When fbb was very small (? aged 7 ?) he was given a second-hand Hornby trainset for Christmas. He thinks there was a green clockwork engine ...
O gauge is 7mm to the foot scale (1 : 43) whereas OO gauge is 4mm to the foot (1 : 76); roughtly half the size and a quarter of the volume.
fbb remembers becoming bored with his train set very quickly; and "all his chums" (one chum actually) had Hornby Dublo which was electric. It was another 5 or 6 years before a very basic Triang OO gauge set appeared, again for Christmas.
Meanwhile O gauge became something of a specialist hobby, out of the range of mere mortals. Either you had to build everything yourself from scratch or buy kit models and make them up using instruments of self-harm like soldering irons. This is an etched brass brake van kit.
Obviously, you need more than a tube of glue to put these together. Briefly, an adult fbb did have a dalliance with O gauge, and persuaded Mrs fbb to treat him to some Slater's wagon kits as a starter.
But very soon grand plans for a layout running round the back garden of their Isle of Wight home came up against Pensioners Poverty and the realisation that such a project was too big, too expensive and, frankly, unachievable.
The partly made-up wagon kits are still in one of the dozen or so boxes as yet unpacks from the move to Seaton three years ago.
But in those three years (and a bit more) something has changed. O gauge models are now being produced, fully finished and ready to run at what the manufacturers call "affordable" prices.
Here, from Dapol, is an O gauge milk tanker at only (!) £77 ...
OK, too pricey for fbb, but good value if you have the space and the money to develop a layout in this size. Today, however, the range of available models has grown rapidly.
And a question for tomorrow. What did lorry driving correspondent Dave find in the yard of a horse breeding establishment alongside a road in northern France?