On Thursday, I'd got roped in to lighting a warming fire so that Carpo could do a steam test on Friday, because they wanted 2807 in service on Sunday!
So, I toddled along at 2.30, expecting to be about 2 hours lighting up, with possible waiting periods (for fire to "brew" before shovelling more coal on) during which I might do some boot scrapering.
"Ah, there you are, Roger," said Carpo. "I've got a job for you!" Not a good sign, I thought. And I was right!
There were some blocked tubes. Carpo's idea was to suck the ash out using a hoover. Firstly, it needed two extension cables to get 240V to the engine. Then Henry (the hoover) needed his nose removing before he would go through the fire hole. So, there I am inside the firebox, shoving the hoover hose into the boiler tubes. By chance, the hose was a very good fit. Well, it is a bit of a struggle, because you have to lean on top of the brick arch to reach and bung the hose in the tube, and your head is only inches away from the "stalactites" hanging from the crown. Anyway, to cut a long story short - it didn't work!
Carpo decided that, as there were just 5 blocked tubes now, one top left plus four top right, he would allow 2807 to run on Sunday (obviously desperate!) and she'd have to stand down for the tubes to be cleared using an air lance. The latter blasts air at the blockage, forcing the ash back out of the blocked tube right into the face of the lance operator. I think I'll be late going down on Wednesday! :-))
So, Neil shunted me down to the water tower to fill up the boiler. I'd done the standard checks (that all holes were suitably plugged). Carpo & I rigged up the (fire) hoses and connected it all to 2807's injector. Now, the water from this huge hose goes into the injector, which has a 10mm (3/8 inch) hole in it. Hence filling up was not exactly speedy. I went and got some wood and some oily rags. Laid a fire. Had a cup of tea. painted a boot scraper. Checked if any water was visible in the glass - nope! Had another cup of tea. Made a note to bring some milk tomorrow. Pottered around a bit. Decided that, as it was teatime (in theory) I was allowed some chocky biscuits ... and another cup of tea. Gave some biscuit to the pet mouse. (S)he wouldn't touch the "ordinary" biscuit, last week! Only likes chocolate ones.
By 10 to 7, some water was at last visible - enough to risk lighting the fire. Final check that no plugs were leaking - one was, so Carpo had to apply a spanner to it (I'm not allowed to!). Lit the fire. Watched the water level rise to 2/3 full, then turned the hose off and disconnected it. Once the fire had taken hold, I banked it up .. possibly a bit too much, I thought, because the dreadfully slack coal seemed to put 3/4 of the fire out! Anyway, there were still two flames, so I thought: "That's it for me!" Finally knocking off at 7.30.
I passed by on Friday morning - with the milk. Carpo was not sounding happy, but that was none of my business! Nothing to do with me, so keep out of it! Touched up the boot scraper that I'd painted yesterday, now that I could see it better in daylight.
I had a phone call from Fred on Saturday evening. He, Bruce, Gil & Geof were down during the day. I didn't find out what they did, though! Message from Winchcombe station cafe: sold out of boot scrapers.
Sunday was classic car day at Todders. I popped in out of curiosity. 2807 was backing onto the rake of grotty maroon coaches. I think Foremarke was preparing for the dining train. Carpo passed by and said "Hello" - fortunately nothing else!