Monday 12 October 2020

Where to Next?

There seems to be a huge amount going on at the moment.  Work is hectic, loads of change and changing demands, reminding me of the Billy Connolly clip about 'demands'. (Don't listen if you are offended by bad language... )

This week has been poignant too. My dad died nearly two years ago, and ever since, I have visited his shed when I needed a tool, or a set of sanding disks, or, well, pretty much anything, from a lathe or a bandsaw, to tool makers dies and spoke-shaves...  

There's been something comfortable about going there, his old, paint-stained dustcoat still hanging from the door. I'm much closer to him there, than at a lump of stone in a field overlooking the estuary. That stone may have his name etched in, but it's etched much deeper into the vice that has been on his workbench for 50 years, or the lovingly oiled Stanley planes and carefully arranged drill bits. In what would have been chaos for anyone else, he would turn up what you needed in an instant, with a conjurers grin and more than likely, a pithy piece of Scots.

But now the house has finally been sold. So the workshop must be cleared. And this week I stood in the midst of the sawdust and clamps, the chisels and bits of wood that 'might come in handy', and looked at what I might take away. I could have taken it all, but how often will I use a lathe, or the bandsaw? They would simply grow dust in my shed and I couldn't bear the censure of his shade as the lovingly tended blades turned to rust and handles to rot.  

So I took one or two small things, a hammer a punch, a tape measure, And the rest will go to the 'Men's Shed' and I hope will be used, and oiled and tended, and bring as much joy as my dad got from a clean wood surface or a well made tenon joint. It's what he would have wanted. 

Pardon me for the introspective. I suppose I have reached a point where I am at a bit of a hobby crossroads. 

My usual playing group have gone silent. We haven't met as a club since February. I have been playing at the Virtual Lard days, which have been fun but also served to remind me of what I am missing. I've made a new table top, so I could host games, but no-one to host them for in lockdown. I also seem to be getting too tired to do hobby stuff during the week, and too busy to do hobby stuff on the weekend.

I've been gradually painting figures, but it's hard to sustain the motivation to paint when you wonder if you will ever play with the figures. One of the most recent sets of figures were the Orcs for 'goblin week' for for the 'Loose Association of Wargamers' forum. 

They're doing Dwarfcember, so I thought i would pick up the Oathmark dwarves from my local game store. Sold out. eBay to the rescue, and a set of Alternative Armies Flintloque Dwarf Landwehr arrived on Saturday, another set of figures I will paint, then be put into a box, and passed on to the wargamer's equivalent of the Men's Shed in 20 or so years time. 

Incidentally, if there ever were an wargamers equivalent of the Men's Shed, then I suspect the organisers would be nobbled by figure manufacturers in minutes... there has to be more unused lead out there in sheds, boxes, basements and attics than in every manufacturers stockroom and blister pack combined.  

It all leaves me wondering what to paint next. Logically, having finished the Romans, then I should do an opponent so I can run solo games of Infamy, but I have never been enthused by solo gaming.  There are a whole bunch of 'almost finished' AWI deployment points, carts, Roman mule drawn carts, etc. 

Or I could return to the WW2 Malaya figures, Medievals, the AWI, the 1745, etc...   Who knows, I may have to roll a dice. 

Carts, wagons, dwarves, lictors, there's even a Kenneth in there. All in dire need of paint and stuff.


  1. Hi Doug, this is a beautiful post. Regarding your hobby, it's a situation I think many of us find ourselves in. Cold comfort, but you're not alone in this. Watch out for incoming message via Discord...!

  2. Great post Doug, gaming will return Doug, get painting. Fore armed is fore warned as they say.

  3. A lovely post and tribute, thanks for sharing it with us. I suggest you paint something totally different, a hobby holiday if you like. The Malaya stuff sounds intriguing.

  4. Dad was a plumber by trade and his workshop under the house was a well organised as Sandy's sounds, although less of the woodworking tools and more of the plumbers assortment. Mercifully the brother-in-law has done a reasonable job of downsizing the workshop to only leave mostly the necessary tools for home maintenance for when he or I visit and mum needs something doing.

    My man cave under mum's is in dad's train room, where he was building his layout. He managed to get it about 50% complete in his years of retirement having built, pulled up and then rebuilt to his satisfaction. He managed to have trains running and provide enjoyment for some of the local kids. My contribution was teaching him how to fool the eye, especially painting and weathering.

    I was glad I met Sandy, and I especially enjoyed the twinkle in his eye as he recounted some of his Scottish "truths", like why he wore his other's tartan and why added a little water to his whisky.

    Pick something colourful and just paint - the mojo will return.