The phone rang, my wife rolled her eyes, and I was off for another game. I hadn’t been to Nick’s house before, so I asked for directions. Like some practical joke, Nick proceeded to direct me to my long departed Nana’s house. Over forty years had passed since I had gone into that house and now by some strange quirk of fate I was back. I don’t know what it is about being middle aged but I can’t say I always enjoy it. The photo above is much different to how I remember it. In no particular order, I remember my Nana chasing my sister around it with a saucepan, torchlight searches for my lost toy soldiers and the old potting shed where my papa kept his cactii. Going around the house with Nick, I had to keep apologising for bringing back memories. The hall where Uncle Ely fell after too many Christmas wiskies, the kitchen that my Nan nearly burnt to the ground and most importantly the living room where I battled from dawn to dusk with my plastic Airfix figures. The carpet was a gorgeous sand colour that passed admirably as battlefield, and more importantly, the carpet was deep enough to stand up Airfix hussars and cuirassiers without their obtrusive bases.
Nick has developed the martial memories by devoting almost the whole house to wargaming. Everywhere that you look, figures are to be found either painted, half painted, on their way to being based, or the ultimate destination , a ReallyUseful plastic box. Nick hadn’t played L’art de la guerre before so the gallant Spaniards once agin duelled against the cunning Moor.
Nick is a veteran player so easily picked up the rules. In the last few turns the brave Spanish knights hit the Moorish camp and stole the game.
My thanks to Nick for a great game. He has promised a rematch set in his favourite era, that of the Wars of Simon Bolivar. Thank you for putting up with my ramblings. I am sure a good psychiatric doctor could spend a lot of time on these words. I close with the words of Mr. Paul Weller, glad to say that the past can be such a source of bitter- sweet memories.
Bring you a tale from the pastel fields,
Where we ran when we were young,
This is a tale from the water meadows,
Trying to spread some hope into your heart.
True it’s a dream mixed with nostalgia,
But it’s a dream that I’ll always hang on to
That I’ll always run to,