A quick blog as I was up very early and out again tomorrow and have a few jobs to catch up on. Today I filmed at Stevenge, Luton and Hemel Hempstead. Stevenage was by far the busiest albeit single deck Arriva and Centre Bus - it was mainly sunny and warm. Luton though was first in the morning, eerily quiet for a morning rush hour, it didn't pick up until about 9.30. Then last I managed to fit in Hemel Hempstead which makes the other two look like pearls of the orient in comparison, what dump it is and the bus stops like watching paint dry at times, hasn't changed much other than new coaches on National Express. Tomorrow Milton Keynes and perhaps Aylesbury. Very busy day at home with orders, Mandy got those in the post sorted as well as those on the phone, I've just downloaded the internet orders and we'll pop them in the post on our travels tomorrow.
Although it is sad to see that the Trans Lancs has been cancelled due to poor soil conditions , especially as I got the news late afternoon after I'd got the PMP van loaded ready for this our next event. All is not lost however as we have a new event scheduled on Sunday 15th September at Union Court, Great Harwood, Lancs BB6 7FD hosted by Town & District Transport Trust where we shall have a stand. As this is our only Manchester area rally we hope that many of you will come along and support the event and in particular PMP. We do still welcome invites to events but as we are a not for profit organisation we cannot pay the exorbitant stand fees that some people think they can charge. Hence our absence from Bridgeton and Boyle St, also this year we shall miss Showbus due to prior family function.
I've got a lot done today, my car and the PMP van are washed, lawns mowed, missing stock replaced for the DVDs, which was prompted by Trans Lancs but needed doing anyway. The got the latest DVDs on our shop and presently loading the digital download versions. It has been yet another busy day for DVD orders. A hundred and one other jobs complated, shattered so here are some photos from Dundee on Satuday until I'm back with the results from tomorrows excursion location tba after watching the weather.
The month seems to have flown by, we worked hard the morning and got all the many DVD orders sent out before lunch and then carried on to Northwich to get some shopping done. We've abandoned the trip to Hampshire over the holiday weekend but will catch up on Hampshire in the next few weeks dependent on the weather outlook, we haven't that many locations to do but most are down south, surely the weather must get better again before autumn has it in its grip. I've sorted out the outline for the Indonesia trip in October and it will be just Mandy and myself, a mix of relaxing and wildlife with some buses and trucks for good luck. I've updated the list on this site to include the Scottish material over the weekend and all the Ukraine material which is now on the shop, digital download option to come. Watching out now for excursion prospects this week which need to fit around family commitments. Meanwhile some more shots from Lathalmond on Sunday
The Ukraine DVDs are now on the PMP shop
Time for a cuppa and bed and a mass of online orders to process. Here are some shots from Lathalmond today. I'll get these edited and the Ukraine DVDs listed on the shop asap.
Expect the next blog Sunday night or maybe Monday morning as we are at the annual open weekend at Lathalmond bus museum in Fife. All the Ukraine DVDs are ready and just one cover to finish and a couple of trailers to go on Youtube. Here are those that are 100% ready now but will enter on our shop Monday. No promises what we will get filmed in Scotland weather outlook very disappointing.
Apart from a brief trip to Marks & Spencers for food shopping and dropping off the DVD orders at our village shop/ post office I was at home editing. I've trimmed up the Ukraine photos ready to file and for making the DVD covers and will have finished the four volumes of truck DVDs from the trip this evening. Good news, the missing suitcase has been found and should be with us by tomorrow, downside Mandy says, all that dirty washing to do. Had a good sleep last night, I seem to have adjusted back to UK time, it is so cold here , like the middle of winter, had my heavy coat on, no more shorts and sandals for a while. Chernigov is the first trolleybus system we see other than passing a few in Kiev. Chernigov suffered from the Chernobyl accident as they had a factory which processes sheep fleeces from that region, about 80 people died directly from working with it, mostly women in the factory-its about 50 miles away to the nuclear plant. Anyway as I'm busy with the DVD editing I'll keep it brief and bring you Chernigov scenes for tonight's slide show. The trolleys were mostly in their light blue livery and cover a spectrum of East European models of the last few decades from ZIU and Trolza to Bogdans. Quite a nice town, had a brilliant coffee stop with hand made biscuits and chocolates.
The last leg of perhaps the last Ukraine tour for some time saw me on yet another early start to Kharkov airport served by trolleybus outside the hotel. It was yet another glorious sunny hot day in the making. I slept on the way to Kiev and then checked in at the business lounge and then boarded the Gatwick bound flight as Mandy set off from Cheshire to meet me. The big minus was the missing case at Gatwick, I was just one of many missing. I guess it was left behind at Kiev, on one trip it was left behind at Warsaw en route to Lviv.
Anyway it is full of dirty clothing so a job put off for a while. I noted this evening that Thursday alone will be fine weather and bodes ill for Lathalmond weekend as showers sweep through Scotland, just what we wanted! The probably puts the lid on an extended weekend visit there so just up Friday back Sunday unless the weather does an about turn. We are on a diet day and a bowl of fruit seems a pleasant thought to redress any lack of fruit and veg on the trip.
The kindness of ordinary people in Ukraine is almost universal whereas those in any service sector are loathe to do anything at all and as in the case of Kharkov railway station blatant misinformation no doubt drives people to the net as a safety net from lies and half truths. A lot of catching up to do, I was up at 3am UK time so an early night and for now a photo catch up for both truck and electric traction followers. The trip to Donetsk province or Oblast was perhaps a highlight of the adventure, a very welcoming place Kramatorsk lost its trams and much of the trolley network as did neighbouring Slaviansk, so welcome back to my blog in its correct place, obviously blocked in Ukraine for some reason.
Well I've just finished my race to get everything up to date in the shops and have just finished getting the last of many thousands of photo files uploaded to our Smugmug shop see link on shop front page which houses all the still photos you can order to download images or order prints plus facility to authorise for commercial use. It has taken a bit of doing as the DVD shops took ages but we have got there and it isn't very often that I achieve this. The shops all remain open with Mandy at the helm while I'm on our final leg of the three year Ukraine electric traction tour. My first full day on Monday will see me at my favourite truck film spots near the end of the eastern Metro line, a shower forecast at 1pm but otherwise dry and partly sunny, could be better but a lot worse as well.
Then it is mainly trolleys until Kharkiv where we do side trips and go off the government travel advice and pick up a couple of locations in Donetsk Oblast albeit quite a long way from the front line and not any action at present and firmly under government control other than an initial attack now some years ago which wiped out the Kramatorsk trams but trolleys remain and another small system nearby. So a bit of edge to the trip. There is another side trip to Poltava from Kharkiv and the final Monday dedicated to trucks but forecast at present isnt that hopeful but plenty of time for that to change. I'm having a shower and shave soon then watching Casualty and bed by 9pm ready ti set off at 2am down to London Luton airport we are with Whizz but Ryanair are striking there.
Tonights photos making up the truck balance and typical of the many thousands of images loaded on Smugmug ( owner of Flckr), taken at Kelsall. Not sure if I will be able to blog en route depends on the signal strength. Back a week next Tuesday.
Domestic jobs came first including mowing the lawns and cutting back a Magnolia tree, then I got stuck into updating the PMP digital downloads while I got the Alton stock unloaded and put in the Scottish stock for Lathalmond, simple, well not entirely, the trolley needed tyres pumping up and the van re-arranging. After lunch we decided to take a break and enjoy the sunshine so rare this week and not a drop of rain despite some sinister clouds. I did a quick survey of Google earth maps and may have identified a good truck filming spot to the east side of Kharkiv. I've given up trying to find buses for the two gaps in the itinerary, most likely they will exist or need connections which we can sort locally. Nearly all the still photo files have been put in their respective folders, I should be loading to Smugmug tomorrow.
Mandy got our 'pill' supply from the health centre, out doc wants to review my pills next month, I'd like to kick stations and blood pressure into touch. It has remained mainly quiet on the DVD front, at present we are running at a greater loss than usual, please I know I keep banging on about it but EBay and Amazon take a big cut if you don't use the post free PMP shop on this site which is the only one with 100% of our range. We had a sit in the sun through the afternoon, the butterflies are wonderful, never had such a show as this year and even spotted a drgon fly, a first ever as we aren't near water in insect terms but perhaps they know different, there is more rain for Sunday. So nearly up to date with digital download options on the latest stock, just £8 as oppsed to £13 for a DVD and it is instant. One of the last visits to file the stills of is the central London trip so here are some views from it.
Really the flood damage stretches across great areas of the north from Yorkshire through Lancashire to Cheshire, Manchester and Derbyshire. People who had never faced flooding had to come to terms with the awful reality which is a monster ravaging all your property as bad as any avalanche or land slip. The latest problem an 1831 dam associated with the old canal system has started to weaken and flood with the possibility that it will break open, thus Whaley Bridge has been evacuated. We were out today doing some shopping at Handforth Dean , this area saw problems with the floods yesterday and the shelves of M&S were very empty in the food department, there were lots of stories being related about how people in that area had survived the latest downpours.
It has certainly been bad and we have had water rise but thankfully draining down the drive to the road and the gulleys were cleaned out this week. We need to get our soak away drains cleared and this is a sharp reminder why. I'm not sure if all the timber I'd reserved from the old office shelving has survived intact, its all under tarps but sat in water for quite a while. Amazingly our washing when we got back from the shops was almost dry, we got it indoors before the next deluge came. Tonight is pub night, just a week ago I was downing more than usual after an exhausting day working in the tremendous heat. The flowers in our garden are quite happy so far, we've never seen growth this much on our plants it can't all be down to Miracle Grow!
I've managed to get a lot more photos filed and more digital download options on to the PMP shop right up to our Irish trip. I picked up a lot of sweets and nibbles for the Ukraine trip today. The case is being packed, I'll manage with my cheap travel tripod although it isn't ideal I wouldn't want to lose my best one. There isn't a lot of demand for foreign subject DVDs let alone ones on trolleybuses and trams and future trips are just as likely be based around wildlife or relaxation with transport stitched on. The revenue from Youtube will start to flow into the PMP account next later this month, for the past few months we have been way behind on covering costs. My usual appeal for folk to use the PMP shop rather than keep fat cat Americans in stetsons. Among the photo files sorted today was our trip to the South West so lets recall some of the buses we saw.
PMP Sponsors the North West Vehicle Restoration Trust at Kirkby.