Watercress Line

Looking for work; Ropley inmates see what they can get up to today.

Another week, another day for the Ropley job-seekers to badger management for useful employment; ah it's good to be back for the weekly banter, cakefest and, of course, our weekly contribution to the smooth running of Ropley MPD... Eh? You sure? Well, Andy is on leave this week but there was a fair amount of recent entries to the white board in the mess for us to peruse whilst enjoying the first morning cuppa. And to divvie up amongst ourselves with jobs in the yard being quietly ignored as the horrible fine drizzle outside meant work in any of the loco sheds was to be preferred...

There were the regular gangs continuing their regular jobs that have been keeping them busy for weeks with Dave 2 Jags gang still persevering with Bullied tender frame and Les's gang with their brightly painted pony trucks but for the rest of us it was split up and offer our services where we could.

Ollie is getting on very nicely with painting Thomas and those of us that ventured into the wheeldrop where Thomas resides for the moment were warned in no uncertain terms to keep oily gloves and mits well away. There was work to be done beneath it though and also to Cheltenham further up the shed so a few of us were issued pink undercoat, Ollie's own brushes and some neoprene gloves to get under the locos and apply; Jim had some black topcoat to apply to Cheltenham too meaning he didn't have to get down in the pit to work; always a bonus for those of us with ancient backs, knees and whatever else the pain-killers are called upon to assist with as the day progresses.

As the rain eased the pit emptying gang managed to get stuck in, led as always by Russian John; he's a glutton for punishment but sometimes there are too many of us chasing too few jobs so rather than stand about, the pit gets emptied with a few of assisting to speed the job along.

A couple of massive "A" frames with connecting beam were laying in the yard too, presumably having been donated by someone, so Petersfield and I ascertained their final supposed destination in the large machine shop and man-handled them into place. or near enough... We didn't get round to erecting them yet, thinking that our pals in the Thursday gang might wish to add their input.. A bit of the blame game here as you probably gathered as none of us wanted to erect them and then find Andy, on his return from holidays, tell us they are not where he wanted them!

We blog writers, all 2 of us, see some strange sights whilst wandering around looking for something to photograph and write about and sometimes the pictures are a bit blurred in the rush to capture the moment.. Keith kneeling before "his" pony truck looking as if he is praying for guidance was one such example (blurry but worthy I feel!) and Welsh Pete attempting to saw the workbench in half also tickled me. The gang of about twelve guys attempting to fit the first replacement spring to the Bullied tender frame they have been working on for months made me smile too. Though the photo doesn't do it justice; you have to be here... And you could be, dear reader! New volunteers are always welcome, though perhaps not on Wednesday as the car-park is always a lottery as it is, not to mention the strain on the tea and cake supply and other important domestic issues. Look out for the welcome days, held at Alresford every couple of months and see what you might be able to contribute? Maybe a bit of blog writing; can't be any worse, I hear you say, and I'm off to Oz next week for the start of my GP season so won't be around as often as normal..


Thank God for that, I hear my "mates" saying...


So that's it for this week, from me, your Ropley Scribe.



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