Sunday, August 30, 2020

 I love Apple...not. Soon after posting yesterday a box popped up and stated an update required so I clicked on it, read what was needed and went ahead with the update. Everything is now sticking or slow to open and I am struggling to comment elsewhere with Spotify not cooperating at all. I'll investigate further and see what needs hitting with a blunt object.

Yesterdays weather afforded me the opportunity to crack on with modelling and I have completed the build this morning. More paint, decals and weathering required before I can call it done. I'm not happy as I noticed two errors with one piece incorrectly fitted and I forgot to paint the faces of the two crew. A welcome distraction from the current madness of the world and as you can see, there is a paw heralding Watson's arrival...

From a grumpy somewhat reserved moggy he has become very affectionate and needy lately as has his brother Sherlock. Lots of fussing and treats as something has unsettled all four of them and we're wondering if there are new cats in the area or new neighbours who aren't cat friendly. With the change in the weather we've had no problem in getting them in at night which is a relief. Otherwise it's a quiet day at home as I have no interest in going anywhere, wearing masks and having to adhere to the 'new normal'. It speaks volumes when some of the people I work with who have all kinds of strange experiences and beliefs can state they believe this is all nonsense. Strange times indeed...


Saturday, August 29, 2020

 Toaster 0 - Cats 1 or to put it another way, Toaster RIP.

One of the cats decided to pee over the toaster and bread much to our chagrin. It happens from time to time and the two main culprits for some reason will not use the litter trays. A new toaster was added to this mornings shopping list as well as shopping for No.1 son who is currently quarantined. He spent nine days in Sweden but a brief stopover in Amsterdam means he is quarantined for fourteen days.

Culprit number 1 is Watson on the left looking like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth cute.

Culprit number 2 is Maisie who has reverted to her semi feral status and spends most of her time outdoors, even in the current bad weather.

Yes, it's a typical British bank holiday with gales, rain, cold and more rain and she likes to stay out in it. The media are saying it's the coldest bank holiday for many years and yesterday was like being in the middle of a typhoon! I was on the coast doing assessments and it was wild but sadly I had little time to stand and watch the sea which is a shame as I like to watch the sea in rough weather.

Not a lot more to say as extra hours at work as few staff available and we are just about coping so I intend to enjoy this weekend despite the weather! Good news is that I have lost twenty pounds in weight and am feeling the benefits already.


Saturday, August 15, 2020

 A quiet weekend but no different to the quiet weekends of the past year with Sue's surgery and slow recovery followed by the Covid 19 crisis and we are still in the doldrums of that situation. I now find the whole thing utterly bizarre and everything about it questionable.

Did the lockdown restrictions happen because the government feared a worse scenario with some form of mutated CV-19 from a Chinese lab, a bioweapon? 

Was the lockdown a huge overreaction to what is a milder virus compared with flu and more protection should have been offered to those who are vulnerable to it and let the general public carry on?

Pick one of any number of conspiracy theories as a possible rationale for it all; a bogeyman for a prospective financial crash / economic disaster; a CIA plot to infect China and it backfired; a cover up for some other shenanigans involving aliens, etc... Our government has caused an utter shambles but the opposition would not have done any better and with a media who, if they stated the sky is blue, I would go outside to see for myself as they are mendacious, useless, idle bastards who think journalism is a dirty word. I hadn't thought this had affected me but this week I realised it has. Ill health hasn't helped but I realised I have become too comfortable at home and I am reluctant to go out and do little more than shop locally at just two shops, work and then poodle about at home. It has had an impact and I suspect I will continue to live like this for the next few months and from listening to others they are in the same boat. I don't believe it is fear but I think it is uncertainty and some anxiety about what happens next. No.1 son has flown out to Sweden today via Amsterdam and his belief is that he is young, healthy, we have all had the virus and the worst is over so get on with life. To a certain extent I agree albeit I add a caveat...that uncertainty as to what happens next and what is really going on. The masks are useless, the Stasi is alive and well amongst ordinary people willing to report neighbours, visitors, workers...J'accuse! Exams in turmoil, jobs gone, the economy in dire straits, more and more divisive politics and strife plus criminality on the streets. Can't have too many guests at a wedding, towns and cities locked down again but the daily arrival of hundreds of young male illegal migrants via the channel without testing / quarantine continues. What a fucking shambles! I have a horrible feeling this is going to end in tears...

Enough of my grumbling...

We are having cat problems with little Mindy who has been not herself this past fortnight. She is reluctant to go out and then when she is out, she is reluctant to come in! She stopped using her litter tray and peed on some papers on a chair in the corner of the front room. She won't eat in the kitchen anymore. She is anxious so we are fussing her more and ensuring she is ok but something has upset her. Our other three cats come and go but as per usual with summer they are semi-feral and roaming the neighbourhood. Once the weather becomes cooler and nights draw in they will adapt and stay indoors.  But Mindy is seriously spooked by something and that incident with the ghost cat could be at the root of it all although I think the more prosaic and more likely bullying by other cats is the cause. We will see...

I have started work on the latest build but having dropped it twice, lost two small parts but refound them I have put it away for now. A general lassitude has sunk in and I have to remind myself that food poisoning is apt to knock the stuffing out of you so I think a quiet day, feet up with music and reading is the order for today. I hope you are all well and stay safe out there.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Always check the use by date on refrigerated goods is my motto for today.

I ate some smoked salmon yesterday and I am paying the price for not reading the packaging. As I am the only person in the household who eats smoked salmon I can safely say it was the culprit. Seeing as I am not quite Miss Marple or the esteemed Hercule but Sue checked the packaging and pointed out it was past it's use by date. I am an idiot. Bugger is all I can say and it couldn't have happened at a worse time work wise. Following my sick leave for my back I will undoubtedly be called in for an interview and a formal warning as I trigger a sick leave indicator. I could always claim car trouble and arrange a day off for that instead but I don't like being dishonest and following D and V there has to be a clear 48 hours period before returning to work. Honesty is generally the best policy...I have a horrible suspicion I am run down as colleagues have commented on how tired I look and I have been having some very early nights with a good eight hours sleep but still feeling worn out. But healthy eating as I have joined slimming world and lost seventeen pounds so far, plus some gentle walking wearing a knee support, early nights and multivitamins has been my approach these past five weeks. Stress is obviously the culprit and I am attempting to balance my work / life activities. 

In other news our manager has been moved from the clinical area pending on-going investigations after we requested confirmation yesterday. After pointing out how the team is struggling as we are three staff down managements main concern was that we accept the several allocations on the waiting list! There is a lot of background stuff going on and working to rule is an option that's now been mentioned amongst the team. Unfortunately there is no unity on this. 

After rummaging through my stash earlier this week I picked out some kits to decide on my next build and I do have a penchant for flying boats. The Walrus and PBY are complex and will be lengthy builds and I wanted something that ticks a few boxes. A fairly simple build out of the box, not requiring rigging and one used in the Spanish Civil War so the Italian Cant Z501 it is. To the left of the picture is a Heinkel He 111 bomber which also matches those requirements but from discussions with other modellers that particular kit has several issues and is not a straightforward build. I also want to build a flying boat and the Italians had some wonderful aircraft at that time. There is a particular model I want but I have a self imposed stop on buying any more models this year...until I spot a bargain!


Monday, August 10, 2020

 A much needed four days off and the weather was generally good too. Lazing about in the garden or at the modelling bench plus rather too much alcohol but all in all, a lovely quiet time at home plus a couple of slow and relaxed walks along the river.

I finally completed the Henderson motorcycle today and buy, did it test me. Brittle but hard plastic that didn't like glue and the thin papers frequently snapped. 

Despite the brittle finicky parts I enjoyed this build but I am also pleased to have completed it. It is apparently a rare kit and it has been the most expensive I have bought to date. But, as Sue said "You'll regret it if you don't buy it" so I did and I am very glad I did.

It has given me the taste for other vintage motorcycle builds and I shall keep my eyes peeled for any on offer.

Enough pictures already but completed, placed on display and it doesn't take up too much room. I now have to consider my next build and it will be an aircraft but which one? I usually place a few kits in front of me, look up information on each one and pick out the one that most appeals to me at the time.

I don't have any more time booked off until the end of September unless the government goes ahead with its latest wheeze. Over fifties and obese people will be told to stay at home and shield. I tick both those boxes although the latter I am slowly tackling through diet. But...really?!!!

I've had this damn virus and I have also worked through the last five months generally exposed to all sorts. If they really want to give me three months off, paid to stay at home and build models, read books, tackle the garden and watch movies then I am ok with that. If this is applied the likely result will be the economy collapsing and the fun and games will begin. Absolutely crazy idea but I'll happily comply although I suspect I'll be asked to do telephone work from home but I can't see patients being happy with this as they are asking to see staff face to face now. Hans Christian Anderson put it better and Danny Kaye is always simply marvellous...


Friday, August 07, 2020

I have completed the two builds that have sat on the desk for the past four weeks as I slowly worked through them. The above is a 1/48 scale SBD Dauntless by Revell in Royal New Zealand Air Force colours circa 1942. I have since added a pin wash using oil paints (ochre and brown) to weather the aircraft but it's put aside away from my fingers and the cats and will dry eventually.

The smaller 1/72 scale Heinkel He 162 is awaiting weathering but it is essentially finished. This is a small kit and I crazily bought some aftermarket brass parts to enhance the build. Tiny tiny tiny parts which can barely be seen and I realised I could have scratch built those extra pieces. But all in all a cheap and very very enjoyable build.  

Now...Imagine a team whose manager is now absent, either sick / working from home / temporarily assigned important desk duties, other staff off sick plus a long term absentee who is with another team and then it is discovered a lot of work has not been completed and people are expecting a service. Complaints are flying in from all over and whoever is the duty worker each day has to prioritise and deal with all of this plus their own caseload and the caseloads, clinics, etc...of the absent workers. Various managers coming in to 'help' as they have only just realised that team is about to collapse because of too few staff and too much work. Chaotic would be a mild description as the team members continue to function and do the important work of ensuring people are safe. Those hapless team members have requested extra staff but no sign of the seventh cavalry on the horizon as the wagons are circled. All of this happening amidst a major pandemic / shutdown just to add further spice to the mix.

Thankfully that is only an imagined scenario and couldn't really happen...?

Here is a picture of my next build with a sleepy Watson escaping the heat and supervising the work. Cats, models and music are great for reducing tension.

I have a couple of days leave booked so a long weekend and a much needed break from work. Last night required a takeaway meal and a lot of gin and I suspect others will be doing the same this weekend. Take care folks, it is hot out there and not just from the sun.