Monday, July 09, 2007

Advice for Blogging Model Railroaders

Ran across this list of The 20 Blogging Commandments. They're all good and/or humorous advice, but the last one caught my eye (emphasis mine):
20. Though it is a Place only whispered about, it is not Blasphemy to proclaim unto you: from Time to Time it is necessary to enter that Purgatory known as Off-line. Just as ye would not remain in the Basement and play with your Choo-choo Trains for Weeks on end, so too must ye leave your Laptop closed and venture forth into the wider World in search of Sustenance.
That phrase in bold puzzled me: I mean, wouldn't we stay in the basement with our trains for weeks, if we could? (Like, having to earn a living is such a drag, no?) But practical considerations aside, what should any self-respecting model railroader do except play with trains, and occasionally tell the blogosphere about the latest project or ops session?

Then my eye fell on that last word, "Sustenance", and I understood. It means that we should at intervals emerge to attend events like the OVAR dinner meetings, or go out to lunch with the SLD guys in between the morning clinics and afternoon layout tours.

Now it all makes sense.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm Only Half As Old As This Steam Engine!

I turned 50 a few weeks ago. To celebrate, la famille Watson (Steve, Seanna, Trevyn, Nic) took a ride on the Hull, Chelsea & Wakefield Sunset Dinner Train. Old 909 turns 100 this year, making her twice as old as me -- so if she can keep chugging, so can I!

It was raining when we pulled out of the HCW depot, but it cleared up and the sun came out by the time we passed Chelsea. Here I am, enjoying myself: I'm on a train, I'm about to be treated to a great meal and a glass of wine -- does life get any better?

OK: so what's the deal with these Tonka toys? They've been sitting on this track vehicle, on a siding somewhere around Farm Point, for at least five years (my last trip on the steam train), probably longer.

After about 90 minutes we reach Wakefield, where the locomotive is turned, watered and a bit of grease applied to important bits of the drivers. The guy in the snazzy hat at right is OVAR member Michel Boucher, at his summer job as HCW conductor.

See it all, in glorious video that's been compressed to fuzzy crap by YouTube (The original is much better. Really):

The glow of the fire, under the cab:
Sort of like a big birthday candle for me to celebrate having spent a half-century on this planet.

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