A knock is heard...
At the door stands a postman with a box from Japan.
'Great!' I think... 'Darren has found a cheap way to come home.'
But in point of fact it is a package of very nice models from Darren Ashmore who, is a Professor over in the Land Of The Rising Sun and whom I should be seeing for the first time in a few years.
I have known Darren for over 3 decades now and as youths we gamed and gamed and gamed as often as we could along with a raucous and motley band of similarly fanatical youths.
I met Darren in what could have been dodgy circumstances had I not just been released from 3 weeks of house arrest after I split with a schoolyard girlfriend.
She had given me an ultimatum of 'It's me or Runequest...'
I had done the maths and reckoned that I could get another girlfriend - being a handsome if quirky youth - but that I had invested some serious money in my Runequest stuff. A no-brainer, frankly.
She spoke to my Mum, and what did for me was that rather than 'kiss and make up' I was more bothered about getting a set of dice back (£1.99 even then) from her Mum's house.
All bets were off, I was grounded and had to spend three weeks sitting from 4PM until bed time in an armchair in absolute silence. I ate in silence, read in silence, did various chores in silence, until my Mum broke and let me out a week earlier than planned. I tell you, Mandela had nothing on me when it came to passive resistance.
Released from the parental penitentiary, I was again outside The Wellington on Wednesday night.
Not wanting to miss a minute of time set aside for games it was probable, nay, expected that our gang would be there for the opening of the pub’s doors. We were canny and just in case the licensing laws had change since the previous Wednesday we arrived half an hour early.
As I got out of the car - my Dad was a little more forgiving than my Mum, so a lift was not a problem - I noticed a sturdily built youth in the shadow of the building.
I approached cautiously, trying to weigh him up. He spoke first ‘Ah, a new boy. Let me show you the ropes…
New boy? New boy? I’d been gone for a few weeks and it had come to this. This interloper, this cuckoo, had landed in my nest and was making out that I was some kind of Johnny-come-lately to war gaming.
It has been claimed that I had the look of a murderer in my eyes but I remember that I simply replied, ‘No let me show you the bloody ropes…’ The blood was up and was not going to let this slight slip me by, but murder?
This was the first time I met Darren, soon to be known simply as ‘Flash’ but the story of why must remain untold.
By the time the doors opened and in that curious way that boys with similar interests do, we were chatting animatedly like old friends.
And so began a friendship which, although not always smooth - what friendship us? - endures to this day.
Thanks Daz... For the kits and your friendship over the years.