I have always been into model-making but mostly as one who tries rather than as one who succeeds. The first plastic yacht I sailed at Carnaby sank as soon as it reached the middle of the lake on its maiden voyage, and that could be considered fair comment on my skills at making and sailing anything.

I went through the Meccano set phase making cranes that fell over and an armoured car that could only turn circles. I made up Frog Penguin kits dribbled with camouflage paint and smeared with too much cement. With Keil Kraft kits I was a little more successful because the Ajax and Achilles kits were bad workmanship tolerant though I did strip all the formers out of one long forgotten flying model by simply over winding the elastic. My greatest achievement with model aircraft came when I converted an Ajax by shortening the wings, removing the undercarriage, already patched up, fitting twin rudders and then attaching a Jetex engine. The resultant lethal weapon flew fast and low, ending its brief and inglorious career by streaking up a back garden path between two parallel clothes posts which removed the wings, and hurtling through an open kitchen door. I did not ask for it back.

Model boats seemed to me to be less hazardous though I did flirt with an assortment of fast electrics which led to other skippers coming off the water whenever I prepared to launch. Finally I settled for sail even though model yachts have their drawbacks especially if the wind drops or there are too many of them crowding towards the same mark. The fact is nothing in the model world is kid’s stuff. It all takes skill, more patience than I have, and a degree of knowhow far greater than I possess, but then I don’t even know how to knit.

The harsh reality was that everyone I knew was far better than I at making models of all descriptions. If I bent a 1/8th strip of balsa more than 0.001mm it would snap whereas others could bend an identical strip through 360 degrees without fear of the smallest crack. Many have always been far better at making thIngs go. Does that matter? Just enjoy it.