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


Monday, 25 December 2017

Hooptedoodle #289 - It's Amazing

La Duchesse Nails the Punchline

La Duchesse Veuve Culdechat (1934-   )
It being the Season of Goodwill, today we were delighted to welcome my mother-in-law to the humble comforts of the Chateau Foy. It is some time since she made a state visit at this time of year - you can read about the last occurrence here if you wish.

You will gather that we are always on our very best behaviour on such occasions. However, today her visit went very smoothly, and, as a bonus, she undoubtedly produced what so far has been the best line of the holiday period around here.

During the chatter before lunch, she suddenly asked me, "Do you still do - erm - whatever it is you do with toy soldiers...?"

You will recognise that this would be the moment for cheery self-confidence on my part, so I put on a big smile and my best, reassuringly breezy baritone.

"Oh yes - very much so," I said. "In fact, that's been going very well recently - there are a couple of chaps who live not too far from here, and I've been getting together with them for some pretty big games. Splendid fun!"

My smile may have been sagging a little at the end of this, but she was very positive about it all.

"That's good - it's amazing, though, isn't it?"

"Erm - what is?"

"It's amazing," she said, "that there are two people in Scotland that have the same interest as you."

And - of course, as ever - she is completely correct.

23 comments:

  1. I'll be interested to see if Goya's new S Range Austrians make an appearance in the coming year

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    1. Merry Christmas Clive - interesting question - I would guess the answer is yes, but I don't know.

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  2. Mothers have a certain way of summing things up :-) Merry Christmas

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    1. The weird thing is that I don't think she was being particularly hostile - she just has a natural gift for the perfect accidental put-down.

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  3. I used to get a similar question from my parents. They have long given up any chance that my reformation is possible.

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    1. My dad used to stare bemusedly at my latest wargames unit, and then he would utter (recite?) one of the following:

      (1) what a pity you can't make any money out of this...

      or

      (2) I really don't know how you can be bothered.

      I never worried about it, I suppose, but as I got older I became less tolerant, and I would occasionally suggest to him that his garden was not a sacred labour of love to produce cheap, life-giving vegetables for the family, but was actually a hugely self-indulgent waste of time and money, not to mention everyone else's patience.

      Other people's hobbies are often just irritating - I recognise this.

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    2. "All those wargames figures of yours must be worth a lot of money." My old Mum's usual comment, though I find a swift denial on the grounds of unpopular figures and my crap painting tends to head off the "Had you thought of selling them?" which invariably used to follow.

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    3. Problem comes when you give the low-quality/low-price response, and she shuts one eye, places a finger alongside her nose, and says, "Hinds...."

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    1. The laugh is on me, too, which is the best kind of laugh!

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  5. mother in laws eh........ Who'd have em?

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    1. Hi Lee - I guess they're kind of necessary - I'll have to think about that.

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  6. ....what is it about parents that they continue to look at us like we're still 12 even when we have more hair in our nostrils and ears than on our heads? I'm fairly sure my Mum doesn't even think I can change a light bulb yet..

    PS. Should be "Other people (full stop) are often just irritating - I recognise this".... :o))

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    1. One day when I am ready I might do a blog post about my dad - nah, I guess not. A very strange, difficult man - he spent his entire life expecting people to try to cheat him or "get one over on him", so I am something of an expert on the traditions of living in a state of constant warfare.

      I won't do the blog post, but I will mention that for the last few years of his life my dad was suddenly shocked to learn that not only could I do rather a lot of things which he had never managed (including getting on with others) but that he had become completely reliant on these abilities of mine, which he would have mocked or dismissed as valueless in earlier years. I won't say that this gives me any satisfaction, but it helps balance things up, in retrospect.

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  7. Wow - that was a surprise - to open your message and see Berwick Kaler staring out at me. Most folk in this part of North Yorkshire would recognise the actor, he has been the Grand Dame of York Theatre Royal's Christmas Panto for more than two decades. I think he also writes and directs the Panto as well.

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    1. Yes - the resemblance is remarkable...

      I'm quite a fan of Mr Kaler, in fact - there's a better pic of him in my earlier post (link in the text somewhere). You'll get a bigger surprise when you go to the Theatre Royal panto and see that my mother-in-law is starring.

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  8. I wonder if, had you just happened to have a game set up and in progress, with the troops looking splendid and some pretty scenery, the Duchesse may have discovered her inner Wargamer? Though I guess the Xmas dinner would have prior claim on the table.. A very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

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    1. Interesting idea. You are quite right, the dining table was needed for it's official (other) purpose. If we had had the Battle of Salamanca set up on the table instead it is just possible that she might not have noticed.

      Merry Christmas, David - thank you!

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  9. My Mom was my pusher really, not that she was interested for her own sake. Everyone else in later families basically just treated me kindly as one does.

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    1. Any kind of support or empathy is good. In our house - anything involving miniatures (including my model railway and a tabletop football game I was fond of) was grouped under "playing with dolls" and thus not a suitably manly activity for a young lad. They had outlawed child chimney-sweeps by then, by the way...

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  10. And here is to both of you in Scotland!

    Belated best wishes for 2018 which might put you in contact with a third
    : )

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    1. All the very best to you, sir. We had thought of advertising, but we couldn't think of a sufficiently confidential medium. A small ad in the paper would be relegated to the page with the shoe fetishists and similar. It has to be a word of mouth thing. Tricky. No wonder we're dying out.

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  11. Ha! A Warhammer-ian might have responded... tricky indeed.

    The lancieros in the post above look quite sharp, nicely done.

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