Pictures by Walter

A View With Every Picture


4 Comments

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.


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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.


2 Comments

All Change ..Part 5 – Changing Tracks

In June 2016 I commenced the saga of building a model railway – the last update was on 30th July 2016 in which I discussed control, then zilch.  The layout was never fully completed and for two years it was run but no further development.  Why this gap?  To be honest I’m not sure – however my memory is that the ballasting of the tracks caused lots of problems in running of the models and eventually required drastic remedial action of lifting the tracks and clearing the ballasting from the baseboard.  During this time I became dissatisfied with the fiddle yard area and wished to expand the layout.   Meantime life carried on.. Susan and I enjoyed our adventures  during 2017 and 2018 with our fellow Intrepid, Sid Morgan as well as taking sea cruises and holiday in Canada.

In november 2018 Susan was advised that her cancer had returned and required further Chemotherapy.  She suggested that it was time I returned to the model railway and expand it.  Plans were drawn up and a budget allocated to the project.  The new design would replace the fiddle yard and an extra 9 ft to make a U style layout.  The revised layout would by 12 ft x 8 ft x 9 ft x 4.5 ft.

Work commenced on Saturday November the 8th with our good friend Sid supplying the know how to create the new baseboards.  No sooner had we started Susan received a phone call from the cancer unit at Western General Hospital they wanted her admitted straight away as the consultant wanted to drain out the liquid from her abdominal cavity.  So we had to leave Sid to do the work whilst I took Susan into hospital.  When I finally returned home, Sans Susan, Sid had completed the assembly and fitting of the new baseboards.  Work was suspended until Susan returned home on the evening of Saturday 9th November having had her first Chemo treatment.

Sunday 9th November track was laid and testing began.

Among many changes made was the replacement of the terminus station with a better style station, the design of a goods yard and addition of factories.  The video below shows the state of play as at 25th December 2018.

 

 


Leave a comment

A Winter’s Month – January 2010

Nikon D300s

A New Year, with two new photographic toys Santa had very kind left at Christmas. A New Nikon D300s with a Sigma 150-500 Zoom.  It had become apparent that I needed a larger zoom than the 28/300 for some of my animal shots at zoos.  Unfortunately (if I recall correctly) there were not many third party lens for Pentax fittings.  I was contemplating buying a Sigma 150-500 for Canon but a hint was dropped to forget that.  Christmas revealed why.

January 2010 (at least in West Lothian) started off with a lot, and I mean a lot of snow, along with a big freeze.  Yet the sun did shine – it shone but not a lot of warmth.  To test my new outfit I took my normal walk to my place of work getting to know the camera and lens.  This took me from Craigshill to Almondvale and the (then) new Civic Centre where |I was employed in Legal Services, West Lothian Council. Susan, Sid and I headed off to Linlithgow – which shuts down over the festive season, and had a walk around Linlithgow Loch to feed the birds.  It is a nice walk round the loch (see WalkHighlands) and popular, even on the 1st of January.  Being a loch there are lots of waders as well as gulls.  Most popular are the Mute Swans and Ducks (Mallard, Tufted Ducks etc.)  Regretfully we had to wait until we got home to have a warm soup – as I said Linlithgow closes down at Festive Season.

Where else would one test out the combination of large Zoom lens  and new camera – Edinburgh Zoo sprung to mind.  In a previous blog I mentioned that we were once members of the Society but no longer.  However the Zoo was the ideal place to test the outfit and I captured (to my mind) some great shots of Tigers, Lions etc.  I forgot to mention that Sid had purchased a Nikon D300s and Sigma 150-500 from Jessops in Edinburgh.  I thought he would have twigged and brought it with him to the zoo.  Silly man forgot them, mind you that was the last time he did so. Nowadays he carries the D90 and D300s with a small zoom and the 150-500.

I did not realise it at the time, but the year that started off so well would soon become the year from hell as far as my personal life went.  My mother lost her battle with cancer and soon after my partner was fighting for her life against pneumonia.   In all 2010 was a year of change and led to a bigger change in 2011.

Video/Slide show “A Winter’s Month”


Leave a comment

Wandering with a Pentax K200D – 2009

In 2008 I had two cameras – A Pentax K200d to act as a Second body to my K10D it eventually became my main camera of choice.  It was rated as a beginners camera but had weatherproofing.  However, by 2009 I owned 6 DSLRs.  I had bought a Canon EOS 50D, EOS 500D, Nikon D90, Nikon D300s.  I was spreading my wings testing the myth about which is the best camera.  Whilst I still retain the Pentax K10D, Canon 50D and 500D I no longer have the Pentax K200 or Nikon cameras.  I had fun that year taking 13,900 images, learning to cope with RAW files and Lightroom – having given up Photoshop as far too complex for my simple needs. The breakdown per camera is:

Pentax K10D – 4021 images, Pentax K200D – 2800, Canon 50D – 1974, Canon 500D – 1915, Nikon D90 – 1508 and the Nikon D300s – 571, a total of  12965 pictures the remaining 931 taken with unknown cameras. As you can see I preferred using the Pentax K10D closely followed by the  K200D.  The Canons came second and the Nikon last.   I still have not solved the which is best dilema as I use Pentax, Canon and Nikon for different tasks.

Anyway I digress 2009 I took the K200D on my travels around the UK as it was lighter then the K10 and a lot lighter than the Canon/Nikon. My Partner (Susan) and our fellow Intrepid Sid had fun traveling around Scotland, Down to York and looking through the images brought back the adventures.  My highlights were – Photographing inside St Giles Cathedral (actually the High Kirk of Edinburgh), Catching the moment the 1 o’Clock gun was fired, our trip to Inchcolm Island in the River Forth and my night shot of the Forth Bridge (rail bridge) at night from North Queensferry Harbour, at the time the bridge was undergoing a lengthy restoration and paint job – started in 2002 and finished in 2011.

I’ll leave you to enjoy (or not as the case may be) a short video of my wanderings with the Pentax K200D


Leave a comment

Memory Of Edinburgh Zoo 2007

I  had enjoyed using my Pentax *istDS (rather an unfortunate model name) until I became aware that my images were no longer sharp.  It took me a while to discover the cause and it was a very slight tremble in my left hand. There was no loss of sharpness at fast shutter speed, only on the lower speeds.  For Christmas 2006 I was given a Pentax K10D with the latest 10 megapixel sensor and in body anti shake also acting as a sensor cleaner.  Along with the K10D I was given a Tamron 28-300 zoom lens.

I soon got used to the idiosyncrises of the camera/lens combination – one being the fact that the anti-shake does not cut in until you half press the shutter button,but you could take a preview shot to check all was working as it should.  One other oddity was the way the camera/sensor loved Red – every image with red was saturated and had to be toned down.  I used to be a member of Edinburgh Zoological Society i.e. I bought an annual pass for the zoo and made good use of the pass to frequently visit the zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie in the Highlands.  I was more than pleased with the results of shooting through glass with the Pentax K10D as there was a row of enclosures (now long gone) which housed Leopards, Panthers, Cheetahs and Pallas Cats.  A wooden barrier extend from the front so you could not get close up to the glass though many tried.

Panther

The panther used to hide in his/her den under a fallen tree, the Leopard would sit up high and occasionally patrol around it’s enclosure. I mention this as I had come across a set of images taken in July 2007 using the Pentax K10D and the Tamron 28-300 zoom along with many other shots.  I have re-edited the images using the latest Lightroom CC. and they are shown in the video below.

The video comprises of 29 images taken at the zoo in 2007.  The majority of these animals no longer have abode at Edinburgh Zoo, which since the “Gift” of a Panda sold off many animals including the Leopards, Cheetahs and Panthers.  The Amur Tigers were transferred to Highland Park Zoo along with the Red Panda and Polar bear. On my last visit to the zoo I found that the Cat row had been left abandoned and left to decay.  Over the years the zoo has shrunk re exhibits – whilst the Amur Tigers have a large new enclosure/building I feel the loss of the other cats.