Friday, October 30, 2020

 Well...this break hasn't gone well so far. Yesterdays trip to the garage showed how even the simplest of communications can go wrong. They checked the knocking noise but didn't do the service as that wasn't booked in! Monday will see the service completed and replacement of a CV joint so not as bad as I feared. We are going into their 2 lockdown locally from tomorrow so I shan't be doing anything beyond local walks and being a homebody. To add spice to the mix I took Scott's advice in a roundabout way but the jump to the left was a trip and fall on the stairs first thing this morning. Ouch and more Ouch! My right arm and hand are very sore, I twisted my back and leg so the tier 2 lockdown won't rally bother me at all as I suspect this will keep me confined to the house. 

A look through my latest reference book and despite my sore hand I will crack on with the latest build although the cats might have other ideas!


Thursday, October 29, 2020

 Finally...a much needed break and first day of my holiday. It's raining and my car is in for a service and an investigation of a knocking sound whenever I turn right (Insert political joke here!). I had a student with me and she remarked on the knocking noise following one visit so it is now more noticeable. I suspect that noise might turn out to be expensive but it needs investigating and repairs / replacement of whatever it is.

Today will be a quiet day in and a catch up with family on the phone or online. I had hoped to get in the garden but it is chucking it down and I intend to relish the peace and quiet. No 1 son travelled to Sweden yesterday and will be away for the next week and Sue is fast asleep on the settee with various cats on her. A cold and wet day, shopping done yesterday and no need to go anywhere. Perfect for much needed R & R.

No politics and no philosophical musings today as I intend to enjoy a work free and media free time out, avoid the news and enjoy music, some comedy DVD's and reading plus tidying up the garden if the weather permits. There will be trip out to one or two churches next week but for now, feet up and cup of tea.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

This is my current work in progress, the Heinkel He 111 with some light blue acrylic painted on by brush, thinned with some water to avoid leaving any brush strokes. I had an hours grace before the cats realised and decided to join me at the table.

Sherlock is spooked by the fireworks which are once again in the hands of local idiots firing them off at odd times of the day and night so he cleared a shelf of books and made himself at home. He tends to gravitate to wherever we are and wants to be on or near us, poor old fella. The modelling table is his favourite place as he knows it's also my favourite place and has the added advantage of interesting things to knock over and interesting smells for him! 

I was stuck in traffic the other day and musing on cars, petrol and electric vehicles when a news report caught my attention. The HS2 project and transplanting ancient woodlands to a new place nearby. This sparked off some thoughts about the stupidity of the project but also, is there another reason for ploughing on with this needless vanity project? I could be putting two and two together and coming up with five but what if the various disparate activities are in reality a response to major future concerns?

Speculation since the seventies about the oil reserves running out, human activities causing pollution, destroying wild habitats, potable water becoming a scarce resource, over population and climate change / warming /whatever. Against that background we have the Covid crisis and governments imposing more controls on the population to manage this. Since the fall of the Soviet Union  a repositioning of various countries / blocs for control with the USA and China currently vying for top dog position. Protests, the clash of conservative religions with liberalism as part of the war on terror, etc...This could easily spin into a discussion about conspiracies and some of the beliefs out there on the net about vaccines to wipe out the excess population or implant microchips but I'll avoid that nonsense. But I do wonder whether there is a some plan to slow things down, sort out the concerns stated above? It would offer some explanation for what we are currently experiencing but that might be me overthinking things. The more simplistic explanation is the usual incompetence, corruption and stupidity of politicians and bureaucrats getting excited about acquiring yet more power and control. But the HS2 project, is that because the oil is running out? Invest in railways, push electric vehicles and the green agenda? There is certainly the push for cleaner technology although I think it is more a case of 'Out of sight, out of mind' as petrol / diesel engines produce pollution that can be seen and smelt. The use of rare metals and minerals for electric batteries, huge wind turbines that use a huge amount of resources to build and certainly aren't bird friendly, gas and coal power stations shifting the pollution elsewhere. 

I believe society has changed and the old politics of left v right is outdated and does not reflect the current situation. Society is very complex and multiple competing groups egged on by people with their own agendas, an excited thoughtless media and politicians and bureaucrats with their own agendas adds to the mix. There is very definitely a desire by many for the state to intervene in anything and everything, to increasingly control and 'guide' individuals in their everyday lives. This year has shown evidence of that from the current situation in Wales where people are being told to buy only essential items with the threat of this being enforced by the police to what individuals are permitted to say or write. I worry that this creeping control of how we live has been speeded up by the fear and anxiety from the covid crisis and I continue to ask what the fuck is going on? Hence my thoughts about what is really happening here. If I substitute covid with 'The Red scare' from the late forties and fifties, people look back at that and see it for the nonsense it was yet is this any different? How many people have really died directly from Covid? Would they have died from flu instead yet do we have these controls in place for flu. What I am saying is that we should question and hold public officials to account, that we need evidence for taking measures that are cutting away at our civil liberties, causing the destruction of businesses and livelihoods, causing hardship and creating an economic situation that will take at least a decade to sort out. 

I'll stop there as this isn't about competing arguments for or against current government interventions but more about questioning those interventions. Demanding honesty, openness and the evidence for these interventions and not shutting down alternate views or questioning of these interventions. All very worrying and as always, I look at history and precedents with the rise to power of dictators and the horrors that arise from that. 

As always, stay safe and I hope you all have a good weekend.


Friday, October 23, 2020

 It's been a week of more work woes as our team was further reduced by sickness as two nurses sent home with high temperatures and feeling extremely unwell. They tested negative for Sars-Cov2, retested again a few days later and again negative but both are very unwell with flu like symptoms. This is despite the measures in place regarding masking, social distancing, hand washing and other PPE, etc...In another team three staff sent home because track and trace popped up stating they had to isolate, another off sick with flu like symptoms and I suspect at this rate we will have no staff left. We are again resorting to telephone only contact for those with underlying physical health issues and urgent visits again for those who require it. Next Monday could be interesting as I believe there may only be two qualified staff in so I expect a very busy day. It's as we have predicted and I guess we'll see how next week pans out...

For this evening we will have a takeaway, some music and a couple of beers as I have no desire to go anywhere and I am absolutely exhausted. There might be some football on the telly at some point but tonight I just want a break from all the madness and if the skies are clear tomorrow I can tackle some more of the tree removal. Keep safe where you are and avoid 'The 'Rona' as one of my work colleagues calls it!


n.b. I attended a crisis call for someone with the police. Very small front room and they did not wear face masks despite me asking why they didn't wear them. One of them was very irritated by my question! Are they immune or do they know something we don't?

Saturday, October 17, 2020

 The last of my presents was opened last night and a wee drop of English Whisky. I wasn't sure what to expect but this gets a massive thumbs up! It plus the other whiskies should see me through the winter and will be very welcome if it turns out to be a cold one.

I also cracked it open to celebrate as I received confirmation from the Land Registry that the mortgage is completely paid off. Oddly enough they paid some money back into my account but I still haven't received any correspondence from them. I'll chase that up on Monday with a phone call, cancel the direct debit and the mortgage insurance and then relax. It does feel odd now as it is a milestone and had played a big part in my life for the last twenty six years since we took out our first mortgage on a two bedroomed flat in London.

I liked that flat and the area, Finchley was a lovely place to live. At that time a mixed neighbourhood, lots of Indians, Japanese and Russians as well as being a Jewish neighbourhood with great pubs and restaurants plus great parks. A very green area  and behind our block (not the one above) was a small wood with owls and foxes. So a milestone and now time to take stock. There is a lot of work needed on the house and the damp course is crucial to this so that will be the first item on my agenda for next year. It does look like our house was built in 1902 and is now in need of well overdue TLC.

I had planned to travel to Colchester later this month but the latest wheeze of the government has put Essex into Tier 2 lockdown. This plus rumours of a complete 'circuit break' at that time is likely to put the kibosh on my plans. But my plans to look at local churches has paid dividends as a colleague in another team is a volunteer with a group that looks after old churches. He's aware of my interest and will pass my details to the group as I am willing to volunteer when I eventually move to part time work. If I can't travel down to Essex I'll do some walking and see some old local churches but I have also booked my car in for a service. To be honest I am just looking forward to escaping the grind by having a week off work and relaxing.


Saturday, October 10, 2020

A busy morning cutting the willow tree back...yes, the one I removed a couple of years ago. I felt well enough to make a start on this today after a spring and summer with back and knee pain. Despite the drizzle I wrapped up warm in waterproofs and hat and got stuck in. The garden has been neglected over the past year apart from grass cutting and some weeding. Sue isn't yet well enough to garden and I've been busy with work and injured which had taken much of the enjoyment out of gardening. With the last fifteen months being awful, for us and for everyone with this bloody virus / lockdown I am hopeful the next year will be better and I am looking forward to getting back in the garden. I still feel uncomfortable with the houses at the back overlooking us.

 It doesn't look like much but that's a quarter of the foliage removed, particularly the branches over my neighbours garden which were encroaching on her shed. I stopped as, mindful of my back I didn't want to overdo it. I took my time and after an hour and a couple of tea breaks I stopped and wouldn't you know it, the rain stopped! I plan to remove more next weekend and as time goes on remove the tree completely.

Maisie supervised from a safe distance and later on I discovered her sitting amongst the remaining branches. I chopped the branches up and they are piled for now as I need to bring the green bin (It's brown in colour!) through and bin it up for collection.

A hot shower, pain relief and Deep Heat sprayed on my back and I am relaxing with a large whisky as I can feel my back muscles starting to seize up. Hopefully I have taken enough preventative measures to ensure this doesn't happen.

My best friend sent me this for my birthday but a glass of Black label Johnny Walker will suffice for medicinal purposes. I even managed to get an hours modelling in this morning as early nights and early rising is the score whilst work is extremely busy. I am planning to remove the tree completely and clear much of the garden, plan some new plants and get it prepared for the next couple of years. The Willow shaded the raised bed so nothing really came of the tomato plant although my indoor chilli plant has been very productive. I have a small Cherry tree in the kitchen and I plan to plant that out in a large tub.

A quiet evening in is planned with a good book, a couple of whiskies and just chilling as the craziness of work ramped up this week.  The numbers for CV-19 (SARS CoV 2) in North east Lincolnshire has increased with the area now in the red and I guess pubs / clubs will shut down again. More measures coming in for supermarkets and we seem to be going backwards. I have no idea what's really happening now, I don't listen to the news and having talked with people (Via the phone I must add!) this week who have tested positive it has increased. We shopped yesterday and apart from milk, bread and cat food we have no real need to go out during the coming week apart from me attending work. I have no idea what happens next so we'll batten down the hatches. Keep safe and enjoy life folks.


Friday, October 02, 2020

Well, it's finally done and I will await the paperwork including the deeds to confirm it. I paid my mortgage off today and although it feels like a weight has lifted off my shoulders. I won't be completely satisfied until I receive the paperwork including the deeds. I didn't receive an email but I did receive the paperwork this morning providing the final redemption amount and the costs. The latter isn't a lot but I made a slight overpayment to avoid them quibbling  about the correct amount. The deeds come from the Land Registry office and I have been informed that CV-19 lockdown is taking a few weeks longer than usual to complete the paperwork. Barring any unforeseen problems I should have it all completed in the next ten weeks. Scary but exhilarating too and part of the start to a new chapter of my life. Given the current shambles we are going through I can relax a little knowing that is taken care of and next year consider what I want to do next. We have two new staff starting with the team later this year so perhaps if things are settled I can reduce my work hours next spring. We'll see how things pan out... 

Both the recent builds are completed, a Cant Z501 flying boat and a Messerschmitt Bf 109, both in nationalist colours from the Spanish Civil War. I am fascinated by this conflict and how the people were betrayed by both the extreme left and right. When you read of Russian backed Stalinist courts trying and executing other left wingers / anarchists as well as nationalists and the Fascist / nazi backed nationalists executing anybody they deemed an enemy of Franco and the right. An awful war and an indiction of what was coming next for Europe and the world. I have started on the next build which is a Heinkel He 111which I will build as a Stalingrad siege transport, a pivotal point in the war in the defeat of the nazis.
I have three more days of leave left and a return to the nonsense on Monday so best I enjoy them.

Progress so far...

Plus the potential for a diorama for the Bf 109...


Thursday, October 01, 2020

 Pinch, Punch, first of the month and no returns!

Tis October and feeling very autumnal today with the leaves rapidly changing colour and starting to drop and the temperature likewise dropping. I like autumn and possibly the season I like most although, after a hard winter I am more than happy to welcome in spring. Travelling back from Skidbrooke yesterday and gazing on the fields, dykes and open spaces and I realised how much I like the countryside around there and in North Lincolnshire. Flat lands, much reclaimed from marshes and with large open skies and views into the distance. Particularly atmospheric in autumn and winter with mists, fogs and when covered in frost. In doing some background research I found this website and I have been scrolling through it. Fascinating and an eye opener regarding what one would assume are quiet country villages.

In other news the above arrived in the post as I cannot resist a bargain model kit. For less than the current cost of three pints of beer I made a bid and won the auction. I have just about completed the last two builds and I have started on the latest build, the Heinkel He 111 which I am enjoying so far. The table is currently occupied by three of the cats so any work suspended for the day!