I hope that you all enjoy the festivities and don’t over-indulge too much!
Tonight I looked along the bookshelves and realised that I own several collections of fiction stories set in pre and post-Revolutionary Russia, including the following:
- All the English-language editions of Boris Akunin’s Sister Pelagia (‘Pelagia and the White Bulldog’, ‘Pelagia and the Black Monk’, and ‘Pelagia and the Red Rooster’) and Erast Fandorin novels and stories (‘The Winter Queen’, ‘The Turkish Gambit’, ‘Murder on the Leviathan’, ‘The Death of Achilles’, ‘The Jack of Spades’, ‘The Decorator’, ‘The State Counsellor’, ‘The Coronation’, ‘She Lover of Death’, ‘He Lover of Death’, and ‘The Diamond Chariot’)
- All of Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko novels (‘Gorky Park’, ‘Polar Star’, ‘Red Square’, ‘Havana Bay’, ‘Wolves Eat Dogs’, ‘Stalin’s Ghost’, and ‘Three Stations’)
- All of Tom Rob Smith’s Leo Demidov novels (‘Child 44’, ‘The Secret Speech’, and ‘Agent 6’).
I also own as many non-fiction books about the Russian and Soviet Navies as I own about the United States Navy … which was another surprise for me.
So what is it about me and Russia?
Frankly, I don’t know. I am sure that there are people out there who could suggest reasons … and those that know me well will know that it certainly isn’t anything remotely political that I find attractive about Russian during the bulk of the twentieth century! My only contact with Russia has been two very fleeting visits during Baltic cruises … and what I saw convinced me that it is a country unlike any other that I have every visited.
I just don’t know why Russia fascinates me so much, but it is something for me to ponder on as I paint my next batch of Russian troops.
Well, if abhorring the commercialisation of Christmas is something that only GOMs do … then she is right and I am one!
I am now off to find something else to be grumpy about.
I managed to avoid this by pre-booking my car into with the on-site car valeting service. They wash and wax the outside of the car and clean the inside as well … and then leave it in one of their designated parking bays. It is worth the £40.00 to have a clean car that will cope with forthcoming bad winter weather and to avoid trying to find a parking space.
Inside the shopping centre things were hardly any better. I gave up counting the number of times my feet were run over by parents pushing baby buggies the size of a small family car. They all seemed to have the same look on their faces … determined desperation! They looked at you … and then straight through you. They were on a mission to do their Christmas shopping, and nothing and no one was going to get in their way!
We finally managed to survive an couple of hours before we felt unable to cope with the rising tide of humanity that was filling the place up. I understand that over last weekend over a quarter of a million people visited this particular shopping centre … and it felt that they had all come back today to have another go!
I thought that Christmas was supposed to be the season of goodwill to all men and women … but I saw little of that today.
If this is what the run up to Christmas 2011 is going to be like, I will be echoing the words of Ebenezer Scrooge and saying … ‘Bah! Humbug!’
As I already have copies of some of his other books about United States warship designs (‘U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History’, ‘U.S. Cruisers: An Illustrated Design History’, and ‘U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History’), this new acquisition goes some way to completing my collection of his works.
This is a very homogeneous collection of vehicles, and includes fourteen T34/76 and ten T34/85 tanks.
The same cannot be said of the Germans …
This collection includes six short-barrelled and four long-barrelled Pzkpfw IV, four Pzkpfw VI Tiger 1, and three Pzkpfw V Panther tanks.
When added to my small collection of ROCO Minitank tanks and vehicles, I probably now have sufficient 1:87th-scale equipment to seriously think about fighting an Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War campaign at some time in the future. I also have quite a lot of as yet unpainted 20mm metal figures that are compatible with these vehicles, and one thing that I am thinking of doing after Christmas is beginning the process of turning some of this pile of lead into painted figures that I can use with my Corgi tanks.
Here is the new icon …