Sunday, 28 February 2021

Let's Celebrate St.David's Day

 March 1st is St.David's Day, celebrated throughout Wales (and possibly Patagonia). As we lived there for a number of years during our childrens primary school years I remember our daughter dressing up in her lille Welsh Lady costume along with the rest of her friends in order to go to school dressed like that. A pity that England doesn't celebrate St.George's Day in that way, but we don't seem to have a national costume, and I seem to find it difficult to imagine one (flat cap vs bowler, anyone). However, in order not to let the day go unremarked I append the little cartoon strip below.


This is from the old newspaper strip 'The Perishers' that appeared in the Daily Mirror way back in the 1960s and was one of my favourites. Not that my father took the Mirror, he was an Express man, but every Saturday I had to ride my bike to the outskirts of town where a family friend (and honorary gramnparent) had a smallholding, there I picked up 3 dozen eggs carefully wrapped in newspaper, no cartons in them days! and cycled home with them in my saddlebag. Rarely did I get home without at least one breakage. The paper they were wrapped in was the Mirror, and I read all the bits once I got back home.

The Perishers were a British equivalent of Peanuts, and to my mind were far superior. The drawings were far more detailed, often,like tis one, travelling over a panoramic background, and sometimes the storyline would last for a couple of weeks. Who can forget Wellington, an orphan living in an old railway station and making a living (?) selling go-karts (buggies, karties, ) to unsuspecting children; along with his dog Boot, an Old English Sheepdog with delusions of grandeur. He believed himself to be an 18th century aristocrat under a gypsy curse. Then of course there were the supporting cast. Marlon, who never had a thought in his head and a pechant for ketchup sandwiches, Maisie who pursued Marlon with vigour, much to his distress, and could win any argument even if it meant resorting to violence; Maisie's little brother Baby Grumplin, who was famous for his worm sandwiches and general misdeeds.

Other characters popped in from time to time. B.H.Calcutta (failed) the Indian Bloodhound who'd lost his sense of smell, Tatty Oldbit the sailor's friend,  a beagle with a disreputable liking for sailors (or any male, come to that), Adolf the Teutonic tortoise with dreams of world domination, and many others. 

Selections of their strips were published in annual collections, and I understand that some are being reprinted in the Mirror nowadays.

Thanks for sharing this little bit of nostalgia. Have a good day and stay safe.


Monday, 11 January 2021

13th (Llandaff) Corps, Glamorganshire Volunteer Rifle Corps, 1860

 


My first painted unit completed in a long time. The figures represent a unit of the Glamorganshire Volunteer Rifle Corps of 1860, when they wore an unusual uniform of dark blue with green embellishments. 



The original donor figure, complete with full trousers and coat braiding, is unrecognised by me, and Giles Brown of Dorset Miniatures couldn't place it either. It doesn't appear to be Britains 'standing Hussar' or 'Argentinian cadet' as I see them in my reference books, but could be another make. I replaced the head with one from the Fort Henry Guard, lopping the pom pom off first, and gave the officer a little cord on his belt. Rifle and sword arms come from Replica Models.

These figures took a long time to finish (I started them back in November) as my fine lines seem to wobble these days and need a lot of retouching. I do have some FHG figures in stock which may get painted next, I just need to find an appropriate uniform from my file.




Monday, 28 December 2020

Christmas Games

 This year Christmas has been particularly confusing, trying to sort out who we can meet, who we can visit, who we have to avoid, etc. Normally it has been a case of getting everybody together at the same time, taking it in turns as to which abode we visit. This year was to have been our daughters turn, but if we went then our son would not be able to take his family, so we compromised by having his two (boy 13 and girl 5) for a few hours before the day while the parents went shopping.

Normally we play a family board game, such as Cluedo, Scrabble, Ludo, Snakes and Ladders; something for the adults but mainly the children. This year computers, Ipads, and other electronic things prevailed, but to get the two grandchildren away from temptation MrsJ found, at the top of the wardrobe, a game we used to play with our own.

"Take The Brain" is a simple (hah!) board game from the early 1970s, and is similar to chess but with only three types of piece. There are Numbskulls that can only move one space, Ninnys that can move unlimited spaces in a straight line, and a Brain (basically the King) who again can only move one space. The object is to 'kill' your opposition brain by occupying his square.



You may think it easy, but - each square has a number of arrows on it, pointing in various different positions. Some straight, others diagonal, and you can only move a piece in the direction one of the arrows is pointing!! Some forward thinking is involved, and you have to keep an eye on the squares occupied by enemy pieces as well as your own; you may end up thinking yourself safe, but in line from an enemy piece on the other side of the board.



We ran through the game once with our two (5 and 13, remember) once and then the older one played me. I beat him the first time but was soundly trounced the second * (the crys of "I beat grandad" echoed round the house}. After that they both played it non-stop, enjoying it as much as each other. So much so that they've borrowed the game to take home. 

Unfortunately the game is no longer produced, and I only found two for sale on that auction website, for over £30 each. If you can find a copy anywhere, I recommend it. 

* I was so busy concentrating on my plan that I missed one of his Ninnys with direct route to my Brain.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Seasons Greetings - 2020


 Hasn't this been a peculiar year? Most of us spending a great deal of it trying to keep away from people and being really anti social. One would think that our hobby activities would conquer all, but that doesn't appear to be the case on my part. I seem to have done less rather than more. Loads of 28mm soldiers remain unpainted, the various 54mm figures I'd planned to complete remain in their packets, three model railways (of various scales and gauges) seem frozen in progress and the garage workbench has gathered a layer of dust. Personally I blame MrsJ. She retired at the beginning of the year and keeps finding things to 'keep her occupied', trouble is they usually involve me too. So the days disappear, one by one.

I've made a positive resolution that for 2021 I shall escape to the garage or shed on a daily basis for a couple of hours, even if it only involves a bit of tinkering. My list of 'things I'd like to make' is yards long, the wood has been maturing for a few years now, and I have to prove to MrsJ that the tools in the garage are used, contrary to her belief that, just because I don't use them all regularly I don't need them is erroneous. The mortice drill, beading plane, router and planer may not come out every day, but they all have their special times.

In the meantime, I managed to throw together the header picture as a sort of Christmas card for this year. Normally the doctor would go out and about with us on our caravan trips, but he hasn't had a chance this year. 

Merry Christmas everybody, stay safe, As the Chinese saying goes "This, too, will pass"

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

What to do on moving day?

 After spending twenty odd years in our current home, and letting everything settle comfortably around us, MrsJ has announced that sometime next year she wants us to move some thirty odd miles to be nearer daughter and grandchildren. As said daughter has also approved of the idea I'm on to a losing battle to stay here. Now, moving means considerable upheaval, especially for those of us who have numerous miniatures to move. I have soldiers, in various scales, model railway bits and pieces, a shed full of modelling materials and a garage full of woodworking tools, plus a fairly large library. 

I would like to receive suggestions on how to pack my mini armies to avoid damage. Which type of box and how to wrap (tissue, cotton wool, bubble wrap) in order to let them be lugged around leaving me piece of mind. For those of you who may have done this recently, how did you do it?

Thankfully nothing will happen too soon, though I have been shown a number of properties on the market as MrsJ browses the internet of an evening. Mind you, I'd better finish painting the figures that are on the table at the moment! 

Monday, 23 November 2020

Ancestry - early days

 Finally, after quite a few letters (e-mails really, but I still think of them as letters) I've managed to obtain my Great Grandfather's service record from his time in the Royal Marine Artillery. All I have to do now is work out how to read it as it is in beautiful copperplate handwriting and some of it barely decipherable.


As far as I can tell at a quick glance he enlisted in 1881, when he was 19 years old, and was invalided out in 1896 when he was 33. During that time he met my Great Grandmother (1884) and my grandmother was born in Portsea, Portsmouth in 1892. He died in Spalding, Lincolnshire in 1901 very young and very suddenly, as there was an inquest held. That's my next job, find out how and why.

Once I've finished with him I have two grandfathers to chase up, both serving in WW1, and I already nhave my father's records from his time in WW2 when he served the whole period on the flower class corvette, "HMS Pennywort", pootling backwards and forwards across the Atlantic with a foray to the Normandy beaches. For those interested, HMS Pennywort features in Martin Middlebrook's book, Convoy. Unfortunately my father was due to be interviewed by him but died before it could happen.

This family tree stuff is intriguing. Reference my Great Grandfather again, he died as I said in 1901, but his widow had two children after that, the last in 1905! I wonder if they knew?


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Sunday, 1 November 2020

Here We Go Again!

 Well, here we are going into lockdown again for (at least) a month. Good job MrsJ and I have just done our monthly shop (think we are alright for toilet rolls and flour). Took a trip to the library as well, stocked up with reading material so we should be covered. I recently discovered M.C.Beaton's 'Hamish Macbeth' stories so I'm working my way through those, and I've started on the Perry Mason books which I get on my Kindle reading device. They should keep me going. Another series that I recommend is by Mick Herron, and concerns a group of washed up, disgraced and embarrasing (to their chiefs) spies from the intelligence service. 

Having, in one way or another, blotted their copy books (or in one case being framed as having done so) this varied group of misfits is seconded to an annexe called Slough House, where they are given menial and meaningless tasks in the hopes that they will get fed up and resign. The first of the novels is called Slow Horses, a play on the address  and what the service calls them. There are a number of other titles, some only short novellas, and they need to be read in order, as the author ,Nick Herron, has no qualms about killing off major characters along the way.


Definitely not the romantic vision of a spy, I recommend them for a long dark evening. 

Back to military matters next time, photos still in the camera.