Well, after a bloody awful night's sleep and waking to feel all 49 years pressing down upon me, I was really pleased and flattered to find a message in my inbox which read thus:
"Mark, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading 'Life's a Bu**er . . .". Brought back so many memories of 'back in the day'. Still gaming, mind. Cheers for the giggles and not-so-giggly insightful bits. In short, thanks for making my life a little bit richer. Cheers (Name redacted by your correspondent)"
Now, I do get mails like this, but it never ceases to make me smile and get a warm and fuzzy feeling to know that in some small way I've had an effect on another person for the better. That someone manages to track me down and then takes the time to write to me is an honour.
This lifted me from what has been something of a negatively introspective mood of late and into a retrospective mood, which is not at all negative. True, I have reflected on a few uncomfortable memories as I worked today, but I realised just what I have achieved because of my hobby and that stubborn refusal to 'grow up' or 'forget about the crap' both suggestion having been levelled at me over recent years.
My hobby has allowed me to create things of beauty and be paid for doing so, taken me all over the country and participate in one of the era defining cultural memes and movements from it's earliest days.
I have owned a shop and lost it, I have worked for Chris Harvey, one of the guiding lights in the early days of the U.K hobby, and what's more I learned a few principles from him which I hold true to, to this day.
I have appeared in Wargames Illustrated, Wargames Journal and on television in my own right, and in recent years become a published author.
I have the companionship of the finest woman a man could wish for, through some very dark episodes and many more as bright as the sun.
Life has in it's own way been very, very good to me.
I have met people who have been friends, enemies, mentors and tormentors; all of whom have shaped me in some way.
All this has come from walking into a toy shop and buying a packet of three Dwarves and then, a few weeks later being the first person through the doors of Games Workshop here in Sheffield whilst they were stocking the shelves.
All things considered it's been a bloody good run up to now...
As I write, I am watching paint dry, and trying not to sneeze, having just applied static grass to the Stormcast Eternals force which arrived yesterday and which, I mentioned in my last post.
Ahh, the simple pleasures can sometimes be the very, very best...