Sunday, January 05, 2020

Just a few days absence from tw****r and less time spent on other asocial media and I have got more done. Sadly, work got in the way but modelling, reading and walking more as a start so I think I made the correct decision.  More work on the group build and because we have two weeks to do which doesn't sound like much, I find it is more than ample time to complete this build.

Fluffy has been absent for the last two days and we suspect his owners may have realised that if they neglect him, he will seek a home elsewhere...or at least food and a warm bed for the night.

It is 'dryanuary' as well as 'veganuary' and I hate these state sponsored 'charities' that nag us via various media to give up / cut down / move more. The adverts are highly moralistic and exceptionally patronising in tone. I usually stop or reduce my alcohol intake for January anyway and this year I will do the same. After my scare over Xmas I drank little alcohol and as for the vegans...I am eating more veg which I do anyway but the bacon sandwich for breakfast was delicious as was the haggis I had t'other day.  No.1 son has again adopted a vegetarian diet which usually means there is a girl somewhere who has a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. The freezer is now packed with various vegan meals and foods despite my suggestion that the frozen vegetables we already have in there could be used and he would save money. Sue likes a Sunday roast but today I might opt for baked beans on toast as the rich food over the holidays was more than enough for me.

I have a cup of tea calling me and my weekly catch up with the bizarre world of bigfoot podcasts as I enjoy this day of rest.


Wednesday, January 01, 2020

   Happy New Year and all the best for 2020 to my readers!

This may be a meandering post of various disparate threads but all have led me to having thoughts on one theme...the need for change. I wasn't going to post as I have been a grumpy fellow over the past week and I felt somewhat uncomfortable both at work and home. But BW's latest missive prompted me to do this and her recommendation of a book which gave me a light bulb moment.

Yesterday at work coalesced my thoughts as I drove through the fog to and from work and out on visits over the hills. It occurred to me that the dense fog and isolation of the roads was quite eerie and before the adoption of motor vehicles, everyone would either walk or use animals for transport. At walking pace either on foot or horse, life was slower, there was more time to think and a greater connection with the real and immediate world and more importantly, to other people and feeling part of something. The winter fogs, cold and isolation plus time to think possibly accounts for many myths, stories and beliefs, retold over every generation. Life was hard and to survive people had to work hard and earn their crust within a regular and familiar routine. In rural areas this meant agriculture, living with and within the seasons and again that close connection to the earth and the natural world. I drove a total of 75 miles yesterday in my self contained insulated box but going to the next village or the largest town ten miles away back in the day was a major undertaking. 

The above photo shows Fluffy (Elvis) who has moved in with us over the past week. He is very thin and ill kempt despite our efforts to look after him. We now realise he has an abscess in his mouth or there is a problem with his teeth as he struggles to eat. He is also settling on us, either on me or Sue's lap which is new behaviour to us. He decided to settle on one of my model shelves yesterday evening which caused Sue to panic as he knocked off or broke models. Sue was surprised by my response which was to slowly and quietly extricate the models and leave Fluffy there. As I pointed out, they can be repaired and aren't as important to me as the welfare of the cats is and he was settled, happy and content on the shelf. 

Advertising on mainstream and social media, lately aimed to persuade us to Buy! Buy! Buy! for xmas happiness, now for holidays, weight loss, health, insurance and again new year sales. I have been listening to music on line and podcasts so as to avoid the relentless advertising of false promises, rubbish and unnecessary encumbrances of modern life. 

Another strand...I travelled to a ward round two days ago for someone who has spent the past two weeks in hospital, a round trip of 75 miles and demands a full half day away from the other demands made of my time. It requires a half day because whatever time has been arranged for the review belongs to Narnia time. It has no connection to real life time and so it proved in this case. We finally got in an hour later than arranged and it proved to be a complete waste of time. Medical staff who don't listen and have no understanding of the lives of ordinary people but want to meet targets. I shan't add anything else of this account because of confidentiality but it ties in with the other strands of this narrative. We had planned to help this person to the Salvation Army xmas meal as they are completely isolated apart from visits from me and another colleague.

Modern life...the frenetic pace to pursue wealth, health and happiness whilst living a life which really doesn't contribute to all of these needs / desires. Time is precious and people are precious so combine the two and double the joy. This was brought home to us returning to work on Monday to discover a colleague whose husband was killed in a car crash on xmas day. BW suggested a book about life without technology and this was the light bulb moment. I have avoided twitter for a few days now as I am reducing my exposure to it, breaking my addiction to it and I plan to quit using it altogether. There are lovely people on there with some funny and interesting comments is outweighed by the overwhelming anger, rage, hatred and stupidity of comments plus the relentless advertising. When you ignore the object being sold and ask what is actually being sold, it is dreams of wealth, health and happiness. Time is precious but technology or rather, the use of it speeds time up and sucks us into this frenetic chasing of ones own tail. What is frightening is that this exposure to this bullshit happens at a younger age than ever before and when all is considered, is it any wonder that the prevalence of mental illness is greater than ever. Losing time, losing connections to others and the natural world, failing to achieve those pipe dreams sold to us on a near continual basis, struggling to make sense of this world, speeding past anything truly important in life and something has got to give.

I deliberately took time to notice over the xmas period in the shops those lone elderly folk who were shopping, generally with a single trolley, for their xmas meals. They are not on the fast paced exciting lane of wealth, health and happiness sold to the rest of us. They are left behind, surplus to requirements and not important to advertisers unless they have money and it is funeral plans being sold.  It's time to rethink on a personal level how to redefine my life, what I want from it and I suspect  that if one dug down into the referendum and recent elections, this sense of being disconnected from society, from others and being marginalised is at the heart of it. I am going to stop there as this could run and run. I am keeping fb as I belong to a couple of modelling groups and I have joined a group build which will run for the next two weeks. Progress thus far is shown below.

I am also slowly reading my way through 'Most Secret War' by R.V. Jones as someone on twit ter recommended it and it is a fascinating read. I have started buying second hand real books rather than kindle as I do like the feel of a real book and buying second hand is recycling which I do believe we should do more of.
Again, I wish you all the best for 2020 with health and happiness in abundance.


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Well...that's over for another year.
For the first time in many years I did not enjoy Christmas. It felt like any other Sunday but on a Wednesday, a day off from work and a roast dinner. It could have been the last several months but I don't know. I enjoyed watching A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sims (twice) and another version with George C Scott. I also enjoyed the past few days of BBC Radio 3 festive offerings but this year...nothing. I have written before about the commercialisation of the celebration and BW's FOTCR hits that nail square on. TV and radio adverts always muted but the invasion of advertising on social media is also a continuous onslaught. This year it was a very muted affair with DVD's and modelling as my preferred activities. The cats are full of turkey and gammon including our now regular visitor as Sherlock displays below his indifference to the season.

I have a few days off as Sue has a hospital appointment tomorrow and fingers crossed this will be it apart from an occasional follow up. I have now nearly got rid of the cough after eight weeks although worryingly I have had brief episodes of breathlessness and rapid irregular heart beat which I will have to see the GP about. I suspect it is linked to the recent virus but one can't be too careful. Anyhow, here is my current work in progress...

Plus the recently completed Ventura in 1/48th scale.

I am particularly pleased with the Ventura as my airbrush and paint brush skills have improved and it finally shows on this build. Patience, care and attention to detail finally acquired and applied.
I have also signed up to a group build starting January 1st which sees us building a kit from start to finish in fifteen days. The Anson was originally set aside for it but I couldn't wait and the bus I want to build will require more than fifteen days to do it justice. I will have to look through the stash for a simple small out of the box build.
Back to Aretha playing on Spotify and a cup of tea.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

                                             Happy Christmas folks!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Day off today only to discover that the equipment I need for the early Monday morning visit on my doorstep is under my desk back at the office. So a trip in to collect that otherwise I am stymied next Monday. The election...well, the conservatives won and although I am happy the extreme left won't have power, being  slightly left of centre politically I am not entirely a happy bunny. The political system in this country needs to change with proportional representation needed, an elected second chamber and greater honesty and transparency in politics and the media. I am glad this is over and hopefully some stability at last. Given that a major financial crash is looming on the horizon the gods know what happens next. I will follow the guidance from my advisor pictured below...

Take to a warm comfy bed, ignore social media and the general media and apart from my trip into the office, enjoy my days off.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

I am afraid this is becoming a weekly update as the past week was busier at work than the previous week and I tend to get in from work, eat dinner and slump in a comfy chair to read or watch TV. Not the healthiest or best lifestyle but I find myself working long hours again as management panic in response to yet another visit from the CQC. Staff are beginning to look for other jobs and plan to leave. I will probably plod on as I know I have a definite plan for the future and with my experience I know all the necessary wrinkles to continue doing the job at my pace. It's sad to see staff with several years of experience decide they have had enough and move on. A story for another day and I promise I will tell it.

Sue had her final radiotherapy and we are attending an appointment after Christmas with the consultant. Hopefully that is treatment finished and it will be follow up monitoring only. She is exhausted, sleeps at the drop of a hat and is experiencing various side effects of treatment which we are hoping will lessen with time.

Work continued on the Ventura today with further painting in between cats wanting to know what I am doing. I don't see the little feline buggers but I set the table up and they emerge from their hidey holes...five of them today as Fluffy (Elvis) joined them. Final parts to be glued in, a further clear coat followed by chipping, pin wash, another clear coat for decals and it will be completed. I have lined up the next build...

I intended to start on another RAF bomber but I spotted this in my stash and I am keen to build this. I have the bus crew which I bought separately and I have also ordered some passengers. I like the style and colour scheme and for once I bought this kit from a bricks and mortar model shop in a nearby town where I do many of my visits.

As for the election...I will vote but I have now stopped listening to / viewing any of the election news. What a for idiot A or Idiot B. I have only had one party canvassing at our door and as I was ill at the time I told them politely to go away and not come back. I should have entered one of my cats as a candidate.
Vote for Watson! Free tuna, comfy boxes for all and a tax to be introduced on all dogs except guide dogs.
I bet he'd have garnered a few votes.


Sunday, November 24, 2019

An early start with the modelling today as I used the window of opportunity afforded to me as the various cats explored their demesne which in their minds encompasses various neighbouring properties, the school and undoubtedly access to their river.

I airbrushed some sky blue to the underneath of the Ventura with the window and back door open, my face mask on and ensuring it was a quick job. I also ensured the parts still on the sprues were sprayed and then attended to brush painting some other parts.

Given this bloody cough I am being careful with my exposure to spray paint. Blue Witch gave me some useful advice about adding a few drops of Vicks / menthol crystals to a bowl of boiling water and this certainly helps. My reply included a reference to my childhood and my mother stating I had suffered with asthma as a child which I cannot recall. I certainly remember having an asthma attack aged eighteen but that was 'Farmers lung' from helping to move hay bales on a farm in Yorkshire on a very hot day. I also cannot go into enclosed spaces with caged birds as that causes me breathing difficulties. Certainly the best decision I ever made was to quit smoking 34 years ago. My childhood home was an interesting one where we shared a house with two other families. Not separate flats as the house was completely open with a shared bathroom and when we moved to the ground floor we had an outside toilet. No central heating, single paned windows, live-in mice and plenty of fresh air ventilation in the walls. For heating we used paraffin heaters and had blankets, coats, cover our beds at night for warmth. We weren't any different from many of the other immigrant families in our area in this regard. Even now I think back and it was normal, this was all we knew.

That brings up further thoughts if one considers that as poverty which oddly enough I didn't think so at the time. There is also poverty of ideas, of opportunities for people from my background which I didn't become aware of until I was an adult in my twenties. One thing really brings this home to me and that was the series Time Team. I realised quickly that I would have loved to work as an archaeologist but as a teenager I had no concept of that or awareness that I could go to university and study archaeology. The boys in my school who went to university generally came from middle class backgrounds with parents supportive of and keen for their kids to attend university. Did I resent it? No, it never occurred to me to be envious of others and I believed it was the way the world worked. Deferred gratification was certainly known to me from my sociology lessons from a Socialist Belfast teacher who drove an old Porsche which made us kids chuckle. I did eventually go to uni and I studied History but did not complete my degree as impending parenthood focused my attention on earning money and providing a home. I studied with the Open University and added further to my education in health and social care. Then other universities on day release to the point where I now have post grad qualifications. What I find bizarre is that it took me so long to realise I can study and do more, that the limitations are generally those in my own mind. Then I realise that it is ignorance and a mindset where I felt this was a separate alien world to the one I inhabited. Ironically, I was a permanent fixture at my local library where I devoured all sorts of books which did give me an education of sorts to add to my formal education. Historical books, biographies, Science Fiction, science books, etc...All was grist to my mill and as I now know, an escape from the everyday world, particularly home with a drunken violent father.

This now leads to thoughts about what I would like to do next. For work purposes I now attend work related short courses, usually cognitive behavioural therapy or associated therapies generally for 2 - 3 days as this fulfils the criteria for my nurse registration. I still enjoy history and it is that I want to study again but for enjoyment. It might be that when I retire finally I can use the WEA and other agencies for local histories. For now, I have no option but to work for the next year at my full time job but it's healthy to not only consider where I have come from but what I would like to do next.