It's been nearly 4 years since I last posted on this blog (and to be honest I wasn't even sure whether I hadn't taken it offline ages ago - but clearly not) so whether anyone will read this I have no idea. But hello if you are! This feels a bit like the first tentative trip over a weed-grown, mothballed branch line after years of inactivity...
Over those 4 years I have had a chance to reflect on my then haste to discard or sell off my model railway assets and realised that it was the result of an all-or-nothing mentality that had characterised my approach to much in life up until quite recently.
Maybe it was turning 40 last year or something, but I have started to approach life a little differently lately, realising that it is actually possible to sustain a range of different interests alongside one another without being totally consumed by one at the expense of all others, and that it is possible to take an interest in model railways without necessarily having to own a model railway or be in the process of building one.
All of which is, I am certain, absolutely obvious stuff to most people, but somehow it wasn't obvious to me until these last couple of years!
Thankfully my haste to rid myself of all my model railway 'stuff' didn't go beyond selling my small collection of RTR locomotives and rolling stock and a couple of other bits - all of which are easily replaceable if ever I decide to get back into active modelling. The rest is boxed up in the attic (when our second child arrived in 2014 the 'railway room' was taken out of service as such and converted to more pressing needs!)
One thing I came extremely close to selling but which I am extremely glad I didn't end up parting with is my Model Railway Journal collection. I went so far as to list the entire lot on eBay back in 2011, but thankfully they remained unsold and I still have them all. In fact I have now brought the collection up to date with the issues I missed out on over the last few years. I've also extended what was at that time an embryonic collection of Great Western Railway Journals into a complete set (most of which I haven't yet read, but just owning them gives me a sense of great satisfaction!).
I was interested to read in the recent obituaries to Bob Barlow that for many years, even when he was involved with MRJ itself, he never had his own model railway, so I don't feel so bad about claiming an interest in something to which I can't attach any great exhibition-piece of my own handiwork.
Henceforth I am quite content to be known as the eponymous 'armchair modeller'. I won't be making any commitment to writing on here regularly - or at all - but neither will I avoid doing so if there is something I feel inspired to comment on, be it one more than or 5 years from now, so the blog remains 'open for business' at least in the 1960s branch line sense whereby there might not be much 'business' happening for very long periods of time! Whether I return to active modelling at some point in the future who is to say, but that really matters little at the end of the day - there's no compulsion to have to do anything.