…PHR’s volunteers let their hair down
It’s the festive season, and unlike in the Northern Hemisphere with its freezing temperatures, Pete’s Hobby Railway is located in Junee, the Riverina in NSW, Australia, and it is mid-summer… and at times, HOT! And that is with a capital “H”. While I prepare these notes, the outside temperature has hovered in the low 40s Celsius, luckily in the days immediately before Christmas it was a little lower, only in the mid 30s. (This paragraph is only included for the benefit of PHR followers residing outside Australia!)
As a prelude to Christmas, Nicholas and Rhys had a go at erecting Christmas lighting around the Loftus platform and waiting room, complete with “Santa” waiting for a train. This took a little longer than anticipated but was operational for about a fortnight, being illuminated from dusk until I retired to bed around midnight. It was interesting to sit outside my front door or observe from my front office, the antics of passing motorists – the limited number that traverse my back street (ie, one back from a main highway out of town). Slow, stop, may-be back-up, stare and then continue. We learned much from this exercise, to be hopefully put into practice for the 2019 festive season.
Despite the high temperatures of the previous days, the volunteers had made the suggestion for a Christmas barbeque (BBQ), an Australian custom only intended for the hottest of summer days! Matt and Jasmine took the initial organising rolls, capably assisted by Phil and Josh on the afternoon.
My back veranda was tidied up, with the result that I was able to see parts which had been submerged for a lengthy period with such items as a ride-on lawn mower, a manual lawnmower, ladders, tables, per-way tools and a host of other items –- even a drop-down platform indicator originating from platform 2 at Redfern.
Nick’s BBQ was resurrected, cleaned and fired up (using a portable gas bottle, not by steam!), a lengthy table set up and all the condiments set out for easy access.
Meanwhile, I had (conveniently?) gone for a nanna-nap at around 1500 hours when preparations had commenced, waking at around 1800 when all the hard work had been done!
The BBQ, capably in the hands of Phil, did its job well, assisted by copious supplies of “lemonade”.
When all had an ample sufficiency, backyard cricket was set up on the levelled base for the future loco shed/storage shed, using plastic rubbish tins as wickets. Luckily Matt was not a fast bowler, such that even I was able to connect the bat with the ball… occasionally — mainly by good luck than good batting. While I won’t post an embarrassing video of my batting, Rhys took one photo (thankfully!) which evidenced that I was, in fact, a second Don Bradman! (He also took a number which proved otherwise, but I decided not to embarrass myself by posting any of these.)
[Editor’s Note: We will have to track these photos and video down… and then post them directly to Facebook 🙂 ]
As the sun set steadily in the west (it was 2030, plus), Matt, Josh, Rhys and even Bronte decided that it was time in the growing dusk to darkness, to toboggan down “Mount Burke”, the 4m high mountain of dirt formed when the base for the future engine and storage shed was levelled recently. A few scrapes and scratches, no serious injuries and all enjoyed themselves.
A social evening for the volunteers (along with the occasional partner or mother!), greatly enjoyed by all. I took the opportunity to distribute my 2019 Pete’s Hobby Railway Calendar, for this year featuring, of all topics, Pete’s Hobby Railway. A small token of appreciation to the regular volunteers –- and thanks to our Wagga Harvey Norman retailer who had their regular pre-Christmas special of these 13-page personal calendars reduced to less than half price.
Until next time…
SM Loftus – PHR