Friday 31 May 2024


Whilst browsing through YouTube, I came across a new channel devoted to the Hex-Trak concept.

The channel is entitled Tabletop Railroad and its originator states that is is dedicated to 'various projects and plans from a tabletop, modular railway.' His modular railway concept uses hexes and Kato N-gauge model railway track ... both of which are close to my heart.

As I watched the videos, I was struck by the idea that this might be a way for me to combine both my interest in modular wargame terrain and model railways. The hexes he uses are bit larger than the ones the I currently use (I use 100mm/3.93-inches wide Hexon II hexes and his are 248mm/9.76-inches wide) but this might not be as big a drawback as it first appears to be.

His model trains are narrow gauge S-scale ... which is 1/64th and makes them reasonably compatible with 28mm-sized wargame figures. As I think that the originator of this concept is or was a wargamer, this makes a lot of sense.

It is certainly something for me to think about.

Please note that photographs featured above are © Tabletop Railroad.

Thursday 30 May 2024

My third YouTube video has been uploaded

I must admit that I've rather caught the YouTube 'bug', and I am really enjoying putting together videos to upload to the Wargaming Miscellany channel!

The latest is the next instalment in the story of the Franco-Prussian War of 1810, and covers the twin Battles of the Northern Frontier. Because it covers two battles, it lasts just over twelve minutes, but I hope that it isn't too long. (I have been told that five minutes is the average time viewers will spend watching a YouTube video.)

I have scheduled the latest video to upload at 10.00am this morning ... and it should be available to watch by the time you read this blog post.

The video can be seen using this link.

Wednesday 29 May 2024

A quick update

Despite the fact that is was very cold in the conservatory (which is where I am currently living 24/7), I managed to get some work done on both the Third Portable Wargame Compendium and my next YouTube video.

I also applied to my local Adult Social Service Department for reablement. This can be defined as being free short-term support that helps people to regain their skills, abilities, and confidence to manage everyday tasks and to live as independently as possible. This support in delivered at home by a team of professionals, usually led by an occupational therapist and can include rehabilitation, the provision and use of specialist equipment and technological devices, and physical changes to the home environment (e.g. stairlifts, grab handles, slopes).

I am hoping that if my application is successful, I'll begin to regain some of my mobility over the next six to eight weeks. Once I can walk (even with crutches or other walking aids) and can climb stairs, I will no longer need my carers and can begin to live a much more normal life.

Monday 27 May 2024

One hundred YouTube subscribers!

I was quite amazed to see that my YouTube channel has already attracted one hundred subscribers!

This and the very supporting and useful comments I have received has convinced me that my decision to set up the channel as an adjunct to my blog was a good one. I am already working on the next installment of the Franco-Prussian War of 1810, and hope to cover the twin Battles of the Northern Frontier.

Sunday 26 May 2024

Cast off!

After two days of blog posts about ship modelling, it was rather appropriate that today's should have a nautical title, even if the topic isn't ship-related. I wrote Friday's and the first of Saturday's blog posts in advance as I suspected that I would be rather busy on one or both of those two days ... and I wasn't wrong!

I had an appointment at the Fracture Clinic at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, at 3.10pm on Friday. I was collected by HATS, the patient transport provider, at just before 2.00pm, and by 2.30pm I had been booked in to the clinic and was having my cast removed. The break was examined by the consultant and he proclaimed it to be healed. However, after some discussion with him, he advised me to contact my GP as soon as I could as he felt that until the problem with my left leg is sorted out and I can put weight on it, I should avoid trying to walk on the newly-healed leg, even with the aid of crutches.

It looks as if I'm going to be slightly less immobile but until I have had reablement and can walk again, my life is going to remain somewhat restricted.

Saturday 25 May 2024

My second YouTube video has been uploaded

I found myself with a couple of hours on my hands this afternoon, so I decide to see if I could create a video of a 3 x 3 Portable Wargame battle report.

I chose the first battle of the Franco-Prussian War of 1810, and despite a few mistakes that I made along the way, I learned a lot and this will hopefully help me to make more and better videos in the future.

The video can be seen using this link.

Three simple ship model designs

Further to my recent blog post about the article in the May issue of Model Boats magazine that was written by Ashley Needham about his very simple model boat based on the RMS Titanic, I sat down with MS Paint and designed an escort carrier, freighter and tanker that shared a common hull. The results looked like this:

Escort Carrier



Obviously, the finished models would have masts, cargo hatches, ventilators, armament where appropriate, ship's boat and life rafts, etc. In the case of the freighter, the additional of scramble nets and some landing craft would turn the model into an amphibious assault ship/attack transport. The tanker model could also be used to represent a freighter which had its engines located near the stern or even one of the Maracaibo tankers that were converted into Landing Ships, Tank Mk.1 (e.g. HMS Misoa).

I give permission to my regular blog readers to download and use the above designs free of copyright. My only request is that if they do build models using my designs as a basis or share them with a third party that I am acknowledged as the origniator of the designs and there is a link to this blog.

Friday 24 May 2024

Model Boats Magazine (May 2024): A versatile model boat for wargaming?

I subscribe to Readly, and this gives me access to a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Amongst these is Model Boats magazine, and earlier this week I was reading the May issue in which I read an article that particularly interested me.

The article was by Ashley Needham and explained how he had built a very simple model boat whose design was based on the RMS Titanic. He named it the Mintanic, and in outline it certainly resembled the Titanic.

He built his model so that the main superstructure was removeable. This is normal and allows the ship modeller to access a model's motor or motors, its radio-control receiver, and any batteries that it might require. In this case, Mr Needham turned this necessity to his advantage and modelled three other superstructures so that his model boat could be used to represent four ships rather than one. He chose to base his alternate superstructures on prototypes with three, two, and one funnels, and the end results were very different in outline.

I'm not sure if this concept is applicable to model ships that wargamers might wish to use on their tabletops (or lawns!) ... although I can remember some wonderful 20mm model warships being used in RAPID FIRE games many years ago.

Doing something like this is not as far-fetched as it might at first appear. The escort carriers used by the Allies during the Second World War were built using converted or adapted merchant ship hulls, therefore it might be possible to build a simple hull that could have a removeable escort carrier superstructure that could be replaced with that of a freighter, tanker, or amphibious assault ship/attack transport.

Thursday 23 May 2024

Charles Esdaile’s Wargaming Waterloo

I suspect that amongst most wargamers in the United Kingdom – and possibly beyond its shores – the Battle of Waterloo is a battle that they may have hankered to refight at some time. Like Hastings, Agincourt, and Trafalgar, the battle marks one of those points in our country’s history which somehow seem to define us as a nation. (There are other more recent ones that I could have added but I did not want this to be a list of battles lost and won.)

There are so many different wargames out there that seek to recreate the Waterloo campaign or the final climatic battle that by studying them, one is inevitably going to examine the almost endless variety of methods and mechanisms that wargame designers have used to create their wargames of the battle. Professor Charles Esdaile has done this in his recent book WARGAMING WATERLOO … and it is – in my humble opinion – a tour de force that should be essential reading for anyone who likes to think of themselves as a wargame designer. Its analysis may be based on the way wargame designers have designed their wargames about this one specific battle but it applies an analytical approach that could – and possible should – be applied to other wargame designs.

If wargaming wants to be treated as a serious academic pursuit, this book points the way in which this can be achieved. It is therefore of no great surprise that Professor Esdaile’s book has been published by the US Marine Corps, an organisation that takes its wargaming very seriously. (The publisher is actually the Marine Corps University Press.)

The book is divided into the following parts:

  • Foreword (by Tony Pollard, Professor of Conflict History and Archaeology, University of Glasgow, field director of Waterloo Uncovered, and prime organiser of the huge refight of the battle in Glasgow in June 2019.)
  • Preface
  • Chronology of Events, February – July 1815
  • Chapter 1: The History and Development of Wargames
  • Chapter 2: The Waterloo Campaign and the Battle
  • Chapter 3: The March of the Miniatures: Fighting Waterloo with Model Soldiers
  • Chapter 4: How Many Hexes to Hougoumont? Waterloo by Board Game
  • Chapter 5: Historical Hexagons (1): Grand Tactics
  • Chapter 6: Historical Hexagons (2): Operations
  • Chapter 7: Historical Hexagons (3): Strategy
  • Chapter 8: Historical Hexagons:(4): Fantasy
  • Conclusion: Some Thoughts on the Wargame as a Research Tool
  • Appendix A: Suggested Amendments for Napoleon at Waterloo
  • Appendix B: A Ludography of Waterloo
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Author

The first chapter contains an excellent summary and is – in my humble opinion – in itself worth the cost of the book. It does have a bias towards the ways in which this particular battle has been wargamed over the years, but this in no way detracts from its excellent examination of the history of wargaming.

The following chapter gives a first-rate description of the battlefield and includes short history of the events leading up to the battle as well as a blow-by-blow account of the fighting, and the third chapter examines the pitfalls inherent in the use of miniatures for such a refight and is reminiscent in places of the case against toy soldiers propounded by the late, great Dr Paddy Griffith.

The remaining five chapters look at the ways in which the battle – and the campaign leading up to it – have been modelled using gridded board wargames.

The concluding chapter puts forward a very convincing argument as to why properly designed wargames can be a valuable research tool. Towards the end of the chapter Professor Esdaile quotes from Robert M Citino's contribution to ZONES OF CONTROL: PERSPECTIVES ON WARGAMING, which was published in 2016 by MIT Press. In it, Citino suggests that a military historian who seeks to better understand a war, a campaign, or a battle should fight a wargame about it. To this I would add that getting them to design the wargame would be an even better route to achieving that understanding!

As I stated above, in my opinion this book is a tour de force and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who considers themselves to be a wargame designer.

WARGAMING WATERLOO was written by Professor Charles J Esdaile and published by the Marine Corps University Press (ISBN 979 8 9865 2944 4). It is available as a free download via

Wednesday 22 May 2024

I've started work on the Third Portable Wargame Compendium

As I remain immobile and am not likely to be able to walk unaided for some time, I decided to begin the preliminary work on the next (and third) Portable Wargame Compendium.

I have several promises of articles and I have started writing one of my onw in which I look at some of the scenarios included in the earlier wargame books (e.g. The Battle of Hook's Farm) and 'convert' them so that thy can be used with the PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

So far I have drawn maps for three such scenarios:

  • The Battle of Hooks Farm from H G Well's LITTLE WARS.
  • The Action at Blasthof Bridge from Brigadier Peter Young and Lieutenant Colonel James Lawford's CHARGE! OR HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES
  • The Battle of Sittangbad which is also from CHARGE! OR HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES

Drawing the maps takes some time but it is keeping me entertained during my enforced immobility. I also plan to add the three battles from Donald Featherstone's WAR GAMES, giving a total of five scenarios and ten maps that readers might find useful, especially those who like well-tried and tested scenarios.

To whet the appetites of potential purchasers, here are the two maps I have drawn for THE BATTLE OF HOOK'S FARM.

Monday 20 May 2024

Warship 2024

This year's issue of WARSHIP was delivered just over a week ago and since then I have spent several very happy hours reading it.

This issue was edited by John Jordan, and contains the following article:

  • Editorial
  • Nagato and Mutsu: The 16in-gun battleships that Survived the Washington Treaty by Hans Lengerer
  • The beginnings of Soviet naval power: The flotilla leader Tashkent and her would-be successors by Przemyslaw Bubzbon
  • Action off the Bosphorous, 10 May 1915 by Toby Ewin
  • SuffrenDuquesne: France's first modern carrier escorts by Jean Moulin
  • The escort destroyers of the Matsu and Tachibana classes by Kathrin Milanovich
  • The making of an armed merchant cruise: SMS Seeadler by Dirk Nottelmann
  • The battleship Bouvet, martyr of the Dardanelles by Philippe Caresse
  • Mussolini's caprices: the Italian midget submarines and elektroboote of 1934-1943 by Enrico Cernuschi
  • Fit for purpose? The Royal Navy's Fishery Protection Squadron, 1883-2023 by Jon Wise
  • From Orel to Iwami by Stephen McLaughlin
  • Warship Notes
    • From Graf Zeppelin to Aquila: The Italian Navy's assessment of the German carrier, 1941-1942 by Enrico Cernusschi
    • The Niger, Le Mage and Faidherbe: A tale of river gunboats by Ian Sturton
    • HMS Cossack and Mr Rapley: A cautionary tale by John Roberts
    • An outsider's view of the Marine Nationale's naval construction organisation by Conrad Waters
    • 'Zombies' in warship history: A few more of the 'zombie facts' that continue to stalk the history of the world's warships by Aidan Dodson
  • A's and A's
  • Naval Books of the Year
  • Warship Gallery
    • The Soviet Navy 1960-1990 by John Jordan

Yet again, there is a lot of very interesting stuff in this year's annual. In fact, every single contribution was top notch, and I will certainly be re-reading it and consulting it again and again. Of particular interest to me was Toby Ewin's article, Action off the Bosphorous, 10 May 1915. Not only do I have an interest in the fighting that took place between the Ottoman and Imperial Russian Navies during the Great War but I also know Toby quite well and have had long and interesting discussions with him, particularly about naval wargaming during the period from 1880 to 1920.

The short article about the French river gunboats Niger, Le Mage, and Faidherbe includes some interesting plans and illustrations of these vessels, and will be of great assistance to any Colonial wargamers who are looking to model some small non-British river gunboats.

My one regret is that the second part of the The German Flak Ships series of articles that was originally going to be included in this volume has had to be postponed until 2025 ... but it gives me an excuse to buy next year's publication ... not that I needed much of an excuse!

WARSHIP 2024 was edited by John Jordan, assisted by Stephen Dent, and published in 2024 by Osprey Publishing (ISBN 978 1 4728 6330 0).

Sunday 19 May 2024

A Victor Meldrew moment

Yesterday I had what I can best describe as a Victor Meldrew moment.

I was reading the Naval Wargaming Facebook page when I saw that someone had bought my GRIDDED NAVAL WARGAMES book from Walmart Online! Now, this was news to me, so I investigated further … and discovered the Walmart Online actually has ALL my books on sale!

This is amazing! I cannot get my books stocked by any of the UK High Street booksellers but an American multinational retail corporation will sell them online.

As Victor Meldrew would have said, 'I don't believe it!'

Friday 17 May 2024

At last, I have managed to create my first Wargaming Miscellany YouTube video!

I intended to publish this just before I went into hospital in early April, but never got around to uploading the video or this blog post.

After many false starts, failed attempts, and procrastination on my part, I have finally managed to create my first Wargaming Miscellany YouTube video!

It is a very simple explanation about my wargaming background and why I have created the Wargaming Miscellany YouTube channel. Art it isn't ... but everyone has to start somewhere so that they can learn from their mistakes and gradually improve.

(I started out trying to film myself but just could not get it right. In the end I decided that the quickest way to get started was to produce a PowerPoint presentation with a commentary and then to record it as in mp4 format. It seems to have worked, and has given me the confidence to think about making further videos.)

I have no idea what the next video will be about, but it will appear sometime soon ... I hope!

The video can be seen using this link.

Thursday 16 May 2024

I'm now able to use my laptop!

Thanks to a recent visit by my brother, I am now able to use my laptop ... which is incredibly liberating!

Although I have been able to blog and email using my iPad and iPhone, I am always much happier using a proper keyboard and a larger screen ... and now I can! My brother copied all the files that were on my PC - which I could not access as it was two floors away - onto an external hard drive that I can now connect to my laptop.

This small improvement to my current siltation has considerably boosted my morale, and with luck I'll be able to start doing some serious writing again very soon.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Archduke Piccolo’s huge ShamBattle game

Before my recent accident and subsequent immobility, I had been looking at whether it might be possible to meld my PORTABLE WARGAME rules with elements drawn from SHAMBATTLE. I even managed to fight a wargame to test the concept … and was so pleased with the result that I hoped to develop this project further.

To date I’ve been unable to do so, but Archduke Piccolo has, and the results are even better than I could have envisaged.

His work has firmly convinced me that if and when I regain my mobility, this will be a project that I will definitely want to pursue further.

Please note that photographs featured above are © Archduke Piccolo.

Monday 13 May 2024

There’s a few book reviews in the offing …

Thanks to my current situation (i.e. being stuck in bed or in an orthopaedic chair all the time) I’ve been doing a lot of reading and my regular blog readers can expect to see quite a few book reviews appearing on my blog in the immediate future. I usually have two or three books on the go at any time (usually a fiction one and at least one non-fiction book) so that I don’t get bored with what I am reading. I don’t know if other people read like this, but over the years it’s become something that I regard as normal.

Sunday 12 May 2024

Guy Debord’s wargame

Guy-Ernest Debord (28th December 1931 to 30th November 1994) was a French Marxist theorist, philosopher, filmmaker, critic, member of the Letterist International, founder of a Letterist faction, and founding member of the Situationist International. He was also the designer of a gridded wargame.

I first became aware of Debord’s wargame in 2014 as a result of reading Richard Barbrook’s CLASS WARGAMES: LUDIC SUBVERSION AGAINST SPECTACULAR CAPITALISM. He and others in his London-based situationist ludic-science group had recreated Debord's Le Jeu de la Guerre and taken it on a tour around parts of Europe, Asia and South America.

As I have a great interest in any wargame design that uses a gridded playing surface, I sought out more information about the game’s mechanisms. The internet proved to be very useful in this quest and I was able to see several still photographs of a game in progress. I also found a page on the Class Wargames website that not only showed the various components required to play the game but also several very useful links that included translations of the rules into English and French as well as Radical Software Group's Kriegspiel computerised version of the game.

I downloaded the latter onto my iPad, and it has proven to be a great way to fill the wargaming void I am currently in whilst I am immobile, The rules are simple to learn and the online version has a variety of solo scenarios one can use. In solo mode the role of one’s opponent is taken on by the games built-in AI, which I have found to be less predictable than I would have expected. The program also includes the option to play a remote opponent.

The one thing that I particularly like about the rules is the need for players to maintain viable supply lines. If units are not able to do so, they cannot move although they can defend themselves against enemy attacks. This is certainly something that I may well use and/or adapt in any future strategic gridded wargames that I design.

On the screenshot shown above, the fixed supply depots are shown as tents …

… and the mobile supply depots are indicated by icons that combine a flag and wheel.

Lines of supply are indicated by dotted lines.

Friday 10 May 2024

Nicholas Monsarrat’s ‘The Master Mariner’

After having read his book THE CRUEL SEA, I decided to read Nicholas Monsarrat’s last (and unfinished) two-volume work, THE MASTER MARINER.

The books tell the story of Matthew Lawe, an Elizabethan sailor who, as a result of cowardice in the face of the enemy, is condemned to live until ‘all the seas run dry’.

The first book is entitled THE MASTER MARINER: RUNNING PROUD, and begins with Matthew serving as Sir Francis Drake’s coxswain at the time of the Spanish Armada. Our hero serves on Drake’s flagship and is given command of the leading fire ship sent into the midst of the anchored Spanish fleet. He jumps overboard too early, and is cursed by one of injured sailors who remains aboard the fire ship.

Matthew is picked up by one of the Spanish galleons that escapes the attack by the fire ships, and he is subjected to ill treatment by the crew and the ship’s priest. He eventually escapes, just before the galleon explodes and sinks just outside Tobermory. 

Matthew next serves aboard Henry Hudson’s Discovery during its voyage to find the Northwest Passage. He is involved in the mutiny that ended with Hudson and the loyal members of the crew being put into an open boat and set adrift to die. The mutineers return to England where they are arrested and put on trial … but left unpunished.

The action then moves to the Caribbean, where Matthew serves as a pirate under Henry Morgan and the French privateer, Simon Montbarre. Sickened by the barbarity he sees, Matthew final escapes and is advised to get as far away as possible. He takes passage on a small trading vessel that is returning to England and arrives in Portsmouth in time to witness the launch of a new yacht for King Charles II. As a result, he meets Samuel Pepys, and eventually becomes an Admiralty clerk during Pepys time as Chief Secretary to theAdmiralty.

Matthew loses his post after the Glorious Revolution in 1688 and then his hard-earned savings as a result of the speculation boom that arose on the back of the South Sea Bubble. After a period in the Fleet Prison for debt, he manages to get released in exchange for agreeing to serve for five years aboard a Portuguese fishing vessel that operates off Newfoundland’s Grand Banks.

At the end of the fishing season Matthew and several other crew members are left behind at St John’s Newfoundland, where they exist by trading with the local natives. One of his fellow sailors is viciously killed and when a new and tyrannical ‘Fishing Admiral’ takes control of St John’s, Matthew allows himself to be impressed by the Royal Navy to serve aboard HMS Pembroke.

As a result, he meets and eventually works for James Cook and takes part in the run up to the Battle of Quebec before accompanying Cook on his voyages of exploration. By the time of Cook’s death, Matthew had attained the rank of lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and after the return to the United Kingdom of Cook’s expedition, he is ‘put on the beach’.

After a period of inactivity, Matthew next serves as a general factotum for another beached officer, Horatio Nelson. Nelson was living in his family’s home in Norfolk, and Matthew fulfils all sorts of duties around the small estate. When Nelson is recalled to service, Matthew goes with him and takes part in all of Nelson’s victories as well as being a witness to Nelson’s obsession with Emma Hamilton. However, just before Nelson is shot on the deck of HMS Victory, Matthew sees the danger and hides … reinforcing his damnation for cowardice in the face of the enemy.

The second book - THE MASTER MARINER: DARKEN SHIP - was never finished, but certain parts were completed in draft and others in outline.

The first part deals with Matthew’s service as captain of a slave ship taking trade goods to West Africa, then a cargo of slaves to Barbados, and ending with bringing back to the United Kingdom the products of the Caribbean and the United States. This ends when the War of 1812 breaks out between the US and Britain, causing disruption of the cross-Atlantic trade.

1813 sees the unemployed Matthew being impressed into the Royal Navy as a gunner and taking part in the battle between the frigates Chesapeake and Shannon. This is followed by his service as a common sailor alongside Herman Melville on a clipper engaged in the China tea trade.

When that ends, Matthew joins the expedition to find out what happened to Sir John Franklin’s last expedition to discover the North-West Passage.

After this he becomes seaman and later a ‘supercargo’ on some of the earliest steam merchant ships. During his service he meets Samuel Plimsoll of Plimsoll Line fame, the merchant navy officer and later novelist Joseph Conrad, the leading Victorian novelist John Galsworthy, and the first solo round-the-world sailor Joshua Slocum.

The next part covers Matthew’s service during the First World War, during which he takes part in the Gallipoli Landings and the Battle of Jutland, serves aboard a Q-ship during the anti-submarine campaign in the Western Approaches, and takes part in the Zeebrugge Raid.

In the inter-war period Matthew takes part in a disastrous voyage to the West Indies after which he works as a shopkeeper, looking after a number of laid up merchant ships. When the Second World War breaks out, Matthew goes back to sea and takes part in the Malta convoys and the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Matthew finally finds salvation in the late 1970s when he is serving as a steward aboard the brand new liner Queen Elizabeth 2 - where he triggers serious industrial dispute - and then on a bulk oil carrier traversing the new St Lawrence Seaway.  During a run ashore he meets a young woman who sings the words of Burn’s A RED RED ROSE, which includes the words ‘all the seas run dry’. On returning to his ship, he finds that during de-oiling a hose has leaked and the oil has spread across the deck and caught fire. To stop this fire spreading, a door has to be closed, and Matthew dashes through the flames and shuts it. He is badly burned, and dies … but his aging dead body suddenly regains the look of a twenty-two or twenty-three-year-old, the age he was when he committed the act of cowardice that had originally condemned him to a semi-eternal life.

It is a pity that Monsarrat never finished the second book but had he, this pair of novels would have been an excellent telling of Britain’s naval history from the Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II.

Wednesday 8 May 2024

The Land of Counterpane by Robert Louis Stephenson

I know that this poem has been quoted by other wargamers in similar circumstances, but I felt that I wanted to share it today as re-reading it helped to lift my spirits after having to return to hospital again three times in six days for a series of scans.

When I was sick and lay a-bed
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

In the time since I left hospital last week, I’ve had to go back twice for an MRI scan and a CT scan, and yesterday morning I went back again for a whole body bone scan. Each time I have had to be transported in both directions by member of the HATS patient transport service in specially adapted ambulances. They have done a wonderful job and I cannot praise them too highly.

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Being back home

I’ve now been home from hospital for a week and I’m beginning to get into the routine of living in our conservatory. Each day my two carers visit four times to make sure that I’m given a bed bath and dressed, my bed is made, that I’ve eaten, that I’ve taken my medications, and I’m hoisted out of bed so the I can sit in my orthopaedic chair. They also check on my stoma bag and empty my urine bottle.

Now, they are supposed to come at approximately the same times every day BUT to date this has not happened. The supervisor (whose name is Mike) is very punctual, but his assistant (whose name is Abdul) is always late … sometimes by as much as thirty minutes. On one occasion he was even later, but this was because the previous person he had done a care visit to had fallen over and Abdul had had to wait for an emergency ambulance to arrive to take the unlucky person to hospital.

My normal day should be as follows:

  • By 10.00am: Wake up, eat breakfast, and take my medications.
  • 10.00am to 10.45am: Bed bath, change of clothes, and hoisted into my chair.
  • 10.45am to 1.30pm: Rest in my chair, read books and my Kindle, watch TV, use my iPad and iPhone, and eat lunch at about 12.30pm.
  • 1.30pm to 2.00pm: Quick check that everything is alright before being hoisted back into bed to rest my legs.
  • 2.00pm to 4.30pm: Sleep and/or carry on with what I had been doing all morning.
  • 4.30pm to 5.00pm: Quick check that everything is alright before being hoisted back into my orthopaedic chair.
  • 5.00pm to 9.00pm: As for 10.45am to 1.30pm except that I eat dinner … usually at about 7.30pm.
  • 9.00pm to 9.30pm: Quick check that everything is alright before being hoisted back into bed for the night.
  • 9.30pm onwards: Read books and my Kindle, watch TV, and use my iPad and iPhone until it’s time to go to sleep.

This is the pattern I should have been following since I left hospital BUT several things (besides Abdul’s erratic timekeeping) have disrupted this.

On Thursday 2nd May I had to return to hospital at 6.15pm for CT scan on my left knee and on Friday 3rd May I had to go back for an MRI scan of my chest, abdomen, and pelvic area. Luckily, the HATS transport team (they are called Lee and Pete) that was sent to take me in on both occasions was the same one that had brought me home from hospital. They knew exactly how to get me in and out of bed and into the ambulance without any difficulties, and they even arranged to bring me back home after my treatment on Friday. Unfortunately, I missed being brought home by them on Thursday and the replacement crew had all sorts of problems getting me out of the ambulance (they parked too far away and had to bump me up the curb rather than using the sloped crossover) and into the conservatory (they used the standard wheelchair which would not fit through our kitchen doorway and not the smaller one that will).

I have a further visit to hospital today for a full body bone scan and on Friday 10th May I go back to the Fracture Clinic so that they can check on my progress. After that, I should be remaining bed-bound for at least another fortnight and possibly even longer.

Thursday 2 May 2024

Another big thank you … and taking a bit of a rest

I’d like to reiterate my thanks to everyone who made supportive, helpful, and humbling comments on my recent blog posts about my time in hospital. Now that I’m home, I’m having to adjust to the new norm, which is living in our conservatory with carers coming in four times each day to make sure that I’m clean, comfortable, and have been taking my medications. They’ve also hoisted me out of bed in the morning so that I can sit in my orthopaedic chair for approximately six hours each day.

Sue has been marvellous - as usual - and been coping with the almost daily changes to her routine. She loves to make clothes and cut out a garment the day after I went into hospital … but has yet to begin sewing it together. She is obviously physically and mentally drained and - like me - she needs to have some rest.

As a result, I’m probably going to give blogging a rest for a couple of days so that both of us can recharge our batteries. I have several things that I want to write about, but none of them are urgent and those blog posts can wait.

Bye for now … and I’ll be back soon!

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Side Room 1, Ward 24 (Part 3) … and home at last!

I fell asleep by midnight and if there hadn’t been a disturbance in one of the nearby rooms at 3.00am  (it sounded like one of the other patients was experiencing mental issues during the night), I would have had an uninterrupted sleep until I was woken at 5,45am to have my blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature checks done. This was followed by a very refreshing bed bath and change of bedclothes, during which I had a chat with the nurses about finally going home.

By 8.00pm I had eaten breakfast and had dressed to go home. Then the wait started. At 10.00am the transport coordinator came to see me, and after asking some questions about access to my house, announced that they would need a double team (i.e. four people) to move me … and that this was unlikely to happen until after midday! Apparently, the transport request should have been made on the previous day … BEFORE the decision that I could go home had been made!

It was therefore something of a surprise when two members of the HATS patient transportation team arrived and began preparing to take me home. They did a magnificent job, and by 1.00pm I was home and in bed.

At this point, everything seemed to be getting better … but within an hour the mechanism that controlled the air mattress began to sound alarm bells and the mattress slowly deflated! It actually became too painful to lay down in the bed, and I was lucky that the carers arrived at that point so that they could hoist me out of the bed and into my orthopaedic chair.

After a hurried lunch, Sue contacted the contractor who supplied the air mattress and they agree to send someone to fix it … by 8.00pm! As this was after the time that the carers were supposed to hoist me back onto the bed, it looked as if I might end up sleeping in my chair, sleeping on a deflated mattress, or even returning to hospital … none of which was an ideal solution to the problem.

Luckily, the technician arrived within a couple of hours and knew exactly what was wrong: the emergency CPR valve on the mattress had not been shut. This is in place so that if the patient requires CPR, the mattress can be instantly deflated, thus rendering the CPR more effective. The mattress appear to inflate if the valve is not shut but as soon as anyone gets on it, it deflates.

Thanks to the carers, I was able to spend until 8.30pm in my orthopaedic chair (which is far more comfortable than sitting up in bed) before getting back into bed, and Sue and I were able to spend the evening eating and chatting until it was time for us to go to sleep. Being home must have agreed with me as I slept from just after 11.00pm until 7.15am this morning with only a short break at 3.00am when I needed to have a pee!

A quick view of my ‘new’ bedroom.

At least I now have daylight and something to see other than four hospital walls.