When I started Prince Street, my motives were mostly centred around using the blog as a place to park ideas and to start a conversation with myself as I worked through the things I think about, with regard to model railways. Model railways are important to me. I could say “it’s just a hobby” but in truth my relationship with it runs much deeper. Sure it can still be just a hobby but it’s also a place where I’ve found respite during darker times when I needed the sanctuary, familiarity, and comfort of something more familiar and it’s where I found a medium to express myself creatively. Along the way, it’s even led me to so many amazing opportunities both personally and professionally to think of as only a hobby.
David Eaves publishes a blog under the tagline of “if writing is a muscle, this is my gym”. If this is my gym I’m proud of often I’ve visited over the years and surprised myself with how much I enjoy the workout. Pity the real gym isn’t as attractive! Along the way, I’ve met some really amazing people and made some terrific friends. I’m so grateful for this opportunity. Fast forward to about a week or so ago and in my inbox, an email from Rene Gourley. He was planning on a bit of vacation time on the Island and wondered if we could maybe get together for a drink and just to meet up. Last night, we did just that. Rene introduced me to a friend and fellow modeller of his who they were vacationing with, Marshall Ouellet. Rene introduced me to Marshall as his “modern-day pen pal” and it’s a sort of neat moniker to wear. I’ll quote him again as I reflect on the conversation: “A two-hour lubricated conversation was equal to a couple of years of blog posts.”
The conversation was both rich and dynamic. It seems we’ve each been so lucky as to have spent so much time in the hobby and exploring very different experiences of it and corners of it. It’s interesting to continue conversations that, at times, were started online, and to start new ones in new directions that I hope we’ll have a chance to revisit again somehow. Rene’s written a wonderful post already to mark the evening that includes a great group photo (I’m not a fan of the camera so treasure this one) and you can read it here:
Marshall is contemplating a layout in a more public installation, as I am committed to. It was fascinating to exchange thoughts on how this might work out for each of us and what we expect of it.We have different goals and comparing notes was very enlightening for the difference of perspectives over such a common shared space.
As the discussion shifted to the advancing influence that technological change is having on the hobby in terms reaching from control to 3D printing Rene asked what it might be like if something like rail ever got hard to get. Today, it’s easy to opine about the role of 3D printing in terms of individual models but how will we mediate a larger common ground for a commodity like rail? I don’t know but I’m excited to think about it more. Hopefully we come back to that conversation.
Since we were already talking about the future I couldn’t resist the urge to ask where we’ll find our inspiration as our relationship with real trains gets further distanced. I’ve met so many new modellers who are doing really great work yet don’t have that rich history with real railroading that so many of our model railway forefathers had. Clearly, the hobby itself is strong enough to attract new talent and dynamic enough to encourage their different approaches. I believe we’re on the edge of another cultural shift in the hobby right now and I’m keen to explore the subject more.
Thank you Rene for reaching out with the invitation.
Thank you Marshall for picking up the tab – I insist the next round is mine. It’s the least I could do.
As for that Group of Seven model railway, I think it could be done if we approach it from the right direction. Time will tell.
I guess, to make things fair, I need to get myself to their coast and across the nation. It seems only fair.