Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Saturday 2 December 2023

Guest Spot - More Big Higginses!

 Many thanks to Albannach, who sent me photos of some additions to his fine collection of 30mm "Jason" figures by Les Higgins. 

He says:

"Attached a few photos of my latest haul of Higgins 30mm, plus a Stadden mounted general. Just finished basing them after having got them back from being painted by a very talented chap at the club. 

The painter is a chap by the name of Will Sykes – I don’t think I could get to that standard myself, and I wanted them to look as good as possible."

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Hooptedoodle #454 - Clearing Up after Babet [2]

 What hedge?

The boys came back this morning and finished the job in about 90 minutes.

Not a wonderful view, but better than a bombsite. Onward and upward.

Hooptedoodle #453 - Clearing Up after Babet [1]

 This follows from my earlier post about Storm Babet wrecking our hedge in October. I wasn't really expecting them until next month, but I got a phone call from the Tree Men yesterday afternoon to say that they were on a job in a nearby village, and had been obliged to stop work rather earlier than planned, so would it be all right if they came round and made a start?

Well, of course. Some quick opening of gates and shifting of cars and we were ready to go.

The guys didn't have all the gear with them that they might have needed (stump grinder, for one thing), but it didn't matter, since there was not a lot of daylight left, and they were only gong to manage to get some of the work done in any case.

As usual, they were fast - they do not take prisoners - and they were extremely noisy (that gives a little payback to my neighbour who insists on using a chain saw to cut up logs every Sunday morning).

I had wondered how many wagon loads would be needed to shift a 40ft x 12ft hedge 4ft thick. The answer, of course, is not very many. In about an hour, this machine reduced 3/4 of the hedge to a layer of chippings about 8 inches deep in the bottom of the truck. Some racket though. Come on now, if you thought of the movie Fargo, even fleetingly, please go and stand in the corner 

They'll be back within a couple of weeks. I know I have their full attention, since I haven't paid them anything yet. Things are pretty messy, but we are getting there. Having had years of grief from my neighbours about the hedge, it would be ironic if I also got grief for removing it. Whatever, things are moving.

Without wishing to get ahead of the game, I have been looking at possible varieties of evergreen hedges; I have an open mind on the subject, though I have no intention of allowing a Leylandii anywhere on the premises ever again. There are some nice laurels.


Sunday 19 November 2023

Hooptedoodle #451 - Accidental Progress: a celebratory but extremely boring post about computing

 I'll keep this brief. It may seem an odd topic for a blog post, but someone might find it useful, so here it is.

I've been a Mackintosh user since 2014; I'm on my second desktop Mac now, and I like them, though I have become suspicious of the customer-support politics over this period.

After I'd had my first Mac for a year or so, I was notified that there was a new operating system. As I recall, I was using Mountain Lion at the time, and the new upgrade was El Capitan. Being a lifelong Windows user, I requested the update immediately, and so it came to pass.

Good news and bad; the new MacOS worked very nicely, but 3 non-Apple applications which I had bought and installed on the machine no longer worked. One was a rather good pdf editor, one was the Mac version of a graphics editor which I had used and relied on for years. I can't remember what the third was, but there were three. I contacted Apple's customer support people, and was told that they had no responsibility for other people's software, and I should complain to the originators. Right - message received, loud and clear. I coped, but my view was readjusted by the experience. Thereafter, I tried to hold off on MacOS upgrades as long as possible.

My latest machine is running very nicely. I've had Monterey running since I got it, and I've been badgered fairly constantly to upgrade to Ventura, almost from the outset. I've just been deleting the notifications - I have sufficient investment in MSOffice for Mac and a couple of other things to be nervous about a repeat of the El Capitan experience. Also, I have to say that I had read some criticisms of Ventura on-line which were not encouraging (though, of course, I mostly didn't understand them).

Yesterday I was notified that there was a new version of my installed Monterey available - version 13.7.1, I think. I had no objection to a version change for the existing OS, if it delayed the arrival of the dreaded Ventura for a while. So when it offered to update my system overnight, I took a deep breath and clicked OK

What happened next was a bit of a surprise. The machine set about installing the new system immediately, not overnight, and told me that it was Sonoma 14.1.1. Good heavens, I thought to myself, what the bleep is Sonoma?

It took about 2 hours to download, prepare and install the new software. Sonoma, apparently, is newer even than Ventura, so I was expecting the worst. Well, I have to say that thus far I find no problems - I've not lost anything, as far as I can tell, and some of my existing app software is running much faster.

Perhaps my trust should be restored?


Tuesday 14 November 2023

Oh Well

 On yet another wet and stormy day I went into Edinburgh this morning for a hospital appointment.

I've been increasingly concerned about my eyes for a while, and today I got some definite news. Not particularly uplifting, but something I needed to know. 

It was confirmed that I have glaucoma, which has been suspected for some months. No need for an immediate life-change, but I shall regard it as a line in the sand. The damage (just to my left eye, thus far) is not hugely extensive, but it has appeared quite quickly, and is, of course, irreversible. I hadn't really noticed much difference in my vision, so must be grateful to have got off relatively lightly.

I started a regime of eye drops today, which may sound a bit tactical, but should help to slow down the worsening of the condition. I began reading the list of side-effects of the drops, but stopped rather quickly. I shall read that more thoroughly in a day or two, once I am feeling more bullish about the whole business!

I can carry on driving and doing what I do, and am determined to make a sensibly-paced return to the soldier-painting queue once I am used to the medication. My priorities may change a bit.

Please don't anybody send sympathetic messages of support, or best wishes - I appreciate the sentiment, but to me that always confirms that I need them! 

Take care of yourselves, everyone. We fight on.

Saturday 4 November 2023

Busy Week - Fighting in Two Continents

 Great fun this week - on Tuesday I was very pleased to attend one of Jon Freitag's excellent Zoom games. This was one of his biblical scenarios. I was a Hittite, fighting against the army of Ramesses II, in about 1275 BC. I am delighted to say that I was on the winning side; my masterstroke was to manage to more or less hold my flank together, while my colleague The Jolly Broom Man, masquerading as King Muršili III for the occasion, proceeded to win the game all on his own - and decisively too.

My thanks and compliments to Jon for laying on such a great game, and umpiring and game-mastering to his customary high standard. Best wishes also to the other players, for their excellent company and good humour. Jon's excellent battle report can be found on his blog here.

The following day I set off early in pouring rain, courtesy of Storm Ciarán, to drive down to Westmorland, where I was invited to a big, traditional Napoleonic game at the country seat of The Archduke. It was a delightful visit and a fine game. The Archduke was umpire and rules consultant, the scenario was a hacked version of the "Arrival of the Prussians" section of the Battle of Waterloo. I commanded the French, and Stryker, who heroically overcame all sorts of logistical problems to make the trip, was Blücher.

My photos should give a general idea of the atmosphere of the day. I lost (5-2) on units eliminated, but there were also Victory Points available for possession of 3 objectives. My 5ème Légère were finally driven out of Plancenoit Church in the last turn; if I'd held on to it, I'd have scraped the victory on points - though I admit I would not have deserved it!

Situation near the start, with Plancenoit Church at one end, the walled farm of Papelotte at the other, and a monument in the centre as defined objectives to gain bonus points

Prussians attack the 19e Ligne at Papelotte

Very quickly, a huge brawl [Scots: Stramash] developed in the centre, while the two armies raced to seize the church

The attack on Papelotte was eventually unsuccessful, though the garrison suffered heavy losses, and the French took the initiative here on their left
Elsewhere, however, the Prussians were successful - my cavalry was especially erratic, though that probably goes without saying

Eventually the 8th turn was completed, and I managed to lose the church just in time. Final reckoning was that the Prussians won 5-2 on eliminated units, and also 15-10 on bonus objectives. The quality of The Archduke's collection and the elegance of his new games room are apparent, I think. These are 20mm figures - a great many Hinton Hunt, all beautifully painted, and also Qualiticast - just marvellous. I also took some pictures of some of the troops who were not taking part, in his very fine display cases - my photos certainly do not do justice to any of this, but I hope they give an idea


Friday 20 October 2023

Hooptedoodle #450 - Babet Takes Out the Hedge

 Wild weather here - Storm Babet passing through - should be with us until sometime tomorrow. As ever, one mustn't complain - there are dreadful tales of flooding and injury coming from around the country. I send my best wishes to anyone who is affected.

Apart from having been awake all night with the noise, we have limited damage, but the gales have flattened a section of my big hedge. We'll decide what needs to be done about it once the place stops moving about. Yes, it's a Leylandii, and only a maniac would have a Leylandii hedge of this height, but I inherited it. Since 2000 it has cost me thousands of pounds keeping it under control, and also a number of heavy-duty disputes with my neighbour.

The hedge was planted (I believe) in 1985. The occupier of my house at that time was plagued by a neighbour, armed with binoculars, watching his wife sunbathing. This was the infamous Roland, now long dead and consigned to local folklore, so I think of it as Roland's Hedge
You will appreciate that I was not happy about the proximity to my car, which is always parked in some random spot on the drive. I assume that Nature chooses the section of the hedge at random too

The hedge trees are about 5 to 6 inches thick; these particular trees have been dead for a few years, and it is evident that they have snapped off below ground, being rotten
It's too wet and filthy to tell yet, but it is just possible that my car is undamaged - it may not even be scratched. The serious bits of the hedge missed it by about 8 inches, and it has just been caught by outlying twigs
So I appreciate that I've been very lucky. I moved the car to a safer spot, away from the hedge. While I was looking for such a spot, I became very aware of the possibility of Babet going on to flatten full-size trees, or even the odd stone wall. The sound I could hear above the organ-chord of the wind may have been the gods laughing at my efforts