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In my annual attempt to squeeze a blog post out of no model making whatsoever, I’ve been looking at the resolutions I made last January to see how I did:

1: Blog once a week,
It’s good for me to keep writing. Besides, I have to step away from college and breathe on occasion, so I’ll try to make sure there is an entry every week, in fact, every Saturday morning.  Anyone bored with this blog should find that my other one is updated weekly as well.

I occasionally use the same material, but hey, it’s free…

I think I actually managed this, much to my surprise. Admittedly this is at the expense of immediacy so I have a couple of posts ready in case of unforeseen family events or exams. I’m not sure if I’ll keep this up for the next year as I’ll have final exams for my Occupational Therapist qualification in the next months and then the fun of finding a job afterwards. We shall see.

2: Build more models.
After all, I need more blogging material. Being an extreme introvert surrounded by people, I need to switch off to be able to breathe each day, and I find model making is excellent for this as a break before dealing with the family in the evening. I also want to use different materials: card wagons, for example, possibly with the finish printed on paper, or clay and wood for buildings.

This years tally is a completed post office, garage, cartoon gate and developing farmhouse, while the Höfelbachbahn is better off by one railcar and a still unfinished van, and the Körschtalbahn has a big diesel coming along slowly. I seem to have made more buildings than trains. That may just be because I find buildings easier, or because I start all my locomotives twice.

3: Finish half built models.
Like the KÖB railcar (which could well rank as the slowest scratchbuilding project ever although it is much further on than this picture from 2011 suggests), or a rebuild of ‘Growler 1’ which has been languishing in a box for (yikes) ten years as it was far too big for 1:43 scale, let alone 1:55. I’d like it to run one day.

Not doing so well here. The Körschtalbahn railcar is now in primer with some piping, but that’s as far as it got, and I didn’t have the heart to lay a finger on the diesel shunter yet.

4: Maybe, just maybe, get Spitzenwald running.
I feel like I owe it to myself after the fight it took to build the baseboards.

Nope, nothing doing.

What with exams and possibly a house move, I’ve been thinking about my current projects and how they fit in life generally. I’ve got some ideas but they aren’t really complete and you’ve been pretty patient reading this far, so I’ll not bore you further…

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Happy Christmas…

It is Christmas eve here and all around us people are opening presents, but because we are traditionalists our boys are being forced to wait until tomorrow morning as they would in the UK.

So, in the unlikely event anyone is online and reading this, happy Christmas to all three of my readers, and thanks for following along my misadventures.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as we have all recovered.

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So, having fixed the dodgy track, I can now think about Resolutions. Hmm…

1: Blog once a week,
It’s good for me to keep writing. Besides, I have to step away from college and breathe on occasion, so I’ll try to make sure there is an entry every week, in fact, every Saturday morning.  Anyone bored with this blog should find that my other one is updated weekly as well.

I occasionally use the same material, but hey, it’s free…

2: Build more models.
After all, I need more blogging material. Being an extreme introvert surrounded by people, I need to switch off to be able to breathe each day, and I find model making is excellent for this as a break before dealing with the family in the evening. I also want to use different materials: card wagons, for example, possibly with the finish printed on paper, or clay and wood for buildings.

3: Finish half built models.
Like the KÖB railcar (which could well rank as the slowest scratchbuilding project ever although it is much further on than this picture from 2011 suggests), or a rebuild of ‘Growler 1’ which has been languishing in a box for (yikes) ten years as it was far too big for 1:43 scale, let alone 1:55. I’d like it to run one day.

4: Maybe, just maybe, get Spitzenwald running.
I feel like I owe it to myself after the fight it took to build the baseboards.

So, there you are, I’ve cunningly generated a blog post out of no modelmaking progress whatsoever. Now we’ll have to see if I can achieve these things or if I’ll end up just cutting and pasting this next year…

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Officially foreign

mess

So, the first exam came and went, and I’m told I did reasonably well. This week I get to do it all again, graded this time, and hopefully remembering all the reccomendations the examiner made.

Oh, and now I have to go and find out what our long-term immigration status looks like thanks to a sizable minority of the UK being tricked into believing it will be a good idea to go it alone. We have a lifelong visa here so we are okay for the time being, but with everything shifting under us I feel the need to plan ahead.

Thse two are taking a lot of time and energy, hence the low posting rate at the moment….

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So, yes, it’s been a while since I even posted on here. Almost exactly two years in fact

When I last posted in December 2013, I was in the middle of Baseboard Building School (known to the ignorant masses as a Carpentry Apprenticeship). I graduated sooner than expected because I was diagnosed with Asthma, but as I have no desire to spend the next thirty years making kitchen units out of chipboard, this wasn’t a disaster. Even better, theres a chance I’ll get a grant to start a new course to learn how to use my carpentry training to work with people.

This process involved government departments and therefore took a ridiculous amount of time and energy, so making models didn’t seem such an attractive idea for a while. Besides, it seemed a bit pointless and wasteful making things that will ultimately be thrown away.

On the other hand, what if the point of the exercise is the process, rather than the end result? Someone at my current training placement pointed out that you can use “Literally anything” for training people because whatever work you do is a medium to help people. If the project one day ends up in the bin, well, so do most school books. The point is that the person working on them has learned something.

Railway modellers -at least the ones who can converse in normal sentences- frequently point out that building a layout involves working as a carpenter, electrician, artist, historian, and many others. It is perfect, in fact, for teaching new skills to people such as my three growing sons, or at least getting them off the computer for a while so they do something useful.

Anything that reduces time playing Minecraft has got to be good.

After this, I realised that I work in a city farm with a ‘Making Space’ for children and young people, with useful things like saws and drills and workbenches, and space to make things.

Being me, I faffed about and put off doing anything like making a baseboard for ages.

Then, last week, my employer came and asked if I needed anything from the builders merchants and on a whim I asked him to get two sheets of ply.

KÖB_Spitzenwald_BB_01

More updates to follow…

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Radio silence

The lack of posts over the last weeks have not just been due to yet more exams rolling in, and the tax office deciding that I’d taken on an extra and lucrative freelance job and needed to tell them how much I was earning. This was news to me: I don’t have the time for an lucrative freelance job with a forty hour week plus studying and family.

Apart from this, if I did have a lucrative freelance job I probably wouldn’t be spending those forty hours a week feeding chipboard into machines for pocket money.

No, the lack of posting is because I’ve managed to lose the cable for the camera and therefore can’t delight you with pictures of my adventures in south Germany. It turns out that absent mindedly putting the cable on the nearest available surface when I’ve finished with it, isn’t a good long term strategy (see also: gloves, hats, cellphones, forks, etc) The only reason this doesn’t happen with the bikes is because they’re too big to put something on top of them by accident. I’ve got a couple of things to write about but without pictures they’d be a bit boring.

Normal service will be resumed soon. When as I find the cable…

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Life is intervening, again. The last few weeks have been a right thumper of an exam session because all the tutors decided that with the half-year report due very soon, they need to have a test at the same time, so I’ve been doing lots of revision, amongst other things about an hour of maths each night which is not very exciting blogging material, hence lack of posts, and replies to comments.

I’ve been feeling slightly guilty for a while about this post giving the impression that our local transport system was run by incompetents or possibly monkeys and that isn’t the case. (Having grown up in the UK I have experience of a transport system run by incompetents, or as they are known ‘politicians’. I think monkeys could do better) so in the interests of balance here is a ‘normal’ commute home.

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When things are working, the last lesson finishes about ten minutes before the train and gives plenty of time to walk to he station. Even better the German rail system runs proper trains with class 143 locomtives with double deck push-pull trains made by (I think) Bombardier.

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The novelty of being on a top deck coach will never wear off. Bay seating fortunately hasn’t gone out of fashion in Germany.

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Large amounts of bike space and a massive disabled privy downstairs. The things I photograph for you, honestly. This is in the driving coach (Driving Van Trailer in UK parlance). In the UK these are kept as luggage vans but in Germany they are a bit more relaxed about this.

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Cavernous bike and push chair (stroller) friendly doors. Loco hauled trains have a future here: DB has ordered some sets of double deck coaches and locomotives to work local services as push-pull trains, so hopefully there will be real trains around for some time yet.

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Off train and on to bus which leaves exactly six minutes later. The bus takes longer to cover the next five kilometres than the train needed for 20, but saves me cycling 200 vertical metres so we’ll gloss over that. I can get off at the next village to ours and comfortably ride the last few kilometres straight over the fields, while the bus goes off on a tour of local landmarks, so I save about ten to fifteen minutes and I can start on assignments fresh and awake from the ride.

I don’t of course: I faff about and end up trying to solve maths problems when I’m half asleep before rushing to get ready for the next day, but never mind.

Half year reports are coming next week, so the pressure should let off for a bit.

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