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


Sunday, 29 June 2014

Mystery Figure - any ideas?


Not a competition, no prizes, but I'd welcome opinions on this chap, if anyone has seen one such before.

In a parcel of figures I was very kindly sent recently, there were a few of these - 20mm, he may be a Napoleonic Spanish cavalryman - double breasted jacket, lapels, he has a carbine hanging at his side, a braided pigtail, and the equipment on his back appears to be a canvas haversack. There is a simple sabretache. I suppose he could be French heavy cavalry from the Revolutionary period.

Sorry my montage photo is not better. The boots have a touch of Hinton Hunt about them, but the face is somehow familiar - I had thoughts of early Warrior, but as far as I know Warrior cavalry always had saddlery attached to the rider. So - just out of interest - I would be grateful for any clues.

*

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Subsequent Edit (1st July): thanks very much for comments - Old John is correct - the figure is Hinton Hunt BN206 - the British Heavy Dragoon 1801-11 - with his plume removed. I'm not sure if the buttons I can see on the upper right lapel have been added as well

BN206's - picture borrowed from eBay


Saturday, 28 June 2014

Back from the Bleach – Sterile but Unbowed

This process is tested on Scotsmen
Stripping time again. I recently applied matt varnish and a lot of touch-up paint to a host of very shiny ECW troops I bought on eBay, and generated almost all of what I need to pursue the adventures of the Marquis of Montrose. Good. Thumbs up.

As with all such bulk purchases, I am left with a pile of figures which failed inspection – the original painting is too awful, they need too much rework, the proportion of cat hairs to varnish offends, they are no use for what I need, whatever. Certainly I have the makings of a couple of decent regiments of horse and a few useful generals, but – alas – I’m going to have to strip these to get the best of them.

The gloss varnish they are finished in – apart from the animal impurities - is far too thick, yellowing, smells dreadful (no, really) and is a source of scientific puzzlement to me. What is it? Why would anyone apply it to model soldiers? Just looking at it, I found the whispered words BLEACH PROOF came into my mind from somewhere.

Now, as discussed here before on numerous occasions, I have mixed experience with using thick household bleach for stripping soldiers. I would like it to work, it is relatively inoffensive compared with the alternatives, it is easy to use, you can see what you’re doing (at least a bit), it is only slightly dangerous and you can safely flush it down your indoor drains. The alternatives, in these parts, really come down to just one thing – Nitromors – which certainly strips paint but can also remove your hands and fails pretty much all the criteria mentioned above as plus points for bleach. I once had the experience of being in a room with a mixture of Nitromors and hot water, and have promised my lungs and my eyeballs I shall not do it again. Also – in this particular instance – many of the figures which require stripping are from Tumbling Dice, which means separate, glued-on heads and weapons, and Nitromors will also strip out the glue. I can think of absolutely nothing less enchanting than sifting through the toxic sludge at the bottom of a bean can containing a Nitromors project, looking for the correct number of missing 20mm scale heads and pistols.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the garage...
So bleach would be a nice alternative if it works, and I’d even saved up some cheeky little, transparent chocolate mousse pots which are ideal for keeping an eye on stripping progress with bleach jobs, but in my heart I knew it wasn’t going to work. The Bold Stryker is a great champion of bleach for this sort of work, but I am beginning to suspect it is partly a question of faith. I have had some good experiences with bleach, and some disappointments, and at the start of each new attempt (I have to confess) I find that I am not as optimistic as I would like.

Since I had a plentiful supply of bleach, the cheeky pots and lots of suitable test samples, I decided to try one out. Definitely the right thing to do. The chap at the top of this post is a Tumbling Dice Covenanter of some sort, and he spent almost 40 hours in bleach – well above the health warning in Stryker’s guidelines. While he was in the bleach, there was no evidence that the varnish was suffering at all – he looked the same as when he started. When I took him out and rinsed and dried him, I’m not so sure. The varnish is still there, but it is a lot less shiny, his hat has faded a bit, but some interesting cracks have appeared in the paintwork.

Hmmm.

The alloy hasn’t started discolouring, or turning into anything undesirable. Do I think that another soaking in the bleach would result in some better progress? Not sure. I could try it, certainly.

After all, anything is better than Nitromors. In this case, with the glued-on head problem, simply ditching the remaining figures and – if necessary – buying new ones might be a sad but wise alternative to Nitromors. I guess I should try another bleach session – I could leave him in for an open-ended trial – the worst that could happen is that I write off a scrap figure, which is a trifling matter indeed.

It is a question of faith – I am beginning to see that. I am, I believe, scared of proving to myself, once and for all, that there is no future in using bleach, and my confidence will suffer. It is difficult.

While I ponder the matter, the picture at the top is of the most germ-free toy soldier you will ever see.




Friday, 27 June 2014

Hooptedoodle #140 - Donkey Award - Barclaycard


Not really another rant, just something which has cropped up which seems daft enough to warrant a Donkey Award. I’ll keep it short and to the point. I shall avoid mentioning the fact that the explosion of unsecured, unrepayable personal debt which caused so much damage to Western economies leading up to 2008 (and which hurt everyone, not just those who had those debts) was largely promoted by the credit card companies, who somehow seem to have escaped the public outrage and recrimination which has hit the banks (for example). I am all in favour of public outrage, and I have never understood how they were missed, though of course I am not going to mention it.

Some years ago I was one of a number of people who were scammed by having credit card details cloned by a tweaked card-reading device. I now know exactly where and when it happened. The perpetrators were, I understand, a Sri Lankan revolutionary organization who had managed to gain a presence in the franchise for Shell petrol stations in the UK. However it was done, I suddenly found that I had purchased a surprising number of one-way flights to Singapore, as a customer of Dragon Airlines. My credit card company’s fraud people were very good, and my loss was refunded and my card was changed, all very quickly. I was lucky. Since then, of course, chip and PIN technology has become much more sophisticated, and we like to think that electronic shopping is more secure than it was, but one lasting result of the Dragon Airlines episode is that I maintain a small Mastercard account alongside my main Visa one, and this Mastercard is intended just for transactions on the Internet, or via the telephone to merchants I do not know. It specifically has a small credit limit, to minimise the damage if there is a security failure.

Did any passengers buy their own tickets…?
This was identified as a good idea in post-Dragon discussions with the card suppliers themselves. It is disappointing, therefore, that they keep writing to me to tell me that they are going to do me the big favour of increasing this small security limit. Presumably I am not getting into enough debt.

This week I got such a letter, telling me that my credit limit on the Mastercard will be automatically increased from £500 to £2000 at the end of July. It also tells me, of course, how I may go about telling them not to do this, but this is now the fifth time we have gone through this rigmarole, and I don’t appreciate it.

I phoned the supplied 0800 number this morning, and spoke to a very nice, helpful chap in India. After we had discussed my wish to keep the headroom on the Mastercard low, and the reasons for this, he cancelled the increase, and (for the fifth time now) assured me that my account is now coded so that I will not get automatic increases in the future. We’ll see, but that's OK so far. He also explained that it might take up to 8 weeks for these changes to take effect on the system, which, of course would take us well past the end of July.


BONG!! This is the 12-month waiting-list for the pre-natal clinic all over again. I believe we have managed to sort it out, and it’s not my Indian friend’s fault anyway, but you can bet that I will be checking my Mastercard account online around the end of July.

Be very afraid - you have not yet seen hacks & viruses
Before we ended our conversation, I was asked would I like to obtain the new smartphone app to enable instant Mastercard shopping (so that I will not be a source of embarrassment to my friends by not having it).

No – I don’t want it. Thanks. If they have a long think about it, they might just come up with some reasons why. Too much enthusiasm, not enough common sense.


Thursday, 26 June 2014

More 1809 Spaniards


Yesterday I was pleased to welcome back the two battalions of the Regimiento La Reina from their trip to be painted by the excellent Lee. Not only that, but I now also have some mounted colonels painted up, including the new mounted command figures for the existing Regimiento Africa.

After a short frenzy of varnishing and basing, here are the two regiments on parade. At present they look a little odd since they have uncut flagpoles - the flags and finials are still to come, but I hope you will see that my little 1809 army is beginning to take shape. The Reina boys have purple facings here, Africa black. Figures are NapoleoN, apart from the hat-waving colonel, who is a Falcata casting, and the other mounted officers, which are conversions of my own.






Next up will probably be Irlanda, in blue and yellow, and maybe some light infantry.

Thank you, Lee - very much!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Hooptedoodle #139 – Fave Guitar Solos


A few days ago, I got involved in that most perennial of lowbrow pub debates, one whose pointlessness does not make it any less enjoyable – the weighty question of Which Are the All-Time Great Guitar Solos?

On this occasion my companions were practising musicians (and I use the term “practising” deliberately), but it does not make a lot of difference, because the discussion is always pushed down the same lines by a couple of recognised (though unspoken) sub-clauses:

The solo must be from a (vocal) popular song – and one that everyone knows – none of your alternative stuff – no Brazilians, for example…

OTT categories such as Heavy Metal are normally excluded (or at least subject to drug tests)

The whole thing is so slanted by your age, what you like and everything else that it usually mutates into “What Are Generally Recognised as the All-Time Great Guitar Solos?” – i.e. it’s everyone else on trial here, not me.

As always, we came up with the standard answers:

Probably the solo from “Hotel California”

Probably the solo from Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ in the Years”

Probably the solo from that Carpenters’ record that we can’t remember, because we wouldn’t admit to listening to the Carpenters anyway

Probably the solo from Johnny Kidd’s “Shakin’ All Over”, because it’s instantly recognizable

Probably the instrumental sections from Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” (which can still get you thrown out of most of the music shops I know)

Probably Dr Brian May’s solo on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” (which is getting very close to OTT)

Probably the duet solo from “The Boys Are Back in Town”, though a number of other Thin Lizzy records must be up there too

…and a lot more of the same – supply your own list (fun this, isn’t it?).


It’s very easy to get sidetracked into artists one particularly likes, which is too close to Your Specialist Subject for general comfort, so we have to avoid that (in my case, it would involve people like Robben Ford and Toninho Horta, which would get me blank looks all round). I did, however, put forward a record which I don’t think is in any way a classic, and it certainly wasn’t a hit, and it’s not by a big-name singer, and overall I don’t especially like it (which feels as though all this underselling should make it OK) – it’s Dave Berry’s “My Baby Left Me” from early 1964.

Who?

A quick word on Dave Berry – when I was a lad, he had a band called The Cruisers, who were known as the second best band in Sheffield (I think Joe Cocker’s band was regarded as the best), and I once saw them at the Cavern in Liverpool, where, I have to say, I thought they were fairly average. Berry is still around, and still performing, so all the best to him, and I shall be careful what I say (in case he comes to get me), but my view on his band seems to have been shared by the people at Decca Records, because after contributing a couple of so-so B-sides the Cruisers no longer appeared on Dave Berry’s recordings, and instead Decca used some of the best session players in the country at the time (which is a whole other subject). My Baby Left Me is short, an unspectacular cover of Presley’s record, but it includes a little gem of a solo from Jimmy Page, no less, who was 19 at the time it was recorded (swine).

By the standards of the day, this was how to do it – say what you’ve got to say in one chorus – first take, if you please – then pack up your stuff and clear out – the studio’s booked for someone else after 3pm.

It still doesn’t get into anyone else’s list, but if you haven’t heard it, here it is. 







Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Another Small Hit for Creeping Elegance

Replacement drummer, 2nd from left, back row...
In a post dating from December 2010, I showed a replacement unit I had acquired, and discussed my concept of Creeping Elegance in wargames armies - the replacing or modifying of odd figures or complete units if they do not please me for some reason or other (even if the reason may seem eccentric or otherwise unreasonable). The occasion, back in 2010, was the recruitment of enough 20mm Miniature Figurines castings to make a battalion of the Brunswick-Oels Jaegers, to replace a unit of Kennington Brunswickers (which, in turn, I had obtained to replace a unit of elephantine modern Minifigs Brunswickers, and so on…). The point of the 2010 replacement was that the MF20 figures are correctly dressed in the long Polrock coat, appropriate to the Peninsular War, whereas the Kenningtons were in short jackets, being intended to represent the Waterloo-period Leibregiment. The tidy-minded reader will understand this, I think...

The only flaw in the new unit was that I couldn't get a completely suitable drummer, so the Kennington drummer stayed on, and has in fact done stout service in subsequent campaigns.

The problem is that the Minifigs 20mm catalogue did not include a Brunswick drummer, for some reason - the range of available infantry for the Black Horde was:

BrN 1 Infantryman on Guard
BrN 2 Infantryman Advancing
BrN 3 Infantryman Firing
BrN 4 Infantry Officer

of which you can see specimens of BrN 2 to 4 in the picture above. The earliest near-match which is suitable is from Minfigs' subsequent S-Range, BrN 6s, and I've been on the lookout for one of these since then.

Well, I got one. Considering the current big push to get a big backlog of limbers and siege paraphernalia painted up, fiddling around with the (cosmetic) upgrade of a single 40-year-old drummer may seem a bit small-time, but such little steps bring satisfaction out of all proportion to their cost or size, especially after such a long-winded hunt. Anyway, here they are, with new drummer inserted, and they are probably as happy as I am about it.

I also included a converted S-Range officer on the right of the picture - if it matters, he is probably Hauptmann Friedrich von Doernberg, who served on General Von Bernewitz's brigade staff in 1812 - he is wearing a rather old-fashioned silver sash, and the distinctive undress cap. The battalion does not carry any colours, because the Brunswickers didn't in the Peninsula, and because they are in any case classified as British light infantry, and my light infantry units are very particular about keeping their colours safe in Lisbon.

Friday, 20 June 2014

A Useful Oddity – the Scruby Artillery Horse

More on the Ongoing Background Artillery Project (OBAP)

I’m working away to get a bit more progress on my dreadful backlog of Napoleonic limbers -  especially those of the French and their allies – which always nags away at me, and takes up space in the project boxes which could be used for something more pleasing.

Having said which, the limbers and other artillery and logistical vehicles are pleasing enough when they do get completed, but since they are not a priority (i.e. my rules mostly don’t strictly require them to be present) this is a very rare event indeed.

This last week I’ve been preparing some French limber teams for painting. Some of these castings are very small "25mm" from Jack Scruby Miniatures (these days, that means Historifigs), and their artillery horses are strange objects – I rather like them, not least because for many years they were really all you could get in metal 1/72-ish apart from vintage Hinton Hunt (which got prohibitively expensive) and Kennington (whose artillery horse is one of their “Pantomime” jobs, with short shins and an odd gait).

Your hoof-bone's connected to your knee-bone

Note the cunningly twisted draught lines, to simplify casting
Working with the Scruby horse is a bit of a challenge – the master is sculpted with the left front hoof attached to the right knee, and the draught lines twisted through a surprising angle and attached to the tail and the right rear leg – all in the interests of simplifying the mould lines. In its starting configuration the horse does not look very promising, but a bit of fiddling and sawing and twisting and it sort of works. This is not made any easier by Historifigs’ insistence on using an unusually hard, brittle alloy which neither bends nor files very easily, and is known to snap in moments of stress.

The four pairs and drivers nearest the camera are Scrubies - my lacerated
fingers will recover, please don't send flowers
Some I prepared earlier - some French caissons from my last big push on the OBAP
- as always with Scruby 25mm, they paint up better than you think they are going to
I’ve managed to produce another 4 pairs of Scruby horses with drivers this time, and it took me some time to achieve this. They should start getting painted next week. Next batch of painting is (I think) 4 British limber horse pairs (Lamming), 8 French (4 Scruby and 4 of the lovely, but expensive, Art Miniaturen), complete with limbers and cannon (mostly Hinchliffe 20, but some of the guns are of obscure origin – they may be Rose with wheel swaps) and a bunch of Peninsular, stovepipe-hatted Royal Artillery gunners for the Allied siege train (these are NapoleoN castings, but may also include some Kenningtons if SHQ send me some in time).

The gunners are for a series of 3 batteries of 10” howitzers – which is far more than the real Royal Artillery had available in the Peninsular War, but they look good.

Anyway, more of all this sometime in the future. This morning’s excitement is merely a glimpse of the Chinese puzzle which is the Scruby artillery horse. A casting which was designed to be converted before it could be used.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Assorted Wargames Nostalgia

This post really is just a collection of bits. I was going through a file of old paperwork connected with my wargaming past – nothing very distinguished, but I was reminded of a few things. Sadly, the accompanying photos for the first item were lost ages ago, during the hostilities which followed my split with my first wife (which almost certainly serves me right).

(1) Waterloo Day – yes, today is the 199th anniversary of Napoleon’s Really Bad Day, and one of the items I found in the file was a sheet of scribblings from a 160th anniversary Waterloo game I played at my old flat in Marchmont, Edinburgh, with some friends [that’s 1975, ladies and gentlemen]. The first thing that struck me was that, of the players involved – Philip Snell, John Ramsay, Dave Thompson, Alan Low, Allan Gallacher and myself – I am the only one still alive. Good grief – I hadn’t thought of that before. The game was considerably scaled down, but still used inappropriately detailed rules (around about this time I started using Charles Wesencraft’s rules, with all distances halved, but June 1975 is just a little early for that, so I guess we were using a hybrid game which was mostly Tunbridge Wells [George Gush?] with some bits of South-East Scotland WG thrown in). This was probably one of the last biggish games I staged before I started painting hexagons all over my tabletop – we hadn’t thought of Old School yet, though there was definitely some creaking associated with our enthusiasm for what we naively regarded as increased realism.


One thing I remember fondly was that Allan G was supposed to bring the Prussians, since otherwise we didn’t have any, but he actually turned up with Russians, since he didn’t have any Prussians either but hadn’t the heart to tell us. Thus this particular version of the B of W was notable for an unusual lack of authenticity in the OOB. The battle staggered on all day – eventually we agreed that the Allies were beaten, and that was that – we caught the last orders for drinks at the Bruntsfield Hotel and got into the obligatory justificatory arguments. We had decided that the [P]Russians would arrive after 2pm as soon as Wellington threw 11 or better on 2D6 (or “two dice”, as we would have called them at the time) at the start of his turn. As soon as they arrived, Napoleon would start rolling dice each turn, and a French reserve force under Grouchy would arrive on a 9 or better. Don’t ask me where these scientific probabilities came from, but – anyway – it’s academic, since Wellington never managed the requisite dice roll, and his bewildered Russian allies were not called into play, and eventually returned to Dunfermline in their toolbox – I’m not sure if they were relieved or outraged.


(2) Having mentioned the South-East Scotland chaps, I am delighted to have had an email from Mark, in Canada, who knew the notorious George Jeffrey back in the 1980s (rather after I knew him), and was, for a while, a disciple of George’s famed (but little understood, especially by me) Variable Length Bound system, or VLB. This, in theory, is the answer to a great many problems which wargamers have struggled with over the decades, but is reputed to suffer from the slight problem that it doesn’t actually work. Whatever – without making any pre-emptive judgements – I have invited Mark to contribute some notes about VLB, which we have briefly mentioned here before, and he hopes to send me something – excellent.

(3) I found a bunch of photos of my old (early 1970s) Ancient armies, which were dreadfully crude but served me for many years. Now gone – a nice chap in New Zealand bought them on eBay some years ago – their only claim to a place in my heart is that they are – like my Waterloo collaborators – no more. I don’t expect anyone to be excited by my crap painting or my very basic Airfix + Garrison + Atlantic armies, but – if we are to preserve a hallowed whisper for Old School – it is as well to remember that this was the reality. You may notice that my dread of paint-shedding by plastic figures was such that I kept spears and the wobbly bits of chariots etc in the raw plastic, which explains the distinctive vibrant orange preservative obviously employed by the Celtic chariot builders.

I am still quietly pleased by the onager, which I built from balsa, with shirt button wheels (all right, all right), based on the drawings in the WRG’s nice little book. Purists will protest that the Romans did not have shirts, never mind shirt buttons.



Note early view of The Cupboard - I didn't have so many figures in 2001


The occasion commemorated by the first few photos is my first wargame in my present house, New Year 2001. The room is what was the dining room at that time, which has subsequently become the downstairs shower/toilet (so wargames in the bog almost took place here), and my opponent was Malcolm Turner, who – now I think about it – is also dead now. Maybe it’s me then? That will have cut the queue of people wishing to visit Chateau Foy for a wargame, I would think.

The remainder were taken 5 years ago, when I was proposing to sell them.













(4) I also found some vintage, typed casualty tables I derived from the kill rates in Bill Leeson’s reprint of Von Reisswitz’s Kriegsspiel rules, which I am still poring over. These may be too dry even for the standards of this blog, but I’ll see if there is something useful which could be put here.

I think that’s probably quite enough of all that…

Monday, 16 June 2014

Hooptedoodle #138 - All the Rest have 31, except February

"It's weird - you know, I could swear it was a Sunday…"
Yesterday was Sunday, and I was woken early by the sun shining in the window and the birds (no respecters of late night World Cup-viewing schedules) making a racket. As I lay there, it occurred to me that we are close to Waterloo day.

One thing about Waterloo which is important (or seems so) is that it took place on a Sunday. Is there not a reference to the priest at Plancenoit insisting on ringing the bells for morning mass? Whatever, it was a Sunday – you will struggle to find any description of the event which does not mention this.

This year 18th June is a Wednesday, and next year – the 200th anniversary – will be a Thursday. So, in my half-awake state, I reasoned that somehow or other I should be able to reconcile the 4-day slippage over two centuries. If I failed, there was always the chance that I would drift off to sleep again, so how could I lose?

Righto – concentrate, I told myself.

Your standard year is 365 days, which is 52 weeks and 1 day, so that gives you a 1 day slip forward each year – and then there’s leap years. OK – no problem – every 4th year we get an extra day, so on the face of it that’s 5 days forward every 4 years (or 2 days back, if that’s easier – which it probably isn’t). Aha – snag. I was vaguely aware that something funny happens at the end of each century – leap years aren’t so straightforward as this. I realized that this wasn’t going to work until I’d done a little self-education on the nippy question of what happens about extra days at century-end.

[This is a common enough situation – I regularly find that unlocking the window latch requires an expanding series of preliminary jobs until I have to move the entire house four centimetres to the left before I start.]


Not to worry, I reasoned – let’s gloss over the century issue for the time being, and see how far out I am. Then I can check the details and balance everything up. At this stage I wasn’t going to get back to sleep. OK – 100 years is 25 lots of 4 years, which (as I had already decided) means a total slip forward of 25 x 5 days, which is 125 days, which is 17 weeks 6 days, which is a slip forward of 6 days or a slip back of 1 day. That’s not too difficult, though the birds were putting me off a bit. This means that my crude version of the leap year rule gives a backward slip of 2 days in 200 years, which would move the anniversary of our Sunday battle to Friday.

Drat. We already know it’s going to be a Thursday in 2015. I’ve lost a day somewhere – or have I gained a day? At this point I decided

(a) it’s less confusing if I always count the slippage forward

(b) I’d better get up and switch the computer on. Not knowing what happens to leap years at the end of a century is not too pressing a matter if it only affects us once every 100 years, but clearly this is a gap in my toolbox.

First pseudocode rule I found was reasonably simple, even at that time of the morning:

if year is not divisible by 4 then common year
else if year is not divisible by 100 then leap year
else if year is not divisible by 400 then common year
else leap year

But then I found that it isn’t as simple as that – and we get into Gregorian and Julian calendars, and all sorts of alternative calendars, some of which I have never heard of. I think that my world conforms to the Revised Julian, and the full definition for this is:

The Revised Julian calendar adds an extra day to February in years that are integer multiples of four, except for years that are integer multiples of 100 that do not leave a remainder of 200 or 600 when divided by 900. This rule agrees with the rule for the Gregorian calendar until 2799. The first year [in which] dates in the Revised Julian calendar will not agree with those in the Gregorian calendar will be 2800, because it will be a leap year in the Gregorian calendar but not in the Revised Julian calendar.
This rule gives an average year length of 365.242222 days. This is a very good approximation to the mean tropical year, but because the vernal equinox year is slightly longer, the Revised Julian calendar does not do as good a job as the Gregorian calendar of keeping the vernal equinox on or close to March 21.

In fact, I believe these two versions both give the same answer for this particular problem – i.e. 1900 was not a leap year, but 2000 was. So let’s look at this again – 2 x 25 lots of 4 years, each 4 years giving us 5 days slip forward, is 250 days, which is 35 weeks 5 days, but in fact the year 1900 should not have been a leap year, so deduct 1 day, giving 35 weeks 4 days. 4 days forward from Sunday gets us to Thursday for the 200th anniversary, which is correct.

Thank goodness for that. Since there was no point in going back to bed at this point, I got sidetracked into reading about exactly when centuries end, and I leave you with the following statement from The Times of 26th December 1799, which does not seem to invite further comment:

We have uniformly rejected all letters and declined all discussion upon the question of when the present century ends, as it is one of the most absurd that can engage the public attention, and we are astonished to find it has been the subject of so much dispute, since it appears plain. The present century will not terminate till January 1, 1801, unless it can be made out that 99 are 100... It is a silly, childish discussion, and only exposes the want of brains of those who maintain a contrary opinion to that we have stated.