Veckans ord: vandarhem

Den eviga frågan till ouppfostrade slynglar: ”Gör du så där hemma också?” Förmodligen, om det är ett vandarhem.


“We are all individuals!”

Searching through the customer database, finding 1064 companies all named versions of “Creative”…


Two cops

Sam VimesFrank Furillo

I wonder, if we could hear the thoughts of Frank Furillo, if they wouldn't much resemble those of Sam Vimes.


Veckans ord: lättledd

Det är inte särskilt svårt att få flickvännen att dra på munnen: hon är lättledd.


Pneumatic art

We passed the Stockholm International Fair a couple of weeks ago and found this wonderful contraption:


She's all right

A song I've been looking for since it aired here in the early 1990s: “She's all right” with the Chipmunks. Marsha is impressively broadly skilled but what on Earth is the notation on Simon's blackboard? (2:17–2:44)


Taking the B train

Nynäshamns järnvägsmuseum and Stockholms ånglokssällskap arrange various steam train excursions from time to time. This Easter Sunday they offered a tour of Lake Mälaren, with a stopover in Eskilstuna, it not only being a nice little town, but having several industry museums presumably of interest to people interested in steam engines.

Honeybuns and I managed to get tickets before they were sold out and so joined a huge throng of people at Stockholm Central all admiring the B class locomotive puffing steam and smoke in the bright morning sunshine. A woman with a big camera was taking detail pictures of rods and pistons. Lots of children had been brought along by their parents to get the experience of a real train ride such as we all imagine it to be, with a chugging choo choo and small cars with wooden benches. Some child was heard to comment that the locomotive was smelly and not very nice. Presumably she would ask “Are we there yet?” within minutes of getting on the train.

We got on board and found seats and soon the station pulled away from us to be replaced by a springy Mälar valley. In spite of the warm weather there were still thin ice sheets in many inlets and in places clumps of ice still clung to the walls of rock cuts. Trainspotters, who'd realised you wouldn't get any good pictures from inside the train, dotted the landscape, with their cameras at the ready.

A short break in Västerås to lubricate the locomotive and then the lake continued past us, Eskilstuna soon arriving. The trainfull of people created a considerable crowd on the streets of the Sunday-lazy little town, presumably boosting the local economy some infinitesimal amount as they spread out for their various goals.

Honeybuns and I skipped the museums this time and instead opted for an Asian buffet and a stroll around the old town, peeking into backyards, navigating narrow alleys, passing by all the many cafés, their patrons basking in the sun.

Eventually we were back at the station, where people already waited for the depot to return the train, which had been serviced and polished in our absence. Unmoving pillars of smoke rose from the depot for the longest time, but finally the platform pulled up to the train and we got on. Sun-heated and well-fed, we dozed while I eavesdropped on two gentlemen who'd run into each other for the first time after their studies at Lund University in the late 1960s. I picked up some interesting information on telephony standards development that filled out my more contemporary experiences.

Eventually Södertälje Hamn, the old Södertälje Södra station, hove into view and I noted with delight that it still had not been modified from its original design with wooden shelters and narrow stairs. (Otherwise most commuter train stations were remade in the 1980s into a standard mold of tiles, glass and metal; while in most cases a necessary improvement, still somewhat reminiscent of public lavatories in the general design.)

Finally Stockholm C arrived and we had closed the loop.


Veckans ord: bankomat

I Indien går en ko på banvallen och söker sig sin bankomat.


Behind the scenes

The first weekend in April is traditionally the time for IPMS Open, the major plastic modelling event of the year. So also this year.

As all such events, what the public sees is just the tip of the iceberg of work. Planning work in principle started as soon as the previous Open ended. This is one event I thankfully do no organise, but I followed the committee out of the corner of my eye, as it were, as they revised rules, sent out invitations, booked the premises and necessary equipment, dealed with traders, enrolled judges and did the hundreds of lesser and greater things that have to be prepared even for an event of this relatively modest size, typically counting around a hundred exhibitors and a few hundred visitors. And of course, when the call came, I volunteered my muscle power for the weekend itself.

So, 08:00 on the sunny Saturday (on time, despite an unnecessary public transport detour), found me and others waiting by Skytteholmsskolan for someone to come by with the keys. A number of traders were already there and had started unloading their vans and trailers. Kipper spotted Tamiya's Mitsubishi “Betty” and immediately claimed it for his. The first sale of the day and the traders hadn't even unloaded. A couple of minutes later the key person arrived and we started turning the school's gym and canteen into exhibition spaces, moving chairs and tables. The secretariat set up their computers, printers, lists and other paraphernalia and when the contestants started checking in, everything was ready.

I had time to browse the trader tables a bit and noted that I was much more fascinated going through the old Airfix and Matchbox kits, the ones I'd once built and the ones I hadn't gotten around to, than the modern high-tech kits.

A tour round the exhibits. Exceptionally large ship classes, seems ships have come into fashion. Lots of helicopters, too, this year. Diorama and figure classes relatively small, maybe the masterpieces are being prepared for next year. Another Supermarine Swift model—someone must be into Swifts. (Pictures of the models available here, here, here, and here.)

The public arrived. The judges were briefed and then proceeded to carefully study each model of their assigned classes. The day went on until it was time to close to the public. Judges still bent their backs over the tables but one by one dropped off their notes to the secretariat where the points were tallied through the evening. Joint dinner for those who had time for that and then home for a few hours' sleep, except for those who remained behind overnight to guard the premises against theft and vandalism.

In the morning judges still milled around, picking out the winners of all special prizes, more work for the secretariat and eventually the result lists were posted, the winning models received their little labels and the award ceremony started, all winners and honorable mentions receiving their plaques, or, in the case of the special prizes, various symbolic objects of much honour and encumbrance.

Soon after the exhibitors started packing down their exhibits, but the traders held out and hawked their wares until the bitter end. (I got in twenty seconds too late to get a Frog Avro Shackleton I'd had my eyes on, but so it goes.)

After the official closing time, work started in earnest. Before we could return all furniture to their original places we had to clean up the place. We pride ourselves on leaving the premises in better shape than we found them. (Which, alas, is not too difficult, the pupils don't seem to care very much for their school so the rooms are quite worn-down and grungy.) A little piece of plastic was found on the floor, hm, apparently the left main wheel cover from a 1/48 Mustang, better send mail to all who exhibited one of those to see whose it is.

Finally we were satisfied, hauled our stuff to the loaned van and left for home, leaving the drivers to dispose of the garbage and put the rest of the stuff in storage. On the tube, the planning started for next year.

Update: Official photo galleries here, here, and here.


Veckans ord: trosskydd

Sådana är svenska stavningsregler att det här är ett trosskydd.



This morning I decided I would change from boots to shoes and then when I got out on the yard a formation of squawking swans flew over on their way northwards.