Thursday, 25 February 2010

The best kind of R & R...

After a bit of an attempted mauling on the slot racing forum from a dissatisfied customer, I felt like some relaxation away from the pressures of a super active forum full of egos.
My favourite way to do that has always been silence, solitude, perhaps Radio 4 and model scenery.
In various measures.

This had got me back to my first passion in modelmaking, model landscape and architecture. I was born, it seems, with a love of vernacular architecture and although I have often drawn it and painted it, even drawn it officially for Councils to pore over in committee meetings, it is only models of buildings which ever really satisfies.

The tiny yard office at Grindley Brook Locks, Welsh canal

I made my first building when I was about 10. It was a little scratch-built flint dashed forge. I used poppy seeds as un-knapped flints. I was given some ancient copper foil rolled into a good scale corrugated which I used for the roof. Because I had no layout as such, I put it on a grassy base and kept it as that. A scenic set-piece. I have built many such set-pieces over the years, rarely having space for a layout.

I also have a love of estuaries, having spent many childhood weekends on the Essex coastal waterways. One day, when missing the clean air and the sounds of the saltings I made this little set-piece to get it out of my system. Just about 9 inches square, I put it on whatever I had under the bench in the way of a base board, yet it turned into one of my best pieces.

I can find inspiration anywhere, as in that tiny office above, so perfect in its proportion and fitness for purpose.

This is an old village cinema, now, alas, a hairdresser's emporium!

Imagine the queues of young lovers all desperate to get to the back rows in the days when it would have definately been known as the local "flea-pit", before the ugly cement dashed finish ruined the old bricks.

Here is the little country garage in the same village as the "Cinema Salon". Now used only for repairs to cars as the government has allowed the foreign unelected parliament to force stringent and unnecessary rules on small British businesses which cost so much to administer that they are forced to close in full or in part.

I have known this place for over thirty years. You could, at one time, choose from a whole line of Austin Healeys, Pipers, tuned up Imps and Mini-Coopers, to name but a few. The proprietor himself used to race. Now he is waiting for the economy to upturn again so he can redevelop the site because rules and unstoppable vandalism have made the business untenable. Just as well that I made a model of the office years ago then, eh? Another occasion when I needed the peace of architecture. Frozen music.

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