Follow by Email

Monday, 31 August 2015

Boxes, boxes everywhere

The unpacking of boxes is continuing but the end is in sight. The arranging and rearranging of furniture continues. Tomorrow the contractors will finish the installation of new windows, inshallah. Yes, normal life should be resumed very shortly.

As we approach autumn, wasps are trying to come indoors. Once inside, they fly up to the top of the conservatory and then expend several hours of buzzing around and flying madly from one side to the other. I don't fear wasps but all the buzzing makes it difficult to ignore them so I retreat to another room to read in peace. This morning I used the vacuum cleaner to clear around twenty corpses from the conservatory.

Actually, the reading for my next talk (Wellington Invades France 1813/14) is going well. I have finished Ian Robertson's very well written "Wellington Invades France" and used the excellent maps and diagrams in the Osprey Campaign book "Bayonne and Toulouse" by Nick Lipscombe. I have started reading more background material with the Peninsular War section of Richard Holmes' biography of Wellington.

Break time over - back to the boxes....

Delivered by the postman on Saturday

Monday, 24 August 2015

New Countryside to explore

Last week we completed our house move to Easingwold, a small market town about 20 miles North of York.

Yesterday, in amongst the piles of boxes, I found my walking boots. The sun was shining so I went out for a stroll in the surrounding countryside. Only about four miles, these are some of the sites I passed.

The local church, St. John's.

Top end of the town

This looks like the old workhouse (?) - now apartments

Twenty minutes later, view across the valley towards the White Horse, cut into the chalk of Sutton Bank

This is Howe Hill, on private farmland so no access

A number of OWLs passed me (Oldies Wearing Lycra)

Friday, 14 August 2015

Four Spitfires over York

Yesterday, as part of the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain,
a flight of four Spitfires flew over York. I got these photos outside the Minster.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Lorraine Trip, Maginot Line, L'Ouvrage Immerhof

Day Three of our trip and our second day on the Maginot Line. A very interesting day. This morning we visited the Petit Ouvrage Immerhof.

When designing the Line, the Committee (CORF) decided to standardise the design of the works and use factory made parts as possible. The effect of this is to make each ouvrage very much like any other. This conclusion may seem obvious but I did not fully realise the effect until Day Three when driving up to Immerhof. As a consequence, I did not take many photographs.

The ouvrage is the base of the local 1940 re-enactors. They were waiting for us when we arrived and they were a great bunch of guys, very knowledgeable, very committed, they were our guides.

Front cover of the booklet, showing the entrance bloc.

Plan of the ouvrage showing the entrance and 3 fighting blocs, barracks (caserne) and the anti-tank rails (reseau de rails antichars) and barbed wire (reseau de barbeles) (from the booklet)

Entrance bloc

Our guide

Another re-enactor with MAS36

A rack of FM24/29 light machine guns

Sunday, 9 August 2015


If you like sci-fi films or thrillers, I recommend this film to you. We watched it a few days ago and we both thought it was very good.

the plot - an internet billionaire has a remote house and lab where he has built an artificial intelligence and given it the body of a beautiful young woman ( a robot body, not a real woman's body). One of his employees, a programmer, is brought to the house to give the AI a Turing's Test. An interesting relationship develops between the three characters.

Like I said, we enjoyed it, we were impressed.

England Win The Ashes

What a great day at Trent Bridge and we were there.

With yesterday's England win, we have won three out of the five match series, so we win the Ashes. Champagne celebration when we got home.

Start of play (once the cameraman gets out of the way)

40 minutes later, end of play



The Red Arrows, booked for a lunchtime appearance, too late, it had finished

So far to the left, they almost missed the ground

Thursday, 6 August 2015

U3A York Military History Group

The Chairman has issued the list of talks for the forthcoming year of Sept 15 to June 16. Some time ago I volunteered to talk about the Battle of Verdun in February as it is the 100th anniversary of the start of the battle. In a moment of madness I volunteered to give a second talk if the Chairman was short of a speaker.

About a year ago I bought this book and enjoyed it, I thought that would make a good talk.

So, I will give November's talk on this 1813/14 campaign.

I have bought two more books. I don't know much about the Peninsular Campaign so I got Charles Esdaile's book "The Peninsular War" to provide a general background to the campaign for me.

The second book is this Osprey Campaign book "Bayonne and Toulouse" to be a quick reference and fact checking book for the writing.

I think I will buy Fred Myatt's book of Sieges of the Peninsular War. If anyone knows of a book that may assist my writing I would be very grateful to receive any recommendations.

Monday, 3 August 2015

"Mission Impossible Rogue Nation"

We made a trip to Cityscreen Cinema in York yesterday to see the new MI film. We loved it. Goodish story, good acting, great locations (especially of Casablanca), great stunts. If you fancy a couple of hours of action thriller without a lot of intellectual baggage, then I recommend this film.

I think that the film "Casablanca" is one of the best films ever made. Yesterday, when watching MI, I was reminded of some of the witty dialogue in "Casablanca". One of my favourites:-

Police Chief Renault (Claude Rains) is talking to American bar-owner Rick (Humphrey Bogart)

Renault "Rick, why did you come to Casablanca?"

Rick "I came for the waters."

Renault "But we're in the middle of the dessert."

Rick "I was misinformed."