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Thursday, 16 November 2017


Our neighbourhood pheasant has returned from his summer hols - a welcome sight and I'm glad to see he evaded the flak of the Glorious Twelfth but I will have to be careful now whilst filling the feeders as he does leave rather large turds.

Also - at B's request we went to see Paddington 2 at Cityscreen. We enjoyed it, full of good humour, plenty of laughs, a bit Laurel & Hardy, very entertaining.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Fiasco 2017

Fiasco is the annual show put on by Leeds Wargamers Club at the New Dock Hall, next to the Royal Armouries in Leeds. (This hall was known as Saville Hall but it underwent a name change after the very unsavoury revelations that occurred on the death of Sir Jimmy Saville.)

This year the event was on Sunday. It is a smaller scale show that is very friendly, the gamers and the traders always have more time for chats and to explain what is happening on their games.

For the last two years I have been pursuing a policy of taking a fixed amount of money - also known as a budget - and only buying what I need, not buying lots of figures or paints or books. This is my haul for my ongoing Ottoman project.

Two more flatpack buildings from Warbases

One book - memoirs from a man who was there

From Colonel Bill's stand, a bag of OG 28mm Akinji

Some spears, a number of my Ottoman figures from Ebay do not have spears

A pair of Austrian 3 pounders from Eagle Figures

Why a pair of Austrian 3 pdrs? Well, a few weeks ago I was reading an article on the Ottoman army during the Napoleonic Wars by Andrew F Booth. He had written a sentence "However, the Turks had a fondness for Austrian 3 pdrs..." I find this to be an intriguing line and that such a battery with Turkish gunners would be a good addition to my army.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

"The Death of Stalin"

Saturday's visit to the cinema. Very funny, very well written, a rather dark comedy, a great cast, particularly good was Jason Isaacs as Marshal Zhukov and Simon Russel Beale as Beria, the head of the NKVD.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Middle East Buildings

Purchased a few weeks ago at the Border Rievers Show

I did some research on colours. In the 1990's I visited Jordan and Egypt and there are books of paintings from artists who travelled in the Middle East in the early 19th century. I looked at some of the ready assembled and painted model buildings on the market - many of those are too bright and pristine, one was so white the buildings looked like they were made from snow.

This is the scheme on which I decided, glue, sand, two coats of Citadel Karak Stone, a dark wash for weathering, dabs of Foundry Boneyard Shade, drybrush Tamiya Desert Yellow and Deck Tan. The figures are 3 Dixon Janissaries and a Hinchliffe Janissary, all now ready for basing.

Different lighting

Tower turned through 90 degrees

This gateway is a model I bought on Ebay two years ago, ready assembled and painted, this is the scheme I have tried to follow.

 I also bought this ruined cottage on Ebay. I think it was made by Jarvis. It was dark grey in colour so I have repainted it.

I enjoyed making and repainting the buildings. I will buy a couple more from Warbases, such as some steps for the wall. I shall also keep an eye on Ebay for more bargains.

Monday, 9 October 2017

BladeRunner 2049

We had a trip to the cinema on Saturday. I have waited YEARS for this. I was very well rewarded. This film is fantastic, for once the hype is true. I was awestruck. The director, Denis Villeneuve, has done a wonderful job. Great acting, great locations beautifully filmed, a really good story that is allowed to develop and evolve throughout the film. Without hesitation - 5 stars, 10/10.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

A good week - books and a course

This week the postman left two books and a DVD, all of which were purchased from Amazon traders.

First - following on from the holiday reading of the book on Saladin, this book covers the period of 1415 - 1575.

Second - this new volume from Osprey, my library of French history continues to grow

Third - I don't know how or why I have not seen this film before, I am a big fan of Ridley Scott and this was his first feature film. Something to look forward to one afternoon next week.

I always feel guilty about buying online from Amazon. The company has been accused of setting up an internal structure in Luxembourg with the aim of reducing its tax bill and I feel as though I am complicit in and encouraging their tax avoidance. To counter that, the pricing is very attractive, the Osprey book was 8.40 pounds, in a bookshop (if they stocked the book) it would have cost 11 pounds, so I saved around 25per cent. In itself, this is not a huge monetary saving, but over a year because of the number of books and films and CDs I buy, the saving is quite substantial. What a dilemma.

October is the start of the new academic year. This week I began a course with the University of York's Centre for Lifelong Learning, "The Spanish Civil War" for the Autumn Term, 10 Thursdays, 13.00 - 15.00 hrs, purely for the learning and for interesting discussions with fellow history geeks. This is the second year that David, the lecturer, has run the course. Last year I was too late with my booking, the course was already full. This year I booked as soon as I could to ensure my place. 

This is the lecture outline for week one.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Taormina Books & Theatre

Being away from the computer and the tv for a week, I did some reading.

Allan Mallinson has written a series of books about a young chap making his way up to command of a regiment of light dragoons. I read the first one, set in the Waterloo campaign. This is my second and is set in 1830, during a period of civil unrest (no constabulary at that time) and then in the Belgian war of independence. I enjoyed the novel, it's not something I usually read but when on holiday...I found the author's moralising a bit heavy handed, but apart from that, a good story.

Then back to history for my second book, "Saladin", just read because it looked interesting when I was in Waterstones. A very good book, very informative, for example, I did not know he had trouble with the Assassins. It may have provided some back story for my Ottoman project.

This was our fifth holiday in Taormina. Each time we say will visit the Roman Theatre - this time we made it. Here are some photos

The theatre is on a promontory overlooking the town

It is one of the largest in the Med


Very stylish sandals

The theatre is now used for concerts and other events

From the top, the view looking north

The view of Taormina

The view looking South