Monday, December 28, 2020

 Progress so far on the Honey...

The main colours from the Caunter scheme are airbrushed on and I brush painted the figure with a base coat of desert yellow, the thinned layers of khaki and wooden deck tan colours.A light dab of sunny flesh (Ooo er Missus) and then clear coated. I will use a thinned layer of oil paints to bring the colours together on the figure and then continue with chipping and weathering of the tank. Pastels will be used for the dust effects once everything else is completed. A lovely build so far and a wonderful escape from the madness outside. In case you are wondering yes, the wheels do move as do the tracks. I'll need that to complete the weathering on the tracks.

 That's Watson in the background and we had a major de-fleaing operation on him with Frontline, combing and more combing. He has been lethargic for the last couple of weeks and I suggested we do this first to rule it out. It's worked! He has more energy, a better appetite and loves being combed. We found only the two fleas but they would soon have multiplied. The others have had similar treatment, furniture and carpets sprayed and over the last three months we may have finally eradicated the little bitty bastards. I still plan to get the cats to the vet for a check up and their jabs so I won't be popular for a while with them.

Watson is also loafing in front of one of my presents, a mix it yourself whisky blending set which I tried out on Christmas Day evening. Thoroughly enjoyable and I will try it out again for New Years eve. I am also pleased to have the little bottles as a colleague at work is from Glasgow and I can bring him in some of the English Cotswold whisky to try out.

All in all, a quiet and somewhat subdued Christmas as the lockdown continues and although we went out walking, there is nowhere else to go to. I assume the sales are on and people are rushing out to buy whatever so another reason to avoid the shops. Having had Brexit divide society but hopefully now done and dusted, we have the next divisive issue to contend with, Sars-Cov-2 and vaccines. Apart from the next couple of days back at work I plan to have a quiet new year, finish this build and consider the next one for the table. 

I hope you all had a happy and peaceful Christmas and hopefully we can look forward to a better 2021.


Friday, December 25, 2020

                       Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

 A quiet morning spent modelling, listening to podcasts and enjoying coffee. The above is the progress so far and trying to match the 'exact' paint scheme to the named tank took me down the rabbit hole. I finally decided 'That's good enough' and applied the paint over the non-masked areas. That is silver grey paint and my initial thought was more of a light silver green. It looks good so far and I opted for the one piece rubber track which I ended up sewing together. Sue was surprised but as a poor kid I learned how to sew from my Mum as we had to make good and mend clothes to save money. I became quite proficient at it. Sewing together a rubber track was simple.

The upper hull is not yet glued in as I have lots more to do as well as sort out the accoutrements to go on the hull. This should be completed by the new year and the aircraft I have started a few weeks back will then be back on the table. I shall be having a chat with my manager and requesting a move to my reduced hours sooner rather than later as I am keen to have an extra day off each week for modelling, walking, gardening or just sitting on my arse looking into space. A work colleague from another team has injured his back and the sad news is that he might end up in a wheel chair. He's of an age with me and he had retired, reduced his hours and dropped down the nurse bandings but sadly now isn't able to enjoy this. That plus a colleague off sick following surgery and we are all around 60 - 61 years of age and I can take a hint. Especially since management were chasing her to return to work but our support that she is not fit for work and a doctors note has stopped that nonsense!

Anyhow, enough about work, with a further tier added to the lockdown and the lack of evidence for the mutated super virus underpinning this I do again wonder WTF? Corona viruses do mutate and generally become a weaker and less damaging strain to most of the population, hence the variety of colds we get each year. For those who doubt Sars-Cov 2, does exist and yes, I do believe I had it last year and it was nasty but not as bad as the flu. It does harm people and it can directly or indirectly kill people, particularly those who are vulnerable. In short, this is now quite bewildering having read through the tweets and discussions of several scientists on social media but I guess we need them to gather the evidence. Meanwhile...

Between the deliberately mismanaged Brexit and the continuing lockdowns 2021 is likely to be even worse as there is no money. Electronically adding extra zeros to an imaginary figure to then distribute into the economy is not the sign of a healthy functioning economic system. I have upset a few people at work because I stated my belief that we do not need a further pay rise and reminding them that people in the private sector have lost jobs, are likely to be in deep shit when furlough and lockdowns end, that we are lucky to remain in paid employment hasn't gone down well. Interestingly, apart from a couple of people whose attitudes accord with mine, I was surprised when several others privately agreed with me. I plan to sort the garden out, get some veg in and that might help when food prices continue to rise and there are some shortages. Hopefully it won't be that bad but I prefer to have some preparations in place. I need to grow more than tomatoes and chillies so perhaps some spuds in the large container bags I have and sort the raspberries out. 

I have news that my Mum should be home for Christmas and I have ordered some flowers for delivery via my sisters house to ensure she receives them. I had hoped to go down to Colchester but I would be travelling from Tier 3 to a Tier 2 place and apparently we are only allowed one day. My Mum says no because she is worried some 'well-meaning citizen' might report me. So phone calls and texts it is and we will make plans for next year. There are a lot of well meaning citizens around, East Germany apparently had loads of them as did Vichy France and the Soviet Union. I think they were called Blockleiters in Germany during the time known as the Emergency by the Irish government. As we are yet again in what governments around the world will undoubtedly call an emergency it is apt. Time for another coffee, a catch up with some reading and music and chill before returning to the nonsense tomorrow.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

 A quick update as it's been a hectic week.

My Mum is doing well and is recovering from surgery, a pin and plate to a broken femur but she is being kept in until Xmas eve as she is apparently positive for Sars-Cov 2 after four PCR hokey cokey tests. She says she is fine and keen to go home and the plan is that she will stay upstairs with carers going in and family helping out. She said the care itself on the ward was first rate apart from one clown who is being dealt with after she spoke with the ward sister. So a positive for the hospital although we haven't forgotten the GP and paramedics initial response which we will address at a future date. We are all hugely relieved particularly since the covid restrictions don't allow any visitors.

This weekend I have returned to modelling...

I have airbrushed a light coat of Portland Stone paint on to the Honey tank (I'm awaiting BW's comment!) and I now have to let it dry thoroughly before applying a protective clear coat. Once the latter is dry I can tape over to add the next colour silver grey which will again be clear coated, then taping over again before I add the final colour slate. A further layer of clear coat and then the tools to be painted and then weathering. With the drying times and additional clear coats this should see me over Xmas and into the new year. the only bugbear is that the figures I ordered to go with the kit is missing the torso for the one figure I bought the whole box for.

A quick email to the shop and I will await their reply...

There is a choice for the tracks which is the individual rubber link by link which has tiny plates to attach each link or the rubber tracks. You can see next to the bottle cap placed there for size a small section I glued together. I am opting for the rubber tracks as it will be too time consuming to build the links which I can build at my leisure and save for a future build.

Work is very busy and all of us have increased caseloads again as the wards are emptied for the return of out of area placements which are expensive. There is no money left and I think people are in for a huge shock next year. But that can wait for now as I intend to put my feet up, relax with a cuppa and a good book and enjoy the weekend. I hope all is well with you in these trying times.


Sunday, December 13, 2020

 It has not been a good week from a personal perspective and work wise.

Earlier this week I found out my Mum had injured her leg and as usual she minimised the issue but it was more serious than she led me to believe. After discussions with my sister I got the whole sorry tale involving paramedics and a GP neglecting their duty of care and refusing to attend when contacted for help. My Mum said she heard / felt a crunch when she stood up and collapsed in agony. She was unable to bear any weight, in lots of pain despite her two regular strong painkillers and as she discovered she wasn't able to mobilise. Despite calling the paramedics who stated a four hour response time and her GP who refused to attend my sister went round after receiving the call. The next couple of days saw a visit to A & E where some clueless twerp of a doctor who examined her knee and stated it isn't osteoarthritis but refused to say what it was but that she would need a scope going in. No one else could accompany my Mum because of the covid restrictions and she had to walk from the entrance back to my sisters car.

Back home, unable to walk, in constant pain and the surgery sent a practice nurse who immediately stated the GP needs to see her. The GP did not attend yet prescribed morphine but, vomiting, dehydration as she wasn't able to keep fluids down and afraid to climb the steep stairs to the bathroom and risk of falls. After a discussion between my sister and me and a list of specific words to use (Vulnerable older adult, risk of falls, duty of care, safeguarding, etc...) to the GP an ambulance attended and she was taken to the local hospital. I spoke with my sister and my Mum these last two days and it was confirmed this morning she has a broken leg!! We stated this earlier this week yet not one fucking health professional listened to our concerns. My sister is chasing up the accommodation issue as Mum can't sadly return home as the house has very steep stairs to her bedroom and bathroom. We have been pursuing this on and off for a decade now but Mum is fiercely independent and did not want to bother the housing people and she likes her house, so we respected that. 

We will find out later today if she has surgery and potentially she will be in hospital for at least a few more days. We aren't allowed to visit and my sister and brother are looking after her house as is two of her neighbours. Sadly, this covid nonsense has exposed how bad the health services are and it is replicated right across the country. There is a lot of good work done but poor use of resources, poor management and the politicalisation of the NHS contributes to this. This leads neatly to the work issue.

The individual who caused numerous problems in the team is coming back to the team. A senior manager called us all in to receive the news and we were asked for our honest responses. We gave them. This will cause problems as we are all angry and this individual tried to destroy the careers of two staff members but we are being told to work with them. I have censored and cut a chunk from here...better safe than sorry. Interesting times...

Good news is that it has been agreed that next year I can reduce my hours at work and I am considering reducing to thirty hours a week over four days from the spring. I will do this for the next year and then reduce my hours further to three days a week. The interim manager is very supportive of this and I am keen to have a better work / life balance as after the past year and this latest news it is time to scale back my hours. A colleague in another team whom I have worked with and known for nearly twenty years retired this week. She stated she has had enough of the crap and after thirty years in nursing she has had enough. Looking around me and I have mentored most of the staff when they were students and I suspect I am the last of the October 1985 student intake still working. Time now to slowly work towards a proper retirement as I am very tired and my body aches from the after effects of the February incident. Sue will receive her state pension in November next year and I still have six years to go until I receive mine. Looking at the mess the world is in and I now avoid the selected news fed to us by the media, I have an increasing desire to do other things, focus on family and home. The house needs a lot of work next year plus I have neglected the garden with a wall repair to be done and a new gate installed. I hope all is well with you folks and you are taking care in these trying times.

n.b. Interesting article and a fascinating read given the current Zeitgeist.


Monday, December 07, 2020

 A day off today as we have the boiler being serviced today and I can devote it to modelling. Progress so far on the M3 Stuart Honey tank...

Typical modeller really as most of that will not be seen but I will clear coat the interior and use oil washes to add depth and accentuate some of the detail. Good practice for me for future builds where I will show the interior.

I have dry fitted the upper hull and turret to check the fit and show how little will be seen from the outside.

The frustrating thing is to now leave it so the paint dries but allows me time to plan the next steps as the paint scheme for this tank will be slightly unusual and involves me airbrushing paints from a manufacturer I have not used before now. So some practice on an old broken kit will be necessary to check thinner levels (I can use water with this particular paint) and pressure to spray it at. The scheme I intend to try is shown below and I have long wanted to paint this scheme. It will be airbrushed as I can lay down a thinner coat and hopefully will come out well. The upper hull and turret will remain loose for now and I will use white glue to hold the turret hatch in place only so I can apply the paints. 

I suspect I will only have time this weekend but  I will try and squeeze in a couple of evenings. We'll's hard to type with a large tabby sitting on me and demanding my undivided attention. I also have a couple of books newly arrived to keep me entertained in the evenings as well. Research for future trips out and cheap recycled books courtesy of Amazon. I have ordered the boxed set of Inspector Morse novels as I disposed of mine years ago and having watched a couple of episodes on TV recently I'd like to reread them. I couldn't believe how cheap they were, in fact the postage is more than the cost of the books!

I received the following Xmas card from...cue drum roll...

Nope...I have no idea although as it is advertising his next tour I must be on a mailing list somewhere.


Sunday, December 06, 2020


An early morning walk just after sunrise this morning and with the mist rolling in. Cold but dry after the last few days of wintry rain and sleet although the air felt damp. I needed the walk to clear my head and get some much needed fresh air. I spent yesterday indoors thanks to one of my cats (Watson!) who decided to run between my legs and trip me up, jerking my back in the process of recovering my balance.

A pleasant walk but a deviation from my usual one as the small pedestrian bridge has been removed and the area prepared for a new bridge and 'regeneration' of the area around the waterfront. Not the road bridge pictured above.

The above picture is the sunken wooden boat supposedly deliberately sunk to avoid paying a tax demand. It's been there for the last twenty years and is likely to remain there for the next twenty!

The culprit on the right with his brother Sherlock on the left...little buglers!