Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Trebian autumn tour 2015

This blog is a little late. I think I may be over stretched at the moment.

Taking a break from my hectic working life Mrs T & I took a few days out to make a tour of the north and east of our beautiful country.

 We started up in the North, visiting Master T in his new house, where I finally got to play Settlers of Catan. I think I am officially the last person in the world to play this game.

The following day we headed down to Newark to visit the National Civil War Centre. This is basically one room in the Newark Local Museum that has been given over to the Civil War, but its slant is definitely towards the Newark Experience during the war.

The room is very well done, and the key reasons for the War(s) and its events are well explained. They have some nice looking exhibits that you can get up close to, and a really cool dressing up box for children & grown ups. There is a film room showing videos about personal experiences in the Civil War (again focussed round Newark) that are slightly too arty for my taste, but well done none the less.

The exhibits are accompanied by several touch screen video monitors showing things like pike drill and how to fire a musket.

Now I don't want to be too picky (okay, I do) but that musketeer is a woman. Sorry, that's just wrong. And she's wearing modern gloves. I know why you might do that (powder burns make a mess of your manicure) but it is wrong, wrong, wrong, and are one of the reasons she makes such a mess of fixing the match in the lock. Plus she is wearing apostles and loads from a powder horn. What's that about then? Things like this are irritating as they're just as easy to get right as to get wrong.

The full experience includes a map guided walk round Newark to see the Civil War sights/sites. Of course when Mrs T and I were there is rained all day and made that a thoroughly unpleasant experience, so we didn't bother.

That's a shame as they've got a well preserved sconce, of which they have a nice diorama in the museum.

Photographs of it are difficult as you get a lot of glare off the cabinet. I thought the figures would be from Warlord, but on close inspection I think they might include a mix as I'm sure I've got some of the gun crews in my collection of Essex Miniatures.

If you walk up to the top of the museum and look out towards the church you can see the spire where there's a Civil War cannon ball hole just below the window.

We'd exhausted the Museum after a couple of hours or so and it was still hissing down with rain so we retreated to the car and planned our next steps. We resolved to go up to Lincoln and see if things were brighter there. Plus I'd just finished Richard Brook's book on William Marshal and the Battle of Lincoln.

It's a long time since I was last in Lincoln. The façade of the Cathedral is stunning. I had forgotten how lovely it is. As it was late in the day we didn't go in, - not enough time to get value out of the compulsory entrance fee.

The street plan of modern Lincoln is much unchanged, and the architecture is much to be admired.

You can easily imagine William and his men galloping up and down the streets and the chaos of fighting in such a confined area.

This is the portico of the cathedral grounds (the cathedral is behind me in this shot, and that's Mrs T with the umbrella. See, she is a real person).

This picture is from the other side of the portico showing the street running up to the cathedral. This is one of the wide ones.

This other street is more typical of the rest of medieval Lincoln, Aaron the Jew's house (if I've got that right) is behind me on my right. This is one of the roads William fought up. You can see from the narrowness how one or two horse men might easily clear it.

In conclusion, - the NCWC in Newark is, like Samuel Johnson said of the Giant's Causeway, worth seeing but not worth going to see unless the weather is good and you can do the town walks. I hope we can do more in Northampton for the Wars of the Roses Centre.

The final stage of the journey was a visit out to see Tony & Max Hawkins. Tone has built a wargames shed in his garage known as "Pod Quarters" and I was keen to see what he had done. So after an excellent lunch of Lamb Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries it was off to the garage.

The space is compact but well used. Tony has gone for a lot of under table storage in metal file drawers, which works very well. He is currently going through a mass rebasing project and so has committed the cardinal sin of piling lots of junk up on his wargames table, so alas no toy soldier game was possible.

He has a very fine and large toy soldier collection, and I think he may well have a lot more than I have. No figure envy there at all, honest. Humph.

In the absence of a toy soldier game we rejoined the ladies for some rousing card games, such as Family Business and Dodekka. Both proved so popular that Tone ordered both the following day.

After a lovely meal in the evening we retired to our hotel, before heading home the following morning.

I rounded the week off with a trip to Bristol to meet up with, initially, a WD wargaming friend, John Bassett, and eventually Miss T.

John and I met up in the Bristol Art Gallery Cafe for morning beverages and I was able to take this snap of a genuine Banksy exhibit. Being in Bristol his work is about the place and I saw at least one other of his stencils.

After a long, languid, lunch in Browns John took me on a walking tour of the sights of the Civil War siege of Bristol.

The pictures of this are few, as I only had my phone with me, but here's the plaque on the wall near to the Museum.

The weather was lovely so we had a really enjoyable stroll and John pointed out some good restaurants for my evening meal with my daughter. An excellent afternoon. All you have to do now, Mr B, is FINISH THE BOOK!!!

I met up with Miss T in our hotel eventually and we headed out for a meal before going to see the Welcome to Night Vale stage show in the St George's Theatre. As this is a converted church what better place to see a performance of a Gothic radio show.

Finally Miss T presented me with a birthday present, which was the board game "Colt Express". This looks like becoming a firm favourite for me & Mrs T.

Not a bad ending to the week.


  1. I am afraid Newark does not count as the North!

    1. I did say we started in the North, then headed down to Newark. Master T lives in Huddersfield.

      Of course to the people I work with in London I live in the North even tho' I'm south of Brum.

  2. You're not quite the last... my wife and I play a lot of board games but have so far steered clear of Catan - for fear of possible addiction. We have also just played our first game of Colt Express - a chaotic game but great fun.

    1. Catan is supposedly a 3+ player game but I see no reason why you can't play it two player. You just can't trade with anyone. We play Rival of Catan, the two player card game, which works well and is mercifully devoid of add ons and expansion packs.

      Although going to have to buy that Stage Coach for Colt Express when it comes out.

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