Sunday, 25 January 2015

Mirontaine Card Buildings

I've actually put quite a lot of labour into the model railway this past week - although it may not look like that.

That labour has been devoted entirely to the row of card buildings across from my model of the Gare du Nord.

These buildings were manufactured by the French company Mirontaine.

Unfortunately, whatever scale they were was much smaller than H0 scale and so I had to get the component sections of card enlarged by a professional graphics company.

A comparison of the original and the enlarged version.

A consequence of the enlargement was to render the model slightly unstable and floppy. This past week I set about reinforcing the structure of the buildings and also adding in some chimney breasts, also for strength.

A particularly floppy section.

Reinforced with a card insert at the top

and at the bottom.
The extra chimney breasts

Some of the original chimney breasts were painted on only one side so I picked up the brushes and coloured in the other side with acrylic paints.

The back of the model was only partially coloured in by Mirontaine and so I painted in some extensions to the roof sections.

And then photocopied a section of the wall from elsewhere in the model and stuck it over the unpainted expanse of white card.

Currently listening to:

From my teenage years.

Monster Movie by Can

From the 90s but I'm only catching up on them now.

The Week Never Starts Around Here: by Arab Strap

From Falkirk, Arab Strap produced some really mean and moody music - make that GRITTY, MEAN and MOODY!!!!!

This week's mix played on almost a continuous loop.

Latin Excursion by Malcolm McKenzie

Just finished reading:

Wonderful and profound.
Currently reading:

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Slimmed Down Blog

It had been my intention to reduce the frequency of this blog to once a week, say a Sunday, and focus more on the model railway aspect - starting today.

Unfortunately, this intention has coincided with a very busy weekend and so there's only time to include a few photographs.

I hope the photographs will demonstrate the rightness of my decision to introduce a raised section to the model railway diorama.

Hitherto, my thinking had conceived of the town surrounding the railway station as being all on the one level - a kind of 3D map. How unrealistic! No town is completely on the flat; and reflecting that undulation should increase the visual power of the model.

A modest raised section of about 1.5cm, achieved by sitting a row of card buildings across from the front of the station upon some plywood.

The card buildings themselves are still to be glued together.

O Ye of Little Faith

The stained glass window in St Simon's RC Church in the West End of Glasgow depicting Simon Peter sinking beneath the waves as he tries to walk across the sea to reach Jesus.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Blog will resume Sunday 18th January 2015

For a variety of reasons I've decided to take a break from this blog for a fortnight or so.

Will resume 18th January 2015.

Thursday, 1 January 2015


Motto for 2015:

"Jesus I trust in You."

For me, there can be no other.

Currently listening to:

Last night's dinner:

Forgot to take photograph but it was excellent in all respects.

Currently reading:


I seem to have spent my whole life reading books with the word "Elementary" in the title.

Drumming practice update:

And talking of "elementary", I've partially abandoned the incremental approach to drumming practice ie the approach whereby one waits until one has mastered a pattern at a slow tempo before trying the same pattern at a slightly quicker tempo and so on until one can perform it at pyrotechnical speeds.

Drumming skills seem to have dimensions other than the quantitative which interact with the quantitative.

The situation reminds me of the counting of varying numbers of objects in one's visual field.

When there are only a few spots, one doesn't seem to count them at all - one immediately perceives that there are three or immediately perceives that there are five spots.

But there comes a point when one has to count the spots one by one to find out how many are there.

Ignoring the factor of any pattern in which the spots might be arranged, there seems to be a discontinuity between on the one hand counting any number up to five or six spots  - which is done as an immediate perception - and, on the other hand, being faced with 7 or 8 or more spots where one has to resort to counting 1 by 1.

Likewise with tempo but in REVERSE!!!!!

Below a certain tempo one can perceive and monitor individual strokes and do so on a number of dimensions:

eg loudness, height of stick, degree of movement of wrist, height of arm movement, position of arm relative to torso, flight of stick through the air and so on.

Above a certain tempo one cannot perceive the movement of the stick in these atomic terms: one has to apprehend them as a group of stick movements; a pattern or Gestalt if you like.

The upshot of all this is that I have been practising at both slow tempos and high tempos.


Went for a long New Year's cycle this morning, in the pouring rain - fantastic.

Along the riverside and then back through the fairly empty streets of Glasgow city centre.

And then past this new and impressive temple that is rising up in the West End of the city.

Not sure which religion it celebrates.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Review of 2014 - Part 5.


Section 1: Books enjoyed this year

The first point to make is that this was the year of the Kindle!

Much used on holiday in France

Six books stand out in a year of mainly memoirs:

Book of the year for me!

But I also thoroughly enjoyed the following:

And a few novels:

Re-read this one

Read this one every year!
Plus my 2 monthly subscription magazines:

And some philosophy:

Online Logic course

My Kindle came into its own because I now have access to the Daily Mass Readings of the world wide Roman Catholic Church.

Section 2: Films at the Cinema

Standing like a giant above all other films was this re-showing of Mulholland Drive at the GFT in Glasgow.


The rest were mostly American and mostly seen at the beginning of the year.

Then last month I saw this excellent German film.

And a film documentary about the life and work of David Hockney.

Section 3: Visits to the Theatre.

Section 4: Musical performances

P J Proby at the Royal Concert Hall

Andy Fairweather-Low At Biggar Village Hall

Graham Gouldman

Graham Gouldman at the Oran Mor

Golden Teacher at the Oran Mor

Section 5: Music listened to in 2014

My listening in 2014 was dominated by electronic music associated with either the Optimo Record Label or the Optimo podcasts on Rinse FM.

For the many folk of my age group who still miss John Peel, Optimo are more than worthy successors.

Definitely the year of Optimo.

Optimo from Glasgow

They always seem such happy chaps

The Internet radio station that broadcast their programmes

Music I came to through Optimo.

Chris Carter

African music mixed by UK DJs

Huntleys and Palmer record label

Golden Teacher from Glasgow

Michele Mininni from Italy

General Ludd from Glasgow

Yet more African stuff

Amadou and Mariam

Golden Teacher mixes.

Golden Teacher again, since my drumming tutor is their percussionist.

Uwe Schmidt

Golden Teacher

Aunti Flo from Glasgow

Leisure Muffin from Canada

Paradise Bangkok Collective

Dissolving Dancefloor from Glasgow

Internet version of iTunes

Anne Clark - performance poet

Factory Floor

Also listened to a fair amount of Bossa Nova since it has the same rhythms as Samba music.

Luiz Bonfa

Nara Leao

Old favourites that I still dipped into in between listening to Optimo.


Christine Schaffer - beautiful voice

Die Winterreise

Pop Music

Hot Chip

Judee Sill
Joni Mitchell

Jesus and Mary Chain



Aphex Twin

Other stuff.
Welsh Male Voice Choirs

Hoagy Carmichael

Section 6: DVDs

Watched more or less no TV this year except the comedy panel game "Would I lie to You?"

Four Box sets of DVDs were dipped into on a frequent basis.

The League of Gentlemen

The Likely Lads