Page 5 - May June 2020
P. 5

  I write this in very different circumstanc- es to my column in the last Roundhouse, which was done before the Covid19 crisis hit. It is something of a disaster, to say the least, that we have lost so many events and gatherings this spring, and for how much longer we don’t know. Hope- fully when you all read this issue we will be seeing some signs of recovery.
I hope many of you have seen the funny photo doing the rounds, of a “man cave” comprising a workbench strewn with all manner of tools and paints, a chair, and three walls crowding in piled high with model kits, boxes of materials and sup- plies.The caption is “Don’t panic – we’ve trained for this!”
Perhaps in our dreams, especially for those with busy working and family lives we yearn for when we might have time to get on with those projects that some- how always get kicked down the road.
I so often find myself wishing to tackle some job on my layout but stop myself for the sense of a lack of time.This is of- ten quite wrong, since I usually find that, once I get started the job takes much less time than I think. As Sam Gamgee says in Lord of The Rings “It’s the job that’s never started that takes longest to finish!” Getting through a difficult family time recently, I have sought solace in rebuilding a corner of my layout, which after just a few days was nearing a basic completion.
We modelers are perhaps uniquely positioned to make the most of these difficult months. I referred to solitary modelers last month and, well, I guess that’s all of us right now! Yet model railroading involves so many tasks and techniques, areas of work and research that it is impossible (surely!) for it to become monotonous. For me one of the great advantages of our pursuit is just that – the sheer diversity, that can be interpreted and enacted, by each of us
in our many different ways. I’m not sure what I’ll do when real life comes knock- ing on my door again, as it surely will.
Before the lockdown I was invited to a day’s operating on John and Gil Firth’s Omega Lines, together with Steve Scott and Rai Fenton.Those of you who have read of or been to this venerable layout in the past will know what I mean. Begun by Len Firth in 1950 the layout has been moved and reconfigured several times. It runs beautifully, and I spent most of the hugely enjoyable day working as yard-
master under Gil’s watchful eye and pa- tient coaching.What perhaps impressed me most was the computer operating system: you run the trains with a mouse in one hand and throttle in the other. John has written all the software himself, and his work in this area has benefited the Region over the years.Thank you, John & Gil, for your hospitality and your service to us all over the years.
In the meantime, your directors are pressing ahead with many tasks, most of all finalising the new region website.
Huge thanks to Peter Bowen for the website design and leading this work, assisted by Chris James, Peter Borcherds and others. It is a huge amount of work but, the new website is now live and it was worth the wait!
Please look at explore it thoroughly – especially the Members’ Services area. It is extremely rewarding to see just how much NMRA membership brings to us all.
Jonathan Small
Vice President NMRA British Region
    Visit the new website at
  For every NEW member that joins with NMRA + Region Services (£35 or £45) that an existing member, club or trader signs up, the existing member, club or trader will receive £10 for signing up that new member. Get new members to join here: there is a box asking who the new member has been referred by.
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