John's Jottings

156. The Featherweight - June 2019

Posted on May 31, 2019 at 2:10 PM

While at the Farthing Gate show we heard about a member of another cub who came into the clubroom with a six-foot long lightweight baseboard. As one might expect, there were comments about it being too long to carry without inflicting a hernia. But it was indeed very light. He then brought in a second board, equally light, and fixed it to the first. The track was down. The tunnel mouth was in place. Blocks of foam gave a rough impression of how the landscape would look.

“This is the first time I’ve had the baseboards together,” he said. “I can’t get them both set up in my railway room simultaneously. And my wife won’t let me put them up anywhere else in the house.”

The other club members sympathised. He then proceeded to attack the foam with a kitchen knife to roughly carve out the land form, putting the off-cuts into a bin-liner. Electro-static interactions ensured that they didn’t all stay there. They subtly spread across the clubroom and attached themselves to members’ clothes.

“I don’t suppose your wife allows you to do that at home either?” his fellow-members asked with much glee. She didn’t. Not even in the garden, or on the drive. There was the potential for far too much mess. The other members appreciated his predicament, but wondered who was going to clear up the mess he was making in their clubroom.

Then the industrious fellow started to file the foam to create gently rolling countryside. Polystyrene shards and individual beads went everywhere and clung to everything. But only the happy landscaper was oblivious to the mess. Drifts of polystyrene clung everywhere and stopped all delicate and paint work.

Credit due. When he had finished, he got out the vacuum cleaner and systematically rounded up every last fragment. “Does your wife make you do that at home?” he was asked, amid much mocking laughter.

“Of course,” he replied. “Don’t you help out round the house?” There were some embarrassed laughs.hen he had finished, he quietly opened up the cleaner, removed the dust bag and went outside to empty it. Obviously he’d been well-trained in correct domestic procedures. He was away for quite some time. His friends wondered where he’d gone, and for what purpose.

“Isn’t it just good manners to empty a full bag?” our own chairman asked. “A bit like not leaving the washing up for others to do when it’s your turn?” We all looked at Peter and Paul, though they didn’t respond.

“It was obvious,” our chairman continued, “that washing-up and bag-emptying were novel concepts for some of that club’s members.” We chuckled amongst ourselves. Perhaps, like a couple of our members, they didn’t realise that bags ever required emptying, or had no idea how to do it, or where to put the contents, or that dirty pots don’t clean, dry and put themselves away.” We all looked at Paul and Peter. They still seemed oblivious to the fact they were the target of this gentle reminder that club membership involves duties and obligations as well as benefits.

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