Happy Birthday to me!

Well, I made it to the half century. Fifty today. And God does it feel like it! 🙂

I thought I should at least mark the event so here are a few pics to chronicle the passage of time…

50-01
Newly arrived with my Mum, Dad and big brother

I’ll not dig out the full range of childhood pics but just one to show my latent superhero tendencies…

50-02So lets skip to some significant events…

Most of my early work career had me looking like this… which was also my first passport photo…. I’ve no idea why I always wore a white scarf….

50-03Travel. Did a bit of that. Went to a wedding in Alaska. Chris and Tia Wilhelm. I’d met Chris while travelling in Germany, kept in touch, and when he announced his wedding I thought I’d go…

50-04Followed this with the best part of two years travelling round India, Nepal, Thailand, Australia etc.  India saw an invite to another wedding. Dress a little less formal:

50-05Having the above passport photo caused a few issues at passport control as I now looked like this.

50-06
Deep in thought awaiting a bus to Darjeeling at the Nepalese border.

Return to UK saw the start of ten years in archaeology…

Digging with Earthwatch at Arbeia Fort in South Shields
Digging with Earthwatch at Arbeia Fort in South Shields

Next good few years saw marriage, kids, finally did my Degree and Masters and then from 40 to  50 seemed to fly…

To mark the event my wife, Ingrid, booked five days  in Reykjavik. I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland even since reading Desmond Bagley’s Running Blind when I was about 15 and then watching the TV series. There was something about the scenery… Often, when we talked about holidays locations I’d mention it for it to be declined as too cold! So to finally get the chance was great. We flew out on Thursday March 20th, returning the following Tuesday. It was great. It was cold. It was bloody expensive! Here’s a few pics.

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Gullfoss Waterfalls
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Apparently that’s a volcano…
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Gullfoss Waterfalls
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Gullfoss Waterfalls
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Gullfoss Waterfalls
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Strokkur, the most active geyser in Iceland
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Hallgrímskirkja church and statue of Leifur Eiriksson (ignore stupid woman lying in front!)
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It’s Iceland…
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Tjörnin lake in the center of Reykjavík. Most of it was frozen while we were there…
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…and frozen enough to walk across. We didn’t fancy risking it…

I don’t seem to have taken as many photos as I thought. The museums in Reykjavík were good. The bars were good. We had two late night trips to try and see the Northern Lights but to no avail… I liked the place. I’m glad I went. I’d go back. With more money…

So there we are. I’ve not posted any pictures of the family so far but to be honest they are the thing that makes hitting fifty bearable!

Ingrid, Zach, Hannah and Alfie the dog.
Ingrid, Zach, Hannah and Alfie the dog

Time to work towards sixty now…

 

 

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Ayton 2014

The early May Bank Holiday Weekend saw the fourth gathering in East Ayton for a weekend of wargaming, beer, food and excellent company! This year saw Henry Hyde taking the campaign reigns again and bringing us all back to the little principality of Granprix where it all began at the first Ayton in 2011. After our excursions to Byzarbia and nDunaland we were finally called back to either fight for King Raoul of Grenouisse to protect his ill gotten gains or to liberate little Granprix from his twisted grasp! Grenouisse  was supported by the Gateway Alliance, Altefritzenburg, Aytonia, the Margraviate of Hunmanby, the Duchy of Elland and the Margraviate of Cress and faced invasion by Prunkland, Medetia, the Barony of Darien, Borscht and Whyeydia in support of the rebellious Granprixians!

We had two big games on the first day. reflecting the action in the east and west:

Day 1 tables about to be laden with lead
Day 1 tables about to be laden with lead

And Day 2 saw Henry masterfully herd us all onto one huge table:

The big table!
The big table!

And which we happily filled with lots of toy soldiers!

Just a few figures! And this is only the eastern half!
Just a few figures! And this is only the eastern half!

It was, as ever, a fine fine weekend. Thousands of beautiful troops deployed on massive tables. Great events and much lead blood shed on the field of battle. There will be other accounts of the events no doubt but you can find my own (obviously totally unbiased) version of events here:

The Loss of Granprix

And a couple of large galleries here: Day 1 and here: Day 2

Such was the intensity of the fighting on our table that I only took a few photos of the action to the west. And I don’t really have a grasp of the narrative of events there other than the slight worry of Ken’s hussars hurtling towards our flank (before being sidetracked) and the less then rapid advance of Lord Peeler – must have been some men with pointy sticks holding back is advance! So the pictures for that side are here:

The Battles in the West

As always , huge thanks go to Peeler for organising the logistics of the event, Henry for the buildup and herding of the wargaming cats at the event itself, and finally to the combatants themselves: Mark Phillips, Richard Frost, Mike Whitaker, Dave McClumpha, Ken McGarry, Paul Bright, Peter Mark-Smith, Simon Tonkiss, Dave Hall and Iain Burt who made the whole event such fun. And not forgetting the two Tims, Hall and Wauby, who’s excellent 54mm games provided some lovely eye candy alongside the big game!

The BIG Games!

There are other reports and galleries scattered around the blogosphere and fora:

Henry has galleries, background and videos here: Henry’s Wargaming

Another write up and pics from the evil Medetians on Dave Hall’s blog.

And more from Ken on his blog

And there are LOTS more pictures in the Loose Wargames and Gallery section of the Loose Association of Wargamers where we all meet to plan this madness!

I’m already looking forward to next year but this year wouldn’t have been possible without my wife. Several days before the event she did her back in and it was touch and go whether she would be able to cope with the kids and dog if I went away. Fortunately things settled enough to risk it and I was allowed to go! She’s a good’un!

A

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