UK Trip Highlights (Part Four)

From the hotel in Swansea, my dad, Debbie, Sue, and I hit the road for the West Midlands, the place I come from (Stourbridge)…   🙂

Took a photo of my old school (it’s converted into offices now):

Debbie’s sister, Louise, put us up for the night and also went all out on a great meal. On Sunday morning, after visiting my grandparents graves, the five of us went out for brunch with my aunt at The Olde Tea Rooms in the village of Kinver (where my grandparents lived). Unfortunately, my cousin Joanne had recently moved to Scotland, so we didn’t get to see her on this trip. Just gives us an excuse to visit Scotland next time, though!

After that, we hit the road and headed back up north. We got back to my dad’s in time to catch the England/Panama game. Wow.

The Last Week

We did a bit of shopping in Preston & Chorley (souvenirs, clothes, treats that are hard to find in Canada) the last week, had some nice meals out, and managed quite a few lovely day trips and stops:

Eden Camp

On Tuesday, we headed up to Eden Camp in Malton, Yorkshire. This is a privately-owned museum, based around huts that originally housed Italian WWII prisoners of war. Louise had mentioned it in passing, and we thought it sounded interesting and worth a visit–I was very surprised that I hadn’t heard of it before. Notable items included the local military history (and particularly of the original POW camp), a small uniform collection, and the various vehicles and planes onsite. Of course, there was a pub onsite too, themed like a 40s cinema!

Canals & Narrowboats

Sue’s been really interested in narrowboats and canal life lately, mainly from folks on YouTube.

We wound up walking along the canal near Chorley twice. Once just for a walk, and then went back again because we noticed that one pub had some great vegetarian options. It’s a really pretty area – especially with the great weather we had during our trip.

The Lake District

The Lake District is beautiful – and a significant tourist draw. On Thursday, we had a nice walk in the sunshine, said “hi” to the cows, petted some strangers’ dogs, and stopped for lunch at Chesters-by-the-River in Ambleside (top notch vegetarian restaurant) and a cheeky pint after the walk back to the car.

Then we stopped by a beach area for a quick stroll and an ice-cream (make mine a 99!). This guy had obviously had a few drinks, as he wandered into the lake fully clothed:

We waited for him to fall over for a good “action shot”, but he didn’t do that ’til after we gave up waiting. Headed back to my dad’s to watch the England/Belgium game.

Going out for an Indian

Friday morning my dad cooked us a terrific big breakfast, we headed out for a bit of last minute shopping, and then we packed our bags as we were flying home the next day.

Friday night we went out to the local Indian restaurant for a great meal. Can’t possibly have enough curry meals on a trip the UK, and this one was a standout.
Pretty sure Sue’s thinking about my bhunas in that last pic.


…and the next morning we got on a flight at Manchester Airport to Toronto. From there we were to connect to Winnipeg. We had a few wrinkles with the connection, and wound up getting bumped by Air Canada from a 4:30pm flight to an 11pm flight. Not the greatest ending to the trip, but couldn’t take the shine off it.   🙂

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UK Trip Highlights (Part Four)

Wargaming & miniatures on TV and screen

Although it’s sometimes used as shorthand for socially inept basement dwellers* (looking at you, 40 Year Old Virgin), I like to see the hobby represented in mass media.

I’ve spotted these; anyone got others?

*I can’t possibly think why.

Wargaming & miniatures on TV and screen

A brief, but grateful, commercial message

3soldiersHaving started selling wargaming miniatures, accessories, and rules in 1995, my business Saber’s Edge Hobbies and Games recently had its 19th anniversary. Back then, many historical miniatures suppliers were still selling from printed catalogues that only rarely had photos, and very few had an online presence.

Although I have huge appreciation for all my suppliers and publishers, I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge two in particular.

Continue reading “A brief, but grateful, commercial message”

A brief, but grateful, commercial message

Deadlines are good

A blast from the past…

I made the trek out to Saskatoon in February, 2014, to play in Tim Brown’s annual birthday wargaming tournament. The game was “Ronin” from Osprey Publishing.

I’d had a few packs of 28mm Wargames Foundry Samurai (formerly the Citadel “Oriental Heroes” range) kicking around for a year or two. Even though they aren’t historically accurate by any stretch, I liked the chunky cartoony style of the sculpts.

Started working on them (about 30-35 figures) in early December (including one lonely Dixon Miniatures ronin), along with a few PlastCraft terrain pieces. I also grabbed some scale cherry blossom trees from a dollhouse supplier on eBay and mounted them on 4Ground bases.

Cleaning up the Buntai (Wargames Foundry)
Cleaning up the Buntai (Wargames Foundry)
Samurai (Citadel via Foundry) in progress 2013/14
Samurai (Citadel via Foundry) in progress 2013/14
PlastCraft terrain (temple, gate, bridge, and grave markers) before assembly
PlastCraft terrain (temple, gate, bridge, and grave markers) before assembly
Painted gate, temple, grave markers, bridge, and buntai
Painted gate, temple, grave markers, bridge, and buntai
The finished buntai - picture by Tim Brown
The finished buntai – picture by Tim Brown

I had a great weekend, met some terrific folks, and got in a solid amount of gaming.

Tim’s battle reports and commentary on the weekend are here and here.

I’m planning on making the trek out to Saskatoon in February this year, as well. Looking forward to it!

Deadlines are good

Catching up and looking forward: The ups and downs of the last few years of painting and gaming

So, here we are. I first thought about keeping track of painting progress via some kind of blog last year, and then fell into an almighty slump (again!) where I didn’t paint or game much.

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (BTD) and some Daleks (Citadel)
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (BTD) and some Daleks (Citadel) painted 2013
Samurai (Citadel via Foundry) in progress 2013/14
Samurai (Citadel via Foundry) in progress 2013/14
Largely scratch-built terrain for Judge Dredd "Block War" - in progress 2013/14
Largely scratch-built terrain for Judge Dredd “Block War” in progress 2013/14

Things have picked up again recently and I’ve been working on several new projects–which I’ll get into in upcoming posts. The added novelty of record keeping via blog should be a good kick in the backside to get existing projects finished and make progress on some new ones.

I’ve been a miniatures gamer for about 23 years or so. I’ve always been a pretty slow painter, but there have been times during that period when I’ve managed to be reasonably productive.

Near the beginning, painting mostly Warhammer 40k figures, I used to spend most of my “days off” painting – a full day at a stretch.

About 15 years ago, as part of the regular gaming group, the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts, I played a different game every week over a period of about 2 years. During this time I was also heavily involved with the Manitoba Model Soldier Society (as VP and then President).

For a period of two to three years, starting about ten years ago, I organized painting days at my house every Sunday, and friends would come by to sit around the kitchen table painting and chatting. I’ve always found that kind of social, scheduled method is the best way for me to get things done. It was during this period that I would also host and attend regular games. Unfortunately, this way of doing things was derailed by a series of unfortunate events, starting with a busy kids’ soccer schedule in May ’07 and winding up with me dealing with the long term effects of my mother’s death for a year or two after August ’07 (not the least of which was losing my hobby space due to having to store lots of stuff). The scheduled painting days stopped and I basically didn’t do anything hobby related ’til 2010-2011, and not much then, which takes us to…

A couple of years ago, I jumped back in much more casually with some of the old gang (sadly, we lost Tim just over a year ago). Dave G.’s new blog/forum is fast becoming the hub for my participation in “the hobby”, along with the odd game with the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts, and the usual “buzz” with Kevin H. and Dave V. In addition to those folks, I also have the privilege and pleasure of still gaming with many of the same people I started with 20 years back.

Catching up and looking forward: The ups and downs of the last few years of painting and gaming