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.

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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.

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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

 

 

A day of many parts

Today, despite being well into the second half of July, is dull and drizzly, following spectacular thunderstorms last night.

So I am confined indoors and catching up with several domestic and wargaming tasks.

I was inspired after listening to the latest Meeples and Miniatures podcast and after our recent fire to start documenting my wargame collection for insurance purposes.  It will be a long task.  It took me a week to collate from memory and photographs what we lost when the two sheds burned down.

Then I found a compiled list of unit values for Panzer Leader 1940 at www.imaginative-strategist.layfigures.com for use in my Operation Sealion games, which I began to incorporate into my game records.

Next task was the pile of ironing, helped along by watching a couple of episodes of “By The Sword Divided”.

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This is a BBC drama series screened between 1983 and 1985, like a sort of 1640s “Downton Abbey” which coincided with my early years of  English Civil War reenactment, and later episodes included some of my oldest – and in some cases sadly departed – friends as “supporting talent”.  The DVD series was released by the BBC in 2004.

Then I turned to some figure painting, namely the 1790s 6mm MDF soldiers from Commission Figurines.  These little “toy soldier” style figures are a little fragile, and because I expect them to be handled by small people I glue them in ranks of 3 to form blocks.

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During the course of this I managed to drop a paint pot lid onto the beige carpet.  I hope that after some immediate panic action and a steam cleaner I have (almost) got away with it.  Time for a second application of carpet cleaner now before the Memsahib sees it.DSCN0707

And it’s still only 1:30pm!  Plenty of time for more catastrophes before bedtime.

A poor documentary

If anyone wants to watch a highly oversimplified Germano-centric and, from my other reading, somewhat inaccurate documentary of the first part of the Second World War, I can grudgingly recommend the Lamancha Productions “Visions of War” series, Galaxy Film 1983 presentation of “Blitzkrieg” by Karl Ullman, directed by Wolfgang Richter.

On the other hand if you want to view some excellent archive footage of the same period I can heartily recommend the same film without the soundtrack.

In its defence I would say that it is good to see anything from the other side of the hill.

 

Three days after

So, here we are, three days after the fire that destroyed our new caravan, two sheds, one bike store and part of our house.

We are waiting for some chaps to clean up and remove the debris.  Just as well as I now own neither broom nor shovel for this task.

Meanwhile I am going through the database that I have created of what I remember being in the sheds and photographing everything recognisable for the insurance claim.  This is inevitably adding items that I did not remember to the database.

The loss adjusters will be here next Friday and I am sure they will not believe how much we claim to have owned and stored, which is why this photographic evidence is so necessary.

Several people, including my mother who lives 100 miles away, have seen the story on the TV, but we have failed to spot it, or find it on “catch-up” services.  Why are we denied this when everyone else can watch our misfortune.?  But I did find the local newspaper, who took the trouble to send a reporter to get some (but by no means all) of the facts correct.

Basingstoke Gazette website 1

Basingstoke Gazette website 2

Basingstoke Gazette newspaper article