Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Hooptedoodle #358 - Keep Calm and Carry On

Buckets of strong tea all round
I'm somewhat shaken by recent communications with a painting service that I haven't dealt with before. I have anonymised and tidied up our correspondence, and after much thought I've decided to put some of it out here. The last thing any of us needs at the moment is unnecessary aggro, so I may decide to delete this post at short notice if I change my mind, and I may choose not to post comments, but I thought this was a bit special. Perhaps the poor chap is under a lot of pressure, but  this worries me - I admire anyone who takes a stand, but I'm not sure if I wish to have further dealings with someone quite so alternative. Just being angry doesn't seem likely to help very much.

I have done regular business with two other painters over the last 10 years or so, but one of those is not taking on any work at present, understandably, and the other has a big backlog. A friend recommended a painter I hadn't heard of previously, so a couple of months ago I made contact with this chap, and we agreed in principle that I would sent a trial batch.

The weeks passed, and my own arrangements for painting soldiers changed somewhat, with the self-iso business. Eventually I thought I might check to see if we could still go ahead with this batch. After all, it is a sort of contribution to protecting someone's livelihood.

Enquiry from me, 20th March

B--- - I was about to prepare a shipment of soldiers to send for painting, but am not sure whether you are working at present - are you still open, or painting at home?

Hope things are not too bad in your area.

Regards - M---

And back comes a quick response:

Reply of 20th March

My dear M---, l refuse to be frightened by a flu bug that the media and our beloved leaders have turned into a crisis. 

Goodness gracious M---, an average of four hundred thousand people die world-wide each year from flu. No one closed the world down for last years flu. Why is this one so different? 

My studio will remain open until/if l am forced to close and then l shall paint from home. 

Just send your parcel and l will get to it asap. 

Obviously take the usual flu symptom precautions. 

And Keep Calm and Carry On!

Best always, 


Rather unusual viewpoint, but fair enough. Defiant to the last, obviously. I spent a couple of weeks working on my own painting, so didn't really have time to prep figures to send. Eventually it was time to think about it again. Since the pandemic had obviously moved on a bit in the interim, I thought I should check:

My email of 2nd April

Hi B--- - not sure if you will have adjusted your view of the virus situation, but I guess you have probably been required to close your shop? I'm still planning to send you a parcel of soldiers, if that's OK, for painting - should I send it to your home address?

We are in isolation here, but that's rather easier in the country. Keep well.

Best regards


And he's still out there, fighting on:

Reply on 4th April

Hello M---. Glad to hear your all well. 

Haven't really altered my views on this flu virus very much. 

Perhaps the media fear spreading is deliberate Government policy to keep people away from each other and thus help kill the bug? 

If so it's a good thing. But on the other hand it's also doing untold damage to people's mentality and ruining economies World wide. 

My business has of course closed, but l am busy painting commissions at home. 

So yes, please send your parcel if you wish to, to [postal address follows].

If you do decide to send it, can you add one of your painted pieces so l can match what you have with those l paint for you? 

Should you wish to pay me via PayPal it will be fine, or a cheque to B--- D--- is equally OK.?

Look forward to hearing from you. 

Keep well, 




  1. I'm afraid there is a total lack of understanding amongst some people, including some that should know better. I'm under the most at risk category - 'Do not leave the house'. So far I've had a local supplier who delivers and a pharmacy say 'If you come to the car park we'll come out and put your meds/order in thhe boot of your car for you. What don't they understand about 'Do not leave the house' - if anything should be added it wouldn't be 'except to get your meds and essential put into the boot of your car' but 'because there is a high risk it could kill you'

    1. Looks like the facility to take exercise outside may be stopped soon if people don't obey the restrictions. Not good.

      What puzzles me is that presumably we will reach a stage where a lot of people have had the infection, whether or not they became ill, and a lot will recover and (with luck) will now be immune, not infectious, and thus able to return to work. How will we distinguish these people from everyone else? Will passes be issued? Will the authorities require everyone to self regulate? Before there is full testing and - even better - a viable vaccine, how the hell do we separate the sheep from the goats? Whatever else, this is going to get very complicated. If you (or I) stay safely at home and thus never get infected, do we eventually form a separate class of people who now specially at risk, and thus cannot ever go out again?

      All very confusing.

    2. Two things - enough people get it so it dies out and stops being something you are likely to get or they find a vaccine to help stopping you getting it. Also, most viruses become less virulent with time anyway - the least virulent strains survive and get passed on, the most virulent infect fewer people because the hosts die earlier! I fully expect to get it at some time - on large doses of steroids for last 12 months, probably don't actually have an immune system anymore -, just would prefer to get it when it's less virulent and/or treatments are available.

  2. There's nowt as queer as folk. Some think they're invincible, some doozers are even burning 5G masts, but most are doing the right thing.
    Take care,

    1. I don't understand about these 5G masts - do you think I should burn some?

  3. Sounds like the Dunkirk spirit! Hang on, wasn't Dunkirk a defeat?

    1. Vaguely reminds me of Billy Connolly's story about Charlie Anderson, some wild Australian desperado, who was banished to solitary confinement on Goat Island - and if any ships came near he would swear at them and throw stones. Not quite the same thing, but it strikes a chord.

  4. To be honest one has to admire the sheer cussedness of your potential employee. I would get a commission sent off to him pdq before he breaks the isolation diktat and disappears inside.

    1. I guess we can all choose to admire who we like, Robbie, but I fear he is a moonbeam.

    2. I have a dodgy track record with painters - one guy who did some painting for me about 12 years ago was the owner of the hobby shop on Haddington. A few years ago, I thought I'd check out if he is still doing painting, and was very surprised to find he was gaoled in 2015 for stabbing someone to death. I am very pleased to recall that I never complained to him about his paintwork.

  5. In the lead up to all this is I was struck by the differing reactions of my work colleagues. Those most obviously at risk either self-isolated in a flash, long before the PM ordered them to do it, or became wildly delusional, alleging it was all some sort of fiendish Chinese plot to destroy Western civilisation, in cahoots with the Masons and Hillary Clinton and whatnot. I'm sure I heard the Girl Guides mentioned at one point. I don't really blame them (or the GGs). This is just the latest in a kaleidoscope of catastrophes over the last few years. We're all wearing pretty thin these days, I fear.

    1. Matthew - I had some doubts about the Girl Guides myself. In the UK, it is many years since we actually had to do anything - we have a growing tradition of doing or saying whatever we want, having whatever we want (even if we can't afford it) and the people who run organisations and the government have very little recent experience of hard times. If a policeman tells us to get off the streets, for the public good, the instinct is normally to just do it (we are making some progress here), but a big minority will still fight about it, or bitch about it on Facebook. I can't help thinking some aspects of "everyday life" - probably aspects that we can't identify yet - will be changed forever. Some of that will be sad, maybe some of it will be progress. Even when I was doing it, I could never see the need to fly from Edinburgh to London for a face-to-face meeting to agree something, and then fly back in the evening, on a plane full of other zombies doing the same thing. The truth of the matter was that it had become a tradition that paying for the trip was somehow an indication of commitment, of how seriously the matter was being taken. If we are now using the internet for this kind of thing (which we could have done much more of for years, of course) then maybe we might get into a useful habit. Maybe some of those stupid aeroplanes could be decommissioned, and we could save the fuel, for a start. The REAL reason we fly about a lot is to make money for the airlines, of course - hear them squeal for government hand-outs when things get tough?

  6. Tony,

    I know that you get this, but here's the deal; as best we understand it now. Roughly 80% of the people who get Covid-19 (maybe higher given limited testing especially of people with minor or negligible/no symptoms) will recover at home, although most of them will feel pretty bad for 1 - 2 weeks. The ones who DON'T feel that bad (or even sick at all) are the ones most likely to spread the illness (because they think they're OK), which appears to be considerably more infectious than influenza.
    However, roughly 20% will need hospitalization, and almost half of them will need to be on a ventilator. When was the last time I had a patient with influenza who needed a ventilator? ONCE in 36 years (had severe asthma at baseline). With good medical care overall mortality can be kept to 1-3%; when things fall apart because there aren't enough, ventilators, protective equipment, nurse, and doctors (Italy), the mortality can soar to as high as 10%. We will likely be living in some kind of altered reality for many months to come. The painter sounds like the "don't trust authority in general" kind.

    1. Thanks Peter - that's a great comment - informative.

  7. I think your painter is just another in that long line of patriotic Britons who isn’t going to be pushed around by authorities, experts and foreign wallahs. You know that tradition that means that we are always ready to fight the last war.

    1. I think my painter may be used to social distancing as a matter of course - I previously made a jocular reference to global warming, and he went on at some length about there being no such thing. Seems a bit like Angry Frank, from the old Harry Enfield series. These days social media is full of that stuff - everyone has something to say - you don't know who they are, but you're expected to pay attention. There's that Trump bloke, for a start.

    2. He doesn't paint figures does he? What colour does he use for flesh tones?