Having a dedicated modelling space away from the house, that has power and room to accommodate an overweight bench jockey like me, is a privilege I never tire of and given that it was some ten years or more since the bunker first went ‘live’, I guess moi had become a little blasé about just flicking a switch and bringing the place to life.
That confidence in the reliability of the set up edged down a notch when the circuit breaker started to trip off unexpectedly. Initially, it was so infrequent I just hit the reset and all would be fine but gradually and later with increasing regularity, the breaker cut in until finally the shed became a ghost ship at the end of a green sea, becalmed, dark and silent.
A cursory inspection of the little wiring I could access, that wasn’t in conduit underground looked intact and suspicion fell on the circuit breaker, that was duly changed as a precaution but still the modelling house remained stubbornly ‘off-line’. For most kit ticklers, this turn of events would be an irritating inconvenience but I was (am) finishing off a project build for AMW, that was in addition to my agreed schedule, so the clock was (is) ticking and this injected an increasing need to sort things quickly.
Not being an electrician, I was pretty much out of ideas and resigned to chopping the cabling and pulling it through, so as to renew the whole run when yesterday, quite by chance, I was stood by the rose arch that opens to the rest of the garden. It was dusk and my mind continued to wander over the baffling loss of juice to the shed when I became aware of a gentle rustle in the foliage to my left, by the boundary fence, some six feet up. The climbing rose is mature and has been joined by a potato vine that together give fine cover for the birds we routinely feed. Remaining stock still, I waited for the bird to reveal itself, at least momentarily, before it inevitably broke cover and flew next door. But no bird did. Instead, I caught a glimpse of a svelte Wood Mouse, as it slipped between a gap in the fencing.
A light clicked on in my head. The first one since the bunker had lapsed into a sulk and I opened the outhouse door and started emptying out the accumulated bric-a-brac that obscured the cabling that fed into the underground trunking. The three foot run had been sunk beneath spare block paving left over when the patio had been laid. Carefully I retrieved it and sure enough, a six inch section had been chewed comprehensively, leaving the earth wire and neutral exposed. Thankfully, it was the only damage and enough slack remained in the cable to allow the vandalised section to be chopped out and reconnected with an inline junction box. A re-route of the power line now sits in suitable trunking and it was a welcome sight indeed, to see the bunker’s lights come on this morning at the first time of asking, returning the scene of my plastic crimes to normal service.
It’s not often that the natural world and the hobby collide in such a way and I bear no grudge against the tiny creatures that temporarily halted my modelling juggernaut with focussed use of their nippy little incisors. Modelling with the bunker door open, to the sound of birds contesting the various feeders we keep stocked throughout the year is pure pleasure, as is the sound of foxes on the shed roof at night, just a couple of feet away, as they make their way into and out of the garden. Then there are the critters that live in the modelling house with me – spiders mostly and of these, the False Widow is the largest and it was an interesting moment a couple of weeks ago, when the biggest female I’d ever seen walked purposefully across my chest, as I was committed to a painting task. Her babies also have a habit of abseiling down from the main light units on threads and crawling over my head. I just brush them off and get back to it but I imagine some folks would prefer a hat…
Until next time.