Tuesday, 31 January 2017

More Frustration

When will I ever learn. You know I have now decided to up my warbands from 27 to 32 figures, this means ordering the extra figures and new bases that should have been done right at the beginning. My latest Footsore order arrived half an hour ago, the first thing I noticed was that two of the horses had not been properly cast and were missing a knee on one of their hind legs, the nice gent at Arcane Models, who bag up the Footsore orders here in the UK, told me he would have replacements in the post toot sweet and this would save me going back to Footsore and a bit of mucking about. Thank you.

These cavalry were ordered to be my Bucelleri or/and Germanic Nobles, but the more I looked at them I realised the three non armoured guys just stood out like a sore thumb, I thought they would mix in with the rear rank, but seeing how tooled up most of the cavalry were they just won't do. I also did not want to wait another couple of weeks for three figures, so I have jumped on to Gripping Beast who are much faster and ordered up three blokes who will fit (three nice Late Romans).

I should still manage to keep to my schedule of having them primed for the weekend, or I could instead paint up my Gothic and Roman generals along with some priests who will be used to denote intervention points, by the time they are finished I should definitely have the replacement horses and the new troopers.

I have also decided to go to Vapnartak on Sunday, I have an idea to get some ruins for my Rally Point while staying away from the beautiful new Roman Villa by Sarissa.

I should also get the Aventine bundle tomorrow, so there is a ray of sunshine.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Frustration and a Busy Day

My Goths are going to be based by tomorrow but I have hit a snag, I want to increase the unit to 32 men so I had to order more figures yesterday and also a new base, several in fact as all my warbands will be increased when I get the time. As I was ordering the few I needed I decided to go for it and just got the rest of the troops for the army, that involved the last few from Footsore and my Huns from Aventine.

I received emails today from both company's to say my orders are on the way, I am hoping against hope Footsore will arrive tomorrow so I can get those extra five guys done and start on my cavalry, but Wednesday is probably a safer bet, grrrr.

I now only have to decided what my Rally Point will be for the Romans, most people do small vignettes for these which add to the flavour of the army and are fun to paint, I have a Roman medic for the Twelfth but I need something more in keeping with the 5th C for the Field Army. I have just about decided to go to Vapnartak in York on Sunday so maybe I will see something there.

Most of my map work is done for Helion & Company but I have had two enquiries about independent projects, one of which I completed over the weekend which is good news for the Anderson Map Fortune. I have finished several interesting projects over the past week or so, including one on the shooting down of two civilian Rhodesian aircraft by terrorists, a very sad affair.

Some examples from three different books, Churchill's War with Lenin, Britain's Quest for Oil and a history of the 51st Scottish Division in WWI.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

View From The Window

Rubbish morning, not so cold but it is wet and damp, just generally miserable with that horrible watery sun away in the distance which has no warmth in it. Not everyone is moving away from me, we have a new neighbour renting next door, it is a popular hobby here on the edge of the Lakes, there are a good few houses being rented in the village, several near me with another being renovated to a very high standard a few doors up for exactly the same thing.

How is it all these so called celebrities all have a charity on their CV. To kill some time last night I watched the very aptly named Pointless Celebrities and as usual only recognised one or two, but no matter what the show they are all asked which of their charities the money is going to, are they given a choice before they go on. Most of us will pop something in a tin or box but we don't 'have' a charity, I suspect neither do a lot of the pointless ones. Wouldn't it be refreshing if when asked they said "I don't believe in charities with their overpaid executives and expensive headquarters so I will be keeping the money Alexander and giving a pound to that old dear at Asda."

Isn't Donald Trump a breath of fresh air, no don't throw anything at your screen. Of course I wouldn't have him for dinner but I cannot help but wonder what he is doing wrong so far. He has warned US companies not to go abroad for cheap labour, he has punctured the ego of the Climate Change Fascists and he wants to stop what, over the years has become millions of people coming into his country illegally. I saw one woman on the news who had been in America illegally for twenty years giving the new administration stick, in black and white that is simply, eh, illegal. You may have missed this on the news the other night, but the bust of Churchill is back in the White House and Donald managed a quick jab by pointing it out. Only one president removed it since it was installed. Scotland, Trump, Labour, Brexit, Whingers, Moaners, I cannot ever remember politics being as exciting as it is now.

Tell me again what the women's march sorted out, if you listened to some of the comments they were so disparate I don't think they even knew themselves what they were marching for. Let me see, no, Donald is still there, hope you enjoyed the day out ladies.

I'm with none of them. Scince?

Scotland, OK, when is someone going to put wee Jimmy Krankie in her place, you are merely the leader of a devolved government hen, you are not a world leader, you cannot do separate deals, you cannot sit at the big table. Haud yer wheesht.

And on the subject of useless politicians why does the BBC continually run to failure Nick Clegg for comment. He bleats on about the will of the people and completely ignores the fact he ended up in government against the will of the people, no majority was mad enough to vote the Lib Dems into power, he also ignores the complete destruction of his party in the last election, he also happily tells the interviewer he will go against the will of the people and vote against Brexit if he is not happy! Dump the loser.

Were you fighting back the tears as Gina Miller explained her one woman fight to uphold the law of the land against all the odds. Gina love even with your money and success you cannot get QC's to fight your case unless you throw shed loads of moolah at them, and you got that money from interested third parties not from your piggy bank. You were never alone. It's a pity she didn't put her energies into the government stealing my wife's pension which means a lot more to her and the women of this country than a vote on Brexit.

This weeks groveller to the twittersphere is Rob Page, when his team, Northampton Town got beat 5-0 by Bristol Rovers he said watching the match was like watching "men against girls". Now having been beat like that the description was completely called for. It is the reason why women are not in the Football League, or whatever it is called, it is also why they do not play men at their own game in tennis and most other sports, because despite the odd anomaly, they will get beat. But of course it was sexist and although true he was 'forced' to apologise on social media, grow a pair for heavens sake, and your team obviously are as bad as you say.

Big Girls Blouse.

Are you getting fed up with your food? We have had all the scares about what went into stuff over the years but no one is saying what is now being taken out. All of a sudden Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles are not as moreish as the were, Plain Salted Crisps are bland cardboard, I would like to see just how thin Walkers can get those by the way, Cadbury's delicious chocolate is now but a dream (but it is halal now). And I want someone to agree with me that Milky Way is now a completely different creature. Stop taking the salt and sugar out, I am an adult, I will make my own mind up, I have given up fizzy drinks but I want the odd pastille to taste like a pastille, a Ritz cracker never hurt anyone. Cooking programmes are the same, use lo-fat this, unsalted butter, meh.

Complicated or what.

Oh, I almost forgot the human interest story. We sell tickets for various village societies and we get people taking the hump because they cannot put their £3 quiz ticket for the village hall on their card. Yesterday a woman came in for a Gardening Club membership, not with the £6 fee of course but with a £20 note, as they all do. Then as she is leaving she slides the old membership card across the desk, "Can I give you that?" "No you can't, there's a bin outside".

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Germans lose Kursk again

We hadn't played Bolt Action since well before Christmas so we decided to have a go last night, for something different I came up with the bright suggestion of trying one of the scenarios in the Ostfront book which I knew Simon had. I find the scenarios in BA mostly rubbish, my main concern is that in any which have an attacker and a defender they have both sides with the same number of points which, as any military commander will tell you, is not on when you are the attacker.

This particular scenario had the Russians with the same number of points as the Germans, but they were already ensconced on the objectives (hills), they had a bunker and enough minefields and entrenchments to cover their entire front. The Germans could if they wanted use an outflanking manoeuvre, but as you have to tell the Russians, albeit not which side of the table you are coming from they can easily sit some reserves in the rear and wait for you. Julian and I decided that was not going to be in our plan, our plan was just to move forward and hope something went drastically wrong for the Russians.

 We plonked our anti-tank gun and the newly recruited StuG III in positions which gave them clear lines of fire, but we soon found we couldn't hit anything as the scores to do so were too high, also I was a bit miffed that my anti-tank gun tow refused to move throughout the game which cut the gun off from firing at anything to its right, not that it ever managed to damage anything with did cross its line of fire.

The ground in front of Julian was really too open to attempt an advance without dying, so I moved my guys towards the left hand hill with the bunker on it, we laid smoke which for a time stopped the enemy inside from spotting or firing. I managed to get a flamethrower within shooting distance of the defenders on the edge of the slope and burned them out, my boys then scrambled up on to the hill, however more Russians were heading their way, the objective would be contested, so no points there. What made it worse was the fact I had artillery ranged on the bunker but it failed to come in for three turns and just as I got troops on the hill, guess what, yes in it came and flattened the whole area.

I think we all realised by this time that the game was a bogie as we say across the border, Simon brought on his tank and both it and the StuG traded shots without either taking damage apart from a few paint chips. It had been a while since we played and it showed as we spent a good deal of time looking at the rules, we are going to keep going with BA and will play again next week but with something we know gives a good game.
Simon brought out his KV1 tank which he has just weathered, and very nice it is too, Julian brought some of his German troops to show us, not enough for the game but extremely well painted, both Simon and Julian have some lovely troops for WWII. I look forward to fighting those Germans with my British.

Elsewhere we had some role playing, a boardgame and a Steampunk type game with flying battleships, this seemed to go down very well if the laughter was anything to go by.

Monday, 23 January 2017


Never one to turn down a game I headed over to Northumberland last Saturday with the intention of playing a game then spending some time with the grandchildren before taking my life in my hands and driving home in the dark, it's not so much the dark but the headlights of the other cars.

It was the usual for us, a stand up fight between the Carolingians who are nearing completion and my Romano-British, I have not used this army in its original form, other than at the club, for a while having given it a slight twist as Vortigern's British. Stewart is now a veteran but I had grabbed victory the last time we fought in a spectacular eleventh hour turnaround. This time I was going to try some new tactics, I mounted one Comitatus unit and gave them heavy armour, planning to smash them into the enemy cavalry, I then, against my better judgement, took the Frankish mercenaries, hoping that this time I would charge them in and gain the advantage of their heavy throwing weapons and 'weight of numbers'. So, shock and awe was the order of the day.

The game started well as we drew for deployment and Stewart had to deploy first, I mulled my response over and popped my heavy cavalry opposite his lights, the Franks were opposite the enemy peasants, then came my foot Comitatus against Stewart's favourite unit which had let him down badly in the last game. I felt confident, Stewart was a trifle worried.

I also managed to win most of the initial initiative rolls so off I trotted as fast as I could on my right, the small wood was little more than an inconvenience, but the enemy cavalry suddenly took flight behind the Carolingian line instead of being rode down, this caused some consternation in the ranks. I decided however to go ahead and now aimed the horse soldiers at the peasants while the Franks moved on a new target. Way over on my left my javelin armed skirmishers taunted the Carolingian heavy cavalry and although causing no harm, effectively took them out of the game.

I now found my line out of sync with that of the enemy, I had a 'spare' unit and was unsure where it was going to go. My cavalry plunged into the Liberi and for a horrible moment I thought they were beat, but in the second round they did indeed run them down. Now it was the turn of the Franks to do the same, unfortunately I lost the numbers game as too many fell to javelins on the way in, they then fought like old women, to my horror they ran and not nearly far enough and were dispersed. I should now have moved my centre over or hit the unit in front of me with two of mine, but I didn't, but I did whittle it down with missiles, but I should have moved first.


The Carolingians came at me in desperate charges, standing in shieldwall I expected to bounce them back, but no, it was my Dux who had to spend his energy and initiative points holding my boys in place, I could not afford one unit to run. My Comitatus could not even budge the less than 50% enemy in front of them, these guys were doing their best to get back in Stewart's good books and giving me a headache. I had to break them fast as my flank was in danger, I had hoped my cavalry would be back but they took their time and were now suffering badly from missile fire, they would be too far away to help and would be lucky to survive the hail of death.

I still had that odd unit, it was now required to be in two places at once, I decided to turn and help the Comitatus but it too was too far and time was of the essence, my bodyguard broke, and so did a Milites unit at the same time, it was time to leave the field. My Dux yelled curses at the odd Frank still wandering aimlessly behind the lines "You're sacked, never again, it's eBay for you!"

And how was the wargame, well at first it went well for me and I won most of the initiative rolls, however when I actually needed to win a crucial one I had no Strategy Intervention Points to throw in as I had used them up to keep my units in the line. I did manage to force a reroll with a special ability allowed to 'Arthur' but lost that as well. Stewart's shooting had been pretty bad and when it was good I made most of my saving rolls, but his combat dice were literally to die for, he was throwing sixteen or twenty-two dice and losing out on two or three, I could not take those kind of losses. My main problem however was the loss of the Franks and not moving to confront the victorious unit, I wavered and paid the price.

OK, the Franks will not be on eBay, but they are getting more men so that I can actually take advantage of the 'weight of numbers' rule for my warbands, something I have not acted on properly but will once the new army is ready, it will be the first to benefit from the extra men. Will I choose them again, not for a long time.

Quick One

Just popping this on as I have a full battle report to do later and I have a full day ahead, finishing two map projects and starting a new one, I also want to get started on the latest figures. I put the final touches to the bases of my second archer unit, this gives me two skirmish units for the upcoming Roman field army, I don't intend to add any more as I will have horse archers at some stage. As I was awaiting a new parcel I also decided to make my shieldwall markers for the Roman infantry, as I had extra transfers I used these to differentiate the markers, quite chuffed with these.

On the tray is the lesser of the two Goth Foederate units, now most of my units are 27 figures strong which can be reduced to 24 if I need to save points, especially with the elite formations, however after the battle on Saturday I have decided to give the warband units the option of having 32 men in four ranks of eight. I now believe to get the advantage of a rule which is called 'weight of numbers' they really need to outnumber the opposition by quite a few figures, otherwise you cannot take advantage of this and with a big bunch of less than professional warriors you need it, especially if they are Franks (more anon).

I don't have too many more figures to buy for the army so I was looking at what I need to be able to convert it to a Late Roman rather than Patrician. I looked at Aventine, one of my favourite figure manufacturers and decided to add that Steppe Noble unit after all, I was going to simply rely on the Goths but I now have a great excuse to get some of those fabulous nomad figures.

Anyway, must crack on.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

View From The WIndow

It is early and it is dark, it is also very cold but it is dry as far as I can see, and of course no one stirs apart from the odd car going by. The repair men have arrived at last to work on the chimney at Washington House, having said that they look a right bunch of pirates, I still can't see the place selling unless the price is dropped substantially. Only one hiccup at Casa Anderson, we needed a couple of our new kitchen appliances sorted, small details but we are insured and phoned up, no one turned up, we checked and found out making the appointment was up to us, not them. I duly phoned up only to be told the job number was now redundant(?) and I had to go back to the insurance for a new one, I was told this by an extremely rude and curt woman whose neck I would gladly have strangled had the technology to allow my hand down the phone existed. Everything is now almost fine, the cooker hood guy turned up without the part we had said was defective, and yes, it has to be ordered up, so we will see him again.

I have had a little fun at the expense of the call centres this week, I told one looking for the business owner that I had just killed them and buried them in the back garden and was just about to make my getaway, unphased he continued to ask to speak to the corpses. The second, from Scottish Power, I informed that I did not like Scotland and was happy with my English electricity, it amused me and I had time to kill obviously.

Well Mr. Trump is now president of the most powerful country in the world and the very dodgy woman isn't. He is going to make America 'great' again which usually means powerful and it is already powerful how he will tackle poverty, loss of jobs, bad education, crime, drugs and a hundred other things which actually mean something to real people more than aircraft carriers and missiles, I don't know but I suspect that things won't really change much for them in that department over the next four years. I have however taken immense pleasure in watching those who are against Trump and their tantrums over the past few days, "he is not my president" yes he is love. And how will breaking windows, overturning rubbish bins and lighting cars up cause Trump to take pause. Once again we have a huge number of people who now do not like their voting system because it turned up the 'wrong' result, I as an outsider find the whole American system unfathomable, I have read it was fine when the country was expanding and finding its feet but for a modern state it may not be the best way to elect your leader, but I really don't know.

Were you in Edinburgh on New Years Eve, did the 'quietists' get their way? A bunch of fun killers, well one or two, maybe a couple more, complained that the noise of the fireworks was too much. The council immediately told them to clear off, no, they didn't, they seriously debated having non-noise making fireworks, completely taking away one of the two reasons why fireworks are fun, take the noise away and the pretty explosions are pretty much naff. I didn't even know you could get non- noise fireworks, as I said what would be the point, its one night a year for heavens sake.

Here's a new one for the crime statute books, a 'non-crime hate incident', yes I know it doesn't make sense but PC Plod will investigate you for it. Amber Rudd Secretary of State for the Home Department said in a speech to keep the unwashed happy that it would be made harder for British firms to employ migrants, typical political rhetoric, but an Oxford professor decided to take umbrage on behalf of all those migrants who might find it harder to get a job and reported her to the police.

I see Boris has been upsetting the apple cart again, his off the cuff remarks about Francois Hollande and his 'punishment beatings' on the UK for having the temerity to leave the EU has caused a storm in a teacup. No one reported what Hollande had said to make Johnson take umbrage however, but a few days later we have the pipsqueak Prime Minister of Malta, that great European powerhouse, saying that the EU 'needs' yes 'needs' to ensure the UK does not get a decent leaving deal. He and others should at least have the decency after all we have contributed to instead give us a fair deal and wish us well.

And as for us helping those more unfortunate than ourselves, we continue to give Pakistan, a country with nuclear submarines and missiles (but no decent toilets) our hard earned cash. Not only that, we have modernised our largesse by giving out cash cards with which the poor of Pakistan can now withdraw British money from ATM's, you don't see Malta doing that now do you.

I always thought that one big mistake the NHS made was to ensure that nurses had a degree, out went the old style nurse who, if you are a certain age, you will remember was always smart, clean, crisp, professional and there when you needed her. Having a degree changed all that so no more dirty work, that was for the plebs, shove on the old overalls and lets hang about the consoles. Now I hear that to join the Police Force, oh dear, Police Service, force won't do any more of course, you also will need a degree. Mind you if you think about it the old Bobby disappeared a long time ago as did fighting real crime so this measure will simply squeeze out the very last vestiges of the idea of having to serve the public to policing them.

The loons are still out there, what do you make of this "It's about respecting people's right to define themselves as neither male nor female" so if you are not one or the other what exactly are you, we don't have a 'right' to be whatever we want or don't want and we certainly don't have a right to have others believe the same way we do and act accordingly and it certainly doesn't get you respect. This week Jeremy I am a tree.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Lords of Midnight

Apart from less than a handful of computer games I have generally been more than disappointed with most of them. It sounds perfect, letting the PC do all the hard work while you get on with conquering the planet, but I always find that the PC is a cheating so and so, it always seems to win no matter what you try. The answer of course is to get one you can play be email or in real time, but you still need that staple of wargamers, a dedicated opponent which even online is hard to find.

I have played some dreadful tactical games which purported to be proper wargames but in fact the only thing they had in common with their period was the box art, but non miniature gamers seem to get sucked in every time and sing their praises, while I look for the returns label.

I did enjoy Steel Panthers, along with an Eastern Front game which I can't remember any other details of, I leant it to a friend and never got it back and Dawn of War. Now I am going to have to admit I was pretty much addicted to DoW for a long time, the game was just perfect and exciting. I also dabbled with Company of Heroes and European Escalation which were good but didn't grab me the way DoW had.

A long time ago before we had any real sophisticated games, when Manic Miner was top of the charts I played a little gem way ahead of its time called Lords of Midnight, originally made for the Sinclair Spectrum. The game was a fantasy type effort which you could play in a purely military way or complete a quest or try to win attempting both at once. Basically you were the good guys and had to defeat the bad guy, otherwise known as Doomdark before he could take over the land of Midnight, as I said you could meet him on the field of battle by recruiting lords to your armies and conquering his citadel or you could use a character to destroy the Ice Crown.

For some reason I looked this game up the other night and lo and behold it is still available for almost every computer platform you can think of and there are a couple of add ons, Doomdark's Revenge for one. I splashed out £2.99 and it is now on my iPad although I haven't been able to begin a campaign yet I will at some point.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Anglevari, Auxilium Palatinum

That's my third battle formation ready for the new Romans, I am getting on a lot faster than I thought, which means I am a fast painter or don't have much to do of an evening, or I am using my time constructively during the winter period, I'm going for the latter. This leaves me only sixteen skirmishers on the tray which I suspect will be complete by the end of tonight and ready for varnishing and basing. I do have an order sitting at Footsore for my Foederati infantry and last night I put a second order in to get some officers and my Noble cavalry, I am hoping the former turn up before the weekend.

The reason for the two quick orders is that I have realised I don't need to wait until I have amassed the full 3000+ points I would like before fielding them, you know I have wargamers OCD and won't use substitutes unless I have to, so I realised that I should paint up 2,000 to use at the club, then extend to 2,500 for the gaming weekends, then the rest so I can choose different troop types and also have the army cover two lists, Late and Patrician Roman. So in order to get on I needed some cavalry, hence the second order, I also happen to think that those two lists should be one, but I need to do a lot more research, if only for my own benefit to understand the armies better.

I have a big game coming up on Saturday against my sons Carolingians, having pulled a victory from the jaws of defeat the last time we met I want to do better, I also want to go back to a 'vanilla' Romano-British army as I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve I want to try out.

Its suddenly dawned on me that I did not show you my second battle formation, I posted it on a couple of FB groups and obviously it then slipped my mind, so here better late than never are the Lanciarii Gallicani Honoriani. Legio Comitatensis.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017


I don't know where the time goes, up by 08 double oh, showered, bases on the new Romans painted, emails and Facebook sorted, shops, double espresso chocolate digestive, bases drybrushed, metal bits painted and now the club report, not to mention the finishing touches later this afternoon, starting on a new map project and the pub at four. Who needs exercise, no wait, most of that is sitting down.

I was introducing Julian to War and Conquest last night, as he wasn't sure about how the armies were organised I put together two which were the same size, with the same number of units but allowing for slight differences. 'The Last of the Romans' vs Saxon Heptarchy, Julian chose the Saxons, despite me pushing him as a novice towards the Romano-British, although a fairly stand up fight I do think the Brits have a slight advantage as the Saxon player needs to use the terrain to his advantage and also manoeuvre when he can.

We also used the objective cards as they are in the rulebook and I though he might as well play the first game the way it is meant to be played, I had to take the middle of the table and he had to kill my two most expensive units. Throughout the game I would of course answer questions and give him options on tactics when the situation arose.

The game was pretty straightforward and I pushed my infantry line on the centre, Julian, as new players tend to do in games took things more slowly and formed shieldwall but sent his cavalry at speed against my thinly held left. I dodged the cavalry and sent my own to help, this little action was a non event as the Saxon cavalry never managed to catch me and I didn't, until near the end, manage to inflict a lot of missile casualties on them. However, in the centre I had stupidly pushed one infantry unit up further than the others and it took some horrendous casualties from shooting, Julian could do no wrong during this phase and it was worrying me.

My shooting dice!
 I had taken the centre but kept quiet as I wanted a good fight, perhaps I should have mentioned it as it would have forced Julian to move his men out of shieldwall and towards the centre to stop me claiming it, but I didn't. Despite the talking and demonstrations we managed to get to move five with about 45 minutes left, we had not had a combat so I charged one of my units in to give an example of melee, to my surprise I won, but Julian's morale held up so we went on to his turn, he threw caution to the wind and charged where he could. I won all the combats, I was obviously better at fighting than shooting, but to my chagrin he made three morale rolls of three or under on three dice! The melees would continue, I was winning but time was running out and the Saxons should have been gentlemen and fled. Right on the last turn I did burst the first unit and that was it, as we surveyed the battlefield it looked like three to me and one to Julian as eventually his bodyguard got into the fray.

The main point was that he enjoyed the game and perhaps I have made another convert at the club, that is four of us now who are willing to play and enjoy the game, two of those are building or going to build an army as well, result.

Elsewhere we had Bloodbowl and two boardgames, one a typical wargame and the other looked to be a modern fantasy type game. In the yellow corner we had a demo game of Swordpoint between Late Saxons and Normans, there were a lot of troops on the table, which looked to disadvantage the cavalry army, but these suffer on most 6x4 tables I find, in 28mm anyway. I listened to some of the comments as the game was cleared away and they seemed positive. War and Conquest does what it says on the tin for me, so I'm sorted in that department, am I an old duffer who doesn't like change, no I don't think so as I have embraced several new games over the past two years or so, but once I get something I like it would take a bomb to shift me.

Swordpoint game.
The photographs are not very good with a slight blur, my apologies.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

View From The Window

As you might suspect it is cold, wet, grey and miserable and although you might think this bad it is not the apocalypse the weather people have been promising and scaring everyone with for this weekend, another welcome failure. None of the houses nearby, and there are quite a few up for sale have sold, poor old Washington House has a scaffold up but no one has come near to do the repair for at least two months, nor shown any interest in buying it. I myself have pretty much settled in for the Winter and hardly crossed the threshold, although I did manage, along with the missus, to store two large bags of wood for the fire the other day, the only downside of being able to cosy down in front of a log fire of an evening. The missus however is not sure the wood is seasoned and believes some of it might be damp, there is also too much small stuff in one bag, this could mean dropping another firm from the trade list, we will soon have to look at nearby Yorkshire having almost exhausted suppliers in Lancashire. Perhaps we too will end up on a list.

We just can't escape Transgender can we, the BBC of course has jumped on this latest crusade for normality and we are being re-educated almost every week, in a preview of what is coming our way we had a programme where parents were allowing their children to choose their gender before no doubt making their way to the surgeons, was it right we were asked, no it isn't. Much is also being made of the 'man' who is pregnant, I have seen photos of this 'bloke' and I am looking at a woman the same way when I look at the 'woman' down the pub I see a big bloke with a blonde wig, hands bigger than mine, drinking pints of Guinness, sitting with, yes, the blokes. Not only that this 'man' above has to take hormones to feel male, but desperately wants a baby, I don't, because I am a bloke, and the pregnancy had to be done by surgeons, is it just me that is mad? And how much so far, well, £29,000 and rising. Not bad for an Asda shelf packer, oh wait, I'm paying.

Male/Female, delete where applicable.

And while we are on the subject the NHS is having yet another crises, the worst in its history I believe, and the answer once again is to throw more money at it. How can anyone possibly argue that it is underfunded when the first thing any incoming government does is up the spending, and if you are waiting to become the government you promise yet more money if you get in. I have been treated very well by the NHS when I have needed their services, my wife on the other hand had a dreadful experience getting someone to take her seriously before being given an operation. Why does the NHS now spend fortunes on non-illnesses like gastric bands, boob jobs, nose jobs, sex changes and more, all of which are non lethal and should be paid for by the person wanting them or buying named medicines and not generic medicines and of course the huge bloated bureaucracy. Aren't our doctors wonderful, yes some are, but mine now only see four people an hour because they allow you to call them by their first name and will take time listening to your problems, medical or not, mind you it will take up to three weeks for that consultation. How do we solve the A&E problem, the clue is in the name, Accident and Emergency, you are worried about a spot, clear off, I twisted my ankle, clear off, Kevin isn't his usual self, clear off!

I almost missed this one but will bring it up, Sir Bradley Wiggins, the great cyclist and darling of the country while he was winning, sure enough we have the rumours of drug taking, but don't worry, Bradley took the banned substance corticosteroid trimcinolone because of his hay fever. He really should have popped to the local chemist like the rest of us, no?

How many times have you heard the old "if women were in charge" rubbish, well they have been in charge of many things and made just as big a hash of it as we men. Take Christine Lagarde, the former head of the IMF, she was given the job despite being known to be shady, but hey, the guy before her was a rapist so another bloke wasn't going to cut it for a while, sadly for womankind she was up to her neck in dodgy deals and was found guilty in December last year, the case involved some 400 million euros, but she will not receive any punishment, how does that work? And now the Northern Irish First Minister Arlene Foster is being urged to stand down, again the sum involved is around 400 million, this time in pounds, for a completely cock-eyed heating policy. This totally brilliant scheme meant that if you heated your home with oil for 2p an hour the government would give you 3p, so the more heat you used the more money you got, turn all the radiators on begorrah. Women eh, just as useless as men when in charge, the defence rests m'lud.

Christine, you are free to go.

And what about those Russians supposedly trying to influence the running of another country as well as probably having the gall to defeat IS in Syria. It's not as if we in the West or America have ever contemplated such, no wait, Vietnam, Central America, South America, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Brexit, errr. Politicians, you gotta love em.

What's happening in LA LA land, well I missed these during the festive season. Steve Martin made the mistake of tweeting that Carrie Fisher was a beautiful woman when he first saw her before saying he missed her, big mistake Steve, sexist mate. As we all know the first thing which attracts normal men to women in the first glance is their confidence in being a woman and their comfortable shoes, Steve has of course offered a grovelling apology. Actor Lance Goss, no me neither, was singled out for his Facebook Christmas photo because it seemed that although all the people in the photo were 'black' there was one woman way out on her own who was blacker than the others. Said entertainer was immediately pounced on for being colorist (I use the American spelling deliberately), the guy pointed out after all the vitriol he received that it was an ongoing joke because his friend always turned up for the photo on her own while the rest had partners. Only goes to prove no one is safe from the online lunatics unless you don't share your private life with them.

At least he didn't apologise.

And my favourite piece was the guy who 'assaulted' a couple of kids on the train, did he thrash them within an inch of their miserable little lives, no, he pushed their little feet off the chairs so other people could sit down or not sit on what was on the bottom of their shoes. Well done mate, I for one hope they don't track you down, but then again it might be easier than catching real crooks just to let them go again.