Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas Cooking with Gomer...

Hi there guys. After an enjoyable day on the 38' yesterday, it was time for another day on "Sir Gomer". I arrived at Shackerstone at 6:30am to find Fireman Mick already there with the fire lit. After a cuppa' I began my usual tasks of oiling up. Oiling up the Peckett without a pit is hard work, scrambling around underneath the engine in the ash and the mud. Meanwhile Mick was polishing away, making "Sir Gomer" look pretty. After plenty of cleaning, oiling and tea drinking, we dropped the Peckett out of the shed at around 9am, before dropping down onto the stock for the 11:30 trip at 9:30. "Sir Gomer" was then used to steam heat the stock as per, whilst 3803 steamed over onto the front of the 10am Classic. Manning the 38' today was 2/3 of the Dudley Moore Trio, supplemented today by Jamie. Having got away slightly behind time, Team 38' had managed to claw back a few minutes by the time they'd done the 10-mile round trip, with "Sir Gomer" ready and waiting to take over the stock...
The 38' having been swiftly uncoupled, we ran the Peckett up onto the waiting stock and then drew it down into Platform 2. 3803 was meanwhile coupled up to the 11:30, vacuumed up and ready to go. Once the 38' had cleared, "Sir Gomer" remained on what was now the rear of the 1pm Classic, steam heating away...
Mick then got busy with the shovel and the breakfast. We'd already had mince pies and cups of tea galore but the breakfast was still top of the menu. First, the sausages go in...
With the sausages cooked and ready for the waiting cobs, it was time for the bacon to hit the shovel. Having spent a while over the fire cooking the sausages, the heat retained by the shovel would mean that the bacon would not take long...
Following the bacon, on went the eggs. The resulting sausage, bacon and egg cobs were wonderful. I must take my hat off to Mick as the chef: well done mate. I've never been much for the cooking on the shovel, but I love eating the food: I'd rather provide the food than cook it as something always goes wrong with my Frank Spencer routines. Once we'd had dinner we attained permission from the signalbox to steam through the stop boards until we were behind No7 signal. Road set and signal off, we steamed through Platform 1 and waited for the arrival of the 38'. When 3803 arrived and uncoupled, off we went again. "Gomer" dragged in the returning Deluxe, with many happy passengers aboard. The loco then once again remained on the tail end steam heating until the 38' had cleared with the 1pm Classic. The Peckett was then uncoupled and run round through No7 up to the water tower to replenish the 1000-gallon water tank. Here, Mick is sat atop the saddle tank doing the watering...
Following watering it was time to steam up to the signalbox and drop over onto the waiting 2:30pm Deluxe to continue steam heating. After another cuppa' and some good old chat, we were given the signal to return to Platform 2 road to await 3803 again. Here, Mick has captured me oiling the piston glands...
"Me Doing The Glands" (M.Jones - Fireman)
Having hauled in the returning 1pm Classic, the day went on much as it started. We had been asked to draw what was now the 4pm outward Classic down to the crossing once everyone was off; thus allowing the 38' to take water before the last train. So, once we'd drawn the stock down, we steamed through Platform 1 and onto the front of the 4pm to continue steam heating. After, yes, another cuppa' and a hot pasty (yes more food!) we steamed back over into Platform 1 to await 3803. Having hauled in the returning 2:30pm Deluxe, the 4pm got away only a few minutes down. "Sir Gomer" was then ran round onto the front ready for the shunt-release of 3803 when she returned. Meanwhile, we changed our beverage from tea to Coca Cola; just for a change! The 38' soon returned and a small chorus of whistles ensued before "Sir Gomer" pulled the empty Deluxe stock out & over the cross-over to clear No11 road for the 38'. The 38' then steamed in a care free manner up into the loco shed for disposal. Myself & Mick were then watched back with the stock by Brian & Richard, who had kindly hung around to help with the shunt, undertaken in complete darkness. Stock shunted back and secured, "Sir Gomer" was uncoupled and taken to the shed for final disposal. This had been a very pleasant day on the footplate: we'd run fairly to time, had a laugh and stuffed our faces silly with all kinds of food & drink...a grand day out! Thanks to Mick for a great day and fair play to the Dudley Moore Pair + 1 on 3803. Merry Christmas one & all. That's Shackerstone probably done for me for 2014. Another great year on the railway. All the best...

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