It’s time once again to join in with Clare’s Share Your Desktop Challenge. I’m currently using a real world photo rather than a virtual one. We’re still under lockdown conditions here so I’ve put up a shot taken 4 years ago when steam specials were running on our rails.

This is possibly the most famous locomotive in the world – Flying Scotsman – though I personally don’t understand why. It doesn’t hold the world speed record – that belongs to Mallard. I don’t think it’s the finest looking engine out there – I prefer the looks of the Royal Scot class and there are others of the GWR persuasion who would sneer at the lack of copper cap on the chimney πŸ˜‰ However, that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. In fact, I have every reason to appreciate its lines as my Grandfather once drove for the LNER – the company that built this locomotive.

Unfortunately, ‘Scotsman carries some baggage around with her. Probably because of the excess hype around every trip she makes, crowds come out to take photos and some misguided persons trespass on the railway causing delays to services. Although the press talk about railway enthusiasts when they report this, many of those causing issues are just normal members of the public who only come out because they’ve heard of Flying Scotsman.

On the day I took this photo, ‘Scotsman was routed away from a more obvious route probably in a move to reduce the risk of people going onto the tracks. I checked out the working timetable and realised that there would be a photo opportunity as the special – The Cathedrals Express – passed through Willesden Junction. I expected there to be other enthusiasts on the bridge at Old Oak Common Lane but found I had it all to myself!

So here is Flying Scotsman with The Cathedrals Express drifting round the curve of South West Sidings at Willesden Junction…

…It’s early summer and there is still a freshness to the green of the trees. Hopefully I can get back to photographing trains by the time summer comes this year πŸ™‚

It hardly seems like a month ago since we last looked at desktops courtesy of Clare’s challenge. Mine changed back on Jan 28th.

A couple of years back I made a ‘skin’ for trailers in Euro Truck Simulator. This allowed me to have owned trailers painted in our company colours. For those new to my involvement in Truck Simulation, my European company is Martin Transport et Logistique based in Montpellier, France. At the time, I made them in a hands on manner. They worked fine for a year or so and then an update broke them – mods in games often stop working after updates to the main game code. I made a number of attempts to get them working again but couldn’t and, quite often, found myself diverted from that task by wishing to get on with driving – especially when there was an event on that required helping the in-game community.

SCS Software – makers of Euro Truck Simulator 2, and its companion game American Truck Simulator, claim to have the best community ever. It’s fair to say that we often help each other out either with encouragement in events or helping new players with advice (even on things way outside of the games we play!). There is a newer method of adding skins into the game called Mods Studio (created by another member of the playing community) and I had hoped that this would resolve my issue. But I couldn’t get it to work on the pc I use for doing artwork and photography. I mentioned this in passing to one of my fellow drivers and he offered to help. Actually, he said they’d take a look – meaning he was going to get his Good Lady to take a look as she has got Mods Studio working on her pc. All I had to do was send my original artwork. A day or so later and.. Voila!..

…That’s an example of the Best Community Ever at work. This is one of my general haulage fleet, ‘Lady Galadriel’, parked up in my yard at Limoges with one of my company’s curtainside trailers. Come the dawn it will be time to head out on a new day’s work. With the trailer’s now back to displaying the company identity, I’m going to have to review the liveries of all my trucks… But, there’s lots of hauling to be done too πŸ™‚

In response to Clare’s Challenge I’m sharing my desktop again. We’re once more back in a virtual reality, a fact that is given away by the oversized gifts on the trailer of the truck. My MAN TGX (named Charlie) has just coupled up to the trailer in Bonifacio on a sunny evening on the island of Corsica…

…ready to deliver the gifts to L’Ile Rousse on the north of the island. This screenshot was taken during the annual Euro Truck and American Truck Simulator Christmas Event run by SCS Software. Each year there is a target for the community to achieve and this year it was achieved in 10 days, which was something of a record πŸ™‚ You can read about the event here.