Well, there we are. Our wee blue world has completed another circle of the sun,bringing to a close a year of great change on a personal, national and global scale.
It’s been a funny old year from my own perspective as an old career finally ran its course and I sit right in the middle of a big transitional shift. The old job was doing me no good and had long ceased to be in any meaningful way enjoyable, let alone satisfying. Watching out for threats ahead and increasingly behind became ever more wearing with the risk of a wrong call made under pressure putting you out of a job and in my case also out of a home as I was still trudging along with a mortgage burden on my back. I had also been struggling with my own conscience as I see an increasingly unpleasant regime flex its muscles against the weakest and were things to seriously deteriorate I had no wish to be taking the heat of an angry populace on behalf of those who caused the problems in the first place.
Therefore, an opportunity arose this year to get off the hamster wheel and to say I grabbed it with both hands is the mother of all understatements. As a result I am now mortgage free with a small monthly pension and a part time job to back this up. It’s only a small step up from subsistence but it sufficient for now whilst I readjust to normal life.
At this point things are reasonably quiet then but as the year turns full circle, it’s time to start thinking about making sustainable long-term plans. Ideally, I’d very much love to return to Scotland now, but that’s going to be very much dependent on finding new work. At fifty with no real qualifications beyond some O levels and a lot of useful life experience this will probably be easier said than done but I owe myself to give it a try. It would be easier if I had a clue what I wanted to do but I’d settle for 30 hours a week at a living wage for now whilst I build up a bank reserve again to take care of the expenses of any move. I’ve no real desire or need to get back into the rat race but I would like to move back to my own country and to a wee place with a better kitchen, more cupboards and a decent bit of space out back for a layout shed and growing my own veg!
It must be an effect of the independence referendum but I do find myself increasingly missing ‘the old country’ these days and really would like to be a bit closer to my friends and family. It’s a fact that my social network is still largely centred around Central and Western Scotland. That said, I’d be happy anywhere north of the border, depending on where the work is.
I’d really like to do more in the way of modelling commissions but if I’m honest this is never going to generate anything more than pocket money for me so I have to be realistic and accept it’ll never be a ‘proper’ job! Modelling has in some ways just trundled along in the background this year, set against the monumental background of change that is still on-going. I’ve determined that the blog is my sole engagement with the wider modelling world. Previously I was a keen user of forums and I still use those useful CRA, G&SWRA, EMGS and Scalefour fora as places where you can ask sensible questions, relevant to your needs and receive similar responses. Sadly, other places that held promise fell into the hands of individuals with their own agendas and after being painted, entirely without justification, as railway modelling’s own Kim Jong-Il I took the view that I would leave the place to the projectionist and his fanboys and plough my own quiet furrow away from those who think toy trains are worth monstering people for.
I’ve since become a member of the fine Scottish Region Study Group; a decent, down to earth bunch of guys who are always good for a bit of banter and crack in the best Glasgow tradition and though visits are currently infrequent on account of distance, they are always a joy to visit; no cliques, no divas!
In spite of all the distractions though, I’ve managed to complete the troublesome Jumbo and Black Five, three diesel locos and have two LNER 0-6-0s and Duke of Gloucester well in hand. Therefore, although things have been somewhat disjointed, it’s not been an entirely unproductive year and while today’s entry has been largely retrospective, the next one will have it’s gaze fixed firmly ahead and to the north!
Thanks for visiting throughout the year and I hope you continue to find the content interesting and entertaining!