Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Yanks are coming.The Yanks are here.

Sun 5th June
A day late and a dollar short.

      Finding that I had misread my shift and wasn't starting until evening I decided to do my care in the community good deed and head to the WW2 reenactment at East Fortune Air museum to help out Colin Jack and Bill Gilchrist with the SESWC display even although Bill was the only club member there and that included the visitors.
Young ATC learning to fly real planes.
Oor table.
         The teddy bear table cover was brought out for the third time and this time it was for an early First World War engagement in the Mulhouse area of Alsace Lorraine which is now in France but in 1914 was still part of Germany.
  With the three of us in attendance it meant that we could take turns in perusing the exhibits whilst two of us could watch for sticky childlike fingers man handling the figures.
Our friends from the Falkirk Wargames club were in attendance as always and it was nice to see a total of nine of their club members on parade.They had two participation games on the go.A WW1 aerial game and a WW2 Hunt the tiger game.Both were well enjoyed by members of the public.
Falkirk's other game
        The weather outside went from overcast to a sunny day and helped to bring a good crowd to the venue.
The steadfast Boche.
     Exhibits outside ranged from American,British and German soldiers,equipment and vehicles supplemented by WW 1 cavalry.Inside there was dance instruction and even the chance to get a forties hairstyle courtesy of couple of hairdressers suitably attired(apart from the leg tattoos-couldn't imagine my mother having one of them).
         Our own display was situated in the Concorde hangar actually under the bird herself.
          Our game began with the Boche dug in waiting on the French onslaught which wasn't long in coming.Waves of infantry supported by machine guns and artillery headed for the river crossings attired in their blue coats and red pantaloons.Easy targets for my marksmen.
Come and get us!
                                                              We played more turns than we usually do in an exhibition do to some unusual dice rolls giving as more time to look at the exhibits outside.
A tide of easy targets.
                                                The day went by quickly with lots of families coming round our hangar before heading out into the sunshine to see the action displays.In the morning we had the unusual sight of WW1 British cavalry skewering some water melons-the dastardly cads!The morning was rounded off with arrival of a nice picnic lunch provided by the organisers.
Sten guns and tins of Pork and Beans-unusual combination.
Not the usual signs for an RAF base.
German kit
Wee bit more German kit
 Three quarter tonner
Ready for American aircraft.
And get rid of the beard soldier.
WW2 Primark.
  We continued our game into the afternoon with the arrival of some French cavalry onto the game table which proceeded to rout the Germans on my right flank but that just brought them into the range of my artillery and also into the range of some German infantry I had repositioned to cope with this threat which they did in true Teutonic manner stopping the threat in its tracks(or was it hoofs).
Mittagessen time.
The French cavalry ride into the jaws of death.
French corned beef on the hoof.
This ended the game meaning I could go out and watch the afternoon's entertainment of a WW2 re-enactment with German paras being attacked by Americans and a solitary British para.
Solitary para
                       The gist of it was that two Gi's and the para would encounter the Germans,a firefight would ensue and the reinforcing Americans would arrive in their jeep and truck and put the Germans to flight-something that wouldn't happen in real life.
Here come the cavalry.
There was no real strategy in it just a lot of shootey shootey but the audience were well entertained apart from the wails of a few infants.
Waiting for their cue.
And their off!
                                A very enjoyable dayout before I had to do the worky thing.
                                   See you when I see you.

Tourists and chavs

Sun 29th May

                          Lady Watson had decreed that since today we were to be beseiged by one of the most wrongly named sporting events, the Edinburgh Marathon, which was running past our front door that we would vacate the premises yesterday and head for the sunnier climes of Stirling castle as this one of the "to do" things on her 2016 calender.I say it is one of the most wrongly named events as it takes place mostly in East Lothian but I would imagine that the East Lothian marathon wouldn't appeal to most Kenyans who flew along past my house faster than the boy racers on a Saturday evening.
I think I'll bag a tourist
                          So up the M9 we sped heading for a castle that I had never visited before.When we arrived we were confronted by hundreds of tourists with their buses in tow taking more photographs than Lady Watson which is saying something.
Thought I'd lost her-dammit!
16th century castle with 21st century scaffolding
                           On these occasions the one thing I thoroughly recommend is an annual Historic Scotland pass which can save you fortunes especially as it was £14 each to get in and they give you free entry into English Heritage sites after one years membership so ours is paid off after about a couple of months.
                    The castle has withstood eight sieges with the last one being an unsuccessful attempt by Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite forces in 1746.Since then it went into disrepair until Queen Victoria became not amused about the state of play.
The only pre 1707 Scotsman I have any time for and he was still a bit niave
                                 As soon as Elizabeth 1 of England had left this world King James V1 of Scotland was on the first East Coast train south and hardly ever came back  consigning his return ticket to the bucket.After that Stirling Castle became a military base from then until the sixties when the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders marched out and the ministry of works marched in.The ministry of Works eventually evolved into Historic Scotland.
Where's me dinner?
                                  The castle is well laid out with plenty of visitor attractions including Royal buildings,gallerys,a museum for the Argyll and Sutherland highlanders and plenty of nooks and crannies for tourists to get lost in,never to be seen again-there is a god!
No s**t!
                                   There is a castle exhibition after you pass the guardroom showing life in the castle showing life throughout the ages with exhibitions about dress,jewellery,music and even entertainment with a jester who would look evil in any horror film.Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves except one woman who complained that she couldn't get a mobile phone signal.Imagine these poor   middle age scientists couldn't even get a mobile phone signal down there.I bet heads rolled for that one.
What can I say
              We then headed through Queen Anne's garden,which later was the scene of Wedding photos being taken which seemed surreal in amongst all these well clad tourists.The bride's pure white meringue dress contrasted with the dankly coloured anoraks of other castle visitors.The garden led towards the palace with which to educate the visitors was populated by guides dressed in 16th century garb informing us of life and the going ons of the inhabitants of these building.The buildings and furniture have been well restored and looked after.
             From here we headed out to the inner close which contained the entrance to the Argyll and Sutherland highlanders museum which  was my favourite exhibition in the castle.The Argyll's were formed in 1881 with the amalgamation of the 91st and 93rd regiments.
Thin red line.
There are different rooms dedicated to the various campaigns from their inception up until their deployment to Afghanistan.
Action Man circa 1916
Mad Mitch phoning for a pizza.
Action Man 50 years later.
 There are plenty of weapons,uniforms and memorabilia on display to keep boys of all ages happy.My favourite was the painting of Mad Mitch and his Highlanders ready to retake the crater in Aden in 1967.
The battle for Hill 282 in Korea
Today's a la carte menu.
         From there we moved out to the courtyard and followed the path towards the armoury visiting on the way the displays of tapestries and Renaissance type dresses.Lady Watson was drooling over one that she want to wear that evening but I thought it was a bit too dressy for our local pub.
16th century Primark.
            We finished off our castle visit with a look at the armoury where the gunpowder was stored.They have all the clothes and shoes that had to be worn.Not the kind of job I would like.
I was born 400 years to late.
No it's not my house.
     On our way out of the church we were  amazed to see the sight of a chav wedding party.The wedding partys dress was in contrast to the drab coloured clothes worn by the other castle visitors.The photo session almost ended in disaster with the sight of the bridesmaids almost falling their length on the cobbled entrance to the castle.I think the castle builders could've been a bit more forward thinking all these hundreds of years ago and saved the embarrassment of these naive young ladies in their high heels.
Kaffee und Kuchen Stirling style
Here be dragons!
   The excursion was rounded of with a trip round rural Fife before finishing off the day with a visit to the Gothenburg for a couple of foaming ales.
Scene of the Shug memorial games day-26th November 2016
         See you when I see you.