Museum working party 27th Jan 2022

The Tywyn weather mojo got wind that the working parties were restarting as the latest Omicron wave is now receding and delivered a dry morning with sunshine in time for coffee. The team assembled amidst the puddles of overnight rain and after a bit of a catchup chinwag, Max Birchenough, Charles Benedetto, Andy Sheffield and John Olsen did a fair impersonation of Thunderbird 2 rolling out of its silo with wagon no. 146, sadly minus the stirring music.

The walls are all in place but not all of the bolts holding the walls are, as there had been an underestimation of the number of long bolts required. Before Christmas John ordered a further batch of A4 marine grade stainless steel, this time in chemical black finish as the bolts go through black painted strapping, and they were cheaper than the shiny ones! Andy and Max did the honours of putting in the new bolts while Charles and John sorted through the box of metal parts, all labelled, and the painted wooden door parts, all labelled, and began to assemble the three doors.

Andy needed to drill out a new hole in one plank as the repairs to it had plugged the original hole, but with the drill and 12mm bit, the job was as good as done. John investigated the coffee making facilities in the Guards Room as the January shutdown of the cafe was likely to have led to one or more ingredients being used up; no milk. He went to the Coop to correct this situation and declared coffee time upon his return.

He and Max emerged from brewing the coffee to find David and Mandy Broadbent, plus faithful hound, on site to join us in the warm sunshine. David is recovering from a heart attack so has a doctors note freeing him from heavy duties but it still allows him to come and join the banter over coffee, cake and his contribution of shortbread biscuits, delicious. Inevitably our discourse covered who had had a heart attack and how many before moving onto lighter non medical matters like the rather rudimentary storage conditions of the local archive to which a car load of Talyllyn Railway documents had been added mid week. We then bounced onto the ever popular COVID restrictions and the latest scandal to hit the Prime Minister. This led to politicians blagging free rides in tanks and why couldn’t we, the general public, get a free ride in a tank; well we have paid for them!

Refreshed we returned to the wagon where Andy and Max got some of the hinges ready for remounting by cleaning them up and painting them while Charles and John hit a problem with the third door, the holes just wouldn’t line up with the straps and hinges. A forensic examination of the two short planks revealed that during the repair of a split in one plank it had been labelled on the outer face rather than the inner one; end result the inside face was beautifully, but incorrectly, painted. Flipping the plank over allowed all the holes to line up, ho-hum, just another day in paradise. Charles sanded and primed the true outer face and this was left to dry for next week. John dug the roof straps out from the darker recesses of the Gunpowder Store ready for the next major job, which is to re-attach the roof sheets.

By the end of play numerous bolt substitutions had been made, three doors had been ‘assembled’, two doors actually bolted together, one missing bolt hole drilled and no. 146 returned to the shelter of the Gunpowder Store.

Photos by John Olsen