If I should die before the rest of youThanks to everyone for your messages of support in the comments. Yesterday was my mother's funeral, and it was pretty much everything you'd expect such an occasion to be. When she was alive she used to love collecting little poems and witticisms and in a folder of such that she'd left behind for us, the above poem was right at the top of the pile. Which strikes me as a pretty clear cut set of last wishes, don't you think?
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor, when I'm gone, speak in a Sunday voice,
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must
Parting is hell.
But life goes on.
So sing as well.
- Joyce Grenfell 1910-1979
So in that spirit, after thoroughly toasting Mum's memory and all the family and friends and neighbours had all left my father's house and after a quick tidy up, mi hermano derecho Jonesy and his daughter were escorting a somewhat tipsy Dr Vesuvius back to his flat, when their principal made the following slightly sozzled declaration...
"Let's go to Toys-R-Us."
Now if you've only ever wargamed the historical horse & musket period, you might fail to appreciate what a treasure trove your neighbourhood toy store can be for vehicles, props and terrain, especially for the modern/science fiction gamer. I have some excellent 28mm palm and jungle trees that came from dinosaur and safari playsets - (If you don't plan on including dinosaurs and/or African wildlife in your games you can do what I did and strip the useful terrain bits out of the buckets before sending the rest on to the nearest charity shop.) And thus it was that on Friday afternoon, the remnants of a funeral party arrived at "Britains greatest toy store" and started poking through the Lego.
Sadly there were no legendary bargains to be found, like old Wild-Wild-West toys or foot tall mecha from the Battletech cartoon series, both of which I've found at knock down prices in the past. There was however a huge Emergency Services playset containing several vehicles (police car, ambulance, fire engine, recovery vehicle, rescue crane and helicopter) and a selection of street signs, barricades and other knick-knacks, all of which broadly compatible with 28mm figures, knocked down to £15. I picked up two sets, which will be more than enough for zombie/street violence gaming.
Jonesy also spotted one of my favourite cars in the Matchbox selection... a '68 Ford Shelby Cobra GT500KR, which he presented to me as a surprise after we left the shop. Sadly it's a convertible, which means I'm going to have to look through my box of Stan Johanson Miniatures bits to see if I've got a suitable driver figure.
(I also picked up a Nerf N-Strike Barrel Break IX-2 for Steampunk costuming purposes - off topic for this blog I know, but I will just say I believe it is the best nerf gun there is for an off-hand backup weapon, giving you two one-handed shots before you need to use your second hand to reload, plus it has an ambidextrous barrel-break catch release. It even looks pretty steampunk out of the box as well.)
With life returning to a semblance of normality, I can start getting back to gaming projects. The Victorian cityscape is still top of the list, along with a selection of non-period specific zombies (a mix of old GW and new Mantic plastics) for use in a Steampunks vs Zombies game. I've also received the last of the figures I splashed out on over Xmas for modern/near future Street Violence/Zombie gaming. These are the legendary "Thugz" figures sculpted by Bobby Jackson, which I've always admired. So that's another foothill for the lead mountain.
However I may have to make a slight diversion through 28mm sci-fi and/or fantasy. An old non-wargaming friend of mine (and occasional commenter on this blog) told me his eldest son (12) had received some miniatures for Xmas and was asking about painting and gaming with them. I spent an enjoyable hour or so this afternoon talking with the lad over Skype about how I paint figures (badly) and how wargaming work. But there's only so much you can do remotely even with a two-way video connection, so I suspect I may have to dig out my own unfinished pack of em-4 Space Ranger figures (the same as he's been given) and arrange a visit to work on them in person and maybe give him a demo game.
But if it can bring another potential gamer into the fold it'll be well worth it.