Sunday, 8 February 2015

My birthday celebrations

First of all I would like to thank everyone who sent me birthday greetings ... including Google!

The first thing that I do most mornings after getting up, feeding the cat, and making my wife a cup of tea is to read my emails ... and the long list of them from friends and regular blog readers who wanted to wish me a happy birthday was a great way to start the day. (The cat joined in the celebrations by bolting down its breakfast and then 'revisiting' it all over the carpet outside our home office. It certainly brought me back down to earth with a bit of a bang.)

My personal celebrations began on Friday when Sue and I went out for lunch in the Mark Masons' Hall Carvery Restaurant, St James's, with some friends. We sat by the window in the beautifully decorated restaurant, overlooking St James's Street and the entrance to St James's Palace. The food was excellent (an hors d’oeuvres trolley, followed by a selection of roast meats with all the trimmings, a dessert trolley or cheese selection, and tea or coffee to finish up with) and including wine it cost just over £33.00 each. The quality of the food was more than matched by the company, and the three hours we spent over lunch seemed to zip past and was a great way to begin my celebrations.

After reading my emails on Saturday morning, Sue and I went to Café Rouge in Bluewater for a full English breakfast, followed by a bit of light retail therapy. We got home just after 1.00pm, had a drink, and then I opened my birthday cards and presents. The latter included INLAND WATER TRANSPORT IN MESOPOTAMIA by Lieutenant Colonel L J Hall (Originally published in 1919; re-published by The Naval & Military Press Limited in association with FIREPOWER, The Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich (ISBN 1 84342 952 7]). This was sent to me by my old friends and fellow wargamer, Tony Hawkins.

After lunch I sorted out some of my Prussian 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic wargames figures so that I will be able to begin basing them later this week, after which I began preparing for my birthday celebration mini-campaign. The idea for this was stolen wholesale from the campaign section of the PLAN B: RUSSIA 1941 wargame rules on the NUMBERS, WARGAMES AND ARSING ABOUT blog that is written by Old Trousers. The campaign works very simply, and uses a linear system that links together scenarios from Neil Thomas's ONE-HOUR WARGAMES.

For the sake of simplicity – and because Old Trousers has done all the preliminary work for me – I am also setting my mini-campaign in Russia in 1941. I will be using my own draft modern (i.e. World War II) rules to fight the battles, although they are currently just a mishmash of my PORTABLE WARGAME: MODERN rules and my MEMOIR OF MODERN BATTLE (MOMBAT) rules ... with a few bits added.

Just after 8.00pm Sue and I went to the Saray Restaurant in Welling for my birthday dinner. The restaurant describes itself as being 'Mediterranean', but the food has a very strong Turkish element to it ... which is something that I like. The food and service was excellent ... and the experience was made all the better by the discovery that the restaurant was owned by the family of a young man that used to teach. The young man – whose name is Metin – even organised for my dessert to be delivered to our table with a lit candle in my baklava whilst 'Happy Birthday' was played over the restaurant's sound system.

The perfect end to a perfect day.


  1. Incidentally I forgot to mention Im a MM from Stewiacke Lodge, 98 Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia. My father is a Past Master, my grandfather was a Shriner. Goes all the way back to 1803 when our ancestor was raised into a lodge in London.

  2. Irishhighlander,

    How Interesting! I have been in The Craft since 1998, and was the first member of my family to join ... as far as I know.

    I have been though the Chair of my Mother Lodge (The Grove Park Lodge No.2732 in the Province of Hertfordshire) and I am on my second time around. I will go back into the Chair in May this year.

    I have held active Provincial Grand Rank (Provincial Grand Standard Bearer) and I am a member of the Hertfordshire research lodge. I am also a member of a London Lodge (Blackfriars No.3722) and Royal Arch.

    As you know we don't have Shriners in the UK although I understand that there have been some attempts to set up a similar type of organisation.

    If you are ever in the UK and want to visit a lodge, let me know and I will see if I can help.

    All the best,


  3. Hi Bob,

    Happy Birthday! I've been a fan of yours for some years and I'm really pleased that Plan B featured in your celebrations this year.

    All the best


  4. Old Trousers (Jay),

    Many thanks for your best wishes ... and for your simple but very effective campaign idea. I hope to start the campaign tomorrow ... assuming that the heavy cold that I have suffered from over the past few days starts to improve overnight.

    All the best,


  5. Johntheone,

    It was a great birthday ... and one I will remember for a long time.

    All the best,