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

Friday, 7 July 2017

More Transpontine Travels

I can only assume that Count Goya was granted bail - whatever, after a few weeks delay, the Battle of Raab is back on, for tomorrow, so I've been loading the invasion barge for another trip over the water to Tayside. Early start tomorrow - another grand day out. You'll hear more of this.

Foy's Roadshow ready to roll - you will observe the IKEA playmat on the floor,
which is a prized accessory, and much envied by the lads in the local gara
The French army is in the big boxes, with vast quantities of bubblewrap. Bungee
cords are necessary, of course - you can see that my 5 foot wide table sections
just fit, which is something to think about if I harbour ideas of upgrading to a
six-foot-two wide replacement. The van is a French Renault, appropriately

Topic 2 - the Doves of War, a possible suicide pact, and other oddities

Apart from our first-time-ever subjection to the delights of having nesting swallows on the premises, we have observed some odd things going on in the garden. First - and in passing - might I mention that our Collared Doves, those icons of peace and gentleness, have suddenly become violently aggressive. In particular, they seem to have taken a strong dislike to the neighbourhood Wood Pigeons, who are bigger, but slower and (apparently) less intelligent. The pigeons here live in constant fear now - they have to keep an eye open for squadrons of warlike doves, who can swoop in at any time and give them a mighty beating up.

Another strange recent development appears to be a large upturn in the incidence of flying accidents among the birdlife. After some thousands of years of successfully flying around obstacles, our local feathered friends seem to have forgotten something or other. We had a sad moment some weeks ago when, on a rather blustery afternoon, one of our resident baby sparrows collided with the sitting room window, and died very quickly, despite the attempts of my wife to look after it. This was particularly ironic, since the poor little chap had managed to survive its parents choice of a nesting site (inside the junction box for the high-voltage overhead cables), which is impressive enough. I guess Nature claims a few - one might point to lack of flying experience as a contributory cause - presumably this is why fledglings pay through the nose for insurance?

We have had a few more collisions with buildings since, none of them fatal, but yesterday we had a real disaster - a fully-grown hen pheasant managed to fly full-tilt into our French window; the window was undamaged, but the pheasant, alas, is no more.

Sorry about this - the victim was neither young nor inexperienced - just careless -
it must have been about 20 feet off course if it intended to miss the house. The
paving stones are 55cm across, so you can see this is a large, heavy object to have
impact your window. If you found this picture upsetting, please ring
800-DEAD-PHEAS for counselling support
It was a hell of a bang - I was busy packing French soldiers into magnetised box files (as one does), when I heard the most alarming noise - I really thought that a gutter had fallen from the roof or something - the whole house shook. It became obvious what had happened - very sad. What's going on here? - has our house become less visible? - are the birds not paying attention? - is it just a blip? - is it global warming? - you don't suppose it's our new radio-transmitted broadband service, surely?

I'm keeping an eye on things. I don't suppose there's a connection, but a magic fairy ring has also appeared on the back lawn - you can clearly see where the little people crept in from the wood, behind the wall, and danced around. You do believe in fairies, I hope?


  1. Looks like there's some good eatin' on that there pheasant. Hope it didn't go to waste!

    1. It went to a good home - not mine though. I appreciate the pheasant as a delicacy, but as a point of principle I prefer not to be on first name terms with my dinner. Also, having the thing hanging around seasoning for a while would turn me vegan. Well. maybe not quite vegan... 8-)

  2. That's a rather sad sight,I had a dog that did that after letting it out for the loo. It did survive but walked sideways for the rest of it's life.

    1. That's sad, but he walked SIDEWAYS? - now there is a good story. Especially if he was a racing greyhound.

  3. Your invasion begins! I look forward to reports back from the front detailing the outcome of Raab. Say, what is that contraption in which you are loading your valued gaming possessions? Looks unfamiliar to these American eyes.

    I will only touch on one of domestic issues; the fairy ring. Are those mushroom growing in the rings? Is your backyard planted over an old woods? Looks similar to necrotic ring we see out west (USA) and it is the devil to tame.

    1. The van is one of these


      I realise that I could get a 6-foot-2 table in an American van!

      Fairy ring - you bet - there is a hefty wood starting at the wall at the top of the picture - the lawn is has loads of old roots growing underneath - I think the mushrooms come when they rot. Or it could be that vacuum cleaner salesman that disappeared the other year.

  4. Twilight zone clearly... Trust pheasant was passed to local butcher for preparation... Shame to waste it!

    1. My lips are sealed, but you are not far off. I passed it to the farm's ghillie - he has friends all over.

  5. Van - all very neat and tidy as expected, dead pheasant - very sad but as said above should not go to waste, mushrooms - they must appear early up there?

    1. We get them frequently, but they are different every year. I think it's the fairies.