Sunday 29 May 2022

Two Units and a Game…at Last!

I realised yesterday that I haven’t posted since the 18th when we returned from our sojourn in the Deep South. It is not that I haven’t been doing any hobby work or have been layed low by the plague, rather real life has intruded into preferred life and absorbed too much of my time. The net result is that units that have been painted for a few days have lingered far too long in the basing department. That said, here are two newly completed units.

The first is the First Battalion Régiment de Saintonge for the French AWI army to go with the Second Battalion presented back in February.

This finishes Régiment de Saintonge. The last unit in my intended French force is on the painting table now.

The second unit is the Second Battalion 53rd Regiment for the Prussian army for 1870.

There are only eight battalions still to go in this force (including the jäger battalion just ordered).

And finally last Friday we actually managed a face-to-face game! A Borderer’s game in which three raiding parties attempted to raid cattle from a family farm with the farm owner, supported by a small force with the local warden tried to fend them off. I managed to completely wipe out the defending farmer and his supporters while my two fellow raiders gathered up two thirds of the cattle. I am sure that Keith will write up a more complete report of the event.

Up in truth we spent more time talking (having seen each other so rarely since January) than gaming, but a  game, a good natter and a shared meal was just the ticket after a difficult week in the coal mines.

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.