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.

So. Wargaming plans for 2023... ohhhboy. Did those ever not pan out! :)

Let's see:

  • more money - check, except when being unpaid carer for Mum or driving up to Hull on weekdays for Dad. Contract work pays really well, but...
  • more free time - please excuse me while I laugh.
  • more blog entries and podcasts. Hah. Hah.
  • Dux Compendium. It really would have been, except for Real Life.
  • Battle of the Bulge IABSM campaign - ditto
  • Warlord Epic ACW - stil in their boxes
  • Workshop - finally got the bench and workroom sorted and largely straightened up and tidied with huge thanks to Myk from the club. 

Things I did do:

  • club... still chairman, and to be honest we're doing brilliantly
    • Posh Lard 2023 was fab
    • the returning Hereward Wargames Show was awesome.
    • a MASSIVE thank you to my committee, who picked up the slack while I was dealing with real life.
    • took our much loved Dambusters game to a couple of shows.
  • did manage to make it to Evesham for Operation: Market Larden. Much much needed sanity break.
  • replaced the 3D printer with a Flashforge Adventurer 5M Pro. Brilliant piece of kit, highly recommended as a filament printer for scenery
  • bought a laser cutter (xTool S1 Pro 20W). Haven't had time for a serious play yet, but early experimentation suggests it's awesome. 
  • rediscovered Battletech - more on this (probably a lot more) in subsequent posts and a podcast or two
  • discovered the joys of slapchop - again, more to follow, but suffice it to say I am loving painting figures again
A Happy New Year to you all if you're still reading this blog. Many thanks to everyone who helped keep me sane this year, and please do know that your support and friendship is appreciated and valued.

Tomorrow - plans (haha) for 2024.


  1. You've had a hard year.. onwards and upwards, and a Happy(er) New Year.

  2. You have had a very emotional 2023. But still you managed some gaming-related stuff. Hopefully 2024 will be less so and enable you to get in some more hobby time.

  3. So sorry about the family trials you endured. Losing one's mother is difficult at the best of times. Losing more family and a friend is too far. Your dad clearly has a wonderful son in you. Take care, Mike. May 2024 be a better year.


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