Tuesday, 12 February 2008
A Day at the Racecourse
I have just had a few days holiday in York. Fortuitously the first day of the break coincided with the York wargames show held at the race track. But fear not gentle reader , I do not intend to inflict a blow by blow account of the show on you. We have all been to such events and this was an enjoyable and fairly typical example. We scrummed at the bring and buy, thrust wads of money at the traders and stood in inscrutable silence, flat faced and impassive in front of the 'demonstration'games. Onething I have learned with age is that no American will ever understand what a British convention is about, explaning the rules of Cricket is a doddle in comparison.
However thanks to the Gentleman from York modelling group who generously initiated me into the secrets of using floor polish and ink mixes ( I would tell you, but I had to swear not to.). Indeed I was especially grateful to him as most of the tables I stopped at ignored me with that uneasy, head down, non eye contact that I thought was a thing of the past. I eventually worked out that I was wearing my country coat and had been travelling since 4am so they probably thought I intended to try and tap them for the price of a cup of tea. Fat chance! a couple of years ago I asked the bar staff at a major convention how much the four of them had got in tips during the day? The answer was less than £2 in total. Even the railway modellers are open handed by comparison.
But I digress. At the show I treated myself to the two volumes by Brigadier Charles S Grant on the Armies and Uniforms of Marlborough's Wars. This enables me to honourably retire my old WRG handbook 'From Pike to Shot'. Hard to believe that this was published 22 years ago. This really was a ground breaking book in its day, back then if you coudn't get hold of Knotel there wasn't much else about.
The new books are just what I wanted for painting reference and have everything for the level of detail I intend to incorporate. I do have a pile of the editions Brokow in a box somewhere but really this is not a period that demands agonising over cuff details or the trim on a pelisse. There are some splendid colour illustrations by Bob Marrion (one of my favourite uniform artists) but I shall resist the temptation, simplicity is the keyword.
And so after two hours I had shopped till I dropped ( I bought two figures from irregular as well) and was content to take my purchases to the bay window of an hotel overlooking the Minster, where I drank Guinness and awaited the return of my wife from some serious shopping. Alas she was some two hours late returning, but that is another story.