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What really happened in the Cuban missile crisis

Mikkel

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Farthing, 1904. With a rising sense of panic, Goods Porter E. Sparkler stared at the pigeon baskets he had just knocked over.

 

 

 

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A lid had opened, and the pigeons were escaping.

 

 

 

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The pigeons soon scattered around the goods yard.

 

 

 

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They were white show pigeons, en route to a prestigious event at the London Philoperisteron Society.

 

 

 

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One of the pigeons flew into the goods depot.

 

 

 

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At first it flew aimlessly about...

 

 

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...then the clouds parted, the depot filled with light and the pigeon seemed suddenly to know where it was going.

 

 

 

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It settled on a roof truss, and immediately relieved itself of a huge dropping…

 

 

 

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…which fell right into the paperwork…..

 

 

 

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…of Goods Checker J. Vemmick.

 

 

 

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As he hurried to restore his notes, Vemmick unknowingly made a mistake: He recorded a crate as loaded, although in fact it was not.

 

 

 

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As a result the crate was left behind, and despite the best intentions of the GWR goods handling system….

 

 

 

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…the crate ended up in a forgotten corner of the depot, where it remained lost…

 

 

 

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…for 58 years. The crate was finally found in 1962, when BR pulled down the old goods depot. A scrupulous clerk decided to forward the crate to its original destination. With passing interest, he noted that it was addressed to the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg.

 

 

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After a circuitous route and numerous security checks, the crate eventually landed on the desk of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who at that time was in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

 

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Upon opening the crate, Khrushchev found 15 bottles of Welsh wine labelled “Castell Coch, 1904”. The bottles were accompanied by a card, hardly decipherable after all those years. It said: "From the Marquess of Bute to Tsar Nicholas II, with compliments".

 

 

 

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"Well!" thought Kruschchev, "the Tsar is long gone, but that wine looks tempting!" And so he shared a glass with his staff. They stood there tasting it, then burst out laughing: The wine was terrible! Quite simply horrific! Khruschev immediately relaxed: If this lousy wine was all the West had to show, what was there to fear? The West would destroy itself, this awful British wine proved it! He might as well end this whole Cuba crisis thing. He sat down and drafted a letter to Kennedy.

 

 

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The rest is history. The Cuban missile crisis was over, and the two Presidents congratulated each other on their cool heads and statesmanship: They had spared the world an all-out war.

 

 

 

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But on that morning in 1904, Goods Porter E. Sparkler knew nothing of all this. He just stood there among the escaping pigeons, cursing his clumsiness. "Why", he thought, "can I never do anything right?"

 

 

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He was wrong of course, he had saved the world, but no one knew. No one except maybe a certain white pigeon. For many years afterwards it could be seen in the goods depot, flying at night, happy to have escaped.

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PS: After trying for years to breed real 4mm pigeons, I've given up and went for a bit of trickery instead. It's all about perspective, eh? :jester:

 

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Thanks to Al for tipping me off about Tacky Wax many moons ago :)  

 

PPS: The Marquis of Bute did produce a wine at Castell Coch in Wales. It was the first British wine and was made with various interruptions up till around WW1. I'm sure it tasted awful.

 

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As per usual Mikkel a great story accompanied with some lovely photos and great modelling. ;)

 

Next up date soon please! 

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

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Fabulous post Mikkel and very apt as I've just bought the Chivers kit for the LNER pigeon van.

 

Nice shadows in those photos too.Classy.

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As per usual Mikkel a great story accompanied with some lovely photos and great modelling. ;)

 

Next up date soon please! 

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

 

Hi Mark, thanks, yes I'm afraid the updates are few and far between at the moment. Can't seem to find the patience and peace of mind to do large projects just now, so it ends up with little detail stuff and moving wagons back and forth!

 

Fabulous post Mikkel and very apt as I've just bought the Chivers kit for the LNER pigeon van. Nice shadows in those photos too.Classy.

 

Hi Rob, yes I saw in the thread. Looking forward to that! Will you build a full interior with loads of pigeons? :-)

 

The shadows come easy on this layout, I've got about 3-4 lamps on it and when I turn some off or move them around the mood of the depot changes totally. On that last shot the pigeon is illuminated with a pen light, and I added high contrast to it afterwards to get the night look.

 

truly brilliant, fancy making some of the winged pests for my layout

 

Paul

 

Hi Paul, the pigeons are from Preiser, and are painted blue/grey as they come - which is also sensible for most pigeons! Some of them are bit crude, but some are fairly good. I added some putty with a needle to improve the head/beak on a couple of them.

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bonkers but totally wonderful

 

thank you  for making a sog smile

 

Bonkers? Ah but that's just because they've brainwashed you! Seriously, I'm glad if it raised a smile :-) There was something on the radio about the Cuba crisis recently while I was modelling.

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It's posts like this that got me back into modelling :) Another cinematic experience you've created Mikkel, super macro shots - the pigeon on the roof truss is excellent, camera angles, lighting - it all has the air of someone who works in film/production, did you story board it all first? :D

 

Great stuff, you're like the Wes Anderson of Railway Modelling 

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Another flight of fancy which is just the tonic on a grey cold English evening !

 

Very well portrayed and another feather in your cap Mikkel

 

Congratulations

 

Grahame

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It's posts like this that got me back into modelling :) Another cinematic experience you've created Mikkel, super macro shots - the pigeon on the roof truss is excellent, camera angles, lighting - it all has the air of someone who works in film/production, did you story board it all first? :D

 

Great stuff, you're like the Wes Anderson of Railway Modelling 

 

Hi Alan, thanks very much :-)  I don't do film production or such like. It sort of evolves along the way. I wanted to do something with the pigeons but wasn't sure what, so put a couple on a horsedrawn wagon and then it developed from there. I think a pro would cringe at my lighting arrangements :-)

 

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Another flight of fancy which is just the tonic on a grey cold English evening ! Very well portrayed and another feather in your cap Mikkel Congratulations Grahame

 

Thanks Grahame :-) The hardest part was modelling Khrushchev :-)

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Brilliant, just brilliant.

 

Many thanks Ullypug! Thankfully this one's almost done now - it's taken way too long. Just need to add lamps and a few capstans, and get the last figures and goods items in place (famous last words!).

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Really wonderful evocation of that period of time, Mikkel, superb modelling and an utterly convincing account of what really happened in the Kremlin!

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Thanks Mikkel, for this excellent entry.

A lovely story and a lot of useful information.

Gives me new idea's for my Northall diorama's and story telling.

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Brilliant! I think we need a 'highly amusing/entertaining' button to fit somewhere between 'craftsmanship' and 'funny'.

 

Nick

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Great stuff Mikkel!  Good to know that Farthing had such a pivotal role in modern history.  I can see Castell Coch from my office window, but no doubt due to the wine's dubious quality the vineyards are long gone!

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

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Really wonderful evocation of that period of time, Mikkel, superb modelling and an utterly convincing account of what really happened in the Kremlin!

 

Thanks Captain, somewhere in all this folly is an actual attempt to capture some of the atmosphere from period photos of goods depots in the 1900s. I've wanted to do the checker at his portable desk for some time. There are som wonderful photos of that sort of scene in the GWR Goods Operations books. The portable desk is a (rough) representation of a design that can be seen in photos from the 1900s right up to the 1940s, so it must have been functional and useful.

 

Glad you agree with the events at the Kremlin. It all seems so obvious in hindsight ;-)

 

 

Thanks Mikkel, for this excellent entry.

A lovely story and a lot of useful information.

Gives me new idea's for my Northall diorama's and story telling.

 

Hi Job, I'm very happy if this can add a bit of input to the Northall story! I struggle to recreate the calm and serene atmosphere that you have in the Northall scenes, which I think adds a lot to realism and impression of "being there". The distance shot of the checker above has a little of that, I hope.

 

 

Tops!

 

Cheers BlackRat! It was fun to do, except it's keeping me from getting on with the bigger projects!

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Brilliant! I think we need a 'highly amusing/entertaining' button to fit somewhere between 'craftsmanship' and 'funny'.

 

Nick

 

Hi Nick, for want of that I think the funny button is OK. Any thoughts on the combination of van liveries? It looks a bit odd, but I like playing around with the notion of what things would have been like if the cutting-off point for GWR wagon red was indeed 1904. As this is supposed to be that year, the two liveries would be seen together. That said, I suppose that initially the new livery would especially be seen on new builds - but my logic (or rather: excuse!) is that the O/F van is an old van that was recently repainted.... 

 

 

Great stuff Mikkel!  Good to know that Farthing had such a pivotal role in modern history.  I can see Castell Coch from my office window, but no doubt due to the wine's dubious quality the vineyards are long gone!

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

 

Hi Dave, what a strange coincidence! Well, we now know that Welsh wine helped save the world from armageddon (or at least, that particular armageddon). The web info on the Castell Coch wine is a bit fragmented, but there's a mention here:  http://www.fruitexpert.co.uk/vineyards-britain.htm and more here http://www.ideashelper.com/the-lost-wine-of-south-wales-15.htm although I have no idea about the credibility of this info.

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...Any thoughts on the combination of van liveries?...

Hi Mikkel, the combination of liveries is entirely plausible to me. btw, Castell Coch is a wonderful example of Victorian romantic mock medieval and the interiors are wonderfully restored, completely imaginary but great fun. Pity the Marquess of Bute's wine wasn't to the same standard or, perhaps given your revelations, it was a good job that it wasn't.

 

Nick

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Mikkel, You were kind enough to pass encouraging comments on my (now abandoned) Blog,

So I return the compliment with encouragement for more developments in the Farthing saga. Pretty Please!! .... The concept is just too good to be allowed to wither away!

 

I think the over-all shot of the Depot is the first time that it has been revealed as a diorama-in-a-box, with the capability of being part of a Modular layout. Brilliant!

Does the model part slide out of the box for work on the structure etc?. I think you mentioned a while ago that the roof repairs had been necessary.  

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You have excelled yourself, Mikkel. 

 

The story telling is brilliant and we should remember that you are writing in a foreign language!  It all flows so naturally that it is easy to overlook the beautiful scene-setting in your modelling.  I can imagine you had some 'fun' persuading those pigeons to sit in realistic attitudes around your model.  Lots of delightful details.

 

It was also interesting to see the depot in the 'round', though you should be be careful not to cook anything with those lights being so close. 

 

On the other hand, pigeon pie might be very welcome by the staff :)

 

Mike

 

ps perhaps I should send a case of local Oxon wine to Vladimir Putin.

 

pps have you ever tasted Russian wine?

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