Model making and being Grandads taxi!

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I started model making when I was about 10 or 11, mainly Airfix aircraft kits (lots of glue everywhere!) The interest took a bit of a nose dive when I started work in a garage as a young man fresh out of school and I didn’t make any models due to discovering  girls and beer ,but I always had a keen interest in cars and trucks. I suppose this was just  like any interest (I could have gone down the path of train or aircraft spotting). 

Later joined the airport fire service, here I was in my element ! Aircraft and big fire trucks. At the time in  1971 Manchester Airport had about 3 million passengers a year, now it’s around 25 million, so you can imagine that the night shift could be pretty quiet. I decided I had to do something to pass the time on night shifts especially and decided to take up modelling again.

I would buy a kit (I was into military vehicles) and make them on nights, I would set out my stuff in one of the mess room tables and begin. You could guarantee that I would have an audience sat around the table who couldn’t resist playing with the craft knife, files and tweezers!!

Once I had retired and with time on my hands I really got into my models (it was only a winter activity) trying to improve my skills. The best tool I had was the internet, I could research the models , the history and the colours to use.

The main thing with any hobby is that it keeps you sane!! One of the causes of depression is to have a lack of interest in anything but to have any kind of hobby no matter what is a real benefit. The train spotters, Aircraft spotter, bird watchers all benefit.

The pleasure I get from modelling and the pleasure my lovely wife Yvonne gets from Knitting and sewing is not just the making of the item but the point where you say “it’s finished” , Some modellers work are like works of art ! In fact sometimes they look more real than the real thing! But to do a model to your own satisfaction is a really good feeling. I 

A hobby is just part of retirement life that is vitally important, I would say that the other main thing is feeling useful. I have a theory that feeling “useful” plays a big part of life. My Dad died when I was 3 years old so my Mum was on her own with my sister and I.

After a few years Mum had a partner (Sid) who was like a Dad to us but they both worked full time. This was in the 1950s, Mum worked in Manchester and Sid worked shifts so sometime we used to come home to an empty house. We would put the tea on  and in winter light the coal fire (social services today would have a fit!) but we were being useful and this has stuck with me all my life.

When I went to work in a garage as a panel beater repairing damaged cars it appealed to the need I had to feel “useful” . To see customers who were upset about their damaged car looking happy when they picked it up. The Fire service was the same ,helping people in what could be traumatic  times for them but again feeling “useful”

When I retired and at a loose end I volunteered at the local bureau and was taking elderly people to Hospital and staying with them for their appointment and bringing them home, I ended up in the office running the car scheme. Although I now no longer do this I feel that my usefulness is still a huge part of my everyday life and a way I like to be.

I was having a conversation with my Grandson John and he was saying that he had a spread sheet  to keep track of money that he thought he owed us and I said not to worry. He said he would pay it back  and I replied that it didn’t matter  about the money and that it made me feel “useful”I explained to John that feeling useful is a very strong emotion and my theory is that not feeling useful is a huge cause of depression in elderly people , where they maybe once had held important jobs or positions and now they have gone.

They might even consider themselves a burden. So even if it is just a case of being ‘ Grandads taxi’ or ‘Grandads removals’it gives immense satisfaction and a sense of usefulness. So ask your grandparents or elderly relations for help and advice. Ask their opinions and consult them and their years of wisdom. You might just gain far more than you ever considered possible. 

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