My life. Upate 5th February 2018

What’s been happening since my last post on 24th January?
I have asked three times for the scaffolding around our house to be removed, so far to no effect. Actually it may be a “Good Thing” that it is still there because I discovered that the builders have installed guttering to the side of our flat-roof extension but have forgotten to divert the down-pipe into that guttering.

This not only makes a disturbing noise when it rains but is not useful for the long-term preservation of the felt roof.

There is no progress yet on re-roofing of the man-cave/workshop. The inside of the roof and joists are developing mildew, so I have installed an oil-filled radiator to help keep the place dry until a proper roof can be fitted.
Over the weekend my wife and I independently came up with the idea that a clear plastic corrugated roof would have drained better and let in more light at the expense of temperature. Ho-hum. Spilt milk, no use crying over.

Some of my MDF war game tokens in use in the shed  have also gone a bit “furry” in the past week, and needed a clean-up.

I have progressed the end stages of the Battle of Brighton by another five minutes (Wow!). The British are extracting their forces while the Germans keep up the pressure. Once the Germans hold Brighton they will have another port (Shoreham) to begin unloading armoured forces. Currently only Rye and Newhaven are available. Brighton is area 38 in the map below.

On other wargaming fronts most of the progress is with evening painting sessions. Due to my recent extreme fatigue from mid-afternoon onwards I have not made much progress, but to keep up the variety I am using one paint-pot at a time for at least four projects. Lately it has been grass-green bases for my 2mm 1700 and 3mm WW2 troops, and for the “Battle Chess” game that I am developing for our young re-enactors.

I have now moved on to “Horse Tone Brown”, which will give me plenty to do.

Health-wise, I continue to improve, apart from the general feeling of lassitude.  I walk the dog twice a day which keeps me active. I try to walk at least 4-5 Km each day.  There are good days and bad days.  I am sure that I will feel more positive WHEN (not IF) I get the “all-clear” from cancer* at the end of the month.

Last Thursday we made a trip to North Somerset (near Minehead) – a 7 hour, 300 mile round-trip, to visit the yard where one of our British Racing Club horses is in training. Festival Dawn (photo) looked to be in good form on the gallops, and we had an interesting tour by the yard manager who showed us all his lists and procedures.

I was impressed by the way that Philip Hobbs runs His training yard, particularly that the employees who look after and ride the horses on a daily basis where possible accompany “their” horse to the races, rather than having  separate travelling staff and yard staff.  A good day out with my wife and dog.

* With the recent news that Prostate Cancer is now killing 7,000 men each year in the UK and has overtaken Breast Cancer in numbers, I am campaigning for the charity Prostate Cancer UK, and for a nationwide screening programme.  I think (and hope) I am one of the lucky escapees.  Please, gentlemen, get yourselves checked and donate if you can.  A heart-felt “Thank You”

Life and wargaming – an update

In addition to making a little progress on the longest running wargame move I have ever experienced – the Battle for Brighton currently set up in my cold, damp shed – I Brighton 18 0815 front lineshave had a few wargaming and other diversions.

The builders have finished restoring our house. Their company has closed the case. A pity nobody has thought to inform the scaffolding company that their decoration to our property is no longer required.
Just a bit more arguing with the insurer’s agents about replacing the gravel removed from the side of the house and maybe we can bring the caravan home.


The new man-cave…shed

is going to have a new roof, yes – already! Half of the second botched covering over the first leaky roofing blew away in the recent storms. I have hired a professional company (who re-roofed both my lost sheds) to torch on a decent roof. I do have electricity, and therefore heating, installed. When the wargame is finished I can continue with putting up shelving.

My hospital check-up revealed that my cancer was further advanced than the doctors or surgeons had expected. They believe they removed it all, but further tests towards the end of February should confirm or deny the fact. It is some relief, but still a nagging doubt.  Things in the underpant department are no longer as they used to be.

(No photo here. I think it may be inappropriate!).

So, back to the wargaming.
Projects that have emerged from my in-tray recently and been progressed:

1. Preparation of 3mm scale counter-mounted replacement gaming tokens for “Memoir 44” games, in particular Arras 1940. A lot of the infantry are on back order from Magister Militum, but most of the artillery and tank units are based, and some are painted. I have designed the bases to be used with “Memoir 44” and “Panzer Leader” rules on the same boards. I also have 3mm scenic models to be used with 3D terrain for World War II

new units

2. The naval Battle of Sevastopol, 1902. Part of my “Diplomacy plus” solo campaign and covered in this post.

3. Basing and painting my 2mm horse-and-musket cavalry units in preparation for the next campaign battle in 1702. Each unit needs three sets of bases: Deployed, March column and Routing. Each cavalry base is around 50 “figures”. Eventually this will represent a troop, but for the next game will be 1/3 of a regiment (maybe a squadron?).


4. Painting my bargain basement 20mm plastic 30 Years War figures in preparation to introduce the younger chaps in my English Civil War Society cavalry unit to the joys of playing with soldiers. I am developing a game on a squared card table that I call “Battle Chess”. It will be a bit like a table-top version of a re-enactment battle, but with dice, and the casualties will not be recycled! Rules to follow after play-testing. (No photo yet)

5. Preparing the 3mm models for the first engagement in my Operation Market Garden campaign. Gough’s jeeps against a similar number of obsolete armoured cars. The scenario calls for only 3 models on each side, but I have 15 of each – should I shrink the ground scale and quintuple the chaos? – answers on a postcard please (or reply to this post).

To be fair, most of the recent progress has been painting the black bits on all the models in preparation. By using the “next paint pot in the queue” method I don’t get so bored, even if every painting project takes an age to complete.




Health update – cancer surgery

Today I went for my six-week post-operation review.
One hour later than expected I sat with Mr Matthew Perry at the Royal Surrey Hospital.

They had successfully removed my prostate and surrounding lymph nodes at the end of November.  It appears that the size of the cancer in the prostate was larger than expected from earlier tests and scans, and that it had broken through from the prostate.

There is no evidence that it has spread to surrounding areas but it cannot be ruled out.

After a further four weeks I must have another PSA check.
PSA is a bit like carbon-dating. After the prostate ceases functioning, PSA degrades by 50% every few days and by 10 weeks should be down to 0.1.

If it is any higher or if other tests show a continuing growth we may be looking at radiotherapy.

I have to organise another blood test at my local surgery.
I believe the NHS now have more of my blood than I do.

Test results will be presented to me in about 5 weeks time.  So I have another month of fun and relaxation before I know the best or worst that can happen.  Oh joy!

Start of a New Year

A new year is upon us, and what have I been up to?

The first priority was to deal with our insurance company’s building and repair agents about the appalling state they left the inside of our house when decamping on 22nd December. We managed to clean up much of the house and move back into our bedroom on Christmas Eve.
Immediately after Christmas we bought and built a wardrobe to replace the one the decorators destroyed while working in the bedroom, and at the same time supervising replacement of three windows and a door destroyed in the fire last July.

My friendly local builder came to apply another roofing felt cover to the leaking roof on the shed he had built. Like his previous efforts, this also leaked. I contacted some professional shed builders who have previously done excellent work re-roofing my (now burnt) sheds. With any luck I will have a dry workshop by the end of the month.

Next job was to install mains electricity from the house to the summer house at the back of the garden, and from thence to the workshop. I also installed an IKEA strip light taken from the old wardrobe into the summer house (unfortunately before checking that it still worked!!!).

With electricity installed it is now reasonable to return to the man cave to continue the Battle of Brighton (September 1940). I have some work to do in the shed to install shelving and sort out the mess of dumped stuff from the past few months.

On the health front things are getting back to normal. My post-op. review is due next week. I have been keeping a track of health and exercise records this year.

Walking record Jan 2018

On the wargaming front I have been making occasional progress with the Battle of Brighton, which has now been dragging on for over six months. I have also been working on some painting and basing of 2mm and 3mm models for other campaigns.
I am currently engaged in painting a batch of 2mm routing cavalry.

Painting 9 1 2018

In the background some A-13 British tanks in 1/285 and 1/600 scale for my 1940 games.

I have also been creating replacement gaming pieces for my 1940 variant of the game: “Memoir 44”.
My playing pieces are 3mm tanks, guns, trucks and infantry atop translucent 19mm square bases in grey (German) or green (Allies). They work reasonably well with the top-down view of the battlefield. I have also invested in two sets of top-down full colour card counters for “Panzerblitz” from Canada, which I can also use with the MM44 boards.

So far a busy week or so.

A bit of catching up

It’s nearly three weeks since the keyhole robotic surgery to remove my cancerous prostate.  I am recovering well, but still have dressings over about half of the seven wounds because they coincide with my trousers waistband and tend to iritate.  I am still mildly incontinent.  I need to wear pads to catch the inadvertant leakages.

On the wargaming front I am managing about 30 minutes per day on the long-running Battle of Brighton 1940 in the shed before the cold drives me back indoors.  Indoors we have painters and decorators all over the house refurbishing after the July fire, and I am confined with the dog to the living room.

So I am spending my time catching up on several long-outstanding wargame campaign projects that have fallen by the wayside.

I have bought and painted five 1902 pre-dreadnoughts for my “Diplomacy Plus” campaign that is currently awaiting a Russo-Turkish naval battle off Sevastopol in September 1902.  The ships are replacement game tokens for “Axis and Allies 1914”.  I also drafted the battle rules, based on “Axis and Allies naval” concepts.  This is the first naval engagement of the campaign.

Strange that in real life the blue on the bases is very similar to the blue of the cloth.  Bases are 40mm x 60mm.


Today I have been sorting and basing some old 2mm figures for the next battle in my  early 1700 campaign.  France is attacking England in the Palatinate (sounds painful!).  Again, draft rules are prepared and await testing in this battle.  Most of the previous battles have been fought in 6mm.

Eventually I want my 2mm armies to be on a 1:1 figure:man ratio, but for the time being I am using approximately 1:3.  The photo’ shows a 1:1 squadron of heavy cavalry in line, in column and in rout.  All awaiting (re)painting.



Continue reading A bit of catching up

Life’s not so bad

Nine days ago I had my prostate removed by robotic keyhole surgery.

I was lucky.  I went to the doctor with a totally unrelated problem and after a blood test he decided that a prostate investigation would be useful.  I went to the hospital and had not only a biopsy that found cancer in the prostate but a full radioactive skeletal scan that located no further cancer but arthritis in my shoulder, which a specific x-ray search failed to find last year.

After investigating the alternatives I had two choices:

  1. Surgical removal.  This would involve keyhole surgery, followed by some weeks with a catheter and daily self-performed injections against blood clots.  Afterwards an appraisal of the results as to incontinence and the actual removal of all cancerous cells.  Potty training required, which I was not good at the first time around!
  2. Radiotherapy.  Four weeks of daily hormone injections, followed by 4 weeks of daily hospital visits for radioactive beaming, followed by up to three years of hormone therapy.  Effectively I would become a eunuch with all female menopausal symptoms, and the possibility of double incontinence.

Unsurprisingly I opted for the first option.

So, after nearly an hour cruising the Royal Surrey Hospital car park in convoy fruitlessly looking for a space my wife dropped me off at the nearest bus stop in time for my 10:30 am appointment.  10 minutes later I was able to attract someone’s attention to let me into the building and 15 minutes after that someone unexpectedly found the queue of patients at reception.

I was taken to a waiting ward and at around 1:15 pm was visited by someone with a patient survey form to complete before and after surgery.  I duly completed part 1 but never saw the documents again.  At 1:30 pm I was gowned up (has anyone ever seen a worse garment?) and taken for anaesthesia.  After basic numbing I had a spinal injection followed by full knock-out around 2:00 pm.

I woke up at 8:00 pm and was taken to the ward at 10:00 pm.  About an hour later I managed to accidentally rip out one of the needles in my right hand and bleed all over the bed, necessitating a complete change of bedding and gown, whilst still attached to drips and drains.

Next day I was hauled out of bed to move around, still attached to various inputs and outputs.  At around 5:30 pm I was discharged.

Since then I have been pottering around at home.  Each morning starts with an injection to thin the blood, followed by disconnection from and emptying of the night urine bag.  During the day I am now free to go to the toilet when I wish to rather than when I need to.  I am finding the catheter and bag option very user friendly.

I hope to be free of the catheter on 13th December, after which I will need to be “potty-trained” again.  On 12th January I will have a review and hopefully  know if I am free of the “big C”.

Life is looking more positive.  Christmas is cancelled, but here’s to 2018.

Operation Sealion – The Battle of Brighton

Hello followers,

Well, it has been a while since I posted, and here is why.

  1. Ongoing arguments between insurers and builders about the re-instatement of our house as it was before the fire of 4th July.
  2. Arguments with caravan insurers, purchasing a replacement caravan and trying to find someone who would insure the replacement.
  3. Finding somewhere to keep the new caravan while the builders – if we ever get any – repair the house and re-fence the garden.
  4. Sourcing a new garden shed/workshop.  Achieved as a local contractor will build a bespoke shed to fit the space available.
  5. Buying an awning that fits the new caravan, and, as yet not begun, selling the old one.
  6. Undergoing a biopsy to investigate my almost certain cancer.

and finally, the fact that I am running a PBEM wargame and anything that I post will be visible to both commanders.

So, with the game now poised at 07:00 18th September 1940, here are the battle reports for the previous 30 minutes from 06:00 to 06:30.

The situation is the German attack on Brighton, with the intention of capturing Shoreham harbour to allow unloading of armoured units.

Brighton 18th September 1940 British 0630

Brighton 18th September 1940 German 0630