It’s a small world

Last Friday I visited my sister, who lost her husband on Tuesday 16th October, following an operation for aggressive bladder cancer.

Visiting my sister and going through some personal paperwork it transpired that the surgeon who tried to save her husband was the same man who successfully operated on me almost a year ago.   Clearly I survived my prostate cancer, but sadly Chris was more seriously afflicted and did not.  He was in the High Dependency Unit for some days before finally giving up.

A secondary “small world” connection was discovered   when going through Chris’s address book.  It turns out that an old friend of his in the folk music scene married a chap who was on the same organising committee as I was in a re-enactment society.

We have never been close in a personal sense, but it seems that we were in fact more closely linked than either of us knew.

 

What is Britain coming to?

WARNING.

This post may contain views that are offensive to some readers.

While I have no hostile feelings towards foreigners, having spent over half my working life either negotiating with or supporting the work in an IT system (written in Sweden) of colleagues from probably two dozen nations, deep down I probably subscribe to the sentiments expressed by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann in their “Song of Patriotic Prejudice”:

“The English, the English, the English are best.   I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest.”

But when I see on TV members of the British Border Force encountering suspected illegal workers and gabbling to them their rights at high speed, followed by the question: “Do you understand?” and then the comment from the same officer:  “Probably not.”, then I get very annoyed. 

Surely it is the duty of the arresting officer to ensure that the suspect understands their rights under UK law before making an arrest, even if it involves the additional time and expense of obtaining a translator?

Or have we as a nation slipped so far in our standards that I need to delete Messrs. F & S from my playlist?

Serendipity and repurposing

It is a well known fact that in our household very few purchases (except food) are used for their intended pupose.  So it was no surprise that when I spotted in the centre aisle of our local Lidl a pack of brown felt pads for the protection of shiny floors against furniture legs for less than 2 pounds/dollars/euros that I snapped them up for potential wargames use.

(I since bought a supplementary pack of beige ones, which have vanished after arriving home.)

The pack has circular pads of 32x10mm, 36x15mm and 48x20mm; square pads of 20x20mm and one sheet 200x200mm.  All are about 2mm thick.

Felt pads. 15mm versions used up.

Coincidentally, within a week I needed to create for the Market Garden campaign a wargaming area of heathland in 6mm.

Some time ago I bought from eBay some Chinese model trees as an alternative to the “flocked bottle brush” type of which I already have plenty.  Examples below.

In the pack were lots of tiny trees which remained in the box for potential future use.

“Aha!” thinks I, “This is my serendipitous moment.”

By twisting the miniscule tree trunks together and pressing them onto to the sticky side of the felt pads I managed to create  clumps of bushes.  The felt underside helps prevent them from being inadvertantly moved against the flocked base terrain hexagons.

I may decide to use my previously described method of coating the bushes with diluted PVA glue and baking in the oven at a low heat to solidify the models, but for the time being they will suffice, when properly placed, interspersed with occasional trees, to represent my heathland.

Battle at Arnhem

18th September 1944.  06:00.  Dawn, Weather: good.

The battle for the Arnhem road bridge continued with elements of 2nd and 3rd Battalions, Parachute Regiment of 1st Brigade, 1st British Airborne Division, combined with the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron holding the northern approaches.

From the west 1st and 11th Battalions of the Parachute Regiment were trying to break through to the bridge to support the defence and to bring much needed  supplies.

On the German side 16th SS Training Battalion, supported by the Bridge Defence Company, were trying to block any reinforcements from the west.

At the same time 1st (armoured) Battalion, 9th SS Panxergrenadiers, attacked from the north-west.

9th SS, aware of the need for speed in cutting off the enemy attack, charged down the road in their half-tracks until the first vehicle was knocked out.  At that point the infantry de-bussed and deployed to attack the enemy in house-to-house combat.

The battle see-sawed back and forth.  The Bridge Defence Company was soon wiped out, but the 16th Battalion kept up the pressure until 9th SS could take up the attack.  The British reinforcements struggled on and made contact, but were soon pushed back, struggling to hold the road to the drop zone.

The artillery of 10th SS Panzer Division began to register, not only again the British paratroopers, but also on the homes of the citizens of Arnhem, as street after street burst into flames and fell into ruins.  This became as much of a hindrance to the Germans’ advance as did the defence of the enemy.

After two hours or so, the British had fallen back to a small perimeter stretching from the bridge approach to the road north of the river.

Continue reading Battle at Arnhem

Different approaches to wargaming

i was recently able to take a brief look at Chris Kemp’s model collection and how he organises it . See http://www.notquitemechanised.com

Chris has set his battle scale at (I believe) 1 unit/base =1 battalion.  My basic scale is 1 strategic unit = 1 battalion, and 1 tactical gaming unit is the company of 2-4 platoon bases.

But there is still so much that all wargamers can learn from each other’s gaming methods.  If I have taken nothing else from Chris’s collection, I have learned about how to box and categorise units.  With my gaming method I do not have the luxury of identifying each individual unit, but I can at least store and label units as “Rifles, MG, Mortars, HQ, AT”, etc., with their nationality and type (Para, Regular, SS, Mountain, Commando) and so on included.  In one box I can store 12 platoons or 16 vehicles.  I am finding this is a great way to proceed.

in the same way, small terrain may be stored.

Between battles

Here is my game board after storing the houses, trees and other super-surface elements, and following deconstruction of the hexagonal tile gaming surface.

Terrain tiles are sorted by type and ready to return to their “Really Useful Boxes”, which will be sorted and organised one day.

Yesterday it looked like this:

And very soon it will represent open farmland, heath and woods with a major road, several minor roads and a railway junction.

I am getting really organised for the future, viz:

These plastic playing card boxes, combined with larger storage boxes, have revolutionised my 6mm game storage.

Our planet, and how we could lose it.

Global scientists have once again released a report stating that we are destroying the planet.
In fact we are merely rendering it uninhabitable for our species. The planet will simply shrug us off as a temporary parasite.

But, one wonders, what is the point?
On a personal level, nobody to my knowledge has yet come up with an affordable electric car that can reasonably tow a caravan or a horse trailer over any reasonable distance.
Even if they did, what is the comparative climate effect and cost of generating and delivering the electricity, and providing the charging points nationwide?

On a global level, until the USA acknowledges the problem and Russia, China and India, along with a host of smaller  countries, achieve their ambition of catching up with “the West’s” power consumption levels, we are unlikely to make any local effect.

Maybe, having screwed the planet beyond our current abilities, we must either evolve to cope or die out as a species. We won’t be the first to be replaced, even on this planet.

I realise that we are merely the tenants of our environment, and custodians for future generations.  So the best we can hope to do is to limit the impact of the previous 2000 or so generations who had no idea what they were doing.