Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Wrong Side of History

Because the PO closes at 5.30 we are used to sitting waiting for the news at 6pm, despite knowing it probably won't last past the headlines, and to fill in the time we watch Pointless, despite ourselves shaking our heads at the subjects. I always like to test myself with geography or history but on all quiz shows now you tend to get sport or music which both mean nothing to me, the former is always what I have to answer in Trivial Pursuit when looking to win, "ask him a sports question, sport, sport!"

So, this evening when Military History came up I was prepared, however as the first battles, you got a clue, the year and the initials, appeared on screen I wondered just who had picked these simplest of questions, none would get under 70 for an answer (you have to get the lowest score in Pointless you see).

The first battles were Hastings, Little Big Horn, Balaclava, El Alamein, Bannockburn and another. One Scot had not a clue but managed to claw Bannockburn from the back of his mind while saying he wasn't sure who had fought Edward II in 1314, not an SNP or Scotland supporter then. A woman  went with Bengal for the Crimean War and Balaclava, while another went for East Africa for Montgomery's victory. The only struggle I could see with the second round may have been Plassey, but Gettysburg, Agincourt, Waterloo and the others were all gifts for anyone with an even passing interest in military history or history at all. Out of a hundred people asked about each less than a third had heard of any of them, even the most famous of British battles.

If you went to school and took anything in at all you must have heard of Waterloo at least, surely. Rod Steiger and Christopher Plummer fought there for heaven's sake.

I couldn't tell you the square root of a jam jar but I could turn it into a molotov and chuck it at a tank because they did that in the war, you know, the one we won. I honestly despair or have I just got my priorities wrong, history is important without it we have no lineage, no collective bond, we really would be citizens of the world and therefore citizens of nowhere.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

New Banners

I wasn't at the club last night, I decided to have a night off, it is usually a bit of a rush so I took it easy last night, some work on the PC, a couple of games of Dawn of War III, and a bit of painting. The deliberate slowing down of my painting schedule is working quite well, Auxilia Cohors II is still on the tray and at this rate still has probably another week to go before it is complete, maybe a week and a bit. I have 24 archers waiting in the wings, plastic I know, but I have gone cheap as the unit might not see much action but is nice to have. I have not been converted to plastic figures.

I did rush one job and that was the renewal of two banners, one for my Romano-British Dux and the other for my 2/ic Saxon noble. I noticed the new flags in an email from Gripping Beast as they were made for their Aetius and Arthur game, although not exclusively, by Little Big Man Studios. The Saxon banner is nice but the Romano-British one is beautiful and big, I cannot wait to get it on the field of battle. I have one Saxon unit whose banner I am not happy with, but I have a quandry, they have fought under it for several years and may have gained an attachment and if I change it will they down spears, not that I have noticed conspicuous gallantry from them on the field of glory mind.

My son is coming for a game on Saturday, I am going to get the chance to use both my battle mats on the table tennis table and get the use of a much larger area, we are also upping our forces to 3,000 points, which will basically mean a bit more command and one elite unit or two average units, perhaps the Carolingian cavalry will enjoy the extra space.

I am using the Saxons as Stewart has a habit of dissing my Roman 'supermen', shieldwall, large shield, spear, light armour, oh, and darts. So do I go for quantity or quality, as the point total is 3,000 I can have three bodyguard units, which to be honest is far more than the army should have, I think two is pushing it. I have warband allies and mercenaries for the Saxons who don't see the light of day very often so I might give them an outing. Whatever happens I am hoping for plenty of mayhem on the table.

Depending on circumstances we might also get in the next instalment of Operation Martlet on the Friday if he turns up early enough so a good weekend's wargaming on the cards.

Monday, 19 June 2017

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 7

Still on patrol, still enjoying mostly glorious weather. We continue to enjoy the odd visit from Royal Fleet Auxiliaries who keep us stored up with essentials and fuel, this usually takes a full day and again some lucky beggars get across to use the swimming pool after a gruelling few hours replenishing ship. You would think all we needed to do was jump overboard for a swim but it never happens, perhaps the catching of a 500lb shark by the crew of the Derwentdale had something to do with it.

We had some excitement when we spotted a British tanker near the coast and immediately intercepted her only to find out from the Admiralty that she had indeed been cleared to enter Beira harbour and we were to leave her alone. I of course did not at the time give it a thought that a British tanker had just got clearance to take oil through our supposed blockade.

Our Wasp helicopter carried out a medical emergency and took a crewman from RFA Derwentdale with appendicitis to Beira where he was quickly taken to hospital, the RFA had a doctor onboard but it was decided to take the man ashore.

Uncomfortable ride for a patient, I remember jumping out of one of these.
 It slipped my mind to mention that RFA Ennerdale hit an uncharted pinnacle off the Seychelles about a fortnight ago not long after we started our patrol. We were sadly too far away to help but the crew were all taken off safely, divers from the Andromeda recovered all the secret codes etc.then blew the wreck up to allow it to sink.

Ennerdale wreck.
We did not win the Beira Bucket the last time we met the Hermione but did manage it on our second encounter and as the Hermione was shortly leaving the patrol we turned our fire hoses on her at close quarters as seemed to be the tradition, the Andromeda will be taking over. Before she left we flew another casualty into Beira, perhaps our Wasp was faster.

News arrived this morning that on completion of our patrol we would be spending some time in Mombasa before taking up station in the Persian Gulf for some months, we were also going to get some shore leave. Incredulous stories now went the rounds about the delights of Mombasa, and the Casablanca bar in particular, however we still had to finish our patrol.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

View From The Window

It is gorgeous outside this morning, it is warm, sunny and no wind, I can see way into the distance through the gap and the garage roof at Washington House has been completely reclaimed by nature and some bats I have been told, it is going to be a long, lazy Fathers Day.

As a country nothing seems to be going right for us at the moment just when we need to show solidarity, I am disturbed at the reactions to events from Brexit, through the Islamic attacks, the election and now Grenfell Tower. We seem to have lost our sense of reason, the government did not torch the tower, it was a horrific accident compounded by several factors the main one being the council doing what councils all over the country do, take the cheapest bid for a job and then the regulations are followed just enough to be legal. I also find it disgusting that people on all sides want to make political capital from the tragedy.

The youth are up in arms, they are bleating that they will not vote because the country has ignored them and, my favourite, we oldies are ruining their lives. However they seem to have managed to get out of bed, some, not all of course, during this election enticed by free everything and the promise of a land of milk and honey. I would vote for that but two things stop me, my natural cynicism and commonsense. I also wonder how, as I ply my trade shackled to a lifetime of paying tax which, to me seems to go straight to mostly undeserving causes, welfare, foreign aid, climate change and minority groups to name but a few, I am holding someone back from getting on with life.

Bless 'em.

The Yoof need to learn to be a vocal minority if they ever want to get somewhere and get that invulnerable 'victim' status.

And what are some of these students studying, well, Puppetry at the University of London, Jedi mind tricks in Belfast, Waste Management with Dance Northampton, David Beckham Studies Staffordshire, all walks of life crying out for graduates, no?

I won't leave higher education before leaving you with this beauty. Foreign rocket scientist graduates at Strathclyde University are defecating in the showers and in dustbins and rightly so the cleaners are up in arms. However, a memo for this to stop was withdrawn as it may have upset the students as perhaps in their own countries this quaint ritual was normal.

The words of the comedian Dick Emery's catch phrase "ooh, you are awful" came back to me the other week when I found myself with no sympathy for Diane Abbot's diabetes attack, you know, when you suffer memory loss in front of a microphone. I searched my own diabetes medicine leaflets to see if I had missed that particular side affect, but couldn't find it. And who would have thought the cure would be retaining your parliamentary seat.

What was the question again?

 Not only do we have on the cheap police, i.e. community officers, have you looked closely at this lot, should they be anywhere near a uniform, I digress, we are now getting cheap doctors. Yes plans are being mooted that people, not quite proper doctors, will now be recruited to cure you of your ailments, check your insurance.

I am not a fan of Tim Farron but any leader of the pointless Liberal Democrats deserves some sympathy and respect simply for taking the job. What he doesn't deserve is to be hounded out of the job because of his private beliefs, and beliefs with which I would lay money on are the same beliefs of the majority of people in this country. It is ludicrous that in a largely atheist country the man is being targeted for his religious stance, wouldn't happen if he was a member of a certain other religion.

 What about the couple who don't eat, they were 'converted' to Breatharianism, whereby breathing and the power of, again, Universe or Earth Mother or some other hocum pocum is the only sustenance you need, oh, apart from a lettuce leaf or the odd piece of fruit three times a week. Or maybe it is fruitcake. And we look back at people worshipping stones and dunking women in village ponds with disdain.

No, really, I never eat solids.

And lastly here comes Schadenfreude again. On the island of Terceira they tie a bull to a rope then goad it mercilessly for fun, but last week one fun lover decided to film the whole thing on his iPad, but sadly he forgot how long the rope was. The bull did not and made its feelings abundantly clear as it tossed the guy around like a doll, he luckily managed to limp away, no doubt a very chastened gentleman.