My New Career



Well, a year ago I could never have guessed what I’d be doing today.

Last year I was still bumping along the bottom from a very tough period where my semi-retirement post police didn’t quite go to plan.

Another unexpected and very large expense, coupled with the need to repair the exterior coating of the gable end, which my insurers (Nationwide, as it happens) washed their hands of, meant I was pretty much skint and had to dispose of a lot of models I’d rather have kept.

Now, whilst my little job, doing deliveries on the Solway Plain was enjoyable and was exactly the right thing for me after the police, the pay was poor and there was little chance at that point of more hours so it became evident I was going to need to look for other work. By chance I mentioned this to my neighbours who both drive buses. It turns out that the local operator was looking for more drivers so after briefly mulling it over, I got an application form and gave it a shot.

Some months later, having passed all the selection, medical and background checks, I got a start and after two gruelling initial weeks I’d passed both the theory and practical PCV tests.

So, having passed the bus test, I then embarked upon learning how to actually be a bus driver! After a few initial weeks route learning under the wing of a mentor who initially shared the driving but gradually receded into the background as my skills and confidence developed, I now find myself driving independently and four weeks into that, it’s all becoming second nature.

The first four hours of my first shift were pretty tough as I had a few adverse situations with equipment and traffic conditions to contend with. It was a real baptism of fire and having had all that thrown at me in short order has made me pretty much ready for anything since!

I suppose it’s early days yet but my feelings about this job are far more positive at this stage than anything I’ve previously done. It certainly isn’t a physically hard job but it requires a degree of concentration and multi-tasking that takes some time to come together and makes you quite tired  mentally by the end of the day.

The shifts are quite odd and you can do a whole run of shifts with different start times on each but I’m pretty much taken these in my stride which was a pleasant surprise. There are no night shifts which I believe is the significant difference from my previous career and which I believe caused damage to my physical and mental health. True, there are some early starts; the earliest on my roster is 05:50, but the latest you’re generally done is midnight so that’s all within a range I feel comfortable with.

I have found as I settle into the job and the routine normalises, I’m less tired than in the early days where your brain is continually being crammed with new knowledge every day and headspace and energy are once again free for creative activities.

I’m surprised that I’ve taken to the role so well and it appears that every job I’ve done over the past 37 years has contributed an element to the overall skillset that bus driving requires from roadcraft and dealing with the public to a sense of local geographical awareness and cash handling/arithmetic skills. It’s like I’ve sent my entire life in training for this job!

Not bad for a guy who failed his O level arithmetic back in the day when many bus companies still ran Miners’ special services and Trident was a nice looking airliner!

I really am enjoying this new role and though there are occasional frustrations like losing time due to traffic congestion and the odd grumpy customer it’s (here at least) far from a stressful job, particularly in comparison with life in the police and it doesn’t really feel like work. You leave the job parked up with the bus in the depot at night and there’s none of the ‘Sunday Night Doom’ that used to dog me back in the old days.

Yes indeed, this feels like just the right job at just the right time and I’m well happy with it. 😊

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Radio Silence



Well, I’m very aware that this blog has been awfully quiet of late.

Conversely, life has been anything but quiet as you’ll learn.

It’s probably going to be better to get you up to speed over a few posts so this one is basically a notification of further to come.

One thing there is a bit less of as a result of the biggest change is time but I will put stuff out there as frequently as I can. Those of you who follow the blog have been patient and deserve some reward.

The scope will be a bit wider than just the modelling now, such are the (ahem) interesting times we live in but I will always endeavour to deliver an interesting read.

Cheers for now, back soon!


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Colonialism is a Crime

Yes, politics I know folks but this is very, very important.
Some modelling will be back soon; I’m very busy decorating before I return to full-time work.
More later!

Grouse Beater

703Molto grazie! An Italian newspaper devotes its front page to Scotland as “Europe’s Hope”

  • International law does not recognise the construct “Once in a generation”.
  • The British government, represented by their prime Minister Theresa May, her lickspittle lackey David Mundell, only Tory MP in Scotland, and Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish wing, tried to frustrate the mandate of the people of Scotland.
  • Having rejected proposals from the Scottish Government for Scotland to remain in the single market, refused joint negotiations with Brussels – Scotland supposedly in a ‘Union’ with England – Scotland is now told to take a hike.
  • There is a name for ruling over people while preventing them from being part of the political process that governs their lives. It’s called colonialism.
  • In international law, it is a crime against humanity.
  • Describing a constitutional debate as “divisive” – the most recent propaganda ploy to silence the debate – has…

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Painful progress


This week, having received some bits that were holding the job up, I have moved the Austerity up the works line a bit. The motor/gearbox combo has been completed as has the main body of the chassis. Both have been offered up to each other successfully though testing awaits.

I can’t honestly say I enjoyed fitting the Gibson wheels as there’s a bit much chassis between the two wheels, making it very difficult to visually quarter them accurately. There was the added complication of the footplate supports which added a voodoo doll-type layer of fun to the procedure…

I’ll tackle the rods over the weekend and then have a good laugh at the appalling galactof*** that passes for quartering in this effort.

Still, it’s progress and the model is getting close to an operational state; it looks like despite the flywheel, the motor will go comfortably into the boiler and even the mahoosive tank weight will sit clear of the motor with relatively minor modification.


Lastly, I’ll be paying a little attention to these pre-group wagons which have been hanging about the desk and really could use being finished.

The van is a Highland Railway Jones 8 tonner from a resin kit marketed by the Highland Railway Society. I’ll probably need a little bit of light relaxation once the Austerity is a runner!



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Sunday Ice Breaker

Dolly Parton’s bus…


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Good news from far away.

img_6809Having spent my earliest years by the Clyde within a stone’s throw of both the docks and shipyards of Govan, Scotland’s maritime heritage is something close to my heart. I was pleased then to hear of progress with attempts to rescue the sailing vessel Falls of Clyde from Hawaii with the intent of bringing her home to her birthplace. What a guid companion she’ll make to the Queen Mary who only came home herself last year from exile on the Thames.

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Have you ever smashed a model?

Oooh, yesss! 😂😂😂


I mean really trashed it.

And not to recreate a prototype photo or to model an effect. Have you ever been soooo FRUSTRATED that something wasn’t working out the way that you wanted it to, that you just said ‘F*%K-IT‘ and smash…you destroyed it?I admit it,I have.

If by some super-human feat of self-control you have not, I bet you’ve been close and wanted to.

But here’s the thing. I don’t feel that way anymore. And I have the hobby of model railroading, in part, to thank for that.

This is a hobby for patient people.I’ve learned that projectscan’t be rushed, steps need to be followed in logical and methodical, well thought out order, or mistakes happen. First fill, then wait, then sand and wait, then prime and let dry, then paint one thin coat and let dry,then repeat…dear God can’t I get this done TONIGHT?And when I…

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