How did it get this far?

I thought I’d show you my model railway, because autism, right?

So it’s what known as a shunting puzzle. It’s really short and compact with those three sidings and you can play an interesting game (well I think so) trying to rearrange wagons in as few a moves as possible – it is precisely the sort of thing that people would play to while away 20 minutes at a bus stop on their mobile phones, but this is a model not an app.

To save space I’ve got a PECO 3-way electrofrog point, which is an absolute pain to wire up (and this is a manual version). All the track on the left-hand side is inset into cobbles – yes I need to tidy up where the cobble sheets meet. At the back you can see my OO9 flexi-track for the upper level.

Now this is actually my second model railway layout. It’s built on to the baseboard my father made for me when I was – and I’m not kidding – 16 years old. I have another three baseboards all the same size – I’ve already started collecting materials to make an H0 Provencal layout with 1960s red and cream autorails – think the Panoramique and Renault Picasso.

I read Railway Modeller every single month throughout my teenage years, starting at 11 and only stopping when I went away to university at 18 and feared that my weirdness would be discovered and I would be ostracised. I also took none of my a-ha records, tapes and CDs with me – I didn’t want my room-mate (all 18 year old Imperial College students were forced to share rooms) to laugh at me and tell everyone about my being weird. With hindsight trying to hide all my autistic traits to be accepted was the most idiotic thing I’ve ever done.

Anyway, I’ve digressed…

I don’t get why it has taken until the age of 47 for me to have an autism assessment (this coming Thursday, by the way, yay!), when I have been quite clearly not been a neurotypical person my whole damn life. I literally behave like a stereotypical autistic boy. There is nothing about me that is neurotypical. There never has been.

If I don’t get an autism diagnosis this week, I want a second opinion!

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