2012 News Archive.

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25/12/2012 - After spending a bit of time with the family this morning, June and I had a couple of pints in the Barrels and in my local, the Three Elms followed by an excellent meal at home - a very relaxed and enjoyable day!!

This year's Christmas index page photo is a view of the Schönbrunn Summer Palace in Wien, taken from the Gloriette on Friday 07/12/12.

29/11/2012 - It's taken me a bit longer than expected to finish my Austrian trip report but it's all done and I've added it to the reports page. As is often the case at this time of year I came down with a cold a week ago which knocked me back a bit and just when I thought I'd shifted it I seem to be getting worse again - just in time for our annual trip to the German Xmas markets. We're doing things in reverse this year, travelling out by Eurostar and flying back - from Bratislava!! I think I'd better make a start on the trip report now....

28/11/2012 - After weighing up all the pros and cons June and I have gone "fibre optic" as our old ISP was pretty slow and the new deal actually works out cheaper and about 15 times faster! The changeover (today) was surprisingly easy and our new service is working well - so far so good.

14/11/2012 - It's back to the grindstone after a very enjoyable weekend in Austria for the "Desperate Railtours" special trains in the Salzburg area. It wasn't a cheap weekend but the social was good and it gave me an excuse to update some sections of my Austrian beer guide. The index page photo this month was taken on Saturday during a tour of the Salzburger Lokalbahn lines to Trimmelkam and Lamprechtshausen. Vintage electrics E61 and E62 pause for photo's at Oberndorf while heading back south to Salzburg Itzling. Hopefully I'll get a trip report uploaded in the next few days.

On the way home I had the opportunity to sample the latest version of the "WAG" Holyhead - Cardiff service and I have to say that not only was the train fairly well used but the refurbished mark III coaches were pretty good. The seats are definitely an improvement and I was glad to see that they've gone to the effort of including plug points - shame the 175's haven't got them!

18/10/2012 - On our way to the first pub on Saturday, I spotted what I thought was a Red Kite not far from Norton Canon - the first time I'd seen one in Herefordshire. Although fairly certain, I wasn't 100% sure so I was totally gobsmacked on Tuesday to see a pair circling overhead just north of Onibury. Sadly, I was at the controls of a steel train at the time so it was a only a brief glance - a shame as it would have been great to have got a photo of them. I wonder if any will find there way to Moreton on Lugg....

15/10/2012 - The last couple of weekends have featured quite a few beers! The first was a trip to Sheffield for a friends pre wedding pub crawl, made quite challenging as I had been working the night before and Sheffield is packed full of excellent ale houses. Best wishes to Andy and Anita for their impending nuptials this weekend! The second outing was a Herefordshire CAMRA minbus trip ot some of our more rural pubs, several of which I'd never visited before as they're a bit tricky to reach. This months index page photo features the Rhydspence Inn, one of the pubs that we visited. Both trips were very different and very enjoyable but I think I'll take it easy with the ale this weeekend, especially as I've got quite a bit of work planned out at Moreton.

Reports of last weekends Mercia Charters railtour in Hungary made me wish I'd been able to go although the weather didn't look up to much on the Sunday! The tour featured ex pat locomotives 56101 and 86215, now working for private freight company Floyd, as well as a former Danish MY which is almost identical to the Hungarian M61's - a type much loved by local enthusiasts. Well done to Denzil and co for their efforts - hopefully I'll be able to make the next tour.

12/09/2012 - Well I've just celebrated my birthday with a very enjoyable trip to Belgium. June and I were joined by my mate Dave for a day trip on the coastal tram and it took us over nine hours for a journey that normally takes less than two and a half as we kept stopping off at bars!! I've uploaded a trip report but I haven't had chance to sort the photos yet and I probably won't until after the weekend as I'm back in Belgium for the Mercia tour and some beers in Moeder Lambic!

03/09/2012 - June and I found an interesting stall at the farmers market in Hereford High Town on Saturday - it was selling beer!! It wasn't one I'd come across before but we found out that the Friday Beer Co are based in Malvern Link and they should be debuting their beers in cask (currently only bottled) at the Swan with Two Nicks in Worcester on Friday 28th September. I can feel a trip coming on as we'd also be able to call in at the Firefly pub in Worcester, another new brewery!

We took advantage of the good weather over the weekend for the long overdue test firing of our new BBQ and I'm glad to say that it worked well although we've still got some food left over. We had a visit from Paul who is making an excellent recovery after his operation - it was great to see him up and about (hard to believe that his op was only a month ago!) and I'm sure he's looking forward to being well enough in the near future to pay a visit to Moreton Park!

01/09/2012 - I've updated a few pages on the website including the trip reports (I've added one from our recent holiday to Hungary) and the local brewery listings on the beers page. I'm still plugging away sorting out all the digital photos that we've got so that I can upload some onto my Flickr site (as well as having them all backed up properly on a hard drive!).

This month's index page photo was taken during our recent holiday in Hungary. It's a photo from the Budapest Children's Railway taken on Saturday 18th August - Mk45-2004 arriving at Janoshegy with train 31215 from Huvosvolgy to Szechenyihegy.

09/08/2012 - Breaking news!! I've got a local pub again! Back in May 2010 I experienced a very heated incident in my local (The Three Elms) involving what I considered to be disgraceful behaviour by the landlord. After writing a letter to Greene Kerching and being fobbed off, I decided to boycott the pub until the landlord had left and I'm very glad to say that he has departed (I expect that he was finally rude to the wrong people)! :-) Hopefully life can now return to normal and apparently I'm not the only one who's decided to give the pub a second chance - now if only we could get rid of Greene Kerching.....

This month's index page photo was taken on Saturday 4th August - "Ye Olde Salutation Inn", one of two pubs in the picturesque village of Weobley.

06/08/2012 - After running round like a headless chicken for the last couple of months things have finally settled down and I've realised that I haven't updated the website! The end of June and the start of July was taken up with Beer on the Wye VIII, the annual Hereford Beer & Cider Festival held next to Hereford Rowing Club. Unfortunately, after all the planning we were gutted to have to cancel the festival after the first day due to extreme weather. Non stop rain resulted in our own version of Glastonbury and the river kept on rising so the decision was taken to cancel before we found ourselves in even more trouble. It was such a shame and such a waste but we'll bounce back next year.

A week later, June and I headed off to Poland for a week to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. We had a great time including visits to Poznan, Gdansk, the Hel peninsula and Warszawa and for a change we managed to track down and sample some very interesting beers. As we had a couple of long rail journey's, I managed to write a trip report. I've also taken the plunge and set up a Flickr account after finally finding time to decide on a replacement for Fotopics (RIP). It'll be a long process to upload everything (I'm probably going to take the opportunity to re-scan my old photos) but I've made a start by uploading some of my railway photos.

A good friend and former colleague of mine is currently in hospital recovering from a liver transplant. I'm glad to say that all the news we've had so far has been good but get well soon Paul. Ironically, we hosted a small event at Moreton Park on Sunday for a few friends, a rare occasion without Paul in attendence but everyone had a good time and between the thunderstorms the sun came out resulting in a few nice photo opportunities including one of D2302 and 03145 that Paul will certainly recognise!

June and I are planning another week away (I tend to prefer two seperate weeks rather than a fortnight) and this time we're heading to Hungary, including a few days lakeside at Balatonfuered. For a change, the weather forecast is looking good but in true British style we'll probably end up moaning about how hot it was when we get back home!!

15/06/2012 - I've narrowed down my photo problem to the interaction between Windows 7 and my Canon camera. I've successfully changed the index page photo using a photo taken using my camera phone so now I need to work out how to change the download method from my Canon.

And speaking of the index page photo - none for months and then two in a week! A nice bit of comfort and peace & quiet this morning courtesy of 60074 on 6M76 & 6V75. I grabbed a quick photo before departing Dee Marsh - about the only time I had any sunshine on the way back to Hereford!

10/06/2012 - Despite dropping for a short ballast job on Saturday afternoon, June and I headed over to Gloucester at lunchtime for the grand re-opening of the Pelican pub which has been taken on by Wye Valley Brewery. The landlord is a Hereford CAMRA member and former landlord of the Bell in Leominster, Mike Hall so there was a good turn out from Herefordshire to wish him well in his new venture and celebrate with a few beers - except for me of course! After two pints of soda & black it was time for June and me to head back to Hereford as work beckoned and surprisingly, after a taxi ride to Shrewsbury I found that I was getting 60065 on one of the eight engineering trains bound for Ashford Bowdler (6W07 if anyone is interested). It made for a nice change from usual diet of class 66's but I had to rummage around in my bag to find a key!

06/06/2012 - It was a long time in coming due to a run of bad luck with the weather but June finally had her long overdue birthday present on Monday evening, five weeks before her next birthday (!!) when we went up in a hot air balloon for the first time. The weather on Sunday was pretty poor so we weren't too hopeful and expected a further cancellation but the clouds parted during the afternoon and the sun shone, making for a very scenic and enjoyable flight with some stunning views. A big thank you to Mike (our pilot), Graham (ground crew) and everyone at Bailey Balloons - it was worth the wait!

As our lauch site was in Llanarth, we celebrated by stopping off in a couple of Gwent pubs on our way home - The Clytha Arms at Clytha (who were hosting a pretty large cider festival!) and the Crown Inn at Pantygelli - both very nice pubs but due to the time and having the car both were short visits.

01/06/2012 - I still can't get the index page photo to load properly despite it showing okay when I preview it on my laptop. I've checked using various photo's and the only constant I can find is that it's possibly since I installed the new camera software on my laptop but I have no idea why this would have any effect - answers on a postcard please!!

Anyway, my trip report is finished and can be found here. June and I are hoping to celebrate the bank holiday weekeend with our delayed balloon ride but we're so used to it being postponed (about a dozen times since last Summer!) that we're not holding our breath, especially after checking the weather forecast!!

24/05/2012 - Well I'm glad to say that I've resolved most of my issues with Mercia and as there was no-one else immediately available I stuck with my original offer of acting as Train Manager on our first ever mainline steam charter last Saturday in Belgium. This followed on from a visit to Ludlow Spring festival and a four night stay in Berlin which was meant to be a relaxing break but it turned out to be frustratiing at times as we had a hait of missing trains and found two brewpubs closed. Despite the odd glitch, it was still a very enjoyable break although the journey back to Bruxelles proved far from enjoyable as I came down with either food poisoning or a 24 hour bug!

Luckliy I was fully recovered by the Saturday morning and the excellent weather made for an enjoyable day despite having to work. I'm just putting the finishing touches to a trip report which includes an overview of all the Berlin breweries/brewpubs so this should be uploaded ina a couple of days.

For some strange reason, the index page photo of the Grand Place wasn't showing so I'll upload another photo to see if there's a problem. This time it's a shot of the steam charter on the CFV3V preserved railway, our destination last Saturday.

03/05/2012 - June and I are back from our latest trip - a few days in Belgium for the Mercia Charters "Cause and Effect" railtour and also to pay a visit to the Zythos beer festival. I was stewarding on the railtour and I have to say that I didn't enjoy it as much as some of our recent tours due to various incidents and problems. Most of the passengers seemed to have a good time though, despite us not making it across the border as originally planned (but that's another story!). I seem to have rocked the Mercia boat now by my post tour stewards report but what I put together was an honest view of what I think went right, what went wrong and what could have been improved on. I thought that a professional railtour operator would take the comments seriously but instead they've been taken personally and I seem to have been marked down as a trouble maker which is a bit of a kick in the teeth after working my socks off....

As for the beer festival, well it was our first visit and we were both very impressed. Despite being 4km from Leuven station it was easy to get to the Brabanthal as free buses had been laid on running every fifteen minutes. In the end we were there for eight hours due to the good beers and the good social. As the glasses are only 150ml in size, it's easy to sample numerous beers without getting too sozzled!

The index page photo features a slightly unusual view of the Grand Place in Bruxelles, one of the prettiest main squares that I know of. It is taken from the doorway leading to the inner courtyard of the town hall on Monday 30-04-12.

06/04/2012 - Today's a rather noteworthy anniversary for me - completing 20 years service on the railway! It's flown by but boy how things have changed! I wonder what the next twenty years will hold?!?

As I'll be in Belgium at the end of the month stewarding the Mercia Charters "Cause and Effect" railtour I thought I'd dig out a photo taken five years ago to use on the index page, CFL 1817 pausing at Goebelsmuhle on 28-04-07 while leading the "The Dark Frontier" railtour.

31/03/2012 - I've been sampling far too many beers in the last few weeks with a visit to the Burton on Trent beer festival, a CAMRA trip to Sheffield (presenting the beer of the festival from BOTW7 to Thornbridge Brewery at their Greystones pub), a day trip to Bruxelles and a weekend in Lichfield celebrating a freinds birthday! I think I'll take it easy for a week or two!!

10/03/2012 - Well I've survived a week of nights despite still not feeling 100% and having a rather croaky voice. I have managed to finish my Indian trip report though and it can be found here. It does seem to be lacking something though, possibly because I was a bit under the weather for half of the holiday but I hope you still enjoy reading it.

I've also set up a test Flickr account as a possible replacement for my old Fotopics site and I've uploaded my Indian railway photo's to it.

29/02/2012 - June and I are back from a fortnight in Goa. It was a great holiday although not without its problems as I picked up the lurgy from someone on the flight out so spent most of the holiday coughing and sneezing!! The weather was incredible, the hotel and beach were excellent and the trains were as outrageous and entertaining as ever. Hopefully I'll get a trip report written up in the next few days - once all the washing & ironing is finished!!

The index page photo for March is a shot taken at Cansaulim, our local station in Goa. Krishnarajapuram based WDM-3A "Baldie" 14024 pulls away from a signal check with train 17315 after an unscheduled stop to pass train 12742.

09/02/2012 - January seems to have flown by and I'm amazed that I've now spent two months solid in the UK!! All that will change next week though so keep your eyes peeled for another trip report.

February's index page photo is a scenic shot of the old bridge and cathedral in Hereford - hard to believe that it was taken just two weeks ago in the middle of our supposed Winter!

Unfortunately, our loco shed at Moreton Park has suffered another break in - very frustrating considering we've not really got anything worth stealing! A lot of time and effort will go into repairing the damage again, time which could be better spent working on the track and the loco's.....

Other news in the last few weeks; June and I were able to attend the "Beer on the Wye 7" volunteer meal in January which included visits to three rural Herefordshire pubs (Yew Tree Inn at Preston-on-Wye, Carpenters Arms at Walterstone & Crown at Longtown) as well as a trip to Golden Valley Ales. A most enjoyable day and it's nice to know that our efforts at BOTW7 were appreciated - roll on BOTW8!

June and I spent last weekend in a snowy Lichfield, visiting friends and spending Saturday evening at their local beer festival, held in the ornate but fairly small Guildhall. This was followed up with a small snowball fight and nightcap / game of darts in the Duke of York. Hopefully this coming Saturday will see us paying a visit to Ludlow Brewery for their beer festival although it might depend on how my night shift goes on Friday night!

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