Many readers know I'm suffering from poor health due to Chron disease and the treatment that makes my immune system rather shaky. In normal time, this isn't that much of an issue. But since Christmas, I've been down for a while with no signs of recovery. For this reason, my doctor put me in self isolation two weeks ago which I obliged since I'm in the "at risk population"... Yes, you know when you hear people saying it only kills old or sick people? Well, there is a face on that "useless bunch" and I'm part of the picture.
Some colleagues joked about that, took vacation and put others at risk, oblivious that apparent health could mask contamination. I'd like to say these irresponsible behaviors are the result of ignorance, but unfortunately, they are coming from well-educated, environment-friendly and well-meaning types. Do I hold a grudge? No... But it makes me realize that most of us, whatever our choices in life, may sometime be tone-deaf to our surroundings. I hope some of them will learn a lesson from what is happening... and I think some are slowly finding out things are not the Carebear's dream they thought it was even if the finger pointing has started... Maybe they should meditate the meaning of Danse Macabre.
Modelling in Uncertain Times
With that out the way, I realize we, modellers, have a great blessing: our hobby. When confined and out of job, we have the possibility to do something with our hands, create meaningful thing instead of binge-watching crap on TV. We can find a sense and immerse ourselves in something positive that create a state of peace of mind. Saint Benedict used to repeat "Ora et Labora" (Prayer and Work), stressing that a meaningful occupation was also a part of a healthy mind. His model certainly endured and gave rise to a magnificent legacy that what thrown out of the windows a few decades ago because it was "outdated". As I often say, I've always been wary of people thinking they can engineer the human nature or can put peoples in bold categories such as "good" and "bad". Not only it is useless, but it is deceptive.
My grandfather used to talk about the Great Depression. How he was lucky to be in a poor family in the countryside, because they had already nothing to lose, only what they could do by themselves. It kind of prepared me for things to come. With a failing health, a hobby budget that will soon evaporate and much time on my hands, I started modelling again. A small layout, a whimsical endeavour born from enlightening discussions with Chris Mear. I've not planned to take pictures at this point or document it. It is a very personnal project, a canvas... Until it reach a level I'm satisfied with, it will remain almost confidential.
While building my models, I've ran into several issues. I'm confined, most stores are now closed, postal service is slower everyday and I must save my pennies. What can I do? Well, I running out of large sheet of 1.5 styrene, so I'm salvaging and scavenging from other projects. Bits of wood are used instead. Want to model a peculiar locomotive with special parts? Why not model #72XX instead of model #70XX and save myself tracking down hard to get and pricey special part? Why purchase parts I can make myself with styrene, brass and wood if the result will be as good or even better by myself?
You see, in all that time of despair I can see in people around me, I understand this is only a cycle... It will last for a while and better days will come. But right now, confined in my home, I can still do nice things and feel my existence can create works of art. There is a time for everything...
I hope the best for you! Treasure your wonderful craft, because I personally know people that made their life a continuous succession of dinners, restaurants and other social extravaganza going completely nuts and giving up instead of making the better out of it.