Monday, 31 October 2016

Enjoy Your Halloween Experience

I just thought I'd better get into the spirit of the day, so threw this together after breakfast this morning.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

I am still here!

I've been very un-active this summer. A combination of very hot weather making it too hard to get off my deckchair, heavy involvement with a new grand-daughter, and MrsJ's insistence that the caravan needs more exercise  than previous years have all eaten away the time. That and an attempt to list the books I wish to dispose of is taking longer than I thought.

However, while away in the van I have been catching up with the contents of my Kindle reading thing, and would like to bring your attention to an author you may not know of, who has the start of an interesting series on the go.

He is Andy Johnson, an ex-guardsman, privately published and available through Amazon Books.

The first of his books is "Seelowe Nord", and is a fictional account of an alternative invasion of the UK by Hitler's troops, taking place on the Yorkshire coast in the Filey/Bridlington/Scarborough area.We are introduced to a number of participants, both real historical figures and fictional characters, from privates to higher command. Even Churchill's 'Secret Army' of resistance fighters get a mention. A reasonable read with some good wargame inspiration, I won't go into detail in case it gets spoilt for you,

The second of his titles is really a prequel to the above, and carries many of the characters through earlier actions of the war. "Thunder In May" is the story of 1940, from the invasion of Belgium and the assault on Ebn Emaul* through to the final boat leaving Dunkirk after the evacuation. As mentioned above, we are given the story of many of the participants of the first book, from both British and German forces. Andy Johnson has very cleverly joined his fiction with real events of the time in a believable way. No spoilers here, as you know how it ended.

The third book, which I have only just discovered, is 'Crucible Of Fate', and seems to cover the Overlord operation. I haven't read it yet, but if it is as gripping (read all through in one go, late to bed) type of stuff as the others I shall enjoy it.

Check them out, you won't be dissapointed.  

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

BBC Time Commanders to return?

According to another, TV related site, that I hang about in, the BBC are to revitalise the old Time Commanders programme. They are currently looking for armchair generals to make up teams and take part. More information can be found at

Lets hope that they cover a few different eras this time, and the technology should have improved by now.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Suggestions needed

For a number of reasons, not least the real possibility of a major downsize in living accommodation in the near future, I have to reduce my library by some 50% or more. Quite a bit of it is military/naval related and much of it has not been looked at for a long time. I can put the books on that auction site and let the cards fall as they will, donating unsolds to the ubiquitous charity shops; I could offer them to the local second-hand dealer accepting whatever he's prepared to offer, knowing he's in the business for profit; or I could post them on my blog over the next few months, knowing that the information would at least reach interested parties.

The question is whether that would be reasonable, and should I ask a price or for offers? ( in effect, an auction). Would you be interested in seeing what I have to offer in that way?

For example. I have a set (5 volumes) of C.C.P.Lawson's "A History of The Uniforms Of The British Army", published between 1940 and 1967, covering the 1660s through to the early 19th century. I show volume 1 below as an example.

volume 1

Originally published in 1940, this is a 1962 reprint. 202 pages of text. The only one of the set without its original dust jacket, I photocopied one of the others to keep the set looking uniform. Mylar book cover fitted. Some straining and opening of the stitching in one place. Detailed coverage of cavalry, infantry, marine regiments, Scottish regiments, artillery, militia, etc. Many illustrations, mainly black and white sketches. Someone has made occasional pencil notes on certain pages.

I won't quote a price at this time, as I'd rather sell them as a set, but I would appreciate your opinions.

Thank you in advance.

 . volume 4

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Visit to Lincolnshire - part two

Here we have a picture of a perfectly innocuous field in the middle of no-where on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. The only clue to it's past is the name - Slash Hollow. This is where the routing forces of the Royalists were cut to ribbons by the pursuing troops of Oliver Cromwell and Sir Thomas Fairfax after the battle of Winceby in 1643.

And here we look in the opposite direction to view the field of battle itself.

Winceby, as a village, no longer exists. You can drive through it without noticing it was once there. The extent of the field is minute, only about half a mile from one side to the other. With some 3000 troops in the Royalist lines and about 4000 with the Roundheads, more a skirmish really. The whole area would fit onto a normal table if gamed.

Satellite picture care of Google Earth, shows the disposition of the two armies, and the relative smallness of the area.  While tucked away off the main road (The line running left to right along the top of the picture) the site is easily viewable. The battle was a Roundhead victory, enhancing Cromwell's growing reputation, and showed that the Parliamentarian cavalry was every bit as good, if not better, than that of the Crown.

More information can be found in_
British Battlefields, The North - by Philip Warner, (pp79/86)
Battles and Generals of the Civil War - by H.C.B.Rogers, (p110)
Winceby and the battle - by Betty Brammer , 
(A 102 page book that goes into much detail of the events leading to, during, and after the battle; including some interesting stories about what the civilian residents of Winceby did to keep themselves and their property safe. Something often forgotten in tales of war.  

Monday, 4 July 2016

Visit to Lincolnshire, part one

Over the last few days MrsJ and I have been caravaning on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, visiting old haunts as I come from Boston. Yes, that Boston, the Brexit one! In support of their voting I must say in their defence that there have been more violent crimes over the last few years than the previous thirty, and most of the names in the local paper court reports have more consonants than vowels. The residents voted not out of racism, but an objection to the numbers involved.  But enough.

While there we had a little ride round the Wolds, and having just watched the first series of The Hollow Crown (I'm behind with my TV planner viewing) we called in to the village of Old Bolingbroke. You will now ask "where?" This is a very small, perhaps 30 houses in all, village, just on the southern edge of the Wolds, and is extremely important in British history. The castle here was the home of John of Gaunt, and birthplace of Henry IV. Really, you could say the Wars of the Roses started here!

Looking at the remains of the castle now, just a few walls none taller than six feet high, you wouldn't credit it's early importance. Built around the 1200s it occupies ground would take up about half a football field, and that includes the moat! It is one of the few English Heritage sites we have visited that has no entry fee or shop. Indeed, the sign at the gate states "Opening Times - Any Reasonable Time" Mind you, there is only parking for about three cars outside, though the pub is good.

This gives an idea of the size, as you can see from one side across to the other here. Apologies for the intruder, he gets everywhere these days.

Next time, views of Winceby battleground.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Announcement from Blogger Dashboard

The following has appeared at the top of my Blogger Dashboard over the last few days. As I'm not really techno-savvy it means nothing to me, but I publish it to let you all know it is there.

"Coming in late April! All visitors will be able to view your Blogspot domain blogs over an encrypted connection by visiting https://<your-blog> Existing links and bookmarks to your blogs will continue to work. As part of this change, the HTTPS Availability setting will disappear, and your blogs will always have an HTTPS version.

I hope you all know what it is talking about, as I haven't a clue.

We have just been enjoying the first good Sunday in a while, and I've been out in the shed track laying on the new model railway. Soon have a full circuit all powered ready to run the inaugural train. The aim is full track by the end of summer, then I can build the structures indoors over the winter. The population is already coming along. These are Charles Stadden 7mm figures. Older readers may remember his fathers range of military figures.