Dio-Bolical Monday No: 37 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 15”

It’s impossible for me to start this post without providing you with some background on a personal event which unfolded over many months and weeks ago.  Please indulge me before I eventually move on to this weeks real blog narrative and the progress, or lack of, in respect of my Death and Taxes diorama.  All will hopefully become clear.

The personal event occurred on the 16th February when my father died at the age of 95.  He suffered a heart attack last August.  It was his second, the first coming some 35 years earlier when he was 60.  Unfortunately it was clear to see from his second one that his speed of recovery would be much harder given his age.  In reality he never did get back to where he was and slowly over many months he began to decline.  I recognised this and knowing that I would need to provide mum and dad with more support than had been previously necessary I made some personal life adjustments which included hitting the nail on the head of my Wednesday and Saturday blog posts.

All went well for a while but the day my daughter and her boyfriend left to go to Costa Rica for 5 weeks was the day things really took a turn for the worse.  I’ll spare you and myself the details but several trips in and out of A&E  over the next five weeks resulted in his last admission and the end of his life.

As previously stated dad died on the 16th February.  This was also the day that he and mum had been married for 70 years.  Not quite the celebration we had in mind but stragely poetic.  It was also the day my daughter flew back from Costs Rica.  Sometimes you can’t make these things up can you?  My mum and I were with him at the time but my brother, despite a valiant effort to arrive at the hospital after a three hour journey, missed him by 20 minutes.

At this point some of you might be wondering how I managed to put out Dioboloical Monday posts during this time.  The simple truth is I didn’t.  They were all produced weeks and weeks ago and scheduled.  All I’ve been doing is responding to your comments.  Why?  Well oddly both my brother and I increasingly had the feeling that something big in our lives was on the cards and we some how knew as far back as last year that our dad’s time was growing increasingly nearer.  For my part I threw myself into my diorama and made significant strides with it and produced blog posts along the way which I then scheduled in advance to appear week after week.  I knew the time would come when modelling would be halted for as significant period.  However, events have now caught up, I am now back “live” and the simple truth is the amount of progress I have made over the last 5 weeks pretty much amounts to the square root of fuck all.  In fact I haven’t picked up a brush in that time and I’m wondering if I can ever be bothered to do so again.


Now the words you’ve just read above were all written at 07:30 on the 3rd March, the day of my dad’s Funeral.  An odd thing to do you might say but I needed to do something to kill the time and some how typing that seemed appropriate.  The time now as you continue to this read is 07:53 on the 6th March and I’ve just picked up on drafting this post once again.  It’s rather like “Back To The Future” this one isn’t it?

So what has happened since the 3rd and the 6th March?  In modelling terms nothing.  A post prepared way back will appear this coming Monday.  It’s all about the changes I made to the tree.  As you read this you will have already had an opportunity to see that post and possibly comment and had a reply from me!  Boy this is becoming increasingly weird isn’t it?

With the funeral now in the past it is time to move on and I am hoping to pick up on the diorama again once my mum is settled back home on her own after being with us for several weeks.  Between now and Monday week, that’ll be the 14th March I aim to get something done no matter how small just so I can get back into the saddle so to speak.


Today is the 13th March and for the third time I am back drafting this post which will be published tomorrow.  Over the last week a lot has happened although very little of it in modelling terms.  On a personal level mum is now back home.  An emotional time for us all and there is a need for things to settle down a lot more as we adjust to a new normal.  We will get there for sure but I think the journey will be a long one.

On a more positive front I did manage to make some progress on the diorama.  Not a lot but enough to ignite my interest and, if time permits, get back into things once again.  Realistically progress is going to be slower for a while but it is what it is for now.

The first thing  I had to do was remind myself just where I had got to and how best to proceed next.  I did think I’d start painting some figures but as it has been a while since  I’ve picked up a brush I decided instead to do some basic ground work.  In the scheme of things I felt there was less chance of things going wrong!

The area which received my attention was around the Balcksmiths building.  Some filler was laid down which when dry has had some texture added to it and was then allowed to dry once again.  I used some more plaster board to create a small rock face, applied a few layers of paint and then added some static grass and vegetation.  I also set about making a piece of hedgerow which was the most creative element of the work I did.  Below are a few work in progress photo’s.


For the hedgerow I used some artificial horse hair which I bought when I went to Telford last November, it looks like this.


I cut a strip off of the main block and then started to pull it a part as it was far to thick in it’s current state to look natural.  Hedgerows in Devon where I live are far from regular in shape other than when the farmers are annually required to cut them, at which point they end up with a nice flat top of even height.  Left to grow naturally some of the plants such as Hawthorn grow tall and develop into trees.  I didn’t want to add another tree, not least of all because the hedgerow will be close to the “recently” made oak tree, but I didn’t want a neat uniformed hedgerow either.  To resolve this I took some natural plant roots and added them to the artificial horse hair.


After dabbing a variety of paint colours to the horse hair and adding some static grass, flock and leaves I ended up with a hedgerow that I was pleased with and which I then fixed into place alongside the Blacksmiths building.



As to the overall diorama the current state of play now looks like this.


As mentioned earlier, not a lot has been done this week but on the positive side I’m up and running again, well sort of.  As part of my review of where I am I also made a very rough list of things I still have to do.  In no particular order the list looks like this.

  • Paint and construct the barn
  • Fix the oak tree in place and do relevant base work
  • Make one or two more hedgerows
  • Paint some of the 18 or so figures I have bought
  • Buy the half dozen or so figures I haven’t bought (or found yet!)
  • Check out suitable animals to buy and paint
  • What other accessories need to be bought?
  • Look at fitting out the inside of the buildings
  • Make a note of the bits which look finished but aren’t!

Plenty more to be done and I’m not sure what I’ll do next.  As I’m still working with various time constraints I think I might start work on painting some figures.  It’s been a while since I actually did any and I think it will be much easier to pick a figure up and put it down again if I can only snatch and hour or so at a time.

Until next week.


34 thoughts on “Dio-Bolical Monday No: 37 – “Death & Taxes: The Earls Visit – Part 15”

  1. Oh mate, I’m really sorry to hear about that. I knew your old man had been in the hospital and I was hoping things might have improved but alas… I’d buy you a pint and give you a hug if I could (although on second thoughts maybe I would just buy you a pint, you’re having a tough enough time already!).
    I think you know but my own parents have been in and out of hospital a lot over recent years and from a painting and modelling point of view it certainly makes things up and down. Sometimes painting is just the thing to take your mind off everything and sometimes you just can’t be arsed. My advice is to take it easy, paint what and when you feel like it and look after yourself and your family, especially your mum. Anyway – I’ll stop waffling! The diorama continues to come along very nicely. Artificial horse hair looks like handy stuff, funnily enough I’ve been thinking vague thoughts about how to make my own hedges myself so I’ll have to look it up. That said the thought of what an artificial horse must look like is terrifying..!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for that Wudu old chap, that did bring a welcome chuckle I must say. As for the painting I’m sure I’ll ease myself back into things but with everything that’s going on in the world its tough to get motivated. If things weren’t bad enough already I’m an ardent Chelsea Fan!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Hey there TIM, very sorry for your loss, I know words can’t stop the hurt you’ll feel, but somehow typing on a blog post is what makes me, and I assume you as well, feel connected to something bigger. Anyway, it sounds like he lived a good long life and that’s all we can hope for in reality.
    Still looking forward to where this diorama goes, no matter how long it takes!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I am so sorry to hear of your loss TIM, nothing I can say will change how you feel, but know we will all be here to support you !
    The progress you have made, through this traumatic time looks great, but work at a pace that suits you, if you don’t have a post next week, we will still be here, when your next post arrives.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think the guys above have said more that I could in a much better fashion than I can manage! So sorry to hear such sad news, Dave! Time is always the best healer I think! I can relate to working on things just to keep your mind occupied and doing bits here and there when you’re in the mood is no bad approach. But I need to point out that you did include some horses lurking in the background on one picture and if you’re going to include them in the diorama they’ll look crap if you just leave ’em plain white! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m really sorry to hear about your Dad, and I hope you are doing OK. I hope that writing about it in this post helped. And I hope that doing some hobby or blogging about it helps take your mind off things for a while as well.
    But don’t feel you have to do anything hobby wise unless you feel the need to, we will certainly all be here wanting to look at your next step on your amazing Diorama, be it next Monday or be it a month or more from now.
    Take it easy mate!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. My condolences to you and your family Dave. Am so sorry to hear it.

    I hope your modelling can provide some peace when you need it- I’ve always found it therapuitc. Family comes first though.



    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m really sorry to hear about your father’s passing. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult period. Taking a break from a huge diorama like this is not a bad thing considering everything going on. I bet your motivation will come back as time goes on and it might help you tackle the remaining parts of the project with fresh eyes too.

    I have a feeling you’ll always remember this diorama now because of what happened while making it which is bittersweet. Perhaps that is a way to get yourself motivated to do your best on it though I fully admit that we’re all different in how we deal with these things. What I can say is that the progress you made looks excellent and even if you didn’t get any further with the project, its already looking mighty impressive!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. The inevitable paper work which goes with such things has had a major impact on my time and it saddens me that my dad will never see this diorama finished. He enjoyed seeing what I did. Things will settle day by day and I’m sure I will throw myself back into modelling, besides I don’t think he would have approved of me giving up! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Thank you for sharing the heartfelt words and letting us in behind the curtain. Very sorry to hear about the loss you and your family have suffered. All the best to you and yours.

    I know it pales in comparison, but thank you for continuing to share your work on this project. It’s truly one of my favorites out of all the great projects I’m following out there. Simply beautiful stuff.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. So sorry to hear about your dad mate. I’ve been there myself, sometimes it helps to get away into the fantasy world of modelling to not dwell on it.
    The progess looks great by the way, that is one wild hedgerow.

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I know we’ve touched base privately but, again, I’m really sorry he’s gone but he will always be with you in a sense. I’m not a religious man but memories are made to last, especially memories of this we love. I’m glad you picked up the brushes for all of our sakes but especially your own sake. This nerdy little hobby of ours has the power to brighten up our day, our lives and it has also brought all of these lovely people commenting together. Keep at it Davey, we all love ya. Now onto more important stuff (😉) The dio is coming along so well mate. It’ll be your next masterpiece I have no doubt.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Well Dave what can I say after reading all these fine tributes from our modelling family but to say that I can feel for your loss, its never easy mate no matter the age. I lost one of my work friends on the 8th of March, she had just retired and was looking forward to spending more time with the grandchildren, I was talking to her on the phone arranging to catch up the next week , instead I got a call from my old boss saying that she had passed away. I think I went into shock as it only came and hit me yesterday made a bit of a mess of me I can say , so take care mate and look after your mum as I remember how my fathers passing knocked her around, and she was a tough old stick that went on to the ripe old age of 97. Only IRO can say what we all feel, and he is right, We do all love you mate!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Pat. It’s a very weird feeling when someone who has been a part of your life for a very long time is suddenly no longer there. Quite a surreal experience really. Needless to say life has changed quite a lot and will be that way for quite sometime. Not sure it is something you get over, you just learn to cope and move on don’t you. Still early days of course. Mum is doing OK but she is very lonely and I’m doing my best by her and the rest of the family but it is proving very tough trying tplay fair by everyone. Its what it is for now I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They say it takes about two years to get over a death of someone close, but I can reassure you mate that you will come good sooner as things get back to normal, I was talking to my last aunt who lost her husband at 101 and she said it was the loneliness that hurt most so you are doing the right thing by your mum, it will be hard for a while but knowing you I’m sure you will come through it soon enough.

        Liked by 1 person

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