Walks with my dog (9)

16th July 2019

We are very lucky that in our local area there are many potential country walks. Almost every map square has at least one previously unexplored footpath or bridlepath with public access.

Today the dice took us to Pamber Heath, 2 squares to the north-east.

In the outlined square the entire south-west half (Aldermaston Park) is Ministry of Defence property, part of the Atomic Warfare Establishment, and we would not have been welcomed. No horse-riding, no walking, no photography to the south-west side of the road. So that’s half the square ruled out before we start.

And so I decided on the bridleway from Court Farm to the east. Once again, it would be easier to park at the destination, so we started at the car park about 1 Km to the east. We have frequently walked from this area before, but never using today’s route.

The heath is well managed by local volunteers, as indicated by this sign just outside the car park.

We would take the route indicated by the blue dotted line west from the “YOU ARE HERE” point.

I was a little bemused by the next sign.

I used to live on Bucklebury Common. It is several miles to the north of this point. However, I respect the request, if not the navigation abilities, of the BBOWT.

The next part of our walk reminded me of my younger years, back in the late 1960s, when my dad would drive to a local woodland in Dorset and, while the parents collected firewood and various berries, my sister and I would play “Hide and seek” by tunnelling under the ferns.

Nowadays, somehow this makes me think more of the “Jurassic Park” films. We continued the walk and encountered a chap enjoying much the same exploratory experience with a camera, but alas without a dog.

Continuing along the path between wild meadows with the merest glimpse of the AWE spotlight towers we came to Court Farm. When I win millions on the lottery, the owners of this place will receive an offer that they can neither refuse nor understand. This is the Memsahib’s dream home.

And so back to the car park by a slightly diverse route to look at the state of the pond.

I have often seen this pond, even in summer, overflowing the boards at the bottom of the photograph. I suspect that much of the local wildlife is suffering from the long dry period this summer.

Gaming Serendipity?

About 3 weeks ago I was searching the internet for an old boardgame: Brittania, which I played once, many years ago. The game covers the early years of the foundation of Britain, from the Roman invasion to the Norman conquest (and beyond?)

At the time it seemed somewhat complex for my taste, and was a pure “cardboard counter” game.

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to get a copy of the game.

Suddenly, a couple of days later I received an e-mail to the effect that PSC Games were re-releasing the game, with 3d playing pieces and the addition of a 2 player version.

Then the Kickstarter invitation arrived. I subscribed. The project was funded within 5 hours.

We shall see what develops.

Walks with my dog (8)

15th July 2019

We only had a short walk today, having tired the poor chap out yesterday at two public events on the lead. This is his first day off the leash after his dentistry last week.

We played ball in the local woods as we usually do after breakfast. This woodland is about five minutes from home. The whole ground covering is old beech nut husks, and for those old enough to remember the old Joyce Grenfell monologue I am not collecting them to make “useful and acceptable gifts”.

Later in the morning we went for one of our exploratory walks. The dice dropped us at a point 3 Km west of home, in Ashford Hill. There are several footpaths and bridleways here, and I decided to take the south-north route past Brook Farm.

However, knowing that I could easily park at the destination, Oxford Bridge (circled), I decided to start at the finish, so to speak. At Oxford Bridge it was clear how little rain we have had lately.

We set off to the south, passing a paddock that bizarrely and possibly dangerously had electric fencing tape woven between the posts, such that for half the length it would deter horses from leaving the field and for the other half it would shock pedestrians who strayed too close! As no warnings were evident I hope for the landowner’s sake that the fence was not powered, but I was unwilling to experiment. (** see end of this post)

After about a quarter of a mile I got fed up with trying to beat back the brambles and nettles with my walking stick and retreated. This (to quote Michael Caine in the film “A Bridge Too Far”) is the wide part.

Returning to the road we took the path to the north instead. This looked more promising…

It opened into a well-beaten path through open woodland, that looks like it has been used for a recent cross-country cycle or running event, judging from the painted indicators on the trees.

After a couple of hundred yards we came to a wooden footbridge across the River Enborne, into which the largely stagnant stream we were following empties in normal weather conditions. The Enborne is a tributary of the Kennett, which feeds the Thames. Frequently it overflows into the flood plains, but not today.

Crossing a stile at the end of the bridge (Sparky finds stiles a bit of a puzzle) we crossed a field recently cut and baled for silage. The black plastic-wrapped bales were awaiting collection. At the end of the field we came to a confuse-a-dog gate, (x on the map above) beyond which was another overgrown path.

My bare legs having suffered enough on the earlier path, and consulting the map I saw that it was only about 300 yards to a narrow, winding, busy road, I declined further investigation and we returned the way we had come. Sparky made two new doggy acquaintances on the return walk.

** A story of electric fences. Many years ago, at “historical” re-enactment events, it was a common practice for the “soldiers” to take advantage of the then severely limited English public house licensing hours and liberally refresh themselves in the Beer Tent between 12 noon and 2 pm, when alcohol could legally be sold. Thus, by the battle start at 3 pm, most were in urgent need of bladder relief, and usually performed the action against any available hedge or fence immediately before (and sometimes after) entering the public area. Nowadays we have moved on, alcohol is more readily available at any time and thus common sense normally prevails, saving the drinking for after the excitement of battle.

However, on the occasion that I recall, an armoured pikeman walked up to a fence, not noticing that it was electrified, hooked his tassets (loose fitted metal plates hanging from waist height from his chest armour) over the wire fence and, standing in a puddle, released a stream of liquid from his most sensitive parts onto the electric tape, thus completing the electrical circuit by the shortest route. As a bystander, the result was most amusing. As I recall, he received a round of applause, which was probably little compensation.

Back to 6mm gaming

After fart-arsing around with many different wargaming ideas for the last few months, including playing my Market Garden campaign with hex and counter just to keep it rolling, my 6mm mojo has been reactivated.

Thus we are back in the Shedquarters building a new battlefield.

Battlefield under construction

On the horns of a multilemma

Before I start, I should explain that a multilemma is a bit like a dilemma, but with more options.

Mythically a Multilemma is a creature with horns that grow in a manner similar to a “monkey-puzzle” tree. Once every 1500 years it migrates to the coast (normally Bournemouth or Torquay) to indulge in a bit of sea-bathing, in the process of which it invariably drowns due to the weight of the horns when soaked in salt water. (yes: I made that up, just like the folks at Games Workshop used to do.)

But for our purposes a multilemma is the situation that I face.
In my campaign I have a company of German PanzerGrenadiers in 1944 facing a company of British Glider Infantry, across a bridge. To the right (from the German viewpoint) of the enemy is another company of PanzerGrenadiers, but to their right is a company of British Parachute infantry. The company commander of the southern unit has (by rolling a 6) decided to attack.

My problem is how to play this engagement:

  1. A simple die roll, taking into account the support companies.
  2. Hex and counter boardgame. Each company is 4 counters. 1 hex = 250m. Rules: Memoir ’44.*
  3. 6mm models on hex terrain (similar to option 2 but wth 3D detail), in which case I will probably need to do some terrain building. Rules: Probably Memoir ’44, and my preferred option.
  4. 20mm. I would need to substitute American soldier models for British. As for rules, I have several possibilities. I would probably have to make some quite a lot of terrain, including a river and a rail bridge. Chain of Command rules?
  5. Counters as Sections/Squads with Squad Leader boards and local rules.
  6. Counters as Sections/Squads with Squad Leader boards and 1970s (not Squad Leader) rules.
  • Option 2 has been the normal recent method of resolving engagements, but can be somewhat boring, particularly with small engagements.

So far, from the above, I have a Sexilemma. Not something that I would wish to meet in a wood on a dark night!
But it is looking to me as if the answer may be D6-based. Before I roll the die( and a D3 or a D6) any suggestions?

Thanks for any input.

Walks with my dog – update

Sparky had not one, but tho, molars extracted under anaesthetic on Wednesday. At the same time his legs were x-rayed to investigate a slight lameness. There is some unusual bone growth around one of his stifle joints, which needs further specialist opinion.

The upshot is that for the next few days we have to stick to grntle walks on the lead, so our adventures in the countryside are on hold until next week. Meanwhile he is taking plenty of rest.

Walks with my dog (7)

9th July 2019

Today the dice rolled would take us to the centre of Tadley. Since we would be walking the streets rather than countryside I adopted my second form of randomisation. Using a pack of cards red means turn left, black means turn right, a number card is the first turning and a picture card the second turning. The walk ends when the first Joker is drawn.

However I had to go into Newbury to pay a cheque into the bank (Hooray for PPI!), so decided to start the walk there instead. We headed north along Northbrook Street and right through the Parkway Shopping area towards Victoria Park.

The cards took us into the park and around the numerous footpaths, so Sparky was able to run free for a bit.

Amongst the new activities for kids in the park is this water splash.

Not only are there random waterspouts but the three buckets upend when full, to everyone’s surprise. I had to wait until the small children had left before taking the photo’, so as not to get myself into trouble by making it public.

A little further on we found Victoria herself, guarded by lions and looking amusing, if not actually amused. I believe the Sorting Hat put her in Hanover House.

And so back to the car and home for tea.

There will be no walk tomorrow as the lad has to have one of his back teeth extracted under anaesthetic. Poor doggie.