Monday 16 January 2023

Monday Variety

At Last, Success

When Mrs fbb succumbed to her hip failure, now happily replaced by Meccano, fbb took on most of the catering at fbb mansions. Sunday roast dinner was a challenge but usually worked. fbb did not do puds, by the way!

But, try as he might, he couldn't get his roast potatoes right.

Yesterday was his first success after a year of sporadic but fevered attempts. Yesterday's spuds were good'n'crunchy on the outside an soft and fluffy within!

Replete and in self congratulatory mode, it was then time to get back to the even more important task of today's blog.

Fettling Procedure With Flower Pots!
The fettling-up of the garish toy shunter branded "Hornby Railways' on a stuck-on label (so a really cheap and grotty loco) ..
... is proceeding apace. It is now blue (like fbb's existing Type 6) with a black chassis (vice light blue) and has gained a name plate. One of the leading lights of the Peterville Quarry Railway is a Mr John Walker, a retired engineer who oversees most of the "heavy" work on the "preserved" locos.

So it was fitting that "his" shunter should be named ...
... after its skilled up-fettler. It has gained a handrail (over scale but acceptable for a shaky handed old bloke) and, on top of the bonnet ...
... in the hole provided ...
... a two-tone "HO flowerpot" horn.


It will be painted, as will the radiator grille.

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men ...
It is possible that you have never heard of Sid Cooper ...
... but you will certainly recognise his work and you can read all about it via the above web site.

For reasons which fbb does not fully understand, a batch of Sid Cooper pictures arrived in fbb's in-box via Pinterest. Like many on-line sites, Pinterest seems to know exactly what fbb is interested in and thinking about by the minute. So batches of pictures arrive with headings like, "fbb, these ideas are so you,"  and "fbb you have a good eye".

Pass the sick bucket.

The "good eye" remark is somewhere ironic as fbb currently has two very un-good eyes. One has never been used (but works) since he had a less than successful squint operation aged 6; and the other is suffering from Macular Degeneration and undergoing eye-stabbing treatment.

But, to encourage his blog readers to get to know Mr Cooper's extensive oeuvre, and to exercise his leedle grey cells, fbb decided to try to identify some of the artists' thumbnails.
Yes, very funny fbb - NOT!

Some are very easy.
This bus shows Halifax on the blind so even fbb on a bad day can guess who the operator is. But what about the bus behind?

Answer at the end of this blog.

This one was a teaser for a while.
The posters were for Dorset destination which gave the old man a clue.

Yes, well done all. It is Charlies Cars of Bournemouth, a company that was swallowed up by what became the National Bus Company. This gorgeous beauty ...
... is preserved, A contributor on-line writes:-

In my early days of working in Southampton, I worked with a fellow whose Secondary School days had been spent in Christchurch, then in Hampshire. He commented several times about the firm ‘Charlie’s Cars’, saying that one of his teachers was something of a snob who refused to use the registered name. He always called it ‘Charles’s Cars’. LJ 9501 is an Albion Valiant PV70 (Jenkinson, 1978) or SpPV70 (PSVC 2012), new in 1934, but given this Harrington C32F body in 1947. She spent several years under restoration at Cobham, but we see her taking part in the Harrington Gathering at Amberley on 3 June 2012.
Dig the crazy dorsal fin!

Does Mr Cooper's painting show a different vehicle OR LJ 9501 in its pre 1947 guise?

The name "Charlies Cars" re-appeared post deregulation in Bournemouth.
The operation was very smartly presented ...
Its services spread from Poole in the west ...
... via Bournemouth to Christchurch in the east.
It didn't last, but all credit to a youthful Mr James Freeman who was its manager! The coach service from Bournemouth to Southampton, branded Town Tracker and presented in the orange livery of associated company Shamrock and Rambler ...
... seen creating confusion at the main bus stop in Totton, just outside Southampton, soon disappeared.

Solent Blue Line "Express", fbb ponders, was the X1 and X2 from Southampton to Bournemouth. If a snail on a bad day could be called 'nippy", then the X1 and X2 could be called "Express".

Also, in passing, a reminder that Southern Vectis and Badgerline (Badger Vectis) ...
... didn't last either in their attempt to "compete" profitably in Poole etc.

Now pretty much everything from "greater" Bournemouth to "greater" Southampton is now in the hands of GoAhead companies. How long will Portsmouth last, currently an enclave  of First Bus bordering Stagecoach and, on the Isle of Wight, GoAhead (Southern Vectis) yet again?

It's All On Line
But shouldn't be.
Publicity for the ten minute frequency operated when First Bus (City Reds) started an operation to Totton and Calmore in competition with Blue Star.
Currently the 1 is every 30 minutes and will disappear completely without replacement next month.

The Big Question Of The Day
Will the Hornby programme scheduled for Yesterday (today) ...
... be broadcast tonight at 2000 as advertised?

And A Puzzle Picture
Which National Rail station is this? Here is what is used to look like ...
... and here it is today!
Answer tomorrow ...

... when fbb hopes to go to Zurich.

That bus, behind the Halifax decker (see above) is run by Todmorden Joint Omnibus Committee, one of four such operations with Sheffield, Huddersfield and Halifax.

 Next maps, trams and trains blog : Tuesday 17th January 


  1. Andrew Kleissner16 January 2023 at 06:30

    I wondered if that was Pontypool & New Inn station (another candidate for the 'Bleakest Platform' award) but it isn't.

  2. For those needing a clue, the symbol above the BR arrows is that for Network West Midlands...

  3. Currently served by one train a week (1356 SO) but TfWM's timetables also state that 'trains when call when Birmingham City are playing'- St Andrews is just up the hill. There is virtually no housing in the area and not a lot of factories any more.