Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Home again… 😞☹️😩

Our pleasant five days in the lower South Island is over and we are back in Auckland, back to the bloody awful traffic, rain and to work tomorrow.

Tuesday was her indoors’ birthday and it dawned a brilliantly sunny day, pleasantly warm, but with a bit of wind. The birthday girl wanted lunch at The Stoaker Room in Cromwell so we started a coffee at a popular local spot then stopped in at Lake Hawea, about 15 Km from Wanaka. It is a lovely spot with a beautiful beach and stunningly blue water, but the wind blowing straight up the lake was a bit strong although the temperature was surprisingly mild.

Cromwell was about a 30 minute drive away past vineyards and apple orchards and we arrived there just on mid-day. A great lunch was had in very balmy conditions for the time of year (19 degrees C), but on the return trip the clouds had begun to close in and there was rain on the horizon. However, it never eventuated and we were still able to take our afternoon walk into town along the lakeside track for a quiet drink (pausing to listen to the large number of native birds in the picturesque grove below)…

…and just as importantly for me to gather some a several handfuls of small stones from the beach for basing purposes - how could any good wargamer let such a rich resource go unexploited?

By the time we were ready to walk back the sky was threatening again. Again it came to naught, but provided these wonderfully moody shots.

A light dusting of snow on Mount Burke provided a great waking view on the Wednesday. 

We had a late afternoon departure from Queenstown that meant we could have a leisure coffee in town then take a drive across the Crown Range to have lunch in Arrowtown.  However, our Arrowtown lunch was thwarted because our preferred venue was closed so we continued on to Queenstown where we were spoiled for choice (although Arrowtown option would have avoided a visit to the Louis Vuitton store - well it was her birthday), before returning the rental car and catching our flight. By 7:45 PM we were home.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Still on the road…

With Milford done we headed north to Wanaka, via Gibbston Valley where we picked up some wine then Cromwell where we lunched at the Stoaker Room, a favourite stop of ours in the region. As you can see I am in a happy place with a generous serving of porchetta…this place does great food!

The rain of the previous day had cleared although the clouds were still low around the mountains, but didn’t detract from the stunning view from our hotel balcony.

By evening the clouds had all but cleared for a great sunset across the lake.

Monday dawned a little overcast, but by lunchtime the skies were blue and we took a picnic to Glendhu Bay, just a few kilometres out of town. With not a soul around we sat enjoying the serenity of the place…and people wonder why I am attracted to this part of the country.

Returning to the hotel we spent the early afternoon sitting on the hotel balcony in the hot sun reading with a glass of Pinot Noir occasionally glancing out over the glittering lake.

Then we walked along the edge of the lake into town (about 2 km) for a drink or two with magnificent views across the lake.

I could really get used to this!

After a more spectacular sunset than the previous day the whole day was topped off with a great dinner at a fabulous Chinese restaurant overlooking the waterfront.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

On the Road again…

To celebrate her indoors’ birthday and just to get out of the city and all the pressures of work we have headed South again to Central Otago (for the sixth time in the last 18 months).

First stop was Queenstown, where we flew into, then a stop at the supermarket before driving on to Te Anau. The plan here was to go out to Doubtful Sound on the Saturday, but a rainstorm was due to pass through and the thought of an eight hour tour on a wet day was not pleasant one. We decided instead to for Milford Dound instead where the weather looked less daunting. We have been to Milford before, in March last year actually, on a brilliantly sunny day and were advised to go there again when the weather was less than perfect. The advise was good because it was a great trip.

A quick check out of the hotel window revealed a gloomy sunrise.

But the rain was light and soon settled into no more than a slight drizzle. By the time we had reached the Mirror Lakes it had cleared. We paused here for a while enjoying the solitude and the dozen or so fantails fluttering around in search of bugs to eat.

As we progressed progress deeper into the mountains the effect of the overnight rain was demonstrated by the hundreds of waterfalls flowing off the slopes in this very “Lord of the Rings” setting.

West of the Homer Tunnel we stopped for a photo op and were greeted by this cheeky chap, the New Zealand native parrot the Kea.

Not long after this we were in Milford Sound and out on the waters of the Sound. The low clouds gave the whole place an ethereal look.

But the nights’ rain had converted the place into a magnificent wall of waterfalls - hundreds upon hundreds of them from the thinnest silvery strand to a roaring wall of water.

We were really glad we took the advice to see the place after a rainfall. It made for a magical day. By 3:00 we were back in Te Anau in the sunshine for a few glasses of wine before a Thai dinner.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Savolaks Regimente, Third and Fourth Battalions

Following on from the first two battalions of this regiment that were completed in April, here at the next two battalions to close out the regiment.

Again these are done as tiny units in line with the orders of battle that only seem to show two companies of each battalion present with the colours.

Also shuffling off the basing table is the first battalion of the 5th Westphalian Infantry Regiment No. 53. Formed in 1860 this regiment fought in Denmark in 1864 where it was involved in the storming of the redoubt at Dybbøl. It was engaged with some distinction in the 1866 in South Germany against the Federal forces. In 1870 it formed a part of 14th Division, VII Corps and fought at Spicheren, Borny, Gravelotte and the Siege of Metz. 

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Paraguayan Fortress Guns - Part Two

Last month I posted a report the construction of fortress guns for the Paraguayan War (link). I couldn’t finish those pieces because the plastic model gabions hadn’t arrived. Well they arrived last week and I began working on the finished pieces yesterday. 

The plan is to make five gun positions linked by three sections of trenches, each capable of holding one battalion. When finished there will be around 1000mm of fortifications.

I have completed two gun positions and one trench section.

The illustrations of the Paraguayan works show them then as being built from anything that was to hand so I have used a variety of materials - the gabions, twigs from the garden for logs, matchsticks and hand cut balsa for rough hewn timber.

 These two pieces inline are inline positions - inline with the trenches. The other three positions will be bastions, jutting forward of the trench line so that they can provide enfilading fire across the front of the trench. These pieces, along with the other two trench sections should be completed by the end of the month. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Savolaks Jagare Regemente - Part Two

Back in March I completed the first of four tiny units on the Savolaks Jägers (link). Readers may recall that this regiment was represented in the field in 1807-1809 by four units each of two companies and that I have chosen to represent the with as tiny battalions of two stands of six figures each.

Here then are the remaining three battalions of the regiment…

…and all four battalions together.

Next in this collection is another two tiny units of the Savolaks infantry regiment, then another jäger unit to complete the Savolaks Brigade. They might be done b6 the end of the month.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Yet more Prussians…

 These guys have been sitting on the painting tray since last weekend waiting for their bases to be completed.

This is the Fusilier Battlalion, 55th Infantry Regiment, completing that regiment and the brigade.

There are only nine line battalions left to be completed for this collection.

Apologies to blog owners that I regularly comment on and if my responses to comments are slow, but I am having issues with my Google Account on the iPad and having to respond by workaround.