The final building on Tiley Road is a very small goods lock -up. Quite frankly this is a little unlikely and in model terms is just there to fill a space and to stop the tail-end section being totally featureless. The inspiration is the shed that stood at Stratton and I found a couple of shots of it in a semi-derelict condition in a Chris Leigh book . Basic doesn't cover it. It was firmly rooted in the GWR's standard small building family with an end door and sliding side door, with a couple of small windows in the opposite wall. Where it scored in this case was that I could suggest most of this but make it more anorexic to fit the narrow space that I have at my disposal. The sides and ends are the same Will asbestos sheets, but I had to go with some Slaters material for the curved roof and side door. The rest is... scrapbox fare. Most of it has had a base coat of paint and I'm at the final coat and detailing now, though I'm leaving it deliberately vague. When done it'll sit on a low-ish brick platform as per the Stratton shed.
Tuesday 30 June 2020
Monday 29 June 2020
Monday and time to crack on with the slightly low relief building for the Tiley Road tail end. Probably more on this later in the week.
It's tough at the moment; I'm likely to be overstating as there are a lot more who are worse off than me, though while many are back at work (or haven't stopped) there is nothing on the horizon here. I last loaded the car and worked back in February. No furlough for us self employed artistic muso types, just a useless offer of nothing. So it's been savings and live of the immoral earnings of Mrs. F. ...not ideal and not good mentally. There is no likelihood of anything happening for the rest of the year. Pubs maybe opening, but if you read to the bottom of the conditions you will note that live music is banned and that applies from the Dog and Duck to the Palladium. The pubs, the weddings, the festivals, the theatre jobs that were in the book this year; all gone. Even the annual bookend of panto looks unlikely as I can't see how it could operate in any shape or form backstage with distancing, let alone the audience which is what the media keep focusing on. As you may have gathered I'm shifting to more stuff on this page and you may be able to see why. I can't afford to sit back and have to keep moving forward.
On a lighter note Mrs F. suggested a run out for a coffee to the Spa Valley here. Oddly I've never travelled on this preserved line though it seemed churlish not to spend a few quid to help them by chucking some money into the pot for a drink on the platform. Even though they have made the effort to open up, they weren't exactly overwhelmed and my previous comments on exhibitions apply just as much to these preserved lines that many of us take for granted. A scoot back via Eridge to film the Victorian footbridge, after a tip-off from Stig that it will be removed this week. Looking at it you can see why, though this is generated by neglect not necessity. Note to self: although I took a whole series of photos here around the end of the Thumper DEMU era, I've not been back to take a closer look. Now could be the time to do this.
Saturday 27 June 2020
With the warm weather yesterday with its ability to get glue and paint dry in a matter of minutes I was able to get almost all the Tiley Road tail end board covered; just some tea leaving to go around the track. This puts me in a different place. I can now switch back to the small unlikely goods shed to fill the last small area and this end will be done. There's still quite a bit to do detail wise and I'm constantly reminded that the world situation has slowed this build down considerably, although you would think that it would be the reverse.
The name is bothering me now. It was meant as a light joke, but the lack of reaction means that the gentleman concerned is either very unhappy or is suitably flattered. The problem is... I don't know which. Perhaps I just need to ask the direct question.
I mentioned video a few days ago and indeed yesterday ran such an item in place of the semi-regular unusual or period film. The reaction to this in number terms was remarkably good so I'll take that as a positive. This is something that I've become increasingly interested in: the youtube channel has been sitting there since 2012 and in the main is a few short clips of layouts that caught my eye at exhibitions and a couple of the layouts from closer to home. Most of these earlier items were shot on a fairly basic traditional Sony video camera - something which looks very clunky and outdated now. There are better options out here and when you consider that there are feature films being shot on iphone now, using something that is less punchy and is the size of a pasta box seems daft.
The upshot of this is a perfect storm of circumstances: the current no-exhibition situation means my near future modelling will take a very different shape, my self-removal from Zuckerberg social media, at least temporarily means I'm looking at a more package type of online presence (i.e. here and youtube). As yet I'm not sure what the final shape will be - certainly not a 'Sam's' type of box opening shape, but possibly something more like this; quirky and rambling.
Friday 26 June 2020
While I'm not making a habit of doing box opening videos (no one sends me anything to open anyway) it was worth picking the camera up during the track testing to demonstrate yesterday's gushing report of this little beast. It does fit well with the brief of the layout, but at £255. is a little beyond my pocket at the moment.
Thursday 25 June 2020
Regulars will be aware that the general layout building area in Ford Towers in the last couple of years has been the small workshop area. The pluses for this are that it's attached to the house, but mentally separate from it. The minuses (especially in this case) is that it's a through room and is a tight 2.8m long i.e. Hopwood will just squeeze in, but the current O gauge won't; I have to decamp to the vast open prairies of the front room to set it up fully. This is obviously, while not a negotiated arrangement, one that has to be carried out with a certain amount of understanding. Nevertheless yesterday saw the full post-ballast test - always a nail-biting moment. Lumps of stray ballast will derail things, previously perfect electrical connections will suddenly have become inert and there will be rails with a layer of PVA on top no matter how carefully you've cleaned it all. In the end all was well apart from a self isolating fishplate which needed a little squeeze, and soon the borrowed MW was whizzing up and down. I can thoroughly recommend this based on this performance - silky smooth and unfaltering is probably the best description. It does look very naked without at crew though. It does also have to go back, so there's little that I can do about this.
Wednesday 24 June 2020
I spent a large-ish chunk of yesterday, fixing things on the O gauge. Not that things went wrong as such more that they hadn't gone right, which is a different thing altogether. I don't know whether it's the PVA I'm using (Asda's finest) or it's that I'm getting sloppy.
I ran a hoover over the layout pre electrical test. Really just to pick up any stray bits of carpet underlay that will gravitate toward the motors. What happened next was predictable (now). Odd bits of ballast hadn't stuck and ditto bits of scenic fluff - not a problem in itself, but it was the range of unstuckedness that was the problem. I had to reenergise the ballast laying procedure just for a combined area of about 2" as well as the whole pallet of scenic bits. Essentially a micro layout's work. Of course once you have soggy ballast, even if it's a small area, any thoughts of electrical testing go out of the window until it's thoroughly dry and unconductable. I followed this with the waking of the bramble factory. The upshot is that platform furniture excepting and a couple of figures this main part of the layout is done.
Re my suggestions about exhibitions a couple of days ago: Mr Weller has given a lengthy reply in the comments of that post which is well worth some considered reading.
Monday 22 June 2020
Just to prove that I can not only be flexible when the occasion warrants it, but will also refuse to follow my own advice.
It's a race to the finish now with Tiley Road and as with Hopwood the rat's tail siding section is the last to be tackled.
After explaining at length a few days ago why I never follow the standard procedure of ballasting the track as soon as the rails are down, but leaving it until the bones of the scenic in place, I made an executive decision on Friday. Namely in order to get all the clutter of three open bags of ballast, runny glue pot, syringe etc. off of the workspace, I waited for Mrs F. to leave the building, dumped the third board on the kitchen table and ballasted said rat's tail track. Waiting for her to go out isn't usually necessary, but she's been using the same space to work from home and I couldn't be doing with the potential territorial grunting.
Only some lightweight landscaping and a wiggly tin hut to finish this bit.
Sunday 21 June 2020
I realise that some of what I've put up here in recent weeks/months has been slightly (and understandably) negative. Most of this has been wrapped around the collapsing exhibition circuit and I've written on several different platforms about what might happen. There's been a small amount of reaction to this. An old friend dropped me a line yesterday which included a synopsis of the problem:
'We obtained a copy of the Government's guidelines for events and to put it bluntly, a small club hasn't a hope in hell of putting on a show. For instance just to get people through the door we would have to have a machine for contactless payments, there would be no catering unless we obtained the Covid19 certificates (and small shows rely on the profits from catering), no toilet facilities unless they were constantly cleaned and many more conditions.
Also it is unlikely that we could hire a hall from a local authority or get exhibition insurance unless we could guarantee compliance with all of the guidelines. All of that and much more before we could even consider exhibitors, traders and the number of admitted public (based on the square footage of the hall). Even if Perspex screens were placed around layouts and trade stands, they would need to be disinfected at frequent intervals.'
We're now essentially at ground zero, so what do exhibitions do?
1. Wait. There's not really a lot of point running around and planning shows in the fullest sense for probably six months at least. I don't think things will get going until this time next year, but we can take on board the (shifting) guidelines and gradually build contingencies around this.
2. Re-book this year's layouts. Most seem to be doing this. It would be daft not to utilise the planning work already done.
3. Downsize slightly. The footfall maybe smaller, so booking a large venue maybe a costly error. That said the traditional spacings of items in the hall may need to be rethought, with more room around each. Barriers may well be mandatory to obtain distance from exhibitors and rear op's would be preferable in most cases as you already have the depth of the layout to include. Getting the balance right here will be fun. Fewer layouts, less trade and more or the same expense for the venue.
Exhibitors: 1. Slow down a little; it's not going out for a while.
2. Any 'new' exhibition layout should factor in the above points. Front op's are out, screens maybe worth considering (masks definitely) and a lower personal engagement is suddenly paramount. This will preclude some exhibitors completely - those who have made the front op'/chat to the public the root of the design.
3. A dramatic shift in thinking will be apparent for some, including a move to online only especially those with health issues. This isn't as radical as you may think and the lock down has thrown up some gems of home-based layouts.
Trade: A more 'sealed' jewellery shop approach with a no-touch display. Till screens and contactless payments.
The circuit will return, but it's going to look quite different. I'm old enough to remember when most shows were in church halls and quite low-key - we may well have to return to a similar standpoint and build up from there. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. A vaguely competitive element has developed in the last decade with bigger shows and more widely travelled layouts. Returning to, and restoring touch with a more local visitor (and potential club member) baseline will I believe be the way to move forward and build from this point.
It's going to be OK.
Friday 19 June 2020
Well, that's the big tree felled.
I had a tip-off yesterday, but the website here was still showing that all was OK. The facebook page however was a little more up to date and showed that the show 'has been postponed until 2021'. The ramifications for the model trade must be huge as Warley is used for launches and to give the public a chance to 'fondle the fruit'. I suspect that much of the reasoning may be down to accommodation. Putting that many traders and exhibitors up for two days is quite a feat in normal times, let alone when there are so many question marks still hanging over the hospitality sector. That's without considering the show itself and I hinted at this in my recent RM Comment page; would they actually get the footfall that they needed to cover the not inconsiderable costs involved?
On a personal level it's irritating. It was highly unlikely that I would be attending in person due to panto clashes (though that too is still unbooked). However the O gauge layout was. In fact its whole design was based around fitting it on the PECO stand at the show. Although I still have a copy deadline to hit for the November issue of RM, it is now feeling flat. Does this deadline now exist? If so why, if the layout isn't going? That means I'm now rushing to meet a deadline... for a magazine that was featuring a show... that now doesn't exist.
Another cancellation two days ago (Dorking) means that for me there is now one show left standing - Newhaven at the end of October with Hopwood. If I were a gambler I wouldn't be throwing wads of cash at that happening either.
Tuesday 16 June 2020
Use OO grade material
I thought I'd over egged the ballast buying - not so. One van siding and a crossover and two bags have bit the dust already. While this is less fiddly than working with 16.5 track, the extra sleeper depth sucks in the ballast reserves very swiftly. As usual I ignore the scales and go for the stuff aimed at OO and use mix of clean/weathered stone and cinders; working the latter in a little heavier where the loco would stand and throwing a few tea leaves around in places.
Monday 15 June 2020
The push now is to get all the ballast down on boards 1 & 2. It's always completely satisfying to lose the visual of bare wood. Regulars will know that I do all this back to front, opposing the time-honoured order of ballast down first followed by scenery. As most of the things I do are of the 'light and narrow' variety, there is little of the hard ballast shoulder required. This means that (prototypically) the ballast goes up to and over the landscape and not the other way around. This may not work for more main line subjects, but no. In the case of Hopwood all the platforms and walls etc. went in first and (again prototypically) the ballast runs up to them. I doubt that the myriad of beginners texts will change this stone-built edifice of model railway instruction anytime soon, and I don't know anyone else who routinely does it this way, but I see no reason to change.
Sunday 14 June 2020
Busy isn't it? There was a scramble for ideas with the new lock down rules a couple of days ago with Mrs F. fighting with little brother over who had access to mother... he won. Logically he's only ten minutes round the corner so it sort of makes sense. Not wanting to waste the get out of jail free card, other options were examined. At which point the 'single vulnerable' adult numbers are small and you realise how few single vulnerable people we know.
I decided to bite the bullet and work through the early MRJs with knife. This has been discussed at length already, I just wanted to wind the collectors up a little.
I've now reduced the magazines (in their complete sense) down to this months RM and CM. This is a good thing. The layouts are next. The Orne extension board built for the latest publishing epic was supposed to be sold, though due to the situation no contact has been made. I may cut my losses at this point and strip both it and the root Orne back to bare wood to be reused for something else; or maybe I'll just take them outside with a box of matches. This will leave me without an 009 layout. This maybe odd for the editor (and as I'm led to believe director) of the 009 Society's now anorexic newssheet, but time marches on and apart from Narrow Gauge North, next spring (will that happen?) there's nothing left in the book for it. I'm desperate for a clean slate and to get rid of all the mess in here.
Thursday 11 June 2020
About every other week somebody will email me to ask whether I would like them to proof read 009 News. They usually back off quickly when I give the time requirement; the final copy deadline is midnight on the 31st and it has to be off to the printer on the 1st. I'm sure they're all very well meaning, but I'm always suspicious that they just want a hand in it (read partial control) without taking the full commitment of getting a slim monthly publication out. What's this got to do with anything?
Well the proofs for my final epic for Crowood Press rolled up for checking with a stern warning that this is for typos etc. NOT for rewrites. Strangely now that I spend a lot of time working with Adobe indesign page design, my quick thumb through is picking up page layout errors long before I have to start picking apart my own words.
I also note that when obtaining the web link above, that this forthcoming title may interest certain VW fans from Leamington Spa.
Wednesday 10 June 2020
Railway Modeller dropped onto the mat a couple of days ago and contains a Comment piece by self. Most of these that I've submitted have gone in largely unaltered, this however has been quite severely edited. It's probably a much better piece because of it - much of the root text was from a couple of things that I'd put on here. What is interesting is that it also gets a mention at the foot of SF's editorial, which in itself throws up all sorts of questions.
I think that I'm possibly seen as the freelance trouble maker. Draw your own conclusions.
Tuesday 9 June 2020
Although only mentioned slightly, I could feel the almost sharp intake of breath when I wrote about cutting up MRJs. What is it about this particular magazine? For a start many of the authors also write similar pieces for RM etc. I'm thinking Messers Forster and Gravett in particular and yet slicing those up isn't viewed as a problem.
Possibly it;'s the numbering. Quite cleverly Gerry Beale went for a number rather than a date stamp. Some of this may have been realising how Rice's copy deadlines could wander, but more likely is that it creates a 'collection' feel. The rare (though I know plenty of people that have them) Number 0 proves this, going for silly money on trade stands. This collection angle is clever because it creates value as opposed to content. I found myself chucking whole magazines and not keeping anything. Why did I buy them? No idea. Why did I keep them? The 'value' angle. This is of course a bit of a con as value is in the eye of the beholder - I'll bet if I try to shift my early copies I'll be tapping my fingers for quite a while and probably get less than the cover price.
As you can see above, the handsome chap holding the classic Greg Dodsworth pose over the layout doesn't buy into the ethos. Sometimes I'll box things in, sometimes mount things high and at odd times I've drifted toward finescale track building. No more.
I do know what the finescale ethos is, but sorry, it feels like The Emperor's New Clothes at times - if you keep making finer and better models people will be impressed and there will be more accolades/interest etc. The old hands will know that this is bollocks and the only single reason for doing this is to satisfy yourself. If you have any other reason, then you are delusional as the vast majority don't care. Sure you may get some clucky noises from the glitterati, but we all know that you a singing into an empty water butt. I know this and almost build things in opposition... because I can.
Sunday 7 June 2020
I've kept 1-50, but all the remaining MRJs are chopped and gone.
Les' comment below throws up and interesting question: 'But I assume you're not doing it just to please other people'. The response to this is yes, and no.
Point 1: I've been performing since I was 13 - I'm a show off. The psychology of that is open to discussion, but most would say that this is in some ways a small extension of that.
Point 2: If there was no audience to this, then what would be the point? I may as well get a scrapbook from Wilko's. At that point the question is do I a) hope for an audience (the 'build it and they will come' method) or b) tailor the content to said expected audience? Or indeed write about what I like, or write about what others may like. i.e. I'll bet Graham Muspratt would get a lot less traffic to his blog if he didn't write on Southern Railway modelling, but instead on mining techniques of the Andes. What he likes coincides with the interest of a solid audience - they just have to find him.
The response therefore is: I don't write specifically to please other people, but I'd be stupid not to take the audience into account. Unlike some I have over a decade of data to analyse to work this out.
What then is the future? Sure I could keep doing this and look forward to waving a 20 year birthday GIF at you... of I could move subtly to another something. A while ago I put a video up here. This didn't get an overwhelming thumbs up. Stephen Fulljames of Narrow Planet put a comment up about 'not rushing to video'. He is of course a proper computer type and it made me pause for a minute, but that is one way forward. Another is to attempt to drag the existing braying multitudes across to another non modelling waffle platform, but I doubt that would succeed, not at the same numbers anyway.
Saturday 6 June 2020
It's hard to exactly pinpoint when I started blogging, or why. I'll take a stab at 2006 simply because that's when my life was taking a turn; one of those crossroad points that we all crash into from time to time. In 2006 it was all very different: no photos, no comments (although these were fairly quickly introduced.) just words. The why is harder to define. While I'm not a super-geeky computer type, the web and communication on it fascinates me, although that attitude is always changing very slightly. The idea of a 'web-log' was probably, slightly ironically it would seem , introduced in a newspaper article and I enthusiastically sought out these new 'blogger' types to learn more.
What I found was mainly North American and that the subject matter was quite varied. Pre-photos the content was very 'Dear diary...' but there were more of a more travelogue type emerging both over there and here. Diamond Geezer was an early find and is still going strong. Some were personal, some about football and so on. What I also discovered that not only were these blogs out there, but the people behind them were real and would occasionally meet up. This led to a couple of interesting hook-ups, some fruitful, some that it would be best to draw a veil over.
My own attempt at this time was rambling (nothing new there) and random, but the enthusiasm continued. What I didn't do was write about modelling - it was the one thing that just didn't seem to fit very well and it wasn't until 2009 with the building of Unnycoombe that I opened a dedicated modelling blog which explains the address for this page. I didn't think it would run for long - just a throw away to put a few photos up. I certainly did not expect to still be here over ten years later.
What interests me now are the stats over this ten year period. There are a few stand-out posts that are way above the others - the reasons for some are obvious, some not so. Underneath this royal set are the second division of popular posts (and this is what I find interesting) the Saturday Rambles and longer wordy posts do remarkably well and I can't explain why. I assume that people come here for up-to-date modelling buzz and chopping and cutting stuff, a sort of low-budget George Dent; it would seem not. They turn up for this; me waffling about nothing in particular. This naturally begs a question: why do I bother with the modelling at all? Why not just waffle as it is more popular. And for someone who has wrapped a career around the phrase 'It's bums on seats darling', this would appear to be logical.
I may expand on this tomorrow.
Friday 5 June 2020
In yesterday's comments Harry mentioned this:
As it was sitting on the bench in front of me it was the work of seconds to dump it on Dury's Gap and take a snap. You can read about it in a post from 2011 here. Built in a shed in Seaton a stone's throw away from the original Peco shop, it was a flight of fancy simply because I liked the Paul Towers drawing. It's been sitting in an ice cream tub in the cupboard since then and is starting to delaminate around the roof.
The government enforced 'Parliamentary Class' threw up some short-lived, but interesting vehicles. The problem for the modeller is that they are so far removed from modern vehicles that its hard to persuade modern eyes to accept that they are looking at a coach. I have had dreams of producing a full-blown 1850s layout, but while these and the wagons are not too much of a stretch, the locomotives are much harder and you are quickly into outside frames and some quite convoluted valve gear. Young Mr. Barnabe turned out a very atmospheric layout with this vibe a couple of years back, but the fact that they are so few and far between tends to reinforce my reasoning. It would be a fantastic space-saver with a train of say six similar to this and a small locomotive: somewhere in the 15-18" length range. The research would be fun and you are totally on your own save (as here) a few buffers and wheels. It's possible that it could even fit on a 'one-board-wonder' type baseboard similar to the Dury's Gap 45 x 12" footprint. But here I am now, gently talking myself into doing it.
Thursday 4 June 2020
I spent the back end of yesterday afternoon clearing things, and as you would expect it took substantially longer than I'd envisaged. We keep too much... of everything. I'd picked three areas - yes a bit random, but that's the way my brain is fitted. Magazines, a drawer and the side of the bench. The magazines mount up - RMs, CMs and the occasional purchase of BRM and Model Rail. The ads I don't want and there is often only one article that I want to keep, so these are sliced up, the to-be-kept bits put into clear file pockets and ring binders and the remainder is recycled.
The drawer took the longest as it was the most eclectic and emotional. Five old pairs of glasses, six bow ties (in four colours) and three watches for starters. The glasses got binned, the ties were thinned out and the watches kept for when I find someone who wants watches. There were historical items: an address book (well two to be precise) dating back to my teens at least. Notably there were one or two sets of details that are still current, but most are not, and in many cases the people themselves no longer exist.... bin. Similarly a notebook where I wrote weekly details of a touring schedule. Briefly interesting to see how much I earnt (subsistence payments and travel payments varied) and also what I'd spent. Though how useful to me, or anyone else, is knowing the cost of a coffee in Middlesbrough twenty years ago? This is the sort of stuff that historians pour over to piece together the lives of those that have gone before us, and me putting this in the bin is why they have such a hard job of it. A short period of my life documented, now lost to the Newhaven incinerator.
A start on the desk was next and a box of business cards many from people who I can't ever remember working with; why I asked for, or was given a card. A sort through of the current (and living) their usefulness to me now. As expected the vast majority joined the address book.
The modelling stuff is more difficult as it's hard to predict what will be useful or needed in the future. A whole cupboard of stuff and two hundred books... another day.
Wednesday 3 June 2020
I was picked up today about being too gloomy on here, and I can't even blame Mr. Hill for it. On the contrary I'm very upbeat, but possibly just as many are at the moment -a little directionless due to some of life's corner markers being removed. Much of this may be down to the plan of retiring from hitting things for a living in the Autumn which would mark an unbelievable 40 years at it. The current situation has thrown this, forcing this moment to two months ago. What do I do? I didn't exactly want an exit party, but I did want to do it on my own terms. Now I'm wondering if I stick to the plan, which may well mean that it's already happened, or do I add a bit on and make it 40.5 or 41?
The opposite of gloomy was my morning accuser Matt Kean who was ostensibly writing to plug the Wiltshire 009 Group's 'Skills Day' on the first of August which they are still hopeful for. Not so much an exhibition as a rolling masterclass. Keep your eye out for it. An email in the same batch from Tim Rayner informing me that I have a Comment piece in the next RM (regulars here will recognise it) and asking for payment details. Peco have not only moved from the collar and ties, but are now paying BACS rather than ten bob notes by carrier pigeon. My fear is now for their office tea lady.
Back to the present and the current job (one of them. Bored? Moi?) and the loading/cattle dock on Tiley Road. The eventual use is somewhat decided by what fencing I can build/get hold of. The same card weave technique has been used as with the main platform, though after the warping in this I've made the cells smaller which will hopefully help.
Tuesday 2 June 2020
One of the things that defines my modelling is that I have to keep moving. I do get a gentle ribbing from certain quarters about selling layouts in a short period after building, but I need to move on. Part of this is lack of storage space, partly a restless mind. I need to find a new idea all the time; not a new model, a new idea. One thing that puzzles me about certain people is the continual recycling of one idea and often linked with recycling the same items of stock, but never moving on. This is not the same as the one man-one life layouts such as Buckingham; I find this fixed lifetime goal pre-set far more logical.
I hit certain points where I need to pivot and I'm in one of those moods now. If someone walked in and offered to take the whole lot away, I wouldn't object. It would give me a clear space and a clean mental sheet to work on. I wrote a short while ago about compressing the ideas/stock etc. This is all part of the same thought process - a reduction of stuff and a reduction of mental clutter. With no shows for the foreseeable future this is a good time to do this.
In all seriousness, if there's any existing layouts that you might like, I'm open to offers. Email in the top right box.
Monday 1 June 2020
I note that lock-down essentially ends today and that the government are 'reasonably confident' about safety. This from the same mouths that said that if we kept deaths down below 20,000 we'd have done well and that Dominic Cummings didn't break any rules. If you were buying a car and asked about safety and the salesman said that he was 'reasonably confident' that it was, would you proceed? I'm reasonably confident that we had a mild dose of it back in February/March, but I'm also reasonably confident that I don't trust anything that they say and am taking no chances.