Sunday, 2 August 2020

The Grey Ditch

I find I don't use my camera very often nowadays and like everybody else use my phone (which probably does as good a job with my basic photographic skills) . So when I was sorting out the memory card I found I had not used it since last November when we were on holiday in Bradwell in the Peak District , A couple of photos had me puzzled for a moment - pictures of bumps in a frosty field (I have taken lots of this type of thing to illustrate various historic sites)  but these seem even more enigmatic - then I remembered it was when I found the Grey Ditch !!!  , here seen sweeping majestically upwards towards the tree line . Well what we are seeing is the upcast or rampart the actual ditch is to the left (lighter green ?).

From the same place looking the other way (the horse will become significant later in my tale) I'd read a little about it in the tourist literature at the cottage we were staying at and was super excited when we came across it whilst walking the dog . Historic England class it as a linear embankment and adjacent ditch which stretched across the entire valley and is dated by pottery finds to be post-Roman 5th/7th century , it was originally 8 feet high and 22 feet wide at it's base and the ditch was of equivalent width and a further 6 feet deep - that's some big hole and pile of earth ! I was very pleased - as pleased as Punch as they say ! - my wife less so , she wasn't impressed - it was cold and me capering on a bump in the ground probably didn't help - then she saw the horse - she doesn't 'do' horses neither does the dog who was whining by now - so she and him left for the next field via a stile- I though " I'll take a few more shots then join them" . However the horse was lonely and very friendly and all I got were shots of it's nose and head , so abandoned the idea but vowed to return ,which of course I never did .

Another shot looking uphill (found on the internet - not sure who by ?).Theories vary but a boundary defense between Mercia and the Kingdom of Northumbria is possible as ditch like this exist in various places in England (Offa's Dyke being the most famous) and a local legend says that there was a battle in which King Edwin of Northumbria was captured and subsequently executed ,   locals remember the  'Eden Tree' where according to folklore Edwin was hung and it used to stand until recently by the road side to the North of the village . I must admit I find structures like this far more exciting than any amount of castles and stately homes , so thank you for your indulgence .

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Real Life 4 - Wargaming 0

This week has not been a good one for wargaming activity as I have been restocking our wood supply . Not the most onerous of tasks but complicated this year by the fact that it was already half full ! . I get my wood from a chap I used to work with who has a wood and I usually phone him about September for a load each year, however this year he rang me to say that he was selling his trailer and wouldn't be able to deliver any more for the foreseeable future and if I wanted any he would deliver it tomorrow before the trailer departed - as I always get a good deal from him I said yes and it duly arrived . This then meant I had to remove the existing wood which was well seasoned and ready for burning into the shed and then wheelbarrow the new wood around from the front garden and stack it so it can sit for the next six months to season and here is the result - also a bad back and a grumpy old man . 

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Infamy, Infamy.

I'm a big fan of 'Sharp Practise'  which is a large skirmish set of rules , I've used these for several years for my Texan War of Independence and also for the ACW very successfully . So when I heard that they were bringing out an Ancient version of these I was intrigued and decided to get a copy . The rules are very well presented with a high production value and a nice set of cards to play the game . It's sort of 'Son of Sharp Practise' but of course with more emphasis on hand to hand combat . It helps to have already played SP as this helps you get your head around the rules which are not in themselves difficult but approach things from a different point of view unlike a lot of rules. The units are moved/fight using leaders that are activated with the card deck , your forces morale drops when bad things happen and this makes it harder to do things with your force . It is scenario driven and you win by accomplishing  the task allotted to you and your force , unusually the barbarians come onto the table from ambush points set out in terrain features on the tabletop rather than a table edge which can be very unnerving  for the Roman player . I've played a couple of test games to try out the rules and find them very entertaining , the 'Too Fat Lardies' do a series of videos on 'You Tube' to teach the rules  . I already have quite a number of figures painted up for SPQR so I can start playing full games with the addition of only a few figures . I will do a further report on the game next week .

Monday, 20 July 2020

A garden interlude .

Having got the final 6 figures painted and glossed, I took advantage of the temporary  absence of cats and dog to photograph the completed force of cavalry in the back garden .

The Lancers of the Sublime Porte , the figures are of course Irregular 40mm and the mounted officer is from their Deutsch Homage range . This painting session has got me itching to get them on the table for a rousing game of 'A Gentleman's War' .

On a side note this corner of the back garden is referred to as the 'Roman Corner' (well only by me actually) . The statue is in fact a resin reproduction purchased many years ago from Carlisle museum and weathered up nicely outside , the alter is something I carved from a block of sandstone whilst at work when I should have probably been doing something more productive work wise for the (ungrateful) public . 

Thursday, 16 July 2020

A return to the shiny .

I just rescued the last six mounted Lancers for my 40mm Army of the Sublime Porte from the 'Draw of Shame' where they have lain undercoated but untouched since the start of the lock down , overcome with guilt I'm going to get these done this week as they are the final unit for this army (well for the time being) . Here are the first two on my wet palette with an already paint comrade from a previous batch as a painting guide .

The 'Draw of Shame' , believe it or not I do know were things things are in here , but being next to the computer and my painting station it does accumulate things ! .

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Another load of old Gauls

These are the next lot of units I've got done , again they are Warlord 28mm resin figures . These are Gallic cavalry . Evidently 'Blogger' now doesn't enlarge the photos when you click on them - guess that's progress ??? 

No barbarian horde would be complete without war dogs , he seems to be whistling of his hounds - but like mine they are taking no notice ! - we have a Spaniel rather than a war dog I hasten to add ! .

Here is my new force leader with his attendant Druid .

Another Gallic hero . This completes my barbarian force for the moment , I've got some more Romans done but being Legionaries they are a bit 'samey' 

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Reinforcements for SPQR .

Been busy gluing up and painting more Gauls for my SPQR project , I must admit I like putting together plastic figures - not everyone's idea of fun but I used to make a lot of plastic kits in my childhood and so it's a form of regression perhaps . These are Warlord 28mm plastics , think I've cracked the shield transfers - trim them back to the actual design and cut out the shield boss using a scalpel . 

Men with no clothes on ! , as somebody who can't cross the landing in bear feet going to the loo without stubbing my toe this is not for me - then there's nettles and thistles .

Gallic archers ,  again Warlord resin figures .

Tribal slingers , I always find slingers boring , don't think these are the best figures out there but I needed some . If you click on the photos this should enlarge them (new blogger permitting)