Thursday, 31 May 2018

In A Galaxy Far, Far .....................

I am home alone this week as I might have mentioned, busy trying to stay alive until SHE gets back, according to her of course I am lost without her. It's Moroccan salmon with spicy cous-cous tonight, and not out of a tin, take that.

 At a loose end on Tuesday night as Simon was D&D'ing I heard that Stuart was bringing the new Star Wars Legion so asked if I could join in, Stuart was pleased as I was the only one who had asked. I went in a bit late to find everything set up, a small battlefield to get introduced to the rules with three squads a side, albeit the Imperials had two speeder bikes. Stuart said he was not impressed with some of the figures but I thought the ones on the table looked fine, my opponent was Roger so Stuart umpired.

The game is from Fantasy Flight Games and is immediately recognised as such, if you have played X-Wing then you are half way there, you get a squad and can then build it up by adding various pieces of equipment or extra men, there are shed loads of nice cards for this and no doubt shed loads more on the way, FFG like to coin in the cash. There is a nifty scenario builder with cards, one for the deployment, one for the mission and one with effects i.e. fog, you take it in turns to lift a card until you end up with three which are the game you will play. That's the game in a nutshell but of course there are almost endless variances on troops and missions and again more will be added, no doubt a campaign system as well.

(It is a Thursday morning and still the customers have not stopped coming in, hold on)

In this game I had to get into a base through a large door in the corner, we had ten minutes of mirth on how it would be done in a Star Wars movie with one or two people being able to sneak past several divisions of Stormtroopers, my three squads were going to have a much harder time getting across the open ground to the door. The game is quite deadly and as one of my squads was reduced to one man in the first fusillade I had throw everything I know about the Star Wars universe out the window, Stuart told us the Stormtroopers were really good shots! And here was me thinking they would need at least three sixes for a hit. I did not get anywhere near the door, I did manage to shoot down both speeder bikes but that was it, Plan A had not worked.

The second game was much bigger and involved a lot more troops along with very nice small walkers and one of their larger cousins, the small ones were particularly nice models. This time there was a lot more terrain and we had to pick up markers, whoever had the most won. Luke and Vader were in on this game and both dealt out quite a bit of damage, Vader to a Landspeeder and Luke to the ill fated speederbikes who again bit the dust. As I said above before I was interrupted in mid flow by yet another customer, the shooting is quite brutal, you through a combination of coloured dice depending on who you are and the weapons you are using. You then save with certain coloured dice, usually white if you are cannon fodder or red if anybody important, I used a lot of white and had to check a few times as they all seemed to be blank when I threw them. As the clock struck ten I had two tokens and Roger none, the late hour must have had an effect on Stuart as he declared a draw, my cannon fodder had died for nothing.

So, what did I think, the game is fine for a club night and a bit of fun, it plays very quickly and is easy to pick up, like X-Wing there is a depth to the game by studying the cards and choosing the right load outs for your men, but you would need to spend some time on that part of it. Stuart as is his want has loads of stuff for the game, all the extras and it was good of him to bring it along and umpire. Stuart has a 3D printer and a lot of his terrain pieces and buildings he printed off himself.

I received a nice bundle of stuff from the Postie the other day, the first of my SYW project. The Front Rank infantry are superb, they are very clean and crisp with minimum cleaning up to do and the GMB flags are excellent, nice and big with vibrant colours. I have now primed and started to paint the figures, my only concern is how I will manage the lace buttonholes and the edgings. Some buttonhole lace has two colours and I have seen this painted on in examples, I suspect I might not be able to do this due to my eyesight so may keep away from battalions with many colours. The drummers are especially dandified and the 33rd's has a white coat instead of the normal red, so some challenging painting coming up.

The flood of customers has now dried up, fingers crossed I make it until Noon.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Experience Wins Out

My son came over for a weekend of wargaming while the missus is in the North of Scotland with her mates, I gave him the choice of games but he wanted to stick with War and Conquest as he had not played with his Carolingians in a long time. We settled on three games, Carolingians vs Saxons, Patrician Romans vs Romano-British and to finish off Romans vs Seleucids we fought two yesterday and one today.

First up was Stewart commanding his own army against my Saxons, I had gone for a fairly typical force, two bodyguard units, three average and one poor infantry commands supported by some cavalry and three units of skirmishers. Stewart also had two elite Household units, massed archers, skirmishers and two cavalry commands along with some fairly standard types. The Carolingians had to deploy first so I had an advantage in that I could put my best troops up against not so good troops, but of course this left my not so good units opposite Carolingian elites.

Saxons on the left, Carolingians on the right.

I refused my left while aiming to attack with my right, Stewart moved forward to take the high ground while pushing some cavalry out on his right. He saw the danger to his left and withdrew the Pueri which would probably not have stood against my Gedriht, as my cavalry also advanced on his left he moved cavalry there and turned one of his household units from the right flank to the left. I now made a shift in my line and threw my 'White Horses' up the hill and into the archers and their supporting unit, both of these ran. I took this chance as I thought my cavalry would handle the enemy here and the Pueri would take too long to come to the aid of their friends. Events proved me right and although my cavalry were beat the Pueri failed their morale and fled, the enemy left had gone.

I had also been winning against the odds on my left but the tables turned and I lost two units, however I ended up in the happy position of being able to sandwich a much depleted Carolingian Household unit between two of mine, quickly dispatching them to meet their Christian god. Elsewhere I had mopped up a couple of units who had had the temerity to rally and try their luck again, with virtually no army left Stewart handed over his sword.

We had something to eat and decided to waive the pub as we had drink in the fridge and crack on with the second game, this time Romano-British vs Patrician Romans, I was the former. I went out of my comfort zone here and took three cavalry units, one was a Comitatus command with heavy armour, assault troops hopefully, I also had one foot Comitatus and the rest average troops supported by one massed archer unit and some skirmishers. I deployed two cavalry units on my left hoping to turn the Roman flank, the other along with the archers I put 'outside' my battle line on the far right, not a good idea as it turned out. My plan was to take the nearby hills and wait and see what happens. Stewart had took two very good cavalry units, both Nomads but one was the Generals personal bodyguard, Bucellari. There was a strong contingent of Goths led by their own General and three Legions supported by some skirmishers and two bolt shooters.

Romano-British on the left, Patricians on the right.

The Patrician left is destroyed and the action moves to the centre.
The Patrician centre also flees.
As the battle unfolded I did indeed lose my right flank cavalry, also my massed archers kept being charged and ran away, only to rally in the rear, eventually some Goths and the Bucellari routed the only infantry in the area but it was too little too late. Before this I realigned my left and went for the artillery with my Comitatus shielded by my other cavalry which had gone into skirmish formation, I thought this was a brilliant strategy and that it would punch a hole straight through the Roman line, sadly although the first bolt shooter was destroyed the second held off my cavalry with little more than pointed sticks. Luckily elsewhere the Legions had been beaten back or their morale had failed. This along with the Goth general falling and his Nobles dispersing meant that losing my extreme right would have no effect on the battle as I turned my now victorious units towards the remaining Romans. I collected another sword.

Gorgeous sunny morning and as per instructions I served up a fried breakfast for my son, after the sumptuous repast it was game three. Seleucids vs Romans, once again I led the former, I took three phalanxes, one group of mercenary hoplites, some supporting horse archers and skirmishers and Companion elite heavy cavalry, also an elephant and some Thorakitai. Stewart when all in for heavy infantry and took five cohorts supported by skirmishers, bolt shooters and also some heavy  Contarii cavalry. Although the deployment area scanned the whole table, as we set the troops out one unit at a time Stewart inadvertently signalled his intention to sit in one corner, this was fine by me as it meant that at least my left flank was safe. It also allowed me to deploy two phalanxes and the mercenary hoplites against units which, although going to be sitting on a hill I should beat due to numbers, the rest of the army assembled on my right, I would feint with these then attack if possible, the elephant I kept hidden behind some trees.

Seleucids on the left, Romans on the right.


Sure enough the battle unfolded the way I thought, the Romans took the hill and sat on it, my skirmishers failed to drive away the enemy light troops but my advanced infantry soon did this job for them. I threw caution to the wind and rapidly advanced the Companions, bolts flew at them but never found their mark to Stewart's fury, he now sent his Contarii on a collision course with the Companions. Over on my left my troops swept up the hill and swept away the cohorts, I now threw my right in as well, the Thorakitai moving across and  taking on the massed Auxiliary archers and adding them to the routs. I felt I had to charge my 'Blue' phalanx into the elite cohort while my Companions struck and routed the Contarii, I lost the 'Blues' but the Companions slammed into the last Roman cohort and won the first round of combat. With only two battle formations now remaining Stewart offered the third sword of the weekend.

The Roman centre and right collapse.
The last of the Romans.

And that was that, a great weekend series of battles and good of Stewart to enter into the fray commanding two armies with which he has no experience while I have the measure of most of mine, albeit not all the time. I think what was lacking with Stewart's choices, was Roman flexibility, not so much with the Patricians but certainly with what is available for the Early Imperial army, he took far too many heavy infantry cohorts, a mistake I have seen several new Roman commanders make. My worst mistake was to have such a shaky right flank in the second battle, I was punished for it but not fast enough for it to count. I am now going to put my feet up for the rest of the evening and watch a movie.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Toe Is In The Water

Beautiful day, again, and I have nothing to do but sit and enjoy it. I put the finishing touches to my WWII odds and ends this morning which now gives me six squads a side for Bolt Action. My next plan was to base up my Wild West buildings and I duly got a pile of bases from Alan at Hokahey Wargaming, excellent service. I laid out the town last night in order to get an idea of what I wanted and after some time looking at everything I gave up, I have no need to put a lot of effort into something I only play now and again. It is not laziness, the town just looks fine as it is and is far more flexible this way, also I managed to reorder it so it fits in two boxes now instead of three, it really is too big. I offered five buildings to a good home free gratis but no one took me up on the offer.

Almost done.
Ah, stuff it.

I have changed my mind, Muskets and Tomahawks are going to remain on the back burner and I am going for the Seven Years War. To this end I have found a superb site online which is exactly what an online resource should be, you could sit all day perusing it even if you are not interested in the Seven Years War, it is that good (The Seven Years War).

As I said I am sitting with nothing much to do, I am waiting for several authors to get back to me but none seem in a hurry, so naturally I decided to get a jump on the new project. I have ordered up bases, grass tufts, flags and finials in preparation for the first figures, I have also chosen one British and one French regiment to test my painting skills, such as they are, I do not yet have the figures. The units are Griffin's 33rd Foot and a battalion of the Aquitaine Infanterie. lovely flags.

My son is coming over for a weekend of War and Conquest, we are hoping for three battles, Saturday will be Romans vs Seleucids, Sunday if we can fit in two battles kicks off with Carolingians vs Saxons then Patrician Romans vs Romano-British. All the games should be hard fought as there are no stand out winners, only some tough decisions and tough fighting ahead.

I managed to sit down and watch Den Of Thieves the other night, I wasn't looking for Shakespeare but my god has big Gerry Butler let himself go, he looked like a he needed a good wash throughout. If you are or have always been less than impressive in the six pack stakes and it has worried you then this is not the movie for you, goody or baddy all were interchangeable with their muscles having muscles and covered in the obligatory indecipherable tattoos, no 'MUM' here. The plot was just about believable but the execution was not, you could drive a bus through the holes. Dreadful stuff. I have already been warned off Black Panther with its seemingly less than subtle subtext, but we will see.

 I managed, despite having to close my eyes or turn away several times, to watch the first installment of the Beeb's take on the Jeremy Thorpe scandal and it was excellent, mainly due to Hugh Grant (Jeremy Thorpe) and Alex Jennings (Peter Bessell). I remember having no sympathy for Norman Scott back in the '70's and that doesn't seem to be about to change.

Friday, 18 May 2018

The Battle of Yeah But

Kevin came up yesterday for our Thursday afternoon bash, back to War and Conquest after Bolt Action last week. I was looking forward to this battle and had decided to completely change my tactics, this time I was going to attack the enemy centre not go for the flanks. To do this I took two veteran phalanxes, two elephants and some light units to watch my flanks, I also went overboard with four skirmish units when I normally use at most three. The enemy, Carthaginians, had the usual solid line of hoplite style infantry, a warband and more skirmishers than me but in smaller units, as they deployed I had not altered my thoughts about going for the centre. The terrain suited me as well as it closed the field of battle down and was more friendly to me than Kevin, my flanks should be fine.

Seleucids on the left, Carthaginians on the right.

I advanced my left and centre while moving my right back towards the phalanxes to better protect them, I threw my skirmishers forward and although they took heavy casualties on the left they stood their ground and eventually drove off the enemy. No one shot at the elephants so again job done. On the right the enemy fell back from my large skirmish unit which effectively took up the attention of three Carthaginians skirmish units, thus keeping them from my battle line.

My left in real danger.

I had planned to smash the two elephants into the Gallic warband but it sidestepped them and I mucked up my attack so only the Thracians went in minus pachyderm support, this unit looked smart in their black tunics and white shields armed with the dangerous rhomphaia, this was their first test, and it was disastrous, they fled back to Thrace with me cursing them all the way, but this now took the warband away from the clash in the centre and I could turn an elephant on them.

Nellie saves the day as the struggle in the centre intensifies.

Meanwhile my phalanxes had hit the Carthaginian centre and I lost my momentum, the African infantry are incredibly hard to budge and although the Purple phalanx kept winning their opponents would not break, my top phalanx the Whites had an even tougher fight and it swung both for and against them, I even managed to throw my mercenary peltasts into the fight but still got nowhere and eventually Italian spearmen joined in so a real slaughter ensued with no one giving in.

The elephants rule.

 My elephants had dispersed the Carthaginian cavalry and had now hit the warband and a unit of Numidians and knocked them both back, the Purple phalanx had vanquished their foes and my Thorakitai were about to be charged by Italian Hoplites, the Whites and Mercenaries held on by the skin of their teeth, and ................ that was it, we had to stop.

We are left with an interesting what if.......
 This is usually the part where each player gives his account "Yeah but" of how the battle would have ended, but at the point we had reached it was balanced on a knife edge too close to call. Neither of us seemed to be as concentrated as we usually are, several rules were missed which could have swung combats one way or the other, my head particularly had turned to jelly, and time had run away from us. Kevin had to call it a day in the end and return to HQ, so a frustrating end to a vicious struggle.

I do wonder if the author of the Carthaginian list had a touch of 'Hannibal Fever' which causes you to forget that the army won because it was led by one of the most successful of Ancient generals not because it was simply unbeatable which leads to coming up with an army which is damn hard to beat on the tabletop, even when not led by Hannibal or his alter ego. I have found this akin to "Rommel Fever" and even the more general "German Fever" or dare I say it "Roman Fever" although obviously it is correct in this form (tongue is in cheek), I am sure there are others. I have only a cursory knowledge of the Carthaginians but their fighting capabilities in WAC seem a tad overpowered. Maybe chariots and elephants will do it next time.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A Ripping Yarn

We arrived at the club to find Rob with case on case of 'stuff', the table was set up as the village of Nateby, Lancashire, 1938 when the Civil War broke and turned the country on its head. It transpired that the Bishop of London had 'acquired' the Crown Jewels and split them up for safety. Some were carried North by Anglican League members who were cornered in Nateby by the British Union of Fascists, during the firefight the crown jewels were secreted about the village as it was known friendly forces were on the way. All but one of the Anglican guards were killed.

I took on my role as Colonel, the Honourable, Lord George Black VC with three platoons of regular royalist troops, helped by the dastardly Gestapo agent Herr Flick and a platoon of the Volunteer German Legion. We were to regain the royal regalia for the King. Also heading for the village were all sorts of adventurers, rebels and downright scum all intent on gaining loot. I was unsure who was who so shot at anyone who came close while scrabbling in the walls and hedgerows to uncover the jewels. The Germans began by gunning down some Lefty mercenaries and Soviet advisers led by the traitor Lady Felicity Lymehurst last seen jumping from a train in distant parts to escape from the clutches of Lord Black and a date in the Tower. Felicity was not her old self and she and her acolytes retreated to a nearby barn and stayed there for the whole game, terrified to come out.

The heroic Lord Black VC and his trusty batman.

The German Legion alongside the Cameronians

My regulars I posted in a couple of buildings in the path of Simon's Rebel troops and managed to hold them off with accurate machinegun fire. The Germans had found several of the crown jewels but had lost quite a few men so Herr Flick ordered a withdrawal, this left a platoon of Cameronians to hold my left flank, which they did manfully scything down a hardened, if mentally challenged, commissar and his men, however these men were just too stupid to run and merely went to ground. All the communists were now basically out of the picture but being still in the area meant I could not risk pulling back the Jocks.

Soviet advisers and Lady Felicity, booo.

More Commies. They only found cheap paste imitation jewels.

I now got some handy reinforcements of Kenyan Rifles and as I spotted Lord and Lady Strickland and their estate workers carrying what was obviously a wounded man I set after them with the intention of interrogating the unfortunate as to exactly where the jewels were hidden. The workers dropped the body and ran for the nearest building, Simon got to him first only to find he was dead, so I now set the Kenyans on the nearest Rebel troops, I won the fight but did not deal out enough damage to force the enemy to run.

Blue Shirts and Police along with Inspector Foyle.

Boss, boss the plane, the plane.

It was now that the drone of an aircraft engine was heard and down hurtled an Me108, managing to miss decapitating the Kenyans and landing near Herr Flick and his survivors loaded with loot. I ordered all my troops to follow me as we ran for the plane, this of course was against the grain for a VC but the mission came first. Simon tried several times to hit the plane but even with holes appearing nothing serious was damaged as Black, Flick and the accumulated wealth were pressed into the tiny cockpit and the plane lunged forward. As Nateby disappeared below a shadow fell over the cockpit, a Gloster Gladiator had turned up, so close, but wait, it was an escort, we sped off into the sunset.

A great little game and in keeping with the turmoil of a Very British Civil War tied in with characters used by Rob in other games in the back of beyond. I have always wanted to give this a go. There were some really nice figures amongst the many factions and the added flavour of an armoured car, armoured train and the aircraft really set the scene. Oh, and did I mention that in the Me108 was a vast haul of crown jewels which gave Lord Black the win.


How do you feel about Kickstarters, I don't like them. Once again I will probably find myself in a minority, I am not a patient man when it comes to my wargaming and I have fallen foul of this trait a few times. Look at the fifty odd aircraft, all repainted, I have sitting around for Wings of Glory (aka Wings of War) or the numerous star-ships for X-Wing when you can only 'field' at most half a dozen in a dogfight. Not to mention, which is daft because I will, the complete cowboy town of Carefree when a small street was enough. I want my stuff now, not drip fed over several years.

It seems you cannot escape them nowadays, I was under the mistaken impression that the excellent Galloping Major FIW range was complete, but I was wrong, on asking where I could find the French regulars I was told they would be out shortly, as a Kickstarter, as will other additions to the range. I may therefore have to look elsewhere for these figures mean time but will use them when I get around to the SYW project. The Jacobite range which set me on the path to 18C warfare from Flags of War will not be out until October (if on time), and then further Kickstarters will kick in for the rest of the range, which will be very comprehensive, so a very long wait to get everything you want.

A friend pointed me towards a project involving hard plastic figures for the SYW, they want £40,000, I have no idea what it costs to produce a range of figures so have no idea whether that is realistic or not. Like many or all(?)  Kickstarters if the money is not produced neither is the product.

I also wonder at the effect it has on suppliers who do bring out a range of figures for a given period and then find themselves losing out as people buy the bulk from a Kickstarter and the additional odds and ends which are not required in large numbers, but give character and life to an army from a traditional manufacturer, who of course loses out on bulk sales.

Am I wrong but is the thinking, I want to produce something but don't want to take any risk, so I will get the money from other people, if it works then good news for everyone, if not then nothing lost, apart from the people who put money where there mouths are to get something they wanted.

Anyway, I joined two Kickstarters and neither is on time, one may well run over by a year or more.

This is a personal view and no punters egos were harmed in the writing (I hope), all the ideas are copyright to me, were sourced organically and ethically, are allergen free, non-gender specific, blah, blah, blah..............

Monday, 14 May 2018

A Convoluted Process

The original plan as you know was to finish my Seleucids this year and call it a day apart from the odd tidy up until at least next year, money, commonsense and the missus dictating that I did not need any more wee sojers. Well as of this weekend that is out the window. I'll find the cash, I have never been known for commonsense and, well we will leave that one alone.

As I wait patiently for the last of my cavalry to turn up I have had a bad week with nothing to paint after years of having something on the tray, I even dredged up five figures from my lead molehill, I am unlike other wargamers in this. I saw the Flags of War Kickstarter with beautiful figures for the Jacobite Rebellion and suddenly thought what a great idea what with me being a Jock and also enjoying rank on rank of red uniforms and fluttering Union flags, two birds with one stone. I then got cold feet as the figures will not be out until October and only if the Kickstarter is successful, a very comprehensive range is to follow if it is, but now we are looking at years away, so that's been put on the back burner.

I managed to get maybe one of the last copies of Muskets and Tomahawks for the French and Indian Wars along with the cards and have kept them in a drawer for a rainy day, this interest was mainly fired up at the club by Rob Martin and his excellent scenarios along with some beautiful figures brought by Rob and some of the other lads. I decided after some soul searching and research to put this game to the top of the pile.

However as I looked into the FIW period I couldn't ignore the Seven Years War of which it was part. Big battles, lovely figures, lots of army choices what more could I ask for, one last, big wargaming hurrah which could last years and possibly never end. As you know I got the 'Black Powder' rules in order to join Kevin with his Wars of the Spanish Succession, I also downloaded the 'Last Argument of Kings' to go with them, this has oodles of eye candy (and not much else for a tenner) for the SYW and attendant periods, so perhaps even the rule question had been sorted. In case it was not I have 'Honours of War' on the way and know but have never seen 'Beneath the Lily Banners' from the League of Augsburg.

So, that puts me on this course, finish the Seleucids, build forces for Muskets & Tomahawks, then jump into the SYW (28mm) for the foreseeable future, while restructuring my Cowboys and adding a couple more vehicles to Bolt Action. But don't put money on this yet.

I have also started buying used books from Amazon and have a few Osprey titles for the FIW on the way, most at half price, I can see me using this option more for the SYW.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

George's Marvellous Day Out

Possibly over egging it a bit there. I have decided to get out and about a bit more at weekends during the summer, or if we are lucky to get a good weekend. Last week during the beautiful bank holiday weather we went to a food festival in Lancaster, a nice day out, some excellent 'street' food and a Bubblegum mocktail, delicious. Anyway we have been blessed with another lovely weekend, so into Lancaster again yesterday to pick up some olives and cheese at the market and today it was off to Carlisle Castle.

There has been a fortress or castle at Carlisle since Roman times, the remains of which are underneath the present structure, it was easy to get to and there is a big car park where you can sit for the whole day for a mere £2.50. It is also close to the town should you wish to visit, I don't recommend that.

As you would expect the site has seen many sieges by the Scots through the centuries, usually unsuccessful and been visited by many important personages, David I King of Scots died there, Mary Queen of Scots stayed for a couple of months and the famous Border Reiver Kinmont Willie made a daring escape from the place. Edward I used Carlisle as a base for his forays into Scotland. It is perhaps best remembered as an outpost of the Jacobite's during the '45 Rebellion, the 'old hen coop' as the Duke of Cumberland described it surrendered after only a week of bombardment, its occupants shackled and imprisoned in extremely harsh conditions, soon to be joined by further Jacobite's captured after the Battle of Culloden. At least 31 of these unfortunates were hung, drawn and beheaded on Carlisle's Gallows Hill the rest sent to the colonies.

The castle is also home to the Border Regiment which has gone through many changes and amalgamations from the 34th and 55th Foot in 1881 to end up as the 3rd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's Lancashire and Border), now there's a mouthful and a sad end. Nonetheless the museum is crammed full for such a small building and if you are in the area I recommend a visit, in fact militarily it was better than my visit to the politically correct Army Museum in London.

28mm Napoleonics, beautiful exhibit.
But, and there is always a but, on entering the museum we were hit by a large board proclaiming the role of women in the regiment, from camp followers of old to modern day soldiers, and there was a lovely lass with two stripes smiling from the poster to make sure you got the message. "Hurry up and look at the exhibition" we were told as it was about to get crowded enthused the doorkeep, we duly made our way upstairs. The small room was almost empty apart from some photographs of families, wives and children of officers enjoying foreign climes I suspect in the '50's and '60's. Nothing of course from the camp followers etc. of which the poster boasted, we were invited to pretend about the importance of women to the regiment despite the exhibition being completely bankrupt of any proof.

"You there, the man in the blue T-shirt.................

We were fortunate to witness an inspection of veterans and young cadets accompanied by a very smart band on the parade ground during our visit. Despite everything you cannot stop your heartbeat quicken as boots crunch gravel and standards are borne aloft while stirring tunes are played, good on the young ones and the old grognards.

A wee present to myself.