Monday, 29 December 2008


Sunday I went out with my war gaming friends Jock, AndyH and DaveA, but before we went for a meal at a local pub in the evening we spent the afternoon playing a zombie war game in Dave's newly converted war games room in his cellar which is very plush.

(AndyH, DaveA and Jock)

Dave had spread out the terrain and wrote a new set of rules to give the feel of your typical zombie movie and it played and looked excellent, so good I've wrote up our brief story below.

(Please click on images to see larger photos of the zombie models)

My names McNab and yesterday we made run for our lives from our fortified farmhouse to the armoured sanctuary of the special forces police vehicle that would takes to a sanctuary where rest of mankind was gathering to try to save itself from the zombie plague.


Five of us where left in the farm house when SWAT officer Decker found us and told us of the vehicle less than a mile away and with food running short we decided to make a run for it.

(Decker following up behind Johnson)

(Rufus and Johnson)

We pack our remaining meager supply of ammo, Cindy a nurse who couldn't hit a barn door from 5 yards carried most of our first aid stuff, then we had Refus the ex-junky a nervy young man but handy with sledge hammer, Tyrone our token black guy who we joked just like the movies was bound to get killed, and then we had Johnson a suit, he clung on to brief case chained to wrist like his life depended on it.

(Tyrone and Cindy)

Within half a mile of the small town we encountered our first hoard of undead, charging us smelling the fresh human meat, Decker proved his skill but was jumped from behind when no one watched his back, he probably would have been fine but Cindy in her panic tried to shoot the zombies off his back and hit Decker with a bullet straight in the head, so much death she hardly blinked that she just killed a man.

(Decker attacked)

I took point blasted heap of Zombies out the way with my pump action shotgun, while Tyrone covered out rear. Johnson the suit ran back to pick up Deckers assault rifle and proved quite handy with it, he was more than he claimed.

(Tyrone and Cindy)

We then tried to move forward between the barn it proved a bottle neck, a couple of times Zombies got in close and Rufus swung his hammer to knock the Zombies flying, Tyrone had a soft spot for Cindy and kept running to her rescue risking his and our necks by not watching the dark corners and then their were hundreds of them, we were surrounded and overwhelmed, I was down to my last clip and need to reload when a Zombie grabbed me, Refus swung his sledgehammer and broke it on the zombies head, dam near broke my back, not complaining since he probably save my life, Cindy patched me up before we moved on.

(McNab on point)

Meanwhile Johnson the suit had ran off and left the remaining four of us to die under the horde.

(Johnson making a run for it)

Somehow we blasted a gap and I called it, run, run, so we stopped fighting and just ran duck and dived towards the armoured sanctuary, I got there first then, Rufus closely followed by Cindy, Tyrone our rear guard didn't he found himself surrounded and that's the last we saw of him, but we hared his screams.

(Tyrone's last stand)

Johnson the suit had lead a group of zombies away and either by accident or design created the gap that allowed us our freedom, and still clinging on to his brief case we saw him fall to zombies in the headlights of our new safe place.

(Johnson surrounded)

So three out of six escaped, could have been better, who knows what the future will hold.

(The Survivors Rufus, McNab and Cindy)

The Zombie figures where converted by DaveA from railway modellers 60mm figures then given heads and hands from Games workshop figures.

The game itself played very different from your typical skirmish war game since in a normal game you would be moving your figures to cover for protection, in this game that's the last thing you wanted to do since that's where the zombies were hiding, great fun, tactical and more by luck than judgement I got both my figures to safety, I thank AndyH for his movie moment with Johnson when he tried to escape on his own with his vitally important breifcase and ended up drawing all the zombies away from us.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Christmas with friends

Christmas Day was spent with my friends AndyT and Linda they cooked a nice big Christmas dinner with lots of veg and some lovely stuffing which I could have ate loads of. We were also joined by their daughter Katie and her boyfriend Luke who has just escaped from the army for few days, Andy's mother Doris and occasional visits from their son Christopher who spent most of the day in a room on his own playing his new computer game.

(Doris, Linda, Katie and Luke)

I took round some presents including snail cream for Linda, a face cream to remove wrinkles and stretch marks made from slime collected from snails, Linda seemed not impressed ;) for Katie I found a totally pink tool kit with everything from a pink cordless screwdriver to pink handled hammer, it even included a pink bandanna to wear when your working, I was quite impressed with the kit with came inside a strong pink aluminium case. Andy and Linda got me a Viking belt bag and fashionable top.

(Belle Katy's new cat.)

Late afternoon we all walked down the road to Freda's, Andy and Linda's friend.

When we got there I learned we had gone to do karaoke, or Sing Star it was called, a computer game that not only provides the words but judges how in tune you are. Breaking out in cold sweat, I really hoped I wouldn't be roped in, I really hate my singing voice, (private bathroom or car performance with myself has the audience only) Freda's family and boyfriend was also there who I vaguely know adding to any embarrassment.
Andy and Linda are very extrovert and really got stuck in, as did everyone else, apart from me, Katie and Luke who sat it out. Freda's son Dan is studying music at University and in a band and very, very good, he then played the guitar so we could sing along with Christmas carol, before playing us some of his own songs.

Once I escaped the karaoke we walked back Andy & Linda's house where Christopher was still playing his computer game and ate desert before trying to play a game of Munchkin Quest unfortunately as I read the rules I declared we did not have a whole day to play what looked a very complex game. By this time it was late and so we decided play Kill Dr Lucky, this did not go plan since Andy was drunk, Katie was talking to her friends over the Internet on her new pc, Christopher kept saying I coming to join us but never actually left his computer screen and Luke was busy trying to program a new fancy remote control for Linda.

For Boxing day I went round to Julie and Dave's to play games, and swap gifts, their friend Nat was also invited making a cosy little group.

Julie made me a knitted hat, which I love, it suits me and she knows I have wanted some of her hand made knitting for quite a while, worth the wait.
(New hat)
I found Dave a large tartan hat with cabbage leaves around the edge, which I hope he gets to fit him since it would make a ideal accessories for a McUen. I also managed to get Dave a book he already had a copy of, but it eventually found a good home, I also got a another book from Julie and Dave which is a look at medieval reenactor.

Dave showed me his latest Orc models for warhammer, if he has time he really should do a blog he puts a lot of effort into the modelling, probably spending twice as long with his milliput than his paints, he also does lots ambigrams which I think would be appreciated as well.

We played a few games ate Julie's lovely chicken stew and watched Dave try to get out of Julie humorous attempt to make him feel guilty for picking on her during our game of Munchkin Booty.

And I did get proper game of Kill Dr Lucky, its a good game.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Its Christmas

Since I have time I'm writing this.

Normally by this time on Christmas day I would have been at my mothers with my two brothers, my sister and my two nephews opening presents and preparing for Christmas dinner. Today with with my mother and sister on holiday in Central America the family are going their separate ways with friends and partners and it feels very strange. I will be off in an hour or so to my friends AndyT and Linda for the day and really looking forward to it.

Sunday evening my dad made his annual visit which was pleasant and he left me more memorabilia of his side of the family, including a whole file of census forms and birth certificates right back to 1841, seems half my fathers side come from Burton on Trent the other half from St Helen's Lancashire.

Since I don't know that many Andy's I also went to see AndyL at the shop on Sunday and deliver presents, the shop was dead, Ripley was empty and AndyL was painting Warhammer figures with Mike, I spent a few hours chatting, and will see them New Years Eve along with Heather and few others for the evening.

On Monday night I went out with Jock (AndyC) and Assy (AndyH) where we chatted about relationships, World of Warcraft, reenactment, larp and it seems Jocks want to retry his hand at Larp and Assy being frothed at by DaveP when we went TORM wants to try it. We have agreed they will have a go at a local AscendancyLRP linear event in the spring and also when I'm free and we can coordinate it probably June have go at MaelstomLRP two different styles of larp.

The last thing I did yesterday was visit Pets at Home for a few gifts for Jasmine which we opened last night, the vibrating frog was a immediate success, the crinkly fingers were also played with but the Cat Bubble Gun with catnip flavoured soap suds sent Jasmine behind the sofa, although this mornings fun is diving into the Christmas wrapping paper.

Actually not quite the last thing I also visited my friends Ste and Deb to drop off present, their house was chaos with lots of people comming and going, so I only stayed just over an hour, not one who likes too many people, especially those I don't know.

Anyway I've opened my selection of present which include gift vouchers, socks, biscuits, a magnifying glass, incense burner, clockwork Robby the Robot, magic cards, tea, a book on hand shadows and a pretty box, no presents from the family this year since we decided not to buy any, although I did since I purchased some of them at Chatworth in August. My brother Stephen also cheated and bought me something and brother texted me and said he would be dropping off a present so no buying present didn't go quite to plan.

Merry Christmas to anyone who reads this, I will probably seeing quite a few of you anyway over the next week.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

This is the season to be ill, it seems

Tonight I had arranged a evening out with friends Jock, Bridgette and AndyH unfortunately Bridgette who has been off work for 8 days with a virus has now come out in spots so can't go out.

I also rang my friend Ste to make arrangement for Christmas Eve only to find his wife had collapsed last weekend and had been rushed to hospital with suspected food poisoning, this resulted in her staying hospital for several days, meanwhile Ste himself has been off work for 2 weeks with Bronchitis and told not to go back to work until the new year.

Work has also been hit, on Tuesday this week nearly half the staff were either off ill or queasy with a sickness and Diarrhea bug that latest all of 2 days before disappearing from the building, fortunately I missed it. The management meeting was called off because several manager were off with flu, man flu or colds depending on your point of view, since most of the managers seem to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week I suspect they were ill with more than colds and man flu.

Myself I'm just recovering from a cold that left me with a horrible dry cough I can't shift, but after speaking to everyone else I'm beginning to feel lucky.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Weekend of cold and pleanty of tea.

The Ascendancy Christmas party this year was at the Unstone Grange a kind commune conference centre run by dedicated bunch of nice people on a shoe string, not far for me to travel either.

I came down with a mild cold earlier in the week and it appeared to be just going on Friday before the event however once at the event I got terribly bunged up, my sinuses swelled and my head felt like it was being suffocated in cotton wool. This put a kind of damper on the event since everything seemed like hard work, I nipped off several times during the event for a lie down for 1/2 an hour since I was so tired.

It was nice to see everyone and hand out Christmas cards, I even got a couple of Christmas presents back one from SamK, AndyL and Heather gave me a present too both will be opened Christmas Day. What was very unexpected is yesterday my next door neighbour who I hardly speak too gave me gift voucher, apparently for cutting their hedge a couple of time in the year.

Talking of Sam she is 40 this year, can't believe it, I thought she had a couple of year to go before she joined me in her forty's, pity I have other arrangement so will miss her birthday.

With dry throat and a handy kettle I drank lots of tea, also with a indoor event you don't have the fear of having to get out your warm sleeping bag and dress for sub zero torrential rain if you bladder demands the loo, you can more or less decency permitting get up and go. I managed to snaffle a room of my own based on saving everyone from the snoring monster that gives Julie nightmares, apparently, it also hopefully acted has a quarantine hopefully reducing the chance of me passing on my cold, although I think it had mostly passed the contagious stage by then I was just heavily bunged up.

(Picture of fellow tea drinker.)

After the event Andy revealed his plans for next year which have gone down well with most, although some who don't like to travel far or can't drive would have liked at least one core event a bit more South, although nothings totally finalised yet. Biggest bit for me is no week long next year, so will have to look elsewhere for any holiday plans.

Once home Julie and Dave stopped off for long afternoon and a bit of food, I gave them my house keys while I took AndyL and Gabriel home, and by the time I got back Jasmine was being pampered and brushed and really enjoying herself, so much so she did not even say hello has I unloaded my car.

Before they left we finalised part of my Christmas plans since my Mother is away on cruise through the Panama Canal and so will miss Christmas and with it no family get together will occur, this left me feeling a little stranded, luckily my supply of very good friends have all come up with ideas and pleasant days to ensure I have a good Christmas.

I can know breath through my nostrils and don't have muffled hearing, only 6 working days left to Christmas hurrah I can't wait.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Craft and Chimera

What a lovely bright weekend. Yesterday (Sat) I went to visit friend Martin whose wife Jo teaches ceramics, she was displaying some of her own work at a local craft fair in Wirksworth where they live. Wirksworth is beautiful town, that somehow has managed to hold onto its independent stores owned by the residents, built into a valley the houses rise steeply from the meandering main road. Parking was horrendous, I ended up almost out of town, as well as the craft fair the town was having local farmers market.

(Below Martin and Jo)

The craft fair was spread over the Town Hall and the Parish Rooms, I found Jo and she phone Martin who took me to his house to show me Jo's kiln and workshop. Martins house is well up the hillside and he has no way of parking his car anywhere near his house. I met his cat, 22 years old, blind, shaky back end but very cute, she can't go out, not because of traffic, but 20 foot drops from the garden to the next house below. Martin showed me his other garden with the Kiln which involved getting a extending ladder to climb up too.

(Below Martins Garden)

(Below view from Martins Garden)

After leaving Martin I found a brilliant antiques come junk shop, the sort where the items are just piled on top of each other in giant heaps and you have to clamber your way through, to make matters worse the shop has no natural light and is lit by a single sodium lamp giving everything a yellow/orange tinge. I found some bits of brass and a old brass blow torch, how much for these, hmm seven quid said the owner, not what I was expecting, I will be back again to look through his junk, (DaveP if you read this you would love it).

I bought some of Jo's work for Christmas presents. Her work the Raku work, basically pottery firing at low-ish temperature then dropping into sawdust while still fire hot to remove the oxygen, most of the other work was well out my pocket, paintings for fifteen hundred quid and more, un-priced bits of very arty bent metal that each have a story and photographs to explain how they where conceived they have to be expensive. Wirksworth is one of those town where Arty type accumulate.

(below some of Jo's pottery)

On Saturday evening I went to Chimera Christmas works meal, somehow I got invited, basically all the shop staff Becky, Leah, Mike, Rich, owners AndyL and Heather plus Jock & Bridgette who helped man the shop during the summer and me, who spends far too much time there. We went to Frankie and Bennys and it was good fun night, a few photos below, AndyL and Heather paid has a thank you to everyone which was a pleasant surprise, should have ordered a dessert ;) then again I think I would have exploded trying eat anymore.

(below outside F and B)

(Below Jock)
(Below Bridgette)

(Below Mike and Leah)

(Below Rich and a sleepy Becci)

(Below Bossman himself AndyL)

I do have photos of Heather but she would not thank me for posting them.

After that I spent the rest of my weekend wrapping present, everyone is now done apart from one yet to be delivered by the Online supplier, but that should be here sometime next week, then that's it all done well ahead of schedule. I had to be since my Mums goes on her Panama cruise with my sister this Friday so she won't be around for Christmas, which is going to be very odd, in fact I delivered her presents, and my brothers and sisters today.

Is it only the 1st week of December, it does seem odd.