Watercress Line

1st November - Where did that year go?

First of November? No, it can't be; apparently the last blog wot I rote was June 28th; I don't believe it; though I was assured by a Mrs Trellis who accosted me when I was working in Welsh Wales last week that indeed that is the case; crikey.. My day job seems to have kept me away for rather a lot of Wednesdays, though I can't blame just that; it seems that when I have popped in for our regular tea and cakes there hasn't been an awful lot to photograph or write about with a lot of the chaps doing similar jobs week in and week out. Which makes for rather boring reading, or, more exactly, stretches the brain cell a little too much to think of anything to write; try it!!!

Anyway; enough already; what have the Ropley inmates been up to today?
The "white board" in the mess that supposedly lists the tasks for the day was conspicuously blank when I arrived, though, to be fair, I was half hour late and the chaps had already vacated to head for the yard and workshops. So into boiler suit and steely boots I went to see what was going on.
Les's little gang, minus Les this week, was still earnestly measuring, filing and generally tweaking bits of pony truck as they have been all year. So after tapping them for their Xmas lunch tenner that I seem to have "volunteered" to organise I ventured on.
A lot of noise and rust dust surrounded the Bullied tender with two or three of the guys needle gunning and rotary wire brushing the six months of rust that has formed since the tender was re-built earlier this year. When it's suitably clean, Ollie is going to undercoat it so that it can be pushed out into the yard to make space for yet another Bulleid tender to come inside; presumably for Can-Pac; though I'm not certain; I loose track of Bulleid tenders, I must admit.
As I was prising yet more tenners from my chums, Paul came and asked if the four of us were looking for a job! Err, yes, I guess we were?
The Standard Four looking resplendent with new black paint needed it's smoke box innards replacing; Paul pointed to a pile of bits comprising steel poles, steel sheets with hooks on the back and the ash filters saying "you know how it goes back together, don't you?"
Yes Paul; no problem...

Now I hurt my back whilst de-rigging after some flippin' boxing match in Cardiff last Saturday, so I was on light duties today. Turns out that Aussie John was too which left Roy and George to work inside the smokebox whilst we passed in the (heavy) bits, held the lead light and generally offered our best advice. The photos I took of them when the job was finished don't really do justice to just how filthy they were when they emerged; hope the journey home didn't alter the colour of the car seats TOO much guys...
Colin was continuing his relentless task of trying to cram as many yards of copper pipe under Swanage's cladding without Paul's assistance this week. Again, that's another long term weekly job they have been working on for months, so you know all about that too! 
So, another "normal" Wednesday at Ropley then. We even had our "last pic-nic lunch of the year" as the weather was amazing for November; how often have I written that over the years??
It gets dark by 4pm these days though; God how I hate that; so I bunked off a bit earlier as I was in the trusty Dolly Sprint today and although I know the lights are perfectly fine on it, it is still a 45 year old car so I didn't want to push my luck... Quite a few of us Wednesday Gangers turn up in classic cars assorted and as far as I know, have never had to call for assistance for our hammer wielding railway chums to get home.... 
That's put the mockers on it; maybe the sensible modern car next week then...
So that's all from me, your (part-time) Ropley Scribe. I'll endeavour to get a bit more into the swing of regular blogs again as the GP season is all but over and I should be around mid-week again to do my bit...
Unless you want a go at writing this drivel??
With that thought, I'll wish you goodnight.


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