All photos in this Blogspot and those accessed in Google Images via the links in each report are my Copyright and may be saved for personal use only. They may not be republished elsewhere without the written permission of the Copyright holder.

Hello and welcome to my twice reinstated and updated photo reports of visits to narrow gauge model railway layouts and events! Following the sudden and untimely cessation of Fotopic in March 2011 and with it the loss of my photo galleries, I started this blog in order to try to keep my "Roving Reports" available to those who enjoy viewing them. I have linked this blogsite to the old galleries which I originally rebuilt and posted in albums in Picasaweb. Once all the old reports had been rebuilt, I have continued to add completely new ones to cover my visits to events from April 2011 onwards.

In August 2016 Google blocked access to Picasaweb in order to force everyone to use their "much better" Google Images, so I had to do the whole exercise again. Thanks! .

Meanwhile......Because of the way this Blogspot works, the most recent postings appear first and the oldest ones last. Each report contains a link to the Google photo album plus captions for that report. The link will take you to the front page of the Google Album for this report. Left click on the first photo and it will open into a manually operated slideshow. A panel should open alongside the image on the right showing the number of the photo and the caption text. If it does not appear, click on the small white disk top right of the photo panel and it will open. Move forward or backwards by clicking the right or left arrows on your keyboard. When you have finished viewing, click the back arrow showing top left of the photo panel and this will take you back to the album opening page.

Close it in the normal way by clicking on the "X" top right or click the return arrow top left of the Windows screen to return to the blog, depending on which browser you use. Once back in the blog, any report can be accessed sequentially from the blog by scrolling downwards and if required, click on the "older posts" link at the bottom of the list, or simply go to the Blog Archive on the right of the window and select any report by simply clicking on the title.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

24 September 2016, Small & Delightful Group Open day, Compton Dundon

Most narrow gauge modellers are familiar with Narrow Gauge South West, the annual show in Shepton Mallet that kicks the winter blues away every February and in many people’s opinions, is the best annual show of them all. Not a lot of people however are very familiar with the small but dedicated band of mainly North Somerset based modellers called the Small & Delightful Railway Group who have organised NGSW for many years. Every 2 years they get together and have their own opportunity to play trains and generally enjoy themselves with an open day held at the village hall in Compton Dundon, a few miles south of Street. 16 layouts (hey, that’s one more than they have at ExpoNG this year!), a good venue, lots of informal friendly fellowship and some outstanding refreshments from the ladies of the Glastonbury Lions. Some may not be aware yet that next year (2017) will be the last NG South West, but I’ve been assured that the S&D Group will carry on and will still be holding their super open day every other year – 2018 in the diary already!

When you click the link above, you will be taken to the album in Google Images, and will see the title plus small versions of the images. Click on the first image and it will open. If you cannot see a caption to the right of the image, click the "i" button which is on the line of symbols above the image. This will open the caption window, which will stay open through the album as you view the images by clicking the right arrow on the lower right of your keyboard, between the ctrl key of the main keyset and the number keys.

Sunday 11 September 2016

13 August 2016, Narrow Gauge Midlands, Water Orton

On the road again, this time to a small community hall in Water Orton, in the eastern outskirts of Birmingham, just off the M42/M6 junction and a few miles north of the NEC. The reason? Simple really, it was time again for the biennial 009 Society West Midlands Group open day, otherwise known as Narrow Gauge Midlands and an event not to be missed if you can possibly help it, as around 150 other like-minded enthusiasts attested as I joined “the gang” for another warm and friendly day amongst top quality people and models, refreshed by the customary 5 star service from the renowned Webb Family and friends Catering Corps who raised £270 during the day for the Woodland Trust. The West Midlands Group are an active and enthusiastic group of narrow gauge modellers who always provide a good presentation at the many events in the that they provide a presence and 009 Society publicity. Great to see them on home territory with their own and invited friends layouts.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the first album I have created using Google Images, which the nice people at Google have decided to replace the perfectly serviceable and user friendly Picasa Web Albums with, as apparently this is the way forward. To say it was not very easy is an understatement. Uploading the album was very straightforward, trouble is that no matter how I tried, the photos would not upload in the order that I wanted them to, so in the end, I was reduced to manually re-ordering each one of the 101 photos in this album! Swear box filled up rapidly and it took ages. Got there in the end, but then had to add the captions! In Picasa Web, there is/was a facility to add captions to the album and you simply copy and paste each caption from a Word document against each photo number that comes up in this facility. With Google Images, I had to open each photo and insert the caption, then move to the next photo and do it again and so on. It seems that the choices are to persevere with albums and order the photos in this way, or to upload each  photo to a new album individually which I will probably try for the next one.

Anyway, that's my excuse for the longer than desired delay for this album.

Navigating the album: When you "click to view" you will/should be taken to the album which will start off with the opening text, same as the one in this blog entry, then you will see the thumbnails of the photos. Start with the first one by left-clicking it and it should open up with the caption showing in a pane to the right of the photo. If it is not there, then click on the little "i" button top right and this will open the info pane. To move to the next photo, simply press the right arrow key on your keyboard, the one between the letters and the number pad to the right of the space and right hand ctrl etc keys!

I hope you find the album satisfactory and the navigation works as described above.

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Here’s One That Nearly Got Away! 009 Society Sales Open Day at Brian Guilmant’s 31 July 2010

Whilst searching for something or other in a rarely visited corner of my document e-folders I came across a small set of photos recording an ambitious “sales open day” that the then 009 Society Sales Officer (retired April 2016 but elected as Chairman same day!) had organised at his own home in Colehill, Dorset. I believe the domestic authorities were assured that this would just mean opening the garage up where the sales stock was kept “for anyone who wished to visit”. In reality of course it resulted in nearly every ground floor room in the house being full of sales stock and bargain hunters, visitors with layouts and models and as ever, a great time was had by all! I even think that Brian was forgiven by “management” for the invasion of his home!

This little report also provides a good excuse to test the new “after Picasaweb” means of linking albums to the blog.

Well we nearly got there, but not quite! 

The new link I have put in should take you to the album that is now in Google Photos, however there is no "front page" and at first sight no captions or photos number. But if you click the "i" button this will drop down to show both the number and the caption eg "001 waffle waffle". When I tried it, I maximised the window, kept the drop down box open and scrolled to the next photo or the previous one by pressing the right or left arrow on the bottom right of the keyboard where there are 4 arrows, (not the ones in the numerical keypad). Worked for me.

Still trying to find a better solution.

Friday 5 August 2016

25 June 2016, Oxfordshire NG Railway Modellers Open Day, Steventon

The third open day held by the Oxfordshire Narrow Gauge Railway Modellers was again held in the excellent village hall at Steventon, not very far from Wantage, which light railway enthusiasts will be very familiar with and Didcot, where those who have a weakness for the Great Western (Heresy) Railway feel very much at home. Despite a couple of late cancellations of layouts there was still a very good selection of layouts present, specialist traders and of course splendid refreshments, but as they used to say in the Olde Tyme Music Hall – Chiefly, Yourselves! All the right buttons pressed by the organising team and another very friendly, informal and enjoyable day out as a result! As I’ve often remarked before, if you haven’t yet been to one of these village hall specialist narrow gauge modelling group open days then you really must, they are the very essence of the hobby.

07 August 2016, Picasaweb RIP

"IF IT AIN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT" I thought EVERYBODY was familiar with this philosophy (well, Microsoft excepted perhaps) but...................

Thanks Google! Due to some imbecilic decisions made within the Google Ivory Towers, I discovered on 6 August, AFTER I had spent hours preparing and uploading my delayed report on the Oxfordshire NG Modellers open day event at Steventon, that although Google had put out notices a while ago that they were going to stop supporting Picasaweb, they arbitrarily and without definite notice, pulled the plugs and blocked access to Picasaweb at around 1800 Hours on Friday 6 August - sods law perhaps in that I uploaded my newest report at around 1730 and as is normal, I had done the insertion of the captions etc online, checked as far as possible for errors and only then did I attempt to go "public" to allow unrestricted viewing to discover that all access had been blocked.


I have been trying to find a workaround for this but I'm afraid that the apparently all singing and dancing Google Images replacement is just not the same as Picasaweb and many of the features that I have been building in to provide easy access for those who like to visit my photo albums have been removed from the "improved" new service.

As at least a temporary fix I think I have found a way to maintain public viewing on the existing blog postings (there are around 100 albums here with up to 200 or so photos in some of them) via the link in the blog that will take you to the Google Archive where they have put all my Picasaweb albums. 

This means that if you press the "Click Here to View the Photo Album for this Report" link you will now be taken to a Google Archive which shows decent sized thumbnails for the images in the album. Click any of these and they will open up and show forward and back arrows to navigate through the album.

There are captions in a very small font size below the photo, but only two lines of text will show. If I have made a longer caption you can access the full caption, or any of them in a more readable format by clicking on the "i" button top right which will open a drop down box with the caption on it. You have to close this box to be able to move on to the next image.

When you have finished viewing, click the left arrow top left of the pane and this will take you back to the album title page with all the thumbnails. Click on the back arrow top left on the menu bar and this will take you back to the blogsite.

I have now updated the links on all 100 or so of the photo reports in this blog, so you should be able to access any of them as previously.

I have now found out how to edit captions but have not yet figured out how to create a new blog posting and link it to an album of photo images now that Picasaweb has gone. The acid test for this will be when it is time to produce my next report!

Please bear with me on this whilst I seek solutions and also please join me in cursing the CRETIN who dreamed up this "improvement to the Google service"


Amended and toned down from the original rant, 8 August 2016.

Saturday 30 July 2016

15 May 2016, Beds & Bucks NG Modellers Members Open Day, Barton Le Clay

Doesn’t time fly! It seems like only last week that I attended the first Beds & Bucks Group members day, a very small event compared to what it has now grown to and already I find myself reporting the 11th of these annual Sunday junkets in a splendid large village hall just a few miles to the north of Luton! Once again, Mark and Terri Howe laid on a feast of trains (Mark’s dept) and refreshments (Terri’s dept) which was attended by around 200+ NG modelling enthusiasts who came from all points of the compass around the country to take part in or simply to enjoy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this event is way up amongst the very best one day events of the type and really should be in everyone’s diary as a “priority, not to be missed” if it is at all possible and practicable to get there


Wednesday 13 July 2016

09 April 2016, Narrow Gauge South, Sparsholt College, Winchester

PART 1: “The best NG show I’ve been to” – not my words but something I read on one of the internet forums and a very worthy compliment indeed to Tim Couling, exhibition manager/organiser for this 13th biennial NGS at Sparsholt College near Winchester, Alan Rolfe, retiring exhibition manager who worked tirelessly in support and all the members of the Wessex NG Modellers who played a part in laying on another fantastic selection of all that is best in NG modelling for a “grand day out” amongst like minded friends and visitors. Those who like to keep count would have spotted no less than 29 narrow gauge layouts amongst the 51 stands present, which included most of the specialist traders for this end of the hobby and a number of societies, including full participation from both the 009 Society and the 7mm NG Association publicity and sales operations. Oh yes, there was the 009 Society AGM as well!

PART 2: Still only around half way through our tour of the diverse selection of entertaining layouts that Exhibition Manager Tim Couling had invited from near and far and, just as I reported for the 2014 event, what with an hour and a half being taken out of the day for the 009 Society AGM, along with many others who attended, I found it quite a challenge to get round everything allowing sufficient time to enjoy all that I saw and indeed, include a photo record of everything. I did very nearly miss a couple of layouts but, I am as confident as I can be that I did at least get a glimpse, even if only literally a couple of photos in some cases, of every layout that attended. Please don’t send hatemail if you discover that I didn’t, as I can’t turn the clock back and do it all again!

I hope you have enjoyed this extended album where I have tried to provide something of the flavour of this large biennial narrow gauge model show. My next report will be from the annual Beds & Bucks Narrow Gauge Modellers Group open day at Barton Le Clay on 15 May 2016. 

Saturday 16 April 2016

20 February 2016, Narrow Gauge South West, Shepton Mallet

Having had to abandon hopes of getting to Shepton Mallet in 2015 due to family health matters, I was determined to make it this year, particularly as the usual exhibition manager, Howard Martin, has been very ill and at the time of the show, was in the VSI ward in Plymouth awaiting a liver transplant, so it was very much a “call to arms” to support the hard working Small & Delightful Group team who had picked up the exhibition folder from Howard, sent it off to the “spooks” at Cheltenham for decrypting and then burned a lot of midnight oil in ensuring that Howard’s tradition of laying on what many consider to be the best annual NG modelling event in the country took place. And I am very pleased to say that they did this superbly! Once again it was a fantastic, friendly and inspiring day and everybody that I spoke to thought the same. Get well soon Howard!

Friday 12 February 2016

09 January 2016, SWOONS Members Open Day – Ilton, Somerset

Another new year, wet and soggy in Somerset again, but that is not enough to deter the faithful and for the 10th annual South West 009 Society (SWOONS) members open day in Ilton, between Yeovil and Taunton in Somerset, over 100 narrow gauge modelling enthusiasts, about twice the previous year’s attendance came from all points of the compass, some travelling considerable distances, to once again enjoy a splendid, informal, friendly and relaxed day out amongst like minded people. Matthew and Maria Cicquel as usual brought their famous pasties from their Devon Railway Centre as well as lots of other culinary goodies, and of course the 009 Society and the regular trading attenders of CWR and Jurassic Models provided railway goodies for all depths of wallet. Another splendid start to the narrow gauge modelling year and as I say every time: if you could have gone but didn’t, kick yourself now!

Sunday 24 January 2016

05 January 2016, A Visit To The Burnbake and Woodyhyde Railway

It’s quite a while since I had a chance to visit a layout “at home”, so I jumped at the opportunity to accept an invitation to visit David Collins at his home near Creech, to the south of Wareham in Dorset, to take a set of photos to supplement an article that he had prepared on his layout for the 009 Society journal, 009 News. David’s home is in “clay country” in the Purbecks and the trackbed of the old Furzebrook Tramway is all of 10 yards away from the house on the other side of the garden fence, so no surprise that David’s layout theme has been a clay mining operation. This is no “NG mainline” with hundreds of locomotives. “ Less Is More” is the watchword with a locomotive roster of just 2 steam engines and one tiny IC PW dept trolley. Has this been successful? I think so!