Sunday, 10 May 2015

Jim and the Naked Lady

This blog is based (loosely, very loosely) on events that took place at the "Bogies" Model Railway Club which meets in the premises of Buffers Model Shop at Colton Cross near Axminster. Some names have been changed to protect the inncocent.

We might be worried about Jim.

Mrs Dale's Diary was the first significant BBC radio serial drama. It was first broadcast on 5 January 1948 on the BBC Light Programme, which became Radio 2 in 1967; it ran until 25 April 1969. A new episode was broadcast each weekday afternoon, with a repeat the following morning. Mrs Dale was the wife of Doctor Jim Dale.

Her apocryphal catchphrase was "I am rather worried about Jim."

At the little model railway club that fbb attends each fortnight, Jim has been building a small arc of standing stones, a sort of (very) miniature Stonehenge. To provide a focus, Jim decided to buy a model of a typical hippie Ford Transit plus occupants and their camp fire.
A hippie (or hippy) is a member of a subculture that was originally a youth movement that emerged in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The word 'hippie' came from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into New York City's Greenwich Village and San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district.

But when he opened the box he discovered, to his horror (or so he claims), that the lady and gentleman seated on a mat by their camp fire were, how shall we say, "déshabillé". They could be posed enjoying the freedom for which the sixties were famed!

We have no need to be worried about Jim in this respect. He realised that such a scene (on a layout designed for public view) would be inappropriate so arranged for his good wife, an artist of some skilll, to adorn the sun worshippers with a minimal level of decency.

This seemly cover-up was greeted by much derision by some members. But then this article appeared in a newspaper famed for its pictures on a certain page; photos of a less than clad female form.
The paper had been informed of Jim's model by persons unknown and reporters had descended on the Model Shop in question to seek a scoop.

As a Biblical Christian, fbb would not condone sexual activity outside of a traditional life-long marriage, nor is such "activity" suitable for a public model. Whether blog readers find the story tittilating, amusing or repulsive is a matter of personal choice but its content is true. The authors had discovered that, not only was Jim's hippie starkers scene on sale, but many more sets of miniature figures in compromising poses can be purchased.

Sadly, not the best advert for a Model Railway Club.
The company, based in Germany, is called Noch** and fbb can thoroughly recommend its huge range of scenic models which includes castles ...
... bridges, stations, factories and, especially, people (of the fully clothed kind). Here is a set of German police ...
... one carrying a working warning lamp. And here, ideal for fbb, is a small group waiting for a bus.
Bur beware, excited modellers. The models are to HO scale, which makes them a little too small (at 3.5 millimetres to the foot or a ratio of 1 to 87) for UK OO gauge trains (4 millimetres to the foor or 1 to 76). Perhaps, in some unknown part of the potentially dis-United Kingdom, the police are all on the short side of normal? The models are also expensive. A typical set of figures is about £8-£10 and the bus stop scene (shelter, figures, luggage but without bus) retails at £20 in the UK.

But back to Jim; and a genuine worrying situation. He decided to develop his little hippie scene by putting an LED in the camp fire, so it would glow realistically as the campers prepared their ratatouille and coucous.

But it didn't work, despite using a meter to test it.
Jim went off and acquired a second LED but to no avail. No amount of resoldering and desoldering would light the ruddy crystal. Is the transformer plugged in to the mains? Yes. Is the transformer switched on? Yes. are all the wires connected? Yes.

We were all worried about Jim, and Jim was worried about his camp fire.

Then someone had a bright idea. What does this button do, this little back button on the extension cable housing, there, below the white plug?
Answer: it switches the mains on! And now, connected to that wonder of the modern age, electricity, the diode duly started emitting its light.
A quick grovel under the baseboard and a rosy glow appeared in the hippie camp fire.
Honest, it is glowing above Jim's thumbnail although it does need subdued ambient lighting for the best effect.
All Jim needs now is a solid-state circuit board to make the fire flicker and a smoke unit (from Seuthe, another purveyor of German technology) and all will be complete. Sadly we also need to find Jim's cooking pot which pinged into oblivion as the LED was installed; it hung on the little bracket.

But Jim sure does take his modelling seriously.

fbb is worried about Jim!

** The Company name is usually mispromounced in the UK as "Knock"; the salesperson who sold the pack to Jim had a go with "Notch"! The correct pronounciation is like the "ch" in Scottish "loch". The sound, as all our readers will know, is a voiceless velar fricative made by placing the tongue high in the upper palate above and behind the gnashers and breathing out.

Tomorrow we return to last Thursday in Paris and a trip to Versailles.

 Next bus/train blog : Monday 11th May 

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