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.