Every so often, my father will climb the stairs to the loft, where Copley Hill lies, and ask me to put on "his engine".
He does in fact own a lot of models, mostly stored away from the house on a shared layout, but there's one we keep here because it's been his favourite since he was a boy.
Triang-Hornby, no.4472, Flying Scotsman. You know the one I mean - red sticker nameplates, thick pizza cutter wheels, a glowing firebox, and moulded handrails everywhere.
We'll run it for about ten minutes in admiration, as the old model pulls away with a trainload of coaches. No running in, no checks, it just gets put on and runs away with it all. Standard affair, the only model we've ever really relied on to do the job without fuss.
However, yesterday was its last day. Groaning to a halt, it gave up the ghost and that was that. Brushes worn beyond belief. Wheels worn, and valve gear rickety. Yet, working it out in my head, this model had been pushed beyond its original design remit and then some for nearly fifty years.
Fifty years. You will be lucky to get a modern equivalent I reckon. Fifty years.
Never quite seen my dad so choked up. "Fifty years...and no more" he said, before picking it up gently and putting it away in its drawer.
It was a good thing then, I had been stocking up on parts to use on the model, and...well...I've started fixing it. First was the replacement valve gear, which, even though its the older design, still looks the part overall:
Let's just say his father's day present this year is going to be a breeze.
Until next time!