Sunday, 28 August 2016

View From The Window

Horrible morning, leaden sky and it has been raining, as promised by the Met Office would you believe, did you know they are going to be sacked by the BBC and some private Dutch outfit is taking over, perhaps the Dutch get better weather. How can the country's top meteorological department with all its resources be bumped out by presumably a business a fraction of its size? Warton is holding its breath for the big road closure after the Bank Holiday, the end of the world as we know it has been predicted along with all sorts of carnage on Borwick Lane, we will have our own daily version of 'Death Race 2000.' On a more serious note it will affect us and a lot of people in the village and surrounding area, the traffic on Main Street is sure to rise and there will be no bus services until the work in Millhead is complete, roll on November.

As you know I had my two granddaughters here last week, all in all it was an enjoyable time during which I mainly hid in the Post Office while my wife worked herself to a frazzle keeping them amused every day, don't get me wrong, they spent quite a bit of time in the large open space doing cartwheels, drawing and running about. I left a fairly quite house on Tuesday afternoon and when I came back I heard what sounded like a lot of fun upstairs, on getting in the house I quickly realised it was not fun, it was uncontrolled wailing, crying and sobbing, an awful racket. I entered the room with a 'Ho, ho, ho', now this is not to be confused with a Christmas 'Ho, ho, ho', this is a Glaswegian call which on hearing if you do not desist in whatever you are doing to annoy people precedes a lot of trouble coming your way. I read the riot act of course, playing the bad cop to my wife's good cop, but only after I had promised the earth to both of them did they calm down. They were back to their normal selves the next morning as if nothing had happened, kids eh?

I had to take Eve back home on Thursday which meant my afternoon was shot, but that was not to be the worst. I got into the PO to find that having the girls and trying to get a map project finished had affected my memory and I had forgotten to do the monthly balance. I rang up the hell line thinking they would tell me to carry on and do it next month only to be told I had to do it before I served anyone that morning. I therefore had to drop everything and turn out the safe and start counting, it also meant I had to send anyone who turned up away after looking in my own 'Big Book of Excuses' and informing them the 'system was down' and my hands were tied, come back in an hour.

I then checked my emails to find that Adobe was charging me £200 to renew my Illustrator licence, doesn't time pass quickly, I need it but this hit the Anderson coffers pretty badly and I knew my wargaming fund was going to take a long time to recover. To make matters worse as I checked to see if this was right I noticed I had paid my Premier Inn invoice for the wargame weekend in November out of 'our' account instead of out of 'mine', another £200 smackers gone. Thursday was not improving.

I took Eve home and dropped her at my sons work, treating her as promised on the Tuesday night to a trip in the Batmobile but not with the roof down, too cold. On the return journey I was coming down an empty lane just outside the village when I espied a teenager almost in the middle of the road texting whoever on her phone, she did not see me and I had to veer into the opposite lane to get around her! A mobile phone is no use if you are under a car, although on second thoughts you would find a picture of the chassis on Facebook.

With sanctuary in sight I turned on to Main Street, I could see another car just getting to the only lay-by in the road and thought he will pull over and let me through as the left hand side of the road in the village is permanently out of action due to parked cars. No, he didn't, he drove past the layby by a cars length and stopped, signalling me to to reverse back to Borwick Lane, needless to say that was not going to happen, I pointed at the lay-by behind him and shook my head, that'll sort him. He eventually moved backwards slightly, other cars started to move into the lay-by but leaving room for him to get in, but no, he retired only a few feet. I then started down the road only to have to stop between him and a skip, right next to him in the driving seat, windows were wound down and I asked why had he not stopped in the lay-by, it was normal practice in the village, he was there first says he. More 'banter' was exchanged and then he suddenly told me to 'go back to Scotland and build the wall', where's the Old Bill when you need them, I was a victim of hate crime, my sense of worth had been violated, where can I get compensation, perhaps I could recoup that £400. The upshot was he eventually moved a couple of feet and I got away, but now there was a line of cars in front of him and behind him, he had completely blocked the main street. I chuckled into the rear mirror as I sped away, his face burned into my memory and hoping with all my heart that one day he needs something posted (evil laugh).

While I was driving Eve home I put the radio on for her, I caught a DJ asking someone who had phoned in what was his most awesome moment of 2016 so far, what would yours be if forced to partake in this nonsense. Well Kevin's was seeing Mary Berry (the baker) in B&Q buying a can of wasp repellent, he waxed lyrical about how his life had suddenly changed and what an exciting moment it had been for him, Mary Berry, off the telly, would you Adam and Eve it, and yes, he had immediatly texted all his family and friends so that they too could enjoy the moment. Maybe texting girl above had been replying to Kevin's red letter text.

Me? Yes I have had brushes with celebrities, I saw Shakin' Stevens treated like royalty at Abedeen airport, I barged past Stephen Hendry and his adoring fans in Menzies as I went for the latest edition of Miniature Wargames, I went to a concert organised for us by Prince Charles and heard Harry Secombe shout, sorry, sing. I also once got Mark McManus' autograph for my kids, he was Taggart in the cop show, we were in Walter McGowan's pub (he was World Flyweight Champion). In the same pub one night, I tried to tell some famous sports reporter that he had left his lights on in the car park but no one would let me through as they were in a rapt trance listening to his stories, so I went back to the corner and no doubt Archie McPherson, for it was he, got a taxi home. Only John Cumming, a man I knew well and who played for Hearts of Midlothian and Scotland and who would never have called himself a celebrity, and indeed missed the whole horrible genre, would have gotten my respect and in fact did. Mary Berry!


Will the country ever get a credible opposition to the Conservatives, Jezza is involved in a spate about train seats, I do not have a staff at my beck and call but I can book a train seat myself to ensure I get one, can't the Labour leader? And Owen Smith who wants his job continues to show he will not be elected Labour leader in a month of Sundays, he is going to block Brexit, Owen, that ship has sailed mate. Ever since Tony Blair and his lies politicians of any persuasion have shown themselves to be utterly unfit to rule the country, god help us.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Happiness and Disappointment

Well I got my latest parcel from Warlord Games yesterday afternoon, the dice thankfully were indeed the same as I had got before, sand, although that is a bit of a stretch if you ask me but there you go, mountain out of a molehill. The British dice I shall repaint as the writing is a bit dull on them, the sand dice thankfully are fine, better than the last lot which I did repaint.


I managed to finish the amendments to the Mongol Invasion maps and just could not resist building the Sdkfz 7/1, no problems at all with this and I used my extensive skills to put a magnet into the halftrack base and one on the gun, so it can swivel no problem and stay in place during movement, quite chuffed with that. The vehicle will be from the 2nd Panzer Divisions I Panzer Battalion Staff Company, namely the 3 Fliegerabwherzug.

I had to do the shop this morning and as I was not expecting many customers on a beautiful Sunny morning I took the Churchill down and began that build as well. No sooner had I started than I got customers, in fact I got more this morning than I have had in the last three Saturdays. No matter, I completed the tank just after lunch. I have chosen a Mk IV from the half dozen variants and due to the decals which come with it I have gone for the 31st Tank Brigade which supported the 15th Scottish Division for a time in Normandy. I would have liked the Scots Guards but the decals only cover the first two regiments of the 31st and the Guards not the third.

The Postie also brought me a large cylinder containing maps for a three volume book on the Iran-Iraq war which was a bit of a shock as I had not expected anything like this as I have also been commissioned to do about 30 maps on the Battle of Arras in 1917.

What he didn't bring me was some wound markers from 4Ground which were posted ten days ago according to their records. Knowing the PO as I do I suspect they are not coming, however I will hold off until I reach two weeks overdue and get back on to 4Ground, what really hurts is that I paid £5 for postage for an item which I deduce should have been 75p at the cheapest or 96p at the most. Also I know that 4Ground are very good at despatching orders and they normally take no more than a few days.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

They came on in the same old style........

God I have had a bad day and will now try and forget it while I type my report, you will hear about it on Sunday, this is when I could do with a drink as my nerves are frazzled.

Anyway, I had just about made my mind up to give the club another miss when I recieved a text from Andy inviting me to take part in a Black Powder Napoleonic game, what the hell I thought, get me out of the house, so off I trotted.

Andy and Rob enjoy the Black Powder rule sets and it does work well with Rob's Sudan scenarios, however I thought it was a poor ECW set and wouldn't touch it for ACW but then I wouldn't touch anything but Johnny Reb for that anyway, it would be interesting to see how it worked with Naps. As much as I am an admirer of the Emperor and made friends at a safe distance with the giant tortoise which knew him on St. Helena I have never really got into Napoleonic wargaming, and when I have tried it I usually retired with a sore head, really. It does look splendid though.

So on Tuesday night I found myself in charge of the British right flank with a light cavalry brigade and an infantry brigade made up of mainly Scots battalions, the centre and left were under the command of two Germans, father and son who were visiting, Daniel has been to the club in the past but not his father Hermann, who unfortunately did not speak a lot of English and was not a miniatures player. I knew right away if disaster struck Hermann was the fall guy.

The idea was that each side had to control two crossroads, one in a village and one in the open, I was opposite the one in the open, but so as I found out was the French guard units and next to them their feared heavy cavalry. As the game started I threw my light cavalry forward aggressively and mounted a nearby hill all the better to give me an advantage in the coming melees.

The brigade will advance.....
 There was what passed for snorts of derision at my attempt to take on the heavies with my lights, but what did I know, well I did know it was going to be a possible massacre for my boys, but it was either take the fight to the Frenchies or let them bring it to me. My infantry opened up into lines and moved on the crossroads and awaited the Guard, who were coming on in the same old style as Wellington was wont to say. Hermann moved on the village in a huge column and held the southern edge while the French held the north and each side plugged away at each other causing mainly nose bleeds and ear ache.

Into ze houzes.
  My cavalry now charged downhill at the Monsieurs and predictably got beat, but not by enough, they did move back but they were still there, a bit of a shock for Andy. One of  my cavalry units could not get in on the fight so instead forced an infantry battalion to go into square thus stopping them joining the advance on my Jocks, they then haired off in pursuit of some horse artillery, again stopping this from supporting the French left, huzzah lads. At the end of the game I had lost two cavalry units but so had the French!

Get into them!
  I was all set up and willing the French infantry to try and close in their attack columns, but this is where the rules let Andy down, he failed twice in a row to advance his men by failing his command roll, the bad luck continued with his shooting and his shots winged harmlessly over the heads of my stalwart troops. Why on earth would a division advancing on the enemy with hardly a casualty suddenly just stop.

Oh, they'll stand Wellington.

I held one crossroads, Herman ensured the other was in contention and Daniel and Rob had fought each other to a standstill on our left, we won and Hermann was off the hook.

A good game and I didn't come away with a headache neither did I come away any more convinced Black Powder was for me, but I appreciated the game and the work Andy and Rob put in. If I can find a route to Lancaster next week with all the road and lane closures I think it is Bolt Action.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

I Can'st Takes No More

The quote comes from Popeye, a character I could never quite take to, I think it was his taste in women which put me off, Olive Oil, come on, even after ten weeks at sea it would have to be a no, and I've done that, but thankfully the first land fall after that was Mombasa, but that's another story.

I have had almost a week with no wargaming project on the tray or table and it has got to me, so much so that I decided I needed a quadruple flak halftrack (Sdkfz 7/1) for my Germans and a Churchill tank for the British in case that Panther ever shows up in my version of Normandy. I also got two new sets of order dice, my armies have now grown to such an extent that if I get them all on the table I will need more than the original twelve. I had to actually ring Warlord as I could not find the same colour of dice I use for my Germans, I should have got plain grey or black but I didn't. Have you ever tried to explain a colour over the phone, it is not easy and although the guy on the phone tried his best it was me who eventually gave up. I did what I should have done in the beginning and looked up my original invoice, they were sand(!), I am still not sure what will arrive in the post will be the same colour as there is no way that can be described as sand.

How cool is that?
 I also checked with Aventine as to when the Byzantines will be ready, Keith himself is waiting for them and he let me know his upcoming schedule, I should guess after winter so I might have to go with something else in the meantime. I also noticed that after the Byzantines they are planning 3rd Century Romans, he really does want more money off me. When I recruited the Twelfth I really wanted 3rd C Romans not 2nd C, don't get me wrong, the Thunderbolts are my favourite army but I had wanted something different and was not convinced by the A&A figures, despite being done by the same sculptor and the fact I have seen some beautifully painted examples. I just think his work for Aventine is far better.

I managed to get to the club this week, but as my two granddaughters are here and I am still churning my way through a backlog of maps I will leave the report for now.

I see I have been tagged by Phil Robinson in his 'News from the Front' blog, I have noticed Phil's name on several forums and admired his painting style, I especially like his Dark Age stuff so do pop along and have a look, it is also a very good wargamers blog. I hope that is not as daft as it sounds. In a coincidence his backdrop is a WWI map of La Boisselle a place I have drawn several maps of for a recent Helion publication.