The ‘management’ of the school – acting on the instructions of the local authority – has kept the school open … with the result that the building is almost empty. The students had not been informed as to which of their teachers would or would not be at work today … and so most of them have ‘voted’ with their feet and not bothered to come in. Those that have come in have had to get through the picket line outside the school gates … and this has been an added deterrent to some of them actually making it in to lessons.
I do not teach until halfway through the morning, so I have been using the time until I do to have a good clear out. I have filled the recycling bin with huge amounts of ‘waste’ paper (mainly documents sent out by the ‘management’ for my ‘guidance’ [i.e. obedience!]) and have filled four storage boxes with students marked work that has to be retained until a year after their course has ended. I am about to begin the process of ‘tidying up’ my area on the computer system. I have already deleted over 4,500 internal emails that I have been sent over the past three years (which is an average of just over 7.5 emails per working day,) and after my lesson this morning I will begin the process of rationalising and archiving my computer work files.
I have actually found the process of ‘tidying up’ very cathartic, and it has been excellent preparation for when I leave on 8th July.
PS. One of my students has just arrived with a ‘Thank you’ present from him and his family. It is a bottle of a special Hungarian herbal drink that is usually drunk as either a digestif or apéritif. It is called ‘Unicum’ … an interesting name, eh?
I wonder if I will enjoy drinking it?
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I was casually informed that a decision had been made to terminate my contract a week earlier on Friday 8th July, along with those of all the other contractors currently employed. No warning, no ‘Thank you’, no nothing.
The decision was apparently made by the school’s Governors to ‘save money’. Isn’t it nice to be valued so highly by the school’s ‘management’?
The choice of the 8th July means that I will leave work for what will probably be the last time … and go straight to COW2011.
What a way to celebrate my ‘retirement’!
Since then several people have been helping Paddy‘s wife and son to ensure that his legacy of unpublished work will be available for generations to come to read and study. Amongst them are Andy Callan, who has arranged for the bulk of Paddy’s historical papers to become part of the Liddell Hart archive at King’s College, London, and John Curry, who has begun the process of publishing Paddy‘s wargames. The work that these gentlemen have done deserves to be remembered … and one year on from Paddy‘s death seems to be an appropriate time to do so.
After a discussion with Tim Gow, we decided not to try to fight a full-scale FUNNY LITTLE WARS battle as neither of us has actually used the rules as yet. Instead we intend to fight a small skirmish with each side fielding one or two regiments of Infantry, a gun, and possibly a few cavalry. Once we have got a firm grasp of the rules, we can then plan to fight a full-scale battle later in the year.
As for my PORTABLE WARGAME session … well I have printed off copies of the rules (but not the rules summary sheet) for the attendees, and I have begun sort out the terrain that I will be using. The figures need to be sorted into ‘sides’ and put into storage boxes for the journey, and I will need to ‘make’ some activation dice. These will be made by sticking coloured and numbered ‘dots’ on the faces of surplus Heroscape™ dice … of which I have quite a number. All that will then need to be done is for me to create the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation that I will use to introduce attendees to the rules.
Tomorrow I hope to get the COW programme printed, and once that is done I shall post it out to attendees. The envelopes are already labelled and have postage stamps on them, so it should only take few minutes for me to put the programmes in the envelopes and get them in the post on Tuesday morning.
Whilst I was printing the labels for the envelopes, I also printed off the labels that will be stuck onto each attendee’s badge. These will be issued as attendees arrive at COW, and serve both to help new attendees to recognize each other (there are a few ‘virgin’ conference goers this year), and as a check on who has or has not arrived by the start of the conference.
Well I must have got my PORTABLE WARGAME rules up to a reasonable standard as they appear to have yet another ‘enthusiast’. I refer – of course – to Dr Vesuvius, whose blog has an excellent report of a small battle fought using the rules.
He also used Heroscape™ hexed terrain for his battle, and came up with one idea that I really liked and that I am going to copy; he used different coloured hexes (as supplied with the game) to delineate woods. Now in the rules it states that ‘The placement of a piece of terrain in a hex indicates that entire hex is filled by that type of terrain (e.g. a tree in a hex indicates that the entire hex is wooded; a building in a hex indicates that the entire hex is a built-up area)‘, but by using Dr Vesuvius‘ idea it means that one needs fewer trees or buildings to indicate woods or built-up areas and – more importantly – it means that there is more room in the hexes for the troops. Two problems solved at once!
Thank you Dr Vesuvius for both your excellent battle report and the terrain idea!
I bought my copy from ‘The Way It Was’ (the company run by Larry Brom’s daughter, Lori, and which now sells its wargames rules through its ‘Sergeants 3’ website) back in 2002. I read it with great interest, stored for later reference … and then ‘lost’ it when everything was rearranged after my wife and I had a loft conversion/extension built on our house.
The cover describes THE SUN NEVER SETS as ‘being in the main a practical campaign system for the Colonial wars of the British Empire, 1860-1885‘ … and it is.
My copy contains:
- A 78-page, spiral bound set of campaign rules and notes
- A chart that outlines the distances by sea in days from various ports to other ports, on the back of which is a breakdown of the Sequence of Play
- A master sheet for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to record the Empire’s monthly financial accounts/A month-by-month record of the Prime Minister’s political level record
- The Imperial General Staff’s monthly war diary/Parliamentary Secretary’s record of votes in Parliament
- A set of 40 political event cards
- A set of unit and other counters for use with the campaign maps
- A campaign map of India
- A campaign map of the sea routes from Great Britain to Africa, Indian, China, and Australia (and all points in between)
- A campaign map of Burma and India’s North East frontier
- A campaign map of Egypt, the Sudan, and Abyssinia
- A campaign map of the North Island of New Zealand
- A campaign map of South Africa
- A campaign map of China
- A campaign map of Ashantiland
- A campaign map of Borneo
All the maps are printed in colour, as are the political event cards.
One day – when I have enough potential players – I might like to run a campaign using THE SUN NEVER SETS; in the meantime, I am going to make sure that it does not get ‘lost’ again!
I will be taking both to the printers as soon as I can, but in the meantime blog readers can peruse them by visiting the Wargame Developments website and following the links from the Conference of Wargamers webpage.
The dilemma that I had was a simple one; should I leave, which meant that they would not have achieved their Diplomas and would only receive a Certificate, or should I stay and pretend that the clock had stopped at 3.59pm. As you will gather, after much heart-searching I decided to take the latter course of action.
Why? Is it because I am going soft in my old age (probably ‘Yes!’) or is it because do I not want to end my career with the taint of failure, albeit not mine but the students? In truth I don’t know, but … they have just walked in with the completed work … and it was worth waiting for.
It is now 5.15pm. The work is marked. The job is done. The course is over. I can now go home and rest.