Finally ‘Blue Peter’ Has A New Owner

News broke on 26th November that the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust have completed the purchase of the locomotive No. 60532 ‘Blue Peter’.

This really is fantastic news for what is one of my favourite preserved steam locomotives.  I always thought it was such a shame that the loco was just sat in the round house at Barrow Hill.

Luckily for me now it seems that RSL&GT are looking at returning the locomotive to steam to run once again on the main line.

With Flying Scotsman also on it way back into the steam the thought of seeing a line up of A1 ‘Tornado, A2 ‘Blue Peter’, A3 ‘Flying Scotsman’ and an A4 from 60007 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’, 60009 ‘Union of South Africa’ or 60019 ‘Bittern’, all in steam is something to get very excited about.

This would quite possibly be even bigger than the line up of all 6 A4’s that I was fortunate to see and pay a visit to last year.

The actual timetable for Blue Peter to be returned to steam is not yet known but even so I have to admit it is certainly something to get very excited about.


Another N Gauge Building Takes Shape!

This weekend saw me complete another of the Metcalfe Models Card Kits for my N Gauge Model Railway Project.

The kit that I completed this time was PN109 -‘Railway Station Buildings’, I must say the kit was superb and really like the little touches, such as the coping stones for the roof and adding the matchsticks to the barge boards to give the building so depth.

As you can see from the images above and below I do have a small amount of excess Uhu Glue that needs removing but overall the model was very easy to put together and looks fantastic.

The structure of the buildings once built is very good with plenty of strength and even though the waiting shelf is a very small building it really does look great!

I look forward to putting both building in place on my layout, once I have a baseboard that is!

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It All Began With A Street!

So following my last blog looking at my ambition for an N Gauge model railway, I actually found myself some spare time and started the project that weekend.

As I mentioned, I have now decided on my track plan and amongst all of the model stuff that I have collected so far I have a couple of Metcalfe cardboard model kits.

Over the weekend and a couple of nights this week I have taken my time and actually built my first kit, a low relief section of houses and shops.

I have to say I’m very happy and proud of how they have turned out. The instructions with the kits are very good and as long as you take your time and do it all at your own pace I’m sure anyone can do them.

I still have a couple of little tidy up jobs to do on the models but I’m sure I’ll get it all done at some stage.

Having now completed my first kit, I am now keen to move onto my next one as I start to build up some of the town scene ideas that I have floating round in my head.

I’m sure you’ll agree that the kits themselves look fantastic once they are complete!


A Model Ambition – Getting Back Into A Hobby!

Time for something completely different now as I look at one of my little projects that I hope to get underway shortly.

Coming from a railway family the world of model railways has always been something that I’ve really wanted to get my teeth into.

Watching several excellent YouTube videos from the like of Everard Junction and Glebe Road Junction just fuelled my thinking even more with some fantastic tips and ‘how to’ videos.

My problem though has always been the lack of space to actually put up a layout so naturally starting on in OO gauge is not possible.

When I was a child though my Dad bought me an N Gauge set from the model shop at Steamtown, Southport.  It was a minitrix Duchess set with 2 mk1 coaches, but me being an LNER fan I asked to swap the Duchess for a model of ther greatest loco of them all A4 Mallard.  Luckily they agreed the swap and I still have the loco now, although it is in need for some TLC.

Despite this model though and years of thinking about a layout with my Dad, we never actually got round to building anything, despite having several running sessions.

Over the last few years though I have really started to rediscover some of the things that I once forgot about and one of these was model railways.

I decided to make an effort and actually purchase a few trains, coaches, track and some metcalfe building kits.

I started with just the standard Peco Starter Set Track pack but then after looking through the Set Track Plan book decided to go with the layout plan you can see above and ordered all the track from Hatton’s website.

Having been brought up around the BR Blue era I decided that most of the coaches and loco’s would be from this era but at the same time I wouldn’t just stick to the one era, after all I do love Steam Locomotives and some of the recent releases from both Dapol and Graham Farish are superb.

So what’s next? Well I guess it’s time to get a baseboard built and then put some track down and start to get on with the show.

The big debate I was having was whether to go DCC or not but for my first layout back I think I’ll just stay as things are, maybe go for the DCC once I know what I’m doing.

I have decided though that this one will just be a small layout and having watch ‘Simon’s Shed’ on YouTube, you can see that just starting small can then lead into bigger things once you have confidence.

I look forward to bringing you updates of my layout once things start to progress further.

Up & Downs for all my Hockey Teams

So with the NHL, CHL and Elite League season now well and truly under way it appears that my teams are all having very mixed fortunes!

Over in America the Buffalo Sabres look like having another dismal season, much to the delight of my Maple Leaf friends who appear to suddenly have come out the woodwork.

Our 4-0 defeat to the leafs on Tuesday night was made worse by the fact that we only had 10 shots on goal during the 60 minute game.

I do fear for the team who I had hoped would perform a little better if I’m honest but it seems our leaking defence, struggling goalies and shot shy forwards are making life very difficult.

Although the fact that we went into San Jose on Sunday night and won seems to have escaped a few peoples minds.

Good NHL teams though take time to build and I just hope Ted Nolan is given time to build something.  We have some good prospects and I’m sure they will develop over time.

It could be worse though, I could be a hurricanes fan!

Up in Belleville the Bulls have been putting in some great performances in the OHL with just 3 defeats in 12 games giving us currently 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference.

We have a very good team this year with some good goaltending from Charlie Graham and with the fantastic Jordan Subban (pictured above) looking as good as his brother PK it gives me plenty of hope that we will make a good run at the playoff this year.

Back home in the Elite League the Panthers despite not playing particularly great find themselves in a pretty decent position.

With Nathan Robinson now showing some of the skill that we all knew he had deep down and calls for him to stay for the season it really does look like we have a good TEAM this season.

Two others to make a good impression have been Jonathan ‘The Real British Bulldog’ Boxhill and Greg ‘Juice’ Jucina.

Both players have started superbly and the effort that Boxy puts in is a joy to behold.

Juice on the other hand is showing us why Corey brought him in last season and why he was one of the first to be resigned. Especially now that he is playing in his proper position.

Like I said in my preseason review I think we’ll be very competitive but not quite good enough for a title.

Here’s keeping my fingers crossed anyway!

An NFL Franchise For Wembley?

This weekend saw Ellen and I make the trip to Wembley for Game 2 of this years NFL International Series with the Atlanta Falcons facing off with the Detroit Lions.

This game saw an unusual kick off time of 1.30pm as the US had a full day of NFL games going all the way through to the Sunday night late game.

The game itself was fantastic, possibly the best game yet, with the Lion’s winning 22-21 with the final kick of the game.

The atmosphere was also much better with the Falcons actually treating Wembley like a home stadium, as opposed to the Raiders who seem to lack the game presentation of the home team.

The only downsides for me though were:

1) The Early Start – as someone who drove down on the day it seemed that everyone had arrived at the same time and the lack of a tail gate meant that we had to rely on Stadium food rather that the usually excellent tailgate party.

2) The Pre Game Show – over the last couple of years we have had some great pre game shows at the international series but the choice of ‘Little Mix’ for this one for me was very disappointing, hopefully the Jags will do better.

So following the games the Big Question of whether there is a possibility of an NFL franchise based in the UK?

My initial thoughts are ‘Yes’ it’s possible but the question for me really is, is it sustainable?

This season the international series sold 33,000 season tickets and once again wembley is sold out for all 3 games, apart from the odd returns here and there!

So it is clear a fanbase is there but would fans stop supporting the teams they already support and support the London team? I can’t see this happening, however I could see people supporting them as a second team maybe.

For example theres no way I’d drop my Eagles to support the London team, however I would probably support them as long as they’re not playing Philadelphia.

Speaking of the teams, realistically an expansion team is not an option as the restructure would be a nightmare so where does that leave us?

Well having spoken to a couple of my good friends we narrowed it down to 4 teams.

1) The St Louis Rams – The Ram’s are a potential decent pick for London with some good players and a base for a decent team.

2) The Oakland Raiders – A team struggling once again in Oakland following their move back from LA.

3) The Jacksonville Jaguars – Already committed to 3 games here and with their owner also owning Fulham could that be the link?

4) The San Diego Chargers – A good side with a decent QB in Philip Rivers but there is a rumour that this team could be bound for LA!

So will it happen?  I believe so, the NFL had made no secret that they want a London Team but when is a different matter!

5 International Series games next season was the rumour floating around Wembley this weekend but it appears the Rugby World Cup has put a stop to that and it’s looking like 3 next year with possible ‘back to back’ games to once again test the fanbase.

I guess the questions will be asked again next week as the Dallas Cowboys arrive in town to take on the Jaguars but for me as long as teams keep coming I’ll certainly be attending whether it’s a London franchise or not!

I guess I should start saving for a season ticket now!

Although I do pray that the pre game entertainment is better!

Hockey Season Moves Into Full Flow!

So with the start of the NHL season over the last couple of nights and Panthers finally getting back to stand alone Elite League fixtures, its safe to say that the Hockey season has now started properly!

So what do I think this season will hold for all my teams?  Well I guess its hard to say at present.  Panthers look a decent side on paper but with several key injuries its been a very up and down start.

It will be interesting to see if Nathan Robinson, quite possibly the best player on paper in the league and also a former Belleville Bull will hang around for a few more weeks now that his CHL contract is complete.  Only time will tell on that one but personally I hope he does and that even more chemistry forms between Lacho and himself.

With Chris Higgins back in the lineup this weekend and also the return of David Clarke that should give Panthers plenty more firepower than they have had recently.

I still think the defence looks very strong and confident on the puck but just need to cut down on the errors and turnovers.  Lets hope over the next few weeks we start to build a decent base to a possible title challenge!

Do I think we’ll win the league? Probably not but I’d like to see us at least challenge all the way!

Over in North America my beloved Buffalo Sabres began their season with a 3-1 defeat in our home opener to the Blue Jackets.

A result that possibly could have gone the other way had the Jackets goalie not had such a great game!  However I am still hopeful of a better season this time round, with the additions of Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges giving this young team some good veteran leadership.

Lets face it, it has to be better than last year!

Over in Belleville the Bulls, playing in the OHL, have got off to a flyer with 5 wins and just 1 defeat in their opening 6 games.

It seems that the team is building on what was a very impressive season last time out.  Again we will wait and see if the team gives all the fans false hope at the beginning of the season again.

So after all of this, come April/May where do I think each team will be?

  • Panthers I think will finish 3rd or 4th in the league this season and at least make either the Challenge Cup or Playoff final.
  • Sabres I feel will just miss out on the playoffs! (Not bad for this young team)
  • Bulls – Playoffs again but I can’t really see us going past the 2nd Round.

This weekend sees Panthers take on Fife Flyers in a home and home series, at the NIC on Saturday before travelling to Kirkcaldy for the return on Sunday.

It would be nice to take 4 points this weekend but realistically I can only see it be 2, maybe 3 if we can sneak overtime in Fife!

A New Venture Into Blogging!

So here we go… my new venture in Blogging!

Several years ago I was part of a blog to do with a group of Nottingham Panthers supporters but after a couple of years it all fell by the wayside! So now I feel the time is right to go back into the world of blogs.

So where do I start with my first piece on my new blog, well how about a brief introductory piece and what you can expect to find on this blog.

Well my name is Mark although most people probably know me better as Sammo.  I live in Nottingham and currently split my time between living in Lady Bay and also at my fiances in Kimberley.

During the summer you will probably find mostly ‘cricket’ related posts on here as I open the bowling for Thrumpton, hence the blog name, in the Gunn & Moore South Nottinghamshire Cricket League as well as coaching 2 age groups in the Leics & Rutland Cricket League.

Then during the winter I spend most of my time following the Nottingham Panthers, Belleville Bulls and the Buffalo Sabres in Ice Hockey.

I am also a very keen NFL fan, supporting the Philadelphia Eagles and have only missed 1 Wembley game (that being the very 1st one)

I have a keen interest in Heritage Railways, N Gauge Model Railways and I’m also in the process of starting a veg garden at home, so expect some project news on these as things progress further.

I’m sure you will also see plenty of mentions and references to my fiance Ellen, who I actually do a hell of a lot of this stuff with and to be honest shes allowed me to rediscover some of my passions that I’d lost in the past.

Hopefully this gives you an overall look into my crazy life and hopefully you will find at least something of interest on here.