General Frustration… and his friend, Major Annoyance.
On the whole, life is pretty good at the minute (save for a few little issues) as my son is just starting to crawl, my wife and I are enjoying watching our family grow and we’ve just had that mini break away. However, at the back of my mind are a few niggles that just won’t go away, rather like an itch that you can’t reach to scratch.
Yesterday we went off for a couple of house viewings, but the usual happened. The one that we were very interested in turned out to be totally different from the misleading images of it that we saw on the agent’s website and almost from the minute that I walked in through the front door, I found myself not in the remotest bit interested in the property. Online, the rooms looked so large and spacious (I guess a wide angled lens on the camera was employed here) yet the reality was far removed from this, it was pokey, dark and in a very run down state of repair. My wife said that it was very telling when I didn’t even bother to go out into the garden and have a look at the double garage that was there! Usually this is the main object that I’m very keen to see, even if I dare say it, over the house itself. I’ve often joked that if I could find a great workshop with a nice house attached, rather than the other way around, that would be brilliant.
So while we were looking at this place, the estate agent who was going to show us around the second property called to say that it was now taken – literally just a few moments ago. Typical! We’d driven for nearly two hours to get there and it turned out all for nothing. That second house had been on the market for well over 9 months, yet the minute we show an interest in it, like any other property, it gets snapped up. Are we jinxed or what?
Now here’s where I’m going to sound like a broken record.
Those of you who know me, well or otherwise, will know that I’ve often bemoaned the fact that life and work takes over any spare time that I have (as is right and proper) and so because of this I never quite get around to finishing my own projects for my personal collection. Several years ago I decided to pare down what I owned and concentrate on some of the rather nicer pieces. A consequence of this was that I either boxed stuff up and put it into storage or simply gave the stuff away. The net result of this now is that I only have two small shelves of stuff, but I’d really like to get a few props done to put out on display too. However, every time I start on something, a job crops up and I lose interest in the personal project because by the end of the commission, I’m fed up with building stuff and just want a rest from it.
Last year I went to a mate’s house (Chris) and was in awe by the simplicity of his highly effective prop and model collection that he had on display in his home office – that was what I wanted, so it got me thinking… I’d like to follow his lead and do something similar. But what could I do?
Well, most of it would have to be bespoke as you cannot buy the sort of things I’d like to own. I’ve been very fortunate over almost the last 25 years to have had access to a variety of Doctor Who props where I got to photograph and measure items for potential future projects. Way back when I started, I knew that I didn’t have the skills to recreate all of what I saw, but I was well aware that one day I would be in such a position to act on that and bring it into reality… or that was the plan at any rate. As you can tell, it hasn’t quite happened and that’s where my personal frustration lays with this type of thing. I have boxes loaded with measurements, plans and photos of all kind of props, but rarely have I actually tackled anything. Yeah I started building a K9 and a TARDIS and wotnot, but they’re still waiting for me to finish them – even worse is when I’ve made fibre glass pulls from the original moulds and it hasn’t progressed further than a raw, untrimmed cast. The stuff just sits there, taunting me. Maybe I should concentrate on smaller, easy to finish pieces then. Ha!
Ideally I would like the Classic Sonic Screwdriver, there was only ever one of these used by messers Pertwee, Baker and Davison, but for each Doctor, it was given a bit of a tart up, so in that respect I’d need to make three. Easily done I guess and I’ve been meaning to dig out the measurements for it for years! Back in 1996, just 12 days before he died, I had the pleasure of spending a day with Jon Pertwee (not name dropping here, by the way) and guess what he had with him. Yep, his original TARDIS door key – he even let me have a damned good look at it too, it’s a very simple prop, cast from a mould in some kind of alloy. Tom Baker was also furnished with one of these keys too for his tenure in the show, but don’t let anyone tell you that they were different – they weren’t, they were totally identical, though by the time I got to see Jon’s, it was battered to buggery and had lost some definition, especially around the arms of the ankh piece, but the shovel section was still looking in good shape. This is another excellent candidate for replication and like most (if not all official replica versions of it and other such props) I’ve never seen one that is truly accurate in terms of detail and design. Most are close, but not close enough for my picky perfectionist approach. Call me sad, I know, I just can’t help myself sometimes.
Someone got in contact with me recently after he found a link to this blog on some American website (sorry, I don’t know which) and he was asking if I’d be interested in making him a Five Doctors console. Frankly, if I was to do that project, I would rather it be for myself, but I haven’t got the space to store it, so it is an intriguing offer, though I expect that I’ll pass it up. Having said that, he has asked for a few other pieces that aren’t quite so large and time-consuming, so we shall see. Though if I’m really honest, he’s going to have a seriously long wait. I just want to do my own thing in my own time.
Now that I think about it, maybe attempting to make all this stuff for myself is just a dream. If I do complete it all, where do I go from there? Perhaps it’s best that it stays unfinished then. Hmm, that sets me in a bit of a quandary now. What to do? It’d be so nice to have a display of Screwdrivers (Classic and New Series) – the TARDIS door key and even that Dematerialisation Circuit, plus a variety of other items, but then again, what do I really need it for? And besides, I don’t really have the funds for any of these and especially the larger items to boot!
To end today’s rather long tome, let’s take something from left field.
A couple of nights ago, just after I’d got into bed, I felt what I thought was just the hairs on my leg settling… Men, you should know how this feels. And ladies, so should you if you don’t like shaving. Equality and all that. Anyway, the sensation started up again, this time a little further up, then I realised that it was travelling with multiple points of contact – something wasn’t right, especially as whatever it was had reached somewhere where I really would have rather it hadn’t! I brushed whatever it was off me, switched the lamp on, threw back the covers and then saw this…
Okay, it wasn’t this actual one here in the photo – I nicked that from the Interweb, but it was one just like it. Big and hairy – the spider (!) and crawling back towards me. A cup, a piece of paper and an open window soon sorted her out. Mind you, it came in through an open window, so I’m wondering when she’ll next put in an appearance, but put it this way, before we get into bed now, my wife checks everywhere for these little (depending on your perspective) eight legs.