FEM.ALE Festival in Norwich and Brighton

Dea Latis

Returning to Norwich 26th – 29th May 2017, and in Brighton 5th-7th May, FEM.ALE Festival continues its manifesto to celebrate women in the brewing industry. This year builds on the remarkable success of FEM.ALE going national in both location and profile.
Sourcing an extensively rich collection of ales, lagers, stouts, porters, and saisons from female-led breweries across the UK and beyond, FEM.ALE is gearing up for its fourth year in Norwich to showcase four days of brewster beers on tap for all to enjoy. Prominently featured is the Unite Local Ale. Brewed on International Women’s Day, the Unite Local Ale is the result of 70 breweries around the world – including the FEM.ALE team – working together on International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day to make a unique ale.
Punters can also be sure to expect more limited commissioned brews created by expert beer technologists. Notably, FEM.ALE 2016’s exclusive earl grey…

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Isle of Wight railways


The railways of the Isle of Wight have always fascinated me.  Not least because of the concentration of lines on a small island – three companies pre-1923 before they were amalgamated under the Southern Railway.

And the Isle of Wight was home to some wonderful rolling stock, being independent of the mainland, and all stock being imported by sea.  Small tank engines, like the ex-LSWR O2 0-4-4 below, time expired carriages and goods stock, generally short trains, but with the emphasis on passenger workings for the tourist trade.  What isn’t there to like?  Even today, the remaining line from Ryde to Shanklin is operated by venerable ex-London Transport tube trains.

Wikipedia commons

And even if you don’t model the Southern, the concept might be applied to any railway company and an imaginary offshore island.  I believe this is how ‘Thomas’ and the ‘Isle of Sodor’ came about?

So to the…

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Brown, Brown, It’s Gonna Be Brown

Steve's 009 and 09 Adventure

I’m singing ‘Brown, Brown, It’s Gonna Be Brown’ to the tune of the famous Status Quo song ‘Get Down, Deeper and Down’, because I’ve decided my O9 open wagons will be brown.

I’ve made a test strip of all the browns I can find in my paint box. I sprayed a piece of card with Citadel Corax White, my default primer. I painted and dry brushed each brown onto the card. I had one can of brown spray paint and I sprayed that on (rather too heavily as it turned out).

I like Humbrol Brown (186) and Humbrol German Camouflage (160) best because they are an attractive red-brown.

I will sleep on it before deciding.

One other thing I’ve learned from this is that the dry brushed effects from Citadel ‘Dryad Bark’ and ‘Stirland Mud’ will be great for weathering. They create very nice dirty, muddy effects.

(If you are not…

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1971 – July – Birdcage discomfort


Also in the July 1971 edition of Railway Magazine was an interesting article on the Oxted line of Southern Railway and BR Southern Region.  This line branched off the main Brighton line at East Croydon, wound its way through Oxted and Lingfield to East Grinstead, where the line now terminates.  In steam days the line branched at East Grinstead to Lewes and the coast (now the Bluebell heritage railway) and to Tunbridge Wells (now closed.)

This line certainly would have been electrified in the 1940’s, but such work was delayed by the 2nd world war, and the third rail only reached East Grinstead in 1987.  So in the 1960’s, it provided a bastion of steam amongst all the EMUs of East Croydon.  This got even more interesting for race days at Lingfield.  The author, D.A. Bone writes…..

Several times a year the Oxted line became more than the poor relation of…

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Bits box


This month’s Model Rail magazine came with a free bits box. I didn’t buy it for that but it was free so I might as well use it.

It made sense to use it for my stash of Sprat and Winkle couplings which are going to be my standard. I recently bought a pack of the new ready-made versions. These work out at £1.20 per coupling.

To give you an idea of how that compares to others, a “standard” (i.e. not NEM pocket) Hornby coupling can cost as much £1.50 each. And which looks better? Well the picture says it all really when you realise that only the hook arm and wire loop are visible on a finished vehicle compared with all that hideous plastic on the Hornby version.

I intend to only fit one end of each piece of rolling stock with a coupling with just a wire loop…

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