Saturday, 5 January 2013

Sixth year anniversary

From a blogging perspective, 2012 was a disasterous year.  I barely averaged 3 posts a month and I seriously loss interest for weeks on end.  I'm still not entirely sure why.  Part of it was certainly down to losing the ability to create blog posts at work as a result of new anti-abuse software (yes, I know doing this sort of thing at work is an abuse anyway, but the result was that I couldn't anymore access photos, or sometimes even my blog itself), and finding it difficult to pick things up at home in the evening.  Part of it was difficulties in finding the right space to take photos in our new house, particularly given the lack of sunshine in the UK last year (from a weather perspective, 2012 is now officially the most dismal, wet, grey and generally depressing year in over 100 years). Blogger and Photobucket, with their endless tinkering, were a further problem; even now, I till find it difficult to post comments on some blogs - I write the comment, analyse and type the "prove you're not a robot" thing and then the comment just vanishes.  Finally, there was simply wavering interest: 6 years is a long time to run a blog and there were times when other things just seemed more important.  I'm very grateful for the readers who've continued to follow, and comment on, this blog despite it going awol for long periods.  I really appreciate the support.

Wargaming action was very light last year.  I can't now recall whether I had a game - if so, it would have been a 15mm Austerlitz game at Eclaireur's around this time last year, but that game may actually have been at the very end of December 2011.  I also attended only 1 show - Salute, it appears, will now be my only regular show attendance.  I did keep painting, however (which makes the last of posts even more idiotic), with units completed for all my core periods.  I'm currently trying to finish off some Perry French Napoleonic artillery packs (wip photo opposite), before launching into AWI highlanders for both my own collection and Bill Nevin's.

2012 tally, all 25mm:

- AWI: 8 foot, 8 cavalry.

- 1815: 50 foot, 5 cavalry and 4 guns.

- First Carlist War: 94 foot, 18 cavalry and 3 guns.

- ECW: 2 cavalry (I really must post about these 2 command stands I painted last January!).

- ACW: 120 infantry (I really must post about these as well!).

- Other: 6 foot.

That gives me 352 points, which is better than 2010 but 30 points fewer than 2011.  It's still miles away from the heady days of Life Before Children: in 2009, for example, I reached 524 points.  Still, the 2012 tally equates to 6.7 figures a week, which isn't that bad, I suppose.  I was pleased to have made some progress with my Carlist War collection and felt very virtuous at painting the 100-odd ACW figures from my leadpile.  I kept wargaming purchases to a minimum - the only figures I bought were those I acquired at Salute (admittedly a fair number) and a small Perry order for figures to finish off a couple of units.

2013 is going to be a good time to kick-start this blog, as it can't be long now until the Perry plastic AWI British infantry are released.  Alan is clearly working on the metal side of the AWI range again, and Bill Nevin of King's Mountain Miniatures has released his extensive highlander range with the teaser of new figures to come later this year.  I still have half a dozen Eureka American dragoon units in the lead pile, together with Perry French and a few other things.  So I anticipate that 2013 will see this blog return to the AWI is some style.  That will result in much lower activity on the First Carlist War.  My 1815 work is already largely contained by Perry Miniatures having moved away from the Waterloo campaign to the 1809-12 period; so I can concentrate on painting what I already have and not buying anything new.  Similarly, I have no ACW expansion plans at the moment.  Other bits and bobs will probably come and go - for example, I understand Empress Miniatures are going to release a third wave of NZ Wars figures, which might make an interesting diversion for a month or so.  All that, however, is subject to something else which I'm not sure I mentioned last year: the Kiwi and I are expecting our second child in about 5 weeks.  The due date has come around ridiculously fast, and I have no idea what's going to happen to my painting time when the little one arrives!  And talking of Kiwis, I can now look forward to another trip to NZ later this year (that will be my 7th visit - more times than I've been to Paris!).

Finally, because I know one or two readers are interested in such things, I thought I'd post a couple of photos of my family's Christmas Day drink selection.  Rather anally, I take photos every year but usually keep them to myself.  My father always provides the wines (I now provide all the wine for the extended family pre-Christmas meeting, which is in mid-December to celebrate Hugo's birthday).  The standard format is champagne, then white Burgundy, red Bordeaux and then "stickies" and port. 

Some years ago my father bought a case of Chateau d'Yquem 1997, considered to be one of the best vintages of the 1990s, and each Christmas we have 1 bottle.  It really is fantastic stuff, more luscious each year but never cloying.  Since 2010 our reds wines have been one or more clarets and then some wines from a boutique NZ producer, Puriri Hills.  Located in Clevedon, just south of Auckland, Puriri Hills is a winery that has a luxury cottage in which my parents stayed for a couple of days before flying back to the UK after my wedding in March 2009.  My father developed DVT on the flight over from the UK and he spent the week before our wedding in Auckland General Hospital. Judy and her team at Puriri Hills looked after my parents very well during their stay and my father has been a loyal customer ever since.  That's good news for the rest of the family, because Puriri Hills make absolutely top-end stuff.  The flagship wine, only released in exceptional years, is a Bordeau-blend called "the Pope" (named after a former winemaker, not the Pope).  This Christmas we finished off our last bottles of 2005 Pope and, as with last year, it knocked the socks of the (quite excellent) 2001 Chateau Chauvin from Saint-Emillion.  Pope costs about £100 a bottle, but it's one of NZ's best wines so don't ever pass on an opportunity to have some.

But even the Pope was denied gold position this year by the port, Graham's 1980.  For a 30-year old wine it still tasted very fresh and was wonderful.  The [ ] Hugel riesling, from Alsace, wasn't at all bad either; at the end of its prime, perhaps, but the acidity and sweetness were well-balanced and it made a good foil to the d'Yquem.  Lastly comes Louis Latou's Chateau de Blagny 2008, another white Burgundy that I confess I largely polished off myself whilst watching "Downton Abbey".  A 2008 Meursault is a bit on the young side now, but this was nonetheless excellent with a good life ahead of it.  I found out the next day that this bottle in fact belonged to my brother, who'd bought a case to be put it aside for investment purposes and for some reason kept it at my parents' house - how I came to have consumed this bottle is one of those mysteries lost in the haze of Christmas Day lunchtime drinking!

Happy new year, everyone.


Docsmith said...

Hi Giles - with regard to 'blogging fatigue' I know of what you speak - I had a burst of activity in late November - early December then nothing since. Its difficult to keep the momentum going and keep posting and commenting. I don't know how you'd do it with a job and a young family to juggle and which always comes first (with little Hugo being so cute - how could you not?)

I do hope you keep blogging but it is a selfish wish as your blog is one of the very few I have always read and enjoyed over the years. Your skills as a mini painter are sublime and right up there with the best in my opinion. So naturally I wanna see more!

A happy and prosperous New Year to you and yours Giles.


El Grego said...

Happy anniversary to the blog Giles!

Nevinsrip said...

Giles, Blogs and toys are distractions from everyday life. However everyday life with your wife and, soon to be, children are what really matter.
All the rest is fluff. When the spirit moves you, and you find that you have the time, then and only then is it time for hobbies. When you feel like you MUST post something or paint a figures then the fun has gone out of it.
Relax and enjoy your hobby time. I have always thought that someone who has too much time for hobbies must lead an empty life. Be grateful that your life is full of something more than little lumps of metal....Bill Nevins

PS. There's no apostrophe at the end of my last name. LOL.

paulalba said...

Hi Giles, Have a great 2013!!!
Don't worry about the blog output, I also had a bad year for posts and much less than yourself. Just post what you can when I always look forward to seeing what wee wonders you have completed and as you an only manage the 1 show and struggle to get a game your blog must be helping your output?
P.S. blogger has been a nightmare for myself this year for myself to as regards posting comments!

Silver Whistle said...

Giles, your blog is always worth the wait when it arrives and six years of blogging is a long time so well done.
Congrats on number two on the way and a Happy New Year to you.

Jerry said...

"rom a weather perspective, 2012 is now officially the most dismal, wet, grey and generally depressing year in over 100 years"

Actually it was the 2nd, the wettest was in the 1950's.

Paint more, game more!

Rodger said...

Always worth a read Giles. Congrats on 6 years, that is very impressive! Also big congrats on the little one.

legatus hedlius said...

Well done on the anniversary and, especially, the imminent arrival of another future painting assistant! I very much appreciated your Christmas wine run-down too, I must say.

As for blogging at least you don't have 26 to worry about! Your posts are always interesting but I realise that some of them involve quite a lot of research.

We really must meet up for that drink this month!

Lord Hill said...

I know exactly what you mean about the weather - so many weekends when I had thought "right, will take some pics for the blog today" turned out to be too dark, even in the mornings!

Author said...

Hey Giles!

Listen, blogs go in cycles... Everyone who has one knows it! Still love your blog and check it regularly... One of my favorites over the years!

Happy 2013 to you and yours!

Lord Ashram

Anonymous said...

Hi Giles,

Have a great year painting and my best wishes to you and yours with the upcoming baby.

Nice selection of wines.



Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

I been an avid follower of your blog for years and something I always look forward to viewing. In fact your why I started a blog in the first place.

I can understand about needing break from the blog as I've been at for sometime myself now. The important thing is just not to worry about it too much and do it when you have time or are in the mood.

Congrats on the upcoming new edition to your family and a Happy New Year!


David said...

Good luck with the new arrival Giles! I hope the birth will act as a catalyst to reinvigorate your love of painting and even boost your games tally perhaps. As to Blogger and Photobucket, the best you can say is that they can be 'difficult'...

LittleArmies said...

Hello Giles, Like most of us, I looked at the picture and was appalled by the wine you drank over Christmas - Not One Bottle Of Ours! Then, of course, I read that it was your father's selection - he could have me over for lunch anytime! Drop me a note at work - we have a couple of events coming soon you might want to pop along to!

As for the blog - well, I'm nobody to to give advice! But I think you should post when you feel like posting. I always admire the content whatever the subject.


airhead said...

Congratulations on the imminent new arrival at Tarleton towers Giles.

Well played that man, six years is a very creditable innings for any blogger. Some times you just have to go with the flow, I'm looking forward to seeing your rendition of the Perry AWI plastics in due course.

It's always a treat to see you post, all the best to you and yours for 2013.


painterman said...

Firstly congrats on your imminent arrival and also on the 6 years of the blog. I'm sure that yours was one of the first wargaming blogs I discovered and has been an inspiration for me over the years.
Real life does intervene in our hobbies regrettably, but that's still a great output of figure painting that I'd be very happy with (both quantity and quality). You are 'advancing on many fronts', which is impressive but also stretches resources, as we all know from our military history. I've had to personally avoid such temptations ( far!).
I can empathise too with a personal dearth of gaming.
Good that 2013 looks like a renewal of AWI with Alan's new figures coming out.
Like the fine wine you've had (good to see a nice chablis in there by the way) we'll savour your blog posts even more in 2013!!
All the best,

Willie Anderson said...

Heres to the next 6 years Giles! as a father of three myself I know how hard it can be to get the time for the minis.The great thing is its your blog you can post when you feel like it, I still visit the archives which is a wealth of info.

Best wishes for 2013

Sidney Roundwood said...

Very many congratulations, Giles - 6 years of any blog is a great achievement. But one as good as yours, keep that going for 6 years is truly exceptional.

Just keep blogging any way you keep comfortable with - people will always enjoy reading what you post and paint, simply becuase it's tremendous stuff.

And as for number 2 - many congratulations. Very best to you and all the family for 2013!

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

Every post is a pleasure to read and a feast for the eyes. Thanks for sharing your hobby with us us Giles.

Betts-Davittovich said...

from a selfish point of view , i hope you find that tiny place in your mind to continue blogging, reading yours always snaps me out of lethargy to paint just a few more figures in my lead mountain, but even if its once a year, that would be enough. Have fun with your new addition

happy new year

kind regards