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Zen and the joys of railway modelling

Mikkel

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What goes through a modeller’s mind? 'Very little', my wife would say, and she’s not far off :). Am I the only one who enters a Zen-like state of mind when operating the layouts?

 

 

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It begins like this. You decide to run some trains, forget all the worries. Get the gear out, set up on the dining table.


 

 

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The engine purrs into life, pulls a train off the traverser. You get down to eye level, begin to dream. What if there was something else behind those windows?

 

 

 

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Distant spires maybe?

 

 

 

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Lots of spires!

 

 

 

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Then even that melts away, and you enter a world of dreamy blue skies.


 

 

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Floating freely…

 

 

 

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…in an uncomplicated world…

 

 

 

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…where time…

 

 

 

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…stops…


 

 

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…and the light…

 

 

 

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…is mellow.


 

 

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Peace, man. 

 

 

 

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Then reality kicks in.

 

 

 

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It seems I’m expected to lay the table. 

 

Ah well! :D

 

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Excellent post, Mikkel.  You should, perhaps, have mentioned the conversations with those interesting Edwardian people, who live in their sunlit, uncomplicated world, before the war poet, Wilfred Owen, wrote "now men will go content with what we spoiled".  On the other hand, it's better to enjoy the silence :)

 

Beautiful photography, as always.

 

Mike

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I do find when running a layout to a schedule you start to think. Oh the next arrival will be the train from Worcester. Then I must get the London train ready, rather than just thinking of them going to and from a fiddle yard.

This is particularly so on a friends garden layout where the fiddle yard is is a shed the other side of the garden so that station operators and the fiddleyard operator are different persons.

 

As for the zen aspect. My understanding of zen is being aware of now and accepting it. Mind you if you look at the Taoist bulls (a series of woodcuts) after achieving enlightenment he return to drinks with  people in the market. I see our hobby in much the same way something pleasurable to do when you dont have other things to do. Besides I dont think my knees could take all that cross legged sitting.

 

Don

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, MikeOxon said:

Excellent post, Mikkel.  You should, perhaps, have mentioned the conversations with those interesting Edwardian people, who live in their sunlit, uncomplicated world, before the war poet, Wilfred Owen, wrote "now men will go content with what we spoiled".  On the other hand, it's better to enjoy the silence :)

 

Beautiful photography, as always.

 

Mike

 

Thanks Mike. And yes very true, they didn't know what was waiting. It was also not all that sunlit of course, even for the better off - the past just looks better from a distance.

 

 

16 minutes ago, Donw said:

I do find when running a layout to a schedule you start to think. Oh the next arrival will be the train from Worcester. Then I must get the London train ready, rather than just thinking of them going to and from a fiddle yard.

This is particularly so on a friends garden layout where the fiddle yard is is a shed the other side of the garden so that station operators and the fiddleyard operator are different persons.

 

As for the zen aspect. My understanding of zen is being aware of now and accepting it. Mind you if you look at the Taoist bulls (a series of woodcuts) after achieving enlightenment he return to drinks with  people in the market. I see our hobby in much the same way something pleasurable to do when you dont have other things to do. Besides I dont think my knees could take all that cross legged sitting.

 

Don

 

That's interesting Don, and yes I agree: Knocking wagons and coaches about as I please isn't quite the same as the rigours of a proper scheduled railway operation. As for Zen, I am no expert and just meant being in a pleasant meditative state :)

Edited by Mikkel
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It has been a long time since I read Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance  but there was the emphasis on Quality - getting there?

 

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Hi Tim, I read it as a teen and didn't really 'get' it. But I understand it's about two ways to approach the world, i.e. a technical one  and a romantic one. Sounds relevant to railway modelling, although I think most people have a bit of both.

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Nailed it with this post, Mikkel.

 

I often get called out of my dream state, it takes at least four times before I start to take notice.  Sometimes she is even reduced to screaming the house down!  

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Haha, I would love to witness that Mike :D 

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NHY 581

Posted (edited)

You have hit the nail fairly and squarely on the head Mikkel. 

 

When I get the chance to 'play trains ' I'm lost to the world. Absorbed in my version of a 1950s branchline.......somewhere in Somerset or somewhere in Devon.  

 

I don't burden myself with timetables or schedules as that is far too close to work and I am trying to forget all of that. I make it up as I go along. 

 

Sometimes I just sit, cup of tea in hand, looking at the layout. I swear I can hear the wind in the grass and distant birdsong!!

It helps me empty my cluttered woolly head and yes,  relax. 

 

 

Rob. 

 

 

Edited by NHY 581
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Taking the mind back to a time and place where once a train ran, past lush fields with cattle lying down waiting for the rain to pass through. Now, there are no trains in the Dorset Stour valley but a few brief seconds the down afternoon milk passes the up Bournemouth West stopper in Child Okeford. 

 

And that is all that I sought to create, a few seconds of nostalgia.

 

Cheers

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Superb modelling and photos Mikkel.

 

Another pictorial treat from you which puts me in a zen like state after the headlines of today in UK...:O

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Many thanks gents, and apologies for the late reply (am on a family trip). What I like about model railways is that you can get pretty close to time travel, and unlike film and other screen stuff it actually exists in a physical form.

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Time travel is a good explanation. I can track from 10am to 3am the following morning in the state you describe in very short order. However I am unable to travel back. Table has been set and cleared up in my absence. 

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10AM to 3 AM is quite an operating session, impressive!

 

Who needs drugs when you’ve got model railways.

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10am to 3am?  Wow!

I rather fear I might need something to keep me awake...

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

Good idea Job :) (link isn't working but I found it on Youtube). 

 

Or Across the Universe, maybe...

 

 

 

Edited by Mikkel
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That is also a great song. I still regularly listen to their music.

But I have heard that Mr. L.R, Thomas took Miss Estella Havisham after their journey to Farthing to a music hall for some entertainment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMGqgCgcaOQ 

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For me the music most akin to Zen is Terry Riley's In C many feel that the interpretation by some Mali musicians (or Musicians in Mali) achieves the most from the piece. With its non rigid structure each musician needs to aware of all the others.

 

Don

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8 hours ago, Job's Modelling said:

That is also a great song. I still regularly listen to their music.

But I have heard that Mr. L.R, Thomas took Miss Estella Havisham after their journey to Farthing to a music hall for some entertainment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMGqgCgcaOQ  

 

You are well informed, Job :) Here is a photograph from that occasion.

 

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6 hours ago, Donw said:

For me the music most akin to Zen is Terry Riley's In C many feel that the interpretation by some Mali musicians (or Musicians in Mali) achieves the most from the piece. With its non rigid structure each musician needs to aware of all the others.

 

Don

 

Just watched the Mali version on Youtube. The structure is certainly a bit disorienting, but I can see the meditative aspects. I imagined myself in a train compartment, watching the scenery go by.

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I must say I am partial to a bit of Chopin or similar when it comes to modelling. Nocturne being a favourite. 

 

I always associate it with the Railway Children for some reason. 

 

Rob. 

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