Another Year Ends

Oh Dear. Another year ends and I really haven’t done much with this blog thing. To be fair, I’ve not had a great deal of time as it has been a touch busy this year. Diane’s mom passed away in July and we have been busy clearing up the estate ever since. Work has also been as busy as ever (and as frustrating at times).

And yet, we have also achieved a lot. Diane and I have continued to learn to work with horses and it is incredibly rewarding.  It’s also incredibly time consuming as well, but the flip side is we are a heck of a lot fitter! It is not just about learning to ride, it is also about understanding horses, their herd psychology, and how to be able to gently train them using natural horsemanship techniques to respond willingly to directions. Much of this year has been taken up with groundwork and it is incredibly rewarding to be able to get a large animal that could seriously injure you if it wished, to come to trust you. OK, there have been a few bumps in the road – literally. So far I’ve had a broken wrist, an injured back and a bashed head from a couple of falls. And this is supposed to be healthy for me! But most of those were due to my own stupid fault and not reading the situation carefully. We hope to improve further next year and more about this will be posted in the appropriate section.

Some work has occurred on the Land Rovers . New Rocky Mountain front door tops were installed on the 109 and made a huge difference. No more rust showers every time I struggled to open the window! And the windows no longer leak. The middle door sliding window strips were also replaced with Rocky Mountain window strips, again because the originals had rusted to oblivion. Ultimately, both middle doors and front lower doors will have to be replaced due to rusting out of the frames, but this will extend their lives for another few years. Apart from that, the vehicle has worked pretty well throughout the year, though it has started to smoke under load a bit. As a result, I have started to accumulate parts for a top-end cylinder head rebuild, including regrinding the valves, and I will post on this in due course in the appropriate section. However, it isn’t going to happen yet, it’s too damned cold at present!.

On the railway modelling front, the Kitson Meyer has nearly been finished and painted and I need to put some pictures up. It just needs some final details and ballasting. The K1 garratt that I was commisioned to build has been progressing and looks so good, I’m building one for myself at the same time. So both locos are being built in parallel. Again, pictures and posts to follow. (Are you detecting a trend here?)

So that’s it for the year. I’m currently in Canada, the great white frozen north, visiting family. It isn’t very white, as there isn’t much snow, but it is frigging cold (0 degrees tonight. And that is Fahrenheit, not centigrade).

It just remains for me to wish everyone a wonderful New Year from Diane and myself and make a resolution that I will work harder at this blog in the coming year.



3 thoughts on “Another Year Ends

  1. Happy New Year Phil.

    I only found your blog the other day when I noticed a ‘follow’ link against your name in a report on my blog. I see that we have several other things in common outside of Land Rovers. I too grew up with model railways as my Father was a fanatic and had a huge layout that would winch down from the ceiling. He had modelled the vast complex of Liverpools Lime street station as well as the container terminus at Seaforth. I had several smaller layouts in my bedroom. My father was mostly interested in diesels whereas I preferred the steam engines when I was younger. Sadly too many hobbies and other commitments, lack of time and lack of space have prevented me from continuing with my model railway hobby. I did make a start a few years back on an N gauge layout, I was intending to model the rail link into Scunthorpe steel worts which is a busy route for class 66 diesels hauling long trains of coal hoppers that go past our village many times a day. I have the locomotives, some rolling stock and track but have yet to make a start on the baseboard.

    It was also lovely to finally get to see a picture of Libby. She looks fabulous. 🙂

    I look forward to reading more posts in 2015!

    I will add a link to your blog from mine at some point today when I get around to doing a post myself….



    • Hi Ian,

      Thanks for your e-mail and my apologies for the delayed reply. Family commitments up north have been taking up time. Also thanks for your kind comments regarding Libby and modeling. Libby might look good externally, but inside she is very used. Although fundamentally sound, she shows her 34 years of use with pride!. To be honest, I haven’t gotten as much done on her (or other items) this year as I’d like due to a combination of various factors, such as inclement weather, sickness, heavy workloads and family obligations (sound familiar). It also doesen’t help that even in high summer, it is dark here by 8:30, and I often don’t get home until after 7. By the time I’ve dealt with the garden, it is often too dark to start work on Libby. And Diane would probably like me to spend some time with her as well…… This year we plan to also build a fully enclosed workshop/garage, so that I can get the Landy’s under cover and thus be able to make more progress with them. Whether this actually occurs of course is a different matter. But Diane did buy the plan when I told her we could make the roof area a deck for the evenings……

      Good luck with the railway modeling. I like the concept of the steel trains with class 66’s at the head. I actually have a couple of class 66’s on a shelf in my office at work (along with a Defender 110), and they often attract comments. To be honest, my railway modeling occurs in fits and starts. Often months will go by without any progress, and then their will be a burst of activity (usually in the winter months when it is too cold to work outside). My layout in the basement has been on hold for 2 years now, due to other commitments requiring time and money. As you say, too many hobbies, too many commitments, insufficient time or money!

      Sorry to hear about Annie coming off the road and being functional Land Rover-less, but sometimes, practicality wins out. I’ve done the same thing at times and it’s unfortunate, but nessecary. I shall watch for future posts with interest, as I too have to attend to the timing chain and gears at some point in the future (probably after doing the head and valves). Good luck for getting her (and Ciggy) functional again.

      As for the cold last night, yes it was chilly, but there was no wind, so it actually didn’t feel too bad and was actually quite pleasant, with the crunch of the snow under foot. When the wind gets up, it’s a different matter. I know it can get quite cold up where you are, and you have the wind and proximity of the North Sea which can’t help. I used to love the winter, but after 10 years of living down south, I’ve gotten soft and feel it more and more as I get older. That said, we keep our house at a sensible temperature, not ridiculously hot like many do. Like you we use our wood burner as the primary heat source, primarily because it is more economical than furnace oil, and it is also more reliable. Living in the country, we frequently lose electrical power and so can’t use the oven, stove top or oil furnace. (We also lose water as well, as we can’t run the well pump, but that is a different matter!!!). Because Diane, works from home, over the winter, she will often use the wood burner to cook on, as since it is already hot, why turn on the oven? She has always wanted a Rayburn type stove, but they are virtually impossible to get here and command huge premiums, so the wood burner is the closest we are going to get. And frankly, the wood burner forms a much nicer, more useful and more interesting centerpiece to the lounge than a TV. So we have read with interest your exploits with the Rayburn and wood burner cooking and to compare them with our own style of living.

      Anyhow, all the best and thanks for your e-mails. A Happy New Year to you all.



  2. Wow, that could have been written by me, the similarities in our lives are uncanny. 🙂

    BTW The Rayburn is considered a luxury/prestige appliance even here in the UK and is not very common. It is often considered to be the preserve of the wealthy. However that is mostly because of its high initial purchase and installation costs. If run on wood then its actual running costs are very low. Even running on the most expensive solid fuel (anthracite) we still find our overall household energy bill is not really any worse than most other families even where they live in ultra modern homes with modern gas/electric central heating systems. It also has many benefits that are worth the premium over more regular electric/gas stoves. The fact it continues to heat the house, provide hot water and cooking even during power cuts is a very valuable feature and with the UK running short of power with blackouts due within the next few years it will become even more useful 🙂

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