2013 News Archive.

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06/12/2013 - Blimey, where's the last month gone?!? I've been busy helping June with her June's Crafty Bitz website but still found time for a holiday in Belgium and France as well as sorting a new mobile phone (mine was getting very worn out!) and occasionally popping in to work!! ;-) Not surprisingly I'm off on holiday again in a weeks time!

11/11/2013 - Well, I observed the two minutes of silence at 11:00 - June says it's the longest I keep quiet all year!!

June's cracking on with her craft work, making beaded jewellery and decorations as well as her usual knitting and cross stitch. I've given her a hand by setting up a webpage for her which can be found here and she's also set up a facebook page. Both are still a "work in progress" but she'll soon be adding pictures of everything she's made that's for sale.

08/11/2013 - I've updated the index page photo for this weekend - sadly not one of my own pictures but a fantastic image borrowed from the Fawley Royal British Legion facebook page. Hopefully it may make a few people stop and think over the next few days.

18/10/2013 - Normal service has been resumed!!

The last couple of months has seen me working hard on my Shark out at Moreton. This has taken up almost all of my spare time so the remainder has been taken up with a couple of holidays including a birthday weekend in Germany and a trip to Hungary for the Mercia Charters tour. Just when I thougt I'd caught up with the backlog my website went down again! Despite renewing my annual subscription (web hosting and domain name) before my renewal date, my web host was rather slow renewing the domain so all I had was a bland holding page for two weeks.... Not impressed!!

I'm still tweaking a few bits on my plough van but it's now fit for service and ready for the BLS site visit on Sunday 27th October. There's still room on both trips so if anyone is interested in joining you can find booking details here.

One other piece of exciting news was the opening (in August) of Hereford's first micropub in an old launderette at the bottom of Eign Street. This is definitely worth supporting as not only is it the best thing to happen to real in Hereford in a long time but it is also a useful otlet for some onf the new microbreweries that have popped up in Herefordshire in the last couple of years. "Beer in Hand" is being run by Mitchell and Alison, a friendly couple who are regularly dispensing a dozen real ales at the weekend as well as some proper cider. There's no fruit machines, no music and best of all no fizzy lager!!!!

This month's index page photo is of former BR locomotive 56115, now operated by Floyd in Hungary (as 659.002). It's pictured at Dunaujvaros Kikoto on 05-10-2013 while working the Mercia Charters railtour "The Things Past".

27/06/2013 - Well I think that my quote of getting up to date in a weeks time might have been a little ambitious! lol

Three holidays, two consecutive weeks of earlies, June coming down with the lurgy and next weekends Beer On The Wye has kept me more than occupied but I'm slowly catching up, starting with uploading my trip report from Israel and putting the photos onto my Flickr pages.

This month's index page photo was taken in the Dancing Camel brewpub in Tel Aviv on 11th June.

06/06/2013 - A fair bit happened during May, holidays, Herefordshire brewery news, family illness, the list goes on! All I need now is some spare time to write everything up but it won't be this week as I'm out of the country again so normal service will be resumed in a weeks time!

09/05/2013 - Well in the last fortnight I've been on a Dutch railtour, spent a day at the Belgian beer festival, been to a friends wedding (congrats Jon & Mel!), had a bank holiday walk on the beach at Barry Island and had a trip on the Barry Tourist Railway. In the next two weeks I'm also off to Germany and Poland! Somehow I've also found the time to go to work!!

I've uploaded the trip report from the recent Benelux trip and I've also got stuck into sorting some photos for my Flickr site although it'll be a week or two before I'm ready to upload them.

01/05/2013 - After ten weeks in the UK, June and I have just returned from a very enjoyable trip to Belgium and the Netherlands, revisiting a few old haunts including Brugge where we'd not been for quite a few years. We ended the holiday with a trip on the annual Dutch "Queens Day" railtour and a visit to the Zythos Beer Festival in Leuven. Hopefully I'll get the trip report finished and the photos sorted in the next few days.

This month's index page photo was taken on the final NVBS "Koninginnedagrit" (Queens Day) railtour on Saturday 27th April as next year will see a "Kings Day" tour!! The photo of DBS loco 6426 was taken at Botlekhaven Theemsweg in the Rotterdam docks complex.

07/04/2013 - This month's index page photo is a vintage shot from my dad's collection. BR shunt loco 12000 awaits its fate at Derby on the 9th of April 1961. It was built by Hawthorn Leslie in 1935 (works number 3846) and began life as LMS 7074 but its career was over by the time the photo was taken and it was finally scrapped just over a year later.

25/03/2013 - It was the first Gloucester Beer Festival over the weekend (apparently there have been other firsts but no seconds!). As some of our friends were involved we decided to head over on Friday and give them a bit of moral support and as there's no direct rail route from Hereford to Gloucester we broke the journey at Worcester and called in at The Plough for a quick pint. It was my first visit to the Plough but probably not my last as June and I were both impressed with the pub, the landlord and the beer.

Despite the ropey weather the beer festival was in full swing by the time we arrived and we had a very enjoyable afternoon and evening supping some excellent beers in the company of various friends. The venue was a bit chilly but this was hardly surprising as it was the historic Blackfriars Priory, quite an unusual setting for a beer festival. A few heaters took the edge off things and the rooms in the east range provided extra seating in the warm. The festival organisers had advertised thirty five beers although this had risen to forty five with a further six as a contingency supply. Everyone was surprised that the thirsty visitors had drank their way through well over half the beers by the end of Friday night so plans were put in place to re-stock the bar and ensure that there was enough beer for the Saturday!

Our friend Duncan had kindly offered to put us up for the night although we hadn't expected to wake up on Saturday morning and find it snowing outside. This was a bit of a blow as we'd planned to meet up with a gang from Hereford CAMRA who were coming over for the beer festival and a visit to Gloucester Brewery so not surprisingly several didn't make it. Despite this disappointment we all met up and had a good time visiting a few pubs as well as the Gloucester Brewery which is situated in the heart of the Docks. The brewery had just mashed when we arrrived so we were greeted with a lovely odour in the rather steamy room (see index page photo) which was followed by a talk about the brewery and a few tasters. I was quite impressed with their set up and it just goes to show what can be achieved in a relatively short space of time. We followed this up with a couple of hours at the festival and a few more pubs before heading for home, travelling via Worcester again instead of on the bus via Ross with the others. We did though meet back up with Mark when we were back in Hereford for a final nightcap in the Lichfield Vaults before catching the bus home, ending an excellent weekend. The only downside for me was finding out that I now had a week of nights to look forward to! Well done to everyone involved in the beer festival and hopefully the success will lead to another one next year although I think they'll need more beer!

10/03/2013 - As well as paying a visit to my mum (well who didn't today?!?) and popping out to Moreton to get my hands dirty and help out with a spot of maintenance on 03145, I've also tweaked a few of my web pages. The biggest change has been to the Flickr page. I've replaced the normal page with a direct link to my Flickr collections. They're grouped into countries and each collection will eventually include sets for beers, railways and sightseeing. At the moment most of the photos that I've added are from my railway albums as I've still got loads of digital images to sort and older images to scan.

02/03/2013 - We decided on a day out yesterday, starting with a mooch round Birmingham to collect our free "loyalty" gifts from O2. We'd both gone for some chocolates from "Hotel Chocolat" so I was less thna impressed when my voucher came up as expired, rather strange as it was identical to June's and both had four days to run (cue ranting e-mail to O2!!). Our next stop was the recently re-opened Craven Arms pub, less than 10 minutes walk from New Street station. This traditional street corner pub has been refurbished by Black Country Ales and in addition to their three regular beers another six handpumps are in use for guest ales. We went for pints of Great Heck "Porter" and Muirhouse "Magnum Mild", both 4.5%, dark and delicious! I took a few photos of the pub which can be seen by clicking on the following numbers:- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.I wish the pub well and I expect I'll be calling in the next time I'm in Brum!

Our next port of call was Lichfield as it's home to June's favourite craft shop (Spellbound) and she wanted to pick up some beads for the jewellery she makes. I found out that my mate Tim was around so we had a pint of Titanic "Plum Porter" in The Duke of York while June went shopping. Our original plan was to return to Birmingham and be back in Hereford by early evening but we were all enjoying ourselves so much that when Tim told us that Roger and John should be joining him later we decided to make an evening of it. As an addded bonus Tim offered to put us up (Ta mate!) so we continued our drinking in the Acorn (Wetherspoons) and The Horse and Jockey before finally returning to the The Duke of York to finish the night with some more Plum Porter!

25/02/2013 - June has forwarded a link to me that I thought was worth sharing. Just to prove that there is more to spray paint "street art" than an endless array of childish tags, take a look at this. A bargain at $20 but it has one downside - how long does it take to dry?!?

24/02/2013 - The Marches line didn't fair well last week, starting with a SPAD (luckily not one of my colleagues!) then suffering a fatality (a sad fact of railway life but I'm relieved to say for all concerned that it seldom happens in our area) and ending with the failure of one of our steel trains which caused chaos on Friday afternoon! Hopefully this week will go better as I'm working afternoons!!

19/02/2013 - I've been sent a few links of the landslip at Hatfield which completely closed the line from Doncaster to Scunthorpe last Tuesday, probably for several months. All I can say is that I'm glad there were no trains on the patch when the slip ocurred! The colliery waste tip has really made a mess of the line and the fascinating thing was the photo's showing it slowly moving over a period of a couple of days - Photo's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Hopefully it's stopped now but someone's got a huge job clearing up the mess!

16/02/2013 - June and I had a fantastic trip to India in January, the first time that we'd seen any of the vast country outside of Goa. A big thank you to Richard and Sarah for their great company - I hope they had as good a time as we did! The only downside for me was picking up a heavy cough and cold which took almost two weeks to shift. Life is just about back to normal now (and I'm on nights this week!) so we'll have to start planning where to go on our next trip! I've uploaded a trip report as well as putting some of the Indian railway photo's onto my Flickr site and some of the tourist photos will follow when I've got a bit of spare time. Not that I really need to say but the index page photo is a shot of the Taj Mahal, taken during our visit to Agra.

15/01/2013 - Another one bites the dust? News has filtered through that Molsen Coors have bought the Franciscan Well microbrewery in Cork. They're alledgedly going to keep the original brewpub going but also build a new (bigger) brewery nearby to allow an increase in production from 2,000HL to 75,000HL - I think that they've still got a way to go before they fully grasp the concept of craft brewing....

12/01/2013 - Well the new year got off to an interesting start for me at work, three trips to Wolves and Bescot within a week after hardly going there at all last year followed by a nice comfy ride to Shotton on Saturday with 60017. The return journey didn't go according to plan though as I had an unexpected two hour break on Cefn Viaduct courtesy of a divided train - my first in twenty years of driving but at least I had an interesting view!

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