Unusual Suspects

I thought I would add a few snaps of what I do outside of my model interests and some of the friends that populate my life outside the steam world.

It has been pointed out to me by the more observant among you that you may notice some small changes in my weight over past 30 years or so. This was due to me becoming a black belt in yo-yo weight loss management. However in 2006 thanks to the expertise of Mr Akroyd and the Gastric bypass department of sheffield hospital. 14st (196 1bs)or(89 kg) less later I can fully recommend getting your throat (joke) cut as a yellow brick road to weight loss success.

I spent many years working for Derek Crouch in opencast mining what, our atlantic cousins would call strip mining. A great company to work for where the average fitters working week was 5, 12's and a half shift on saturday and sunday. So they put some time in but what made it worth while was the "crack", and the cream scone's in the afternoon in the Acklington canteen.

380W under construction

The Bucyrus Erie 380W walking drag line was unusual in that it came as a bolt together kit. Above the rear power module is being secured after lifting into place. This snap was taken at the start of our Scottish adventure in Kirkconnell

380W done

By the looks of things erection is finished and she is ready to walk off to work.


Mangham Shaw's White delivering our D10 for erection on site in Kirkconnell. At the time the D10 was the biggest bulldozer in the CAT family. We found a couple of things out for CAT. The first being if you drove it into a lagoon it did not float. Then later although made entirely of metal if you set fire to it, it burned like a roman candle

182 on the move

At the end of the Sister's site one of the face shovels E72, a Marion 182M was moved to I think Acklington site. Just a bit short of horse power to run up the ramp onto site we hitched a D8 on the front. Something not liked by haulage contractors as usually they stopped where they were but the front of the Scammell and the D8 went merrily on their way. Luckily this time all went well.

ready for work

After refitting the boom and a coat of paint ready for work.


At the start of the Togstone site Crouch purchased a new RB195B face shovel and here the revolving frame is being lowered onto the lower works. With their backs to camera are Eric Elliott, Charily Hardcastle and on the right in the sports jacket Arthur ? the RB erection engineer and in the boiler suite is the foreman rigger who's name I now, have forgotten. Sadly only Eric is still alive from this group.


All the large draglines were owned by the National Coal board, and maintained and operated by the contractor. Here the boom is down on RB 1260W for a bit of maintenance an unusual occurrence as it was a major operation to get the boom on the floor. Shortly after this the 1260 walked over to a new site and a new contractor Budge as we lost the tender. Although we probably did not know it, this was the beginning of the end for what had gone before as the "crack" was gradually phased out to be replaced by cost cutting and wholesale redundancy's in the industry.


Two long shots of, above, a Bucyrus 1150B walking drag line and below a Marion 7800. Both shots were taken at the end of the Togstone site. Unusually both machines were stripped and shipped back to the states. Well I think they were but i know the 1150 sat on the dock in pieces at Sunderland for many years and i am not sure ever made it back home.


penn overland

Concurrent with the Crouch shots in the early 70's John Angus with his back to camera and myself took off for a three week "adventure" holiday in the Sahara and Morocco. the adventure bit turned out to be killing the Bedford when the fuel filter fell off the engine. Then making our way out to the coast to finnish the holiday in a club 18-30 resort. The last foreign holiday I took for about 18 years I wonder why?


Somewhere round Lochinver in the North West of Scotland with two other loves. Joe Walsh on the sweat shirt and a Range Rover. The V8 burble of which i have never forgotten. Obviously taken when 15 miles to the gallon was only looked on as expensive, not a crime against the planet. And you could still get a plastic bag at the supermarket without getting a ten minute lecture on what fluffy furry was drowning and why it was all my fault.


Daft Punk?

The late ninety's with Ritchie who has carried me home from far too many drunken nights out. Taken long before the gastric bypass when both our minds were probably on where the nearest KFC was.

Grt North

Picking up Clive after 2007's great North run, the conundrum here is why he looks fresher than I do after he has just run 13 miles?

Aurora Cat Plant

On a visit to the CAT Aurora plant sitting in the bucket of a 994 with on my left George, Graham, and Patrick

jet flight

Somewhere in Finland on the corporate jet. Not bad for a lad from Belford Secondary Modern School. Who left at 15 having failed my 11+, no O-levels, but an apprenticeship looming and many years of night school still to come.

This year two of my friends and I decided to leave the wives at home and do a weeks canal boat trip in France on the Canal du Midi. Three men in a boat, no wives, a winery on every corner, a recipe for disaster ? Surprisingly not it was wall to wall sunshine from the minute we stepped off the plain, just a great week even for a Francophile like me.

Paul B

Paul B,l in his usual position taking charge

Paul G

After finding no sensible conversation on the boat Paul G, finally finds a friend.


With Paul in front of the Milieu Bridge. Who says engineering isn't art? You will also notice we have still not got the what to do with your hands conundrum in a photograph sorted yet

Now why am i smiling

Well it might be with a rubbish Blackberry camera but you just have to smile, 2009, the oval, Freddy on a cameo and who's urn is it now Ricky?

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