Short, fat and unassuming, I have extended the boundaries of indifferent posting and spurious comment within the interweb community to previously unimagined levels of banality. This has been achieved without fear of ridicule or retribution. So if you're interested in thought patterns that tumble around the inside of my head like old underpants in a washing machine, this is the blog for you. Read it and weep.
After a brief respite the hand problem returned -
serves me right for getting cocky. Nevertheless, despite the necessity of bits
of plastering and subsequent painting etc., the appendiges do seem to be making
some improvement. A visit to yet another specialist (very attractive young
Polish woman this time) has resulted in a new treatment regime and a promise
that ”We will become very good friends” – cor! Unfortunately, she was referring
to the management of the ‘condition’ rather than anything else. So, painting is
still a struggle (and typing’s a pig), but, during the interregnum, at least I
got a battalion finished and polished off an ECW Royalist field officer who may
yet find his way into a cavalry unit.
Shame really, as, aside from the assembly line
stuff, I’ve got some more stimulating things ready to roll. I have begun to
suspect that somebody sits there plotting my downfall. There’s going to be a funny side to all this,
but I’m struggling to see it.
“Yet still at night I am haunted by the fright
And distant memory
Of the day I lost the light
Moving through the night
Running from the grand ennui”
identify this song?
I’d do some more book recommendations as the last lot kept the well from drying
up. I do actually spend my time doing more than reading, but I’m sure you’re
not interested in a chronicle of my real world activity.
Culloden – John Prebble (Pimlico; New Ed edition (2 May 2002); ISBN-10: 0712668209)
It’s the 300th anniversary of The ’15
and the 270th of The ’45, so I thought it was an appropriate time to
re-read this one, particularly as Edwin King (Diplomatist Books) laid
temptation in my path.
I assumed everyone knew about The ’45, but it came
up in conversation at a sort of party, get together thing a few weeks ago (“So,
what have you been reading lately?). It turned out that, while everybody knew
about Bonnie Prince Charlie and even about Flora McThingy’s ferry service, slightly
fewer had hear of The ’45. So much for the SNP’s play on words last year - Ms
Sturgeon would have been spitting blood by this time.
Prebble’s book reads almost like a novel, but with
few heroes and plenty of utter swines on all sides. Nobody comes up smelling of
roses; it’s a sort of race to the bottom of human behaviour and I’m not
entirely sure who wins. The Highlanders and who actually supported the Jacobite
cause (often unwillingly) and many innocent civilians are clearly the victims
of the failed rebellion and suffer at the hands of the English soldiers,
Scottish auxiliaries, Highlanders from other clans and even their own lairds.
Altogether, it’s an important book and pretty much
a standard on Culloden and its background. It contains good information on Life
as a regular soldier and the social structure of the clans. It’s not absolutely
unbiased, but it’s as near as I’ve seen and it’s a difficult period of history
to deal with in any case. It was a brutal time in which life was cheap and got
cheaper the lower down the greasy pole you were.
Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man (75th
Anniversary Edition) - Hugh
Sebag-Montefiore (Penguin (30 April 2015); ISBN-10: 0241972264)
I’ve read this before, about five years ago, but,
as this is the 75th anniversary edition and it was only about three
quid from Tesco’s, I thought I’d see what it had to offer. Essentially, nothing
much different from the original edition, so, if you’ve got that, stick with
it. This special edition has had the footnotes removed (though they’re all available
online) to make room for more personal accounts and appendices. However, it’s
still a very well written account of the 1940 French campaign up to and
in Miniature : Making Realistic and Effective Terrain
for Wargames – Paul Davies (Pen & Sword Military (28 May 2015); ISBN-10: 1781592748)
This isn’t really the sort of
book you read through, but it’s an excellent book and well worth the price. It
contains plenty of hints and tips, basic concepts and more skilled aspects of
terrain construction. At this point I should probably say something like “Carlsberg
don’t produce a book on terrain modelling, but if they did . . . .”
Marlboroughs Other Army. The
British Army and the Campaigns of the First Peninsula War, 1702-12 (Century of
the Soldier 1618-1721) – Nick Dorrell (Helion & Company (7 May 2015); ISBN-10: 1910294632)
This is the one you’ve been
waiting for! Raced through it – easy to read and a wargamer’s dream of a book.
The good thing (there’s only one?) is that at last the less popular Iberian
campaign is easily accessible to gamers in a digestible form. It covers
organisation, orders of battle, maps and uniforms as well of a very readable
narrative of the campaign(s). It’s part of the new ‘Century of the Soldier’
series from Pen and Sword and it’s set the bar pretty high for any following
publications in the series.
As you might expect, you’re not
getting away without some fiction and this time it’s sci-fi and fantasy,
old(er) and new.
Death of Grass – John Christopher (Penguin
Classics (2 April 2009); ISBN-10:
Thoughtful sci-fi written not
long after the war, but years ahead of its time. A virus, which attacks all grass
related plants (so most food crops and consequently livestock etc.) has originated in China and is spreading
across the globe. What can humans do and how can they cope?
By now, this is a somewhat dated
book and it’s steeped in the post war period in both style and content, but it’s
very well written and a real page turner. My copy has already been lost, ‘acquired’
by family vultures and since passed on to God knows where. Typical.
Summer – Ben Aaranovitch (Gollancz (9
July 2015); ISBN-10:
Aaranovitch began a series of
books a few years ago about a special department in the Metropolitan Police .
The department deals with all supernatural events within the Met area (and
later outside also) where rivers have associated minor gods and magic is a
common basis for crime and sedition. Yes, he’s been reading one of those books
Foxglove Summer is the latest in
the series, and can be read in its own right, but, do yourself a favour and
begin with the first volume. Comedy hovers just beneath the surface of a high
quality text and, if this is your cup of tea, you whip through it in no time.