Monday 25 November 2013

Got another tail to tell ya......
Well I was going past the train shed on the way to the garden shed, when what must have been a strong magnet in the shed pulled me inside.
I often go in for a quick look to see how its all going, where its been and what the future may hold. The shed is long and the lights are in two sections. So I put the light on for the left hand side and just did a bit of looking around. The far end near the roller door is illuminated enough to be able to see whats there. Part of the thinking is that with the high cost of electricity these days, if I don't need to see it, light stays off.
It was after about five minutes of being in there when I heard a scratching noise coming from the "dark end".
Living near the bush, wildlife is prolific in the area. There are plenty of rabbits, wallabys and bandicoots all of which would find it hard to get on my roof and would have no reason to be there.
So the next group I thought of was sulphur crested cockatoos, rats (yes they can climb) and good old possums.
Then I looked upwards towards the sound. Most of my looking is generally in the downward direction, either following a train along or looking on the floor for a part I have dropped. With my gaze up towards the sound in the far corner, I could see a shadow.
In the dark it looked fuzzy and as it seemed to hang down into my "airspace" I needed to find out what it was. So off I went around the layout to the second light switch to see what the protrusion was.
There was a long fluffy bit hanging down and on closer inspection and having had previous experience in dealing with these pests deduced that it was yet another bloody possum.
A previous blog not that long ago had dealt with this same hole that was now secreting a possum.
Now most wildlife when humans approach them do a bolt in the opposite direction. (Not all, bulls in a paddock excepted). I then decided a bit of noise from me might dislodge him/her from the hole and allow me to yet again reseal this hole.
Well some yelling didn't do it either. With the news over the weekend that playing Pavrotti music in the carpark of McDonalds quickly clears the kids away, I remembered none of his music was in my collection. The closest I could get was Demis Roussos. I thought the song "Forever and ever" would match the situation but ended up selecting "Rain and Tears" which summed up the weather of the moment and my emotions.
O No
So I was starting to think that this possum is lifeless. I started to look around the layout to find something to throw at his rear end. Everything was too valuable. The next thing I thought of was to ring "Wires". I am sure they would be able to remove it easily. I started to panic when I saw my 421 class, a 32 class and a loaf of bread EHO parked on the layout just under his arse. What will happen if he suddenly comes awake and drops down onto the layout? He has already dislodged the piece of timber I had temporarily screwed over the hole.
I thought if I rang "Wires" they might come out and be distracted by the layout and want to play trains instead. So I decided to go for the long thin piece of timber trick instead. Outside I found a piece of timber about 4 metres long. Reasoning this would allow me distance between me and the possum when I prodded it to find out if it was dead or not. If he was dead and fell down it would just be the layout that suffered, if he was alive he could only go in two directions. Either up into the hole where he started off or worse drop down onto the layout and end up running who knows where.
A close up of the rear end of a possum
The 'testing stick' was positioned near his tail hoping to reveal whether he was past or present. The first flick of the stick did nothing and probably needed to put poked nearer to a sensitive part of the animal. A second jab closer to the middle section resulted in a wake up call for him. This was good news as a live possum is probably easier to remove than a dead one, its just the flee direction that is the unknown quantity.
I didn't know if he had just been having an afternoon siesta but reflecting on his position there would be no way that I could have a sleep on a sofa with a hole in it and get comfortable.
Well if I had just woken him up, he certainly made up for it by his thrashing around. Luckily for me he decided to move in the direction that his head was situated on his body. He soon was now extracated from the hole in was inside the roof cavity completely. Deciding that the outside of the shed was a better place to be than on the inside I heard him up on the roof.
Now one of my long projects to do is to repaint the shed roof and walls. They are battle scarred from the various sorties with the ferals over the last 13 years. I don't think I can get away with the excuse of "weathering" as a reason for not repainting. Prior to the layout being built, the walls were free from obstructions such as a layout to enable painting to be done quickly.
The bigger hole
As a temporary fix I have reattached the piece of timber that fell down from the hole. And the only answer is to get around to boxing in the eaves. What this will do is allow me never to bore you with future blogs on possums.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

NSW Lives on
Some people who have read my recent blogs would think I might have gone Mexican and followed the blue and yellow system. Only partly true.
I now have a small fleet of Victorian locomotives and rolling stock, enough to add more operating interest to the layout.
Recently at the Liverpool exhibition I paid for two of the Auscision 46 class locomotives and like all the other locos just be patient until they turn up.
I also intend to erect some overhead wiring which makes the operation of electric rolling stock more complete. I can't see the point in buying electric rolling stock unless the overhead is present. One thing is for sure that all the trackwork and ballasting should be complete before the overhead as there will only a small opening of a few inches to get your hands under.
I have already ordered some insulators from overseas and collected a few substation/transformer kits. Living near the railway line also makes it easier to get a closeup view of the infrastructure.
I won't be able to start overhead construction until the locos turn up as I am not sure a what height the overhead will be. At least Southern Rail have made a few staunchions available.
A few NSW shots follow:
A major change will be happening to South Coast Rail next year on the layout. What will happen will be outlined on this blog.