Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mountain Engines

A long time ago, before a TV series bought them into the big time, i read and loved the Railway Series of books by the Rev. W. Awdry, Thomas the Tank Engine et al. I had all of the original series books, as well as some audio book versions which were recorded by Johnny Morris. The books might be in my parents' attic somewhere but i decided to buy a couple of the series anyway to have a bit of a nostalgic hit.

The first one i have got is Mountain Engines, set on a rack railway that climbs the mountain Culdee Fell. As i read it the memories came flooding back, lovely stories to grasp a childhood imagination and i was reminded of how beautiful the original artwork was by Gunvor and Peter Edwards.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Let the games begin

Today i received my Olympic ticket which makes it all seem a little bit more real. I am going to see some volleyball on August the 2nd. Despite the fact my sister-in-law's house (which is where i will be staying) is really close to the Olympic park (you can see the stadium from the platform of the nearest DLR station) ironically i'm going to have to trek across London to Ears Court instead! As a nice touch though a free travel card has been provided for the day. I've got my train ticket to get to London already so now i am all set, just a couple of months to go...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

RAF Cosford

Its been some time since i've been to the RAF Museum at Cosford, around 2002 maybe the last time i went. Its changed quite a bit since then, a whole new hall has been added dedicated to the Cold War with a fantastic display of aircraft, weapons and other things inside. Of course i took a lot of photographs and here they are.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gnat coming together

After an excursion with railway rolling stock model project #032 is back to aviation, and is a Folland Gnat to be exact. Its one of Airfix's newest kits and is done very nicely too, pity about the idiot making it! Anyway progress is being made and i have now begun painting it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

End of the line

Despite being fairly simple kits both basic construction and painting skills required Projects 030 and 031, a pair of BR 16 ton mineral wagons have taken a while to complete. Most of that time however has been spent waiting for paint to arrive. Unfortunately when the paint did arrive i found the grey i ordered seemed too light so i had to buy some more...

That paint seems a little bit too dark. No worries, maybe the wagons are just dirty. They have now received final painting and had their decals applied. All they need is a spot of varnish and my train sub-project is off to a start. The green flag has been waved so to speak...

Day School 2.0

On Saturday i went down to London for the second day school of my course, this time it was hosted by the University of Westminster and i didn't get lost! Now that is a miracle for me as i usually am so directionally challenged i could get lost in a phone box, but no this time i got there 30 minutes early.

The day school was fine, the lectures and tutorials useful though the latter unfortunately coincided with a cold i must have caught earlier. I do have more idea now as to the direction to go in and the scope for my EMA and later dissertation. They are both some time off but then again not that far off!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Witton Lakes

Nowadays Witton Lakes are nature conservation and recreation areas in Erdington but they were originally created as reservoirs to supply drinking water to Birmingham fed by two brooks in Kingstanding and Erdington.

However as the city expanded and enveloped the reservoirs (which were originally in a fairly rural area outside the city limits) pollution made the water undrinkable and the city turned to Wales for its water supply (where it still largely comes from now).

Witton Lakes are ironically not exactly in Witton but very close to the the district. Witton was a very sparsely populated area consisting of a few farms, with a recorded population of only a few hundred as late as 1871 when it was incorporated first into Erdington, then Aston Manor then finally Birmingham in 1911.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ladyhawke / She's So Rad live!

I don't go to many live gigs actually so why not do a review when i actually do? This is republished from my music blog.

Its been over three years since Ladyhawke first came to people's attention with her debut album and its blend of 80s retro and indie pop. Finally she is following it up, this tour to help herald her return. And that return will be very welcome if the new material presented tonight at the Glee Club in Birmingham is anything to go by.
Maybe looking slightly nervous Ladyhawke came out on stage, her microphone stand bedecked with fairy lights and then ploughed straight into a mix of beloved tracks from her first album and her next.

Highlight of the night was probably the electro-pop attack of "Magic" though the new song "Blue eyes" also scored highly on the awesome-ometer. The night finished with a rousing "My delirium" and that was it, no encore though i think everything was pretty much covered.
There is a pop superstar in this picture but you need to look closely.

Starting off proceedings were She's So Rad, a New Zealand shoegazey indie pop band. I'd not heard of them before a few days ago but i'm a definite fan now. Reverb heavy pop noise = sure win! The vocal mix needed a bit of sorting out but the guitar noise was terrific. I'll have tinnitus for days i'm sure.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Yesterday i made my first trip to the lovely Warwickshire town of Henley-in-Arden (well stopping trip, i've traveled through it on the train a lot). I shall definitely add it to the list of places i want to live when i finally escape Birmingham...

I took a lot of photographs of course including some interesting ones of the town from the top of the hill that overlooks it. The hill was muddy though because of recent rains and i found to my cost its a lot easier to go up a muddy hill than go down. Photos are worth it though.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

On right track?

I have just begun a sub-project in this year's model making season, i procured a number of old Airfix railway rolling stock kits (2 locomotives and 5 wagons) and will build a little train. The first two kits Projects 030 and 031 are in production at the same time as they are the same kit (just one is in an even older box) though i only have the instructions for one so i thought it prudent to build both at the same time. Building was fairly simple but painting has come to a halt because i did not have the right grey colour so i am waiting for that to be delivered now.