Thursday 29 February 2024

The Miller's Tale - Episode 9

Episode 9: in which Mike once again attempts to remember how the heck the Heath Robinson-esque collection of RSS feed generator, local webspace and heaven knows what else all hooks together. And attempts to get caught up, and rambles about a 40-year old wargame...

Links from this episode

Tuesday 9 January 2024

Still chairman...


...after last night's AGM. Which, unlike last year, I actually managed to attend. 

Per a sidebar with Reuben, I note that this is the start of my second decade as chairman. I also note that my blog is much more reliable than my memory for this kind of thing :D

Sunday 7 January 2024

And here comes 2024...

I have plans. 

I'm definitely not stupid enough to expect these to survive contact with the enemy but, hey, we can hope, right?

So, on the todo list:

  • Finish the Dux Compendium :D (attempting to achieve headspace for that at present)
  • Paint a lot more BattleTech stuff (no, more than that, the Kickstarter's arriving Q2 and, erm, well, I may have indulged in considerable retail therapy....)
  • Run campaigns at the club
    • What a Cowboy (deferred from 2023 for obvious reasons) - Q1/2
    • BattleTech: Alpha Strike - details TBC - Q3/4
  • Run RPGs @ home. My long-running (since 2019) weekly sanity break Zoom-based 5E campaign finished in December, and I'm aiming to split my time going forward with two fortnightly ones:
    • a 5E campaign set in a different corner of my world
    • a BattleTech RPG campaign set on - well, that's a secret for now
  • Start on the Epic ACW plastic (and MDF) pile
  • Finish the 15mm Bulge forces and buildings, consider an IABSM Bulge narrative campaign later in the year
  • Get someone else to paint my 28mm British and French, and play some Sharp Practice 2
  • Play with the laser cutter
  • Blog and podcast as and when.
Yes, that's a fair bit, but, to misquote Robert Browning, "a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a hobby for?" (hands up who thought that was Kipling? - I did)

Sunday 31 December 2023

2023 in review

The best laid plans, as they say...

Do feel free to go read my 2022 end of year post and laugh - probably somewhat hollowly. 

For those who missed the story - we were called up to parents by neighbours at the beginning of January, as Mum had had some kind of fall. Found her not brilliant (with hindsight, she may have had the first of a few minor seizures) and Dad seriously unwell with what fortunately turned out not to be a stroke. Dad to hospital, wife and I up to care for Mum for the next month while we tried to convince her she needed carers in. (How on earth Dad managed to look after her alone (beyond sheer bloody-mindedness) is beyond either of us. She'd been largely chair-bound for most of the past decade.)

When you're 87 and admitted to hospital in as bad a state as Dad was, it's not at all uncommon not to make it out alive. Dad, fortunately, is made of markedly more stubborn Yorkshire grit, and despite being flat on his back for most of 5 weeks, was back walking with the aid of a frame and then sticks before the end of April. And still in possession of the majority of his marbles.

Finally won the carers argument with Mum as it was the only way the hospital would allow Dad home. Sadly she was growing weaker, and passed away at the beginning of March. Next couple of months were taken up with funeral arrangements and starting the process of sorting out her estate. Then Dad (wisely, to be honest) decided that he'd found a really nice residential care home, and didn't want to live on his own in a house that would easily hold 6 while paying for care. (He was wise enough to recognise that his need for some form of regular daily care wasn't going to go away, and quite frankly, after the amount of effort he'd put into looking after Mum, I was quite happy for him to do whatever ever the hell he felt happiest with, because he'd Damn Well Earned It.)

And around about that time Anne's dad passed away. So, once the dust had settled on that, July was spent moving Dad, and then August to pretty much the end of November spent getting the house sold and emptying it of two peoples' lives for the past 50 years. I am I think blessed in that while Dad is a hoarder, he is remarkably good (whether the hospital stay was a wakeup call, who knows?), in fact ruthlessly so, at the idea of 'I no longer need this, lets get rid of it'). So we did - a local auctioneers run a house-clearance service, and they basically auctioned what was saleable (some nice antique furniture) and disposed of the rest. Finally found a buyer and agreed a price, not long after Mum's probate got granted, and Dad and I have spent December helping him set up various savings accounts, ISAs etc to store his half of the proceeds. (Us, we just paid off our mortgage - thanks Mum).

And for a final kick in the teeth, our close friend and musical partner in crime Steve passed away very suddenly in October. 

So. here I am. It's the end of 2023, and ... whew. In some ways I'd like it back for a do-over, and I know I'd like my Mum and Steve back. But... all things must pass, and we move on.

Takeways from that experience:

  • Lasting Power Of Attorney - set it up NOW while the people involved still have their mental faculties. You don't have to use it, but it's there.
  • Treat elderly relatives protesting that they are fine with a healthy degree of scepticism until you have evidence with your own eyes.
  • The process for dealing with what happens when someone passes away is remarkably well documented, Don't panic.
  • The NHS are overstretched, underpaid, under-appreciated and being manipulated by the present Government for their own gains and that of their cronies.
  • You probably won't have to pay inheritance tax. The upcoming abolition probably isn't going to affect you at all, the Government would just like you to think they are.
  • Tell the people you care about that you love them. You might not get another chance.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Posh Lard this weekend - spare spaces!

We have spaces at #PoshLard this Sat due to folks having to drop out. We can offer What A Cowboy, What A Pirate, S&H and/or SP 2 (sadly, IABSM at Chef-du-Pont is fully booked). Yours for £5.

Booking available here!

Friday 16 June 2023

Posh Lard November 25th 2023


Ducks in a row. Cats herded. Venue booked. Website updated.

Announcing Posh Lard 2023 - Nov 25th at the George Allcock Centre, Peterborough. for more details!

Friday 26 May 2023

A tale of seven suppliers

So, I've been doing a bit of shopping of late, because... reasons, to follow in another post (or actually, probably podcast!). Various items, from seven different suppliers depending on availability, price and a few other criteria, from (literally) A to Z, though I'm not going to name names, although you should be able to work a few out. So. In alphabetical order...


A box-shifter, it would appear. Cheapest for a couple of items, but I foolishly failed to notice one item was on backorder. They will not split orders, even when it's glaringly obvious that one of the items is out of stock and in fact out of print everywhere. Support desk, and I quote verbatim, "Inline with our shipping policy page and backorder policy page sir we do not split orders". Just flat out unhelpful. Order now cancelled: had they been more helpful about it I would have re-ordered as two orders, but I'm a little concerned that they actually don't give a toss, and my backorder would have hung around for ever. Either way, it cost them over £100 in sales. Reordered with #7, watching for the credit card refund like a hawk.


Probably the world's biggest. Own delivery chain. Two deliveries, both turned up next day as promised, rang doorbell, parcel in my hot and sweaty hands. No problems.


Small 3D print seller on eBay - still waiting but they say 5-10 days so not stressed.


EBay seller doing custom decals (I'd do my own but I can't print white). Shipped the next day (in fact, today), should be here Tuesday via Royal Mail.


Well-known box shifter up in the NW. Both orders next day by Royal Mail. No complaints, have used them several times before and always been helpful.


A doorbell. It even
says RING on it.
Another fairly well-known box shifter with an eBay presence, based in Notts. Everything ships as promised. However? They use Evri (Hermes as was), which means that if your local Evri driver happens to be a clueless muppet who can't spot a doorbell when it's under their nose, your parcel gets left outside the back door on the ground because I'm in the outside office, not where I can hear them knock.


Odd site as their URL doesn't match their trading name. Second cheapest for most stuff (often cheapest if you cash in reward points or take advantage of their discounts), actually deliver when promised via Royal Mail. No complaints except that I spend more by looking for that 'one more item' to pass the discount price break :D

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