Monday, 31 December 2018

Christmas Reading (3)

From Thirty Years Ago
This present from Mrs fbb was purchased from Seaton's splendid second-hand bookshop ...
... and was a Christmas Day surprise.In fact the book was first published in 1972 (1975 shown here) ...
... but this 1988 edition involved some significant updates and re-writes. The most recent edition shown on-line is from 1998.
It classes itself as the Railway Modellers' Bible.

It is certainly very thorough beginning with what would seem to be an unnecessary question.
It then goes on to talk about where to build your layout, what sort of layout you might want and how to construct the baseboards. This is all good basic stuff but perhaps most entrants to thee hobby will have been attracted by a magazine or someone else's layout so they will have a good idea of where they want to start.

But the good advice is still worth considering, even if it is 30 years old. Like ...
... keep your pointwork away from baseboard joints, especially if you need to dismantle the various sections. Getting the bits to join will be an absolute pig - straight track is bad enough! This became painfully obvious on a club layout which fbb was working on. Pointwork joins NEVER worked properly when the layout was being re-mantled.

But, all this shows that you could start a lifetime of railway modelling using a book published in 1988.

What has changed in the thirty years is the quality of the illustrations. This is the pre-1988 "loft layout" in the permanent Peco exhibition at Beer.
This is a not very good quality clip from a video from recent times.
Some might argue that the quality of the layouts has improved noticeably. Partly, of course, that is due to the steady improvement in detail and manufacture of proprietary models.

fbb guesses that today's modelling team at Peco would want better than the modified Airfix footbridge in the 1988 illustration!
An entertaining read from not quite so way back nevertheless. As Mrs fbb suggested when proffering the gift, there may, indeed, be tips and ideas which the old man can adapt and adopt for his less than expert back yard model!

Not that he will need it on his "end to end" layout, but it is good that your elderly bodger can look up how to wire reversing loops.
A railway modeller should always keep a spare D P D T switch or two in his bits and bobs box! fbb has four.

Bus Spotting Department
Travelling back to Abergynolwyn from a village near Llanbrynmair (lower right) ...
... via Machynlleth and Corris ...
... the fbbs found themselves behind a T4, the latest of the Traws Cymru manifestations.
The journey was the 1645 from Aberystwyth. Mrs fbb attempted a picture but was unable to switch off he flash, hence poor quality.
The bus seemed empty! nopasengers boarded or alighted between Machynlleth and thee turn-off for Abergynolwyn.
Today the fbbs return from Abergynolwyn to Seaton (hence brief blog) in good time for the traditional Hogmanay celebrations. 
There might just be a "wee dram" before retiring to bed (probably at about 2130!) There was a suggestion that Mrs fbb (a Scottish girril) should blacken her face with soot and rush next door with a lump of coal but, on further consideration, beddybyes seems much more attractive.
This year's advent calendar began with a review of the nonsensical flummery that time has created with the Father Christmas, Santa Claus and Kris Kringle fantasies. But an even dafter nonsense is to realise how fabricated the "Santa" character is - and how recently that fabrication took place.

The urban myth that it was all down to Coca Cola is twaddle. We need to go to a Professor of Oriental and Greek Literature, Divinity and Biblical Exegesis and a highly successful American Political Cartoonist.

The former was Clement Clark Moore ...
... and the latter, Thomas Nast.
Moore wrote a poem (Anonymously for fear of ridicule in the halls of academe) called "A Visit from Saint Nicholas".
It is better known as "'Twas  the Night before Christmas". In it he describes the arrival of the goodly saint with reindeer, the chimney descent, the bag of presents and the character of the rubicund hero of the story.

Thomas Nast drew the pictures ...
... which accurately reproduce Moore's "traditional" description.
Ho ho ho!

But two lines may surprise our reader.
Saint Nick was AN ELF! And illustrated as such. 
Accompanied by miniature reindeer and miniature sleigh, his elfin stature clearly helped overcome the typical "When Santa Got Stuck In The Chimney" type of problem.
the poem was first published in 1823 making the whole Santa jollity less than 200 years old.

The real CHRISTmas story is a tad older, at 2023 years approx. The events were probably collated in about 40AD and included in Matthew's and Luke's Gospels about 30 years later. There is no record of anyone challenging their authenticity at the time of writing.

Get the story right and the revealed truth of the Reason for the Season is far more important than a fictional jolly Elf! It all came upon a midnight clear:-

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendours fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.
 New Year's Day Quiz : Tuesday 1st January 


  1. I hope it wasn't a T4 - that's Cardiff-Brecon-Llandrindod-Newtown!
    If it was following the published timetable, that's a T2 - unless it was a T12 from Machynlleth to Oswestry, but don't look on the TrawsCymru website, because it's not there!!

    1. In any case, its emptiness won't have affected the revenue stream as Trawscymru buses are free (to all) at weekends.

  2. Just to say thank you for the blog throughout 2018. Long may it continue - in both style and substance.

    1. The style and substance are somewhat at odds with the biblical quotes.

      "Do as I say, not as I do".

  3. Heat hear. Look forward to my daily read of FBB’s blog. Keep it up Peter! Happy New Year to you.