Monday 28 January 2013

Taking a Break

I've decided to take a break from the blog for a week and return with a heavier emphasis on the model railway than there has been in recent months.

Saturday 26 January 2013

Less can be more.

French Station Clocks.

Out of desperation to include in today's blog something that was connected with its name:, I googled "French Station Clocks" in the hope of finding some interesting clocks in French stations.

I was baffled by the hundreds of images that came up of what were obviously pseudo-antique household clocks.

It turns out that a French Station Clock is the term used for a large clock face that dangles from a metal arm of some sort.

Presumably, they were originally to be found at French stations and are now being mass manufactured for the home-owner or maybe cafe owner who wants to introduce a bit of character into a room.

Here's a random selection of such:

Currently listening to:

As One: Planetary Folklore

This CD came out in 1997 and I pretty well bought it at that time. I'd always imagined that As One were a modern jazz trio of some kind. Anyway, I looked them up on the web and it turns out that As One are a Korean girl duo.

As One
I was fairly surprised at this discovery but then I remembered that a Reggae outfit I really like called "Dry and Heavy" turned out not to be Rastafarians but were young musicians from Japan.

However, I looked at their photograph and found it difficult to imagine these young girls churning out jazz funk in a studio - or indeed anywhere else.

So I searched the web again and discovered that As One is also a bloke called Kirk Degiorgio.

As One

And this from Wikipedia.

"Kirk Degiorgio, better known as As One, is a British techno producer and DJ. Born in the late 60s in Stepney, east London, and raised in Suffolk, he started producing music in the early 90s. He founded the labels A.R.T. Records and Op-Art Records and releases on them as well as B12 Records, R&S Records, New Electronica, and others. His style is a mixture of Detroit-style techno, mixed with funk, soul and jazz fusion."

That's more like it.

Last night's dinner:

Felt sick all day, the first time I've felt physically ill in years.

Nevertheless, felt I should try and eat something.

The chicken and ham pie in the photograph was of excellent quality but I forced myself to eat it. Felt no worse afterwards.

With mashed potato.
Less can be more:

Often when I'm praying, I judge the sincerity of the exercise by the length of time spent concentrating on the task.

Actually, I've got a tendency to do that generally.

So, if someone told me that I could strengthen my leg muscles with an innovative 10 second exercise done once a day, I would still choose the no more efficacious 90 minute session done twice a week.

Because I love fish, the traditional act of fasting on a Friday by eating fish rather than meat has always seemed inapplicable to me. So, instead I devote time to reading a religious tract of some kind and, unless it causes a social rift of some kind, never consuming alcohol that day.

So, yesterday, being Friday, I picked up my monthly issue of the missionary magazine, "Africa", with the intention of reading one of  the articles therein. The magazine had been left open at the end of an article about the Shrine at Medjugorje and how the Bosnian war had stopped pilgrimages to it.

I re-read the last paragraph of that article to check that I had indeed read it already and my eye was caught by this sentence:

".....thereafter we were unable to go on pilgrimage. We formed a group known as Friends of Medjugorje and just did our best to live the messages, to promote prayer groups, and quietly convert our own lives."

Admittedly, I was feeling crap yesterday and my concentration was shot to hell, but that sentence had such a powerfully uplifting effect on me that I felt no need to spend time looking for a new article to read.

Less was indeed more in this case. What I'd taken from the one minute session of reading was just do your best. I could have read twenty pages and come away with nothing more important than that.


Friday 25 January 2013

Alasdair Gray

February is the month where I intend to do a fair amount on the layout.

For now, I'm ashamed to say, I'll resort to reprising some photographs from previous entries in this blog; just in case there is someone coming to it for the first time.

Laying some track down November 2011

I've stuck to this basic vision of the layout.

Ceramic station facade January 2013.

Had this idea to cover the platforms in checkered mosaic tiles.

Glued them down one at a time.

Some of my French HO scale rolling stock.
Last night's dinner:

Forgot to take a photograph of the meal itself but it was Duck a L'Orange from M & S.

I had another one in the freezer so photographed the box.

Currently reading:

A friend loaned this book to me today. I'm a  fan of local writer and artist Alasdair Gray - this is a kind of biography written by his secretary of the past 15 years or so.

I'll intersperse reading it with Evelyn Waugh's trilogy, "Sword of Honour".

Currently listening to:

Deerhoof: Friend Opportunity

Thursday 24 January 2013

HO scale bridges

Too tired to do much but download some pictures from a French model rail exhibition somewhere.

Basically, two HO scale bridges and an HO scale scrapyard.

Pretty good, I say.

Currently listening to:

Tired and morose so am listening to totally sympathetic music.

Hans Hotter singing Schubert's song cycle, Winterreise - Winter Journey.

Early in the song cycle the wanderer sings about his lost beloved. As the work continues, he sings of abject loneliness, longing for death, and glimpses of delusional hope.

Last night's dinner:

A smoked salmon sandwich consumed on the hoof prior to attending Tango lesson.

No photograph taken. But will take one of tonight's offering.


Tango update:

As I arrived at last night's beginners' class, I crossed paths with my former classmates leaving the Improvers' class. They all seemed genuinely surprised and disappointed at my decision to repeat the Beginners' class.

On the whole the class went well. But I did have two unsatisfactory experiences with two very different looking females who had one thing in common: they were both extremely muscular dancers and pulled me all over the place so that I kept losing my balance. I thought I had developed ME.

But with everyone else I was able to lead the proceedings properly.

So a mixed evening.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

VW 1500

Here are two images from the web that came up when I Googled "Limousin echelle H0".

Note, that the H is followed by a zero and not by a capital O. I read somewhere that on the Continent, H0 means half zero scale and not half O scale.

And, for some reason, up came a picture of an HO scale model of something called a VW 1500.

 I decided to find out more about the 1500. It turns out it was produced in the early 1960s and there is a Collectors' Club in California.
Their 2012 Calendar

A fine example.

The members.
And finally an archive picture from the assembly line in Hanover in 1962.

Currently listening to:

Last night's dinner:

Basically, a chicken leg eaten on the hoof before I rushed off to my Ceramics class.

No photo taken.

Tango class tonight:

Looking forward to repeating the beginners' course.

Always tempting fate when I look forward to anything.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Ceramics update

Fairly productive evening at ceramics class.

1) Rolled out the necessary clay slabs to form the underlying structure of my HO scale St Paul-St Louis.

Basically, I see the facade as having two layers or depths.

To achieve this I rolled out one large slab and then three narrower slabs which will be stuck on to give the structure in the diagram above.

The main slab rolled out (took 15 minutes with a rolling pin)
Checking it's the right size.

On the left, the three narrower slabs or strips to be stuck on to the main slab.
Put them away in the damp cupboard to be worked upon next week.

2) Then returned to my blackened row of shops/apartments.

Used shellac (Button Polish) to paint over everything but the windows and doors. Then, next week I'll use a wet sponge to wash away the non-shellaced areas. This will indent the windows and doors and thus differentiate them. The shellac burns off in the kiln.

The slab of clay.
Shellac or Button Polish

3) Took home the 4 pink walls of my Boulevard Haussmann building - will work further on them here.
Last night's dinner:

Roast chicken leg, carrots and braised cabbage.

Made the gravy with this stuff - very easy.
Sibelius 5th Symphony:

Feeling terribly morose.

In a mood like this I want the company of other morose people so that I know that it's a valid human condition.

The best form of company for me is melancholic music and for over 40 years ago I have played this brilliant symphony knowing that others who listen to it feel the same as me.

Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer, born in 1865 and died in 1957.

Monday 21 January 2013

HO scale buildings - by eye

Take a look at the church  (with yellow background) in these two photographs.

The church in the top picture is printed on a single sheet of A4 paper. That in the second picture has been expanded by approx 10% and is printed on sections of A4 paper taped together.

Technically speaking, the bottom version is more to scale than that in the top picture. Actually, even in this expanded format, it is still a bit small for a true HO scale representation. But any bigger and I think the church would have looked like a cuckoo in the nest.

Stroke of luck! Just found this photograph of the actual church in situ.

St Paul -St Louis, Paris

So, I positioned my card buildings to simulate the positions in the photograph and the expanded version of the church, in my view, looks OK.

Note: that cupola with cross atop in the photograph of the real church is actually the pinnacle of a huge dome that sits behind the facade. I've chosen not to include that in my model.

OK. Roll on the ceramics class tomorrow night.

Currently listening to the first Hot Chip album which, actually, I purchased after all the others and, consequently, has been least played.

The album has the same title as a collection of Brenda Lee songs, "Coming on Strong" being, presumably, one of them. In my youth I loved Brenda Lee's voice.

Last night's dinner:

Smoked salmon slices, artichokes and black pudding, all on a bed of lettuce.