Friday, 26 July 2019

Land Of The Giants

Short catch up post this time, so you can all breathe a sigh of relief. It's been so ruddy hot here that any kind of mental activity other than - breathe in breathe out (repeat) is beyond me.

I've been plugging away at my new dark age stuff and (like Lee) I'm awaiting a parcel of wargaming goodies from the UK that may arrive tomorrow or in three weeks time…who can say? My only hope is that if and when it arrives it doesn't go unremarked into our metal post box - because today we had a temperature in our south facing garden / desert / dust bowl of 46 degrees - which means all I'll eventually take delivery of is a little puddle of metal.

One of the scary things I've discovered of late is that the old eye sight is clearly on the wane and that the almost invisible errors made when painting 6mm suddenly leap out at you when you photograph your 15mm stuff and look at it closely…aaaaargh.

Anywhoo… here's the first cab off the rank, a 6cm wide Ealdorman / Cyning / Companions base. Using the Dux Bellorum rules there'll be one of these per Viking / Anglo Saxon side.

I've gone for an "old skool" green base mainly because I've run out of suitable tufts and such.

If you think the picture is blurry - remember that's how I see the buggers these days.

The figures are a mixture of Peter Pig and a few Splintered Light that were lurking in the lead pile (testament no doubt to an earlier failed project that disturbingly I can't even recall embarking on!)

I'm going to cover the period 750AD - 900AD so for the observant or the knowledgable I need to mention the following points - and note these points only refer to the Saxon forces:

a) The guy in the right foreground is wearing very old war gear for the period, with a metal face plate, vambraces and splinted leg protection. The veneration and handing down of war gear was not uncommon so this chap is wearing his great granddads kit partly out of respect and partly because it makes him look like a full on badass.

b) All the shields in this Saxon group are the same colour and virtually unadorned with what you might consider to be the expected crosses chevrons etc. Colour is a useful group identifier but for professional warriors (my italics) a shield's life in combat conditions was limited and I do not consider they would have been over adorned. If you look at  the Anglo Saxon shield as depicted in surviving contemporary documents you'll see they are either unadorned (MS Cotton Cleopatra C VIII) or as in the David v Goliath scene (Cotton Tiberius C VI) below.

A 10th Century Image of a warrior with a shield

You'll note that the lines shown bear a remarkable resemblance to a convex shield I built several years ago and I would contend they are not decoration per se but a reflection of its structure.

LATE EDIT: A few more supporting contemporary images from various psalters and psychomachia.

Often covered in triangular stitched together sections of cow hide (especially for a convex shield) the surface would have had lines radiating from the boss and it may be this that the artists are trying to capture. Shield colours other than chalky greys, browns, yellows and greens are difficult to produce, very expensive, and even when mixed with gesso usually fade very quickly when exposed to sunlight. The native Woad plant would produce a decent blue (though not as good as imported Lapis Lazuli), Ochre a nice yellow and Madder a browny red (that fades to pink). Black is an early medieval impossibility (the best you'll get is a very dark grey) and for a nice bright red you need thousands of imported tiny Cochineal beetles that are beyond the reach of anyone but kings and bishops and would only have been used on dyed clothing.

The use of convex or flat shields is of course a whole other kettle of fish. Recovered remains are flat but many pictures (as above) appear to indicate convex. Convex works well for deflecting blows in one on one fights but would be a disadvantage in shield walls as I'll no doubt feel compelled to lecture everyone on in super boring detail in some later post. Yawn.

For avoidance of doubt I am of the "shield as a weapon grabber" camp, who argue that the planks they are constructed from are aligned vertically in order to trap any weapons edge that cleaves it. In close combat this is a simple but effective way of temporarily disarming your opponent.

For clarity's sake I definitely support the concept of the "show shield" to be hung in the hall or even to be buried with, and that of course would most likely be decorated quite richly with appliqué ornamentation. Also where groups of warriors composed of individual none aligned thegns are gathered, it is almost certain that there would be a variety of shield colours in one combat group.

I would urge anyone who feels strongly that I might be wrong to consult Mr I. P. Stephenson's seminal work "The Anglo Saxon Shield" before giving me a written "shivving".

c) There will be a mix of shield sizes in both armies. Shields grew bigger as the period progressed - in line with the growth in use of the shield wall, but at this point we are still more or less in a state of flux so both will be present. Patently a small shield is easier to swing about in one to one type combat and the big shield gives more protection to you and your buddies in a semi static line.

d) There will be a distinct lack of obvious cross gaiters or "winnigas" as they were called by the Anglo Saxons on my figures (despite them being the manufacturers favourite feature). They were definitely worn - but the only use most re enactors can attribute to them is protection of the lower leg trouser material from the sweaty flanks of a well ridden horse. Made of either wool or cloth they do little but snag when traversing ground containing undergrowth and are in that sense a bloody nuisance. Practical for going places on horseback. Not practical for striding purposefully towards the enemy when they have snagged, come loose, and you seem to have a 10ft length of toilet roll trailing behind you!

Note: Anglo Saxon leggings / trousers appear to be cut on the bias, so were very tight fitting around the calves and therefore were not in need of something like winningas to stop them flapping around like loon pants.

e) Numbers. I'm going for a 1:10 figure ratio which fits quite nicely with the available written evidence from the period. The personal retinue of the 8th century aetheling (prince) Cyneheard apparently numbered 84 men and there are 8 men on the companions base which would of course equal 80. Other units types will include noble warriors (8), ordinary warriors (10), noble shield wall (10) ordinary shield wall (12), riders (6) and javelin armed skirmishers (6).

Apologies for the semi lecture but they do say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing… and here…if you had any doubts, is living proof.

Going totally off topic for the mo - has anyone ever bothered to melt down unwanted miniatures for recasting as something else? I seem to have a fair few oddly posed / irreparably damaged items of little individual value and a growing sense that said metal could be put to better use.


Saturday, 13 July 2019

The Bandanak Incident

Okey cokey - put your galoshes on - we're off out to sea again!

For the second mission in this campaign my trusty 1D4 rolled a 2 which meant that the Salamander would be encountering two randomly selected opponents. Having listened to the good Kaptain Kobold, (who has more experience of these rules than I) I determined to add an extra vessel to our privateer brethren in order to increase the chances of success and add to the action in general. The vessel chosen to be allied with the Salamander was a sloop called the Welsingen, a nippy little thing whose crew lacked the "Veteran NCO's" of the bigger schooner but made up for it with the "Derring do" trait  instead. i.e. ready to leap aboard an enemy ship at the drop of a hat with a combat modifying advantage. 

The two opponents drawn were the frigate Zeeland and a three masted merchantman (of Chinese construction) the Dim sum. Given that the prize crew placed onboard the Gouden Gans were captured in the last mission, I felt I ought to try and construct a narrative and a scenario around all of these factors.

Here's what I came up with:

The Salamander took three weeks to return to her secret island harbour, having stopped to pick up some additional hands at Singkep, but when she arrived they found Edward Napier the East India Company's Assistant Comptroller already waiting to take charge of their cargo. 

Forty sacks of Dutch silver were manhandled across to the EIC man's vessel though Nicholas Golightly the Salamander's newly appointed 1st mate was sure there'd been forty four in the hold when he'd last been asked to count them.

The Comptroller brought unwelcome news. The prize crew placed aboard the Gouden Gans had been captured and imprisoned in a fort on the island chain of Bandanak. Napier had received word from  certain dark lantern sources that they would soon be transferred to a Dutch frigate and taken to Batavia for trial.

Given the prisoner's knowledge of the East India Company's "off the books" predation Napier needed the situation to be quickly resolved. Overriding Captain Tully's objections he ordered fresh supplies to be loaded back aboard the schooner and the ship made ready for a swift departure. At the Comptrollers insistence a fire was lit on the headland, the smoke acting as a signal to another vessel that had lain concealed on the far side of the island. When it eventually sailed into view Golightly was not alone in snatching up his pistol for the oncoming sloop flew the red and white horizontally barred flag of the very people they were being paid to pillage - the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie

With Napier confirming that the ship was both expected and friendly, Golightly got the nod from Tully and returned to his task of finding the Salamander a new Bosun. Acting both as an enforcer for the officers and a representative of the men it was essential the person spoke English and though he kept trying to avoid it he knew there was only one possible contender; a man who'd been part of the bunch they'd picked up at the wharf in Singkep. Having sent for him Nicholas paced the deck, watching as Napier, and Captain Tully stalked off into the shade; arguing furiously.

Mr Li, the candidate for Bosun was Han Chinese, and correspondingly tall for an Asian. When he arrived, Golightly, the second son of a curate, did his best to conceal his unease at the man's fearsome appearance. Shaven headed except for a lock of hair tied in a top knot he had an eye tattooed on the back of his skull and another on each of his eye lids - spookily appearing awake even when asleep. Since Li was not an employee of the East India Company, Golightly had been authorised by Tully to offer him a cut of each prize they took - a situation that seemed to be to the man's liking for he strode off without being dismissed and immediately began to exercise his newly acquired authority.

Two weeks later a favourable wind had taken the Salamander and her new escort, the Welsingen, to a point near the island fort where their former crew mates were being held. Rumour had it that the Dutch sloop's Captain, Edgar De Groot had been traduced over alleged gambling debts and had subsequently "slipped his moorings" in order to exact some sort of revenge through service with the EIC. The two Captains' were conferring about forthcoming tactics in the Salamander's aft cabin when the cry rang out from the schooner's look out…"Sail Ho!"

The Welsingen and the Salamander arrive off Bandanak Island

Sailing towards Bandanak from the south east but still on the horizon were two other vessels. The Dim sum, captained by Ma Yun and the Zeeland a Dutch frigate captained by Klaas Vrijling. Vrijling had been tasked with taking some prisoners from the island fort to Batavia where they would be tried for piracy. Captain Yun only had a cargo of been sprouts but it always made sense in such dangerous waters to seek the protection of other ships, especially warships, where one could.

The Zeeland and the Dim sum, approaching Bandanak from the south east.

Seeing that his protector was now heading for the fortified island, Captain Yun realised he'd have to go the rest of the way on his own.

The general positions at the start of the game - as seen from the Dutch / Chinese perspective. The fort is in the middle of the board with two (just visible) crescent shaped shallow areas emanating from it.

Here are a few scenario specifics:

a) The islands shown on the board are volcanic in origin and are virtually columns of rock rising straight up out of the sea bed. As such they have no "shallows" around them, the one exception being the fortified islet where the prisoners are being held. Where the shallows occur they are represented by transparent shapes on the game mat.

b) The fort has no cannon, the few emplaced by its former Portuguese owners having long since been dragged off by others.

c) The Dim sum needs to get off the opposite corner of the board to the one it entered on and the Zeeland merely needs to pick up the prisoners from the fort and retire off the board the way it came.

d) The frigate is the only ship in this scenario with a deep draft and as a consequence is not allowed within one long movement template length of the island.

e) The Salamander and the Welsingen need to rescue the prisoners and potentially capture what they assume to be a valuable cargo aboard the Dim sum. Note the cargo contents of any Oriental or Indian merchantman are now being generated only after capture or game end by a single 1D6 roll. 1 - 2 = In ballast (nothing here but rocks boys) 3 - 4 - local produce / foodstuffs of little value, 5 - 6 rare spices.

The Dim sum and the Zeeland won the initiative roll and moved first.

Captain Vrijling had been warned of the shallows around the fort and after lowering sails turned to starboard, into the wind, to launch the ships boats. Lookouts on the foremast shouted that two vessels were approaching from the north east, but being in charge of a 30 gun frigate Vrijling was not overly alarmed. Bandanak lay on one of the major shipping lanes so other vessels were not an uncommon sight.

Wasn't sure how to handle this. The rules state that ships can only drop anchor in shallow water, but a ship with a deep draft has the possibility of grounding when in shallows so anchoring could be dangerous. Since I had her swing head into wind she wasn't going to be moving so it wasn't a problem  - but I need to read the rules on anchoring again methinks.

The ships boats rolled against the Zeeland's Q3 quality level and were granted a combat rating of C1.

My scratch built ships boats deploy next to the Zeeland. 

Captain Yun's men had also seen the approaching ships and realising that their protecting frigate was heaving too, Yun chose a southerly route around the approaching islands which would hopefully take him out of the newcomers path.

The Salamander also had to lower sail in order to safely approach the target island. With a bit of delicate manoeuvring she swept over the shallows and the crew threw grappling irons to secure her to the base of the cliffs.

Another improvisation. Using grappling irons to secure the ship to the cliffs didn't seem too big a stretch of plausibility. I didn't want her to drop anchor because she would swing around into the wind and smash her stern against the rocks. Also grappling irons made me imagine the sailors swarming up ropes to reach the fort in a dramatic pirate like stylee.

The Salamander with furled sails and grappling hook counter holding her in place at the back of the island.

The Welsingen had swung south across the Salamander's stern and came around the headland in time to see a big fat Chinese merchantman and a crocodile of ships boats rowing towards the island from a frigate that lay beyond them. Knowing that the sailors on the boats could tip the balance against Tully's rescue party De Groot gave the order to open fire.

A quick overview of proceedings, in case it helps.

Cannon balls threw up fountains of water all around the little boats but hitting a small target at long distance from a pitching and rolling deck was a tall order. Now under attack the men in the boats redoubled their efforts to reach the shore.

Watching the Salamander position itself against the base of the cliffs, Captain Vrijling realised an attempt was being made to abduct the prisoners. Thumping the bridge rail in frustration he tried to get the Zeeland underway in order to engage them, but she was a big ship in a small channel and the wind that had been so useful in bringing the frigate to a halt, now did its best to prevent him getting into a position to engage the schooner.

Note to self. Sending big ships into narrow channels with the wind against them is a bit like sending unsupported tanks into an urban environment. Don't do it!

On board the Salamander a dangerous looking Mr Li put a dagger between his teeth and led a gaggle of seamen up the grappling hook ropes to the base of the fort. Seizing the initiative they dragged a barrel of gunpowder up the cliff behind them and used it to blow a sizeable hole in the back of the mud and timber walled redoubt. The soldiers in the fort were taken by surprise and the explosion, smoke, and onrushing seamen killed more than half of the garrison before any real retaliation could take place.

Given that this was an out of the way posting with little prospect of action I gave the defenders the "drilled soldiers" trait but a low combat rating of C1. I winged it again here, reasoning that there was little difference between assaulting the fort or assaulting another ship, so used the boarding action rules to game out the resolution. Managing to double the fort defenders defence score the Salamander crew, under the redoubtable bosun Li, caused 2 damage (out of a possible 3) to the building and its occupants.

As his gun crews got their "eye in" a second round of firing from the Welsingen turned a couple of the oncoming ships boats into matchwood, and De Groot rubbed his hands together in glee when he realised his course was taking him straight across the bows of the fleeing Chinese Merchantman. Once his men had reloaded this would be his new target.

The ships boats received 2 out of 3 damage dice and since they have no capacity to self repair they were now very vulnerable.

Fortunately for the frightened seamen in the boats a third round of fire never came and with huge relief the men scrambled ashore. The screams and shots they heard coming from the fort however did not bode well and remembering their orders they legged it up the path to find out what was going on.

The notional addition of the extra men increases the forts defensive rating to C2.

On the Dim sum, Captain Ma Yun had been terrified when the sloop came around the island and opened fire, assuming naturally that he was their target. A glance over his shoulder revealed the frigate heading away north so he knew he could expect no help from that direction. Having nothing but a limited quantity of antique fire arms which to defend his cargo and crew he realised the only weapon he really possessed was the Dim sum itself. Built of ancient hardwoods and compartmentalised internally to contain flooding she made an ideal battering ram. As the sweating crewmen aboard the Welsingen struggled to reload their cannon and the sloop itself sailed right across his bows Ma Yun did not even attempt to turn. With a rending crack of tortured timber the Dim sum struck the Weslingen dead amidships then scraped along her flank until she broke free.

The rules contain an accidental collision section involving a 1D6 roll to determine the outcome for each party. The Dim sum received barely a scratch but the Welsingen was grievously damaged - having to swop two white dice for red out of her usual three.

Crash! The Dim sum rams the Welsingen.

Up at the fort the Salamander's crew caused more casualties amongst the defenders and the return fire began to slacken despite the reinforcements from the Zeeland.

The Salamander's men had attempted a second boarding action and scored one more damage against the fort in the process. If the fort had been a ship it would have been crippled at this point.

The badly shaken crew of the Welsingen watched open mouthed as the Chinese merchantman sailed across their stern and headed north. A furious Captain de Groot would have loved to have come about and give chase but his ship was badly damaged and he knew that all his men's efforts had to be spent on effecting repairs and maintaining her seaworthiness.

The Welsingen managed to roll well enough to get two action points, both of which were used to remove one of the red dice inflicted on it by the Dim sum. Forced to do nothing but sail straight ahead De Groot was actually heading straight for the board edge and removal from the game.

Finally in range and position the Zeeland let loose a trial volley at the Salamander, but her gunners aim was high and most of the damage caused was superficial. The frigate's shots might have been harmless but they caused Captain Tully to leave the ship and climb the grappling ropes himself in order to launch one final assault on the fort. With the Zeeland slowly closing he knew they would have to break the defenders now or retreat in order to save their ship. Getting low on ammunition and powder the defenders came out in a brave final charge. Tully at the head of his men took a blow from a razor sharp kris on his raised left forearm and smiled at his assailants shock when the blade lodged in the wood it found there. As the fellow struggled to pull it free Tully slipped a blade from his boot top and proceeded to unseem the man from his nave to his chops.

A third boarding action came up with a good die roll for the attackers. The fort already holding three red dice now received a fourth and immediately struck (as it would have done if it were a ship). 

Dragging their freed crew mates from their cells the majority of the Salamander's assault party made it back to the ship and prepared for an immediate departure.

Further south the Welsingen raised sails to slow down and began to come about in order to try and get back on an intercept course for the fast receding Dim sum.

The raising sails slowed the ship down just enough to prevent her skidding off the board edge, but a big gap had now opened up between the sloop and what should have been easy prey.

As the Salamander pushed off from the island and began to come about the Zeeland let loose volley after volley but never seemed to get the range, despite the smaller ships vulnerability. The wind that hampered the Zeeland's progress, by contrast filled the Salamander's sails and allowed her to skate back over the shallows where the frigate dare not go. Having had its target close at hand and missed it was ironic that as the schooner began to speed away the Zeeland gave one last broadside that finally hit its mark.

The Zeeland smashes the Salamanders rudder, and ruins Captain Tully's hat.

A full broadside from the frigates chastened "trained gun crews" smashed the Salamander's rudder and tore away a portion of the aft cabin. Tully who had been scrutinising the Dutch ship from the poop deck was knocked off his feet and showered in splinters of wood and glass. With her sails unaffected however and a shifting wind at her back the Salamander opened the distance and angle fast enough that only the frigates two chaser guns could now attempt to engage - with little further effect.

The broadside from the Zeeland caused the Salamander to receive two red dice (so one away from being crippled) and she had to make a critical hit roll that resulted in the damaged rudder. In game terms  trying to change the schooners heading would now cost more, but having already set herself on broadly the right course to get off the board this was never going to cause her too much trouble.

As Tully's crewmen struggled to contain the damage the distance between hunter and hunted grew. The Dim sum had also managed to put enough distance between herself and the damaged sloop to render further pursuit a fruitless exercise.

I called the game with the situation looking like this:

The badly damaged Salamander speeds way from her pursuer (top left) and the Welsingen (bottom right) limps along in the same direction. The Dim sum has just escaped over the horizon - or off the very edge of the world if you're one of those flat earther types.

I reckon in the final analysis this was a draw. The Salamander escaped with the crewmen who could have testified against the East India Company at their trial, while the merchantman belonging to the other side managed to escape off the board with nary a scratch. I suspect Captains' De Groot and Vrijling will have some explaining to do when they get back to their respective bases.

TTFN me matey's

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Go Big Or Go Home

I've fallen off the wagon!

I've struggled to resist it but its been over two years since the great 15mm debacle (of which we do not speak in this house) and I have been (almost inevitably) seduced from the one true scale (6mm) and gone HUGE.

Naturally you lot are all to blame… with your beautifully painted twenty something (and bigger) Napoleonic stuff. 

Shame on you all for tempting a poor wretch so.

The great 15mm debacle (of which, as I've said, we do not speak of in this house) occurred when I was building a new room and needed to temporarily move a lot of my books and war-gaming stuff out of the way to the top part of our barn. Most of the stuff related to dalliances with scales and periods I had long since lost interest in, but the pride of my collection were two (at the time still growing but already sizeable) ECW armies in 15mm.

Of course no job can be started until it has spawned several other irritating sub jobs so in the week before the work on the new room was to get under way TCMB and I had a bit of a clear out in the top barn to make room for the stuff I was going to move up there.

For anyone that's moved house a bit you'll be familiar with the concept of the same set of big cardboard boxes that you shift from one home to another; that go straight into attic or basement storage upon arrival; and then remain unopened and forgotten until you try to keep one step ahead of the bailiffs decide to move on again 10 years later. The circle of life, or long term storage if you will, made manifest.

To be fair I'd forgotten quite how many boxes there were, and a horrified TCMB (who doesn't go in the top barn that often) decided it was time we did a bit of de-cluttering. Bin bags of old clothes, VHS cassettes and bric a brac were duly filled for onward transport to the tip, or, where an object was deemed to have future worth, to the resourcerie at Felletin (think second hand shop).

For some reason that now escapes me there was a delay in us getting to the tip / resourcerie that week and I'd already moved my precious bits and pieces up into the same building when TCMB's friends arrived to help her with the big clear out.

Can you guess which pile of stuff was mistakenly taken to the tip?


Which is why we never speak of it.

Anywhoo… I could not face the thought of starting such a long and expensive labour of love again and foreswore war-gaming altogether until I stumbled by chance upon Lee's wondrous 6mm site and the scales (forgive the pun) were lifted from my eyes.

In my first post on this blog I confessed to being a method war gamer; and as living proof I have attached a couple of photo's below that I offer in support of a recent drift towards my first (and possibly foremost) other passion, namely the dark ages (or early medieval as it's now being referred to).

6mm is a fine scale and great for creating a sense of mass on the game board, but if I'm going to start building two new medium sized infantry centric armies (as I intend to do), 15mm will give me both the mass and some of the individual figure detail you guys have in your land of the giants type encounters. It'll be nice to do a bit of detail painting again, and it'll give me something to be working on while my ships are having their adventures off the coast of Sumatra.

So here we have only my second ever "work in progress" photo with a Peter Pig spearmen and a (I think) a Splintered Light casting of an old guy wearing his dad's boar crested helm and shin protection. So far these have only been primed and inked to bring out the detail, and I do not intend to put myself under any pressure to see major progress. This will all be done in the background, for the pleasure of it rather than working to a self imposed deadline.

Given that I'm aiming at around 800AD, give or take, the Splintered Light guy's kit is a bit old fashioned, but it was not unusual for venerated war gear to be handed down, so he can stay and add a bit of diversity.

Land of the Giants! 15mm Saxons in comparison to a 6mm pikeman. I think my painting microscope can be put away for now!

My re enactment life with Regia Anglorum took place between 2004 and 2012 (ish) I think, and the picture below is of yours truly (in the brown) suffering the effects of a Norman arrow storm at what was at that time the biggest (and most professional) re enactment of Hastings (2006 I was surprised to discover). How time flies when you're having fun. From memory there were 3,000+ participants from numerous, normally competing societies, and more importantly circa 350 horse (mostly ex police and riding school mounts that had been previously trained to deal with all the noise and confusion).

Though I was to later do hundreds of other battles I will never forget being part of that shieldwall. The synchronised cries of "Ooot, Ooot, Ooot," accompanied by a zulu like rhythmic thumping of weapons on shields still raises the hair on the back of my neck and the sound of 350 horses charging at you is as much felt in your chest as heard in your ears.

Me in the brown tunic suddenly recalling the earlier advice not to look up.

We'd been pre warned about the arrow storm, about not looking up and all that, but genetically we are obviously just as dumb as our ancestors. Because of the clamour we never heard the Norman commander giver the order to draw but we watched the Norman infantry fall back for the second time that day and saw the backs of a hundred or so bows bend at the bottom of the hill. The whistling woosh of the massed arrow barrage we as much sensed as heard, and we watched from under our shields as they arced up into the sky. At their apogee, all energy spent, they hung for a second in a moment of surreal silence - which is when we looked up to see where they'd gone. Mmm.

Taking advantage of our shields being over our heads a few hardy Norman crossbowmen took advantage of our chest level exposure to "slot" several of us in a most unexpected and unsporting fashion.

Yours truly on display circa 2012. Where did all that hair go I wonder?

Forget your flashy swords - spears are the real killers on the Anglo saxon battlefield. Allow me to introduce you to my two old favourite six footers marked (in old english) "Eat This" and "Die Bitch Die." Ah the happy days of youthful exuberance.

Regia covered the mid to late Anglo Saxon period so having trained in various axe, spear, and sword combinations I'm looking forward to fighting a few new battles - without getting hurt in the process!

Off to the ferry tomorrow so lots of packing to do. I'll catch up with you all upon my return.