A modern 17th Century weekend – a dog’s eye view.

Sparky says:

“We’re home again now.  We went to a reenackment (I think).  A reenackment is where humans take carry-vans and other tiny houses and they all play together in a big field.  It is exciting and scary and fun and boring.

He took my carry-van right to the end of the field and talked to the nice make-food ladies.  Then He played with the carry-van and built a little house on the side of it.  He put Sparky’s den in the little house and covered it with silver stuff.  Rich Sparky!  

More Humans came with their carry-vans, their dogs and their small Humans (I call them people-puppies).  Then She (my other best Human) came too and we played Ball.  There were lots of wopses and most of the Humans and some doggies got badly hurted.  I wasn’t afraid because He is the Wopsfinder-General who kills wopses dead.  But He got bitten by other nasty flying things instead and His legs went all spotty and fat.

Later, after the dark was switched on, some ‘Orses came on a lorry, but they had to get off the lorry and stand in a field of grass all night.  Poor ‘Orses!

Next day all the Humans turned themselves into Soldiers.  There are Good Soldiers and Bad Soldiers.  The Good Soldiers ride  the ‘Orses.  Other Good Soldiers carry big sticks, but too big for even Sparky to fetch.  Bad Soldiers have things like big doggy dinner cans that they hit with sticks, going bong, bong-a-bong bong, bong-a-bong bong – all day!

Sparky doesn’t like the bong-a-bongs, so he goes to his den or into the carry-van. Other Soldiers have sticks that go kerrrump!, then pop, pop, pop-pop.  He laughs and says “Call that a vollee?”  Sparky doesn’t laugh.  But the Worst Soldiers have big toys on wheels that go fizzzzz-BOOOM!!!. Sparky needs to hide under the table for those.

For the first “battle” (even if it was a walkies away), Sparky hid in the Carry-Van.  First I hid in the shower, but it was wet.  So I hid in my bed, but then that was wet too.  Then They came back so it was all right again.  I had treats.

I found a new place to hide.  It’s called “Damndogs-under-the-car”.  It is safe.  It is so safe that I shouted at Him to tell Him so when he tried to get me out.  He said I could get burnted (Ouch-Sparky-Hot) if I did that sort of thing and if nobody knew.  In the end I hid in my den until the noisybangs stopped.

Then everyone else went home and He went to bed in the carry-van.  I looked after Him and in the morning we tidied all the toys and the little house away and took the carry-van home again.  Then He had to take all His toys out again and put them in the where-we-live.”

http://www.marlborough-tc.gov.uk/whats-on/eventdetail/1785/-/marlborough-under-attack-civil-war-re-enactment

Landscaping in two scales, and random thoughts

Inspired by spotting the last available item of steel racking on display in our local Homebase yesterday, I have ordered some “special offer” racking for the shed and for the lock-up in which all our camping stuff is stored.

I hope to better organise this stack of boxes housing my Kallistra terrain hexagons, and at the same time to get the tents and awnings off the sometimes damp floor of their storage facility.

Terrain production for the next Arnhem game proceeds with painting the last two railway hexagons.

While the paints were out and the railway sleepers drying I took the opportunity to paint a few bits of other wargaming projects: some 6mm MDF cavalry horses and the musket stocks of the US “Toy soldier” style infantry extracted from the box game of the American Civil War.

I have discovered that my bench in the shed is really not suitable for early Autumn morning painting.  The amount of sunlight is brilliant, but directly into my eyes! 

But while I have been painting the sun had dried the grass in the back garden so I had a go at mowing what is humorously referred to as a “lawn”.

The weed collection having been trimmed to an acceptable level I ventured out to the garden centre for some restorative grass seed for the bare patches.

One Kilo of grass seed and three bags of mixed soil and horse dung later, covered with a protective grid to keep dog and pigeons off, I could return to small scale landscaping.

(Sparky is not pleased with this new arrangement of his playground.)

While applying a steel metallic surface paint to the top of my model railway lines, and then applying the same to the ACW infantry barrels and bayonets I was reminded of an encounter some years ago at Kirby Hall (a multi-period reenactment event staged by English Heritage).  

 – Returning to the camp from our Napoleonic era display we encountered a Sealed Knot musketeer carrying a somewhat rusty matchlock musket of dubious safety.

– He asked us if our firelock barrels were “dummies”, made of aluminium.  We replied: “No, proper steel, proofed for shot, but clean.”

 – Our cleaning method was to scour the barrel, inside and out, using tools available in our chosen period, followed by an application of olive oil to lock, stock and barrel.  We learned the “olive oil” trick from some French re-enactors at a somewhat wet event on 30th August 1997.  (The date remains in memory because the Princess of Wales died the next morning and our weekend was spoiled.)  Returning to the subsidiary topic, an oil-soaked cloth in a small leather bag, used to wipe the metal parts of the weapon at the first sign of rain prevents rust and keeps the musket working in most weather conditions.  It works equally well for swords and pole-arms.

Before adding the newly-painted tiles to the wargame table I watched the film “Stalingrad” in the original German language, and it reminded me what a total shitty waste of lives real war is.  Reminders of H G Wells comments at the end of his book, “Little Wars”. 

Somehow the Germans are able to show the gritty reality in their anti-war films so much better than the English-speaking countries.  Maybe it is something to do with the comparative suffering of their countries?  The only film coming close to depicting the horrific reality of war that I have watched is the Russian “Come and See”, where the director even used live ammunition to enhance the reality!

And with all that in mind, this evening’s plan is to set up the townscape of Arnhem for yet another table top representation of historical futility.