25 years and counting…

Discussions with the Memsahib regarding our 25th wedding anniversary. We have booked a room at The Castle Inn, Castle Combe, Wiltshire , where we stayed for our wedding night. We were cash-strapped in those days so it was only for the one night.

Anyway, some months back I booked the room and local to home accommodation for Sparky for a couple of nights. Now we have no idea what to do on our anniversary day in Wiltshire. The internet has no ideas apart from walking the village in which we will be staying, or a round of golf.

We are thinking of using our “pack of cards” exploratory method* to see what we find.

Meanwhile, searching for another occasion I found a wonderful dog-friendly hotel, but at a rather exorbitant cost. Maybe we’ll book it for our 50th anniversary in 2044?

*The “pack of cards” exploration method. Take a pack of cards. Deal them one at a time. A number card is the first turn, a picture card is the second turn. Red is left, black is right. Joker means go home (if you can find your way home!).

Sometimes we find interesting and fascinating places that would have remained undiscovered. Sometimes we go round in circles. Sometimes we end up on a dead-end cart track or in the middle of desolate woodland. But that’s what makes it fun.

Eighty years on. 23rd October 1939


A German prize crew sailed the American freighter “City of Flint” into the Kola Bay, near Murmansk.

Game day 53. France

In Indochina the Foreign Legion moved north to the border with China and Kwangtung.

On the Franco/German border 2nd Infantry Corps made a limited attack on German 4th Infantry corps.  Each side lost 1 point in the exchange of fire.

Background image copyright Milton Bradley Games

Eighty years on. 22nd October 1939


On German national radio. Josef Goebbels called Winston Churchill a liar.

Finnish emissaries left Helsinki for talks in Moscow.

Game day 52. China

In China, 3rd Infantry Corps continued its march towards Peking.  In Kwangtung, 1st Mongolian Infantry Corps also moved towards the capital, arriving to the south-west of the city.

The city was attacked by 2nd Infantry Corps from the west and 4th Infantry Corps from the south.  9 attacks at 1, 2 defends at 3.  The Japanese were eliminated, but each Chinese Corps was reduced by 1 point.  The Chinese re-occupied the city.

Background image copyright Milton Bradley Games

From little acorns… part 2

And so it gets more complicated. The electrician, having taken a deposit and promised to return in the morning, was uncontactable. All I knew was his name, mobile ‘phone number, bank details and the trade website he contacted us from.

I tried texting; I tried calling, on the hour, every hour. Nothing but a voicemail asking me to leave a message. I left increasingly strong messages. With no response, I searched the web for any information about him. It turned out that an electrician with the same name from the same town was convicted a couple of years ago for stealing credit cards from a customer’s house.

I contacted the trade website and his bank, advising that I was concerned about potential fraud. Next morning I received a text message advising that one his workmen was on the way. This chap turned up in a van with a company logo, which I checked and found to be apparently legitimate.

The work was started. A whole new switch box in the cupboard under the stairs. Then work on the wall socket installation. Two walls like this.

But the workman then found that he did not have a plunge saw to get the floorboards up. He had been told that we had already done that. It being Friday afternoon, he promised to return Saturday afternoon.

Friday evening our central heating boiler would not light. I contacted British Gas and was told that an engineer would be here sometime on Monday. The outside temperature dropped over the weekend. Luckily we have a gas fire and a few fan heaters.

Saturday, 2 p.m. I called the contractor and asked if anyone would be round. He gave me the engineer’s number. The engineer advised that he could not be here until Monday because the tool store was locked on Friday when he got back to base.

Meanwhile I had taken a shower (using hot water from the immersion heater), and when I turned the shower off, all the lights went out. The new RDC trip switch had been thrown. Later I went to my toy cupboard, switched on the light and all the sockets on that ring main went dead. Again the trip switch was thrown, then we found one socket in the kitchen was dead (despite supposedly being on the new circuit installed with the kitchen about 4 years back).

I texted the contractor, apologising for disturbing him on a Saturday evening.

Sunday morning the contractor arrived. He was in a poor state and explained that he had been mugged. His ‘phone had been stolen which explained why I could not contact him on Thursday. Also, thanks to my report, his bank account was frozen. I sent a message to his bank. (I had already reported to the trade website that work was now in hand.). He checked the various sockets and will be looking into thee issue today (Monday). He also recommended that, so that he could give us a safety certificate, 3 old pendant lights and the smoke alarms should be replaced. More work, more expense.

So here I am in an increasingly (or should that be decreasingly?) cold house on Monday morning. I await electrical engineers around 10 a.m. and a gas engineer at an indeterminate time. No doubt the electricity will be turned of when the gas man comes.

And that reminds me of an old song by Flanders and Swann: “The Gas Man Cometh”


And we are still waiting to unbox the new laptop that started this in the first place. I wonder where it is, now that we have stuff in the wrong rooms all over the house, including two new unboxed desks!

Eighty years on. 21st October 1939


In the North Sea, a convoy attacked by the Luftwaffe shot down four aircraft.

On the Western Front, French and German artillery units exchanged fire.  The allies now had 110 divisions at the front.  The British forces were extending the Maginot Line northwards to the English Channel with WW1-style defences.

Game day 51. Japan

3rd Infantry Corps moved north towards Peking which was besieged by the Chinese.  2nd Fighter Group flew from Japan to Manchuria (Manchukwo).

Background image copyright Milton Bradley Games

Game note:  henceforth movements will be shown by arrows on the map, as above.

Eighty years on. 20th October 1939


Compulsory Military Training was instituted in Australia.  The British War Office advised soldiers to read “Mein Kampf” and “The Communist Manifesto”.

Game day 50. Britain

1st Carrier Flotilla sailed east.  2nd Fighter Group located the German 1st Submarine Flotilla and attacked.  6 attacks at 3, 6 defends at 2.  Two submarines were sunk, for the loss of no aircraft.  The submarines dived to avoid further attacks.

In the South Atlantic, 2nd Battleship Flotilla sailed south-west, almost missing the German battleships, but then turned south-east to investigate a sighting.

In Halifax, 1st Canadian Infantry Corps was embarked and began to sail for Britain, clearing the coast of Newfoundland, and escorted by 1st Battleship Flotilla.

Background image copyright Milton Bradley Games

Eighty years on. 19th October 1939


In Lublin, Poland, a Jewish ghetto was established as part of a so-called reservation for Jews.

In Ankara, Turkey, Maxime Weygand and Archibald Wavell signed a mutual assistance pact with Turkey.

The German high command issued “Fall Gelb”, the plan for attacking Western Europe.

Game day 49. Germany

Apart from troops occupying Poland and Czechoslovakia, units moved towards the western border of Germany.

In the North Atlantic, 1st Battleship Flotilla moved southwards and 1st Submarine Flotilla moved north-west.  In the South Atlantic, 2nd Battleship Flotilla moved north-west to a more central position, hunting for targets.

Background image copyright Milton Bradley Games