Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Scots Wha Hae

Last night was the big run out for Hammer of the Scots at the club, its appearance was met by sounds of appreciation as several mentioned an interest, and of course expressed a further interest in my being soundly thrashed being the only Scot in the club.

The Rebellion begins.
 We set up and played the William Wallace campaign, I refuse to call him Braveheart, I of course was Wullie while Simon played Edward I. I had a slight edge in that I knew how important it was to maintain territory in order to get as many Nobles on your side as you could but Simon had picked this up by the end of the night. The Scots 'rebellion' is strongest north of Stirling while the English control most of the land to the south, my initial aim was to clear out all the English supporters from the north and then make inroads south of Stirling. I started well and handily won several battles in 1297 and 1298 and only missed having enough Nobles to induce the French to turn up, after that it all went horribly wrong. As I tried to clear out the few remaining English supporters I suddenly found my troops had run out of enthusiasm e.g. could not kill the enemy, so quickly found myself on the back foot as Edward took over the Lowlands. Around 1303 I managed to make another aggressive push against the English garrisons but once again my efforts were in vain and all I could see to the south was English red. We ran out of time with just a few years to go, although Simon looked the strongest we both had six nobles each so the game ended in a draw.

Winter 1303AD and Wallace has a long way to go.

We started off throwing men into battle, but as we progressed we both started to understand that you had to position yourself for the upcoming Winter, or the end of the turn, otherwise you could lose forces or Nobles would change sides, bringing the enemy back to an area you thought humbled. Quite a bit of thought has to go into winning the game and each player has to look to the future while gaining ground in the here and now.

So how does the game compare with Robert the Bruce, not bad actually, my only real complaint and it is merely a game mechanic is that in RtB apart from your core faction when you try to compel a Noble to join you they will either do so, remain neutral or immediately join the other side, the heirs of dead Nobles may also turn Neutral or defect rather than meekly return to their fathers choice. The movement and combat in HotS is far easier, even if the latter is a tad awkward at first from other games I have played.

Overall both games are good, HotS is simpler and not as much fuss as RtB while still providing a challenging game, the latter however has a more historical feel to it if you know anything at all about the period.

Simon, being a boardgame fan, mentioned that the map and cards had been done on the cheap, and I have to say I did not expect a simple card map when I opened the box, even Robert the Bruce all those years ago had a hardbacked map. I am not too bothered about the cards but then I don't have anything to compare them with and have no idea what to expect quality wise these days. You can buy a board but that will have to wait.

I am painting again, not a new army, but the finishing touches to one, the troops belong to my son who, with moving house, does not have the time to complete the extra figures he has left so I have volunteered myself. They are Carolingian foot and mounted, they are a mixture of Norman, Carolingian, Saxon etc. with some hero types from Footsore, I don't like Normans but these figures are really nice, I am not in a hurry so pics much later.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

View from the Window

No View this morning due to visitors. Normal service will be resumed next week, I have a few chestnuts on the fire.

Have a nice Sunday.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Aetius' Army

Some time ago at one of our wargame weekends I wandered over to a table where Rob Broom was playing against my son's Carolingians with his Patrician Roman army, and very nice it looked too, as he pointed out some of the units I thought the choices were very cool, all Rob's army are nice but this one caught my imagination. Having finished my Early Imperial Legion I began to turn my thoughts to an army of the 5thC, the Late Roman army has become flavour of the month recently, ignored for years in favour of the lorica segmentata wearing, empire extending army, it is now taking its rightful place in the ranks.

The army in the late 4th and 5thC in the West has a very bad press, the idea of it being overwhelmed by constant Barbarian hordes as it is found wanting and the Empire in the West is lost is the default position. The truth of course is different, this army was still very powerful and most barbarians simply could not defeat it in open battle, it was well equipped and for a time still trained to a higher standard than its enemies. It did boost its numbers with allies and the recruitment of newcomers but still had a Roman heart. The most dangerous foe the army faced was itself  as civil wars took their toll of the veterans and the army lost the ability to recruit and retrain men to the same standard, also the loss of revenues from areas populated by even friendly barbarians had an effect on the army.

A number of leading generals (Patricians) took command of the field armies and usually campaigned successfully against the Empires enemies, but this only brought the enmity of ambitious courtiers and most of them paid for this with their lives, assassinated by hangers on and men with no vision.

Before I bought a figure I bought several books on the Late Roman army including a history of the Fall of the West, I also bought two books on the most well known of Patrician generals Stilicho and Aetius and chose Aetius as my man. Aetius lived with the Huns for a time and was known as a friend to them and I wanted Huns in my army.

I got most of my figures from Footsore, many the same ones as in my Romano-British army but these troops would be more uniform, the Huns/Alans I got from the beautiful Aventine range of Steppe Cavalry. I built the army around four Roman Legions (more like a cohort at this time) as a core, many wargamers use the Christian Chi-Ro sign for this period, I decided not to, as far as I can tell it was only daubed on the shields of Constantine's men at Milvian Bridge but as this was in 312AD and the Notitia Dignitatum with hundreds of shield designs came out in 395AD then it's the military shields for my men. In support I brought in a contingent of Goths along with their own chieftain and likewise a couple of units of Huns or similar nomads.

Roman generals of this period began to recruit their own bodyguard or household troops, not that they ever seemed to do them any good when the assassins came calling, these units were known as Bucellari and unlike the later Byzantine Bucellari seem to have operated with their general in the field rather than as seperate commands, so if Aetius is on the field he has to be attached to either Hun or Goth Bucellari, one or the other, not both.


I have fought several battles with this army since its completion and it is a joy to play with, I thought putting Aetius with a cavalry unit would be detrimental to my command but it hasn't been so far, the Roman infantry are the backbone and the cavalry and the Goths are very good strike forces to destroy the enemy flanks. At first glance the army seems a little light in skirmish forces but this is made up for by the fact that the Nomads can all take bows and are experts with them, also you have the two bolt shooters which no one can ignore on the War and Conquest battlefield. Looking at the whole army arrayed for battle I am thinking perhaps one more Legion......

"A Bruce, A Bruce!"

Back in the mid 70's I went to one of my first wargaming shows, probably Claymore, at that time I was an SNP supporter when it was all a bit of fun and pie in the sky, unlike the fanatics in charge today. Nigel Tranter's Bruce trilogy was still a vivid memory and I had completed my first ever, proper army, Scots naturally. At this show I came upon a game by Fusilier games of Aberdeen and it cost £5, a princely sum back then for a game, but as it was called 'Robert the Bruce' and covered the Wars of Independence (although we were in fact independent) I dug deep and became a proud owner.

I enjoyed many games and like a proper wargamer I wanted to spruce it up, I always wanted to use 25mm knights rather than the counters but never got around to it, I did however make some nice coloured cards and laminated them. My one bugbear with the game was the map, many of the hexes could be argued over whether they were highland or lowland so I designed my own map, but never got around to actually printing it off, looking back it was a pretty amateur job which was best left alone.

I became aware years later of the game 'Hammer of the Scots' a nod to Eddie One and always fancied getting it but never did, every now and again the idea came up and again it disappeared as whatever I was doing at the time took priority. Due to technology the next time I looked I could actually see the game and watch how it was played, niggling away at me was the idea that this was simply 'Robert the Bruce' updated, I even checked up the designers and they are indeed different, but believe me the similarities are too many for it not to be a clone.

So the other day I bought it, the price had come down and I was tipped off that it was now £43, so I jumped at it. I had hoped to take it to the club this week but the one day I am expecting a parcel Parclefarce don't turn up until late afternoon so way too late to sort the rules out, and guess what, the next day 0910 bright and early!

I like the look of the game and the mechanics are better and more streamlined than RtB, it is a block game and will be the first I have ever played. But, yes there is always a but, there is a touch of Braveheart in it, RtB was completely historical with HotS there are French knights, nope, don't remember them during the Wars, they don't turn up until the Stewart's are on the throne so why they should be Scottish allies niggles me. In the original the Lord of the Isles was a Bruce supporter and MacDougall a Comyn supporter, both had fleets and were a great way to move forces around, the English had a fleet as well, in this version for some reason the only fleet in the area is Norse, seeing as the game starts around 1297 and the Norse had not been seen on the Scottish mainland since 1263 and signed a treaty in 1266 I do wonder who came up with this. I have one other small, but important to me complaint, James Douglas is represented by a generic saltire and not his coat of arms, that will be the first change and I have the technology and skills to do it, a saltire indeed for the Black Douglas. (When looking for 100 famous black Britons a few years back the Good Sir James (he was only the Black to his enemies) was mentioned, I wonder if they thought the Red Douglas's were native Americans?)

So already I am thinking of introducing the Isles, Macdougall and an English fleet without even having played the game, so I shall have to rein in my enthusiasm until I play a few rounds.

Oh, and you can keep your Balliol supporting William Wallace, "A Bruce, a Bruce!"

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 11

 As the days passed on leaving Mombasa the effects of our short stay began to show themselves, the Sickbay was right across the passage from the Radio Room and it became a struggle each morning for the Forenoon Watch to get to the door as the queue outside the Doc's got larger and larger filled with anxious Matelots with dodgy privates. Now the shame of getting a 'dose' for me would have been mortifying but for some of our veterans it was treated as of no more consequence than a cold.

Friday the 17th found us off the island of Masirah after dark, all around us were fishing boats involved in what we found out was a turtle hunt, the skipper decided to help by turning our 20" signal lights on the surface of the sea, that is 20,000,000 candle power, a small searchlight in other words.

Two days later we anchored at a place called Khor-Al-Quwai, off the Iranian coast, reputedly the hottest place on earth, there is no doubt that this area was hot and there was no balmy sea breeze to bring any relief when on the upper deck. Our air conditioning broke down a couple of times and if you did not want to sleep on the upper deck you had to lay towels along your bunk to catch the sweat as the mess decks turned into sauna's, extremely uncomfortable. We slipped the anchor and prepared for a Banyan, a large beach party for the ships crew with food and of course beer.

A Banyan.
 The tipple on the ship was small cans of Younger's Tartan in yellow cans, fondly known as Yellow Peril, if you were over 18 you could have three a day, so what happened was that one mess member became the 'Beer Bosun' and a locker was made available for storing the cans, then if you wanted more than three or were under 18 you simply bought them, the money going into the mess fund, sometimes there was so much beer it was stored under bunks or in shoe lockers or anywhere we could find. There was also a tradition with us that if you 'called someone round,' invited them to the mess they were given a can by all in the mess, there were about eighteen of us in the mess, you needed the afternoon off if invited to the RO's mess.

The Banyan lasted only for the forenoon and we were underway again shortly after noon. We sailed past the islands of Tunb and Bu Musa to check which flags were flying as they were disputed territory and it was our job to make sure neither rock had been invaded, not that we would probably have done much about it.

So at 0800 this morning we arrived in Bahrain and tied up alongside Mina Salman Jetty in Manama the capitol. The Royal Navy had a shore base near the port complex, HMS Juffair, which had been there since 1935 and which was a very long walk away if you had to do it and not recommended in the horrendous heat.

Tribals at Mina Salman, not us though. I would get a draft to the Nubian years later.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Summer Ost Front

Hottest day of the year so far yesterday, or so I was told, I was also told to look out for rain today but nothing so far, just a nice cool breeze. Anyway I turned up at the club to find Matt hard at work packing up all the wargame bits and pieces, and there is a lot, into boxes for a move, builders are working on the school heating system over the summer so we had to move to a different building and take what we required with us for a few months. A half hour of unintended physical labour followed, not made any better by the amount of wargamers flesh on show, shorts being the dress of the day.

Having lost time we quickly sorted a table and fought the usual three objective game, I really want to get out of the habit of this, I know it suits a club night but we tend to make tentative moves towards the easiest objective then in the last move you get a mad rush for the third. Maybe there is something wrong with me but I just cannot take to Warlord's scenarios for Bolt Action and I have not had much success getting off my bum and doing my own. Maybe it was the heat.

Anyway my force of course was short of what I really wanted but I went with a tooled up veteran squad and two normal squads, along with a sniper, MMG, flamethrower and a Marder III, I wanted to try a StuG III with a squad of riders but didn't have the points, maybe next time. We came at each other from opposite corners of the table, there was no fancy manoeuvring as we knew time was against us, Simon came on particularly boldly and threw his KV1 into action almost immediately against my sniper, cowering alone on a nearby hill. I had no option but to bring the Marder on and set it up in an ambush position to hopefully make Simon think twice about continuing his attack. It did not stop him and I loosed a shot off, bang, a hit, sadly only enough to stun the crew and bring the monster to a halt for a turn.

Meanwhile I ran two squads up the right flank towards the middle of the table, I pushed the flamer and finding a sniper in a nearby building let loose, I killed the spotter and set fire to the building so the sniper had to vacate, I was happy, I hate snipers in this game.

Simon moved his tank again with a squad of infantry in support, the Marder shot a second time but the shell bounced off, however my boys survived a hail of machine gun fire from the said tank by burrowing into the ground. The gods favoured me in the next turn as I drew several German dice out for the beginning of the move, my veterans moved forward and loosed a panzerfaust at the Russian tank but missed, the rest of the squad meanwhile decimated the nearest Russian troops, however they made their morale and stayed put. It was now the turn of the Marder again, this time the shot penetrated and the KV went up in a ball of flame.

As predicted we both made a run for the middle objective as we knew we were on the last move, this time my flamer failed to hit the Russians sheltering behind a nearby hedge but it remained a danger. As we got to the end of turn five Simon had two objectives and the third was contested, it became clear that if we had gone another turn it would have been one each and a contested mid objective so we called the game a draw. I was pleased with my performance, I still have a long way to go with WWII but felt I had learned some things from previous games.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

View From The WIndow

The Gods are playing with us, the School Sports was a miserable, wet disaster yesterday, it rained almost continually all day, there was one lorry in the walk through the village, it could hardly be called a parade, today it is a beautiful morning with lovely azure skies, puffy white clouds and I can see all the way to the horrible windmills halfway to Yorkshire. We passed the celebrations stuffed into the pub car park and around the swing park, it looked like a hastily thrown together refugee camp rather than a sporting event for the kids, all sodden by the incessant rain. Apathy of course is the big killer for events like this, there are hundreds of kids at the local school but many of the people who make the effort to organise the 'School' sports are not parents. The wash out this year will not help things for next year, a real shame.

While I am on the subject of rain I am reminded once again, as if I need reminding, that in general I hate people, don't worry, if the end comes there will be some room on the Ark for those who make the grade, let's just say it won't need to be as big as Noah's. We visited my son last Sunday at his new home, he had been there for two days, it looked nice, had a lovely garden, was in a well looked after neighbourhood and everyone was excited and making plans. We had a few beers and a glass of wine and life was good. The next evening he phoned and told me there was water pouring down the dining room wall as once again the rain had come, there was no way to simply put a bucket under it so a relay of towels had to be used. The culprit was the small extension roof, a roof he had specifically asked the previous owners if it leaked, no he was confidently told.

Desirable residence, open plan.

Now we find out that of course the solicitors have washed their hands of the matter with the less than helpful advice that it wouldn't be worth seeking justice or money back as it was his word against theirs. Of course his main thought after moving in was to poke a hole in the roof and seek redress before fixing on the colour of the new carpets. Then you have the money thrown at the surveyor, the person supposed to find out what's wrong, remember the bit they all get you to sign saying it is not their fault or clause I detest giving these bloodsucking leeches money for putting a picture on a website, or checking the whole house in five minutes or doing a search which has been done countless times before for the same information. All these so called professionals bring to the house buying experience is abject misery and mountains of stress.

I have a mate who was organising with great enthusiasm a wargame weekend for people to enjoy a social occasion and play games, he went to great lengths to recruit people to make an effort to come along kicking and screaming to have some fun. In the end despite the small numbers he didn't want to let them down and was just about, at great expense to himself, to sign on the dotted line when within a few hours the other day four cancelled on him. Why bother to put your name down if you have no intention of going, pulling out at the last minute is easy but leaves someone either hopping mad, out of pocket or both. People.

The wife tried to clean our new oven last week, it is a 'smart' oven, you cannot simply pick up a bottle of Cif and a cloth and set too with elbow grease, oh no, this oven needs to be programmed, locked down and left to heat up to something akin to Vesuvius on a good day as it incinerates every piece of dirt inside and after two hours when it returns to normal you can eventually open the door and marvel. Well, you could if it worked, after two hours you could have kept ice cream inside it. We bought Neff because we swallowed the blurb, so far we have had two visits to sort the touch screen on Oven 2 and now we find that Oven 1 needs a software upgrade before it will clean itself, it's an oven for heavens sake not a computer, well it is I suppose, so we await Oven 2.0. Progress.

And while we are on technology it seems that cyclists looking for that all important big win for sponsorship and fame do not need to rely on drugs alone, they can put engines in their bikes, yes engines. Someone has invented an engine so small it can fit in a bike frame and enhance the performance of an athlete, and the astonishing thing is that the authorities know and have known about this for a long time. I read that coming on top of the Lance Armstrong and other scandals in the world of top class racing they do not want another scandal so quietly ignore the engines, perhaps they can do this as they reputedly cost upwards of £2 million. In sport of all kinds these days it seems you cannot get to the top without cheating in some way.

£2 version

Volvo have said, if I read it right, that they will not build petrol driven cars in two years time, so if you have shares in Volvo my tip is to get rid of them now.

And here is a another quick one, you may have read in the media and watched on the news the item that a British man has just given birth, no, that didn't happen. And neither did the other 26 'men' around the world.

I'll leave you with another jab at sport, it caught my eye last week that the boxer Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather have a fight coming up and last week we got the now deriguer performance where they both try to unsettle each other in front of the cameras. This pantomime is like filming two kids trying to outscore each other with insults in the playground and it just looks stupid when two grown men do it (watch them shake hands at the end of the fight). Mayweather looked more like a rap star than a boxer while the disgusting McGregor wore a striped suit where, if you looked close enough, the stripes were made of the words 'F*%k You'. Classy.

Clothes don't maketh the man.

As you can tell, my karma is slightly out of kilter this week.

Thursday, 13 July 2017


I have been painting since 0845 this morning, sadly not another army but the shop front, this I hope will keep it from falling apart until the PO shut me down, but it is not a bet I would rush to take.

Anyway I am finished and sitting giving the door another wee bit of time to dry then I shall lock up for the day. So I have put my Romano-British out for their photo shoot while I wait, I shall do the Patrician Romans next week and that will give me a complete record of my four War and Conquest armies.

The British started, like the Saxons, as a small skirmish group for Dux Britanniarum but I got so entangled with the whole end of Empire thing along with the Dark Ages that I decided to expand them into a proper army. I started off with a kind of regimented look and then quickly dropped this the more I thought and read about what Britain was like once the Romans had left, not that you can simply pick up a book and all the information is laid out for you. Like anything during this period you dig into it a little and then choose your path.

As I wanted the troops to have a semblance of their Roman past about them I used almost exclusively late Roman figures, I also liked to think they were the kind of forces still clinging to an Imperial past in the bottom corner of Britain known as Dumnonia. Also in that area, perhaps the last proper 'Roman' part of Britain, were the cities of Cirencester, Gloucester and Bath (Corinium, Glevum and Aquae Sulis) who may have had their own militias along Roman lines. So my army has a place to call home, at least until 577AD when the cities fell to the Saxons and the Britons were cut off by land from their neighbours in Wales.

If Arthur was ever real this is the army he might have led, so that is always a nice talking point, in the Scarab Age of Warlords lists you get a choice between the Army of Vortigern or the Army of Ambrosius (Arthur), I have fought with both and like both but normally march with Ambrosius.

Next week it will be my last and newest army, the Patrician Romans, I do like these guys.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Training Day

The club was very quiet last night, only Simon and I playing X-Wing, Clive and Dave with their boardgame and four others trying out Sword and Spear Fantasy. Fantasy on the wargame table is just not my thing, I read some as a rite of passage of course years ago, Conan and Thongor of Lemuria, but I never felt the urge to play it. I also don't get the urge to mirror something like Bolt Action or Dead Man's Hand with werewolves and zombies but each to his own in our multi faceted world of wargaming. Now Sci-Fi I have no problem with as long as it is spaceship battles.

Simon had put together the evenings scenario, a training exercise for rookie Tie pilots, which is very apt as Imperial forces cannot seem to hit a barn door standing in front of it, and don't get me started on why they wear 'armour.' Right, Alpha Squadron had to protect a shuttle which would be leaving a stranded, dead in the water, large ship with an important dignitary on it. Bravo Squadron had to either destroy the hulk before the shuttle launched or, if it did, shoot it down before it jumped to hyperspace.

Bravo Squadron.
Alpha Squadron.

For the first game I was Bravo Squadron, I charged in and managed to cause around 50% damage to the hulk but as I manoeuvred it was obvious I was not going to be able to do the same to the front end, so I positioned my fighters to take the shuttle out on launch. Out it came and just like in the movies my men, who had been hotshots up until then if not particularly good fliers, only managed to scratch the paint on the shuttle as it sped away into the recesses of space. Some awkward explaining to do in the classroom later.

We had time for a second game and changed sides. I thought I would keep my escort out of harms way at first then come in behind the raiders and pick off tail end Charlies, not a good idea. Simon, who had obviously been practicing his tactics on the dining room table, raked the hulk from stem to stern and up it went. My escorts were no more than a minor distraction, I always seemed to be unable to get a decent shot in, I could see my pilots driving transports out on the Rim, whatever that is.

So, a good idea which needs a bit of tweaking, either that or I need to concentrate more. We have not played X-Wing for a while and it showed, at least it did with me, perhaps Simon could tweak it that I won.

It is a gorgeous day after yesterdays rain, I really don't feel like doing much, however I have received another couple of map projects, both WWI so that will keep me busy and I have to paint the front of the PO tomorrow, not looking forward to that, maybe it will rain again.

Monday, 10 July 2017

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 10

We left Mombasa this morning bound for our new station in the Persian Gulf, we would be based at Bahrain and patrol the Gulf from there as we still had quite a large presence in the area in 1970. Mombasa had been an eye opener and a great run ashore, but it was time now to buckle down and see what the future would bring. We heard no stories of bars which must be visited in the Gulf for obvious reasons so we were unsure of what awaited us.

We were ordered to look for a 'shallow' on the way north which had become a danger to shipping, considering what had happened to the Ennerdale I for one was glad we did not find it. Tomorrow we will again cross the Equator but as we were all now certified 'crossers' there would be no celebrations, which is just as well as it happened at 0600 hrs.

Silversands R&R

Jaws look out.

Plum up a gum tree.

It was a tradition to swap or present the ships crest to bars, clubs or military units which had been particularly generous in their hospitality to the ships crew and if you turn up in the right bars on the old edge of Empire you will see many of these, also when possible the ships crest would be painted on to the side of a jetty which was for military use, one striking example is in Bermuda close to Hamilton, the capital, where you will find some going back many years with proud names shown on them. My son a year or so ago, having heard some of my sea stories took the opportunity to visit the Casablanca which still has our crest and had a cocktail in the now 'tired' Nyali Beach Hotel.

I googled Silversands before writing this and to my surprise found another photo of that same palm tree that Plum climbed but with someone else in the photograph, small world.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

View From The WIndow

I hope the rest of you are enjoying summer, we are getting the odd few hours here and there, as I look out this morning it is grey, misty and promising rain, by noon the heat could be driving people into the shade and then by tea time you will be looking for the cardi and thinking of putting the heating on. The village Sports Day was looking decidedly dodgy this year as it was in danger of having no committee willing to organise it, then the school complained that the sports field had been damaged last year, so put itself first before the community and withdrew permission to use the only really large, safe space in the village on which to hold it. However a new committee has been formed and the event is being squeezed into a small spot at the bottom of the village just big enough for the swing park. So out go all the floats, the classic cars, more than likely the differing village groups stalls while everything will be taking place barely a hundred yards from a busy main road. That's the spirit.

Every time I go out in the car here it is a learning curve, we have the usual non signalling bunch, the 'I can park anywhere if my lights are flashing' bunch and the very annoying, especially at crossroads and roundabouts 'no I'll hold these people back and you go first' bunch. I have recently noticed a new species the 'just let me off here' bunch, now these people want dropped off right at the shop, dentist, bookies, wherever, usually right where the road is the busiest, they then struggle to get out of the car then have to lean back in to get their bag then again to confirm 'sausage roll or pastie?' This normally happens on a red light and then continues through the green light until the red comes up again, just letting the driver get away while you are again stuck. And no, the new fines trumpeted in the press have not stopped the mobile phone driver, I watched in horror as a truck outside the shop backed into a small space, right next to my wall, hence my interest, while the driver had one hand on the wheel and blabbing away into his phone on the other, even my glare did not faze him.

 When I worked offshore I was never far from a training course urgently needed to improve myself or teach me the error of my ways or give me the 'tools' to be a better worker drone. The only thing I got out of 90% of them was a large dollop of expenses, a fellow worker once brought a meeting to a halt when asked what he wanted from the course replied, "a new living room carpet." Last week I found out that a scaffolder I worked with, a lovely bloke called Eddie McCullough now has several million pounds in the bank having sold his training company, I looked him up. Sure enough Eddie was the high heed yin at Optimus, 7th Engineering, he even had a video on YouTube, I watched the video and here are some of the gems from Optimus, 'values are important as a methodology' ' if you can get trust from the workforce magic can happen' and this beauty 'pull into the side of the road, are we on the right road, or do we need a different road.' Now anyone who can earn millions from this stuff deserves it but all of it to me is a modern version of the Emperor's new clothes, I worked with people who had been through and swallowed all that nonsense and I wouldn't let them run a village stall but they were running billion pound oil platforms. I watched the whole video and I am still no further forward to what his company actually did. But then again I am not sitting with millions in the bank.

Fast Eddie, well done.

 I have an HP printer/scanner and I use the scanner quite a bit when mapping, the default for it is .pdf so as I work with .jpg's I have to make a huge effort to change this, OK two finger presses but you get my drift. I emailed HP to find out how to set the default as I could not find the settings. The upshot was that I had to continue to use my finger as there was no way to change the default. Imagine my surprise when I got an email from HP congratulating me on getting a reply to my post and honouring me with a badge! Shortly after I was given the rank of Student, I was going places at last, up yours Eddie McCullough, but my rewards kept coming, in another few seconds I had leapt to Honor Student. I was beginning to think I could go all the way to the top, CEO perhaps if I just sat and posted all night. I would have been far more happier if they just allowed me to set .jpg as the default.

Can someone please tell me why Gay people have to be constantly informing the rest of us that they are Proud and hold parades (at public expense mind) in case we didn't quite get it the first time. I heard an advert on CH4 last night where a policeman proclaimed how proud he was, so what, big deal. What's next, proud to be a sado-masochist day, proud to be turned on by long nails day or could you imagine the furore if we had a proud to be heterosexual day, apart from large cities I would lay money you won't find many Gay marches in the rest of the country. Cut it out and give us a break.

Proud as Punch.

On the same lines I see we now have a Black History course at a British university, another little niche and another vocal group, and another skill the country is crying out for.

Are you as upset as the rest of the nation that Bob Geldof is threatening to leave the country and hand back his knighthood as democracy doesn't work for him, the opportunist and agitator who always looks like he could do with a good bath to me, is not even British, he was born in Eire. So off you go and don't let the door hit you on the way out mate.

Saturday, 8 July 2017