Pictures by Walter

A View With Every Picture


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Adventures with Susan Part 3B – Deep Seaworld (2005)

As our ramble around Kinross Gardens was a bit too quick and the day was sunny we decided to spend a little time in a cooler place.  After a short discussion we headed for  North Queensferry and Deep Seaworld as Caitlynn and, if truth be known, Susan wanted to walk under the sharks.  So we headed back south and entered the undersea world.

Walter walking under the sharks at Deep SeaWorld

I am saddened to state I have very little memory of the visit, I know I was there and took pictures in very trying conditions.  Susan took a few, one of which is me walking under the sea tunnel with camera glued to eye as I attempted to take pictures.

I do wish I had more memory of the visit and I’m positive we did go back on another day. I do know Caitlynn and Susan were really excited, no surprise there with Caitlynn, but Susan displayed the joy and wonder she felt so openly in her face.  I came to know that look as so often she showed it on our outings, sometimes the simplest thing would light up her face.

One thing – we found Nemo before he was officially lost, as the picture below reveals: (click on image to see album of visit)

Nemo Found

In all we had a good day visiting Kinross House Gardens and Deep SeaWorld.


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Adventures with Susan Part 3a- Kinross House Gardens

Susan, Catelynn and Debbie

Having enjoyed our inauguration adventure on The jacobite we looked forward to our next adventure which turned out to be in two parts.

On this adventure we had the company of my cousin Debbie and her daughter Caitlynn.  I have heard that the days remembered always appear to have been warm and sunny, all I can say is that 7th August 2005 was very hot and sunny.    Our first stop was Kinross House to wander round the formal gardens. I had discovered the gardens some time previously and told Susan about them.  No entry to the house, just the gardens and it was an honesty box system.   I understand that the house and gardens were sold in 2012 and one can no longer visit the gardens.

As you may have noticed Susan had her camera with her and  looking at her archives I found some pictures she took of the day:

Susan was a good photographer but she really enjoyed doing videos.  However she would always take a few shots – but tended to use mine in preference to hers own.

I particularly like this one of my young cousin Caitlynn that she took:

If it is true that one can no longer walk around the garden it is a sad loss. The history of the gardens was interesting as was the layout.  From the garden you could see across Loch Leven to the ruins of Loch Leven Castle

Ruins of Loch Leven Castle

From Wikipedia:

Loch Leven Castle is a ruined castle on an island in Loch Leven, in the Perth and Kinross local authority area of Scotland. Possibly built around 1300, the castle was the location of military action during the Wars of Scottish Independence (1296–1357). In the latter part of the 14th century, the castle was granted by his uncle to William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas, and remained in Douglases’ hands for the next 300 years. Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned here in 1567–68, and forced to abdicate as queen, before escaping with the help of her gaoler‘s family. In 1588, the Queen’s gaoler inherited the title Earl of Morton, and moved away from the castle. It was bought, in 1675, by Sir William Bruce, who used the castle as a focal point in his garden; it was never again used as a residence.

Today, the remains of the castle are protected as a scheduled monument in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.[1] Loch Leven Castle is accessible in summer by the public via a ferry.

Click on image to see Album.


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Adventures with Susan – The Jacobite Trip (2005)

Ex-LNER K1 – 62005 “Lord of the Isles”

2005 was a sad year for Susan as her mum had passed away on 25th July.  I Had not been aware of that fact until she returned to work.  During one of our lunch break walks we had touched upon taking a trip together a day out so to speak.  Quite how we decided upon a trip on The Jacobite I am not certain.  Susan had taken her grandkids to see Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter 2) and the segment with crossing Glenfinnan Viaduct had stirred a desire to cross by train.  We agreed to to take a chance and head up to Fort William and see if we could get a ticket.  Our first on many adventures together was on.

Loch Tulla Viewpoint

Loch Tulla Viewpoint and Black Mount

It is said (but not by whom) that everyone experiences a “Perfect Day” once in their life.. Sunday the 31st July 2005 was such a day.  We set off from Livingston at 6:00 am it was a clear day with nary a cloud in the sky.  It takes 3 hours + to get to Fort William allowing for photo stops on the way.  Susan was in good spirits as we set off heading for what would be our usual route to Glencoe.  We stopped at the Loch Tulloch Viewpoint – surprisingly clear of tourists.  I was struck with the cloud formation above the Black Mount as it gave the impression (to me at least) a simmering volcano.  At 8:30 the morning was

Buachaille Etive Mòr

already warm and the day held a lot of promise.  As this was our first trip together, on what would become a regular outing (Glencoe), I did not stop at the layby near Buachaille Etive Mòr as I was not aware of the significance of her to Susan at that time.  However, Susan did get one on the way back. We arrived in plenty of time to be first in line for a ticket (not guaranteed – we learnt from that to always book ahead.)  We were in high spirits, like excited school kids on their first outing.  Looking back, and I may be seeing through rose tinted glasses (makes a change from looking through ones with smears), we were relaxed in each other’s company.  Susan was smiling a lot as she pointed out Ben Nevis and relating her climb with Bob up the mountain.  I was twittering about the history of the line.   At 09:50 we were offered two tickets (Return) and boarded “The Jacobite” for our adventure through the mountains, along the lochs, gullies. cuttings heading to Mallaig behind a living breathing dragon.. oops sorry got carried away with a memory there.

We did a there and back again trip.  Have enjoyed ourselves  exploring Mallaig ie finding an eating place , walking along the harbour and general chit-chat we found we had many things in common as well as many differences, somehow there must have been residual magic from the HP film as we planned our next adventure together.

Album: Click here to see album

My final photo of that trip shows a Susan deep in thought with her reflection on the carriage window.  I would take many pictures of Susan on our adventures and with the Intrepids but this remains special  as I said everyone has at least one perfect day mine went on for 14 years.

Susan Wales Memories

Video


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Adventures with Susan – Beginnings

Susan Wales

Susan Ann Wales 2005

I first met Susan Wales near the start of my Civilian life.  Like all I had a childhood, then reality dawned and childhood ended I began to earn a living, still at home.  I started as a delivery lad for local co-op. then got a Job as messenger at British Rail Hope Street office, thence Signalbox lad at Glasgow Central Signal Box, Trainee Signalman, Porter at Williamswood, finally Passenger Guard (I had just turned 18) at Central Station.  I stayed with British Rail for 3 years then enlisted in the Royal Air Force at the age of 21.  I re-entered civilian life in 1993 and had 3 jobs before I was became temporary maternity cover for Assistant Licensing Officer at West Lothian Council in 1997.  It was there I first met Susan. We chatted as work colleagues do.  She was at that time married to Bob Wales.  Susan was a Legal Assistant, tasked with processing traffic orders and looking after the legal library.   If I recall correctly Bob passed away in December 2003.  Susan then persuaded her mom, Mabel, to move from Manchester and live with her.  During this interlude Susan and I would chat as colleagues and meet at lunch

Bruce Monument – 1

with other friends and colleagues.

Among my many interests was photography, but I was never happy with film.  I could see the picture but no matter what I did it never transcribed to film.  I was always disappointed with the commercial processing, but I had learnt a painful lesson whilst serving at RAF Gan,  photographic chemicals and I do not mix.  Alas my interest waned and eventually died away. 1982 whilst stationed at RAF Stanbridge I became interested in the new fangled toy of the year the personal computer, a love affair which lasts to this day.  Two changes occured in 2005. The first was a spur of the moment purchase of a digital camera a Nikon E2000.  I still have it. My love of photography was re-ignited.  Combined with computer software I could at last get the images I saw and print them myself.  My favourite make of SLR was Pentax so I purchased a Pentax *isDS Digital Single Lens Reflex and began the learning curve of shooting in digital raw and “Developing” on digital software to create my final image.  My first ever digital image was taken on 2nd January 2005 at 15:04:24 at Bannockburn.  The bug had bitten, infected the blood and the brain was seduced…I have discovered digital photography which combined with computer software gave me control over my image processing.

Susan - Glencoe- Buachaille Etive Mòr

Susan on her last visit to Buachaille Etive Mòr

In fact it was photography that really brought Susan and I together.  When I left the RAF I lived with my mother, I had been given a compassionate posting after the death of my father owing to the fcat my mother was elderly and disabled.  This in effect killed any further promotion through the ranks.  As I stated earlier I retired from the RAF in 1993 after 22 years service with the Rank of Corporal.  Hey  I got a pension so I was happy. During the spring – Autumn I would walk to work and had camera with me.  I would stop and photograph flowers, birds trees etc. I was getting used to my camera.  Susan was already an avid photographer with her own Pentax SLR.  She, Bob and one of Bob’s workmates would go up to Glencoe and climb/hill walk – her love of one mountain stemmed from those days – her beloved Buachaille Etive Mòr.

Little did I realise or indeed did Susan, our lunchtime walks and chats were drawing us into a relationship.  Our first adventure was just around the corner or was on track so to speak.

Our Colleagues in 2005

Our Colleagues

 

 

 


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All Change – 12 Months on……

My last blog on the theme all change was on 29th January 2019.  Sitting here today (28th December 2019) I am struggling to find the words within myself to relate what happened over the past 11 months.  In February 2019 my partner Susan was informed that once again she had cancer, but this time it was in the Abdomen walls. She underwent 4 sessions of Chemo in six weeks with the hope that the cancer would be cleared.  In May Susan was once again in hospital with bowel blockage – it was thought the she had impacted feces. It was whilst she was in Ward 11 Western General Hospital that she dropped a bombshell – here follows an extract from her blog for that day:

8/5/2019 Proposed to Walter. He did his impression of a Watership Down rabbit but has accepted.

It just seems the right time. but it seems right that I give him as much public recognition as do my utmost to make the rest of the time we have together filled with good things. The reaction to our news has been totally mind blowing. It should be a great party.  The method of proposal was via a birthday card! 

As Susan was still in hospital I had the task of getting the wedding venue booked, arrange for a licence/registrar – due to her illness the statutory notice requirement was waved.  Whilst I rushed from one task to another, Susan sat and drew up a guest list 60 for the ceremony with an addition 64 for the reception.  Within 3 days I had arranged the Registrar for a Civil (non-religious) ceremony thanks to Debbie Stein Assistant Registrar, West Lothian who would officiate at the ceremony.  A wedding/reception venue a photographer (Eddie Anderson).  The ceremony/reception was to be held at Howden Park Centre – I really lucked in on that choice as I soon found out when I met the event organiser Fiona Wilson. Once I had explained the situation she uttered those magic words – “Leave everything to us – just tell us what you need and then relax”.  All was ready when she came home  on 11th May.  We decided we would make the best of things and take one day at a time.  In fact that became our matra.  Susan planned a family get together at Runcorn to meet up with her extended family which would be special in so many ways.  She had recently been reconciled with her daughter and this was an extra special event.

Susan with big brother Al and Doreen

We had several outings arranged our Devon trip was cancelled but our Roses Rail Tour on 20th – 24th June went ahead. We stayed in Midland Hotel, Bradford ideal for our day trips; Settle to Carlisle (Crossing Ribblehead viaduct) and back, East Lancashire Railway and finally the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. and returned in time for the big day.

The wedding was held on Susan’s birthday 26th June 2019.

26th June 2019  – Wedding of the Year  – Time 11:30 – Susan Wales and I were married my partner of 12 years was now my wife and I her husband.

A total of 124 guests were invited 60 of then for the ceremony (all that the room could hold) and the remaining 64 to join us at the reception.  To say we were overwhelmed would be an understatement.  All but 12 invited guests attend the other 12 had prior commitments but still managed to send congratulations.  Susan was deeply touched and I was gobsmacked.  I knew Susan had many contacts and interests but her network of contacts was extensive throughout the UK.

Our “Honeymoon” was a working one.  Susan’s involvement with Scottish Community Drama (formerly SCDA) had snared me  into taking stage photographs of the last 3 British Finals of the 1-Act Festival.  Susan was going to the latest one to be hosted by All England Theatre and held in Harrogate, I was honoured to be invited to take photos of the event.  Presentation of Awards.  We stayed with a very good Friend Annie Page who provided taxi service and hosted us around the area.  We even got to see the Ribblehead Viaduct from a more flattering view point.

Ribblehead Viaduct

We returned home on 9th July in time for more medical appointments.  On the 26th July Susan was admitted to St John’s Hospital, Howden, Livingston initially Ward 23 MAS and then Ward 25 where she remained until the 26th August when at my request and Susan’s wishes she was allowed home and Palliative care team took over her care at home.  We made two further outings with our good Friend Sid (The Intrepids) on 29th August Susan had a final visit to see her beloved mountain “Buachaille Etive Mòr”

Her final outing, again in the company of Sid and myself, was a trip to Arrochar on 7th September 2019 to see The Cobbler (The Cobbler is a mountain of 884 metres height located near the head of Loch Long in Scotland. Although only a Corbett, it is “one of the most impressive summits in the Southern Highlands”, and is also the most important site for rock climbing in the Southern Highlands. Wikipedia)

Then onto Glen Kinglas to visit a bridge built in 1745 to allow troop movements in the highlands and prevent an uprising -“Butter Bridge” next to the A83:

At 02:29 A.M on Sunday 15th September my wife passed away at home knowing she was loved by many especially me.  I stayed with her holding her hand as he breathed her last, the tears then (as now) streaming down my face. Partner for 12 years, wife for 11 weeks 3 days and my whole life from the day we met.  Her “ceremony of Life” on 25th September was as well attended as our wedding. She was cremated and her ashes will be spread at Glen Etive, Buachaille Etive Mòr and Butter Bridge in spring of 2020.

2019 was a year of changes not all good but certainly life effecting. What about the future?  At present I’m living in the now – the future is a far distant place for me – only time will tell.


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All Change – Part 7 … Motive Power

Apart from Track, Signals, Rolling Stock a railway needs locomotives and model railways have a choice of them.  However, all is not as simple as it appears.  A true modeler will ensure that his / her layout is correct in every detail. To aid railway modelers in their quest for authenticity the companies devised an Epoch or Era Scheme:

Era 1: 1804 – 1875 Pioneering
Era 2: 1875 – 1922 Pre-Grouping
Era 3: 1923 – 1947 The Big Four – LMS, GWR, LNER and SR
Era 4: 1948 – 1956 British Railways Early Crest
Era 5: 1957 – 1966 British Railways Late Crest
Era 6: 1967 – 1971 British Rail Blue Pre TOPS
Era7: 1971 – 1982 British Rail Blue TOPS
Era 8: 1982 – 1994 British Rail Sectorisation
Era 9: 1995 onwards Post Privatisation

My preference is Era 4 and 5 with the odd Era 3 engine popping in, I can  say it is the between 3 and 4 waiting for British Railway branding.  The full breakdown of British Railway Eras

I currently have 14 steam outline locomotives:

Pacific Class 4-6-2

46242 City of Glasgow Ex LMS Coronation Pacific. Designed by Sir William Stanier

Stanier Coronation (Duchess/Coronation)

446242 “City of Glasgow” a Hornby Dublo metal cast model. Originally 46245 “City of London” introduced in 1959.  A good friend ( Paul James)  repainted and renamed the model to my favourite locomotive as I have found memories of the real engine.  City of Glasgow was one of three locos involved in the 1952 Harrow and Wealdston Rail Crash.  This is by far my oldest model locomotive.  Original loco was designed by Sir William Stanier and as designed were streamlined.

Gresley A4

Ex-LNER A4 60009 “Union of South Africa” Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley

No layout would be complete without one of the Gresley streamline locos or “Streaks” as they were known.  I have two only one is currently in use on the layout. Number 60009 “Union of South Africa” is one of six preserved A4 locomotives.  All rail enthusiast now that one of the class 4468 “Mallard” holds the world record for speed by Steam Locomotive.  The other A4 model I have is 60031 “Golden Plover” both Hornby models.

BR MT7 Standard, Britannia Class 70000 Britannia”

 B.R. Standard MT7 “Britannia Class” R A Riddles

Designed by R A Riddles incorporating the best features and modern (for that time) technology the Standard Class 7mt engine proved to be a success in nearly all of the BR Regions -The Western formerly GWR drivers and fireman were not impressed with them. North Eastern Region Norfolk drivers/firemen London Midland took them to heart. Once the Stanier pacifics were withdrawn they were the workhorse of the Scottish and London Midland region.  The first of the class 70000 “Britannia” and the subsequent 55 locos were known as “Britannias” or “Brits” for short.  70013 “Oliver Cromwell” hauled the 1968 15 Guinea Special on 11th August 1968 as the last rostered steam hauled service by British Railways. Both Britannia and Oliver Cromwell made it into preservation.

4-6-0 Class

EX LMS Stanier “Black Five” in later BR Livery

Stanier “Black Five

The 4-6-0 that is 4 leading wheels, 6 driving wheels and 0 trailing wheels was one of the more prolific in the railways of Britain.  British Railways inherited numerous examples and designs of this classification from the Big 4(LMS, LNER, SR and GWR). The most prolific 4-6-0 was the Stanier LMS “Black Five” of which  832 were built between 1834 – 1951.  RA Riddles design of the BR Standard 5 took the best features of the Stanier Black 5. I currently have three Hornby versions of the LM design.  One in LMS livery two in BR livery (early/Late crest).

G.E.R S69 (LNER/BR B12)

GER S69/LNER-BR B12. The last surviving member of a class of 71 locomotives designed by S D Howden and rebuilt by Sir Nigel Gresley. Hornby Model

The last surviving member of a class of 71 locomotives designed by S D Howden and rebuilt by Sir Nigel Gresley. My Triang modelo dates back to 1970 and is one of my original locomotives from my teenage model railway layout.

B.R. Standard Class 4 R A Riddles

B.R. Standard Class 4MT designed by R A Riddles and modeled by Bachaman

Built to provide services on secondary lines and to the universal loading gauge these class 4 MT engine had a higher route availability than the class 5 and 7 engines. 80  during the 1950s of these were built and used extensively in the LM,Western and Southern regions of BR.  Bachmann model is of the preserved loco on the Bluebell Railway.

B.R. Standard Class 5 R A Riddles

B.R. Standard Class 5MT. designed by R A Riddlesbased on LMS Black 5 with modern technology.

Designed to make life easier for the shed maintenance crews and the disposal at end of shift. R A Riddles based the Stanrdad 5 on the LMS Black 5 with modifications such as high running plate, slightly enlarged drivings wheels, self cleaning smoke boxes, and rocking fire grates.   I have two versions by Bachmann – one early and one later crest.

LMS Rebuilt Patriot Class – Sir Henry Fowler

Stanier rebuild of Fowler Patriot “REME”. Model by Bachmann

The Patriot Class was a class of 52 express passenger steam locomotives built for the London Midland and Scottish Railway. The first locomotive of the class was built in 1930 and the last in 1934. The class was based on the chassis of the Royal Scot combined with the boiler from Large Claughtons earning them the nickname Baby Scots. 18 were rebuilt between 1946 and 1948; the remaining 34 unrebuilt engines were withdrawn between 1960 and 1962. Modelby Bachmann with early BR Crest

EX LMS Ivatt Class 2-4-2T

Ivatt 2-6-2T designed to replace elderly LMS 0-6-0 engines

Model by Bachmann in early BR blacklining with early crest

0-6-0 Class

More prolific than the 4-6-0 wheel arrangement the 0-6-0 was a very versatile arrangement for small freight engines.  Various variants of a tendered and non tendered locomotives were built.   I have three variants on my layout:

Ex NBR D (J38)

Fowler Class 3f “Jinty” Ex LMS

Ex LNER designed by Sir Nigel Gresley

BR Standard 2-10-0

Evening Star 92220

Last steam locomotive built by British Railways in 1960. She was withdrawn in 1968 – after 8 years running life. Model by Hornby


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All Change – Part 6… Then and Now

Having decided to revamp and redesign the layout and a budges set we proceeded with the updating of major scenic items.  The first to be re-placed was the old terminus built from a SuperQuick card kit. The New Station and Parcel Office kits were from the Metcalfe Range of kits.  The replacement station and parcel office kits were based on buildings on the Settle to Carlisle line

Then (2016)                                                                                 Now (2019)

Station

Fiddle Yard

12 Feet Extension

       

This is still a work in progress – The station area is now set in stone the track pinned, the old fiddle yard area – now the extension to the extension so to speak still has tweaks to be done.  The 12 foot extension  is still being developed and may change slightly as we explore possibilities.