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.

Thursday 24 August 2023

Wiltshire Group 009 Society, 19th Biennial Members Day, Pewsey, 05 August 2023

August again, and it’s an odd numbered year, so it is time for the bi-ennial Wiltshire Group members and friends day at the Bouverie Hall in the Wiltshire village of Pewsey, which conveniently happens to be the home of the famous Marshall’s Bakery and their “extra sticky” lardy cake. So a healthy low-sugar diet for the weeks leading up to the 5th of August, satnav set to “100 miles East” along the M4 from my own direction and a couple of hours after leaving home early on the Saturday morning, safe arrival at the venue at around 9am, where it was already buzzing with activity as layouts and stands are set up, re-unions take place and the water boiler is already on its 2nd refill in the kitchen.

Bouverie Hall is quite a compact venue, but Andy Cundick and his fellow members from the Wiltshire 009 Society Group managed to fit in no less than 18 exhibitors, a couple with multiple small layouts, plus demonstrations and trade as well as a seating area for tea, coffee, committee meetings and lardy cake consumption. It was yet another great day out overall, tinged with poignancy at times in recognition of Group stalwart, the late Angus Watkins, sadly no longer with us.

This report has brought me up to date with a very long list of delayed ones that have existed one way or another for some time now. I do hope that all this effort to catch up has been worth it for the reduced number of loyal supporters that have been patient and “stayed the course” I very much appreciate the encouragement I have been given to carry on over several periods when different circumstances rather clipped my wings and my motivation. Decks now clear and ready for the really big one approaching which will indeed be a challenge – recording the forthcoming 009 Society 50th anniversary weekend event at Statfold Barn 16/17 September 2023. I hope to see lots of us there and if you can’t get there, I hope that you will be able to see my results before 2024 arrives (and departs!)

Best wishes Mick

Tuesday 22 August 2023

East Midlands 009 NG Modellers Group “Narrow Gauge Now”, Portland College, Mansfield 22 July 2023

Just in case you weren’t sure, Narrow Gauge Now means “North of Watford” and don’t complain to me, I didn’t dream it up, although I do think it is quite appropriate, as it has become a large narrow gauge specialist event and it is “north of Watford”!

So, 3 weeks after failing the sanity test and making a 300 mile round trip from home to Surrey, the prospect of a 400+ mile round trip and the cost of petrol etc would have seemed to have decided that having a day out at the Portland College just outside Mansfield was totally out of the question. However…… looking at the event preview and the online show guide (good idea guys – other exhibition managers please follow this example!) listing no less than 24 layouts, a good number of which were new to me, resulted in ignoring common sense, never mind the cost and the mileage, setting the alarm for Saturday morning 22 July to 4 am and off I went into the pre-dawn!

Good time of day to travel actually. Roads are quiet and Tony Blackburn’s Sounds of the 60’s on Radio 2 Saturdays from 0600 to 0800 is much more therapeutic than the moronic garbage that Radio 2 puts out at other times and days nowadays. The only downside was that Birmingham got in the way of a drive from South Wales to Nottinghamshire, but getting round the city and negotiating the M5 & M42 with all its roadworks and lanes “out” before the calmer stretches of the A42 and M1 was survived and I duly arrived to a warm welcome (much appreciated chaps), mug of tea and very well loaded bacon roll! Great stuff, suitably fortified, 24 layouts to get round so without further ado, off we go! By the time I got back home that evening I was truly suffering the effects of a very long day on my feet as well as the drive and it took about 3 days for the aches and pains to wear off – getting well into the 2nd half of the 7th decade of the mortal coil certainly comes with some downsides in the stamina stakes that’s for sure!

Sunday 20 August 2023

02 July 2023, Farnham & District MRC 009 Group Open Day

I hadn’t managed to attend any NG events since the “2 in one day” ones 2 months ago, previously reported in May, and 2 advertised in July that I would have liked to go to, were both outside my self-directed “100 miles or 2 hours each way” limitation. However I put myself up for a sanity test and having failed it, I had another look at Farnham, which had some good pre-publicity and was “only” 150 miles each way and 3½ hours driving including a break stop on the M4. So, I duly submitted myself to a very early Saturday morning getaway and “went for it”. Actually a good stress-free journey until I got within about 15 miles of the destination which then took me almost another hour due to two villages on the route being blocked off for street markets and a cycle race, as well as very poorly signed diversions, none of which were recognised by my ageing and out of date satnav in the car!

Got there in the end however and was immediately “homed in” by the aroma of well stocked bacon butties being prepared, permeating up Greenfield Road from the Wrecclesham Community Centre, home of the Farnham & District MRC! A small hall, with some 10 layouts present and once again, a splendid meeting place to renew acquaintances from mainly the south of the Realm. Was it worth the long journey, the expense of the journey and the very long day as a result? Of course it was! A splendid little show and another great day out! 

Tuesday 15 August 2023

13 May 2023, Merseyside & SW Lancs 009 Group Meeting, Rainford . 2 events in a Day – Part 2

I departed from Longbridge (see the previous Report) and Satnav informed me that it was a 90 minute drive up the rest of the M5 and then the M6 to my next intended stop at Rainford, near St Helens, before I completed my scheduled journey for a non-model railway commitment in Liverpool itself. 11am depart from the Bournville MRC event, should be there in time for lunch then!

Well, nearly 3 hours later after crawling 100 miles along the M6 4 lane stop-start traffic tail-back, I made it to Rainford and made my entry to the Merseyside Group meeting at Corpus Christi church hall.

This is a small hall, but Stan Williams who organises this bi-monthly meeting had managed to round up 8 layouts, a demo stand from Paul Titmuss of the Oldham NGM Group, a local model shop stand offering discounts and around 60 like-minded enthusiasts, with a constant supply of tea from David Hennessey! Having arrived late, I missed out on cake but never mind, it was a great afternoon, good to meet up with old friends and new ones, and enjoy the excellent range of layouts that attended.

Some refer to these meet-ups as NG Stan, others call it Stan’s Tea Party. Whatever it is called, it is certainly a popular Saturday afternoon and I understand that in addition to the occasional long distance guest pop-ins like myself, each meeting is attended by regulars from all over the north and north west as well as North Wales

13 May 2023, Bournville MRC NG & Industrial Exhibition, Longbridge. 2 events in a Day – Part 1

I was headed north to Liverpool from my home in South Wales and, as Longbridge is around half way to the destination and a pit stop was required, I reasoned that an hour in Longbridge compared to half an hour at Frankley Services a few miles further north on the M5, before heading into the giant slow moving car park that is the M6 was basically a no-brainer. It would also have been rude not to pop in anyway as I was passing within 5 miles or so of the venue! So, here are some snaps that I managed to fit in before rushing out into the traffic again, Sorry for the poor quality of most of them.

14 January 2023, Ilton, SWOONS 16th Members Open Day

Around 120 visitors from far and wide, plus another 30 or so, participants, organisers etc agreed that the Merryfield hall, in the small village of Ilton in Somerset, is a great way to start the year, the 009 Soc sales was present with a full table, Matt and Maria’s pasties were as good as ever and certainly from my own perspective, it was another splendidly successful day!

Slightly inaccurate for me of course as I had already started my new year events diary a week before, also in Somerset, as reported in the previous posting at Edington a few miles north west of Ilton, near Taunton, specifically to see Toby Hollins-Jones 5mm gauge 4mm scale miniature railway. So, imagine my surprise when I arrived at Ilton to find both Toby and Peter Hollins present with their 2 layouts that I had travelled 100 miles each way to see just a week before! No matter, good to see them again and add to the photo collection!