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

Sunday, 11 June 2017


Two trips in two weekends - this could be a developing trend? Well, maybe.

Topic 1 - This weekend - Wargame at Stryker's

Because of the indisposition of Count Goya, the planned trip to fight the Battle of Raab was postponed, which left me with a free day and a van loaded with wargame terrain and soldiers. I phoned the Bold Stryker, to see how he was fixed. It seemed to me that it was just as easy for me to unload the van and set up the contents on my dining table, if he would care to trek down here to join me. His alternative suggestion was that I could drive my travelling wargame circus to his house, and we could arrange something there - a very fine and generous idea - it may be related to the fact that I forced him to have lunch in the garden last time he came here...

So that's what we did. I drove gingerly over the Forth Road Bridge (bumpy-bumpy) and up the M90, with a slightly amended cast of hundreds to provide a generic Peninsular War battle. Stryker, of course, has a far more prestigious collection of soldiers than mine, but he has not yet fully unpacked them following his recent house move.

We had a splendid day - once again, my thanks for hospitality, good company and magnificent eats. I forgot my camera [idiot], so took some photos with my phone, but they were so dreadful that I have reproduced only a couple here - mostly just to prove I was there. Ian has published a post on his blog, which has good pictures, so I recommend you have a look there. I shall have to read up on how to take better photos with my phone, but I will have to do so without offering my son the chance to gloat over my stupidity.

17eme Léger spent the afternoon capturing this village and getting driven out
of it again - anyway, here's a snap of them on their holidays in Tayside
Know your enemy - that's him, Old Conky Atty, with his tree. Laconic to a fault.

5th Foot (Northumberland Fusiliers) taking a turn at looking after a village - do
you think that flag is the official shade called "Gosling Green"? - no, me neither.
It was useful to prove that magnetic box-files, bubblewrap and bungee cords make such transport feasible. My soldiers have only ever moved anywhere at all when I moved house, so this is valuable experience. No problems, no casualties. When I got home and put the boys safely back in The Cupboard, I could have sworn I heard a little voice say "...and where have you been?...", and then another little voice said, "Dunno, but it was dark and a bit bumpy, and then later there were dogs...".

Great day out.

Topic 2 - Last weekend - Classic Car Show at Thirlestane Castle, Lauder

The Contesse very kindly obtained some discounted tickets for this show and, since she could hardly be less interested in such things, I went down to Lauder with my friend Jack the Hat. Good show - much better than I expected. My photos are pretty much random - just stuff that appealed to me as I passed; there was a fantastic amount on display.

Classic cars are great things for someone else to own. I loved the 1934 Alvis Silver Eagle, for example, but the owner told me how much it had cost to restore it, what the maintenance costs were, and how few miles a year he gets to drive it. Bear in mind that he has to drive it to shows on a trailer, towed by his Land Rover, and that in terms of modern motoring it will be consistently outdragged at the traffic lights by nuns driving Nissan Micras, and you start to build up a picture of the reality. For me, classic cars are great things for other people to own and cherish, so that I can go and gawp at them, take pictures and ask damn-fool questions.

Any number of MGs - very nice - I don't know much about the pre-war
 ones, but I enjoy looking at them

VW Karmann-Ghia

Jenson? - think so - Ferguson system 4WD and everything

Ugly ugly - 1960s Ford Corsair - when I was at university, my landlord had one of these. 

I know that one - that's a 1954 MG type TF...

Yes, that's the thermometer on the radiator, so you can see when it's boiling - of course,
 when it boils, there will be so much steam you won't be able to see it

Morris 8

1934 Alvis "Silver Eagle" - now you're talking - dicky seat and everything - no,
of course I wouldn't want one - I'm pretty mad, but not as mad as that.

Bristol 401 - classy 1950 sports saloon built by the Bristol aeroplane company - engine
and inspiration ex BMW (the rights to the BMW 327 engine were acquired by the Bristol
company after WW2). These look impressive, and have a sort of cult following, but
were heavy and not very powerful.

Left-hand-drive Jaguar E-Type - present owner imported this one from California, and
now keeps it in Dunbar, on the Scottish North Sea coast - he says the thing just started
to rust like crazy after he got it, and he has to keep it in a ventilated cocoon - don't know
if he gets the air from California.

Shelby Cobra - complete with racing numbers - right...

Now this is interesting - it's a kit car, but it doesn't look like one, and the build
quality is superb. This is a Royale Sabre, about 10 years old, and the running
gear is all Ford Sierra, which doesn't sound too exciting, but spares are readily
available and it goes nicely. Has the look and the vibe of a 1930s BMW - quite
like this. Not those crass wheels though - if you're going to do this you should
fit proper Borranis, or pierced alloys like the old BMW/Bristol/Frazer Nash
ones. Come to think of it, a set of Borranis might be worth as much as the car...


  1. Excellent to see your troops got a decent outing! As for the car show, some things age with grace; others simply age.

    1. Very decent outing indeed. As for age vs grace, one can only do one's best.

  2. I have to say that the dogs were very disappointed not to make a closer acquaintance with your soldiers! Maybe next time...

    1. I thought the dogs behaved excellently - better than I would have in their place.

  3. Splendid cars...and figures!

  4. That Stryker has all the luck. You need to come to NZ, young Foy!

    1. I'm put off by all that ground-shaking that you go in for over there.

  5. An exciting day out for the lads.

    Please note that if you head for NZ by sea you have to pass by NS on the way.....

    1. I'm not sure I didn't pass by NS on my way to Tayside.

  6. A grand day out indeed, I know you were slightly nervous about the thought of transporting your precious collection, very pleased to hear there were no casualties. Lovely to see your Brits on the table.