The message from London was quite simple - 'I want to build a 'British Airways' please, Bampa." By the time he arrived, I was quite prepared for him, with electric screwdriver at the ready, and a good stock of parts nearby.
The first thing he went for was the electric motor. 'We have to use that you know!' with a broad smile on his face. Daniel has just turned four, but seems big beyond his years. He knows all about God - 'He is up there in the heavens, and even if you dream of dragons, he will make you happy'. He knows about 'putting flesh on bones' -something he must have picked up from his dad.
I told Daniel than if he wanted to build a British Airways, he would have to draw a design first. Here is the drawing he made, and as you can see, it is accurate in every detail. How it got transformed into a crane, only Daniel knows, but it is clear that when it comes to Daniel, a little flexibility is in order. He insisted that he wanted to build a crane, and it had to be much bigger than the one I had built. He started with a jib, which was three 12 1/2" angle girders long, but I managed to persuade him, thank goodness, that we could do something a little less ambitious. In the end, after two hours, we produced a very nice little crane with no less than two 'lectric motors. We worked carefully together, with him telling me what he wanted to do, and me putting in the nuts and bolts, with Daniel inserting his electric screwdriver and doing the tightening up. I am determined not to allow him to become frustrated and put him off. In the end, he called in his Mum - 'look Mum, you've got to see what I've built'.
Daniel came back the next day for a second session. I had managed to find a 1971 Number 2 Meccano Manual of Instructions in French and he chose an aeroplane. We assembled this very carefully, and it really looked very nice. Daniel said we had to put on engines as a real plane didn't have a propeller, and so he found two 6 speed Richards motors and I had to fasten them under the wings - 'just like British Airways', with fans (part 157). Here is Daniel's plane. When we ran power through motors at top speed in high gear, this monster sounded just like a jumbo ready for take off, and Daniel was truly delighted with it.