COVID19, exhibitions, mental health and life changes…

I will start by apologising that this post is not really about model railways (but a little creeps in along with 12″ to the foot railways!)

Restrictions due to COVID19 has prevented model railway clubs and societies having their usual meetings, let alone model railway exhibitions from going ahead. This meant that appearances of Canute Road Quay at shows including the Epsom and Ewell MRC show back in April fell by the wayside. This week I was advised that the Beckenham and West Wickham MRC show on 17th October has also understandably been cancelled, this along with previously announced cancellation of the excellent Chiltern Model Railway Association show in Stevenage in January next year means Canute Road Quay will not be leaving the cottage for some time. Details of any exhibitions booked for next year and still at the time of writing going ahead can always be found on my Exhibition Diary page here.
The loss of these exhibitions is understandable but a great shame, although a number of virtual shows have taken place its not the same and for most model railway clubs and societies they were an important source of income, so once they are back up and running hopefully next year, please support your local show!

A tease of a “Making Quay Changes” post to come
A view of the cottage in my “view from the cottage series of images
My local Jay sits atop my LSWR boundary marker

It does mean that I have been able to do a photoshoots for my Making Quay Changes series which I hope that you are enjoying, there are at least three more in the pipeline so watch this space, and I welcome any requests.

Like many people I have been furloughed since the start of April and whilst I initially kept myself busy creating a new look and feel along with writing many pages of new content for the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society’s  website that can be seen here, check out the History & Archive pages along with the Technical and Education Centre pages. If you really want to look smart whilst helping support the project we have a new clothing range available here.
As restrictions eased we have been able to start our working sessions on No.11 again which has been good both physically and mentally.

As lockdown rolled into May and beyond, as experienced by many, keeping ones headspace on the straight and narrow was sometimes a challenge.
I remembered the adage “it’s ok to not be ok” and “seeking help is a positive not a negative step”, people are there to assist, and your local front line NHS such as your GP is a great starting point, mine was fantastic!

I took the opportunity to make use exercise time to enjoy the lovely part of the Chiltern Hills that my cottage is set in and undertake more photography, ranging from: scenic views, sunsets, the splendid Red Kites that now once again grace the area, other birds, visiting animals and some arty views and angles to take in texture, foliage and clouds etc.
I posted many of the photographs on my twitter feed @grahammuz with the hashtag #viewfromthecottage but have now also created a gallery of some of my favourites on my gallery page here, check them out if you have a few minutes spare.

Catching up on kit builds

I also managed once the mojo had returned to catch up on some simple model making and build a few wagon kits that had been in the will do sometime pile for well quite some time. They are at the painting stage now and will likely appear in a workbench post soon.

In other news after 15 years in the Road Safety and Traffic Management, I decided to apply for voluntary redundancy, so am now in furlough for my notice period that finishes at the end of September.
I then start a new job that by of a tease before it is officially announced will be in… wait for it… the model railway industry!
It’s all pretty exciting really and will definitely improve my work life balance and I am really looking forward to getting my teeth into the new role, so again watch this space…

In the meantime stay safe and well, both physically and mentally, it’s good to talk!

6 thoughts on “COVID19, exhibitions, mental health and life changes…

  1. Thank you Graham for this very thoughtful post and I congratulate you on starting in your new role, I am sure that with your skill set you will make a great success of it, what ever it is! Thank you also for all your contributions to the hobby over this strange time which have kept many of us entertained and informed. I look forward to catching up with you sooner rather than later. All the very best Godfrey

  2. May I politely suggest much of you post is very much about model railways for COVID 19 has had an immediate impact on the hobby; not just with the cancellation of exhibitions but the impact on model railway shops and manufacturing right down to specialists who rely on sales at shows.

    Being in protective isolation since 3rd March it has also given an opportunity to catch up on modelling supporting my local model shop via mail-order.

    However, like the world as a whole, the model railway scene has changed for precautionary measures are likely to be with us for some time to come. These measure are likely to change overs the next few years but the risk will be there in the background – eradication will take a long time.

    Hopefully model railway exhibitions will be possible next year although whether all will be reasonably practicable in terms of COVID 19 precautions. Some may simply not be viable – only time will tell.

    However, as a hobby model railways will endure and continue to provide much enjoyment to those who partake.

  3. Thank you Graham for sharing these thoughts. My daughter is a Nurse Consultant who has been very much at the sharp end of the fight against Covid and has lost colleagues as well as many patients. But she believes the new emphasis must be on mental health – again for both staff and patients. For me, and those of my Club colleagues with whom I am in touch, model railways have been a life saver. Not only working on my modest layout but: sorting all those magazine back issues (and rediscovering some of your articles!); finishing half begun kits; cataloguing stock ( I use a spread sheet); arranging proper stock boxes; learning from YouTube videos (especially Charlie Bishop and Callum Wilcox), improving reliability and many more. Tasks still to tackle include improving my knowledge of JMRI to achieve better CV balance on my locos, possibly through a Raspberry Pi. My knowledge of electronics is minimal so a challenge ahead! So I am able to reassure my daughter that I am fine.
    Having spent time away from your former profession, now must be a good time to move on. You have a talent and it makes sense to use it – and help your wellbeing. I really wish you luck. It is a great hobby with so many different strands.

  4. All the best for your new role Muz, I’m sure you’ll enjoy making your hobby into something more than that.

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