Leeds and Manchester DVDs are already on sale. Some photos in Manchester this afternoon
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Thanks to the tremendous work by John F Bromley and no less Margaret Bromley we have a treasure trove of Canadian streetcar film not only of John's native Toronto but also of other systems and from other collections in our PMP archive. These include works by our friend Alan Mortimer from Perth, Australiua and Martin Rickitt who accompanies me on sone of our more esoteric journeys. Old film from the Oluette collection and that of HEC Piercey the former solicitor from Merseyside whose collection I was somewhat hoodwinked into purchasing after being shown carefully selected pieces which did not reflect the general quality, interesting certainly but valuable no not really. That's the gamble we used to take. John Bromley also arranged for us to get the TTC to release the very old footage they possessed of their early operations taking us back nearly a century and then in colour up to the latter days of their trolleybus operations plus a few buses. I'm really looking forwards to getting stuck into it, another two hours yet to download though.
We sometimes get the odd complaint that a disc is fawltey, we send out a replacement without arguement and no neeed to return anything, this is carefully laid out on our ebay site, a quick call and any problem is resolved, however like so many other shops now we are paranoic over our 100% top seller rating and should people go straight to EBay resolution or email rather than give us a chance to resolve we issue a full refgund but must then place the buyer on the blocked list, this happens about once a month so is not the norm but does happen. I notice some shops in Hing Kong plaster their sites with dire warnings should someone have a problem, I know where they are coming from. I'm just running off more copies from the recent Asian trip, the truck orders in particular are already tumbling in on the net but its been dead in the post but often is on a Monday. I dropped off a large bag full at Plumley post office and Mrs Scary there is now Mrs Nice which is very pleasant.
I'm runing off copies of the recent batch of DVD releases so that I can get everything up todate before Mandy returns. I had a text from the girls who were watching wildlife around the pool side, yes Elephants must make a mess in the garden in more ways than one but well fertilised perhaps. Then the phone rang and it was Hil from Ireland with an update on Sean who is thankfully already back home with a month of taking it easy ahead of him. However it wasn't all good news as our friend Mary had died on Saturday, one of that rare breed who manage to look after themselves, livestock, a small holding all on their own into their 90s. Mary had a fall and with no near relatives Mandy struggled to get news but tracked down the cottage hospital where she was taken. However Mandy wasn't at the correct time for visitors and they only would lewt in the relatives Mary had not got, Mary never saw Mandy and Mandy not Mary and then she was released back to home with a full time caer, I guess Mary wasn't one for that sort of mallarky and decided she would go and tend the chickens somewhere else where the fox never gets them, good luck, may God receive you and rejoice in a wonderful independent neh bloody minded person. NHS, another disaster hanging around our necks since the Tories started to run it down and privatise everything. Must send Sean off some truck films to watch, he'll need something to keep him still for a month!
Had the second steak and ale pie tonight and treacle tart and cream to follow, back to diet tomorrow, must get some more low calorie soup from Marks tomorrow. Weather here very breezy and cold but quite bright at times. I've still got a bit of a chesty cough if it persists I'll need to consult the doc. Made some more notes re the Scottish case, feeling a bit more upbeat, it gets you down the weight of a country it's police and law against you for being English but I'll beat the buggers yet. Don't really want to become a first in British law to be prosecuted for taking film of a bus driver without prior consent, there is no such law but in Scotland they can make anything up. Anyway as I say feeling a little more perky although the back pain is still about but standing up a bit better today! Canada as its Candian films I'm doing for tonights photo spot.
I'm nearly ready to nod off and I haven't even had my dinner yet. I got an email from Mandy and Sue in South Africa, they seem to be enjoying themselves especially yesterday at the Kruger national park. John and I have had a bitter blow for our Mexico trip, the trolleys in Guadlajara have been withdrawn and the new ones don't start until August although the first ones should have been delivered. I'm not sure how we shall pan out our visit now we'll have to play it by ear for a while.
I was awake about 5.30 so I got up and started on some of the many jobs waiting to be done, I'm now 100% on getting all the models under cover, the last few with stubborn screws succumbed to the hacksaw on the bases. I've got the covers done for the latest DVDs, I've got all the DVD orders cleared and ready to post. It's been snowing on and off all day, mainly sleet really, nothing has stuck. My back is still bad, went over to St Oswalds this morning using one of our walking stocks and a couple of tramadol.
I've now started work on the Canadian archives, this is quite a major undertaking as I've quite a lot of material from John Bromley and also in the PMP archive plus Martin Rickitt, Alan Mortimer and the TTC archives. THere should be about four programmes or more from that lot. I've been looking at the rest of the black and white negatives of Ulsterbus, I may get some done before we go over, not really sure what we'kll be doing now. Sure as hell I won't be doing much in Scotland.
I've loaded trailers for Dudley and Birmingham on Youtube plus clips of the last of the Belgian material I finished this morning. Some photos from Birmingham yesterday.
I stuck with the plan so at least I had something to aim for, the weather was cloudy when I left home and as the forecast said that Birmingham would be cloudy it seemed at first that the whole country was perhaps shrouded in cloud but would you believe it as I got through the third set of road works on the M6 motorway it started to snow quite steadily. So was Birmingham all white, no not at all, the sun had come out and the sky was blue which basically is just what you don't really want with low sunshine and shadows. Anyway Birmingham isn't a complete disaster with cloud and I used some of my regular spots and some different to accumulate enough footage.
The next planned stop was Dudley and I seemed to get there with little fuss, I'd parked at Birmingham within feet of where I wanted to be and it turned out that I'd done the same in Dudley although a good job that I asked directions as I was about to stroll off in the wrong direction for the bus station. By this time it was snowing again, little pellet sized stuff but it put down a fair amount of moisture which then melted. There was a broken down Nat Express bus in the Dudley bus station, getting it hitched up and out of the way seemed to take a lot of trouble and made for some interesting scenes.
My back which I'd hurt doing the weeding Friday afternoon isn't getting any better and the sciatic pains were running from my waist down my legs and it was difficult standing up unaided, thank goodness for the tripod. I did have it in mind to make a third stop but as I travelled back up the M6 through the many sets of road works it yes you've guessed, started to snow yet again. This time I decided to call in at Waitrose at Sandbach and treat myself to a nice pudding, they don't really have much to compare with Marks though and the melt in the middle chocolate puddings were leaden even with lots of cream, not at alll nice, really I'm not keen on Waitrose, Booths is better but Marks & Spencers best for food even if a bit hit or miss with clothes and shoe sized these days.
Very little in the post, a couple of DVD orders on the net but I've cracked on with getting the films downloaded and am just about to burn the Birmingham master, I'll need to get the covers done and load them on to our shop. I've had another bash at the models which needed housing, there are now very few left that aren't under cover, getting the bases off a lot of the stuff required a hack saw and stanley knife plus pliers, even the Oxford models can be that difficult to unpack, goodness knows how anyone with hands a little more arthritic than mine copes with it. Lets start with Dudley, actually it beat Birmingham hands down.
I'm sure it will be hunting with binoculars and camera but Mandy and Sue have to be up at 4am at the Kruger National Park in South Africa. I phoned Hilary in Ireland today so I could report on Sean's progress, he has a bit of an infection possibly from a tooth which was being treated the day he had his heart problems, they aren't taking any chances though so are keeping him at the main heart unit at Cork. Hopefully he'll be back nearer home at Clonmel before discharge although he then faces a couple of months of taking it easy and Hil will make sure he does. I did some work in the garden getting back early because it's Friday, I didn't do my back a lot of good as I haven't really done anything like that for quite a while, the recycle bin is looking reasonably full afterwards, also unblocked drains and brushed off some moss at the base of the brick walls. The birds are fed and the feed bin empty, another job lined up for next week.
There was next to nothing on the net overnight although it had been busy last night, I left the bag with the post in and then had to go back out again to post it all, never mind there is only one order sitting here at present and that can go Monday. My hands were frozen after the gardening so I ran some warm water to defrost them. I've got all my camera gear plus scarf, hat, gloves ready for filming tomorrow, the plan at present is Birmingham and perhaps Dudley, even Stoke if it's cloudy enough and I've time but I musn't plan too much.
I'm editing the very last of the Austrian material, remember I was in the midst of this before the Bangladesh trip, this is the final one and if I get my finger out I'll have it done between the sops. I've also had a blitz on getting models put away on the shelves, I've hidden a few at the back which has made space for my models from around the world which now makes a pretty good display with lots of variety, the 1/72 models do look a bit large against the 1/76 UK standard but not a lot and I've now managed to get all the Irish models together including emergency service and lorries etc.
The only stuff outstanding were the fire engines which don't even seem to have a head to the retaining screw so I'll have to cut off the bases and get them out with pliers, some of the Oxford diecasts are a bit like that, shame as it would have all been finished, hope Mandy notices, probably not. What I really need is lots more cupboard space, I wonder who will have to sort that lot out when I pop my clogs. A couple of Youtube links is all I can manage as I want a rest and a brew now.
Mandy and Sue have arrived safely in South Africa and were last reported sitting by the pool. Meanwhile back in Cheshire late afternoon someone turned on the tap up there and by the time I was on my way home the motorway was flooding, I only just made it back in time to get the post dropped off at Plumley. With all the dampness it feels colder than the dizzy heights of 4 degrees. An amazingly clear sky last night, masses more stars visible than normal in this light polluted area but not a sign of the northern lights which have been putting on a rare ole show in the wilds of the north east.
It's been very hectic at work but a couple of jobs now behind me, I've got all the DVDs from the Asian trip made and covers done plus all listed on our shop, I may even take a punt at getting them on Amazon. There is a brief sale on at our EBay shop although the new ones won't be in it yet. There isn't much on television tonight so I'm bashing on with the great catch up, also in the back of my mind is getting some of the many models which have built up put away in their cupboards although as there is zero space it isn't that easy getting them housed. They are stacked up high in front of the cases and there will be a fair bit of refuge if I get into it.
Forgot my packing up this morning, left it in the fridge, not great for day one but cooked my tea a great steak and ale pie which Mandy had found in Marks and with a couple of baked potatos and a handful of carrots a great meal was had. I am putting all the dishes in the dish washer as instructed, I hope I can remember what I've got to do when its full. I must give Hil a ring and get an update for Mandy on Sean's progress in hospital over in Ireland. Our friend Connah who lives nearby makes the stents and we wondered if Sean got an autographed edition. Hopefully he'll be back at Clonmel nearer home soon.
Well I've still got a few clips to put on Youtube, the weekend beckons and still looks like being the Midlands which are forecast as cloudy on Saturday, Sunday looks wet which is a shame as I wanted to get the garden tidied up a bit, the birds need feeding but I may be able to get that done after work, it is Friday tomorrow after all! Here are out latest DVD releases
Mandy and Sue are at the exec lounge at Heathrow Terminal 2, her wheelchair is checked in and should be waiting at the other end, all Mandy's stuff is plastered with priority stickers but not Sue's so really no advantage there unless the cases get through together. The arrive at Jo'burg tomorrow morning. I've got plenty of notes and instructions and needless to say the moment Mandy is gone the orders start going up but I'm well on top of things just had my soap day two of dieting and must remember to get something out of the freezer ready for dinner tomorrow. It's been bright enough outside but i've been pretty well tied up in the office all day and I did manage to get some more of the Bangladesh and Indian photos ready for filming, I might get to the end this evening.
on the bus front I think most people have been wrong footed over Showbus and a remarkable return to one of it's earlier locations and where we first had the stall at Woburn Abbey , notable mainly for the mud so fingers crossed on that on. I'm bashing my way through the DVDs from the last trip, I'm on trucks at the minute, I need to do the cover for the Bangladesh truck feature, nearly 90 minutes long, masses of Bedford TKs. This just leaves the Indian material with two on trucks and two on the buses and trams of Calcutta. I managed to send off Hasan's posing photos from the Rocket paddle steamer cruise. As ever clips from the trip appearing each night on Youtubre. I've also updated the PMP list on the shop and news pages of this site.
I've got buses magazine today so I'll take it to work and have a quick shufty through. Nothing exciting in the post other than orders, I think I'm up todate with my EBay purchases although I might get tempted by the weekend if there are any more Atlas bargains about, still a few French railcars and european bses I'd like. I got word from Mexico that the agent is struggling to contact the correct people to ask about trolley depot visits, I'll have to give it a try myself with Google translate, its a lot better than it used to be. Some shots from Calcutta for you tonight.
I got the Ozbus Bustech CDi Cummins ISL model from Australia today, a wonderful piece of modelling no doubt from China but really good to see stuff which will never apear in the UK and a double decker to boot, a few Ashok Leylands would be a good move but I bet nobody will ever cover them. Anyway moving on to Asia I'm still bashing my way through the DVDs with the latest to be listed Khulna and the Rocket trip. The Rocket Paddle Steamer film lasts nearly 90 minutes and Khulner just under the hour and finishes up near the Indian border where we discovered what may be the only school bus versiojn of the buses being imported by BRTC, in standard yellow school livery I think its financed by the local factory, it was a shame we didn't have the time to visit the school as we were invited, the shots came out just grand. Left to do are the Kolkata tram films and the truck features, it's getting close to the fence with the adverts and I should be pretty close with my guess as to which films and how many there are. I'm still putting clips on our Youtube site so tonight a few quick links to the uploads.
Its been hectic at work as I'm tackling the back log from my holiday leave period and pushing forwards the training which had freewheeled a bit while I was away. We've had all sorts of modifications to the office security and fire defences plus new signage with the new company logos etc. I must remember to take my camera tomorrow, no not expecting to be out and about but I've some images to get digitised and its easier with the camera than scanning.
Good news from Ireland, out great friend Sean is now through the worst after a scare with his heart, he has had a stent fitted down at Cork, he should be back at Clonmel hospital soon and is expected to have a quick recovery and ith luck will be free of medication in future with the problem diagnosed and sorted. I'm glad the news came through before Mandy leaves with Sue for South Africa tomorrow. Her case is already in her car and I'm having last minute lessons on dish washering and leaving notes for the cleaners. I'll be on PMP duty alone for two weeks and have to take the packages to work, we've a few last minute orders to do tonight which I'll have to get sorted.
Well onwards and upwards, the Rocket paddle steamer trip DVD is just burning the master copy and they are all on the shop page as soon as I get a cover done. I'm not sure what will pan out next weekend for film location, very dependent on the weather, if it is cloudy then it will be Leeds and Manchester sunshine is more of a challenge in February.
Well it was back to work today, not a lot seemed to have happened but I expect with so many people on holiday at the front end of the year it was half expected. I've got through a majority of the outstanding items and should clear the rest in the morning and then find a path forward to keep myself busy in the coming weeks. I think the ground is being prepared for erecting our large training rig up at our Darlington yard and hopefully by spring that will be up and running.
Back at the ranch as they say editing continues unabated and I think I've sketched out the list to cover all the material I took on the sub continent. There should be 12 programmes in total, they are being listed on our shop pages as I get the covers done. I', burning the DVD covering our last day in Dhaka before the rocket paddle steamer cruise. On the home front made positive contact with Brian Hyde son of George Hyde the TA bandmaster with whom my father George Spencer served in the Sussex Yeomanry many years ago when the world was a better place.
Mandy is pretty well all packed for her trip to South Africa with Sue, they go on Wednesday so after tomorrow PMP will all be down to me, lots of orders coming through the net at the moment and its time to get the copy off for the magazines, don't the months come round quickly. The events of Scotland still dangle over me, seemingly a mix of Greek plane spotters and Kafka's Trial with a dose of police and Polish bus drivers thrown in for good measure.
I want to get a bit of gardening done next Sunday and make it look a bit more spring like, Mandy is busy leaving instructions all over the house. I heard from Mexico, the local agent seems to think that I'll be writing for permissions which is a neat twist as that is exactly what I'd expect them to do, my South American Spanish isn't going to be up to much, I'm sure it will all work out.
Tonights shots are from the visit to Chittagong where there are 15 deckers in service for BRTC, the manager had no idea whether they actually issued tickets and I suppose suddenly thought what happens to the money if we take fares, yet another alice through the looking glass world in Bangladesh. Also a taster for Dhaka clips on Youtube.
PMP Sponsors of bus rallies for 25 years.