TGIF has never been so apt as this week...
I have just had almost two weeks solid of painting 15mm Napoleonic figures, which whilst rather splendid have left me with a real headache and fatigue, the likes of which I've not had in a long time. So much in fact that I am actually considering ceasing accepting orders for Napoleonic models. 11 hours a day instead of the normal 7.5 is not a fun or healthy regime.
In fact I have been so busy that I've not had chance to do much shopping save a couple of cashmere sweaters, a couple of pairs of rather nice moleskins, a copy of the Disciples Of Tzeentch army lists for Age Of Sigmar and 35 old Traveller RPG books. Rather piss poor by my standards I have to admit.
The memsahib has been rather ill recently and it could have been rather serious (terminal in fact) to the point that she was hospitalised with an 'or else' warning. She was slated for 3 weeks but made good her escape after a week and is recovering at home. Luckily she is of fine English stock and as she has a pretty senior post of employment is able to work from home, which is preventing her from gong around the twist. I used the hospital stay to eat a lot of brown rice and liver ,both of which she loathes. I also used the time when not working to get that Culloden project sorted.
But I confess that I was pining from day one. You see, we have been together through thick and thin for just shy of 30 years and despite some rather serious ups and downs in our time are very much a solid partnership, never being parted this long in all that time. She games, is witty, intelligent, cooks almost as well as I and is very much a soothing presence, countering my baser instincts and vile temper.
I met her when my first truly long term relationship was in a terminal dive - when your girlfriend screws 10 people behind your back it doesn't tend to end well - and our first date was going to the cinema to see Hellraiser ,and her first gift was a red rose and a painted ghost from my then 'army of the moment'.
Anyway, that was when I met my best friend and critic, and I realised that there was a person for whom I'd give up anything - even wargaming.
She was not a gamer in any way when we met, but was and is genuinely interested much to the chagrin of a few people who have attempted to talk down to her in those 3 decades and have found themselves totally outclassed. A very well known trader and figure manufacturer once made that mistake and then compounded it by focussing on her bosom at Vapnartak. That was 'interesting'...
Anyway, I digress; I have been brooding and mulling over my youth as one is won't to do. I didn't help myself by watching the 'Recital Of The Script' the final date of the 1983 Marillion tour, filmed at the Hammersmith Odeon. Marillion are for me, intrinsically linked to gaming and my early experiences therein. The late Peter Armstrong introduced me to some of the more obscure stuff, some of my happiest (and darkest) memories have a soundtrack by Marillion, Rush and Jethro Tull.
I sat brooded about what I could have done and didn't, what I should have done and shied away from and wondered if at the end of it all, I've wasted my life? I couldn't say and it maybe that on a given day I would think one thing and on the next another, so mercurial are my moods these days.
My exclusion from Games Workshop in the mid 80s for a period of about 3 years estranged me from my friends. Those friends as is typical of children I suppose, were not wont to risk their own 'visiting rights' and thus I raged against them for the next 25 years when, had I been better adjusted and less temperamental, I guess I could have tried to maintain those links.
Hindsight and all that...
I was listening to the Grognard Files podcast following a comment on this very blog by Steven Williams and was flattered to find out that my own book was in some way responsible for the development of that rather excellent and quirky show. I listened to the double edition of the show on the Traveler RPG and that was it, I set out to put together my collection again and, within 7 days and after £340 or outlay I acquired the initial purchase of 35 books.
In fact if you have any unwanted Traveller books and games, please let me know. I am particularly looking for Snapshot, the man to man combat system and would pay £25-£40 for a copy in good condition.
I'm pretty much in a downward spiral of reveries at present and thus, I am holding onto as many memories as I can lest my emotions take me on a full-blown depression cycle *sigh*.
I do sometimes consider cutting all of my social media ties with the friends I have re-connected with, particularly when so many have passed away in the last 12 months, way, way too early, but so far I have managed to keep myself in check and, if I can get some quality 'me' time, reading and gaming I might be able to put a stop to those thoughts and get my game face on. I think that some people always expect me to be the strong and dominant type, but in truth that's not who I am.
Hopefully when Allan atLancashire Games presents me with my painted Culloden armies, I'll be distracted for a while even though my interest in Culloden dates to the 80s and a love for the music of Big Country, which could actually set me off on one again... Bloody hell, who'd have thought that the carefree 12 year old buying his first dwarf models at Hopkinson's Models in Sheffield in 1981 was opening a Pandora's box which some 37 years later would lead to thoughts like those covered in this post?
It's a funny old world innit?
PS: having now played Age Of Sigmar, I have revised my original scathing opinion. If you ignore the fact that it is prefixed as 'Warhammer' it's actually a pretty fine little game indeed.