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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Long time...

... no post.

Bad! Nearly two months since I posted. What an idle fellow. That brings to mind Jerome K. Jerome's Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, which I read around Christmas, 1986, if I remember correctly. As most readers (if there are any left) will know, JKJ is famous for being both the author of the still laugh out loud, Three Men in a Boat, and as the wargaming partner of H.G. Wells, he of the fertile imagination, unedited books, and proclivities of a goat. Expecting the light-hearted joy of Three Men, I remember being somewhat dismayed finding that Idle Thoughts was shot through with a wistful sadness, of time passing, of things lost, a sort of Englishman's Recherche du temps perdu, but without, fortunately, the Gallic trimmings. However, I waffle...

Although work and family have absorbed almost all my time recently, I have managed some desultory gluing and painting. Well, I struggled with Revell's ancient 1/72 Fokker EIII:

The sprue had this as being a product from 1981, but I'm pretty sure it's the same thing that I made in about 1968, only for it to crash and burn at the hands of my three year old brother. Anyway, it's an old bit of plastic, each piece nicely halo'd with a wafer of excess mould.  The fit is still reasonable, though, and only the slightest of filling was needed.

The fun bit, of course, is the amazing bird cage rigging, top and bottom. In my case, things weren't helped by thick fingers, poor eyesight, and the fact that I threw the instructions into the fire, forgetting that the rigging diagram was included. That's the problem with having an open fire, it brings out one's inner pyromaniac, but, by God, it's a life-affirming thing to have in one's hovel in the dark dampness of an English winter.

My job has taken me round the country of late, including to the absolutely first rate market town of Thirsk in North Yorkshire, and the great northern city of York. I knew York reasonably well as a young man, and what a place it is, with its city walls, stupendous cathedral (currently presided over by that good Christian and Anglophile, Archbishop Sentamu, the 97th Archbishop of York), the National Rail Museum, pubs galore, and history to touch by simply stretching out a hand. I realised how long it has been since I had visited York when I came across what was, to me, a new statue outside York Minster. It is of Constantine the Great, who was proclaimed Emperor in York in 306, and was erected in 1998 not far from where that proclamation was made.
But if all that, plus beer and steak and ale pie,  was not enough, my wanderings took me to a real, live model shop. A real one, with a door I could open, with customers and shop keeper, model aircraft, vehicles, railway stuff. A fantastic surprise - Monk Bar Model Shop. Of course, I had to buy something, so:

Valom's new Vickers Wellesley, cheaper, and more accurate, than Matchbox's long out of production version, which now trades for high prices on e-bay. And, this rare beast:

Known as the 'Bath Tub', with only 8mm of armour, the Germans nonetheless took it with them into Poland and later used it for security duties. A tiny model in 1/72, but next on my list of 'to makes'.


  1. Good to see you back and just in time for Christmas. Nice work on the rigging there. I can onlyappreciate the work of better men in that regard.

    1. Thank you my dear Kinch. I trust that you are enjoying an off-duty and Christian Christmas. As for the rigging - it is all slight of hand.

  2. Great fan of J K Jerome and open fires - so handy for disposing of things , spent a few days in York last year an excellent place - just big enough to be walked around on foot. Sadly the wargaming shop in Gillygate shut a few years ago . Cheers Tony

    1. A civilised approach to life - open fires, amusing, middle-brow writing from when the world was a little younger, and an appreciation of ENgland's noble places. All the best, Tony!

  3. Ditto re Kinch's comments!
    York is also good for 2nd hand books - especially Barbican (?) Books which I have used a lot over the years.
    I look forward to seeing how the kits turn out...

    1. My thanks, your Grace. Yes, a fine city, a worthy place.

      As for the kits, I am trying...

  4. Nice to have you back for the holidays Stephen.

    Great work on the monoplane mate. Top notch. Some other solid purchases as well.

    Merry Christmas.

    1. And a Very Merry Christmas to you too, Paul!

  5. Very neat work on the Fokker and welcome back.

    Regards and Merry Christmas,