Our next batch of archive releases will cover Birmingham plus Sussex and then Kent. We are assembling the material all of which will have been treated to squeeze all the quality we can out of films covering a century of transport. We take this opportunity of greeting all our friends, customers and indeed family with the hope that 2023 will be a little less traumatic than 2022. We are looking forwards to seeing lots of you at the Chester-Wrexham running day based on the Wrexham Rod Park & Ride at Chester. It will be good to get out and about and resume our routine coverage of the UK with several overseas trips to be announced. As we have noted previously we have spent many of our New Years in hotter climes and go way back to 1980 for our first Sri Lanka outing.
I have put more cine based material to digital files with several more from both the OTA collection and the PMP sources, this has seen material added from Germany to Glasgow and modes from light rail to one and half decker trolleys in Osnabruck. I'm constantly having to trawl through the slim pickings of transport history that are on the internet. This would be another mammoth task getting all publications online, some people think it is all out there but really there is a sparse random mix. The weather outside has been blustery and chilly with rain at times. I've also added some more useful clips that I've unearthed. All told that means I must be brooding over a release of more classic material. I will be doing something on the Midlands as well as back to Kent and Sussex. If anyone is aware of material wanting a safe home and to be looked after please get in touch. Our working day today started with the first customer at 08.15, pointless saying anything folk forget we have a life! Well seeing as I'm musing over the Midlands lets have a few shots from that neck of the wood straying a bit further here and there!. I'm going to get some more of my video material digitised this weekend and clips to Youtube. Coming will be scenes in Kolkata and Katmandu
The postal strike has virtually ground PMP Films to a halt regards orders, the digital downloads are just £8 and run no risk of being stacked in a distant sorting office or waiting shipment overseas. We shall implement a postal charge on overseas orders so we can send them tracked and insured. Last year we said that we would cease our Amazon shop which we did. This caused a substantial drop in sales partly hidden in all the other woes post Brexit, strikes etc in the UK. The next move will be to drop Ebay, the number of moans about the few orders which have gone out means us issuing refunds on EBay only to find that they get the order the next day etc. If anyone needs reminding it is my hobby and we run the archive at a loss and subsidise it from our pensions. Thus the easiest way out would be to pursue my hobby through the places I most like and at intervals that suit me. I would carry on the scanning of old cine and digitising our masters and share extracts on Youtube.
I was astonished by the naivety of some retailers / manufacturers like Rapido who are wailing about lack of pre orders for the avalanche of new releases they keep advertising. Few people are ordering anything at present other than through Amazon who have their own distribution network. If they advertised and released new buses at sensible intervals they would get more orders. They also decided to abandon Yardley Wood model bus club who would have been their biggest outlet. They also offer no discounts at Rapido so as not to undercut retailers so why would people order direct from Rapido. The quality of their offerings is astounding although I would rather have driver and passengers then lights, first thing I do is snip off the annoying wires underneath the model. They are launching hundreds of Leyland Nationals which are also crawling out of the old EFE business. Oxford is better focussed and at an affordable price. The modern buses from Hong Kong still keep pouring in which is great when they cover a new prototype, quality as Rapido fantastic! Rapido are duplicating other makes past releases when there are thousands of buses they could consider.
With the lack of revenue foreign travel is also under review, I'm waiting to see if the promised free tickets to Hong Kong emerge which are supposed to kick start their tourism. Intra Express who did the rail and tram trips from Germany have been started up under a new ownership but with well known guides from Thomas Fischer days. The only trip online at present is in a few weeks to Calcutta , the network celebrates 150 years but with a max of about 30 trams it is a long way to go and the whole system is by no means assured of a rosy future but has stepped back from the brink. They are advertising quite a range of trips in 2023 per there TUT advert.
We had a delightful family Christmas with my sisters in Hampshire here are a couple of shots
We also put some colourful bright flowers on our mothers grave in Hythe where it seems that the ferry will close and the tram will be strictly a tourist / heritage venture which doesn't really bode well for the future.
Well I must return to scanning and loading to Youtube and the digital archive grows but there are never enough hours in the day. Our thanks to all our friends who sent cards despite the post strikes. We wish everyone a happy New Year when it arrives. Although the weather looks dire for New Years Day we shall try our best at the Wrexham road Chester running day.
All day scanning cine and digitising some of my Mini Dv tapes and getting clips to put on Youtube which included 3 trailers for the 1999 Heart of the Pennines which when loading immediately sent up a copyright violation ( not a strike) which means you can delete before getting into trouble, the annoying thing is that there must have been some music in the background somewhere which usually one wouldn't wish upon their worst enemies. Anyway any frustration is nowhere near Mandy's as it took nearly 4 hours to get her blood pressure pills on the third visit to the pharmacy at the doctors. Two of their doctors have left and the surgery is in chaos.
Notwithstanding all that chaos around us we hope you all have a lovely Christmas and I'll be back with you next Wednesday
It took a lot longer than I expected to get the Glasgow film finished, I'm just saving the file right now. Not a single DVD order today so as we travel down to Hampshire on Friday it is our last day at home before Christmas so I'll make it a tidying up day until we return next week. I've got lots of stuff to file and back up delete or whatever. I've been scanning cine in the background all day. I've just got to make a cover for this latest archive film. I think the next will be yet another down in Sussex and then Kent - I have so much film of these counties and I was born in Kent and grew up in Sussex. We've been to a lot of different countries at Christmas our 1990 trip was a Christmas day in China. I've been in Australia, New Zealand , Sri Lanka and too many for my remaining brain cells to recount. I'll have a look at the photo archive files and dig something out. Last blog until next week will be tomorrow but here is an advance greeting from us both and hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and our thanks to all our supporters through the year. Ah yes Uruguay, we were in Montevideo on Christmas day, enormous buffet, I had an allergic reaction to something and my face all swelled up thankfully a chemist was open got antihistamines which sorted it!
The Glasgow tram, trolleybus and bus film is now well underway. I've assembled all the clips which will have material I can consider using that is done and they are in individual sequences and have been treated with NEAT which cleans up the image, sharpened, straightens edges and generally gives a clean sharp image although overdone to can make things look like plastic. There are even tools to put grain back onto a clip if its gone too far to the plastic look. I enquired with a new colourising programme from Austria, they cater to the film industry and prices are to match, they offered us a half price trial for 2023 at 4000 Euros, I politely declined. I've managed to get the Manchester 1946 Auckland visitors film to Boyle Street Museum, it will be wonderful to see the Mancunian alive again, I saw the condition it was in as a shed but it seemed reasonably complete as you'd expect in such a state.
One of the locations I looked at for next year transport visits is Bosnia which actually in reality is Republica Serbska, anyway having arrived in the Balkans lets look at what the region has offered over the years.
A few domestic matters early in the day then full steam on with the scanned cine films and assembling those on Glasgow ready to compile a Glasgow Tram feature with some trolleys which should be out before we leave for Hampshire on Friday, we shall be back the following Tuesday night. The DVD side is very slack but not really a problem it is feasible we actually lose money sending DVDs out! Anyway the temperature has risen to more comfortable levels, the snow and ice are gone from our roads. Still trying to fit some filming in this week between everything else. I've got several 2023 trips on the drawing board which could include Alexandria, Bosnia and Slovakia. We'll have to see how all that pans out. I've also done a bit of work with the Manchester transport museum on behalf of the Mancunian restoration I also intend sending a contribution towards that mammoth task but wouldn't it be wonderful to see the Salford regent and Crossley Mancunian out together some time. Some shots from previous Egypt trips
This one took almost a week to complete, I will be following it up with a film on Glasgow Trams in the Ticket-Boo series. I will have another 'postcard from the past' at some time soon and will extend this to include overseas locations. Last night we were at the leaving party for Janet and Simon at The Crown, our village pub, nobody is sure what will happen to it but it seems possible it will survive in some form perhaps even a gastro pub, who knows.
The weather has been very cold and damp, the rain has swept away most of the remaining ice and snow but a fierce wind is adding back a good old chill factor. I am still hoping that it will be suitable for a couple of film outings at least before Christmas.
It looks as if the thaw must be coming soon, temperatures have stayed positive through the daylight hours. I've been on with editing the latest London film which is centred on London Trolleybuses but puts them in the context of the rest of LT through the 20's to second world war then to recovery and the last decade of trolleybuses taking us up to 1959. Black and white for most of the earlier scenes, I did try colourising some but it was way off from the correct colours. The rest of the film is a bit easier to deal with but all rendering after 'treatments' takes quite a while and I've been trying to do this as I go.
This and the next London film covering similar territory will follow on directly and then I'll back track to the promised Glasgow tram feature. Lots more to come and if the weather is kind perhaps I'll be able to get out and record some present day scenes. These new films will probably start a run of 'post cards from the past' which is prompted by the quote that the past is like another country that we don't understand. Thus post cards from the past and from anywhere, no not post cards you post, memories evoked by film! All DVD orders still go out as normal although getting post is another thing. It is at least two weeks if 2nd class.
A busy day which started at nearly -10Deg and it looks like being another cold one tonight, we are skipping the pub as it is very icy and we are both a bit sniffly and its Janet and Simon's leaving party at The Crown on Saturday. We went and did the weekly food shop and then after a quick brew it was almost time to head back to Manchester for Sir John Tomlinson's masterclass this afternoon at the RNCM.
I've managed to get another of our Glasgow archive films ready to save treated with NEAT but there will only be a small proportion which can be used in the next Scottish archive on Glasgow Trams as people often neglected and still do the terrible effects produced by winter shadows on the subjects particularly in the cities. Hopefully next week the temperatures will stabilize at something more above zero. We have spurred on by the cold started to look at options for travel in 2023, nothing booked as yet.
If anyone would like our 2022 Christmas family newsletter it is attached to the blog as a file. I'll scan the 2022 PMP Christmas card and put that on at a later stage.
PMP Sponsors the North West Vehicle Restoration Trust at Kirkby.