Lights, Spanners, Cameraphone, Mug of Tea, Action… Part 2

And now, the Senior Spanner Monkey Speaks…


Turned up at Strawberry in a blaze of sunshine. It’s nice to see the Sun (I’m a frustrated Michael Fish), and proceeded to adhere to Section 4 Sub Section 6 but unfortunately found myself unable to carry out the instruction fully as there was NO MILK. That’s not strictly true, there was milk but it had turned into a rather strange looking cheese that I’m sure anyone would eat. I have an idea; lets cultivate it, sell it to the French, make lots of money and add the profits to the JustGiving site (details below):

Any opportunity to plug the fund!!

Back to the job in hand! Emergency text sent to Potter “GET MILK” as the job will fall to pieces without tea. “RIGHTO GUV” came the reply. Phew. I’ve just got to stare at the kettle until he arrives. Finally the door bangs open and he trips over my parched tongue as he walks into the kitchen. It was like the relief of MAFIKIN. He had also bought choccy biscuits and managed to get out of the shop and all the way to the depot without eating one. You’ve got to admire his willpower.

Tea was consumed and the pack of biscuits were eaten (including the wrapper) by Potter (he was hungry) and into the shed we wander. Tonight we were going live on Twitter and Facebook and actually showing the people who have supported us, and the people who might want to, where their money is going. Tim Dunn from BBC Trainspotting Live was coming and all the available support crew were on site tonight to show the world the delights of 3rd rail traction restoration in real time.

Tim Arrived and started to go through the order of play with Potter (already famous for playing the new Teletubby “Driver-Wiver”). We decided he should get the speaking part as interviewing fitters is not a good idea. The public don’t understand Fitter Speak (“ugg”, “err” or “5/16 spanner”) and they don’t appreciate the sound of knuckles being scraped as the 5/16 spanner slips and a stream of expletives from said Fitter. It’s best that we are confined to The Pit, out of the way.

So while Potter put on his make up (it was handy he brought his personal make up bag) the support crew went about their business doing the real work.

Daz started on refitting the damaged Country-end speedo cable which he had kindly repaired at home. What a fantastic job he has done – nice one Daz. I started on the sheared bolts on the external door handles. It’s not my favourite job but, well, its got to be done. Oz and Trousers carried on with the country-end driving cab refurbishment.

Daz reported back that the cable was fitted, but the securing cleat bolts don’t fit (we’ll need to get some new ones) and that the seal for the wheelwear compensator is not in a good state and will need some work to keep the water out. So the Saga of the Dodgy Speedo continues. It’s longer than War and Peace but as with everything we’re doing its got to be right.

Trousers was busy ripping out pieces of rotten wood from the cab. I think he wishes he hadn’t started it, but his efforts are paying off because its starting to look like a cab that large drivers can drink tea in again.

I on the other hand had finished replacing 5 sheared bolts on the door handles. It’s a hateful job, drilling and retapping the threads but it does mean that 5 open defect sheets can be closed.

While this real work was happening, Potter was still busy with Tim talking about dead moths to strangers on the Internet. Potter is a strange lad and he needs to get out more, I think. Mostly at night, though, so he doesn’t frighten small children and dogs. Now I think about it, that’s probably why we did this at after dark…

Next on the list was for Daz and I to fit new body to bogie brake pipes. These are brand new 3200 psi ones; a much higher spec than the pipes originally fitted to the unit when they are in service. They should last a while! So that’s another tick in the box and, apart from a brake test to check for leaks, another work sheet closed down.

By this time Potter had a sore throat. The boy can talk for England and the three viewers we did have had got fed up and decided that there must be something else to watch on a Monday night, like the Test Card or drying paint.

So we all decided we had had a successful night. Potter had talked to the world. The world had been nice enough not to immediately yell “Sod Off, Potter” and I was impressed how much we had completed for such a short visit. So we shut up shop, said goodnight to Tim and headed for home for a nice cold beer and a sit down.