Tuesday, March 02, 2021

 Sue is not very well following the injection, with flu like symptoms and she is very lethargic. She is hoping this will pass in a couple of days and today I received my invite for the jab. I put all the details in as required and I apparently do not exist. It is the issue over the wrong date of birth the NHS has for me in its records and I have to attend the GP surgery with either my birth certificate or my passport! I have no desire to have the jab and this minor obstacle hasn't exactly encouraged me to go for it. I will pop into the surgery at some point to address this as it will one day be an issue although they are not allowing us in the surgery currently!

Progress on the Messerschmitt 163 A with a thin layer of light grey paint which showed where on the seams required further filler. I had used sprue goo, sanded and painted but the seams needed some filler. Once thoroughly dried I will sand and paint again and I have an old tin lid I will use as a base for a small diorama, Not many parts and some of those are photo etched brass parts particularly for the trolley wheels. Small, fiddly and require the use of superglue and of course that is when Sherlock turned up. I will finish this later in the week as I am back at work tomorrow and little time for modelling.


Monday, March 01, 2021

We went for a longer walk today as I accompanied Sue for her vaccine which took several minutes only. She had the Astra Zeneca jab and so far she feels ok. We both overdid the walk as we realised we needed shopping as well so added that extra to the distance we covered. We are both tired and as Sue reminded me she is almost a pensioner now she is over 65 but not able to collect her pension until November.

AS you can see from the above I am running out of shelf space and the other cabinets are also full apart from a couple of empty shelves which the cats use. I also have other odd shelves with models occupying them although I had to recently repair three models after discovering one of the cats had sat on them. But I have now tried out another approach...

Extremely sticky double sided tape which I have attached to the planes and applied to the side of this cabinet. The tape can carry a good load so these should be safe as they aren't very heavy. I am considering putting up some new shelves above the model table but with a lip from which kits can be stuck to and displayed. The only concern is that the cats will be curious to investigate any new sleeping places. As can be seen below Watson is sleeping on the table today and the small window recess usually has one cat in residence.

I have placed some of my stash under the table along with a variety of other 'stuff' stored out of site / out of mind! Time to tidy it up and clear some of the rubbish out.


Sunday, February 28, 2021

 First proper day out yesterday for a walk and to shop for essentials (cat food!) and I was exhausted. I wouldn't mind but I didn't go that far and I did pause to admire an old E-Type Jaguar in a car park...drooling but wholly unpractical for my use. Aside from the cost getting in and out would be an issue. I am much better but the lower back pain and stiffness is very noticeable now and I really do not like getting old but, c'est la vie. 

Progress on the Potez 540 and it is nearly there, just some paint touch ups and washes to complete it. The decals were extremely thin and prone to disintegration so they will need addressing but I am pleased with the build. I placed it near the Amiot 143 I built a few years back and both are big old slow moving ugly French aircraft that I really like.

Also alongside a 'modern' Breguet 693 aircraft which appears tiny alongside it.

I also applied myself to repairing one of my earliest builds, a WW1 Airco DH 2 that sadly did not survive an encounter with one of the cats and is not responding to attempts to repair it.

This and the Vickers Gunbus are two of my favourite aircraft from WW1 as they really do look like fragile string bags and it beggars belief that these were used in battle...without parachutes! The common belief was that pilots would bail out rather than fight but completely ignored the cost of training and retaining experienced pilots let alone the cost of lives. Generals and politicians should have been sent up instead!! This build is likely to end up in an air accident diorama with barbed wire and mud plus some interested onlookers. It gives me an excuse to buy another similar kit and set up a bi-plane rig to enable me to build the wings without these problems.

Otherwise the next build is lined up and as per usual, from the looking back to the previous conflict this build will look to the future...

Added bonus, no rigging and single wings! Flying the Messerschmitt Me 163 was 'interesting' to say the least as it was a rocket propelled aircraft with a unique explosive fuel formula added in two separate steps to prevent explosions and no landing wheels. The fuel was also extremely corrosive and a particularly sticky end for pilots. As an aside one of the test pilots was Hanna Reitsch  who also survived piloting the manned version of the V1 flying bomb but nearly came a cropper in flying the Me 163. The article is a bit innocuous as she really was a Nazi who admired the failed painter and also advocated suicide flights against Allied aircraft!
I have a couple of days off this coming week and can focus on this next build as I continue to ignore the nonsense that is going on in the real world.


Friday, February 26, 2021

 Progress so far on what is an old kit that fitted well together with few problems encountered during the build. This is a Potez 540 , another interwar French bomber which was obsolete by the time of the Spanish Civil War but endearing in an ugly duckling way. I have brush painted a layer of paint thinned with water (paint already thinned in the jar with Tamiya thinner) and will leave this to dry. A second thinned layer of paint will be added plus touch ups of the engines and elsewhere before brush painting a clear coat on and then the decals. I haven't yet decided whether to do it in Spanish Republican livery or French Armée de l'air. There is an annoying smear of glue on the cockpit canopy so I will add some battle damage to cover that!

Health wise I am recovering and dozing off each afternoon for a 'grampa nap' and yesterday I woke up with a start from a deep sleep at the computer with Sherlock sprawled across me! The antibiotics and pain relief is doing a good job plus plenty of rest. Otherwise I have completely ignored the news and apart from a couple of emails to work regarding some urgent jobs I have had no contact with work. It might that time for another nap so a short post today.


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 The back pain I have been complaining about is possibly not back pain as the last three days have shown and I shall be contacting my GP this morning. Having been through the NHS 111 on-line it confirmed my suspicions that this is a kidney infection. After two weeks of sleepless nights and increasing discomfort I will bite the bullet but very little sleep last night was the final straw. It has also gone beyond discomfort and is now incapacitating me.I discovered I could register on-line for appointments but you have to go to the surgery in person to do this! I might do that after the phone call today and bring my birth certificate along as they have the wrong date of birth for me. I did wonder why I got a flurry of letters and emails last July when they believed I turned sixty. I have some days off next week and thought of waiting until then but I think leaving this any longer is asking for trouble. I have been put off contacting the GP after last years shenanigans when I contacted them following the back injury after that incident. This was last March at the start of the corona panic and meeting 'Computer says no' several times I decided to leave them to it. But I have been up since stupid o'clock after a very early night and I really have left this problem for far too long.

The above picture shows progress on the new build and the AK True Metal is a wax paint. This is the aluminium one and I have a steel one as well. There are various metallic types and this is wonderful. You paint it on or apply with a cloth and then polish it for a shine. It needs a base colour, preferably black and after you have allowed a few hours for the base colour to dry this goes on top. I have a couple of aircraft kits which I want to paint as all metal so this is ideal.

The rest of the Potez 540 is described as 'Khaki Drab' but the box art shows it more as a green. I tried out various shades including Khaki drab and the best approximation is the one in the middle. It looks more greyish in the photo but in the 'flesh' it is a shade of green - blue. One of the problems when photographing completed models is getting the lighting right to show the true colours as we see them in the real. Several modellers have shown what they use with a white sheet / paper background, types of lighting and the cameras they use. One of the reasons why I bought extra lighting and I tend to use a sandy card background but at times white card. With the days growing longer and more natural daylight I hope to photograph them in the garden. I might try an experiment with my camera and set up this model when completed with different lighting, exposure, backgrounds, etc...I can then compare and contrast the results and improve my photographic skills.

Hopefully all is well with you folks and the weather is improving. Signs of spring all around us currently and a promised time table to reduce the lockdown restrictions has been announced. We'll see...

           This mornings sunrise...the picture doesn't do it justice.


Saturday, February 20, 2021

 My view of Hull Minster from a trip earlier in the week when I had to attend a meeting and used the car park opposite. That is now on my list of places to visit when the lockdown ends and places re-open. An extremely busy week at work and it was universally agreed it was a dreadful week. Few staff and ridiculous demands from other agencies and senior managers, which will be a post for another day. Having said that I was in an excellent mood yesterday when I decided to stop worrying about the things I can't change and enjoy the bumpy ride. I suspect we won't be going abroad this year so I will hopefully book time off for trips to local and not so local places of interest. I like York and it has been a few years since I was last there and I might finally get in to see the Jorvik Viking Museum as well as revisit The Shambles.

After considering what I should build next I realised I had set aside the above kit a few weeks ago as the next build. I bought this a couple of years ago as part of my desire to build ugly interwar French bombers. As I recall a cheap kit but nicely detailed and I will build this one straight out of the box with no additions.

I am steadily ploughing my way through the pile of books which is one of the pleasant outcomes of the lockdown and getting rid of Sky sports has given me more time for reading. I usually have an hours reading each evening once I have settled in after returning from work and I do read very fast. I usually have three or four books on the go as well and dip in and out of them. I finally picked up a new one which I have wanted for ages...

The introduction was fascinating in that during that period a battle was considered to be a battle if the opposing 'armies' had more than thirty men each! The author makes the point that large punch ups between football hooligans could be considered battles by that standard.

We also have the sense that spring is nearly upon us with Snowdrops everywhere, warmer days albeit wet ones and lots of birdsong. I saw the new born lambs this week whilst out on my travels and although winter hasn't yet gone it does feel like we can soon say goodbye to it. Possibly another reason why I was in a great mood yesterday. It was also confirmed that once we have a new band 5 nurse in place I can reduce my working days to four a week. Having seen an old colleague who isn't much older than me laid low by back problems and hearing that he is now struggling to walk, I feel I have definitely made the right decision and I plan in a couple of years to reduce my hours further or even consider a proper 'retirement'*. 

I tend to listen to BBC Radio 3 when driving as I enjoy classical music and this week they have been playing Wagner's Ring Cycle each evening. I like some opera but have generally avoided Wagner as it never appealed to me. I have to admit the bits and pieces I have caught either on my commute home or at other times has been a revelation to me. I found I am enjoying it. It must be a maturity thing but there was a programme which looked at the history, bringing in philosophy and psychology as the themes and layers were explored including the nazi's love of it all. That certainly helped me look anew at it and listen properly to it. They have put it together as a 'boxed set' and I shall immerse myself in this when I have a few days off later this month. We have been told to use up our annual leave or lose it, hence why we are short staffed as people on leave as well as the three team vacancies.


*It will involve a return to studying history as a mature student and for my own pleasure. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

 After a busy week at work and snow / icy roads it is simply a pleasure to have a weekend of no phones and constant demands to do several things at once. I returned to work from nearly two weeks off to discover I was the only qualified nurse on duty with a couple of students and one support worker. That day is best forgotten but a colleague came in to do a bank shift otherwise it would have been even worse. But the good news is that it has been agreed I can reduce my hours and in the next month or so I will be working four days a week. We have also lost the troublesome colleague who has been moved to another team and apparently our manager is not returning, all in all good news. It will feel like a new team when we eventually get two new nurses and at some point a new manager unless the interim manager stays. 

Work itself is extremely busy as the lockdown is sadly bearing dividends and people are having meltdowns and this is just the start. With the fear of Sars-Cov2 and variants continually ramped up by the media, isolating people and destroying the economy and the social threads that make up society plus threats of fines and jail, et voila! I am so glad to be sixty and not a teenager or young adult as this will have to be paid for over the next decade if not longer. 

I finally completed the Cold War group build model of a Lightning F3 from 11 Squadron RAF circa 1984 based at Binbrook which is several miles away from here. The paint work is not as good as I would like it and I plan at a future date to build another Lightning but hopefully an all aluminium one in colour rather than the various shades of grey used for this build.

I also bought a couple of books which I am now reading and I can heartily recommend 'Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms ' as I have nearly finished that. Fascinating to read about the various religions and certainly Zoroastrianism and how it influenced Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Also to discover the Samaritan religion is still going and its close relationship to Judaism.

I would recommend 'Where the Footprints End' but I guess its a niche interest and many people aren't interested but I certainly am. This is volume one and looks at mythology around a wide range of subjects as well as Sasquatch. I listen to the Strange Familiars podcast as well as several other paranormal podcasts. 

Pursuing another interest I finally ordered a DNA kit to look at where I come from. I expect Irish and Anglo-Saxon / Viking heritage but I'll be fascinated to see what else turns up. The original Irish came from the Iberian peninsula pre-Celtic immigration so it would be interesting to see if this turns up. My father was black haired and pale skinned with my uncles being either the same or red and fair haired. No 1 son can pass for Scandinavian and some of my cousins are similar. A real mongrel mixture and the same for my Mums side of the family tree with my Nan small and dark and my Grandfather tall and fair haired, so I'm keen to see what turns up. I will do the test this weekend and send it off with hopefully the results in a few weeks time. 

Otherwise stay safe folks and keep warm!