Friday 30 April 2021

Nearly over ...

It took me longer than I expected, but I have nearly finished rationalising the storage of my modelling paint and tools. They are now in an eight-draw REALLY USEFUL BOXES unit that is mounted on castors so that it can be moved around my toy/wargame room. It is presently next to where I usually sit, which means that everything I need when I am painting and modelling is now within arms reach.

I still have a few bits and pieces that I need to sort out, but that should take me less than thirty minutes to do ... and then I can finish off the two half-finished tanks that were the starting point of this task.

Thursday 29 April 2021

A task that has grown ...

It started because I needed to find a new pot of black acrylic paint to finish painting the two half-finished tanks that I had found on my worktable last Saturday. In looking for that single pot of paint, I discovered that I had modelling paint stored in at least five different places in my toy/wargame room ... and rashly though that I really ought to rationalise it all so that it was in once place.

That was a big mistake.

What started as a simple little task has seems to have blossomed into a full-scale reorganisation of the storage of my modelling and painting kit, of which I have far more than I realised! The downside of this is that at present, the table in my toy/wargame room seems to be covered in piles of various assorted storage boxes and trays. The upside of this will be that when it is complete, all my kit should be in a single multi-draw unit from REALLY USFUL BOXES.

I hope to be finished later today ... and then I can finish those two tanks!

Wednesday 28 April 2021

I have been to ... Charlton Cemetery

Sue and I visited Charlton Cemetery back in August 2016, and after our recent visit to Charlton Village, we decided to make a return visit to search from some of Sue’s family’s graves. (One of the joys of being married to a genealogist is that you occasionally have to visit churches and graveyards to do research.)

The cemetery contains some Commonwealth War Graves, and just inside the entrance is an example of the Cross of Sacrifice.

The local council is responsible for the upkeep of the local cemeteries, and they have a policy of leaving large areas of them to ‘go wild’ to encourage wildflowers, butterflies, and other wildlife to flourish. If I was a cynic, I might think that another incentive to do this is that it is saves money as they do not have to employ as many gardeners!

Because the cemetery was originally a privately set up 'Gentleman's Cemetery', almost every grave in the fifteen-acre grounds marks a family plot.

Unfortunately, although the cemetery is split into lettered areas (which are easy to identify, thanks to a map near the gates) and each grave in an area is numbered (e.g. A38), there are no numbers on any of the graves and no way of finding an individual plot! As Sue and I were looking for a number of graves belonging to members of her family, the task of finding them was huge, and after nearly an hour we were on the verge of giving up finding any when we found one, almost by accident!

It belonged to Henry Joseph Bayne and his brother Frederick Percival Bayne, and contains their remains and that of their wives, although the latter do not seem to have been memorialised on the headstone!

By the time we had got back to where we had parked our car, it was lunchtime, and we decided to return to 'The Baguette Café' in Charlton Village for something to eat. After eating another excellent lunch, we went next door to ' The Village Greengrocers' to buy some strawberries and grapes to take home to eat later. It sells lots of organic produce as well as sourdough bread, cakes, honey, dips, and oak milk.

We hope to return to Charlton Cemetery again in the future, but whether or not we will find the 'missing' graves is anybody's guess!

Tuesday 27 April 2021

The 1st Hungarian Infantry Division

I have managed to rebase the artillery for my 1st Hungarian Infantry Division, which now looks like this:

The figures are all lightly converted Spanish Civil War infantry in helmets, and the artillery are from the range of REALLY USEFUL GUNS produced by Irregular Miniatures. I hope to add some reconnaissance and supply train elements to the division in due course, but for the time being I can use it 'as is' should I wish to.

Sunday 25 April 2021

I have been to ... Charlton Village

I have lived in South East London for forty-five years, but there are still parts of the local area that I know very little about. When I worked in Greenwich and Brockley, I drove through Charlton Village at least three or four times each week, and yet it was only very recently that I have actually stopped there and had a walk around. On Saturday, Sue and I drove to Charlton Village, and parked in the car park outside Charlton House.

This building is one of the best examples of Jacobean architecture in London and was build between 1607 and 1612 to provide a home for Sir Adam Newton and the eldest son of James I, Prince Henry. Newton was Dean of Durham and tutor to the prince. Unfortunately, Prince Henry died very soon after he moved into Charlton House, and thereafter Sir Adam Newton occupied it as King James's Receiver-General.

The Newton family remained as tenants of the house until 1658, when the house and its surrounding land was sold to Sir William Ducie. It changed hands again in 1680, when it was bought by Sir William Langhorne. It then passed to Sir John Conyers (Sir William Langhorne's nephew) in 1715 and was eventually inherited in 1777 by Jane (née Weller), the wife of Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson.

During the First World War, the Wilson family loaned the house to the Red Cross, who used it as their district headquarters before converting it into a 70-bed hospital. It was sold the Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich in 1925 (now the Royal Borough of Greenwich), who subsequently used the house as a museum and library, and - more recently - as a community centre, and who turned its surrounding parkland and gardens into a public park. Although the main building is currently shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, part of the building is being used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre.

Sue and I walked past the recently restored Summer House ...

... and out onto Charlton Road (the B210). We turned right toward St Luke's Church, ...

... crossing Charlton Church Lane and walking past the local war memorial in the process.

Sue and I had particularly wanted to visit St Luke's because it houses the graves of two men who were the victims of politically motivated murder during the first half of the nineteenth century. The first of these is that of the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated, Spencer Perceval. He was shot in the lobby of the House of Commons by John Bellingham, who was a merchant who thought that he was entitled to compensation from the government after being unjustly imprisoned in Russia.

The second is that of Edward Drummond - who was personal secretary to several Prime Ministers, including George Canning, Lord Goderich, the 1st Duke of Wellington, and Sir Robert Peel - and who was assassinated by Daniel McNaughton in 1843 whilst walking down Whitehall towards Downing St. Drummond was shot in error, as McNaughton - who was later judged to be mad - thought that Drummond was the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel.

The church also has the almost unique honour of being allowed to fly the ensign used prior to the 1800 Acts of Union on its Saint's Day and St George's Day. This honour was bestowed on the church because of its historic role as a landmark used by ships navigating the River Thames.

Due to the pandemic, the church was not open to the public, but Sue and I were able to wander around the graveyard and memorial garden, and to have a very interesting chat with one of the volunteer gardeners.

By the time we had left the church, it was time for lunch, and Sue and I went to the nearby 'The Baguette Café' to eat.

It has an outdoor seating area and serves basic but well-cooked (and generously sized) lunches, sandwiches, and drinks. Sue ate scampi, salad, and chips, and I had their burger breakfast (two beef burger steaks, a fried egg, fried onions, baked beans, and chips), and we each drank a café latte.

We then returned to Charlton House to collect our car, pausing en route to look at the oldest mulberry tree in England!

It was planted in 1608 and was intended to be the first of many such trees in the area, and to become the basis of a domestic silk industry. (A large plantation of mulberry trees was also created in the grounds of former Greenwich Palace.) The arrival of cheap silk thread from China and Huguenot silk weavers from France brought an end to the project, and this tree is the last reminder of this failed attempt to create a new English silk producing industry.

Spencer Perceval

Spencer Perceval was the seventh son of John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont, being the second son of the Earl's second marriage to Catherine Compton, Baroness Arden.

Spencer Perceval's links to Charlton are interesting. As a boy, he lived in Charlton House whilst his father was First Lord of the Admiralty. The house was close to Woolwich Dockyard, which was the Royal Navy's main shipyard at the time.

Perceval returned to live in the Charlton area in the late 1780s when he and his brother - Charles, the Lord Arden - rented a house not far from Charlton House. The two brothers fell in love with two of the daughters of Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson. Sir Thomas had no objections to Lord Arden marrying his oldest daughter Margaretta but did object to the marriage of the then impecunious young lawyer Spencer Perceval to his youngest daughter, Jane. When she was 21, Spencer and Jane eloped, and were married in East Grinstead. They seem to have enjoyed a happy marriage and had thirteen children.

He was buried in the Egmont family vault in St Luke's Church on 16th May 1812, the day after his assassin was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Edward Drummond

Edward Drummond was a member of the Drummond banking family. He was buried at St Luke's by his youngest brother - the Reverend Arthur Drummond - who was the church's Rector in 1843. Drummond was distantly related by marriage to Spencer Perceval, whose sister - Mary - had married Drummond's uncle, Andrew Berkeley Drummond. The families were further linked when Andrew and Mary's daughter Catherine married one of Spencer Perceval's sons - the Reverend Henry Perceval - on 27th March 1826. 

Saturday 24 April 2021

Restarting work on a project

Having just bought some new paint for my stalled Napoleonic project, it was obvious that I’d begin work on my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project first!

Before I went into hospital, I experimented with flocking the artillery bases from my 1st Hungarian Infantry Division. The experiment did not go well, and whilst trying to remove the guns from their bases in order to rebase them, they both suffered minor damage. I found them whilst tidying my worktable and decided that I ought to repair and rebase them before I started anything else. This should take me a couple of days ... I hope.

They may be joined by a couple of tanks that I found half-finished on my worktable, but as I am trying to take things slowly and carefully, they may have to wait a bit longer before they join the ranks of the collection.

Friday 23 April 2021

More paints from The Works

Now that non-essential shops are open again, Sue and I took the opportunity to go to the retail outlet centre in the Chatham Maritime area. It is located close to the entrance to the Historic Dockyard in Chatham, and besides a large branch of THE RANGE and numerous smaller outlet stores, it has a very well-stocked branch of THE WORKS.

I 'celebrated' being able to go out shopping relatively normally by buying an acrylic painting 'kit' for the princely sum of £5.00.

As you can see, the kit contains twelve tubes of paint, a small palette, three brushes, a pencil, pencil sharpener, and an eraser, as well as a small plastic palette knife. Initially, I will try to keep everything in its storage tray ... but I suspect that over time. some bits will get misplaced!

I don't actually need these paints at present, but they will be ideal when I begin work again on renovating, varnishing, and basing the rest of my pre-painted Del Prado 25/28mm Napoleonic figures. I can use the paint straight out of the tube to cover the worst damage the figures might have suffered in storage, and when diluted with water, they make excellent washes for the skin of horses.

Wednesday 21 April 2021

The Slough House books by Mick Herron

Over the last couple of months, I have been reading Mick Herron’s SLOUGH HOUSE novels. For those of you who have not heard of them, they are about members of the Security Service who have been ‘exiled’ to work at Slough House, an outstation that is situated near the Barbican area of London. These agents have been deemed to have committed various ‘offences’ by the powers-that-be, and their posting to Slough House is regarded as a punishment or route to resignation. Their supervisor is Jackson Lamb, an offensive man who is also a very experienced and devious former frontline agent. He is invariably rude to everybody and has some very unpleasant personal habits. That said, even though he does not like any of the people who work for him, he will do everything in his power to protect his ‘Joes’.

To date, Mick Herron has written the following books in the series:

  • Slow Horses (2010)
  • Dead Lions (2013)
  • The List (2015 novella)
  • Real Tigers (2016)
  • Spook Street (2017)
  • London Rules (2018)
  • The Drop (2018 novella)
  • Joe Country (2019)
  • The Catch (2020 novella)
  • Slough House (2021)

The books often make references to contemporary events and people, although names and/or personal traits of the latter are usually altered to suit the plot lines.

I understand that there are plans to turn the books into a TV series, with Gary Oldman portraying Jackson Lamb. He would seem to be an ideal person to do this ... although he isn’t as fat as I imagine Jackson to be. He is a very good film actor, and his portrayal of George Smiley in TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY was a tour de force. Anyone who can be the central character of a film, and yet not speak for nearly the first twenty minutes of that film (even when he is on screen during that time, he acts purely using his face and body posture) is a good character actor in my book.

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Nuggets 334 and 335 will be posted out tomorrow

I collected the latest issue of THE NUGGET (N335) from the printer earlier today, and I hope to post it out to UK members of Wargame Developments tomorrow, and to overseas members soon afterwards. I have also upload it to the Wargame Developments website so that members can download it or read it online.

Please note that this issue contains an important announcement about COW2021 (the Conference of Wargamers 2021).

It will be posted out with the printed copy of N334, which was held over from when it was printed earlier this month.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the eighth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2020-2021 subscription year. If you have not yet re-subscribed, a reminder was sent to you. If you wish to re-subscribe using the PayPal option on the relevant page of the website, you can use the existing buttons as the subscription cost has not changed.

Monday 19 April 2021

Revitalising and re-energising a couple of stalled projects

I spent part of yesterday going through some of the storage boxes in my toy/wargame room, and I was struck by the fact that I have two large projects that have been in suspended animation for some time.

The first is my Napoleonic collection. I had managed to renovate, varnish, and based nearly nine hundred figures before my enthusiasm for this project petered out some years ago. I estimate that I have at least another three hundred to do, including a complete Russian army.

The last batch of Napoleonic figures that was renovated, varnished, and based. They were done in June 2017!

The second is my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War collection, which is even bigger than my Napoleonic collection but not as well advanced. Part of the collection saw action last year when I ran my play-test Operation Barbarossa mini-campaign ... but the need to complete and publish THE PORTABLE PIKE & SHOT WARGAME book, and the discovery of cancer in my bowel, diverted my attention from continuing work on this project.

I have been thinking about what to do about these stalled projects and have come to the conclusion that I ought to try to spend a fortnight to a month on one project, then switch to the other for a similar amount of time. This would be interspersed with work on other projects (e.g. THE PORTABLE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR). By adopting this sort of approach, I should be able to make progress on both without becoming bored with either or both of them.

Sunday 18 April 2021

My latest book sales figures

It is just over six months since I last looked at my book sales figures. What with the on/off COVID-19 lockdown, problems with, switching over to Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and my major surgery, I just did not get around to it. I have managed to do so now, and my book sales figures look like this:

It is interesting to note that sales of all the books in the PORTABLE WARGAME series seem to continue to sell well, and form the bulk of the total sales to date. WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! and HEXBLITZ attract regular sales, and THE MADASAHATTA CAMPAIGN has gone through the 150 sales barrier!

Saturday 17 April 2021

Nugget 335

The editor sent me the latest issue of THE NUGGET yesterday, and I intend to take it to the printer as soon as possible. I should be able to collect it and post it out to members of Wargame Developments by the end of the week. I will also upload it to the Wargame Developments website so that members can download it or read it online.

Please note that this issue contains an important announcement about COW2021 (the Conference of Wargamers 2021).

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the eighth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2020-2021 subscription year. If you have not yet re-subscribed, a reminder was sent to you. If you wish to re-subscribe using the PayPal option on the relevant page of the website, you can use the existing buttons as the subscription cost has not changed.

Friday 16 April 2021

Other people's Portable Wargame battle reports: The Battle of Rahden

It is some time since I featured other people's PORTABLE WARGAME battle reports on my blog, but David in Suffolk's recent pair of linked battle reports about the Battle of Rahden are worth brining to the attention of a wider group of wargamers.

David's blog is called THE RAGGED SOLDIER and you can find a link to it on the sidebar of this blog. The first of his two battle reports is entitled 'Last Stand - or Great Escape?' and saw an Austrian force being attacked by a Prussian force, with the latter expecting reinforcements to arrive after battle was joined.

The second part is called 'The End of the Affair', and saw the Austrians being given a bit of a drubbing by their opponents.

I won't spoil the enjoyment of my regular blog readers by giving any more information about the battle, but I thoroughly recommend that they read these two battle reports and enjoy them as much as I did.

Please note that the photographs featured above are © David in Suffolk.

Wednesday 14 April 2021

The Portable American Civil War Wargame book: A short progress report

Over the past couple of days, I have been making slow but steady progress on the book. David Crook’s naval wargame rules are in the final stages of their first proof reading, and I have been doing the book’s layout as I have been adding the text to the book’s template.

I have sketched out a plan for the book’s content, although this may well change as the book develops. At present my plan looks like this:

  • Introduction and acknowledgements
  • Military innovations of the mid nineteenth century
  • Brigade-level wargame rules + battle report
  • Divisional-level wargame rules + battle report
  • Corps-level wargame rules + battle report
  • Naval wargame rules + battle report
  • Chronology of the American Civil War
  • Bibliography

Monday 12 April 2021

Nuggets 332 and 333 have been posted

I’ve just returned from posting out the copies of NUGGETs 332 and 333 to the UK members of Wargame Developments. Those going to overseas members will be posted tomorrow at the local Post Office.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, NUGGET 335 will be published soon, and once it has been printed, it will be posted out along with NUGGET 334.

Sunday 11 April 2021

The Portable American Civil Wargame book: Work has begun!

Some time ago, I mentioned that I hope to publish a PORTABLE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR book in the not too distant future. It will be a cooperative effort, with David Crook providing the naval wargame rules, Gary Sheffield the land warfare rules, and me acting as editor and compiler of the background information that the book will contain.

I had already prepared to template for the book's manuscript, and very recently David provided me with the draft of his rules. I am currently proof reading them as I add them to the manuscript, and this will take me a couple of days to do as I don't want to rush this. Once this is complete, the manuscript will be passed back to David for him to check.

I hope that I will receive Gary's contribution in the not too distant future, and once that has bee added to the manuscript, I will be able to add my bits.

The plan is to publish the book sometime around August or September this year, but the timescale is not fixed and may well stretch by a month or two. In the meantime, I will keep regular blog readers up to date with the progress I am making.

Saturday 10 April 2021

Nuggets 332, 333, and 334 have been printed!

Now that things are beginning to ease up (and I have had my second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine), I have been able to have the last three issues of THE NUGGET printed. I collected them from the printer yesterday, and I hope to put N332 and N333 into envelopes and post them out to members on Monday of next week. (I will post N334 out with the forthcoming N335, which should be with me in about a week's time.)

I know that members of Wargame Developments have been able to read these issues online and in PDF format, but for many, the printed copy is preferable. They have been patiently waiting for them to be printed so that they can hold them as they read them ... and hopefully their wait will soon be over.

Friday 9 April 2021

15mm or 20mm ... so what is the answer?

I managed to get six of the 20mm-scale figures off their bases, and temporarily fixed them to a couple of 40mm x 20mm MDF bases. The results looked like this:

When compared to my existing 15mm-scale figures ...

... the results show that the 20mm-scale figures work quite well ... but, on reflection, I am beginning to come round to the view that I would be better sticking with 15mm-scale figures. I have a large number of them, and if I am going to have to think of downsizing at some point in the future*, they will be both easier to store (they would take up much less space) and to carry#.

* Sue and I have been discussing moving to a bungalow or a house with only two floors, and since my operation, I have certainly found it more difficult to climb the stairs than I used to.

# If we do move, I expect that I might lose exclusive use of a room for wargaming. If this is the case, I may need to have to store the figures etc., in one room, and fight my wargames in another.

Wednesday 7 April 2021

15mm or 20mm ... that is the question!

I really cannot make my mind up whether to persist with using 15mm-scale figures for my FUNNY LITTLE WAR/PORTABLE WARGAME project, or to switch over to 20mm-scale figures, of which I have a large number of suitable ones available.

To help me make up my mind, I have decided to renovate, varnish, and base one unit of 20mm-scale infantry (i.e. two bases, each with three figures) so that I can compare them with one of my 15mm-scale units. This should take me a few days, but once it is done, I should be in a much better position to make my final decision.

Tuesday 6 April 2021

Why are there no Aspirins in the jungle?

I had my second dose of the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine yesterday, and was given an excellent piece of advice by the nurse who administered the injection. She told me to take two paracetamol tablets when I got home because the hospital had anecdotal evidence that doing so reduced your chances of developing side effects or reduced the impact of any side effects that did develop.

I did as she suggested ... and I have had no side effects at all.

The title of this blog post refers to the terrible 'dad' joke that goes as follows:

'Why are there no Aspirins in the jungle?'

'Because the parrots eat 'em all!'

This joke probably doesn't make a lot of sense to anyone in the United States, where paracetamol is usually referred to as acetaminophen or by the trade name Tylenol.

Monday 5 April 2021

Time for my second jab

Later today I will be visiting University Hospital Lewisham for my second Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination. Once I have had that, and a week to ten days has passed, I should be about as well protected from catching the COVID-19 virus as I can be.

I doubt that this will result in any particular change in my daily routine, and I shall still be donning my face mask every time I go out, but at least I will feel a bit safer, and that is what really counts. Sue is due to have her second jab in a couple of weeks, and once she is fully vaccinated, we can look forward to going on a short cruise aboard P&O's MV Britannia.

P&O have introduced a series of protocols that they will be following once cruising resumes in the near future. These include:

  • All ships will operate with a reduced number of passengers aboard.
  • Proof of vaccination and the dates given will be required to be shown at the terminal prior to boarding.
  • Pre-embarkation COVID-19 tests may be required and will be complimentary in the price of the holiday.
  • Only those passengers who are going on organised excursions only using vetted operators will be allowed ashore, and the excursion operators will be subject to screening and guidance and temperature checks and/or health screening may be carried out prior to boarding the ship after time on shore.
  • All ships will operate under enhanced sanitation measures. Appropriate social distancing will be enforced, alongside the mandatory wearing of face masks in certain areas of the ship. All guests will need to comply with this face mask policy in order to travel.
  • The crew will wear face masks whenever they are in contact with passengers and in certain areas of the ship. They will also undergo a strict testing and quarantine regime as well as regular testing during their time on board.
  • Passengers may be asked to pre-book a table in any of the the restaurants they wish to use, and all buffets and deck grills will be served by the waiting staff.
  • Passengers will only be permitted to dine with other members of their household or travelling group, up to a maximum number allowed by government guidelines at the time of sailing.
  • The restaurants and bars are being adapted so that social distancing can be maintained.
  • Passengers may be asked to pre-book any entertainment that is taking place in one of the key venues.
  • The onboard shops, spa, salon, gym, pools, casinos, and other activities will operate, but will be subject to the latest approved guidance to minimise contact. This will include a reduction in the number of passengers in each area and the maintenance of the highest levels of cleanliness at all times.
  • Passengers may be asked to pre-booked appointment slots, and on-board shops may offer a pre-order service for products that can be collected or delivered to individual cabins.
  • Certain activities or areas of the ship where social distancing will be difficult, may not be in operation.

All of these protocols have been put in place to reduce any chance of a COVID-19 outbreak occurring onboard during a cruise and are in line with the guidelines laid down by the UK Government and the UK Chamber of Shipping.

I must admit that the list of protocols is quite impressive, and Sue and I found them reassuring. I know that some regular cruisers have complained about them, and some of the protocols do seem to be a bit restrictive and draconian when compared to what we have been used to on previous cruises ... but if they help to keep passengers and crew from catching the virus and allow us to have a much-needed break away from home, they will be worth it.

Sunday 4 April 2021

An interesting find poses a question

Over recent weeks I have been slowly working on ways in which I can combine some aspects of FUNNY LITTLE WARS with my PORTABLE WARGAME, and so far, I have put together a 15mm-scale ARMY KHAKI from various previously unused figures I had in my collection. It was whilst I was looking for more figures that would be suitable for this project that I found some figures that I had completely forgotten about ... and this find has posed an interesting question; should I continue with this project in 15mm-scale, or should I use 20mm-scale figures?

The figures in question were acquired via the good offices of David Crook, and are a number of ready-painted Palestinian Campaign World War 1 figures made by TUMBLING DICE. The collection includes the following:

  • Generic
    • 2 Supply wagons, each with 2 horses
    • 2 Pack mules
  • Germans in tropical helmets
    • 3 Mounted officers
    • 2 Field guns, each with 3 crew
    • 1 Limber with 4 horses and 2 mounted drivers
    • 42 Infantry
    • 1 Machine gun with 2 crew
    • 1 Armoured car
  • Germans in peaked cap with neck flaps
    • 2 Officers on foot
    • 1 Mortar and 2 crew
    • 39 Infantry
    • 2 Machine guns each with 2 crew
  • British (?) in tropical helmets
    • 21 Infantry
  • Turks in Kabalak or Enveriye helmets
    • 23 Infantry
  • Turks in Fezes
    • 23 Infantry
    • 2 Machine guns, each with 3 crew

There are sufficient figures in the collection to create several small FLW/PW armies. They do not require much renovation work other than touching up the odd paint chip, and would, after a quick coat of varnish, be ready to base in a matter of days. There are few gaps in the collection, but filling them would not be too difficult or costly.

I am not quite sure what to do, and I am going to take a few days to think things over before deciding whether to sell this small collection on and to use the model to buy more 15mm-scale figures or to leave the existing 15mm-scale FLW/PW collection as it stands and to use these figures as the basis of my future FLW/PW collection.

I have used some of these figures in a number of wargames (most especially the 'Long Live the Revolution! mini-campaign), and they featured in photographs in DEVELOPING THE PORTABLE WARGAME.

Saturday 3 April 2021

A testing time

My wife began to feel unwell on Thursday afternoon, and by the evening it was very clear that she was suffering some of the symptoms of COVID-19. Luckily, our local council has been very proactive when it comes to testing, and I was able to visit one of the walk in testing centres and collect two boxes of NHS rapid antigen test kits. (The test centre is located at Charlton Athletic Football Club's ground, The Valley, which is just over two miles away from our house.)

Once I had returned home, Sue took the test, and thirty minutes later it indicated a negative result ... which meant that whatever is wrong with her, it was highly probable that it isn't COVID-19. This was a great relief to us both, especially as I have an appointment on Monday for my second Pfizer-BioNTech jab, which I would have had to have cancelled.

What we cannot understand is how she has managed to pick up an infection in the first place. As we have effectively been in lockdown for months, never go out without wearing our facemasks, and very rarely go places on our own when we do venture outside, we just cannot figure out how she could have come into contact with anything that might make her ill.

She now seems to be on the mend, and with a bit of luck she will be fully recovered in a few day's time. I hope so, as I am relying on her to drive me to the hospital on Monday for my jab. I could drive myself, but as a there are reports that quite a few people who have the second Pfizer-BioNTech jab seem to suffer some sort of side effect, I'd rather that she drove, just in case. The alternative is to take a minicab there and back, but as it will be Easter Monday, I suspect that finding and/or booking a minicab might present a few problems.

Friday 2 April 2021

Three months in ... and where did the time go?

Its is now the second day of April, and we are already three months into 2021 ... and one begins to wonder, where did all that time go?

Because the UK has been in lockdown for most of that time, those of us who are no longer working have had time to do loads of things, but looking back, I seemed to have little to show for three months of enforced idleness ... but on reflection, I have actually done more that I realised. Since January I have helped to organise VCOW2021 and over recent weeks I have been helping to set the wheels in motion to ensure that COW2021 takes place. Admittedly, COW2021 will be taking place under restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is a major advance of what happened last year, when we had to cancel COW2020.

In addition, I have:

  • Tinkered with various versions of THE PORTABLE wargame, and begun planning the next book in the series, which will I hope will cover the American Civil War.
  • Revived my interest in warfare at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and in particular I have read up about the various annual manoeuvres that took place in the UK and abroad.
  • Helped to revive interest in FUNNY LITTLE WARS by renovating and basing some otherwise unused figures that I had in storage to form my ARMY KHAKI and encouraging their author to republish them.
  • Been featured four times in the same issue of WARGAMES ILLUSTRATED.
  • Developed some ideas for mini-campaigns that will use the Snakes & Ladders Campaign system/matrix.
  • Written several book reviews and presented two online Masonic talks.
When I consider that this was done in the aftermath of my pre-Christmas surgery, and whilst I was recovering from its aftereffects, I don't think that I have actually wasted much time over the last three months.