I had the day off work on Friday. Dom worked an early half day in Theale and drove from Reading to Peterborough.
Technical Officer Chris Thorn had prepared some tasks for Dom, new volunteer Mike Backler and I to get our teeth in to for the next few months. This involves grinders with wire brushes so goggles are essential. However fogging up is a real pain. I therefore went to B&Q then Screwfix in search of some fog-free goggles. I bought two different pairs to test.
After arriving for lunch, Dom and I ventured to Tesco to buy supplies for the weekend and the accommodation/ mess coach BG1 generally. After unloading; our mascot Jack (black and white 4 year old russell/ collie cross) persuaded us to go to the Palmerston Alms in Woodston to meet Uncle John Pinion, fellow RRRG member, for refreshments.
Saturday found us delayed for the morning in Peterborough trying to sort out bringing Renownrepulse.com back from the dead. We spoke extensively to Dan Horton in Ripon who is going to host the new site. We also tried three different ways of getting a backup to him. We then loaded the car and set off about 1400 arriving at a snow covered Rowsley South 1615.
Dave Rolfe had arrived earlier on Saturday. It was -2c when he left Stourbridge but -7c on arrival at Rowsley. BG1 and BG2 doors were frozen and there was ice inside BG1. We transferred our stuff from the car to BG1 and set out our bedding in preparation for a very cold night. Dave had not brought non-work clothes so did not join us for the tramping through snow in to a fierce sleet blizzard on the footpath to the Church Inn at Darley Dale. Mike and his partner Lynne joined us for a few drinks while we discussed Mike's interest and our plans. The Shalimar at Rowsley kindly braved the snowdrifts to pick Dom and I up to invest in their fine cuisine. This set us up nicely for a short tramp through four inch deep snow to our beds.
Dave, Dom and I were up with daylight for breakfast and getting cracking on a number of jobs. My car read -5C but it was dry becoming sunny. Andy Rowlands, Mark Burrows, Ian Kemp, Peter Carter, Steve Tripp and Sarah McColl decided the road conditions were two hazardous to attend. Peak Rail had also decided to abandon services. The weather clearly put off other groups as for some of the day we were the only people on site. Rob Sanders did turn up with a signalling volunteer and they collected offcuts in order to assemble a staircase for the nicely restored signal cabin now resident at Matlock Riverside.
Dave showed us where the grinders, brushes and brake rigging were for us to remove for attention. I cleared the external work bench of snow and set up extension cables and the grinders. Mike arrived at 0930 and I showed him the ropes. Dom and Mike then spent most of the day removing these very heavy cast parts and brushing off rust and brake dust. I found drills and grinding stone bits and hand wire brushes and I cleaned up the bits the others could not reach. I also did the washing up, cleaned the worktop and removed the rubbish in an effort to discourage the mouse we have attracted recently.
Dave set off to vacuum out some underfloor areas in Repulse but could not as the dust had frozen! Instead he undertook some adjustments to a door on BG2 and took apart a hydraulic press in order to modify the better one we have acquired recently.
Mike says he enjoyed his first day with us and if any of our volunteers are up during Monday to Fridays then let me know as he may come along otherwise our next larger gathering is due for 25/26th February. Dave however will be up most Saturday and Sundays if anyone would like to join in.
We had some entertainment at the end of the day when my car battery was too weak to start the engine. We found jump leads but it refused to take a charge. We improvised a tow rope and Dave's 4-wheel drive pulled us out to Harrison Way and on the second attempt of bump starting BiG 06 WenDY fired, complained and started. Relief!
'Til next time. Tim
||RRRG area under snow
The wilderness at Rowsley, looking south
Birch forest at Rowsley - winter wonderland!