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Mick's Drivel


mick
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Long time no see eh? Yes it's me and I'm still here despite my lack of appearances on the forum of late.

What have I been up to? Well, lockdown changed a lot of things for me and it made me see things from a different perspective as I'm sure it has with many of you too. Our 'hourly exercises' became the norm and we began visiting local places we wouldn't usually head to. We could no longer go to stay in our caravan on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and so began walking along the local riverside and visiting local nature reserves. It was great to take the camera along trying to capture photographs of some wildlife we had never seen previously. In fact I became so engrossed in photography again that I even ended up with a new camera!

With the relaxing of lockdown restrictions we've simply been trying to make up for lost time, spending more and more time along the rivers and canals close to the caravan. The new camera was joined by a new lens and so it's gone on....

Both the garden and attic railways have taken a back seat during this time but I can assure you that it's not the end for either of them. There's work to do outdoors as a pair of amorous pigeons have damaged some of the viaduct parapets but I've got the glue to remedy that again when I get round to it.

I made the decision to cancel a whole host of pre-orders for forthcoming model railway products and thinking about it I am really pleased that I did. I've got all that I need (and more!) and to be honest some of the most recent items I had obtained made me wonder just whether they were actually worth it. I suppose if you heart isn't 100% in it then they really aren't but that's something else. 

So while I am still here, and as I have posted elsewhere (admin) I do feel that the forum needs someone else to care for it and to move it forward. I would still like to contribute my own content to the forum as and when I can but I don't feel I can now dedicate the time required to administer it. I can't simply pull the plug and allow it all to disappear as I feel the forum belongs as much to everyone who has contributed to it with their content as it does to me so I really would like to hear suggestions as to how it can possibly be safeguarded.

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4 hours ago, mick said:

Long time no see eh? Yes it's me and I'm still here despite my lack of appearances on the forum of late.

What have I been up to? Well, lockdown changed a lot of things for me and it made me see things from a different perspective as I'm sure it has with many of you too. Our 'hourly exercises' became the norm and we began visiting local places we wouldn't usually head to. We could no longer go to stay in our caravan on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and so began walking along the local riverside and visiting local nature reserves. It was great to take the camera along trying to capture photographs of some wildlife we had never seen previously. In fact I became so engrossed in photography again that I even ended up with a new camera!

I think the last 20 months have changed all our lives somehow to a greater or lesser degree. It has certainly brought more people into the hobby whether they are online or elsewhere. Hornby turning a profit is certainly proof of that and quite a few people have also started garden railways, I started mine about last June time.

I'm a big fan of exercising locally too. I tend to think it a bit wasteful to drive to a gym and exercise on a machine that takes power from the grid when the same exercise can be had for free outdoors with little or no environmental impact. There is so much to see locally as well that people don't realise.

4 hours ago, mick said:

With the relaxing of lockdown restrictions we've simply been trying to make up for lost time, spending more and more time along the rivers and canals close to the caravan. The new camera was joined by a new lens and so it's gone on....

Both the garden and attic railways have taken a back seat during this time but I can assure you that it's not the end for either of them. There's work to do outdoors as a pair of amorous pigeons have damaged some of the viaduct parapets but I've got the glue to remedy that again when I get round to it.

I made the decision to cancel a whole host of pre-orders for forthcoming model railway products and thinking about it I am really pleased that I did. I've got all that I need (and more!) and to be honest some of the most recent items I had obtained made me wonder just whether they were actually worth it. I suppose if you heart isn't 100% in it then they really aren't but that's something else. 

You were pretty intensive in your video and modelling output last year, perhaps overly so? A break is as good as a change (I think I've got that saying right) so maybe you'll find fresh motivation after a while in addition to the new things you are enjoying.

I agree about the pre-orders. The only one I've pre-ordered in the past has been the Bachmann DBSO as they were pretty much sold out on pre-orders, that was with Hattons and by the time the DBSO came out Bachmann had stopped supplying Hattons so I was lucky to get mine. I think I'll wait for the reviews on future stuff as there has been some quality issues with, for example, the Hornby Mk3 DVT release. I'm also one for having a small fleet but only of stuff I really want.

4 hours ago, mick said:

So while I am still here, and as I have posted elsewhere (admin) I do feel that the forum needs someone else to care for it and to move it forward. I would still like to contribute my own content to the forum as and when I can but I don't feel I can now dedicate the time required to administer it. I can't simply pull the plug and allow it all to disappear as I feel the forum belongs as much to everyone who has contributed to it with their content as it does to me so I really would like to hear suggestions as to how it can possibly be safeguarded.

My gratitude goes to you for running the forum thus far. I think I said recently that the facebook group dedicated to oo garden railways is fine for people posting videos and pictures but it is "of the moment" and doesn't have the permanence and therefore ability to be a resource of knowledge. Garden railway sections of other forums seem to be non-outdoor modellers commenting on outdoor modelling without being based on experience, so this forum is unique and I share your valuing it.

I'd be keen to help keep it alive, though as you say, it is something better done by more than one person. I'll message you to find out what is involved and hopefully if others do too then a discussion can be opened to share responsibility and expenses.

Thanks,
Barry.

 

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9 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

...You were pretty intensive in your video and modelling output last year, perhaps overly so? A break is as good as a change (I think I've got that saying right) so maybe you'll find fresh motivation after a while in addition to the new things you are enjoying....

That's the way I tend to go about things Barry, it's usually all or nothing with me. I'm currently going through the 'photography' craze, walking round with a camera dangling round my neck all the time! Just don't seem to be able to put it down.

9 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

...My gratitude goes to you for running the forum thus far. I think I said recently that the facebook group dedicated to oo garden railways is fine for people posting videos and pictures but it is "of the moment" and doesn't have the permanence and therefore ability to be a resource of knowledge. Garden railway sections of other forums seem to be non-outdoor modellers commenting on outdoor modelling without being based on experience, so this forum is unique and I share your valuing it....

Yes we're a minority group here but I think it's great that most of our regular contributors have been here very much throughout the forums existence. Even some of the less regular contributors pop back in now and again and it's always good to welcome them back. Alas, there are those who can now never return to us but at least their work, all their modelling efforts and ambitions, are preserved here for others to view and gain inspiration from. We just need to find a suitable way to ensure we keep it all going!

10 hours ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

..I'd be keen to help keep it alive, though as you say, it is something better done by more than one person. I'll message you to find out what is involved and hopefully if others do too then a discussion can be opened to share responsibility and expenses...

Because there's very few of us there is actually very little forum moderation to be done. Everyone's pretty well behaved here!!

What's most important is that if anything should happen to me (and there are no immediate concerns that I'm aware of) then where does the forum go? Who is going to be able to access the forum itself, the hosting company, the software company, the domain registration company....? It's not just a simple case of logging in to the forum as an administrator. All the separate areas require someone's financial details in order to make the necessary payments. I'm not sure just yet how we do that.

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1 hour ago, mick said:

That's the way I tend to go about things Barry, it's usually all or nothing with me. I'm currently going through the 'photography' craze, walking round with a camera dangling round my neck all the time! Just don't seem to be able to put it down.

Yes we're a minority group here but I think it's great that most of our regular contributors have been here very much throughout the forums existence. Even some of the less regular contributors pop back in now and again and it's always good to welcome them back. Alas, there are those who can now never return to us but at least their work, all their modelling efforts and ambitions, are preserved here for others to view and gain inspiration from. We just need to find a suitable way to ensure we keep it all going!

Because there's very few of us there is actually very little forum moderation to be done. Everyone's pretty well behaved here!!

What's most important is that if anything should happen to me (and there are no immediate concerns that I'm aware of) then where does the forum go? Who is going to be able to access the forum itself, the hosting company, the software company, the domain registration company....? It's not just a simple case of logging in to the forum as an administrator. All the separate areas require someone's financial details in order to make the necessary payments. I'm not sure just yet how we do that.

That is very sensible thinking Mick. Not nice, but we all need to go through the process. I was on a popular and fact packed forum some years ago. Years and years of archive material in there. The only Admin and owner of the site sadly passed on, and even a year later, the forum remained inaccessible, and faded away. We may be a small group, and as I have said, I am not a good contributor, but I and the others seem solid enough to come together and keep it up and running. It needs just one to take the reins and the rest of us, I am sure, will back them wholeheartedly, and a moderator can be found to help out. As you say, we are a pretty well behaved bunch. No need for Politics, or Sport, or arguments here. If anybody did join, I feel that they would soon be given the bum's rush, even if not by you. 

I am a bit of a flitter myself. I blame being a Gemini. What's your excuse?

 

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This website/forum whatever, was a real find when I came upon it nearly 10 years ago and I did wonder how one man, i.e. Mick, could find the time and money to have created it. I would be very happy to contribute towards the costs involved but I am too old to learn new computer skills, besides which I already have 2/3 almost full time voluntary jobs which have prevented me making progress on my own garden railway. I have hesitated to suggest this, and I know there would be negative issues, but has the time come to offer the domain to a commercial organisation such as a magazine publisher?

At one time Pat Hammond ran an online discussion forum, called Model Rail Express I think, and this was much less formal than RMWeb but appeared most days. There was a brave attempt to put this on a commercial footing when Pat decided it was time for him to retire but I don't think it ever really took off.

I do hope oogardenrailway continues.

Edited by Riddles
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14 minutes ago, Riddles said:

This website/forum whatever, was a real find when I came upon it nearly 10 years ago and I did wonder how one man, i.e. Mick, could find the time and money to have created it. I would be very happy to contribute towards the costs involved but I am too old to learn new computer skills, besides which I already have 2/3 almost full time voluntary jobs which have prevented me making progress on my own garden railway. I have hesitated to suggest this, and I know there would be negative issues, but has the time come to offer the domain to a commercial organisation such as a magazine publisher?

At one time Pat Hammond ran an online discussion forum, called Model Rail Express I think, and this was much less formal than RMWeb but appeared most days. There was a brave attempt to put this on a commercial footing when Pat decided it was time for him to retire but I don't think it ever really took off.

I do hope oogardenrailway continues.

Another way to do it if nobody wants to subscribe would be to use a free forum portal such as Proboards. I have created a motor car forum on there with help from a friend with the intention of having a reserve in case a much larger forum folded. My forum has never been properly launched. How would it all be moved from one portal to another though? I have no idea as I am barely computer literate either. Here is an idea of what can be set up though.   https://mx5smilers.proboards.com Whatever happens, this forum will not fold. We owe it to Mick to keep it going somehow. In a funny way, we owe it to Tony as well.

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On 29/09/2021 at 13:07, roddy said:

Another way to do it if nobody wants to subscribe would be to use a free forum portal...

If you remember, we used to use the free phpbb software originally. I remember it took me ages to transfer everything across to this new one when we swapped over. I had to almost manually change the links to every single image, some of which have still not been done but they are on threads that hadn't been used for some time. With the free one it seemed there was always something going wrong, not working as it should, and there was no integral photo gallery, something I wanted to be able to offer.

From what I can make out there is currently no conversion program available for us to change back to a free version and even if there was we would lose all the images again and I don't want to even think of going there.

Bad news on this software front is that they have just added a 'modest' increase to the support licence. 'Modest' in that it is increasing from $70 to $110 annually which is an increase of 63%. It's a good job they were able to keep it at a reasonable level! The support package allows us to keep the software up to date and includes a level of spam protection. Do we actually need it?...yes we probably do.

Quote

Hello!

I’m writing to you to let you know about a few changes to your Invision Community license.

Don’t worry, it’s not bad news, but there is a price increase, so let’s get that out of the way first and then get onto the good stuff.

We’re switching to annual renewals with a modest price increase. The new renewal cost changes are as follows (per year):

  • Forums: was $50, now $80 (increase of $2.50/month)
  • Blogs: was $20, now $30 (increase of $0.83/month)
  • Gallery: was $20, now $30 (increase of $0.83/month)

 

modest
/ˈmɒdɪst/
adjective
1.
unassuming in the estimation of one's abilities or achievements.
2.
(of an amount, rate, or level) relatively moderate, limited, or small.
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Hi Mick

I would be happy to contribute a modest financial amount to see the forum continue, but am unable to contribute with admin skills.

As others have said, We owe you a great deal for keeping the forum going.

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3 hours ago, ba14eagle said:

Hi Mick

I would be happy to contribute a modest financial amount to see the forum continue, but am unable to contribute with admin skills.

As others have said, We owe you a great deal for keeping the forum going.

Thanks Iain. I'm sure the majority of our regular members feel much the same way. We're only a very small community but we've been together here for some time now and shared a big part of our lives even if only in a small and infrequent way. Most of us have never met in person but when we lose someone, as we have with Tony, then it sort of becomes a bit more personal. We shared so much of his interests over the past 7 years. I forget the number of times I had to tell him not to keep posting details of his own layout in other members layout threads! It used to drive me nuts at the time but I can forgive him that.

I'd like to think of a way for anyone to contribute to the forum if they wish to but in a way that they get something back in return. I've thought about posting items for sale and using the profits from those items to support the forum so that everyone who makes a purchase gets something they hopefully want. Whatever we can come up with I don't want anyone to feel obliged to have to contribute so maybe items for sale would be something worth considering.

What does everyone think?

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I've just remembered the time a few years ago when I believe we were still using the old phpbb forum software and I had incorporated advertisements into the forum in the form of Google Ads. That would have been one possible solution to the financing of the forum because they did help but there were a number of members who felt they detracted from the forum itself and so I withdrew them. Some members even delighted in the fact that they used ad blockers to block them anyway. I do too so I can't complain too much there. Weren't most of the ads we saw promoting Asian Brides or something like that?

I've since closed that account anyway and no longer use advertisements anywhere so that's a non-starter. It's a fine line trying to balance the wishes of members and keeping things ticking along.

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Hi Mick,

Hope everyone is well. I am struggling to think of a solution to keep the Forum going. I suspect that we are all pretty much in the same boat. SO let's just write down my thoughts which are probably useless, but may help trigger something else.

1--- We need to know how many contributing members we have that are willing to subscribe. 

2--- We can hardly deny an existing member, so they would have to be given Grandfather's rights.

3--- What is the cost per month or year or however it must be met?

4--- Regarding the Sales page. Yes why not? A percentage commission could be payable as per an Auction House fee. How would that be collectable? What would the commission % be? 10%? payable by both buyer and seller? My £100 loco would give the Forum £20 I think.

5--- Donate button, just for odd impromptu payments as and when we may feel generous, or like now, to honour a passed member such as Tony.

I am just kicking random thoughts around with my hands in my pockets.

6--- I feel sure that Mick would remain in the Admin Team, to train and pass on his technical knowledge to shall we say two further members of that team?

7--- The Admin Team needs to be installed really, to make the decisions with Mick, before moving forward.

8 We will get there. The Forum will not die.

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10 minutes ago, mick said:

I've just remembered the time a few years ago when I believe we were still using the old phpbb forum software and I had incorporated advertisements into the forum in the form of Google Ads. That would have been one possible solution to the financing of the forum because they did help but there were a number of members who felt they detracted from the forum itself and so I withdrew them. Some members even delighted in the fact that they used ad blockers to block them anyway. I do too so I can't complain too much there. Weren't most of the ads we saw promoting Asian Brides or something like that?

I've since closed that account anyway and no longer use advertisements anywhere so that's a non-starter. It's a fine line trying to balance the wishes of members and keeping things ticking along.

You are so right about Ads. I use an Adblocker. Others really don't see them. As I recall, it is something that doesn't actually generate anything, but you have to pay to not have them. As I have just rambled about Mick, you need your team to decide, rather than expect a total agreement from members. I am damned sure that we are all well behind you and the Forum, and I can't see anybody taking the huff and walking off in umbrage at a change or a charge.

 

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I'm not IT illiterate (I know that's a double negative, but a positive probably overstates my abilities) so I can take on all or some of the admin. It doesn't sound too onerous but someone to share the responsibility would be good.

It sounds like we might have 4 or 5 who would contribute to the financial side of things. We probably need to get an idea of expenditure required and what contributions people pledge to the running. Then set up a way of collecting contributions, the danger being in inadvertently creating a club, though it seems people are willing to donate to complete strangers on social media using things like Patreon so maybe that is a model.

The only thing I do think is that if the costs are quite high and the contributions don't get near then it gets left to someone to cover the rest; I had guessed that Mick was personally funding it before but never thought the costs would be as much as they are.

Perhaps there could be a contributers area so the subject of money can be discretely discussed?

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On 29/09/2021 at 12:53, Riddles said:

This website/forum whatever, was a real find when I came upon it nearly 10 years ago and I did wonder how one man, i.e. Mick, could find the time and money to have created it. I would be very happy to contribute towards the costs involved but I am too old to learn new computer skills, besides which I already have 2/3 almost full time voluntary jobs which have prevented me making progress on my own garden railway. I have hesitated to suggest this, and I know there would be negative issues, but has the time come to offer the domain to a commercial organisation such as a magazine publisher?.....

Hi Dave. I'm sorry, I overlooked responding to your comments.

I wouldn't think any commercial organisation would see much benefit in taking on a small forum such as this and even if it did, we'd lose the close community we've created for ourselves here if we were to integrate into another place. I used to post on larger forums initially but felt there wasn't sufficient consideration for those of us attempting OO gauge outdoors. Most of the outdoor sections, especially for smaller gauges such as 'OO', are generally to be found at the foot of the page somewhere. I can see their reasoning. 

I think we're better on our own, at least for now. Who knows, if our membership dwindles any further then I may be the last one standing anyway!

On 29/09/2021 at 12:53, Riddles said:

...I do hope oogardenrailway continues.

There's no danger of it disappearing anywhere any time soon. I might not always be available to log in and do anything but our numbers mean it does more or less take care of itself providing I pay the bills on time.

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15 minutes ago, Clay Mills Junction said:

....Perhaps there could be a contributers area so the subject of money can be discretely discussed?

I think that's a good idea Barry. Leave it with me and I'll sort something later.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Shortly after publishing the video featuring my weathering of the Bachmann 100 Ton TEA tank wagons I happened to look back at some of my previous videos, curious to see when they first featured on my garden railway and I discovered it was back in April 2010 on the Selby Garden Railway. It really doesn't seem that long ago and it's hard to believe that 11 years have since passed.

Those old videos show that a lot of the stock I had at that time is still with me and they also remind of some of the items, mainly locomotives, that alas no longer are.  I was remarking on YouTube about the length of time it has taken me to make a start weathering the tanks and then I noticed there are other wagons that I have similarly done nothing with and which were also part of the old SGR - the Autoballasters in particular have been with me for 10 years.

The wagons from the days of the SGR have certainly stood the test of time and I'm sure they'll be good for many more years yet.

12 years ago I posted a video showing 60007 (still got that one) hauling 47 MGR's on the SGR which was replicating an actual working taking spoil from Selby Discharge to the landfill site at Welbeck near Normanton. I think that was my entire collection of MGR's at the time but they've now increased to more than 140!

It's great to be able to look back over what you've done, what you've had and what you've let go. Much of it is forgotten without something to remind you and that's where YouTube and this OO Garden Railway forum comes in.

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