Welcome to Mike's continuing World of the Blues


Once upon a time, so you can tell how long ago that was, there was a comedy series with John Junkin and Tim Brook-Taylor; I'm not sure wheter it was sound or vision, but I do remember that one of the recurring catchphrases that has lodged in an otherwise unused corner of my memory was "Just time for a quick meanwhile...". Much of the last twelve months it seems that the year happened in random and largely unrelated bursts for which the phrase could have been coined. I am very aware that a proportion of its effect has been seriously bad for others, and its effects on me will no doubt will seem trivial, but one or two have somewhat dented my natural and normal optimism (I do dislike this phrase "the new normal" which shares the airwaves with several irriting siblings, especially at breakfast).

As a plus point one of the very welcome ocurrences has been the return of Gary Hatcher as editor of SAM, and I know that others as well as me appreciate his return style even if it's difficult to work out on what I've based that presumably biased decision apart possibly for the apparent reducion in white space. In offering a short series of "Tailpieces" as an echo of long ago I limited the number to avoid any reminder of deadline fever; I've really enjoyed writing them, and if you remember the olden days, you may spot an echo or two; you may even a competetive game on how many. the

The first of the three appeared in the December issue, and I was delighted to see the reappearance of the back end of XF317, and the third appeared in the February issue; enjoy even if it's just for the nostalgia, which is of course one of my regrettable habits. Getting my thoughts together for the first reminded me of the motive behind my columns, both the IPMS and the personal ones, with a major theme the thought that modelling didn't need to be a solitary activity.; much of my modelling has involved chatting, consultation and sometimes planning with others, even though a collective project was rarely involved, and it's the lack of this literal face-to-face contact that I've found most frustrating. In the days when I had a secretary - which was also a long time ago - I used to say that I didn't know what I thought until I'd seen it in double spacing, and the exchange of views has become essential, especially with fellow SIG members; as long as we know what we're making.....

Even without the influence of lockdown I'm in one of those recurrent and increasingly frequent quandaries as to what my contribution to my slowing activity is; I'm sure that it's partly driven by the increasing number of Very Small Pieces, and a parallel increasing problem in manipulating them. The regular cure suggested for this is to change to 1:48th, but with one or two notable exceptions I have a substantial mental block on the twin grounds of tradition and available space, though I am overlooking that to mark a forthcoming anniversary, or perhaps birthday. I look forward to meeting old and like-minded modelling friends again, and toward this end I'm fortunate to have had the first of my injections; for a perhaps irrational reason I'm holding on to that happening by the end of March. My optimistic wish for Sir Sydney's P.1091 is receding, though when I saw some Skyrays on YouTube recently I realised that the "delta Hunter" was/is just what the Fleet Air Arm needs for CVA01!

Nostalgia returns, but for how long?

Every so often - at least when I'm in contact with The Older Modeller - I've been asked if I plan to bring Tailpiece back to SAM, and I've demurred, with the help of my MBA in Procrastination; after all, I gave it up when I realised that I was repeating myself every ten months or so. However as I mentioned above, when I heard that Gary Hatcher was returning as Editor and with the instinctive knowledge that it would be to the benefit both of the magazine and of its readers - at least those, probably of a certain age who have a slight aversion to white space, rather like white noise - I offered a short run of Tailpieces, with three in mind and I obviously enjoyed it because around the time I'm writing this, I'm working on the sixth; I've always been a fan of Douglas Adams, so an extended trilogy is a tribute to him as well! I've regressed to a sort of pattern, and it's taken me a few months to realise that while during my protracted run back in the day - I'll steal from the Irish as well! - the subjects were always contemporary this new batch has turned out to be looking back, with a strong whiff of nostalgia. Mind you, looking over the shoulder can be perilous; it's so easy to bump in to lamp posts!

A furry Avenger!

I just had to pick up the Sword kit of the Fleet Air Arm Avenger (see the workbench page) partly because of its history as a post WW II buy by Their Warships and even more by the squadron emblem on the cowling, a small furry creature called Flook. I find increasingly these days th831 NAS Avengaer ECN.6 1959at some of my memories of the 'sixties are not shared by current modellers however evident their years, and if you missed Flook, or if he's slipped your colourful reminiscences of that decade, he was the central character in a comic strip of the Daily Mail of which I was a great; I was even more impressed when I found out that the scripts were written at different times by George Melly and Humphrey Lyttleton. To refresh my memory I was for once satisfied by an investigation via Firefox, an article from 2010-ish recalling him and his supporting cast vividly; any reader who wants to revive their memory - and there are a few of us around from that era - can be reunited with Rufus and Sir Montague Ffolly and their slightly slanted views of the public and political life of the time. 831's previous equipment was the impressive if slightly wayward Wyvern, and they carried a rather larger Flook below the cockpit; now all I have do is find a) a kit, perhaps a touch newer than the Frog one, and b) a decal, and I don't recall ever seeing one of those. Still. somewhere out there....

A smidgen of optimism

There are rumours about when we may be able to congregate across a crowded table (models rather than food, but either would be welcome) with the likliest within my range being 27 June. Obviously I can't reveal where, but the chance to replace loss of contact would be very welcome; somehow Skype or even Zoom doesn't fill that gap. I just hope Vera Lynn got it right.




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