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!