Market Garden:terrain modelling

This evening I have been transferring, in the dark, terrain hexagons between ManCave2 (storage and preparation) and ManCave1 (playing area).  However, it appears that I am not able to make the necessary terrain (a 3 hex wide river) without some further modelling.

Effectively I need 22 hexagons with a river covering about 80% of the hex but grassy banks on one point.

Back to ManCave2 to reconfigure several of my former English Channel hex tiles…

2018 Politics

The USA has in the past year revelled in isolationist policies, probably to the detriment of the rest of the world.  Hello USA.  There is a “rest of the world”, and it isn’t ALL anti-USA, but the proportion may be growing.

On the other hand the UK has agonised about its actual policies, trying to decide whether to be isolationist, semi-isolationist, semi-integrated, totally integrated or something in between.  

At home I listen to the news and analysis thereof.  I have decided that actually watching TV news is about 20% informative and 80% time wasted.

I wonder if the USA has an adequate system of regulation against the accidental election of an idiot to control so many national governmental institutions.  The USA of course has a defined constitution, amended over time to be highly detailed, but possibly still inadequate.   Any writer of rules must know that one cannot pre-regulate every possible situation.

I also wonder of the UK system of government is too tightly bound, in that nothing can actually be changed until sufficient elected members consider that there will otherwise be a catastrophe, and then it is referred to another, un-elected, group, many of whom are more experienced and less reliant on public opinion, to rationalise the decisions of those who are.  The UK famously has no written constitution, but law is based on expanding precedent.  Parliament has its own rules, sometimes outside general law.

Meanwhile, the Chinese appear to be the bogeymen for the USA, whereas Russia is the UK’s current nasty, with the EU as the focus of current attention.

Happy 2019 everyone.  I expect more of the same.

Purging our stuff

We have spent much of Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day purging our DVD collection.  One of us was being completely ruthless, while the other was a tad more sentimental.  I finally disposed of, amongst other old films, the Telly Savalas comedy film “Battle of the Bulge”!  (Incidentally my spell-checker just changed that to “Bilge”, and I totally agree with it.)

Nonetheless we have about 150 DVDs to donate to the local charity shop, which only leaves us with 6-700 discs/disks on the shelves, and, as I have just been informed, about 100 Stargate DVDs stashed away in a drawer.

This follows the massive pre-christmas book-covering and purging session, leaving us only about 1,000-1,200 now neatly covered books on the bookshelves.

But the entire rear end of our living room that is not occupied by a temporary tree is now organised and categorised.

For how long…

Christmas Greetings

For all military personnel, of whatever country, who cannot be with their loved ones this Christmas morning:


I hear the mountain birds

The sound of rivers singing

A song I’ve often heard

It flows through me now

So clear and so loud

I stand where I am

And forever I’m dreaming of home

I feel so alone, I’m dreaming of home

It’s carried in the air

The breeze of early morning

I see the land so fair

My heart opens wide

There’s sadness inside

I stand where I am

And forever I’m dreaming of homek

I feel so alone, I’m dreaming of home

This is no foreign sky

I see no foreign light

But far away am I

From some peaceful land

I’m longing to stand

A hand in my hand

Forever I’m dreaming of home

I feel so alone, I’m dreaming of home.


Merry Christmas everyone.

A review of 2018 from my blog.

2018 review


I was recovering from a prostate cancer operation and moving into the new man-cave, and was plodding through a game of the Battle of Brighton, September 1940.

I also started work on game tokens for Memoir ‘44 games, using 19mm plastic bases and 3mm models.


I worked on the forces for my fourth battle of the whole of World War Two, on 4th September 1939. The game has still not been played.

I also playtested Black Powder rules in preparation for the Donald Featherstone memorial game of Chancellorsville.


Apparently nothing happened in March.


I started a new play by e-mail campaign of Operation Market Garden. As a precursor to the main campaign XXX Corps began the advance towards Valkenswaard.


The campaign continued with two engagements on the tabletop.

A US parachute infantry battalion took out a FlaK position and the british glider-borne recce squadron captured the road bridge at Arnhem.


In June nothing happened. I guess I was reenacting.


Day 1 of the Market Garden campaign was complete, and day 2 dawned. Battles were expected at both Nijmegen and Arnhem bridges. I was experimenting with 3d printing of artillery.


Apparently quite a lot happened. Market Garden pushed on. But…

I prepared for an ACW boardgame, still unplayed.

I worked on radar pylons for Sealion, still unfinished.

4th September 1939 is still waiting to be played.

The 6mm Napoleonic MDF figures have moved on a little.

We did have a good weekend re-enacting in Northumberland, spoilt by an overnight raid on the campsite in which several expensive items were stolen.


We spent a week chilling out at the Blenheim Palace Horse Trials.

I reported on quite a lot of terrain building using Kallistra Hex tiles and Leven Miniatures 6mm railway, and how to make city hexagons.

I actually got to play a wargame in the new city terrain of Arnhem.


I realised that while criticising film directors for accuracy I make far worse errors on my wargame tables.

Planning began for attendance at next year’s Arnhem 75 commemorations.

I got a bit irate about news and politics. In fact comments on the news began to take over the blog.

I did get to fight two more campaign battles around Arnhem.


I played a solo game moving the Market Garden campaign on, and created a naval game which I played with my young friend Ben. I’m 64, he’s 23, but we manage to play wargames with a similar attitude,


XXX Corps got back into the Market Garden action with an attack across the Wilhelmina Canal, during which the bridge at Son was destroyed. Bridging equipment was brought up, but alternative routes were sought.

I started to produce naval game tokens with my 3d printer.

I spent quite a lot of time watching nostalgia movies and prepared for Christmas…

Spanish equestrian artist brings his show-stopping act to London | Daily Mail Online

The Barcelona-based equestrian artist Santi Serra will perform his unique routines to the 90,000-strong audience at the world-renowned show running from December 13-19.
— Read on

I just watched this performance and was totally blown away by the demonstration of the training and trust between man and horse, and dog.

Four years in…

Four years ago next Sunday I retired.

I did not realise at the time how “exciting” my life would become, including a whole year having the house repaired after a fire which destroyed our sheds and caravan and at the same time undergoing treatment for cancer.
It is interesting that the National Health Service managed to diagnose, treat, operate and cure my cancer in less time than our insurance company could get the house fixed.

Today by chance I found the list of “thank-you” e-mails that I received on retirement, from my customers, colleagues and friends (mutually inclusive terms) in
Sweden, Netherlands, USA, Germany, Finland, Poland, France, Italy, Ukraine, Turkey, Austria, Russia, Spain, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Norway, Portugal and Slovakia.  I had not previously realised just how much my work as an IT trainer/support resource had been of use to so many others in so many countries.

I had a good career*.  I was lucky.  They say that when you find a job you enjoy, you never work again. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but boy – did I work!  By the time I retired in 2014 I was the world expert in how to get the best use out of an IT system designed for the 1990s that simply refused to die…

My retirement was delayed by seven months while the Company phased out the system, but I heard last month that four years later it is still in use.

*Career: to move in an uncontrolled fashion, usually rapidly downhill.

A film for Christmas

.Yesterday I watched one of “must view at Christmas” films: “Joyeux Noël”.  More about this film here, but beware spoilers in the synopsis.ël

I find this movie interesting from a historical viewpoint, schmalzy in places and unbelievable in a couple of plot concepts, but I will watch it, and be reduced to tears, every Christmas.  Each time I watch I see a little more into the main characters and gain a little more understanding of the (French) director’s idea.

The story is excellently portrayed by the director and all the actors.  It is in English, German and French (normally subtitled).  Naturally when the main protagonists interact the language switches to the one who understands least of the other two, so there is a lot of English with a strong clipped Scottish accent!  Daniel Brühl, as the German officer, acts a lot of his rôle in French or English.

What I take from this film is that if it were left to the front line troops the Great War would have been over by the first Christmas – or New Year at the latest, but those in command had no idea how to end it once it had been put in motion by those above them.

It is a film with realism, pathos, romance, occasional comedy, social criticism and above all humanity.  And recommended for Christmas viewing, expecially this year as we remember the end of the Great War.


It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas…

This morning I have been getting in touch with my feminine side.

Although a generally unrecognised concept  to men everywhere, I have not only finished my Christmas shopping two whole weeks before Christmas Eve, but all is wrapped with ten days to go.

But no fancy ribbons or stuff, except the parcel for the Memsahib, who likes that sort of thing.  I have to retain some semblance of masculinity.

The tree is purchased but will remain outdoors in water until late next week.  Our tree goes up for Christmas, not for Advent, and comes down after the twelve days of Christmas, and normally after the council wood-chipping disposal service is finished.

Needing a new tree stand, our previous excellent version having perished in the fire of 2016 (and with Christmas almost cancelled in this household in 2017), I went shopping and I was amazed that I could only find one remaining in the fourth shop I visited yesterday, everyone else having sold out already – and one store already removing unsold Christmas decorations from the shelves.

(Note to self – next year start looking for last-minute Christmas stuff in July, or August at the latest.)

Happy pre-Christmas panic everyone.

the Pedant’s Revolt

From a pedant.

I must give up watching TV quiz shows, because I end up shouting in annoyance at the screen.

Yesterday on “The Chase”:

Question: “During which war was the Special Boat Service created?”

Answer: “WW2” – “Correct”

Actually, wrong.  The Special Boat Section was created in 1940.  The Special Boat Squadron was created in 1977 and the Special Boat Service in 1987, during the Laos-Thailand Border War.

A TV advertisement competition broadcast today required the single word (sic) answer “Windsor Castle”.

And to cap it all I spent over half an hour this morning trying to work out an unsolvable “cross-sum” puzzle on my tablet, wherein the numbers 1-9 must be put into a grid to make 6 correct calculations.  The result required,  and checked with the official answer, included the calculation “1+6/3=2”.

is it just me?