Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Sirens, Strokes, Serfdom and Small Soldiers.

In April this year, 2015 I suffered a minor heart attack. I didn’t know it was minor at the time, it felt as though an elephant was sat on my chest. As I lay in the back of an ambulance, blue lighting it to the hospital, I thought, ‘Is this it? Is this how it is all going to end?'

Well of course, unless I am a ghost, then it didn’t end and I am typing this blog entry. All the same it has made me reconsider many things, as only a kick up the backside like that can. Since that evening, I have undergone numerous examinations and tests; the upshot being is that I need a bypass operation as two of the arteries are shot. This is a reasonably straightforward operation these days, and my chances of surviving it are rated at 98%, I would of course have preferred 100% but I will take the offered odds. If I do nothing, I will suffer a fatal heart attack within the next five years.

I will be 62 years old next month and although death doesn’t fill me with the dread it would have done in my youth, I still would prefer to stay around for a good few years yet. I am entitled to retire at 65, at which time I would receive the State Pension, having completed 50 years of work, I left school and started earning at 15. However, I do have an income, my pension from serving in the Royal Navy and later the Police Force. My wife and I have no debt, no credit cards or loans that seem to blight so many people and apart from the normal everyday utility bills, food etc. we have no other outgoings.

For the last eight years I have also had to care for my wife, who in that time has suffered two strokes. Family have helped of course, to allow me to go on working, but like the rest of us, they too are ageing and have health problems of their own to deal with. It has become more difficult to find someone to be with her. I have, along with my wife’s blessing, taken the decision to retire early, or at least resign from my present occupation, at Christmas this year.

At some point between now and Christmas, I am due to undergo the aforementioned bypass operation, this will entail a ten to fourteen day stay in hospital, followed by six to eight weeks convalescing at home. The upshot is, if I survive, I shall become a gentleman of leisure and when everyone else crawls back to work during the cold, dark miserable days of early January, I shall still be tucked up warm in bed, no more 6 am starts for me.

'But what will you do all day, I hear you cry!' Well that is the beauty of this hobby of ours, so much to keep us busy, crikey who needs work? I really don’t have the time for it anymore, far too many soldiers to paint and battles to fight on the table top. I have lots of options to work through too.

a)     6mm ACW army is now well on the way to completion, though there is still quite a bit left to paint. At this point in time, I have enough figures painted to fight reasonably large scale battles. Now it is deciding which rule set I want to use, Altar of Freedom, Black Powder or maybe something else. Well I can try them all and see which I prefer.

b)     28mm ECW, I have completed quite a few regiments for both sides, still more to build and paint, but I have enough for a decent sized skirmish game. I am using the Pike & Shotte rule system which I really like.

c)     28mm Roman/Celt armies. I have troops for both the armies, though I have only painted up a few Roman Legionaries as test pieces so far, so a whole lot of work to do on this project. Rules will probably be Hail Caesar but L’Art de Guerre also looks promising.

d)    SAGA, I have painted up an Anglo-Saxon army for this game, with a Viking army still boxed and waiting to be built. I also have a Viking long ship kit that needs building and painting for the game as well.

e)     28mm War of the Roses Campaign. I have built up quite a few units for my Northern Campaign project, with lots more still to build and paint. Rules will be Lion Rampant, L’Art de Guerre or maybe Hail Caesar, once again I can play using them all and settle for my favourite.

f)      1/72 scale. I have boxes and boxes of these figures, many are painted, but even more remain unopened. Napoleonic, Greeks, Persians, 100 years war, (I even have a castle kit in that scale unopened), Samurai, Crusaders and Saracens.

g)     N Gauge model railway. My original layout was built on my current war gaming table; it was scrapped as it didn’t fulfill my needs. Ashdon Mk2 has yet to rise from the ashes and one wall of the man cave is designated for its use, with a possible loop around the whole room, at a later date.

h)    Story writing. Those of you who follow my blog will be familiar with the story set during the English Civil War and the goings on with Sir Royston and Septimus. I intend to continue with that story, as well as a new one covering the exploits of my fictitious War of the Roses campaign.

'But what about the cost, you won’t be earning any cash?'
Very true, but I have everything I need without buying even one more soldier or locomotive. It has already been gathered over the years and will now finally get to be painted/built/used.

Well this entry is a little different from my usual fayre and it has gone on a bit, however I wanted to let you know the state of play at the moment and give an insight into future plans.


  1. Well that was a good update. You seem to have a full plate, although retiring. All good and well, I say. Keep it up Ian, there are lots more adventures ahead, not to mention models to paint!


  2. Thanks Kurtus, lots and lots to do, no fear of me being bored in retirement. I don't have time for work now!

  3. I had no idea about the heart attack. Of course, we became acquainted after the fact. I am very glad you are ok, and that you are taking the necessary steps to ensure a happy and healthy retirement. I know you have a lot of fun projects to work on, and I always love seeing what you complete. All the best my friend.

    1. Thanks Alex, I will certainly be busy once I retire, no sitting in a chair and fading away for me, too much to do. Now that the decision has been made to retire, and I do actually enjoy my job, I feel much more settled and am looking forward to it. Gaining buddies like yourself also adds to the fun.

    2. Thanks Alex, I will certainly be busy once I retire, no sitting in a chair and fading away for me, too much to do. Now that the decision has been made to retire, and I do actually enjoy my job, I feel much more settled and am looking forward to it. Gaining buddies like yourself also adds to the fun.