Saturday, August 31, 2019

Sue has had her surgery and so far it has gone smoothly.
She is tired, sore and sleeping a lot. She described the experience as caring until she went into surgery and everyone there was clinical, cool and efficient. I have to admit it, I and No.1 son are very relieved. I have a couple of days off to provide care and support and she is under strict orders from the medics to potter around only. She will contact the clinic next week for her first follow up appointment and hopefully that will go without a hitch.

Otherwise there is little to say as it has been work and then staying at home to provide support. I have managed to curtail my model buying after three further purchases, one at an actual bricks and mortar model shop...

Yes, a bus but I could not resist the futuristic look of a thirties art deco bus and I love that colour scheme, plus it was half price!
The other two kits were also cheap and bought from evil bay...

That's it for the next several months as I have two builds on the go currently and a couple lined up waiting in the wings although that Dauntless has really caught my eye. A fellow modeller over in the US has the same two kits and we have discussed building the Dauntless and swapping pictures, tips and build stories. I am very tempted to go ahead with that once the current two are completed.

I have also bought a couple of OS Explorer maps for the Lincolnshire Wolds and coast as I plan to start walking next year. I need to regain some fitness before then hence the plan to start next year and focus on the next several months walking locally, losing weight and helping Sue back to health. She's happy to leave the walking in the Wolds to me! There are a lot of abandoned Medieval villages scattered around Lincolnshire plus a lot of old churches, ruined priories and abbeys, etc...One thing Sue's recent illness and experiences have brought home to me is that life is short so best to get out and enjoy it. But for this weekend I am on nursing duties at home as well as the usual cat wrangling. They always go to Sue for feeding even when I am standing in the kitchen doling out their food! We had a huge and exciting thunderstorm during the week and could we get the little blighters in? Could we buggery! The rattle of the dreamies box brought three of them in. They have become semi-feral although the cold weather when it comes may change that. I hope your weekend is going well,

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

There is a common saying that bad luck comes in threes...

The kitchen sink drama, Sue's cancer and now my car is off the road and in for repairs.
Last week as I reversed into a driveway there was a terrible screeching sound. Not good and I assumed it might have something to do with the knocking noise I could hear from beneath the car. I booked the car in and a day off assuming some minor repairs. I drove around slowly and at times very cagily and then I noticed the oil leak from the nearside rear wheel yesterday. Car in today and the following needs to be done.
New clutch.
Offside rear shock leaking fluid.
Front drive shaft needs replacing.

In total, very expensive and I am lucky to have not encountered other problems this past week as I drove about Lincolnshire. I need the car for work so repairs are on going and my booked one day off is now two days as I use another precious annual leave day off. The good news for the latter is that I provided the evidence required to obtain extra annual leave as I have worked over twenty years in the NHS. Oddly enough I am not complaining about the costs but I am unhappy at having to book days off, move patients around and worry that I am letting the team down. However, better that than I suffer a breakdown miles from home and end up having several days off. In other news but related, aren't the roads dreadful. Pot holes, poor or inadequate repairs or roads not repaired at all. Given the recent changes to road tax, taxes on fuel, VAT on nearly everything...where is the money going (rhetorical question, I know it's being wasted on all sorts apart from the necessary repairs to the roads)? The car is over ten years old but is low mileage at 63k but it will need replacing next year for a younger and more economical model. Possibly a SUV or a 4x4 given the rural nature of much of my driving. I had considered a small car but the smallest 4x4 is a Fiat Panda and I have no desire to spend my days crammed into a tiny car with a poor reputation for reliability. What has grabbed my attention is this...

I'm not considering buying a new car until next year and the Dacia Duster has caught my eye. A two year old diesel might just do the trick and from some recent intensive research if I buy a 2017 model it will come under the old road tax system, so even cheaper.  The other advantage of the Dacia is that both Sue and I can just step into the car instead of having to contort ourselves to access the current car. At our age we have to consider our comfort! The Dacia Sandero Stepway doesn't look too bad either and is cheaper although not a 4x4 but it is also raised higher off the ground.

The model buying is now very much on the back burner but I have enough kits to last me at least a year if not two. I tend to build at weekends anyway and I am mindful that as much as I like building models, there is more to life and getting out and about more is very much on my mind. As Scott noted, I have become a collector and the reality is that I buy kits to build. I want to avoid being a modeller who collects a large stash of kits which will be sold off by relatives when I eventually pop my clogs. There are some mad buggers in the modelling world and some of the pictures of rooms full of unbuilt kits, upwards of thousands is a good indicator of the extent of that madness. Happily I am a novice with only 50 kits in the stash and several of those are figures to go into dioramas. The above photo shows many of them although the others are stashed elsewhere and are mainly smaller aircraft.


Saturday, August 17, 2019

An update:
We have a date for the surgery and a pre-op assessment but the very good news for Sue is that chemotherapy is not required. She is anxious about the surgery but she dreaded chemo so that is one relief. Surprisingly, we expected the surgery to take place some time in September but it will take place this month. My manager at work is very supportive and I have booked carers leave but she has suggested that any time I require to care for Sue I only have to ask. Unsurprisingly, both of us are very tired and Sue is not sleeping well so she catches up with a nap when I have gone to work. We are looking at lifestyle changes once she has had surgery and get out more, escape the rut we have both lazily occupied these last couple of years. That's the positive to be gained from all of this, a wake up call to go and enjoy life.

Part of retaining my composure during this trying time is modelling and this is the latest build on the desk. A Fairey Battle circa 1940 during the first battle of France. I have opted for brush painting acrylics and the best way to do this, avoid leaving brush strokes and make it look semi decent is to paint thin layers. The underneath is black so a combination of shades of black and grey has been painted on this first layer.Once the paints are fully dried I shall add a clear coat to protect them, add the decals, clear coat again and then do a pin wash using enamel paints thinned with the appropriate spirit and a drop of waning up liquid! Yes, weakens the liquids surface tension and allows the wash to flow better on the surface. I have used oils with an appropriate spirit for similar results and one can use acrylics with water and a drop of washing up liquid.

Although putting plastics, metals, card, build the model calls upon skills and improves with experience, it is the painting that brings the build to life. The colours can lie flat and lifeless but with the use of layers, shadow and light adding depth, contrast and life to the model.

I have some 1/35th scale figures that I have been working on as and when over the past year, practicing painting techniques and knowing that eventually I will use these figures in a diorama. I have another group build for the Spanish Civil War group I belong to and once that is completed I might be able to focus on a armour build in 1/35th scale. I am an armour modeller but I have built more aircraft over the past year and a good 70% of my model stash is aircraft. There is enough there to keep me busy for the next two years!


Sunday, August 11, 2019

A quick post as we are spending a very lazy weekend and doing as little as possible. Friday night saw a drunk driver plough into a parked lorry on our road. The police attended, blocked the road and brought in two large and noisy recovery trucks...all at 01.00 hours so little sleep had and it's caught up with us all. As a treat for Sue I bought her Sky sports and she can watch golf, rugby and tennis until the cows come home. I get to watch darts and football but she is the sports fan in this house and No.1 son can watch his F1 racing. I'll be honest, I can live without sports and a good book or music is my preference although as the pictures below show, modelling too.

Yes, Sherlock and Watson have discovered that they will receive lots of attention when they plonk themselves on the table as I am building models! Immediately following this photo Sherlock sprawled out and promptly fell asleep. He eventually moved when he heard me open the fridge door...never fails.

Today I have been building this, an old kit I bought on line and possibly thirty years or older judging by the decals. Yet another aircraft that was obsolete by 1939 yet the generals managed to needlessly send men to their deaths against superior modern German fighters and anti-aircraft fire.

The Fairey Battle had a crew of three including an observer and motored along at a fairly sedate pace.  Fine for a peacetime airforce or for the red areas of the globe where the reluctant inhabitants objected to imperialism with nothing more deadly than colourful language aimed at the low flying aircraft. Messerschmitt BF 109's and 110's were sadly a different matter.

I've put it all away safely in a cat proof box and heading out to the garden as we have sunshine! Lots of rain and wind these past few days, extreme weather according to the media or as we call it, just a bit wet and blowy out there. I suspect people in other parts of the world that do experience extreme weather would scratch their heads and laugh although the media do like to make a drama out of non events.

Friday, August 09, 2019

The news is in after we attended the clinic yesterday.
I'm afraid Sue has cancer and will require treatment. On a positive note, it will entail surgery but possibly not chemo and not a mastectomy. We are still awaiting a further biopsy result but there is a shortage of pathologists so we have to wait until next week. We were shocked to receive the news yesterday but today after many tears shed and talking things through between ourselves and with the lovely MacMillan nurse we are more positive today.
It definitely puts things into perspective and makes one think about the important things in life.
I will update as time goes on and no, you have not escaped the model madness...

Works in progress and the stripey aircraft is for a group build on farce book.
I'm away for a cold beer and darts on the telly box.