Watercress Line

A Tale of Two Sheds

15 Oct

It was the best of times it was the worst of…. no that’s a Tale of Two Cities, this is about two sheds. Reasonably good autumnal weather meant that we were able to make good progress with the landscaping of the area around the new garden shed at Alresford. The slab walling is nearly complete and back-filled with spoil to support the slabs and also the embankments were re-profiled to clear the path edge. When this dry spoil has settled and consolidated, and the walls have settled in, we can then proceed to lay the chippings for the pathways. It certainly looks a lot better than the old ‘pit’ and will look even better when the foliage gets growing that the Asset team gardeners are planting to cover the chalk sides and embankments.

At the same time the opportunity was taken to move the Beware Train sign that was at the bottom of the picnic site path and that faced up towards the picnic area. It didn’t really fulfil its purpose where it was and has been relocated to the other side of the path where it can be seen by visitors approaching the cattle dock siding from all directions. It will be given a bit of a make over in due course.

Whilst we were becoming shed aficionados it had been decided that the Days Out With Thomas commentary shed at Ropley was looking a bit shabby and also the interior didn’t do justice to the quality of the broadcasts emanating from this structure. The interior has been fully lined out with plywood and painted, giving a much brighter and professional environment for the occupants. The old garden shed-like interior looked like a bit like a Worzel Gummidge set- some will remember that TV series. Having brought the interior up to scratch the outside was given two coat of barn paint to liven that up as well. To finish things off a new flag stone entrance was laid outside and a barrier rug laid inside. So all will be ready and smart for the Thomas event next Easter time.

The new bench and coffee counter in the West Country Buffet at Alresford have been fitted and completed. The lengthy preparation in the  workshop paid off handsomely in saving time when it came to on site construction as only relatively minor adjustments were needed to be made to assemble the units. The moquette cushions for the bench arrived soon after installation. Both these installations provide not only more practical and comfortable facilities but also enhance the appearance within that end of the West Country Buffet and compliment the new shelves at the counter end, referred to in a previous blog.

The modesty screen outside of the gentlemen’s’ toilet at Ropley station had some rot in some of the planks. We think it was a batch that had come from the supplier originally about five years ago in which the preventative treatment did not work very well when this additional panel was erected. It was considered that the best way to deal with this was to remove that panel and take it back to the workshop to take it apart and rebuild with some new planks. On getting it to Medstead it was found that rot had appeared in some other areas as well and it was decided that a virtual complete rebuild would be the best option to get a longer lifespan out of this piece. The other two screens still at Ropley though are in good condition and just require a repaint to match in with the replacement panel and to look in good shape when the setts are completed in that area. The re-paint has now started, again taking advantage of another dry spell of weather.

Bob Brooks

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