off and signalman prepared to swap line tokens. There was train booked out of Pickering at 4pm and we waited around to see if it would turn up. But both being tired and thirsty we decided to leave our last glimpse of trains to another day. Coasting back into Pickering with the sense of a wonderful day and walk, but happy for it to be over. We arrived back at the car thinking “Right, lets look at the next section.

I know there has been no modelling harmed in the making of this post. But it sparked off the mojo that for far to long has been missing. It was just the tonic I needed. I also realise that my interest is not the model, or the trains, it’s actually the whole picture and that I can’t experience it as it was is what drives me and I guess every railway modeller to do what we do.

Until next time..

Only the name has been changed

New RhB Forum
#134 Swiss RhB Forum

Not much activity to report this week. Things are grinding on in this NatPandemic2.0 or what ever it is. I’m rather losing track of the days, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel as the long winter nights are receding making way for spring. Hopefully.

So the purpose of this post is to mention a new forum for people who are interested in the Swiss Meter Gauge RhB Railway. This was after the closure of the previous forum, rather suddenly. Anyway it was a while since I logged in and its a shame that all the info and pictures people put in over the years., and some of the people on there who were/are RhB staff

So click here if you want to join in

It’s all in a name

I’m crawling along with this project and have been told to scrap it and just move to the final build and be done with it. Then I can move onto the layout build, i.e the fun stuff. However, I feel if I don’t actually finish something I will never finish anything. Ok, it maybe is boring for others but then I am doing it to improve me! So the show will go on and another Yard Office will be produced.

I am certainly learning on the job. There are some things I hadn’t thought about that stand out now that I am on the second iteration and that is about the scale at which we model. As a 2mm scale modeller I have long thought and tried to model the minutia. Stepping up to 4mm suddenly gives that bit more room to breath. I am surprised at this as I hadn’t thought it would have made such a difference to me.

It doesn’t mean I am going to abandon my first love as I really enjoy the element of the “train in the scenery”. But my eyes have been opened to the potential of the type of modelling one can do. I guess we gravitate to a scale that suits our space on the whole. I know there will be plenty of views against this, but if asked “why do you modelling the way you do?” I’m sure the answer will come back, “I feel comfortable in it”

Now I know I’m a bit of a scale tart; I like many things in many sizes. But that’s because I get a different feeling from these scales. For the time being it is on with painting roofing slates, which unbeknownst to me have names, yes actual names!

I’ll leave you with this…

Scratch build Yard Office in Brick
#133 Brick Build Yard Office

Until the next one…

A note to End On.

#132 Llanymynech Lime Kilns. copyright Ordance Survey.

After a chat with a friend earlier this afternoon, talk came round to a discussion we had last year at the beginning of the COVID19 lockdown and was based around a heritage centre not too far from his home town. But what sparked my imagination was the intersection of boundaries.

Let me explain this a bit. The boundaries I talk about are both between land and water, standard and narrow, and nations. So in this small space of land, there is so much to model. It covers just about every one of my interests when it comes to narrow gauge. Those being rough and ready rails, canals, offloading and a bit of standard gauge thrown in for good measure. The other interesting fact about this location is that the boundary between England and Wales runs down the middle of the road in the village of Llanmynech and ran between the inclines that ran up to the lime quarries.

This is a project to be filed for another day, but I love stumbling across out of the way gems and noodling plans out of the landscape. Looking into the history of the location conjures up a very different picture of the landscape today. Once again StreetView helps research the remote location. The internet machine turns up so much information so that one can start to get an idea of how the proposition could be brought into reality. I think like a lot of these ideas I stretch and bend the truth but then I am not trying to remodel history, just taking parts of it to create a cameo. Something that will fit in my small spaces but will be of interest.

So a bit of Googling shows some background to the area and location to model. Flipping back to previous run-bys shows a better picture of the main wharf that would be modelled.

This second picture shows the view from the quarry looking down towards Llanymynech village and canal. It gives some colour to the monotone maps that give the operational detail. If we can ever get out of this motionless state, I will once again visit my friends in Wales and scope out this fascinating slice of the past industrial history.

I like the fact that this lends it’s self to an end on layout which is pretty unusual as most if not all are side to side. The fact that it combines several interests is just a bonus. This needs more research but is filed away for that rainy day.

Until the next one…

Thwap on the mat

Model Railway Journal Magazine. #281
#130 Thwap on the mat MRJ 281

Look what arrived on the doormat this morning. I really thought that I had run the course of my subscription of the MRJ. But the joy of receiving this package of goodness on this day of freezing rain and general gloominess is one small pleasure in ones rather dull existence. I have to say that there is little that I am necessarily interested in but once again I enjoy reading about the methods and authors of these articles. However I did really enjoy Geoff Forster’s ‘Designs for Bleddfa Raad’ in O Scale. Also John Chick’s ‘My Brain Trains’ bring an interesting slant to modern layout control.

Then there is another one of my addictions that needs feeding on the opposite page from the contents page. Which is “Unconsidered Trifles” from Wild Swan books and I have always enjoyed Geoff Kent’s output.

So once again more food for thought from the great people at Cygnet Magazines. Now where’s my cheque book to extend my subscription for another four issues!

Until the next one…

Boldly going where no bench has gone before

Workspace workbench plans
#129 Workspace Workbench Wonderings

Just as it’s announced that England is to go into another nationwide lockdown I am thinking about all those projects that I have been putting off, mainly for friends that now can, should, will go ahead! I’m sure a lot of us are in the same boat or should that be wagon?! With now more enforced time at home should be a good time to progress our hobby projects.

One of mine it to get my workspace sorted out so I have all the tools I need near me and that I don’t have to keep moving things around. This is somewhat bigger project but think it will facilitate being able to just sit down and just model. Obviously there’s going to be a bunch of planning, which anyone who follows this will know I get just as much enjoyment out of that as I do building stuff. But at the moment I have a real Heath Robinson setup and would really like to make it a lot neater. Things like lights and mounts being permanently fixed would be good

I don’t make New Years resolutions but I would like to try out some different things. One of which is airbrushing. Of course one can go online and see a myriad of ways on how to do it but until one tries there’s no knowing. Then there is the debate of whether it is better to get better or start out with the cheapo kit and if one doesn’t click or progress then there’s no real loss. Anyway more of that story later..

So I guess there should be a wave of progress to report over the coming weeks, but then I may just get bogged down with following others with more interesting projects. Anyway what else do I have to do, well apart from all the jobs not finished in the last lock down! 🙂

Until next time…

That was 2020

Who would have thought, even eleven months ago that we would be in the grip of a global pandemic and that the freedoms and norms that we took so much for granted would have been stripped away from us. Just the simple act of going to a model railway exhibition would no longer be available to us, or standing around in a model shop shooting the breeze or purchasing that much needed supply would no longer be acceptable. Maybe some used the time constructively, but myself, I went in reverse. When we heard of people freed up from the daily routine that were flourishing at a myriad of pastimes, I seemed to recoil inwardly and struggled to motivate much activity in my hobby. I love that it has been like an old friend through time, both through the good and the bad times, but I seem to have this switch that gets flicked when seemingly the best time to make hay is now and I go in the opposite direction.

I started off the YouTube channel to really push myself to produce something, anything really rather than the endless planning and doodling on back of envelopes and generally talking about doing stuff rather than doing it. However after a solid start at the very point when I could have doubled down on it, I went into modelling hibernation. I didn’t start the channel for any self promotion reasons and it all came about due to a friend saying why didn’t I put up a video of all the footage I had taken over the years of our trips out to shows and real railways and I thought huhhh, you might have an idea.

Then the whole fifteen minute modeller idea took form and the idea was to pick a project and move toward this by little steps each day. Well at least consistently every week. Somehow, out of nowhere I decided to model in 4mm and use a gift given to me the year previously. But the ground work needed to be laid in order to get the modelling space that I had envisaged. All of this took longer than I had planned, and I still have a load of ideas that I want to put in place, but they will have to wait till next year now.

The common theme running through 2020 was starting things but not finishing. So 2021 is going to be about completion. I have a load of the projects for friends that are in varying stages of completion. But I am going to try using some new age productivity guru get things done. The irony is that when I get myself sat down at the modelling table I really enjoy it and the time flies by. So I will be taking a dose of my own message and just get something done on a regular basis toward getting first layout finished in 2021.

Some things are not on camera as I feel that its just having fun and I really enjoy getting out the Kato track and switching round some wagons in an imaginary industry. I think its important to play as ultimately I think most of use started out with a train set on the floor, maybe? and its just fun. I think this can be done with any scale or gauge and can be a few minutes or a few hours depending on you opportunity. I think it adds to the serious bit of model making.

And finally I thought I would just add mentions that have given me a joy to follow over a difficult year and really enjoy the journey both these inspiring modellers take. I think that 2021 may be a bit more of the same but I plan to enjoy my efforts and hope that I can achieve at least a bit of the plan.

So as we wave goodbye to the current year just leaves me to wish anyone following my ramblings here a peaceful and productive year ahead…

Until the next one.

Bouncing Box

In keeping with the small scale of operations at 15minmod towers, I was served up this great little video and two things sprang to mind. 1) Now that Unit would make a great little model; due to its size and uniformity. 2) at 3:13:00 there is a great little cameo layout idea. I have long thought that these little spots lend themselves to my restrictive space for modelling and the focus it allows is way more important to me. I never can resist the chance to noodle a bit and although it probably wouldn’t be that interesting in reality all these little scrappy are gathered together for patching together in a glorious multi faceted quilt of a railway.

Plan 25433989.23

So filing away for future ideas, I am lead to think that in these times of shortage, but an abundance of time it would be an ideal little 3D modelling project. Not having a 3d Printer won’t stop the fun of designing the build and yes I know there are places you can get things printed but as I try to stay focused on my current project when the mind wanders a craves sometimes different this is what I might turn to. The thought did also cross my mind about trying to create this in etched metal, as there are a number of variants of this that would lend well to filling out a sheet of nickel silver or Brass


Until next time..

Two Brains

#125 Mini DIY DCC

The 2FS mag came through the letterbox the other day. In it is an interesting article on amongst other things DIY DCC. I have rather been out of the loop with DCC as I have not had a layout to run it on and also I’ve not been in a club environment for a long time where they have been using it on a group layout. It struck me about this particular article was the simplicity of the set up, and the flexibility of it. One forgets that often we are bound in to proprietary systems to keep u buying additions or because they offer something that other manufacturers don’t.

Yes I know I can hear the people saying that it’s not that easy and that you can’t just plug a play. But let’s face it, if you have the bent to be interested in the electronic to that point you maybe able to fathom the depths of the diy digital. The fact that there is so much open source out there is testament to the back room hackers want to do something differently.

I for one fully support this and will be mashing up my Arduino and Raspberry Pi and teaching myself some programming stuff to control my little world, and with technology being so cheap, there’s never been a better time to do it!

There’s also information available at the DCCwiki

Until next time..

The future got 10 shades Brighter

#123 Acrylic Paints

So on the first after lockdown, I needed to pick up some paint. So a trip to our local “big town” was needed. Oh my, you wouldn’t think there was a global pandemic on, added in with that, Chrimbo frenzy that was really starting to get into the swing of things. But thankfully the art supplies shop was a bit of a haven away from all that. I’d forgotten what it was like to be in an art shop with all the different pencils paints paper et cetera. I could spend a happy few hours in there just perusing the racks of inspiration.

Looking for the acrylic paints that were tucked away on the shelf down near the floor, I came across an exactly right set. It had the necessary black and white in and a good mixture of others too.

By now the shop had another person had come in so I decided to pay for the paints and leave. To my surprise, a small queue had formed outside the shop and I don’t think it had seen such patronage. The fact that this little shop still exists and is stocked in every nook and cranny brings joy. I had a faint whiff of nostalgia, where all shopping were like this, and not the out of town centres of consumerism that we have grown to accept. Before I go on a melancholic ramble on how good things used to be I must remind myself that we didn’t have the wonders of the internet to provide us, modellers, with so much easy information at our fingertips or resulting friendships that have grown out of this wondrous medium.

Now bear in mind the last time I bought paint was probably when I was in my teens, and that was somewhat hazy as to whether they were for myself or as a gift for a relative. I was really unsure about what I was going to need. However, there is nothing that one can’t find out without a few moments of noodling on Google and a brief interrogation by the assistant.

Now come to there use. Obviously, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube on how to paint with acrylics, but I will mainly be using them on card for architectural models. But as I have said before, I want to at some point go all Bob Ross and try a back scene, even if it is by numbers. But that will be a whole other story.

So now I will leave you with my ponderings of how to recreate Stone 1, Stone 2 and Chocolate Brown.

Until the next one..

« Older posts