Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cuirassier at the Retreat from Moscow

Paris is that way

Life here at Kinch Court has been rattling along as usual.  The Kinchlets are ever a delight, albeit a somewhat sticky and malodorous delight at times. Lack of time and the problem with my eyesight has made painting a very occasional pleasure, however, I can still enjoy the fruits of others labours.

Our man in Hungary sent this fine fellow several months ago and he is currently guarding one of the bookshelves in the library. The kit is from of MB and is an unusual piece.  Generally it's up to the model maker to create the scene, but this one comes as you see it.

Makes me shiver even looking at it

Victory has a thousand fathers while defeat is an orphan as the Chinese saying goes, but I'd be confident in saying that the 1812 campaign marked the beginning of the end for the Napoleonic domination of Europe.  It's not an aspect of the period that I know enough about, but I will have to address that once I can really read again. 

Our man in Budapest has definitely done an excellent job though.  The horse in particular is a delight.  I was almost tempted to add a small wisp of teddy bear stuffing to the figures, to show their breath - but would be gilding the lilly.  His work stands on its own. 

The level of detail and shading on the colours is excellent

Sir Harry Flashman VC is going to begin a new and exciting chapter in his life

Otherwise the days are just packed, but with those small family dramas and pleasures that are of interest to those concerned in them and to few others.  One thing that I have done is dig out one of the novels  that I wrote before I started my current job.  The thing is broadly speaking in publishable form, has been edited within an inch of its life and Capability Savage has done some really topping work on the layout and such.  

Mrs Kinch has been literally and figuratively kicking me in the seat of the pants to get some of it into print and she has finally won the day.  

I've never had great luck with fiction.  I've always written it, but I've never really had any success with getting it published.  To be honest, the idea of letting it out into the wild is making me slightly queasy.  The idea that my baby will be heading out into the cold cruel world on its own is unsettling. Not least because it may not be any good - it may be the same when it is time to send the children to school.  Presumably it will be worse, but for all that expect to see a book with my name on it appearing for sale relatively soon.  

Speaking of books, our cuirassier has taken up his post defending the bookshelves from the barbarians. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Keeping ticking along

Joy & Forgetfulness has been quite quiet of late - so much so that some of you wrote to ask why.   Mainly I've had my hands full - delightfully full in fact.  Unfortunately Mrs Kinch became very seriously ill immediately after the arrival of the twins, so there is a little bit more to be done around the place.  She is on the mend, but it will be a long time before she's back to her full Mary Poppins like efficiency.

Matilda (left) and Edward (right, underneath the chair)
He tells me the clutch is gone and that I'm going to have to send to Germany for a replacement. 

I've managed to make a great deal of progress since I was injured, but unfortunately a full recovery seems to be eluding me. My balance is slowly returning, but my ability to focus my eyes is taking its time to return.  This means that I can not read for very long and have to ration my screen time quite bit.

However, writing in some form or other is a sickness that I have yet to be cured of.  The last eight months have been the longest period of forced inactivity I can remember and still being able to write, even in some form has been a good way of remaining chipper.

It means that I have to be more selective about where I put my screen time.  I've been able to keep up my column in Miniature Wargames, but its been a bit of a struggle. Joy & Forgetfulness has taken a bit of a back seat - however, I'm hoping to blog a little bit more often now that the symptoms are abating somewhat and I'm getting better at managing them.

My laptop is no doubt beaming details of my darkest secrets to the CIA and the Intelligence Section of the Chinese Communist Party as I type this.  You'd be astonished at the number of things that come with a camera and a microphone these day. Siri, the assistant on my iphone, is perfectly capable of taking dictation.  This does occasionally lead to hilarious typos - my favourite occurred while I was writing a piece on Spanish guerrillas, which Siri rendered as Spanish Auto Giros.  Presumably it is my thick and incomprehensible Irish accent - perhaps a course in colloquial Californian might be in order.


One of the tricks I use to get the most out of my time, is to set up the computer and just come back to it for ten minutes.  The machine is on a chair because if I have one of the Kinchlets in the sling, I can type standing up.  I set an alarm on my phone so that I only work for ten or fifteen minutes, thus avoiding the concomitant headache, as it's very easy to overstay my welcome, get lost in what I'm doing and end up with a ringing headache for the rest of the day.

On the whole the system is working relatively well.  I get a couple of hundred words done a day and get to feel like I'm keeping my hand in, while still keeping an eye on the Kinchlets.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to up J&F to at least one post per week - we'll see how it goes.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Lately I have mostly...

Battle of Sorauren

Been neglecting my blog, but in the meantime I've been up to other things.  We managed to get the Kinchlets christened (more on that in a future post) and play some games.

Of most immediate interest to the wargaming fraternity is the Battle of Sorauren, on which a full report will follow shortly.  But in brief, it was an excellent game - we played the new epic rules for team games and they were a success.  The new mechanics keep the game moving briskly and I think lead to a game that has more engagement for all the players.  The prospect of sitting in a "quiet" sector for a few turns which bedeviled our earlier efforts has been banished.

Little Boy Blue

I don't watch much television as I'm quite limited regarding how much time I can spend looking at a screen at the moment.  However,  ITVs recent four parter "Little Boy Blue" has been some of the best television I've seen in a long time.  The programme is a dramatic retelling of the events behind the murder of Rhys Jones in Liverpool in 2007.  Jones, who was eleven years old, was returning home from football practice when he was shot dead by a member of a local gang.

The facts speak for themselves, but in sea of police procedurals that are largely indistinguishable from each other, Little Boy Blue stands out.  The writing is matter of fact, but all the more raw for it.
Stephen Graham is cast against type as a hard working copper struggling to put together a case.  He really impressed me. There are few histrionics, just a man attempting to do a job and gather evidence which will stand up in court.

Sinead Keenan and Brian F'O Byrne are brilliant as the Jones family, left rudderless after the loss of a child.  I've grown very tired of the sort of emotional pornography that a lot of crime procedurals indulge in. Sinead Keenan invests her performance with the dignity that the subject matter deserves. She shows the ugly side of grief and the our often inadequate response to it.  Most of us will never see ourselves portrayed on screen, even fewer of us will see it done well. Melanie Jones has been well served by this serious and sensitive portrayal.

This was drama that moved me. Unreservedly recommended.

Bob in full fig

Rob is a chap who runs the British Muzzleloaders channel on YouTube.  He produces quality videos on historical shooting, tactics, gear as well as battles.  As the name implies he concentrates on British and Imperial firearms and history. Rob is yet another in that phalanx of stalwart Canadians who continually brighten up the internet and brings a level of polish and imagination to his videos that is rarely surpassed.  I particularly liked his videos in which he used video editing software to "clone" himself shooting in different poses so that he could show exactly what a skirmish line would look like. 

You can find his channel here

Probably my favourite of Rob's videos is his one on the battle of Tel el Kebir. 

All his stuff is freely available on YouTube and there are ninety or so videos on his channel for you to work through.  He has recently set up a Patreon account for those who wish to help support his work, though clearly the pledge (a dollar a month) is not comensurate with the level of work that goes into his productions. I have pledged my dollar and I would urge you to have a look for yourself.