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Mainly 28s...
The specialist 28mm wargames review site.
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Welcome to the Mainly 28s... semi-obligatory "blog" page.

As most gamers these days seem to have a blog of sorts, I guess I need to follow suit. As I'm not too keen on yet another "site" to maintain, I'll just add my bit here, where I can control everything about it. This is the 2nd incarnation of a blog here, and may be more successful- let's see what happens. The older version is still available at the old blog page.

Fair warning- I may occasionally use some mildly fruity language here, and may even express views that others disagree with. If you don't like controversy, feel free to ignore this page.
You have been warned...

15 January 2010

A new year, a new beginning?

OK, so the break was a wee bit longer than I thought it would be. My confidence took a sever knock because I was one of those made redundant. To say that it hit me hard is an understatement, but there isn't much I can do. Of course, having all the folks here over the festive period didn't help much, as there was the continuous flow of "and how is work" questions, which I did not feel like answering (since we didn't tell them), but things have improved a little- I've had a few short contracts, but I'm now getting more and more calls from agencies again.
I HAVE finished a coaching inn, though!

22 July 2009

Deja Vu, or isn't this a familiar feeling?

Well, it seems that the "credit crunch" is hitting ever closer to home. In the last two days we've had a number of people made redundant in our company, including half of my team. I'm told my "position is at risk". Since the same thing happened to me nearly two years ago, the title of this posting should be obvious.Apparently there are still another four or five people due to get the chop...
I may get the time to do a few more masters soon if things go the wrong way.

26 June 2009

Big lesson in trust learned...
I got an e-mail from Brad Turner at the other day. In it he pointed out that a large chunk of the information on my "how to paint..." pages was taken from an older version of his site. When I checked, I found it to be the case- the wording was near enough identical to convince me.
I'd asked a friend to get me some basic info on camouflage uniforms of WW2, and, without checking his research, used the word document and pictures he supplied. I have taken him to task about this, but have yet top receive an answer from him. I know ignorance is no excuse, but I thought I could trust the friend in question.
Meanwhile, I'd like to issue an unreserved apology to Brad, who has kindly allowed me to keep the materials on my site. I will be placing appropriate links back to Brad's site on the relevant pages. I'd also like to encourage you to have a look at his site, where you can get a much better idea than on the rather limited bits I have.

23 April to 5 May 2009

Crap! The last 10 days or so have been the most difficult yet. I got a call from my brother-in-law on the 23rd of April that kinda wrecked my self-control. He informed me that my father-in-law had had a heart attack that morning and died. Could I please call Lèaan and tell her? Since my father-in-law had accepted me with all my faults and foibles the news was a double blow to me- first his passing, and second that I had to tell the apple of his eye, his daughter, who was in Hong Kong at the time.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I had tears in my eyes (and still do right now) when I had to make that phone call. It was the hardest call I've ever made.
Needless to say, it threw our lives into turmoil. Lèaan's boss in HK was kind enough to give her a ticket to SA, so I booked one for myself too, and met my darling wife in SA the day after our wedding anniversary and four days after her father's death. We slept over at my parents' house and were driven up to Tzaneen by my parents to attend the funeral.
We spent our time on the plot (my in-laws bought a plot and built a new house there), consoling each other and remembering my father-in-law. We made a short stop in Tzaneen before the funeral, mainly to stock up on a few things and finalise the arrangements.
Wednesday the 29th of April, the day of the funeral, was a gorgeous day. Our arrival at the church was suitably solemn, and an eye-opener in terms of the number of people who showed up to honour my father-in-law. I'd always known he was popular, but not how popular. The service was suitably solemn, and a reading from the Bible was my father's favourite verse. There was also a verse he'd written (ironically only a week or so before the heart-attack) and his favourite hymn completed the service. So far, so good.
Unfortunately, his older brother was a little thoughtless at the actual funeral, and kept making comments that it should have been him, as he'd been in and out of hospitals with heart problems already. This was, in my opinion, not right- a funeral is about the person who has died, not about those who feel guilty for something in the past or are simply seeking attention.
We stayed on at the plot for a couple of days after the funeral, mainly to spend time with my mother-in-law, but also to let things sink in. We left there on the Saturday, and returned home via Dubai. I'm writing this in my lunchtime, mainly because it's something I need to get off my chest, but also because it explains where I am in my life at the moment.

So where am I? I've realised again that we made the right decision to leave SA when we did- the degree of uncertainty and fear there, as well as the primitive conditions (when compared to Europe, Hong Kong and the USA) make me wonder why anyone in their right minds wants to stay there. I used to consider myself a patriot- sometimes unwilling, but always willing to keep trying. Now I'm not. Anything but.
SA's changed too much (or maybe I have?) for me to go back.
I found the conditions there strange, to say the least. The population's fatalistic acceptance of power and water cuts in order to provide free electricity to areas that consist of "previously disadvantaged" citizens (and illegal immigrants) while still charging the paying citizens is ridiculous. These citizens are the ones that, at the end of the day, provide the GDP and pay taxes that should pay for a healthcare system, policing and public amenities like roadworks (as well as much more). By depriving businesses of electricity security and water, the government eventually deprives itself of the neccessary income to pay for those bloody illegals and those too lazy to work.
The general apathy of sales staff also amazes me. If I, as a customer, ask a sales assistant a question, I expect that the sales assistant will show some interest in helping me. Not in SA- there the sales assistant is as likely to ignore you as they are to reply with a shrug and an "I don't know". The shop shelves are a disgrace.
The general state of security would be a joke if it wasn't so serious. Every house (apart from those in "informal settlements" (i.e. squatter camps) has at least two out of the following three things: burglar bars, an alarm system and 8ft fences/razor wire. The average policeman is illiterate, and unwilling to perform his duty. An example of this- a neighbour had his house burgled while he was out. On his return he caught one of the criminals red-handed while exiting a broken window. He apprehended the criminal (note: I deliberately say criminal instead of suspect, as he was caught red-handed) and called the police to come arrest the man. Much to his surprise, the police replied that, as the man had been stopped from actually removing anything from the property, "no crime has been committed", and if the neighbour did not release the criminal, he (i.e. the neighbour, the original victim) could and would be charged with a criminal offense!
The countryside, the land next to the highways we travelled and in the more rural areas, was still as beautiful as ever, and the African sunset, night and sunrise are still achingly beautiful. These aspects- nature and the friends and family we have left behind- are the only aspects of South Africa that I miss. I guess that, IF, by some miracle, conditions were to return to a more civilised state, I'd be prepared to go back, but as this is as likely as me walking on the moon, I will have to settle for seeing my family very infrequently, and communicating with friends by Skype, as I'm not prepared to return (even for a visit) to the country I was born in if they cannot guarantee my safety and that of my property which I have worked for.

23 February 2009

Well, I've finally begun wargames-related stuff again!
I've finally (after a very long interval) gotten myself into wargaming again. I have, over the last couple of evenings, cleaned and glued onto penny-washers (25mm ones) and (for a prone LMG) a sliced-up sample credit card all the "Republican" SCW figures, some IWI and BEF and a few assorted civilian figures I have in my collection. They are a mixture of stuff from Anglian, North Star, some Steve Barber civilians, Musketeer Miniatures and some limited-edition freebies from shows and charity figures. Tonight I'll be doing the "Nationalists". I've put the factions in inverted commas because neither side wore strict uniforms, and equipment and clothing was often taken over by the victor on a particular battlefield. From a wargames point of view, that makes the SCW brilliant, as figures can be used for either side by simply putting them behind the appropriate flag! Of course, there were some units that DID have uniforms and proper military spick and span, but as I have none of those, I can use these guys for either side at the moment. And, as another bonus- quite a few of them will even work for ECW3, the latest craze to hit the UK's 28mm wargamers, as civilian clothing is civilian clothing, and quite a few Brits joined the International Brigades, returning to the UK at various times between 1936 and 1939.
Over the next few days I'll be "landscaping" the bases, after which I'll begin painting them, probably in batches of 10-15.

9 February 2009

I HATE doctors!
Sheesh. Several months on, and I finally got to meet the head-honcho doctor. A very nice woman she was, too, but she's still not given me a final diagnosis. I've now been scheduled for a heart scan and an EEG. They're slowly eliminating every organ in my body...
One of the questions she asked was "Have I got any work-related stress?" That is the silliest question I have ever heard... Show me any IT-guy who doesn't. The correct question would have been "Have I got more work-related stress than usual?", which would maybe have gotten a different answer. Of course, as it stands, the answer was "No", but now she wants to explore "irregular heart problems" and "a form of epilepsy". My cholesterol is, for now, not considered to be a major player in the diagnosis- she's happy to have found it this early, and is also pleased with my progress. A little worried by the continued weakness of my right hand and leg, and also by my memory loss and occasional mood-swings.
And, just to top it all, this weekend I spotted the beginnings of a lovely boil on my gluteus maximus. Where? On the RIGHT side, which seems to be my "accident magnet" side.

22 January 2009

For some reason my motivation levels are at an all-time low. I simply can't muster the energy to do anything. Maybe my upcoming birthday has something to do with it? I'm in the peculiar situation where i have loads of ideas, but when it comes to actually doing something about it, everything just stops there. About the only thing that's kind of on-going is my re-(re-re-re-re-)working of Necromunda/Mordheim to make a nice, simple set of rules for me to use. I'd say I've got that at about 90% ready now. The stuff that's left is just the tidying up, and adding fluff.
Of course, the biggest problem is finding a suitable way to provide a solo opponent for myself. And no, don't suggest 2-hour Games to me. I've tried them, and wasn't happy. I also don't fancy Mythic (although I did find it marginally better). I have a few ideas that I'm working on, but... motivation!

19 January 2009

Doctors. Why can't they be more specific?
I went for another round of tests this morning. A neurologist, this time. To say I'm underwhelmed is an understatement. After the exam, he still didn't want to commit on a diagnosis, saying that he needs to review the results first, then pass those to my doctor, who will look at them in the light of all the test results so far. The only good thing so far today is that he's told me to stop taking the one set of pills (a lovely un-PC medication called "Retard"), which makes the bulk of my daily pill-intake. Hallelujah!

13 January 2009

Hmmm. Well, not much news.
Health? The blood test last week was pretty good- my cholesterol's down from 8.7 (normal is supposed to be under 4!) to 6.7.
Otherwise? Well, I realised a this morning that my wife and I have been "together" for 13 years today!
Wargaming? Well, my copy of the British Civil War Sourcebook went missing in the mail, but a replacement should be here pretty soon. I've also gotten some printouts of paper terrain made, and will be constructing some urban terrain (typical British terraced houses) over the next few evenings. I also want to finish the Marder off, and maybe get a new start on the Kfz 13 again.
Oh, and also get a start in on some figures- the North Star SCW collection contains a number of figures that I plan to "enlist" in a British Civil War collection.

16 December 2008

Aaaaaaargh! F.C.U.K.! Excrement! OK, I've just received an e-mail that really wrecked my day...
The model of the Kfz 13 that I lovingly dispatched recently arrived in one piece, but was wrecked in a mould-making incident in which the silicon used to make the mould apparently was mixed incorrectly and ended up bonding with the plasic-card used to make the master. "No problem," I hear you think, "just scrape it off and try again." Yup, that's what I thought, but apparently it's beyond salvage. I'm not a happy puppy right now. Not at all, in fact. Plus point (and it's the only one so far) is that the owner will pay me for the same master again.
On a different note, also slightly "Aaaaaargh!", I'm still waiting for my neurologist's appointment...

7 December 2008

Ok, the twitch has gone, but I'm still waiting for my neurologist's appointment.

5 December 2008

Bugger, blast and botheration. Now the fingers of my right hand have developed a twitch. Not very encouraging, as it means I can't paint. Or model. Or do much, really. I can type, but it's slower than before. At least all the other bits are gone, apart from aches and pains in my legs, which may be from having less exercise than when I was "touring" Hong Kong.

1 December 2008

Hmmm. Where do I start? Well, Lets see. The last five months have been even more eventful than the first six months of the year. Apart from working at the new job like a maniac (which may have contributed to the next bit of news), a planned holiday to Greece turned into an absolute nightmare. Due to us rearranging the holiday to suit some family members (who cancelled after we'd booked everything), we ended up being caught up in the whole XL airline dèbacle. Due to that news breaking a few days before our departure, when other parts of the family were already in Greece, we couldn't cancel the holiday, which would have been the best course of action. That meant we lost time off the holiday in actually getting there, plus additional time to get back home. On top of that, the weather was terrible- we had only one full day of sunshine. Just to really top it off, on my return I was ill- my first illness in absolute ages. The numbness in my face was diagnosed as a viral infection.
Well, the second part of the news is that this numbness may actually have been the first sign of a stroke. At the end of October I collapsed at work- I lost all sensation in my right side, blacked out and slurred my speech. I was rushed to A&E with 3/3 of the symptoms for a stroke, and spent a week in hospital. A further two weeks of recovery at home, followed by a week's intense acupuncture and massage therapy in Hong Kong (get your minds out of the gutter- it was medical massage) have left me in a state to return to work. I'm still a touch slow physically, and have some slight memory loss (who needs phone numbers anyway?) as well as having my short-term memory affected- I occasionally forget things I said earlier in a conversation, and sometimes repeat myself. Still, I was lucky I got off as lightly as I did.
However, that said- I still haven't been given an official diagnosis yet. Currently the terms TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack) and CVA are being bandied about, pending the results of another MRI and a neurological exam that I will be attending soon. One other thing that did come out of this whole mess is that my cholesterol is sky-high. Apparently the safe numbers are about 3.5 to 4.0. When they get to 4.5, the doctors usually get concerned. Mine was 8.7. It appears that I'm one of the unlucky percentage who can't metabolise cholesterol correctly (something that was never diagnosed), and will be on meds for life. The moral of the story? I'd advise everyone to go to Boots or wherever and get a cholesterol test done regularly- apparently my TIA/mini-stroke may have been caused by this super-high cholesterol level...
So, what does that mean for me and Mainly 28s? Well, for one thing I have to take it easier at work- maybe slightly more time to update the site. For another, my wargaming took a back-seat for a while, but I plan to get back into it more seriously now- anything to relax, right?
I'll be finishing my Marder II for AGNM very shortly, and the Kfz 13 that's been sitting on my workbench was sent off to the manufacturer recently.

On a different note- BAM, a company I have worked with a lot over the last few years, has been sold. The name will stay, and the sculptors will stay as contract-workers, but the base has been moved to Nottingham. What does that mean? I don't know yet, but as the new owners are keen gamers and have an existing company, I suspect it will not be a bad thing. Long live BAM...

30 June 2008

What an eventful first six months this year's had! I managed to get a position with a company near Southwark Bridge, less than 100 yards from my previous one! Of course, the new position started out as great, but gradually I realised that there were certain things I didn't like. The main problem was that my line manager was rather difficult to speak with- and, as I reached the end of my time with them, I realised that I was being set up to fail. Office politics. He and I had a sit-down, and we agreed that I'd be better off leaving, which I did- one of the happier moments in my life. About 20 minutes after leaving the building, I had a call from an agency that I was using to recruit for replacements for some guys that had left, as well as for a coouple of additional bodies... I mentioned my leaving to him, and he said he's have a look-see. He got back to me 20 minutes later, told me that he had something and would I be interested? The long and the short of it is that two weeks after leaving the one job I walked into a new one, almost the same money, but 25 minutes closer to home!
So, what does that mean for Mainly 28s? Well, it means that I can actually start updating the site again, as the old job took most of my waking hours... Look for better update schedules now.

'course I have received a few items in the last few months, and will be adding those to the site as I get time- hopefully the next few weeks will see a flurry of activity here, followed by a rush to finish some modelling projects that I started (too) long ago. I'll be finishing my marder II shortly, as well as the Kfz 13 that's been sitting on my workbench. Then there's the pile of terrain I need to paint, as well as the veritable mountain of lead that's crying out for paint!

3 December 2007

Well, the in-laws have gone, and now my sister's also been and gone. I've done a bit of work on the Marder II again- after the planning stages, I've now proceeded to a bit of cutting- see the How I made the AGNM Marder II page.
It might not seem like too much, but it was very messy and also rather time-consuming cutting such huge chunks of resin out of the hull-top.

24 November 2007

OK, rather than lose bits, I split the Marder II build onto a seperate page (How I made the AGNM Marder II). This will also eventually form the basis for an article for a magazine, so I may occasionally gloss over steps in order to leave more "meat" for the article.

23 November 2007

The start of a new (and hopefully more regular) set of updates. I'll be charting my progress on Master vehicles for the various companies I do work for as I go.
I've been asked how I go about creating my masters. Well, in most cases the course is about the same- I get inspired by something, do loads of research and then start building! My current project, the Marder II for AGNM, started out after a chat with Vince. I suggested a tank-destroyer, and mentioned that I'd be willing to do a conversion based on some of his existing components- kind of like the original! After some discussion, we settled on the Marder II- a combination of the PzKpfw II and the 7,5cm PaK 40. (Remainder of text moved)

28 October 2007

OK, so the last couple of months have flown by. And I mean flown. I had my in-laws here for five weeks. It was a great time, and I really was sad to see them go again. The one downer is that I was informed that I was being made redundant a week before they arrived. So much for having stuck through several persons leaving (although, in hindsight, I should have smelled a rat), and even saying that I'd stick with the company no matter what. Hell, I even turned down a couple of good offers shortly before that little bombshell. Bummer.
Of course, I had to keep up a brave front for the in-laws, so no morose sulking. Now that they've gone, though, I can afford to be a little "down".
It appears that I suffer from the standard in the industry- I'm either "not senior enough" or I'm overqualified. Go figure.
Of course, the fact that I've just had the in-laws here and now have to concentrate on job-hunting (just after moving into a new house) has some wargames repercussions too- I've gotten behind on everything. The Hetzer that I'm doing for BAM is almost done, but the tracks are giving me some hassles.
So- anyone out there willing to take on a test manager?

21 August 2007

Getting closer to a normal service again! I've gotten about halfway through the new (and hopefully final!) Harry Potter book. While it's good, it's very dark by comparison to the other ones, and the characters do feel a little "worn out". I'll admit that I enjoyed reading the books so far, but I do feel that the series is reaching the end of its' useful reading life. As an aside to that- I've been re-reading some of my old Forgotten Realms novels again. Some have stood up to the test of time, but one or two are showing their age. Perhaps it's just my outlook on life that's changed! I still enjoyed the first two books in the Horselords trilogy, but book 3 really didn't do it for me. Curse of the Azure Bonds is still as good as I remember, though.
As far as the reviews section goes- I've already added the reviews for Song of Blades and Heroes and the Black Hat Miniatures samurai. Coming soon are some Road Kill figures as sold by Occult Games, as well as some Tiger Miniatures figures, and perhaps some from Pontoonier too. I also just need to finish writing up the reviews on some Brigade games figures, as well as adding back some of the BAM ranges that were left out in the re-organising of the site earlier this year.

16 August 2007

Getting there! The downstairs part of the house is now almost completely done, and I've begun unpacking my books and wargaming goodies. In the next day or two I'll be adding a few reviews again (the scanner's also been unpacked already, so I can start doing pics). A new section of the site is the "other reviews" page, where I'll be adding bits that don't immediately connect to wargaming, such as the books I read on my commute to and from work, or movies I've watched that don't all into wargaming-related genres. First up there is a book called Hal Spacejock by a UK ex-pat living in Australia. The highest praise I can give is that it reminds me of Douglas Adams.

27 July 2007

It seems that you can't please everyone. Today a brave soul calling himself "Rank Bajin" claiming to be resident in Texas posted (sic) "Mainly 28's" yep - wargaming for the unreconstructed racist - help celebrate 300 years of institutionalised colonialism! Tosser.[/quote] on the WAB Forum. While I may have grown up in South Africa, and have some pretty strong feelings about the country, I strongly resent being called a racist and a tosser. I will eventually be drawing the moderators' attention to the rather unwarranted personal attack. I have always kept my personal views out of my wargaming, although I have a personal site elsewhere, on which I make no secret of my views of the "new" South Africa.

26 July 2007

Well, it seems that my persistence has paid off. I've been informed that my replacement cooker will be delivered early next week- Tuesday, most probably. Talk about a load of fuss. I will say that the company we bought it from has been very good about it- their manager has actually gone to a fair bit of trouble by way of contacting people from his end in order to ensure a speedy delivery.
   I'm also starting to appreciate my new house more- even though I still have tons of work in it before I can really settle in. This weekend we're going to remove the carpets downstairs- followed by a weekend of sanding using industrial sanders! Then it's just a coat of varnish/oil/whatever SWMBO decides, and I can actually settle into my office.

24 July 2007

Mwahahahaha! I think I'm cracking. After all my hassles getting into the house and getting gas and electricity and such, the cooker's defective. I face a six-week wait for a replacement (or I can take another model off the site, but if it costs more I need to pay in the difference)! At least my internet is now working, and I have gas and electricity everywhere that I need to. All that remains now is to sand down the floorboards in my "office" and the rest of downstairs, varnish all of them, finish painting the walls, put down decking on the concrete slab out back, and then I can begin upstairs.
   Looking at the bright side- at least it's getting to a point where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or is that just the freight train coming from the other end?
   I can also see a beginning to my wargaming again. I now have a few items to review again, and since I finally have the "office" getting close to finished (OK, I've actually installed the PC, but none of the peripherals yet), I may be able to start adding more reviews again. Brigade Games, Gungnir's Card Models and a few others are waiting in the wings, along with a new section on general books I plan to add soon. The first one on that page will be Simon Haynes' Hal Spacejock, which is a cracking good read along the lines of Douglas Adams, although he doesn't really want to be compared to DA. Another great series I've just gotten into is David Feintuch's Seafort Saga, a sort of Napoleonic-era navy-in-AD2201-in-space series. Books 1-4 are brilliant, book 5 is not quite in the same vein yet, but I'm only part way into it. I plan to get 6 and 7, and 8 if it's ever printed (DF passed away last year, after sending the manuscript to his editor).

19 June 2007

Hmmmm. Still no sign of the Tannhäuser stuff- a little disappointing, as they're just the other side of the channel from me, and a parcel to the US took less time!
BT also have my blood boiling. I finally got my phone line today- and had to spend 25 minutes on hold in order for them to "activate" the line so I can get broadband... Shouldn't this activation have been done as part of the installation, without requiring me to contact them again? Anyhow, I now still have to wait for Sky to pop over and do their magic to make my house broadband-enabled. Apparently this will now take place on the 3rd of July, as this is the first available slot for an engineer to stop in and connect a cable and a modem.
   As I tend to be fairly easily distracted, I guess it's a good thing. The new office is almost done- the walls will be painted tonight, and then it's a question of removing the carpet and doing up the floorboards, which are in good nick but just require a bit of TLC and some sanding/varnishing.

On another tack... I've decided to start a new period. I've gotten a copy of "Warfare in the Age of Reason", and am now debating which of the many armies to start with, as well as which conflict within the rather broad sweep of this intricate period. My main concern is that I'd like a smallish army, and preferably an easy-to-paint one, at that. Oh, and also something that I could, at a squeeze, use for more than just against one solitary enemy force... Suggestions, anyone?

7 June 2007

It's official now. I HATE moving, and I HATE beaurocracy even more. The previous owners of the house cancelled everything, right? Yesterday I get a letter saying that my internet's been rescheduled to the 19th because the line is "rented out to another company". The long and the short of it, though, is that I won't have internet access from home until a week after BT gets their collective fingers out.
All it takes is a simple entering of a few details on a keyboard somewhere, not rocket science- no engineer neccessary as the previous owners ALSO had Sky and all the rest. Aaaaaaargh.
On a wargames-related note- I ordered the Tannhäuser figures and also some of Gungnir's paper terrain, so the collection is stll expanding. Once I have my equipment set up again, I'll be adding proper reviews to the main site again, but for now I'm a little buggered, as I have no internet to upload with, and no set-up PC/photography set to take decent pictures.

4 June 2007

OK, so the last couple of weeks have been seriously hectic. SWMBO* was asked to be a bridesmaid at a wedding in the US, so of course we had to go- we packed a two-week trip into six days. All in all, I'm very glad to have been there, and the wedding was great. The countryside around Hartford in Connecticut (particularly the area around Avon) is stunning. The people were also incredibly nice, and we're definitely going back there.
Anyway- back to the "hectic" thing. It's a long story, and I will be waffling on about it for a bit. it's all about the way houses are sold (or not) here in the UK, and the way it is done.

We put our house on the market in February after a fair bit of elbow-grease (SWMBO watches all the home improvement shows like "Location, Location, Location", "House Doctor", "Grand Designs" and such) and were offered the full asking price by the first couple to view the property. We accepted, and, in due course, were visited by the assessor of the company providing our buyers' mortgage. This gentleman did the survey, and sent a report back after two weeks in which he downvalued our house to below the market average for the neighbourhood (he insisted it was worth £11 000 less than our price). Of course we were shocked- three estate agents and the buyers had all agreed that our asking price was fair, so what had this guy smoked or sniffed? We were then told that we could appeal against this, which we then did. The estate agent then buggered off on holiday without telling us, and we were left waiting for a re-assessment. After five weeks we were told that this would not happen, in spite of having been assured that it would (the estate agent didn't want to cause the assessor any grief). As the estate agent hadn't done her job by this time (she was representing us, after all), I kicked up a fuss, and her manager took over the case. He looked at the papers, and agreed that our price was fair. As it happens, he actually kows the owner of the assessing company, and had a chat with him. This guy also agreed that the price was fair, but due to the way things are handled, the original assessor had to counter-sign any re-valuation. This particular individual decided not to do so- I can only assume he has a grudge against the area (or us, as we've dared to challenge his "valuation"). After many, many calls and immense pressure from us, plus from the estate agent plus his own boss he reluctantly agreed to re-assess the property. He added £6 000 back onto the price, bringing us back to the average for the area- but in the meantime the average price in the area has gone waaaay over that. Time taken to here- 14 weeks, 10 of which were spent convincing one little pocket Hitler that he may just have been wrong. So, now the sale can continue (almost) on schedule- or can it?

Nope, because now all the various documents are wrong, so they need to be re-drafted and sent for signatures, etc. Well, as we were off to the US, we managed to get all our stuff signed and off to the solicitors before we depart (the wedding would have been after our move into the new house according to all accounts). So, we get a call on the last full day in the States telling us that contracts have been exchanged, and we can continue our move on the 1st of June, as was planned all along. Or so we thought. When we called the removals company to make sure that they arrive nice and early on the 1st, we're told that we're no longer on their list- it's "taken so ong that they re-booked us as someone else needed the vans". We spent a good portion of the day trying to arrange a new removals company- to no avail as all were fully booked... On our return to the UK we frantically dialed all the numbers we could find, and eventually got to a removals company via a van-rental company. These guys managed to fit us in, and moved us to the new house on schedule.

I now face a lengthy period without internet at home as BT needs to "notify the existing line provider that they're taking over" in spite of the fact that BT supplies the telephone line into the house, followed by another week before Sky can connect me as it "takes a week for their equipment to recognise that a line is active and in use". Talk about a load of bollocks. All it takes is someone entering some data from a terminal- it's not rocket science.

That all said, the new house is great. It already feels like home in spite of the fact that we've not unpacked yet (remember the home improvement shows?), and I now have a decent-sized room for myself where I can store all my wargame goodies, and I have ample deskspace for the IT section and a painting area too. Best of all- the conservatory is so big that I can put my whole 9' by 5' table up whenever I want to (except when SWMBO is using it) and still have ample room around the outside to move around it.

The only down-side is that updates to the site may be a touch slower than I'd like as I now have loads of 1:1 terrain modelling to do, but they will be trickling onto the site.

Did I mention that I still don't understand how one little pocket Hitler can cause so much trouble, especially when he is the only one who is on that side of the fence? Everyone, and I mean everyone (including our buyers) agreed that his valuation was far below the correct price.

*= She  Who  Must  Be  Obeyed

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