Saturday, November 18, 2017

I had planned to go for a walk this morning, a slow gentle stroll to exercise my injured leg and keep the moving parts moving! As per usual, the weather had other ideas and the deluge forced me to make an alternative plan. The Russian SU-100...

I'll keep todays entry light on the military modelling as I imagine my endless fascination is not universally shared! The picture below is how I imagine I look when I have a beard and as it is coming up to winter I am once again regrowing it.

This how I look...

Mrs C does not like the grey beard but I am happy to consider myself a village idiot elder as I trundle slowly through my late fifties. I may eventually aim for the ZZ Top look! The picture is from last winter and Sherlock would sleep on me and groom my beard. The rain has stopped and I may venture out.

Friday, November 17, 2017

I am spoiling you today with more photographs of the completed Tiger 1 tank. The first photo was a work in progress shot whilst the second is of the completed article. Like the forgetful numpty I am, I forgot to clear coat it before adding the weathering dust, etc... Clear coat protects the painted model and preserves it. With the dust effects added I can't clear coat it otherwise you end up with the mess you can see on the little M3 Stuart tank sat next to the Tiger. It's like a Jack Russell sizing up to a Rottweiler! I had a couple of Africa Korps chappies painted up and I have placed them in the tank to add interest. The setting when I eventually build the base will be a small diorama set in Sicily, September 1943 when the allies invaded (Operation Husky). The majority of the Tigers operating on Sicily were destroyed by naval gunfire or by the Germans themselves because they didn't want them to fall into Allied hands. I believe one escaped via ferry back to the Italian mainland.

I certainly have the modelling bug because no sooner was the Tiger added to the shelf then the newly arrived parcel I received yesterday was opened and the new build begun. A Russian Self Propelled Gun, the SU-100, a 'small' beast that saw service during the last year of the war and on into the cold war. Apparently some are still being used in the middle-east and Ukraine. It has a 100 mm cannon and I say 'small' because there was a SU-152 with a 152 mm cannon...the big beast. It's a Russian made kit and it was cheap but, a big but...the fit isn't very good and filler plus plastic card is being used to fill the gaps. You'll hear modellers complain about this but we are secretly delighted because this is where the modelling skills and creativity come to the fore. To make a poorly made kit into a nicely finished model. All in all this keeps me happy and stops me hanging around street corners causing mischief!

Out shopping this afternoon and I bumped into one of my work colleagues from another team. She got the news I was leaving and wished me well and called me a lucky bugger. As she stated "I've got another ten years to go and I wish it was me" I thought what a shame it is that most people want out.
It will get worse because the numbers now presenting with financial, housing and social problems is increasing and the new changes to the benefits system will see a deluge of referrals over the next few months. I wish I could give an answer or solution to this mess and not just the usual mantra 'Provide more money'. More money as we have seen leads to more managers, administration and shiny toys rather than going to where it's needed. I think I shall be happy to sit on the sidelines for a while and escape from it all.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Inevitably, this blog starts with a picture of a work in progress. A Tiger 1 and the picture shows the black shadow coat applied. I have now completed the model but it just needs a couple of washes, enhancing the details, weathering and then preparation of a base. The shadow coat plus white coat for flat surfaces add depth when the main coats go on. This was a much needed respite today after a very hectic three days culminating in three referrals arriving at the same time in A & E yesterday evening. No one else available to help out as the crisis team are also run off their feet so I just got down to dealing with it. Ninety minutes later all three assessed and on their way, A & E staff very happy and impressed and I had three hours of paperwork to plough through. It dawned on me following this that 32 years experience distilled into a focused assessment means I deal with the salient issues (Risk! Resolution) and expedite the individual's journey out of A & E. All three thanked me and went away happy because I made the assessment about them, listened, validated their experience and treated them as the nice, decent human beings they are. I like most of the people I meet and assess and I am always fascinated by other people's lives (aka nosey bugger). Having said all of that I have handed in my notice.
A combination of things have coalesced during the past few months and made my decision, some of which I have stated in earlier blogs but this year brought it home to me that I need to move on. Age and the inevitable wear and tear plays a big part in this decision. I tripped over a few weeks ago when I stupidly attempted to step over a low fence whilst carrying two bags of shopping. The injuries have really incapacitated me with my back and my right leg suffering the brunt of the injuries. That plus the long hours and isolation of the job and little support made the decision for me. Another person in the team handed in her notice this week (we amalgamated with the older adults hospital liaison team) so people are not happy. But after this month it will no longer be my concern although I will miss doing the assessments in A & E. My plans are to have two - three months off, rest and recuperate and then hopefully find a part-time job with better hours next year. I am also tired and I cannot see mental health services improving. When the job is focused on paperwork and business with the poor bugger supposedly at the centre of it all coming second, then the very nature of mental health services becomes questionable. I have my doubts about psychiatry, diagnoses  and treatment anyway but I am tired of the whole shebang.  However, let us move away from the gloom and towards something more positive. I have Christmas off and I can thoroughly enjoy it to the full. I am hoping for a quiet, traditional celebration and perhaps we'll have snow. I might even pop into the local church although I am not a believer...although perhaps that's going too far. I might just play traditional carols instead. For now, I have several days off and I will have a couple of trips out.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Days off and I am keeping myself busy with the latest build, a Tiger 1 in 1/35 scale. A happy distraction from the madness that appears to have engulfed the world. Closer to home and my dad is once again in hospital. My parents divorced nearly forty years ago and we have no happy memories of him. Sadly, some of our relatives in Ireland don't understand our anger towards him and are not happy with us. I have thought long and hard about seeing him again and as one cousin said, making peace with him. I realised that I don't have to because I grieved for him many years ago and moved on with my life. He was a selfish man and his addiction to alcohol made our lives...interesting.  My brother and I along with my mum bore the brunt of it and in many ways it set me off on the various paths which have brought me here today. 

Back to the modelling... It is fair to say that I have become slightly obsessed with this hobby. with twenty odd builds under my belt and accessing a variety of media for information, other builds and modellers. It makes me happy and I am at peace doing this hobby. It's fun and I am absorbed in each build. As a kid it was this, reading and cycling that kept me together so that returning to it after many years does feel like I've come home. Add tea, music and the cats and I am a very contented man indeed. If the news reports about the expected winter weather are correct I may have to batten down the hatches, keep warm and model to my hearts content until we emerge blinking in the weak spring sunshine of 2018! For anyone that asks...yes, many of my completed models have the odd cat hair attached. An inevitable consequence of curious cats, glue and paint. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Long time no blog!

No excuse other than I took a break as work has become a little crazy and I had little to say because it had become all work and no play. I may have been hypnotised and I have only become aware that several weeks have passed me by...

Given the long hours and demands that work be completed immediately even if that means working an extra two hours with the inevitable 14 hours day, I have applied for a part time job although it will be running a team. A promotion into management but only for fifteen hours a week. Two days working will bring its own problems in managing a team but the five days off seems to be an excellent pay off for that. It is a rural team where I have worked previously and I have fond memories of working there. The views are certainly better than the artificially lit hospital wards and Emergency Centre where I currently spend most of my working life. I might also get back to cycling on my days off as my plan to cycle to work fell at the first hurdle. Commuting is fine but the frequent follow up visits necessitated my using the car. I'm nowhere fit enough to race a twenty mile round trip to see someone, discover they're not in, return to the hospital in pouring rain to ready myself for an emergency assessment. I can always find an excuse to avoid jumping back in the saddle but running myself into an early grave is certainly a valid one!

In other news the modelling continues with my inner nerd being satisfied by yet more completed models with links to the Vickers light 6 ton tank.

The Vickers Mark E in Polish colours is there on the left with (l-r) the Polish 7TP, a Russian T26, an Italian M13/40 and the M3 Stuart. All developed from or influenced by the original Vickers tank and on the far right (pun intended!) are the German Brummbar and the Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer. As I am now discovering, building the models is fine but...where to display the finished products! Loads of space but then I have to factor in four inquisitive felines with the widget having a penchant for chewing the models. I suspect I will have to have a clear out of old stuff along the lines of the Döstädning and provide space for a display cabinet. As I believe in recycling I shall enjoy visiting a few second hand shops or car boot sales for the cabinet...there may also be models and books for sale!
All in all it is business as usual here in the catto household.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Forgive the dreadful photograph as I used the iPad and I'm not as proficient with it as I am with the mobile or the camera. The latest model completed, a Soviet T26 A tank circa 1941 after some blood, tears but no sweat! I sliced my thumb open hence the blood. As stated in an earlier post I like these little pre-war and early war tanks based on theVickers E tank. Hence my desire to build as many variants as possible so I've plonked it for now beside the Polish TP7. However, moving on from Nerdsville...

I took the plunge after further laptop woes and bought a 'new' computer. New in inserted quotation marks as I opted for a refurbished iMac. Nearly new and less than half the price of a new model. It's very different from using windows and android. Very simple to use and the wireless mouse and tiny keyboard is a revelation. A large screen for my poor eyesight and as I don't game or do anything remarkable using the PC, this more than meets my needs. Will I become an apple fanboy? I doubt it as I regard this as a tool and also for fun. I have an on-line course to do later this year and this will help. I also decided to treat myself after finding out another friend has been taken from our pen this past week. That makes two people dying before their time, one aged 57 and the other 59 years within the last month. In light of this news I decided to start enjoying life as I can't take it with me. My mother also had a cataract operation this week, happily successful and hopefully will give her a new lease of life.

                                           Look at all the space!

I had tried to persuade her to use a PC so that she could Skype, receive and save photos and videos, generally keep in touch but she isn't interested and I can't say I disagree with her decision given the current state of social media. Anyhow, there's a cold beer with my name on it and a good book to immerse myself in.


Monday, September 04, 2017

          Caught in the act of toilet papercide! Little bugler.

The first of eight days off and boy do I need the R & R. The hospital staff have cottoned on to our existence and anything out the ordinary, a little bit unusual or does not merit a tick in their list of little boxes, refer to those odd buggers in psychiatry. So business has been lively of late and when I am working three or four long days in a row I tend to work, sleep and read books. On the plus side I miss much of the media frenzy over the latest 'offence', royal birth or overpaid footballer bought for the overall GDP of a small African country. I now regard each shift as being immersed in the job experience and A & E as my second home. Oddly enough I do now enjoy the work and the challenges it brings although the handy portable arrogance plane to smooth off the rough edges of doctors is seeing regular use. I would love to regale you with some stories but that will have to wait for my proper retirement from nursing altogether. This month will be an odd one in that I effectively have a total of three weeks off. I haven't taken any annual leave yet and I was prevailed on to start taking time off. I should be going to Ireland after yet another health scare for my dad but I have little enthusiasm for that trip. I will be visiting my mum and family but I also have an opportunity for days out at York and other places. Play the part of the tourist with camera (mobile), guidebooks (mobile) and maps (mobile again!) as I visit those places I keep meaning to see. I might even venture further afield and see Hadrian's Wall at long last.

As for today...after working five long days in a row I opted for a couple of hours at the modelling table and spent a frustrating couple of hours sorting out the laptop after last weeks encounter with the blue screen of death. Rebooting the laptop was straightforward and it works well but attempting to remove macafee security was the nightmare today. I asked an expert but even my son struggled to remove it. I finally found a removal tool that had to be downloaded and utilised to get rid of the bugger. Fingers crossed this has now been sorted out, we'll see.