Monday, December 28, 2020

Christmas 2020


Just as 2020 has been a year like no other, this was a Christmas like no other... held outside in Connecticut on December 24th (our family's traditional day for the celebration... presumably related to our German and Scandinavian origins). 


Seven days before we got 16" of snow dumped upon us... one of the largest snowstorms in December in state history! The 24th turned out to be exceptionally warm - high in the mid 50's, but cloudy and with a major rain and windstorm forecast for later in the afternoon. 


Although most of the family is continually inter-exposed due to caring for my 94 year old Mother in Law and our 2 grandsons, we still wanted to do it outside and as socially distanced as possible.  2 propane heaters and a fire table helped keep even the nonagenarian reasonably warm. The strong breeze certainly made for rapid dispersal of aerosols!  It didn't start to rain until about 3PM, and it was only drizzle for the first few hours. By evening it was heavy rain (3 inches total) and winds up to 60 mph, causing multiple power outages across the state and the region... but fortunately, not ours. Everyone was back home long before any of that became an issue. By Christmas morning, all the snow was gone!


Missing from the picture, the photographer, Dr. Kristie Anderson, seen here at work with one her youngest patients!


Youngest grandson, Oliver, age 3, with the new "chainsaw" he was given.... he didn't quite understand why the bush wasn't coming down, though! The older grandson, Owen (seated across from me in the prior picture), age 5, may just be ready for a simple wargame in a year or so. We'll see! 


The canine family members, out in the cold, and loving it!  Left to right Annie (7), Rory (12), Zoe (7), Maddie (2), and Brooke (2) (aka 'crazy girl").
 

There was some lead for me under the tree, courtesy of the Foundry sale. Above Peleset (Philistine) archers and command - Old Glory doesn't make either. This is enough to make 2 units of MI archers and one of LI archers. I plan to take advantage of the Newline Design sale next week to add oxcarts and maybe a few more foot, some light chariots,  and/or command.


Egyptian "Marine" Archers - enough for 1 unit each MI and LI. 


Libyan Command; I planning on adding a couple of packs of Old Glory Libyans, but they lack command figures.


Sardana (Sherdan) command figures, ditto. These will help with a rebasing of my original Sherdans from 16 figures to 12 figure each, re4sulting in an additional unit net. 


French Legere, campaign Dress - 1 unit of 18.


Sure the most annoying thing about Foundry Napoleonics is the bizarre pack sizes... 8 figures each for most infantry. Why 8?  Why not 6, which would be much more logical and flexible. And then... 7 figures for command packs - that are less than 1/2 command figures! The bulk is filled out by a hodge podge of posses from the privates. If you had to have SEVEN figures, wouldn't, say, 2 officers, 2 musicians, and an NCO or sapper make far more sense! I have no idea if I will ever use these "leftovers".  Part of why I never, ever buy Foundry figures except at the time of their annual Christmas sale! 


A little more unusual gift..


I've been looking at getting some Theory 11 playing cards for a while. They had a 25% off deal for 12 decks, plus 10% off for a first order, plus 2 free decks if your pre discount order was sufficient. 


So, I got 16 decks(!)  for about the price of 10.  :-)
Above are 2 decks each of "Union" and "Tycoon" patterns.
Mostly pairs of decks for use with To the Strongest! and/or similar rules. 


"Voyager" and "Purple Monarchs" decks. 

"James Bond", Mandarin Monarch, and Rarebit decks (Elmer Fudd would like the last one - Scwewy Wabbits"!)


My favorites - Star Wars decks - one pair each of Light Side and Dark side decks. 


The star wars decks are very customized - the court cards and Jokers especially, but even the pip designs. Very cool! 

The Union deck - think Roaring 20's! 


The Bond deck... James Bond.  One thing to be aware of with these cards - the tuckbox designs are incredible, with metallic foil etc., BUT the card backs themselves are much simpler, and usually in one color, as you can see here.


Purple Monarchs - here the court cards are pretty standard. 


Our friends the Hopkins usually give me the most interesting gifts, and this year was no exception. They share my love of history and books, and process a lot of used books donated to the local public library for book sales. Anything they think might be of interest to me gets sent my way at Christmas.
 

This one is a historical fiction novel...

published in 1899!  According to the overleaf, he authored nearly 50 such novels, ranging from Ancient Egypt to the Khartoum /Sudan campaign, most but not all centered on famous campaigns. 
The Wikipedia page for George Alfred Henty states it was over 120 such books, of the youth adventure genre. Given the date of publication, I would expect a considerable amount of glorification of British Imperialism, racial; stereotypes etc.; the Wikipedia page confirms those expectations. Recognizing the biases, never the less these kind of books often make stirring reading, and he was eveidently the most successful children's author of his time. Indeed, all of his books are available in current editions! 
I must confess to looking forward to reading this one! 


Another unusual title, but actually a rather appealing concept for a book! 


A brief search on this author reveals that he also wrote biographies of Ney and Murat... 

and all three books are in print today! I believe Sam Mustafa wrote a biography of Jerome; we were discussing it when I met him at Historicon in 2011.
Yes, he did. The price is painful, though!

24 comments:

  1. What a wonderful family! How did you get all your dogs to sit still for such a great picture??? Wishing you and your entire brood a happy and even better New Year sir! Oh, and those Philistine‘s are nice and have always been one of my biblical favs!

    Cheers
    Kevin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kevin. It it were up to me, it woukld have been just the three of us this year, but I was overruled, so outside was the best option. We were very fortunate with the weather, that's all I can say!

      The dogs are pretty good at posing with suitable incentives; they like Christmas treats, too! :-)

      Delete
  2. Great to see you were able to have a family Xmas, albeit it outside. A nice mix of presents and here's hoping for a better year in 2021!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Steve. I don't think there's a person on the planet not wishing for a better 2021!

      Delete
  3. I really enjoyed seeing your outdoor Christmas and gifts. A belated merry Christmas to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Season's Greetings!

    Nice to see all four generations together there. Some interesting presents. I bought myself a Henty book earlier in the year. A rip-roaring read, but not exactly great literature :-D

    We have our main Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve too, due to my wife's origins. Which is great for me as I hate doing traditional English roast dinners (though love eating them) and it isn't part of her repertoire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's one of the very few things residual from my Scandinavian heritage. When we got married, we were surprised to find that both of our families had that tradition.

      About what I'd expect from the Henty novel, and I am fine with that being what it is! :-)

      Delete
  5. Looks like an excellent way to celebrate Christmas in the great outdoors. Perhaps this will become a new tradition? Nice collection of Christmas goodies.

    Happy Holidays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sincerely hope it will NOT become same - way too last minute on the weather, etc! It might just reappear at Easter this year, though....

      Delete
  6. Good to see some joy at Christmas and a white one as well :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gary. The 24th was the whitest in memory due to the huge snowstorm the previous week. The 25th was... mud!

      Delete
  7. I read many of the Henty books as a child. The English gentleman and his trusty lower class sidekick always prevailed. The underlying history may have been old fashioned but was in enough depth to give some sort of period flavour. I did pick one up on kindle recently and was able to enjoy it for what it is, something of a period piece.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, David; nothing more or less than I would expect!

      Delete
  8. That's quite a Christmas haul Peter. I love the family photographs, and particularly the gathering of Goldens. The Henty books brought back memories for me as I had two as a child, but now I recall I never managed to get past chapter one which is strange as I loved reading as a child and these were definitely in my period of interest. I'm not sure whether the picture of the English gentleman punching a native would obtain editorial approval nowadays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Goldens appreciate it, Lawrence. Now about that treat...

      We'll see how it goes. I am certainly not expecting much 21st century political correctness, but rather a hefty dose of nationalism and ethnic stereotypes.

      Delete
  9. Fun looking Christmas and nice haul of figures and books!
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Iain. I hope you had a good altered Christmas as well!

      Delete
  10. Great gathering and wonderful new toys! BTW, love your "wolf" pack - particularly old Rory!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Dean. Rory is a very special dog!

      Delete
  11. You will laugh - I bought my nephew that set of Star Wars Cards for Christmas this year as he is a fan of Star Wars and playing cards.

    Have a good new year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's funny, Oli. I'd say the Star Wars decks are my favorite. They have a new set based on The Mandelorian as well...

      Delete
  12. A fine gathering Peter. Pleased that the weather did the right thing for you. I bet you were surprised by those pressies?! The decks of cards various are brilliant.
    I have the Henty book (and Atteridge's about Murat—his one about Ney I have as a book) as a pdf file c/- the wonderful archive.org. Great to see the bound, printed version though. A much more desirable format.
    Regards, James

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, James. The leather binding and embossed design on the Henty book is pretty impressive for 120 years ago! I shall keep the archive in mind!

      Delete