I’m sat writing this on my sofa in Bervie on a cold night in late November, having finally settled in the place I feel I belong. Northern winters are long, dark and cold but when you live in the kind of place I do with the sea close by, the stunning land and seascapes of the Mearns and animals and people around me who are the best I’ve ever shared my life with, the dark part of the year actually has a magic about it I never experienced anywhere else. I never ever imagined that I could experience this level of contentment and to achieve it is wonderful. I hope I can live in relative good health long enough to enjoy it for some time and indeed there’s a peace and fulfillment in my home and work life here that I am prepared to defend with my life if necessary. You certainly can’t put a price on Hygge!
Anyway, that’s enough rumination on life in general for today, what of the modelling world?
Well, there’s no doubt that although I’m getting to love my modelling again, there is no doubt that new RTR is reaching new plateaux of expense and I need to say that as I strive for a more sustainable and less materialistic life this is becoming a significant factor in my modelling. In my opinion, Bachmann and Hornby in particular appear to to be pricing themselves out of the range of most working class modellers like myself. Add to this, ever slipping deadlines for long anticipated new models such as Hornby’s standard 2MT have led me to the conclusion that these big guys have little place in my modelling world now. The imminent and frankly flawed Caley 812s, produced by Bachmann for Rails will probably be the last products I buy new from these manufacturers. This is not to say I’m forsaking the RTR world as new players, particularly Accurascale and Cavalex are presenting a new and responsive business model which provides a keenly priced product of unprecedented quality. It bids well for the new locos planned by both manufacturers, whose openness in their design and production processes is winning them many friends.
Apart from this, the aforementioned price hikes have led me to go back to the old school modelling of my younger days
The tumult and upheaval of my last few years in the Debatable Lands led to me having to dispose of a lot of well loved models to pay for stuff like, rendering, fencing, flooring, a new boiler and car parts. I have started to revisit some of those lost favourites. A visit to Aberdeen MRC’s show last month was a pretty enjoyable experience, particularly from a social point of view, given we have been deprived of such pleasures for too long a time. However, it was the keen eyes of my best mate which generated the inspiration for this post. On one of the second hand stalls, was a Bachmann D11/2, Haystoun of Bucklaw, minus box for a very tasty £60. Needless to say, the old 4-4-0 didn’t hang about long, finding its way to a new home in Bervie that very day, joined the following day by a similarly priced Hornby K1 which will soon take on a West Highland identify.
Significant in the latter day steam heritage of this part of Scotland were the Peppercorn A2 pacifics operated, by Dundee Tay Bridge and Aberdeen Ferryhill and having had to part with mine during the tough years, I was keen to find one again but prices for even second hand were prohibitively high. Until one day two weeks ago when I found one on a certain auction site as a non runner for the incredible price of £60. Needless to say, I figured it wouldn’t be a difficult fix, so I pushed the button. Upon arrival, it was obvious that the problem was a twist fault in part of the valve gear, so a few minutes tweaking ironed out the problem and once again 60533 was a Happy Knight. Not forever though as soon, this loco will become 60532 Blue Peter, a celebrity in the last months of steam working along the Strathmore route in 1966. As I drive buses around the area, it is easy to imagine her charging through the glen at Carmont or through the former station at Laurencekirk. In time the model will reflect those days, but here she is in her raw material state, currently being shown off on the bookcase – there is much to do in this place but it must wait until the stove is installed!
The last bargain acquisition was the loco in tonight’s header, a Bachmann 9F, acquired for the bargain price of £87. Sobering to think we could get one at that price for new in 2007 which shows how hard the twin forces of price inflation and wage stagnation have hit us in the UK since we failed to jail the economic terrorists who caused the 2008 crash. That’s a subject for another day, but fair to say I’m no less radical than I was!😂 Anyway, this one has less of a justification although, as a reflection of my indestructible interest in the railways of the ‘other’ North East, south of the Tweed, this 9F will be treated to some air pumps, reservoirs and plumbing, suitable for one of the heroic Tyne Dock to Consett ore haulers. At least the Oxford J27 I bought not long after I came here won’t be so lonely!
Anyway, I think that’s enough havering from me tonight; I’m just impressed that I’m getting the inspiration and motivation to start posting to this blog again.
My sincere thanks to all those of you who have kept the faith and continued to follow and enjoy my posts through the difficult and sparse years as I geared up to come home. I hope to have more regular and interesting posts in the future. Thanks also to all of you who made my arrival at this good place possible. You know who you are and one or two of you are on your own journeys which are coming to fruition too.
Tonight, I hope can enjoy your fireside like I am. This tune is appropriate for cosying in on a northern night.