London History Day: When courage retires

This afternoon Sue and I will be visiting the Royal Hospital Chelsea to attend a special talk and to see a number of exhibits that tell the stories of some of the Chelsea Pensioners.

The event has been organised by the Royal Hospital Chelsea Heritage Department as part of London History Day, and is in several parts:

  • Before they fade: A talk by author and illustrator Robin Ollington in which he will recount stories of courage as told by Chelsea Pensioners for the short biographical series of the same name.
  • Courageous women of the Royal Hospital Chelsea: An exhibit that will cover the stories of the women in the British Army from those who served clandestinely as men (e.g. Hannah Snell, Christian Cavanaugh) to the arrival of the first female Chelsea Pensioners.
  • Semper audax (You can’t teach an old dog new tricks): A short video that will explore some of the ‘adrenaline fuelled antics‘ of the modern Chelsea Pensioners.
  • Great War Portraits: A photographic record created by Keith Collman (greatwarportraits.com) of veterans he has met on trips to the battlefields, during visits to their homes, and at reunions. The photographs will be accompanied by biographies of the subjects.

It sounds as if it will be an interesting way to spend a few hours, especially as we will be given access to parts of the Royal Hospital that are not normally visited by the public.


The Madasahatta Campaign book … has been published!

THE MADASAHATTA CAMPAIGN has been published and is now available for purchase from Lulu.com.

The book should be on sale from other online booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble within a matter of weeks.


THE MADASAHATTA CAMPAIGN was originally devised and written by Eric Knowles and has been edited (with additions) by Bob Cordery. It is published in hardback by Eglinton Books and costs £14.99 (ISBN 978 0 244 38509 5).


One step forward, two steps back …

The final proof reading of my gridded naval wargaming book has taken place and any errors have been corrected. The text and layout were then rigorously checked several times, and a PDF of the text was created, prior to being uploaded to Lulu.com. However, when I tried to do that this morning problems began to arise.

Each time I tried to upload the PDF, it was rejected on the grounds that not all the fonts used were embedded. It has taken me over six hours (including some breaks for refreshment and to restore my personal comforts) to embed the fonts and upload the PDF … which is a bit of a record, even for me. The book is now at the stage where I can print a couple of proof copies, and once I have received and checked them, the book should be ready for publication.


On a separate matter … the problems with email notifications of reader’s comments continues to afflict Blogger, and judging by the Blogger Open Forum, a lot of people are very unhappy that this has happened, and that Blogger does not seem to be doing anything to fix the problem.

We can but hope that they will manage to find a solution, but in the meantime, if I don’t answer a comment, please be patient and I’ll do so as soon as I can.


Sorting out the comments problem

Blogger does not seem to be doing anything to sort out the sudden demise of the comment notification emails that used to arrive in my inbox when a regular blog reader wrote a comment on my blog. Someone on the Blogger Help Forum has suggested a ‘fix’ that I am going to try. It involves me creating a post (this one!) and sending myself a comment about it.

It might work … but if it doesn’t, I’ll find out quite quickly!


Well I ticked the ‘Notify me‘ box next to my comment, and an email duly arrived to tell me a comment had been made. Now I need to see if a comment by someone else will generate a notification email!


Inevitable downsizing

I am reaching the stage where I have almost run out of room to store my books and wargames stuff. As a result I am giving serious thought to downsizing my collections. (This is likely to be necessary in the near future anyway, as my wife and I are thinking about moving to a smaller house or bungalow outside London, possibly on the Kent coast.)

I am beginning with my collection of books, and I have already identified some that either duplicate what others cover or which are about topics that no longer interest me. Once this has been done, I will think about disposing of them. If possible, I might sell them on eBay or to a dealer; if not, I might just list them somewhere on my blog so that regular readers can identify any that they might want to take off my hands for the cost of postage and packing … and a small donation to my moving fund.

Once that has been done, I will move on to my wargame collections. I know that I am very unlikely to use some of them in the foreseeable future, and disposing of them makes sense. Like the books, this might be done using eBay or using less formal channels.

I have no idea how long this process is going to take (weeks, if not months is a reasonable estimation) but I will keep my regular blog readers apprised of my progress.


I did read an very helpful article about how to downsize ones library. The rules were quite simple:

  • Get rid of it if it’s falling apart
  • Get rid of it if it was a gift, and you are only keeping it out of guilt
  • Get rid of it if it’s a school or college textbook … and you are no longer at school or college
  • Get rid of it if you’ve read it — and you didn’t like it!
  • Get rid of it if you’ve had it for more than two years and you haven’t read it
  • Get rid of it if you have more than one copy

Sound advice … just as long as I can keep to it.


Updated Publications page

As I have another two books in the last stages of publication (THE MADASAHATTA CAMPAIGN and GRIDDED NAVAL WARGAMES) I decided to update the Publications page on my blog.

The list of books is now split under several headings:

  • Wargaming Books
  • Military History Books
  • Masonic History Books
  • Fiction

Below an image of each book’s cover are the prices at which the various editions (hardback, paperback, or eBook) are currently on sale via Lulu.


Is GDPR affecting comments?

The General Data Protection Regulations came into force today … and email copies of comments made on my blog are no longer being sent to my email account.

Are the two events related? I’m not sure, and I’m looking into it. In the meantime, if regular blog readers write comments and I don’t reply within a day or two, please be patient. I’ll answer comments as soon as I can.


Doing a load of admin tasks for Wargame Developments

Besides everything else I have been doing over the past few days, I seem to have spent quite some time doing admin tasks on behalf of Wargame Developments.

As is normal at this time of year, I am chasing up members who have booked places at COW (the Conference of Wargamers) but have yet to pay in full. I need to do this about four weeks before the date of the conference so that I can pay the cost of booking Knuston Hall for the weekend. On top of this I am having to try to cope with the new General Date Protection Regulations (GDPR) that comes into force tomorrow.

As the Treasurer and Membership Secretary (and now Data Manager and possibly the Data Protection Officer as well!), I hold the group’s database in a computer file, and the situation would be very simple if we just published THE NUGGET and did nothing else. The data would fall under the category of data that does not require specific consent for me to hold as it is merely a subscription list. However, because we run COW and must share that data with a third party for Health and Safety reasons – in this case Knuston Hall – and because any member of Wargame Developments can book and attend, it was easier to ask for positive consent from every member of Wargame Developments to hold and share that data in accordance with a written policy … which I also had to write! (This involved reading the new Regulations which are – in my opinion – very badly drafted and seem to contradict themselves in places.)

The statements of positive consent have been coming in, and each one has to be recorded and stored so I can show that consent has been given by each individual member. The Data Protection Policy has been written and is about to be published online and in the next copy of THE NUGGET … and as far as I can see, everything is compliant with the new Regulations. This probably puts us ahead of many organisations, some of whom have had teams of people working on this for some time.

As far as I am concerned it has all been very time-consuming, and I can hardly wait to get back to something approaching normality … such as finishing the final stages of publishing my next couple of books.


Other people’s Portable Wargames … at the Victorian Military Society’s recent seminar

Last Saturday was a very important day (and I am not referring to the Royal Wedding or the FA Cup Final!) as it was the date of the Victorian Military Society’s Seminar: INVASIONS SCARES AND THE ‘BATTLE OF DORKING’.

Unfortunately, I was unable to go, but I understand that during the lunch break, the Battle of Dorking was re-fought using 15mm figures, my PORTABLE WARGAME rules, and a purpose-built terrain board. I have seen some photographs of both the figures and the terrain, and it all looked very, very impressive. These can be seen on the Society’s Facebook page.

I hope that more information about the game will become available in the fullness of time as it is exactly the sort of wargame I envisaged being fought using my rules.


A busy couple of days ahead

I have a busy couple of days ahead of me.

One of the people proof reading my gridded naval wargames book has sent me several pages of notes that I need to go through in detail so that I can correct the mistakes he has found. (The mistakes are mainly typos and sentences with mixed tenses.) I will then send him back the corrected proof so that he can do one final check before I have some proof copies of the book printed.

I also have to attend two Masonic meetings, one in London (this afternoon) and the other in St Albans (on Tuesday). The London meeting is a Third Degree ceremony, but due to the sudden and unexpected death of a senior member of the Lodge, I fully expect to be asked to take an active part in the ritual rather than sit on the sidelines as a spectator. The Tuesday meeting is the Installation of a new Worshipful Master into the chair of his Mother Lodge, and he invited me some time ago as he serves as the Inner Guard of the Hertfordshire research Lodge of which I am currently Worshipful Master.

In addition to all of this I am also trying to ensure that Wargame Developments (of which I am the Treasurer/Membership Secretary) is fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations by the deadline … which is in four day’s time.

Have I taken things easy since I retired? I don’t think so!