Monday, 31 May 2021


 I have many happy memories of cycling around Ireland in the company of good friends, many of them Americans with Irish roots. As one of them was brusquely reminded by her grandmother when enthusing about how green the country was  "There is a reason it is so green, and that's why I couldn't wait to get away from it" Having been wetter than in an swimming pool on some of our trips I can understand that sentiment.

As I write this we appear, after a dry but cold April, to be on course for the wettest May in many years. It is a miserable sort of wetness. A dreary day in day out sort of month. Even the chickens are roosting an hour earlier than I would expect at this time of year, and Issy and I aren't far behind them. According to Alexa the weather forecast has been "More of the Same" for days.

Spring is relentless though. This week, the hawthorn, and do we have a lot of hawthorn or do we have a lot of hawthorn, has started to flower.  The grass is as green as in Ireland, and the dawn chorus now begins at 4.10am. I know that because it wakes me up every morning.

It also means the natural daylight in the studio is a lot better.. I've mentioned before that I'm not one of those Winter modellers. I like natural light. I've even managed to start tidying up the workbench.

One incentive to do so is to find a home for a birthday present, a spray booth.  It is only a relatively cheap Chinese made model, but the absence of one has always put me off using an airbrush. It is a reluctance that goes back to university days and a year sharing a house with a chemist. Since then I've always been worried about the health issues linked to our hobby.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Apres Le Deluge

May Day reminded me of the bank holidays of my childhood: Driving rain and gale-force winds. As a result the studio has sprung several leaks, though thankfully at the office end, not the workshop one. Still as they used to say "'Ne'er cast a clout till May be out" 

I might not have cast any clouts , but I did shovel a lot, and I mean a lot, of goat and chicken poop moving around the big compost bins to accommodate the new home for the chickens and the ELR's trailer. The big move itself will have to wait until calmer weather. 

Meanwhile,  with the 7/8th trial track lifted I need to find a new home for it. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I find it harder to home a railway in this big garden than in the smaller ones I'm more used to. I suppose my criteria are more complex now. It has to be relatively hidden both from public view and from livestock, not impinge on plans for the ELR or the (future)use of the garden, and not make mowing any more of a pain than it already is.  If ever we build the planned big wildlife pond it will be a no-brainer to run it around that, but that is a good five years in the future.

At one point I considered running it along the dyke, but now that has been cleared out I don't think it is feasible, which is a shame in some ways because it would have added a striking vertical dimension. On the other hand, the idea of putting it on the other side of our fence is still an option. I should add that our fence is well within the perimeter of our property, because it is there to keep dogs in, not people out.

Or, in the short term, there is the new vegetable patch, which I really need to focus on this year. Currently, it is a mismatch of the old fruit trees, the compost bins from the days when we didn't use a mulching mower* and the hurried relocation of the raised vegetable beds to avoid the attentions of the livestock.

One of the raised beds will be used for a simple 16mm layout, primarily for use of grandchildren, but I'm thinking about consolidating the old compost bins to provide a base for the scenic section of 7/8ths

*I had real concerns about adopting mulching rather than collecting grass to go in the compost bins, but if you cut frequently, slightly more than you might be used to, it works really well. I still use a collection box for mowing within a yard of the paths and house to stop it staining the paths or getting trodden into the house.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Another One Bites the Dust

I had plans for this Bank Holiday weekend.  I was going to progress Grundy's Yard to the point where I could start the scenics, and get the 7/8ths line fully commissioned.

Then my wife, as she has been doing for the last 57 years,  threw a spanner into the works.

Having spent last Winter convincing me to house the chickens in a part of the garden I argued against she suddenly decided they need to be moved, and before next weekend, so she can show off her finished caravan/she shed.

And where has she decided they need to go? On the site occupied by the 7/8ths line.

So it is no more.

To make the move I also have to move four large, full, wooden compost bins, and the trailer for the 7 1/4" stock. so that is basically it for my BH weekend. I love her dearly, even if for 57 years she has been dedicated herself to making my life difficult.