Welcome to Mike's returning World of the Blues
My apologies for going AWOL; quite apart from the continuing effects of being confined to barracks - well, up to a point - I had to do without my laptop, and therefore GOMcom for the best part of two months while there wasn't much spring either. I'm gradually picking up the pieces of what I was missing, and was able to go to Old Warden for their opening event at the beginning of May which was at least a step towards what may be a "new normal"; I really don't like that phrase, I don't think I fully qualified for the old version. This Harvard 2 was new to me, and did have some very visible yellow areas which the pilot enjoyed showing off even if more yellow would have been even better. I hope to see this again during the season, and can comment on the various roudels, and what era and location they signify. A proportion of my training was on Mark 2s, and my recollections - and we all know how variable these can be - think that the differences included a tailwheel which made it easier to ground loop; and the exhaust on this one looks as though it could cope with a cockpit heater, which would have been useful in Canada if not in Rhodesia. The canopy frames were simpler on the Mark 4s, at least in Canada.
Meanwhile, during the meanwhile...
I have enjoyed returning to writing Tailpieces for SAM, as an appreciation for Gary Hatcher's return to the editor's chair, if for an unspecified period, and perhaps not unexpectedly much of the writing has been fed by looking over my shoulder; several of the phrases look familiar,though one of my main reasons for stopping a few years back was that apart from having deadlines perched on my shoulders I realised that I was repeating myself in large chunks every ten months or so. I don't know how long this particular spasm will go on, but as I'm sure you know I have a great respect for Douglas Adams' trilogy.
Before all this got in to its stride there was the traditional period of post-Telford plastic apathy even though there was no ScaleModelWorld last year from which to recover and sort out some unexpected goodies. Continuing in the new year my 2021 modelling has been sparse anyway, but I have done enough even at half or even quarter speed to be able to add entries to both the workbench and Mike's Pick sections with a sluggish return, prompted perhaps by the occasional burst of blue sky, if not warmth as such. I found unexpected if occasionally welcome delays in actually finishing a model or two that I've started with the usual good intentions; sidelined as I write is an AZ Hornet F.3 destined for the Flying Camels of 45 Squadron, but some of whose smaller pieces showed an irritating habit of diving for the floor. It may return; I do like the colour scheme, and I have one particular vivid memory of the type. I wonder how a Griffon-engined variety would have looked.... Kit Spackman has just sent me a shot of his version in the tradition of the PR.19.
In the last week my old friends - some of them very old - of the Thames Valley IPMS Branch/ Model Club held their first proper get together for many months; there was a hopeful group in September which got no further, but last Tuesday there was a genuine hope of continuity. As well as the pleasure of renewing frienships, it coincided with my making a first stab at disposing of a shelf or three of stash as a beginning of a concerted effort, which will need to go on for many months anyway. My traditional procedure was followed by having three boxes/bags under a table, with the offers mostly priced; this gave me an inkling of what I should be aiming at over the next few months, quite possibly even over much of of the year depending on the opportunities. One of the things I enjoy about this way of dispersal is finding recipients who are likely to enjoy and make best use of a particular kit, which in some cases I'm reluctant to get rid of. A few recently completed models stood on tables, one of them holding the entries for a competition which had been in abeyance for ten months or so and which did at last lead to a winner.
An al fresco version on a slightly larger scale was held on the following Saturday in the car park of the Sywell Air Museum, which has the undoubted distincion of being presided over by a Hunter F.2; how could I resist the suggestion to be there, especially when the major attendee at the book/model market was to be the Aviation Bookshop? While telphone and e-conversations have been in some cases possible, the face-to-face and sometimes face-to-goodies opportunities have been high on the list of the major gaps of the twelve months. As I'd hoped as well as the restocking chances it was reviving to see some of the faces and names, and good for my memory to have the challenge - not always successful - to associate the two. I realise that there are geographical limits but a common frequent conversational theme was when and where we might meet again on a larger space, the most likely to be the next in my area seeming to be the Coventry IPMS show at the Museum, currently scheduled for 1 August. Other dates both of model and flying events are now appearing in magazines, and I have hopes for the Brampton IPMS at St.Ives, or possibly vice versa.
Good; now I shall have to recall the launch procedure which will like so much else have grown slightly fuzzy with not being used; optimist that you know that I am, I hope to you see you either virtually or in person over the coming months.
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