Saturday, 11 April 2020

Saturday Ramble

As we come to the end of the three week lock-down, and with no real end in sight, I've noted a couple of things. At the start there were a lot of Facebook posts mostly saying 'we've stored kits for this moment!!!'. Has this happened? Some people have made inroads, but equally as many have done even less than normal; getting out into the garden and starting a little decorating. A few have actually retreated further back and done nothing. This suggests that time, or the availability of it, is nothing to do with modelling although lack of it is often the quoted excuse. I think what we really mean is that we prioritise other things with the time and use the perceived lack of it to excuse this.

Aside from a couple of supply problems, I'm quietly enjoying it all. No one is pushing me to go out, Mrs F. doesn't require accompanying on family trips to darkest Hampshire and I don't have to load the car up and work. Quite frankly, things could be worse. the supply issues are the greatest possible problem. I'll soon be at the stage with Tiley Road that I will need full sheets of artists mounting board for platform areas - no shops open and tricky to mail order undamaged. Looking ahead there is a sniff of future layouts coming up, but if you scoot around the normal sellers such as Rails or Hattons, the popular sizes of RTR pointwork have vanished. The cause of this is probably an upswing of 'getting some track down' in the lock-down, which is all well and good except Peco et al are also in WFH mode so the root supply chain has slowed. I'd seen this coming, but my concerns were batted away with the idea that all the mail order companies will still function. Yes they have, but they can't sell me what they can't buy.

What we are doing is adapting. I'm very anti the current trend of invoking war analogies  - we're queuing at Tescos, not heading for the bomb shelters as the government and the right-leaning press would have us believe. However if you gaze upon the social media platforms, what you notice is that people are quickly changing the way they do things: club meeting are now taking place on Skype/Zoom, there are more round-robin emails in my inbox and the rise of the 'use up what is in stock' mentality for modellers is to the fore. This is a good thing. we are thinking and changing and I'm positive about the way that the hobby will emerge from this.


  1. Hmm, I can't distinguish priority issues from time issues. I've only got time if I can deprioritise other things, which I can't despite the lockdown. Weekday work is still 8am-6pm, and the livestock still needs to be fed and meals put on the table for the human residents o f the cottage.

    My theory is it is the hold up on the supplyside that will eventually spur more modelling. When you can'tget distracted by the next brilliant idea and on line orderyou turn to store cupboard. And perhaps more importantly, you start to improvise.

  2. Well, its got me modelling again after a lengthy hiatus, as my other distractions can no longer tempt me away from the bench. Unfinished kits have been finished, or are getting closer, new kits have been started, work is being done and the workbench is now just that, rather than a dumping ground for everyday junk.
    The current situation has made me realise just how important it is to have a hobby, especially one as absorbing and creative as modelling.

  3. I'm pessimistic enough to think that current situation, or something very close to it, will be with us for a very long time. The WHO suggest 2 years to develop a vaccine and after that it has to be made and people jabbed. Do 180,000 a day and the whole UK is done in a year. THEN normality can return.

    However, in the meantime, the world will evolve. Supermarkets made great strides very early to change the way people shopped so they could be kept safe. Online ordering will carry on being popular, the current limit is the number of vans available, but given time this will change.

    Many businesses are now faced with an adapt or die situation. A lot of them will adapt - we'll mail order stuff from warehouses big enough for the packers to be kept the correct distance apart. Some shops will return where they can adapt for distancing, but many simply won't be able to and that is sad. Especially in a country where politicians think manufacturing is a dirty word.

    Clubs will change too. Ours has several groups keeping in touch via Zoom. There are also numerous virtual events taking place. At the moment these are novelties, but expect the big boys to come on board and take things to a new level eventually.

    Much as I would love all this to go away, we will adapt eventually. I'm sure there are many businesses who have been thinking hard about this already, and others glad they stayed small so they have been able to continue to operate. Now we just need to shut those trying to impose extra rules on us via social media posts up.

  4. Hello Chris, if you have a ' The Range' near you they are open with full sheets of mounting card in their arts and crafts section. Other useful nits of paint and similar also available there. Woody.