A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Friday, 4 March 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Probability Well

Following comments on a recent posting, I decided to obtain a copy of David Gates' The Spanish Ulcer to replace the one which I sold some years ago, before I had had a chance to read it. I guess I don't really need any more books on the Peninsular War, but this one is well thought of.

I had a scratch around online - there were some used paperbacks for sale here and there, and it was obvious from the price of good hardback copies that the book is in some demand. I was delighted to obtain a decent hardback copy on eBay at a very reasonable price. It arrived this morning, posted from Wigtown, in the bottom left corner of Scotland.

It is an excellent copy - it smells faintly of cigarette smoke, but not upsettingly so. On the front endpaper is my name, dated August 1986.

I sold a large part of my book collection - in the days before eBay - to a dealer in Kelso, in the Scottish Borders. The seller who sold it to me this week says it came from a military collection in East Kilbride, so it has circulated around southern and central Scotland for over a decade. Scotland is not a heavily populated country, but when you consider the events that led up to my decision to purchase, this is still a fairly long shot.

Anyway, it's back, and I am pleased to see it. Thanks to all who contributed to the discussion which brought this about.


  1. As Harry Hill might say - what are the chances of that happening!
    There are a few good book shops in Wigtown (no surprise really considering it's 'Scotland's Book Town') one of which has a huge second hand selection, and another also sells GW, Airfix and Humbrol...all that in the middle of nowhere.. It's only about 40 minutes drive away so you've reminded me that i really should pop along more often. Cheers.

  2. There is a part of me that wonders if you have done the math (selling cost vs re-buying cost, inflation considered) to figure out what it cost you to "store the book offsite".


  3. Coincidence or synchronicity? what impelled me like magnetism to add that recommendation? Thoughts of all the losses from an exe-esposa, as the Spanish would call it, I thought, but was it some other, more primal force intervening in the affairs of men?

    I'd be looking at how my handwriting had deteriorated. Of course instead of imagining it, I can just go pull it off the stack and see for myself.

  4. This morning, while I was trying to engineer some space on the Peninsular War shelves in the bookcase, the book spoke to me.

    It said, "And this time you'd better read me."

  5. I still haven't quite managed to buy any figures from e-bay off myself...