RW’s Sense of Smoke

With the ongoing isolation due to the current pandemic combined with the needs of a ten month old lad, I’ve found myself spending more time round the house. As I am away from my Spain atelier, I set up an ersatz modelling bench in a guest room of my winter home in Naples, FL. Whilst it’s very far from what I’m accustomed to, it’ll do given the circumstances. With a temporary model bench, I cracked open my old Los Angeles modelling stash that’s been boxed up for ten years in the basement and pulled some kits I’ve always wanted to build but never got round to. 

We’ve all got those, haven’t we?

So then, it’s been great. I’ve always wanted to build an armoured train. A line of them on a siding. Perhaps a fictional gold train in the closing months of the war. I have the kits I need in my stash. I’ve had them for ages. Two resin kits by 5 Star Models (Jadar) and two original 1997 Dragon versions of the Draisines. I’ve got three of the four models built in the last six months, and whilst sitting amidst the sprues, Aber photo etch frets and open cardboard boxes an old familiar smell arose.

Stale cigarette smoke. 

For a few months now I’ve caught the odd whiff of it when I entered the guest room. Couldn’t work it out. Until now. I quit smoking almost four years ago. And whilst I don’t miss it, I occasionally find the odour of good tobacco smoke pleasing. What I have been detecting in the guest room isn’t pleasing. 

Then I worked it out. I smoked in my atelier in Sherman Oaks and Marina Del Rey from 2000-2010. The Dragon Draisines I bought at a local model concourso in 2001. The resin kits I picked up at Mission Models in 2004. I even found them sitting among my stash in a photograph of my Sherman Oaks atelier. As I look at the two images below in detail I am embarrassed at the sheer number of kits I drag from house to house with me to this very day. I am pleased to report, though, that our new home in Spain with an extraordinary bespoke atelier is more than likely to be the last I ever build and plan to live there for many years to come.

All those years of absorbing cigarette smoke. It lingers. To this day. And there it is as I sit at the bench gluing together bits of Dragon plastic and Aber photo-etch, the odour of my past. Lingering. 

It’s a funny old world, isn’t it? But a marvellous one as well.

Oh…and just 8 months until Euro 2021!

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