Friday, June 21, 2019

A busy day as I had the garden to attend to, my daily constitutional walk, shopping and modelling squeezed in. I was able to do this because I woke up early and 05.30 is stupid o'clock for me when I am on holiday! The grass was cut, I removed a lot of weeds and cut back bushes and trees but there is still some left to do. After this and going out plus shopping I feel knackered. I did manage to get some paint on...

I airbrushed the green and brown shades on for the camouflage, mixing up both colours as I did not have the exact paints specified in the instructions.

As it's a new airbrush I am still learning with applying the paints but I am pleased with it and the results. I over thinned the brown but a second thin coat has hopefully addressed any issues.

Once this has dried I will clear coat and then airbrush the underneath in various shades of grey / black paint to achieve a used and weathered look. These aircraft were slow but poorly used during the 1940 French campaign by the senior commanders with the gallant crews paying the price for that ineptitude.
Now to put my feet up, a cup of tea and I need to rest my back after the weeding. Mrs C broke the long handled spiral weeder a few weeks ago so today involved a lot of bending over so a hot shower required and rest. It's a bugger getting old!


Thursday, June 20, 2019

First the good news. I had my interview and I passed and I am promoted to the next band with effect from July 1st. Both the interviewers agreed I was working at way above my pay grade and at times beyond the new pay grade so they were happy with my answers and with my current work. I am pleased because I will now be paid the appropriate salary for the work I do. Both the interviewers were students of mine umpteen years ago but nearly every qualified nurse I meet these days meets that criteria! I have been around that long and seeing another colleague retiring for good reinforces my belief that the next few years will be twilight of my nursing career. From my first day as a student nurse I am now approaching my 35th year in this career. Realistically, the promotion doesn't change a great deal of my day to day practice as I am already doing the work but I am pleased because I have had my fill of job interviews and I welcome some work stability and security. A celebratory beer tonight and gardening cancelled for today as it is raining again.

Three weeks into June and it has been a washout. To compound it I discovered Sherlock caught up in my raised bed and he couldn't escape because of the netting. He is bright enough to climb in there and dig up the cabbage plants but not to escape. I calmed him down as he was caught in the netting, opened it up and released him. I gave him a lot of reassurance and fussing as he was spooked by the netting. My cats mean more to me than some cabbage plants which with the rain, lack of sun and feline attention are not likely to survive. I might remove what's left, dig it over and add more home made compost, prepare the bed for new cabbage plants later in the year. The garden itself is like a jungle in parts and I have a feeling the rain will cease once I am back at work!

The photos for todays blog are for educational purposes only (standard disclaimer) and are of the aircraft I am building,  an Amiot 143 bomber from the French airforce. The instructions are completely in French and many of the sources I am using are also in French so very educational for me.

An aircraft that is beautiful in its ugliness but I do really like these pre and early WW2 aircraft. There is a lot of glass and I have dubbed it the flying greenhouse. So back to the build and I am scratch building the empty interior.

Dry assembly below as I glue, sand, fill, sand and paint various parts.

All in all great fun and keeps me off the currently wet streets.

The bad news...cats vomiting all over the house. We bought some new cat food which was reduced in price and is supposedly good for cats. As we discovered it really isn't. We feed half a pouch at a time as Watson and Maisie tend to bolt their food down and generally it quickly comes back. But this time we believe it is the new food as Mindy won't eat it and she hasn't been ill. Fluffy loves the stuff but he  often goes straight out after eating so we don't know whether it has effected him. Having said that, he slept in our kitchen one night this week when the rain was bad.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Hooray! A whole week off and I really need it as I noticed I was tired and tetchy at work. After having three people in crisis during the past week I was worn out. Plus a week of non-stop rain which at times felt monsoon like with floods and blocked roads, all in all a busy week. The weekend was spent modelling but during the dry spells I got some gardening done. Spring cabbages planted out in the raised bed and an organic slug control scattered around the young plants. Fingers crossed that will work and we'll have home grown cabbages later this year.

The tomatoes and chilli plants are all in pots which I will move into bigger pots when the time is right. I was offered some other plants but I want to keep the garden more manageable this year so just a few plants. The wild seeds we scattered has resulted in one solitary poppy...let's see what happens when we finally get some sun.

Some models completed and set out on display with the tiny Polikarpov I-16 if Spanish Republic colours...

The Walrus also finally completed but what I have learned from this build is the need for better rigging material than the cotton thread.

I ordered some of this...

It's elasticated and attaches using superglue so it can be attached and then stretched to fit, at least that's the theory and I will see what happens in practice! I intend to find a local craft shop as I am sure I can buy similar thread at a better price but also to see what else they have that can be used in modelling.

As for work, I have an 'informal' interview this week for promotion within the team as I had informed my boss of my application for another team and she moved very quickly to ensure I can stay. As she put it, I will be paid a better salary for the work I am already doing...Yes, exactly!  I cancelled my trip to Essex as this falls slap bang in the middle of that and I will have to ensure a long weekend off so I can pop down to see my mum and the rest of the family.  Otherwise this week will see me walking, modelling and getting some reading in.


Saturday, June 08, 2019

Life takes some interesting twists and turns and a couple of developments at work are proving this adage. One of the other teams is trying to poach me and are offering promotion as an inducement. I am not sure they have to push too hard at what is an open door as I look ahead to later in the year and see some major issues coming up. We are losing senior experienced staff and the replacements are two newly qualified staff stepping in to fill the gap but, there are also experienced staff who will be released for long term training next year and the likelihood is that they will also move on. The problem for me is that I will be expected to remain on my current grade and pay but take on more complex cases and responsibilities. So I have decided to apply for the job as it can result in one of two things happening: I am offered promotion in my current team as the manager realises what is happening or I join the other team and I achieve the same result. I don't usually like playing these games but after the last interview and the response of the manager in offering the job to someone else I am happy to do so. Play them at their own game.

The interesting twist is that the new role will be a return for me to an old familiar role in the crisis team. The team has changed in that there are no longer any on-calls and no shift work this time round which for me would be a bonus. My manager has already touted the offer of non-medical prescribing training for me and did not look too amused when I suggested that following that training I could be promoted twice over within the same Trust if I joined one of the other teams as nurse prescribers are worth their weight in gold because guess what we are also short of...yes, doctors! I have to admit that approximately £9 billions per year to the EU and £14 billions per year in overseas aid is crazy yet we are struggling to develop or even maintain our basic services and we pay the lowest pensions bar a couple of countries in western Europe. I think perhaps that fuels much of the support for the Brexit party plus the obvious arrogance, lying, incompetence and self enrichment amongst the majority of the politicians currently sitting in both houses of parliament.

It has set me thinking as both the students are in their fifties, most of the staff in the team are in their fifties and the crisis team is pretty much the same. There is a scattering of staff in their forties but all in all our teams plus the older adults team are composed of people who will all be retired within the next decade! In fact, there are several of us who have retired and returned to work. I will receive my state pension in eight years time and I have planned to work the next few years to set myself up for that with the probability that I will cut my hours down as I get nearer to the time I decide to properly retire. I compare this with the IAPT service with whom we share the office many of whom are younger and more numerous. The IAPT team apparently make a profit hence they have lots of staff but our team is extremely short staffed and we deal with the severe and enduring mental illnesses. Hence my concerns about the year ahead but also longer term. As a team we have flagged up our concerns but our managers have adopted an ostrich and sandpit approach to this. Their answer has been to develop more paperwork to evidence that we are doing our job...Hey ho.

Otherwise, weekend off and it is cold, wet and windy which is often standard for British June weather and the perfect excuse for me to stay indoors and build models. I know how excited you all are to see them so here you are...

Three kits in varying stages with the Walrus not far off completion, the schwimmwagen as an on going work in progress with figures needing more work and a tiny Polikarpov I 16 which I will complete in the colours of the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War. Enough of that for now...I have plans to arrange for a plumber to sort out our kitchen as we now have all the parts needed and once that is done, both Mrs C and I have a week off and we plan to have a clear out and clean up. Hopefully we will get some trips out if the weather is good but I have a further weeks work ahead of me so it will be on with the motley.


Sunday, June 02, 2019

Almost complete! 

Some clear coating, washes and weathering to do and a general tidy up and tighten those rigging lines. I'll get that done next week but I have already started on the next build...

Very different from the Walrus and hopefully an easier build. Not too many parts and the bonus is no rigging. The next photo shows the size although the I-16 is 1/72nd scale compared to the 1/48th scale Walrus.

I shall refrain from commenting on the football match from yesterday...


Saturday, June 01, 2019

Up early despite a few beers last night and watching baseball, the Minnesota Twins v Tampa Bay Rays (score 3 - 14) until quite late. Shopping completed, some gardening done and then modelling as some rain made an appearance. I planted a Fuchsia in a large tub so that I will know not to remove it when I enthusiastically tidy up in the autumn! The raised bed again weeded and ready for what, I'm not sure? I am considering sprouts or winter cabbage as a try out so we have fresh green veg for later this year. 
The modelling saw more work on the Walrus with some scratch building parts from the spares box. I enjoy taking a basic model and building additional parts in an attempt to upgrade the kit. The blob in the middle of the white disc (an old spare tank wheel from another kit and just the correct size!) is 'sprue goo' where old sprue plastic is added to spare glue and used as a filler for gaps. The two tie points I trimmed down from sprue and glued the cotton thread in to place.

The rigging is cotton thread and white glue used to attach it. The glue dries clear and can then be set with extra glue or the clear coats. So it is gradually taking shape and hopefully completed over the next week. I will add decals, add a clear coat, washes and weathering although I would like a wet look to it as an example of working in the North Sea or Atlantic Ocean. I will have to look up the techniques for that as this is my practice mule for when I eventually build the better Airfix kit at a later date. That I would like to set in a sea diorama but we'll see...

Otherwise tonight I will settle in with a few beers as we watch the match and cheer on the mighty Spurs playing against Liverpool in the Champions League final. I've been having some banter with Liverpool fans at work but we are all agreed this match could go either way. 
I'm away to find the source of the smell of death in our back garden as I suspect I will find some poor dead bird that the cats have savaged, either one of our four or the several others that regard our garden as their domain!