Trams and a wet Yes in the Park

Has independence had any more blows? I was away at Yes in the Park and didn’t see the news. It’s safe to say it probably did though, as independence gets more blows than Whitelees Windfarm. But that’s still standing too.

It was a great day with traditionally Scottish summer weather, it pissed doon all afternoon. Despite receiving no publicity in the mainstream media, and an atrocious weather forecast, there was an enthusiastic crowd of, well, loads. Don’t ask me to estimate. Admittedly after the rain started really tipping it down, a lot of people buggered off – which if nothing else proves that independence supporters are certainly not insane. Mind you tomorrow we can expect a press release from Blair McDougall saying that today’s event proves conclusively that alicsammin can’t guarantee better weather after independence, so we’re better off with Westminster’s fog of war. I’d still prefer the uncertainty of independence weather above Westminster’s guarantee that a depression will sit over Scotland forever.

wetdugAnyway – a huge thanks to Sharon for giving the dug and me a lift, to all those lovely people from Yes Clydesdale who let us shelter in their stall and escape from the rain, and the equally lovely people from Wings Over Scotland who bribed the dug with a roll and square sausage. Here’s a photie of a very wet dug at the Yes Clydesdale stall.

Due to popular requests (no, really), here are some more photies of the model tramway. If you’ve not read my previous posts on this topic, I started to build this after my partner was diagnosed with vascular dementia. The plan is to exhibit in in residential homes for elderly people and people with dementia as reminiscence project. The idea is to use the model trams and Glasgow buildings as a way of helping residents and their families and carers engage with one another.

I am a complete novice with models like this, so have been trying to keep the technical aspects as simple as possible. The layout is built from ordinary model train track, embedded into flooring cork glued to an MDF board. The cobblestones around the track are made from a flexible roll of cobblestone roadway made by a German company, which were cut into strips and glued into place. The asphalt surface is made from wet and dry sandpaper. The pavements are made from pieces of thick card, painted grey with acrylics then inscribed with a sharp pencil to create the paving stones.

DSCF0235The tenements are made from scratch using thick card. The stone effect is created by gluing blotting paper to the carcass, soaking it in dilute PVA glue, then inscribing it with a sharp pencil. When it’s dry it gives a nice textured stonework effect which can be painted. Painting is a bit tricky, and I’m still trying to improve my technique. The roofs are made from strips of thin cardboard which are fluted, then glued to a thicker card in an overlapping pattern and trimmed to size. Then the whole thing is painted grey. They’re all based on real buildings from the East End of Glasgow. All the buildings have internal lights operated by batteries with a switch hidden in the base. The lights are cheapo strings of Christmas lights.

DSCF0236The wee statue of the Duke of Wellington was made from a model soldier on horseback, painted black, and stuck on a plinth I made from card and painted. I was going to make a wee traffic cone, but then discovered that model railway shops sell ready made ones in miniature roadworks scenery kits. So that was easy.

DSCF0238Once I’ve finished making all the pavements, I’ll get started on some more buildings. Next up will be a copy of Riddrie library – which has an interesting shape and will sit nicely on a corner – a copy of the Sarry Heid pub in the Gallowgate, and a model tram depot which will be a mash up of real buildings as it has to fit a precise space on the layout and there’s no real buildings which fit exactly.

The two Glasgow trams are a number 9 to Auchenshuggle and a number 24 to Langside. They started off life as non-motorised diecast models, which a very talented friend repainted in beautiful Glasgow Corporation livery. Then they were sent to another friend who put in working internal lights and electric motors allowing the trams to run on model railway track. They are now officially my favouritest things.

DSCF0231The other trams I’ve currently got are a model London Feltham tram, which used to run along the end of my partner’s street in London when he was a wee boy, and a 1970s Madrid tram – a prezzie from the lovely Pilar in Galicia. I’m hoping to get a working Barcelona Blau tram soon, and am plotting how to convert a cheapo model tram I bought on eBay into a model Vigo tram – the most famous tram in Galicia.

There’s still a lot to do, but it keeps me amused. And more importantly allows me to feel that I am doing a wee bit to help people with dementia.



0 thoughts on “Trams and a wet Yes in the Park

  1. It’s Saturday. You should know we don’t have any news on Saturday. The nice man from the BBC will fill us in with the gloom on Monday.

  2. That’s looking superb now Paul. I think you’re surprising yerself with your talents!
    Nice to see the dug tae.
    Abi’s a sucker for a roll and Lorne. There’s a van parks up on the A7 just south pf the border during the week where I can get a fix of the square stuff. Abi gets one too.
    Good to hear Yes in the Park went pretty well too.

  3. Paul, good seein you an the dug the day. Is that where that other roll and square sliced went? It’s disappearance puzzled me fur ages!

    Numberwise official press release said 700 but Linda Baird (one of the organisers) said she thought 1500 at one point.
    Great tram layout, look forward to updates as it progresses.

  4. Pingback: Trams and a wet Yes in the Park - Speymouth

  5. I remember hopping on and off trams as a kid, great form of transport.
    The models look really good buildings are great i’m sure it will be a memory portal,a very nice project.

  6. Just to let you know my mother suffered from vascular dimentia and you have my sympathies. I hope you are able to enjoy the respite the trams and blogging appear to give you, as the disease is a bugger, no respite there. Hopefully we’ll all be able to celebrate Sept 19th – sometimes I feel really up about it, other times I despair as to the blinkered ignorance of my fellow countrymen and women – the cringe is alive and well. Ah well, only 100 or so days to go.

  7. Well, apparently Independence will hinder the fight against cancer. I haven’t read the Sunday Times yet, but saw tweets on Wings thread.
    So will read, then see how low Together will go to make an issue of this.

  8. As someone with a recent and painful family experience of dementia I applaud your project Sir; a thing of real beauty.

    I’ve not posted on your site before. I love your words and look forward to your blog daily. Thank you.

    Yes we can!

  9. It was great to meet you and many others at Yes in the park yesterday. Pity the two Wee ginger Dugs had to be kept separate (separatists?) or we could have had a better chat. Onyhow ma wee ginger dug`s wee`r `n your wee ginger dug! 🙂

    I was helping out at the Wings over Scotland stall we had a good few visitors. Thanks to all who came over for a chat. Apparently loads of “Wingers” also enjoy the “Wee Ginger Dug”

    Anyway its a beautiful day back here in Fife. Im just south of Kirkcaldy and as I look out the window in front of me I can look right out across the Firth of Forth and see the Isle of May on the horizon. No doubt my wee ginger dug will be desperate to go to the beach soon. I dont want to think about when we go home next week and the nearest beach will be an hours drive away. 🙁

  10. I am so envious of your Tramway, my train set will never look as good. Glad you and the dug had a nice visit with many of your admirers and Hektor is very envious of the slicing sausage and roll. He cannot have the roll and I am not sure about the sausage because he is allergic to grain, but you can tell your little Spanish friend he does get a bit of Chorizo now and again.

  11. Wonderfully atmospheric models. I can almost hear the noise of the traffic! I think you are going to need a soundtrack, and a photo gallery. No rest for the creative. The News Where You Are link above from Fynesider2 is well worth clicking. “On Saturday, there is no news”.

  12. Wish I’d been there to meet up with other yessers it sounded like a great day despite the weather…recent hip replacement kept me away.
    Your model tramway is wonderful and I look forward to seeing it develop.

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