Sunday, 26 July 2015

26th July 2015 - 10th August 2015 - Not even a thought !!!

Well - time has come for the European Tour - so nothing posting here while I am in Germany until I return on 10th August ..

Back soon

Cheers ...

Saturday, 25 July 2015

25th July 2015 - Trailer Tents and Timetables

Thought for the day: "Apparently I snore so loudly that it scares everyone in the car I'm driving."

 And so, it is the last day before the trip to Germany... Van all packed up and ready to go .. So for a change we play with Susie's new toy - a trailer tent ..

We set aside an hour this morning to see if we could see how to set it up - four hours later we had succeeded.. And it appears to be in very good condition and - though we took a few attempts, went up quite easily - once we knew what we were doing...

 Light enough so that Susie can move it on her own .

 New Bunjy rope ready for replacing the existing - but that seems to be the only thing that needs much work other than a couple of eyebolts for the legs ..

 The kitchen lifts off the back - but a bit heavy for one to carry .

 But basin (not plumber in but ready for it) and cooker (which works)

 and then the magic starts ..

 Like taking a rabbit out of the hat ,, it all unfolds like a demented Tardis

 and after the tent - then the awning goes on ..

 Space for the kitchen - a loo and wardrobe

and fully lined inside

 And there we are in all our glory ..

 and there we go..
And so - she is ready for the first trip out of Bala ..

And fingers crossed that there are not too many delays at the Eurostar..

Friday, 24 July 2015

24th july 2015 - Packing and Pound Shops

Thought for the day:" I could be a morning person. If morning started around noon."

Friday - and a hard day.. up early and loafing around the pound shops trying to find out what I need for the forthcoming trip.. Lidl and I get a Mosquito net door - can't remember if there were insects in Germany last year - could be - was cheap.. Man in the Pound Shop was amused by someone who bought 5 pairs of reading glasses - but I lose them so quickly every event - or even between getting up and having a cup of tea..
Mind you - clearing the Bothy and I found four more pairs that had fallen by the wayside..

A new LiLo - and a power blower to blow it up...

A cleaner Bothy, and a rationalisation of how to stack "stuff" - and we seem to have more room than I thought..    A long day - but a satisfying one I think ...

Tomorrow we get to play with the new trailer tent and finalise the loading ..
Then Germany - here we come - though it looks as thought it will be a long and arduous journey with the eurotunnel almost closed - Operation Stack in Place and 4 hour delays  - ho hum

Glad I was not in a hurry !!

So one last glass of Chateau 41 ...   Watching Batman - and then bed ....

Thursday, 23 July 2015

23rd July 2015 - A few Images from Norsca

Thought for the day:" There may be no excuse for laziness, but I'm still looking. "

A few days to go for the trip to Germany ...  All very busy !!  

A few Pictures from the last CP Event ... while I get my head around the trip away ..



Wednesday, 22 July 2015

22nd July 2015 - just a thought

Thought for the day:"Would the Government cope in a zombie apocalypse? Vacant, horrible, disoriented people stumbling around without purpose. Plus the zombies."

clearing admin - back soon

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

21st July 2015 - Just a thought

Thought for the day : "On my first day of school, my parents dropped me at the wrong nursery. There I was.. surrounded by bushes and trees...."

Back soon !

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

15th July 2015 - Lieder and Weather

Thought for the day:"The worst way to locate your glasses is by the sound they make when you step on them - Just Saying!"

Chatting with a friend in Germany who I met a couple of years ago at Mythodea - the large European LARP Game system and among his pieces of music I found this version of Jamming (waltzing Matilda) which I really enjoy ... so I share it with you now ..

The Bothy is back from the garage with new sills all around and reinforced rear and wax protection in all the sills for the future and a new step and stone chip protection ...    All loaded up except stuff from the house in the morning - so ready for trip up north .. hoping that the weather will improve..
thanks to Paul from MTM Llanelli for all his hard work getting me fixed within my deadlines.

Meanwhile - back with Jan wetterman he gives me a link to a song that I think I could manage in German - KackVogel...   hmmm need to translate it but I think it is Bullshit Bird - maybe one to learn

Will keep it here for future reference

And so - to Fayre ...
we can but hope..
A quick glass of Chateau 41 - early start tomorrow

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

14th July 2015 - Of Good Days and Guzzunders!!

Thought for the day:" They say your memory is the first thing to... something... "

Today is a ramble from ...

 Mr Morgan - the Barber Surgeon

I’m always one for a bargain, and I can never resist a junk shop, charity shop, skip or even a pile of stuff on the side of the road, I mean, you never know do you?

Anyway yesterday, whilst perusing a shop in Thornbury, I espied a wondrous sight, a mono handled vision in gleaming white, a triumph of the potters art and very convenient to boot. 

Yes, a po’, a gazunder, a tiddly pot, call it what you will these beauties were the answer to many a prayer on those cold frosty nights of old when indoor sanitation was but a dream for many and a long trek to the bottom of the garden seemed the only option for most. But what did it for me, oh man my eyes mist over at the memory, was the mark in Royal blue standing out like a lighthouse in a storm on the front of the potty. An ER cypher, surmounted by a Kings crown, containing VII in roman numerals and underscored by the name Osborne. 

Oh yes, the personal cypher of King Edward the VII and the name of the Royal Palace, Osborne house. Could this be ? Was it ? Is this the personal tiddly pot of Edward (Dirty Bertie who got rather flirty with several actresses under thirty) VII ? Had the Royal posterior ever graced this hallowed porcelain as he crouched in majesty cigar in one hand, brandy in the other whilst he pondered what he was going to get up to next with Lilly Langtree or Mrs Keppel? 

I don’t know. But what I do know is that every time I pass this glorious receptacle I feel the need to bow or at least offer a salute to his late lamented fast living and rather rotund Majesty ( Gor bless ‘im.) and I can’t help feeling that even the po’s presence elevates Morgan Mansions to a level only aspired to by Chartwell or Cliveden, Blenheim ……. and er, um….Downton.

Now, what am I going to use it for? Certainly not the obvious, well, it would be disrespectful wouldn’t it. 

I was thinking about a container for wrapped sweets, a Pringle pot for parties or perhaps, ah yes, given ‘is Majesties reputation for over refreshment, a wine cooler. 

Mmm, yeh, that would do nicely, I think his old Majesty would approve.

Perhaps I could cool a bottle of Chateau 41...
Seems like a plan

update: piccie finally posted

Meanwhile, the Bothy is still getting a facelift or rather a bottom lift with the sills and rear structure being re-welded. Beer is ordered and good news today that we have got Caldicot Castle Early Medieval Alliance September event back again...   Reason to celebrate in my view...

Monday, 13 July 2015

13th July 2015 - Presentations and Promotions

Thought for the day :"I am hiding from exercise - I am in a fitness protection programme"

So a wet Monday and time to change the profile pictures - used a little on line tool to make this little sketch - 

 and of course the cover picture changes on a Monday as well...

Received a nice letter this morning from Mark Mason's Hall, offering me Grand Rank in the Allied Masonic Degrees - Past Inner Guard. Will be invested in October up in London. May have to sort out my bus pass and senior citizen rail card by then.... Seems that there are options to get to London by train in a manner that does not require renewing a mortgage and selling your inheritance ...

And in other news, finished a song for the Scorpions Inn - another of the Mythodea Taverns. Decided that the Parry tune of Myfanwy was too good not to put to use - and worked on the words a little to provide a storyline for Vollsanger's next trip out...

I travelled far to Mythodea
Though dangers are in Mythodea
I searched for love in Mythodea
Though Schwarze Eis stood in my way
I braved the Ratio to find her
I searched through darkest night and day
To find the one
The only one
To steal her heart away

The Scorpions Inn was where I found her,
Through haze and smoke like dreams of wonder
The bubble pipes as soft as thunder
As candles pierced the veil of night
From distance playing out my love song
My words just strained to come out right
To be the song
My Scorpion song
To steal her heart away

I found her there in Mythodea
With (Auburn) Hair in Mythodea
Her eyes were (green) in Mythodea
That sweet scented air lifted me higher
In Scorpions Inn I played my love song
No sting in tail was my desire
She was the one
The Only One
She stole my heart away

So, looking at the weather I had better go and find out if the Bothy has been welded and sorted for the trip to  Germany... Cheers!


Sunday, 12 July 2015

12th July 2015 - Wet, Windy and Windlillie...

Thought for the day:" There may be something wrong with my eyes... I can't see me doing anything today"

Still down in Barton and the weather has closed in today. All the rain and wet threatened yesterday has now settled in and it is damp and miserable.

But as I did my birthday wishes this morning I noted that Ramonjii Windlillie is celebrating a birthday... and so I thought I would share one of  the earliest songs from the Love Chronicles of Mythodea - Lillie's Song  - Dance for Me...

76,3363 hits today - on the combined site - not any particular song - but still quite impressive..

Back to Llanelli today ...  so I will lift a glass later...


Saturday, 11 July 2015

11th July 2015 - Of Hospital Blues and Why Post Vans are Red

Thought for the day:" Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie"

Down on the South Coast for a day visiting family. A pleasant drive down to Barton on Sea in the sunshine though the skies threatened rain and storm most of the way down.

But we got there in one piece and a nice evening with the family..

And in the spirit of my friend Mr Morgan the Barber Surgeon..  we sat in the House Martin restaurant and pub and my father in law, whose 87th birthday we were celebrating, told us a little anecdote about his father who was invalided out of the first world war after one of the big battles - possibly the Somme.

It seems that after the soldiers started returning injured, not all were visibly scarred and were the subject of abuse from those who thought that they were just cowards...   This was the time that his father came back - very badly injured but not in any place that could be easily seen.

It seemed that after a while, the powers that be decided that there should be a way of identifying these heroes of the war - and started dying the army uniform blue - so that when worn others could see that the individual was not a shirker but one who had fought and survived..

When he arrived in England, a battle wounded soldier was sent to a hospital specialising in his type of wound or to one of the numerous convalescent establishments scattered throughout the UK. There, he was issued with "a special hospital uniform consisting of a blue single-breasted jacket with a white lining - worn open at the neck, blue trousers, a white shirt and a red tie. To complete the outfit he wore his own khaki service cap with its regimental badge." The suit was also known as the ‘blue invalid uniform’, ‘hospital suit’ and ‘hospital blues'. Curiously - it usually had no pockets!

This 1916 card, illustrated by R. Stoddart, commented on A Bad Fit of the “Blues.”   Not everyone who wore the suit was happy with it. On 20th October 1916, The Times recorded that a Mr Randell, "is to ask the Secretary of State for War on Tuesday whether he is aware that the blue uniform supplied to the wounded soldiers seems to be defective, in the outer skin of the garment, which is of flannelette, when washed shrinks at a rate from the lining, and that this problem produces an unsightly and bad-fitting garment; and whether flannel clothes cannot be given to the wounded instead."
It seems Mr Randell’s suggestion was not acted on and complaints of the sometimes ill-fitting suit continued to be voiced and one or two postcard publishers joined in the protest.

Complaints were also made by patients who found the suit was too large. For instance, in November 1915, Private Dolden was sent to No.26 General Hospital, and said that after a few days there he "was given a suit and what a suit! The hue was oxford blue, with white facings. Judging from the size of the particular suit that was handed to me it must have been intended for a Life Guardsman. I had to turn the trouser legs up till the turn-ups nearly reached my knees, so that the white facings were quite a spectacle. The bagginess allowed plenty of room for bending... A flaring red necktie added quite a socialistic touch. "
Numerous photographic postcards from the Great War survive today that depict British and Commonwealth soldiers wearing the blue hospital uniform. Commercial photographers in the UK visited both military and civilian voluntary hospitals and snapped pictures of single and group gatherings of the convalescents there. The pictures were reproduced as postcards and each man would usually buy one or two copies to send to friends and relatives.

On 12th August 1918, a letter appeared in The Times signed by ‘F.D.M.’, who asked, "At the present time we are all unhappily familiar with the blue uniform of wounded soldiers...Can any of your readers tell us the origin or history of the blue invalid uniform?" On 12th September readers provided some suggestions. Lieut-Col Walter H. James provided the most simple and practical answer for its existence. "The uniform...was probably introduced because it could be easily washed", he said.

And so Albert Joseph Payne was engaged by the Post Office as he got back to full health..  Not as a postman, though later this became his profession, but in painting the horse driven Post Vans of the early 20th century. Now, these days we know that even after the re-branding of BT ( formerly part of the Post Office) the Post Office Van has always been painted red. We know that the red post vans of today are the same as those over many years. Indeed as a late teen I owned an old Post Office Van Morris 1000 - affectionately known as a Moggie Thow Van - with a mattress in the back and an old 8 track cartridge stereo for sound system  - but it was definitely Red... 

But as the story develops it seems that this was more luck than judgement - as Albert Payne - responsible for the painting of the vans - was quite clearly very colour blind!!  I recall at our wedding he was wearing a brown jacket and light green trousers - he thought he was wearing a full suit !!!
I thought nothing more about it - only seeing the evidence in photographs later .. and no-one else thought anything about it either.....

But Albert painted the vans and luckily the colour of the pots was red - he would not have known any different.  So - had there been a mix up - then today the Post Office might well have been a Green One !!!

And so with those few thoughts I will go and hunt for a glass of wine - and maybe a small scotch as a nightcap - I am sure my father in law will join me  - and wish you good night


Friday, 10 July 2015

10th July 2015 - On Learning Lines and Washing Lines

Thought for the day:"You can't make everyone happy - you are not pizza"

Mr Morgan - the Barber Surgeon

Isn’t it amazing what people notice? Take the other evening, I was chatting with a neighbour and she said “We’re all wondering how you manage to keep your washing on the line without using pegs even when there’s a stiff breeze”. 
Naturally, I graced this question with an answer reflecting the gravity and importance of the enquiry and I think she’s still trying to work out how I do it using ’The Power of Greyskull’ together with a dash of ‘The Force’. But three aspects of the conversation later re surfaced as I settled down to slumber in the master bedchamber of Morgan Mansions and I don’t mind telling you it cost me sleep.

1.‘We’re all…. ‘ exactly HOW many of these domestic amazons have been gazing at my unmentionables as they flap unfettered in the wind ?

2.WHO exactly has been looking in wonderment at the contents of my washing line ?

3.I can understand the technical interest but apart from that ……why ?

Gee whiz. Now I’m not going to argue with the ladies of the area that surrounds the old family seat, they’re a formidable lot. And if the Government ever forms this ‘Home Guard’ against terrorism that they've been whittering on about these girls should be in the front line. Crikey, if you’re caught wearing a backpack or looking ‘a bit shifty’ you’ll have had your lot. They’ll take you down with a well aimed fairy cake between the eyes and frogmarch you into the W.I. meeting for interrogation by the entertainments committee. 

Don’t know the words to ‘Jerusalem’ ? A revulsion to jammy dodgers? Never known the pleasure of a ham and pickle sarnie with the crusts cut off? Look out ! 

Now, I’ve had many wonderful conversations over the fence with Ernie next door. Whilst I’ve been knocking up a couple of HMS Victory salt boxes one side of the fence and Ern’s been watering his begonias on the other we’ve put the world to rights and I’ve benefited immeasurably from his 80 plus years experience of this strange old planet that we call home. But never once has Ern’ ever questioned why my nethergarments remain draped securely upon the line in the face of torrent and tempest. 

Perhaps it’s a bloke thing. Perhaps some things are just better not discussed.
Oh, in case anyone’s wondering it’s obvious, they stay on because I ....  
( At this point, ladies and gentlemen, my keyboard ran out of ink, sorry about that.)

Meanwhile - in other news, the VAT that holds the Chateau 41 while fermenting is empty. This is not bad news - it means that Susie has bottled the latest brew and there is an expectation of wine for the future days - though I may need to get some more Grape Juice to ensure that we are ahead of the game rather than behind...

And, following the penmanship of yesterday - the Klabautermann song is complete - posted upon some German Sites and seems to be getting an acceptable response...


And so - off to the South Coast tomorrow - so I lift my glass  - Cheers

Thursday, 9 July 2015

9th July 2015 - Der Klabautermann - Ein Lied

Thought for the day: "What does C.S Lewis keep in his wardrobe? Its Narnia business."[thank you Pete Scott]

So, spending some time working on new material for Germany and the Taverns of Mythodea. One of the places that I enjoyed playing last year particularly was the Klabautermann. this was the one place I really found difficult to remember the name - and never really got my head around it all summer, until I was leaving when I realised that it meant "Hobgoblin" - and then it seems to have stuck in my head...

But, having written a song for the Black Pearl, and for the Jollie Rouge, and since Tanja's Song is really set in the Black Pearl as well, I though it was about time that I tried one for Der Klabautermann

Now, my German is conversational at best and my vocabulary may be enough to get by but writing a song in German was a bit of a challenge. Such  challenge indeed that I decided that the chorus should be in German - with the style of a good German Drinking Song - or at least my interpretation of a good German drinking Song - sort of "Eins, Zwei, Zupfer!!" in style...  And so I got a few lines together.

But, since I have German friends it seemed the best idea to share the words and see whether they came out properly in German or not - or whether a comic English version would suffice. And so, Anja (of Finya's Song fame) took a few minutes out to examine and make suggestions. It was not an easy task for her of course as she had no idea of the tune - and I was the one trying to maintain the internal rhymes and the general feel of the song....   But between us I think that we cracked it...

and so - Der Klabautermann - written by Vollsanger and Finya Sidonius

Wo trinken wir? Im Klabautermann!!
Kein Shlafen hier.. Im Klabautermann!!
Ich trinke, spiele, singe
Über Alcoholische dinge
Der Schönster, Der Beste - Der Klabautermann!!

Wo bleiben wir?  Im Klabautermann!!
Nur Piraten hier..  Im Klabautermann!!
Ich trinke, singe, spiele
Mit Rum und Tequila
Im Schönster, Im Beste - Im Klabautermann!!

There's a tavern in the town, where the sun never goes down
Where the spirits are high - some are sweet and some are dry
They have tables and benches
They have the finest wenches
With beauty none surpass
They serve cocktails by the glass
Well I'm really a fan and I have a cunning plan
I'll drink all that I can in the Klabautermann


From May to June we will all sing this merry tune
From June to July, we will drink the tavern dry
From August to September
I find it hard to remember
But then in October
We will refuse to be sober
We do what we can - Raise our glasses to "The Man"
Drink it dry if we can ... Drain the Klabautermann


Will try to get a recording today ....

And so - better get back to work ...   Cheers!!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

8th July 2015 - Of Z80, Noah and Nostalgia

Thought for the day: "You can look at some people and instantly know they're only going to get two awards in life, a birth and a death certificate. "

Google is a wonderful thing. I noticed a reference to the Spectrum 48K on a facebook page which prompted me to look up some of the history - and lo and behold - I came across the game I painstakingly wrote with my first machine code compiler, a small colour TV and lots of sheets of paper to translate into zilog - self taught.

Of course I played with the add on of the DKTronics keyboard. Take the spectrum out of its case and slot it inside the large keyboard for ease of writing.

Even more interesting is the fact that you can play the game on the PC now! And the reviews from 1984 are still available and reproduced here.

The comments are pretty fair - but it was the first 256 screen game with a Commodore 64 style Sprite Graphic, and I was breaking ground back in the day. The character of Noah was jerky - but was a fairly new concept and would have improved in time... I thought at the time that this would be the way forward, but I had not known that just around the corner would come Manic Miner and the whole platform game style which would change gaming forever.

Manic Miner

And so the review I found...

In the beginning, Adam and Eve weren't as good as they should have been, and as a result of their indiscretions, humanity wasn't as good either. In despair, God decided to get rid of everything and start over. Only Noah was nice, so God told him to build an ark and fill it with pairs of animals so they should be saved.

In this biblical epic you play the erstwhile Noah, not much loved by his fellow humans because of his tales of gloom and doom, and you must travel through the 256 screens collecting the 31 pairs of animals that live in the badlands and beyond the Great Wall in various unsavoury places.

The basic colouring of this game is yellow, with large graphics of animals in blue. Various obstacles confront Noah in his search like shrubs, trees, fences and the Great Wall itself, to which he must find the Great Gate key. Puddles are also a problem, and with a prescience of what is to come, Noah is frightened of puddles! Hitting a forbidden object causes the screen to flash with the ominous warning, Whoops Apocalypse. Too much of this sort of thing will kill you off and condemn you to a very tong re-intro.

Getting an animal to follow you is not very easy, some of them don't want to go, and there is the added problem that you cannot leave a screen unless you have first eaten the parcel of purple food. Some animals, snails especially, seem to cause an apocalypse, so what with avoiding them, dragging an unwilling animal, and trying to get at the food that the animal is obligingly blocking you off from it can become quite hard.


'Noah has rather large graphics which move a little on the slow side. The task of collecting the animals is no quick thing - in fact just trying to get one back is a task in itself. The animals are depicted well, each (from what I saw) looking like a proper elephant, snake, sheep etc. Because my Kempston had reversed itself between left and right with this game, I was slow to make progress. Overall this is a good game which will take quite a time to get into and complete.'

'At first I wondered what a game called Noah could be based upon. I was soon to find out what this monster of a game was - it drove me up the wall. The burden of having to collect food before you can move off each screen was frustrating, and while nothing seemed to go on as the game progressed, I became bored. I tried to persuade an animal to come with me to the am, but it said, 'Not tonight - I've got a headache!' I found Noah impossible to make any progress with whatsoever. To sum up this game it must be called the most unaddictive, highly frustrating, boring, non-progressive, slow game ever invented - it takes about as long to make its point as the Bible.'

'One thing you can say about Noah is that it is different. It's also rather large with 256 screens full of unwilling animals. Fortunately, in an attempt to prevent magazines doing maps of it, one is provided, although it only gives a vague indication, and irritatingly pops up every time you bump into something. The graphics are quite good of the animals but Noah himself looks a little on the simple side. Ifs an odd mixture, and I don't think I really enjoyed it too much irritation enjoyed to be realty good. '
Control keys: Z/X left/right, O/K up/down, M for map
Joystick: Kempston, AGF, Protek, Sinclair
Keyboard play: not very responsive
Use of colour: not over colourful
Graphics: animals nicely drawn, Noah poor, movement by block
Sound: not much
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 1 with allowance of apocalypses
Screens: 256
Special features:
General Rating: Mixed feelings from poor to good between reviewers.
Use of Computer: 67%
Graphics: 49%
Playability: 45%
Getting Started: 52%
Addictive Qualities: 27%
Value For Money: 44%
Overall: 47%

The map in NOAH.

Some Screen grabs:

When you bumped into the water, got bombed by a local with a water bomb - or ran out of food and energy - you would enter the "Whoops" Apocolypse" phase. I remember being really proud of my ROM disassembly that allowed me to be one of the first to work out how to get a rainbow border ...  

The purpose of the game was to rescue as many animals as possible and put them into the ark. These animals included the Unicorn that you could save in the game. Dependent upon which animals were saved - the review at the end would change to outline the history of the world without sheep, or with no elephants  - I though it was quite fun - but then I accept that it was a frustrating game to finish.

And if you like - you can play it here on this emulator - good luck !!!

and so to bed...