Saturday 31 August 2013


To refresh: I'm going to suspend three overhead street lights across one of the streets on my layout; and I'm building a lattice or gantry to hold the lights. Here's a diagram.

The orange rods are brass and will carry 12 volts to the centrally located lamps. There are also 2 vertical brass rods which will go down through the baseboard to connect with the power supply.

In the diagram, the vertical rods are placed diagonally across from each other, but when I was drilling the holes for them today, I realised that  it was more sensible to have the two rods directly across the street from one another other so that when they protruded under the baseboard they would be closer together to simplify connection to the 2-core cable that I would be soldering them onto. - if you follow my logic.

First hole.

Second hole.
I then made the lattice/gantry from two brass rods and 3 plastic cross members using Araldite ie epoxy resin to glue the parts together.

The lattice resting on the 8 FIMO rosettes.

I'll paint the white cross-members and the rosettes - probably black.

Currently listening to:

"An Unexpected Groovy Treat" by Finitribe.

I came across this outstanding 1992 recording this afternoon when I was sorting out my CD/Vinyl/cassettes cupboard. I presume the group have long since disbanded. They originated in Edinburgh.

Last night's dinner:

Completely ridiculously, third night running eating a curry. This time a Chicken Korma from the supermarket plus 3 small tomatoes.

Today's lunch:

2 boiled eggs, tomatoes and gherkins.
Currently reading:

Read a whole bunch of pages in order to get the flow of Ryle's ideas and, in particular, exactly what he means by The Ghost in the Machine.

Then I'll return to where I was and revert to reading  and taking notes one paragraph at a time. He's a damn fine prose writer.



Gilbert Ryle

Friday 30 August 2013

HO Scale Lighting (infrastructure)

Super-glued my FIMO wall rosettes (see recent blogs) into position on the two facing walls.

The street on the far right is where overhead street lights are to be installed.

The lattice which will support the lights
An example of a  FIMO rosette which will support the lattice on the walls.
Supergluing a rosette to the first wall.

4 rosettes supporting a dummy rod.

4 more rosettes supporting a dummy rod on the opposite wall.

Slung a light across the street to illustrate the purpose of the rods.
The lattice will have brass - electrically conducting - rods running along the wall instead of those white plastic rods in the photographs. Will probably paint the FIMO rosettes black.

See Miscellany below for more on Rosettes.

Currently listening to:

Hoagy Carmichael

Last night's dinner:

An excellent curry at the Green Chilli in Glasgow.

Outstanding vegetable pakora

House chicken curry - very poor photograph, I'm afraid.

From the mezzanine level window of the Green Chilli, one could see clearly across the road two pairs of the iron wall rosettes used in the past to support the old overhead tram wires. I'm seeing these things everywhere now.

That's the University in the background.

Thursday 29 August 2013


Following on from yesterday's blog about tram wire rosettes, I set about making some today from FIMO, the oven hardening modelling clay.

Carved them to shape with a kitchen knife

Made 12.

Placed them in oven for 45 minutes

A FIMO rosette in position.
 See yesterday's blog to make sense of the above.

Currently listening to:

Last night's dinner: 

Forgot to take photograph of meal on the plate but rescued the label from the bin later.

 Currently Reading:


The second bongo lesson covered much more ground than the first and I'm beginning to separate out the elements of bongo playing:

sequence or pattern of strokes

matching the timing/rhythm of that sequence to the music one is accompanying

recovering from errors in the sequence whilst keeping that rhythm going (see * below)

strength of the individual strokes - my left hand still lapses into "grazing" the skin rather than striking it.

accent - intentionally striking harder or softer one particular member of the sequence

location on the skin where one strikes - there are a variety of options

striking the skin with different parts of the hand

linking all of the above to some kind of notation

* I once had a neighbour who practised the piano every day and became very accomplished over the years. But, he NEVER played a piece all the way through without stopping at the occurrence of each tiny mistake, repeating the phrase until he got it right, and then proceeding doggedly to the end.

So, a 5 minute piece would last 20 minutes.

He obviously got pleasure from taking that approach. I will not take that approach. I'm familiar with enough classical piano repertoire to have learned long ago that concert pianists constantly make small mistakes. They don't stop, they recover from them and keep going. That will be my approach.

Making mistakes is an inevitable part of the performance - even if the audience is only oneself.

And , no, my neighbour wasn't perfecting things at home so he could enhance his performance elsewhere - he only played at home.

Finally, I've been playing the bongos tilting towards me, so to speak, when they should be tilting away from one - comme ca:

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Tram Wire Rosettes

Around the city of Glasgow, if you cast your eyes upwards, you will see the occasional tram wire rosette.

Here are some examples:

They are leftovers from the late 19th and early 20th century when Glasgow had quite a network of trams. These iron hooks supported the overhead wires for the trams.

One of my favourite 20th Century painters was Herbert Whone who, until 1955 was the Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Orchestra which was based in Glasgow. Early in the morning, before his musical duties began, he would carry his easel and paints around inner city Glasgow which was in a state of transition with old tenements being pulled down all over the place.

Here are two of his many paintings of the Glasgow trams.

Anyway, to get back to the rosettes, I'm going to use HO scale versions to hold up the lattice supporting my overhead street lights.

A reminder of the lattice - the rosettes will be instead of the purple hooks.
Currently listening to:

Last night's dinner:

Scallops, squid and samphire

Currently reading:

I dipped into this today. A collection of extremely short stories - some only half a page in length. Some are really affecting - little jewels; others are less successful, in my opinion.


Rather than read and summarise this book, one page at a time, which is too arbitrary a sub-division (but was my original intention to make the book manageable), I'm tackling it one paragraph at a time. Presumably, the author uses paragraphs to mirror some form of internal organisation of ideas.


Second bongo lesson tonight. I have been practising both striking technique and rhythm patterns - approx 20 minutes per day.