Rain, rain, come back please

In the wheat crop, Bruce Rock 1951

Another beeyootiful day, clear blue sky, bit cool 19C and no rain. The stats are saying we’ve only had half our usual winter rain to this date so far. We need more rain.

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I saved myself $179 last week.

I’ve never owned a vertical drill press and although I rarely need one, I want one. I’m sure you know the feeling – wanting something, but not needing it. For the last few years my eye has been taken by the Bosch PBD40:

But at A$439, I never needed it enough to buy it. Then Aldi came up with this one:

At A$179 it looked good but I procrastinated for months. Then last week there was one in Clarkson Aldi. I was sorely tempted, but decided to think on it. A few days later it was gone. No more stock.

Oh well, too bad, I don’t need it anyway, so I saved my $179.

But then I started thinking – Dremel.

I’m only thinking of model railway stuff, very small, very light duty. Dremel makes hand held drills, and what’s more, they make a vertical drill press accessory (below).

And they make a big range of useful tools:

To cut a long story short, I’d be far better off buying a Dremel and a stand. They come up frequently on Facebook Marketplace at about half price (why? Do guys buy them for just one job?) Once you’ve got a driver, you can add a router table, cut-off discs, rotary sanders, all sorts.

So I don’t need anything yet, but I think this will be the way to go – buy a driver from the range above, then a stand when I need it. It will add up to about the same price as the Aldi/Ferrex drill press and be much more versatile. Including battery powered. I’m thinking particularly about drilling lots of very small holes (0,5mm ?) in the rail tracks.

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I really, really have to make a start on my model railway! I’ve collected everything I need now. The NCE Power Cab hand held throttle I bought second hand a couple of weeks ago was the final item I needed to get myself powered up. That’s the item that takes the mains power (through a plug-pack/wall-wart) and generates the DCC signal which gets applied to the rails. In theory, I could take a length of rail from the box in my garage, connect this controller (“cab”, “throttle”) to it and drive a locomotive. It would be pretty boring, driving it from one end to the other and back again, but it’s theory, right?

I’ve found a supplier in NSW, Bowral, would you believe Bong Bong Street? They carry a pretty wide range of stuff but importantly, it’s all at $9.95 flat rate postage. I’ve been browsing EBay a lot, but the cost of postage often exceeds the cost of the item! Postage often amounts to $20 – $40. Better to buy locally.

I received 4x 10m lengths of 3mm thickness cork underlay yesterday. That’s what goes under the rails. I also have a 2m x 3m section of 3mm thick black rubber underlay out in the garage. It’s randomly perforated and is meant for flooring underlay or work area cushioning. I’ve had it for more than 7 years, waiting to use it as underlay for the rails. Being black, with a random pattern of holes, it will resemble black coal, like an industrial area. It will deaden the sound. Quite heavy, though. I’ll use a craft knife to cut most of it away in the areas which are not needed.

Waverley Station, Edinburgh, Scotland. I’ve been there, drove my hire car down the ramp on the left hand bridge, onto the platform, 2008.

I’d like to model that. Not too difficult, I think.

That sloping bridge at the top is un-nerving, for some reason. There’s no reason why a bridge can’t slope, it’s just that you don’t usually see a sloping bridge. I drove across it in the hire car in my desperate search for the hire car office.

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I saw my mate Barry, the real estate agent who sold my house in Charles Riley Rd, Trigg in 2013 for me. I mentioned that I’ve seen the listing for it recently (last year) as it was back on the market and the listing included a lot of photos of the renovation that the buyers did. Eg:

The interesting thing is that he was able to find the last sale price. I sold it for $687,000 in 2013. The sale price last year, after the renovations, was $1,185,000. Wow. But Barry reckons they would have spent around $150,000 on the renovations, so ($1,185,000 – $150,000 – $687,000) = $348,000 profit in eight years. Not bad, but a lot of work, and I can’t say I like the reno very much. It’s still only a 3 bed + 1 bath house.

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