Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Progress so far on my current build, a Polish PZL-37A in Romanian livery circa 1941 in 1/72 scale.
There is still some work to do but it's not far from completion and keeping me distracted during my current troubles and the on-going world troubles.

I have been looking on-line at suitable cars to get some ideas and I discovered my old Suzuki Wagon-R for sale. I am sorely tempted as I really liked that car and it was tough and generally reliable but realistically it now has 105k miles on the clock and it is now sixteen years old. It still has the dents in it from the drunken morons who attacked it one night.

I'll keep an eye on it but I won't be considering any replacement car until later this year. It will have to be upright and easy to get into with supportive comfy seats for bad backs. It's a bugger getting old! 
Speaking of which I will take my car out for a drive later to see how my back copes with it, plus the cats are running out of food. 


Monday, June 01, 2020

Pinch, punch, first of the month and no returns! It's June 1st and we are now in the summer months...

I am currently off sick as Friday night my back decided it didn't want to work. Lower spine seized up, lots of pain and my right leg refused to move. I had very little sleep that night and Saturday was my final weekend working day which I had to cancel. Pain relief, lots of rest and gentle movement plus the application of a hot water bottle and deep heat applied has eased it substantially. Colleagues have told me to stay off for a few days and properly rest it which I will do. I am taking the view that my health matters more this time round and I am not going to jeopardise it by rushing back too soon.

It was the incident back in February which has caused this problem. Without getting too much into it I was on a visit and a man hanged himself. I had to shin up a ladder, lift him and take his full weight as another person cut him down. Good news is he survived and is well; bad news is that I now have back and right knee problems and last Friday night really shook me up. Being unable to move and struggling to move my right leg was somewhat frightening. I am moving more now and walking albeit slowly and somewhat gingerly but it has improved. A couple of weeks ago I had emailed my manager to ask about the referral she promised to make for physio at the time and I assumed it was CV-19 holding this up. Sadly, I now suspect she did not make the referral so I will chase that up. A colleague and me attended and received fulsome praise from various managers for our actions but bugger all has happened since despite me stating my concerns.

It's also prompted me to consider some changes as I will need to change my car for one that has easier access and egress as well as more sensible seating, possibly an automatic. I will be requesting a new more supportive chair at work and looking at other options for managing my caseload to keep the mileage down once the restrictions are lifted. Funnily enough, the most supportive chair I have at home is the one I use when modelling. I had planned yesterday to put some new plants in, cut the grass and tackle some more of the weeding but that's been postponed for another week. I can manage 30 minutes of bench work with the models and I am being strict with that.

The bus I finally finished yesterday and I am not happy with it but it will do. The aircraft is the Polish PZL 37A which is my current build. It is going slowly but I will have it completed this week as I approach it little and often each day.

Other good news is that I received my annual mortgage statement this morning and there is less to pay off than I thought. For whatever reason I had the previous years figure in my head. Having calculated how much I can save and still leave enough for any emergencies later this year I could conceivably pay it off at the end of August. This will open up opportunities for next year when I intend to reduce my working hours as I will request a move to part-time working, either in my current role or elsewhere. I think the last few months of this CV-19 crisis, the response of various parties and the general public and some of the on-going lunacy generally has confirmed my resolve to spend more time doing the things I want to do. Sue's cancer and now my own health issues has reinforced that view. It's also the realisation that my work colleagues and I have gone the extra miles over the last few months and our manager's response is to try and pile more work on us to meet yet more targets and ignore the evidence that we cannot do any more. Also, that as nurses we were and are working face to face and doing visits, yet most of the doctors with one excellent exception,  most of the managers, all of the social workers and psychologists were and are absent yet are demanding we attend further urgent face to face visits. Then some have the gall to complain some of what we did wasn't good enough! Short shrift was given and there will be some awkward meetings when they return.
Yes, I am angry and the world is changing post virus and for our team I suspect many of us will move on next year, particularly us 'oldies' considering proper retirement plans. Three of us are retirees who have returned.  Growing fruit and vegetables, home brewing and sticking to local activities and initiatives may well be the way forward and attempting to aim for a more self sufficient lifestyle may well be the way forward.
I must away as it's time for a cuppa and some gentle walking to loosen up the muscles and stop me seizing up completely. Stay safe and take care because politicians and the supposed 'great and the good' sure as hell don't care.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Another weekly update although this week I booked an annual leave day for Friday and wouldn't you know it, I came down with a cold on Thursday so I was pleased to have the extra day off. Yesterday and today was spent doing some modelling, walking for a dose of sunshine and fresh air and tidying up a small part of the garden with the aid of various felines. We joined the local swan watch and they benefitted from some cake we had bought as we felt they needed it more. The nesting swans have produced one cygnet which is very unusual as they usually have a brood of several cygnets. There is a lot of rebuilding work taking place on the Haven particularly the old building some local youths remodelled with the aid of fire many years ago. We believe this has disturbed the wildlife including the swans. We saw them again today and amusingly we received some dirty looks from a couple of women who were watching the swans and photographing them. Odd really as we were about fifteen feet away from the women and I'm not aware of a local bye-law allowing specifically named people the right to watch the swans. The lockdown has certainly exaggerated the personalities and behaviour of people although happily most people are ok.

Work continues on the diorama with the latest build of the motorcycle combination on the left a work in progress as I have weathering to do and then the diorama base.  The one on the right is a build from three years ago and the improvement is noticeable although I still have much to learn. A scene from a very dry and dusty Russia in late summer 1941. This will be finished in the next week or so and I then have a choice as to what I build next. I still have an earlier small diorama to complete with a small Schwimmwagen and the Blitz bus needs to be finished off. Otherwise the next new build will be an aircraft and it is likely to be either a bomber or a seaplane

This a picture from last year and there are about a dozen more kits stored away plus boxes of figures and accessories. I shan't be buying any more kits plus I have a lot of books to read so when I do have some time off later this year I intend to visit family and also focus on hobbies at home.

I shan't talk about work as little needs to be said other than it is very busy and very tiring. As I have said before I tend to get home, eat and collapse in front of the TV. Words have been exchanged with colleagues from other professions who are quick to email demands yet we haven't seen hide nor hair of them for eight weeks. 
I hope all is well with you and you are all keeping safe during these strange and trying times. What comes next is anyone's guess but I have a horrible sense that it ain't gonna be good.


Friday, May 08, 2020

I guess I should say Happy VE day but it is an odd celebration and begs the question why?
I can see that commemorating the efforts, the trials and hardships of all who participated and fought against the Nazi's is worth this but...

The war ended formally on the 8th May after a variety of separate surrenders throughout Europe but fighting continued, particularly in Czechoslovakia and in the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine fighting continued between the Soviet Union and various nationalist groups who didn't want Stalin's tyranny to replace Hitler's tyranny. There are a couple of books I recommend:

'Savage Continent: Europe in the aftermath of WW2' by Keith Lowe. It makes for depressing reading and yet I think essential because people don't consider what was required to clear up the physical mess and damage but, also the enduring emotional and social legacies of the war. 

'The End: Germany, 1944 - 45' by Ian Kershaw also offers a good insight as to why the war ended when it did and the increasing horrors of the death throes of the Nazi regime but also why the Germans continued to fight until the bitter end. 

Inevitably there is also the question of the war against Japan which continued until September 1945 yet always played second fiddle from the British perspective to the war against Germany. Why not commemorate the ending of the war in it's entirety this coming September? Interestingly, the British used Japanese troops to put down nationalist uprisings in Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) late 1945 -46.  The former enemy worked alongside British troops to control the islands. 

I used a picture of a Polish aircraft because they were the first to fight and they were betrayed by all sides post WW2 in the realpolitik of Soviet and allied occupation of Germany and Europe. The war might have ended but for many it continued in other forms and with other enemies whose behaviour and rule differed little from that of the Nazi's. 

BW raised an interesting point about 'Post-viral syndromes' when this mess is over. From discussions at work we believe we will be inundated. When the 'primary' service which offers CBT for the less severe cases can't cope they have a tendency to refer our way. Despite having fewer staff and working with the severe and enduring cases we do get dumped on a lot. The primary service earns a profit whereas we don't. Schizophrenia has never been a money earner unless you are a Hollywood actor portraying it in a movie, often very badly. I hope we don't as we can barely cope most of the time so the next couple of years could be very interesting. Post virus, the immediate impact of the lockdown itself, fear and anxiety possibly likely and there is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which inevitably gets sent our way by GP's who believe it is all in the mind. But more likely is the potential for loss of work, money, home, relationships, alcoholism, domestic violence , etc... which might also increase the need for MH provision to address the various issues that arise. Realistically, we have no idea as to what will happen next and this is the latest chapter of the daily drama called Living in Interesting Times.


Thursday, May 07, 2020

Absence makes the heart stronger...or perhaps not as I have nothing to report other than work and more work. I said the cracks are starting to show with the CV-19 lockdown and our work.  Crisis after crisis this week and today as I was heading out the door at 4 p.m having secured an hour off from the accrued several hours time owing I was still being chased for work! 8 a.m. starts and late finishes is not good so three days off will be gleefully devoured.

This part has been deleted: the original entry gone but all is good. ;)

Otherwise my plans are for modelling, more tidying of the garden and if the sun shines, I intend to sit out with a good book, some good coffee and top up my vitamin D.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

I have been sourcing eggs from a woman at work who keeps hens and here are some of the eggs...

A mixture of colours and sizes including these blue / green eggs which I hadn't seen before. I asked her what hen breeds she keeps but she admitted she doesn't know, that she just keeps them as I am curious as to which hens lay the blue eggs.I might ask her to take some photos of her hens but she might consider that odd!

Work is busier than ever with my last two days requiring home visits, crisis team and planning for potential  MH Act assessments. We are starting to see some unravelling in response to the ongoing lockdown and having to deal with this. One person took up the entirety of Friday and tomorrow should be an interesting day as I expect it to continue in much the same vein. I quite welcomed the lockdown this weekend as, apart from some necessary shopping I spent my time modelling, reading and watching rubbish on TV plus some very much needed sleep.

Progress so far with some chipping, washes, decals and a final matt clear coat yet to be applied. The figure is one of my 'Frankenstein' practice figures but it might remain once it too has been completed. I have planned a diorama set in Russia late summer 1941 with the Stug and a motorcycle combination with a smaller scale Soviet KV 2 tank in the distance causing them to panic.

I have used some oils on the Stug and I also plan to use some pastels to add a dusty weathered look to it.  However, it's a beautiful day and back to enjoying the good weather in the garden. Keep well folks.


Thursday, April 23, 2020

A quick update and some very welcome news...

He's back! Fluffy sprinted in yesterday evening and at first I thought it was Maisie until I did a double take. He wouldn't have any food at first as he kept coming to me for a fuss. He then ate three sachets of food, three slices of ham and some dreamies. Bless him, he was famished. He stayed for a couple of hours but we had to put him out, with some extra ham and allow our four cats to settle as they weren't happy. He'll be welcome anytime and we are delighted to see him although he is so thin and clearly neglected. I have no idea where he has been.

Occasional work continues on the Stug and the figures for the diorama but to be honest it is home, tea and crash out in front of the box or listening to music. I escaped the office to complete two urgent home visits today and suitably PPE'd up. I was surprised by how many cyclists I encountered out and about. Most people abiding by social distancing rules but certainly some weren't. A beautiful day and ironically petrol prices are the lowest they have been for years but nowhere to go to and non-essential driving should have stopped. Beautiful weather as well hence I was glad to escape the office and the constant phone calls and chained to the laptop and desk. Tomorrow I am working from home so another day of phone contacts but I can take breaks to fuss the cats and grab a few minutes garden and sunshine break every now and again. I can also brew up and drink real coffee instead of instant. I am so looking forward to my weekend off.