Monday 20 November 2017

When is a Scotsman not a Scotsman?

“Ever in the dullest existence there is a sheen either of Inspiration or of Madness” - Thomas Carlyle

Certain things in the life of Epictetus have not been going as one would wish. I have naturally reacted in the manner that befits an eminent Stoic philosopher and have been sitting in a darkened room sobbing softly to myself. I was however roused from this state by the invitation of James to be one of his assistants at a game he was putting on for the League of Gentlemen Wargamers. We therefore screwed our courage to the sticking place and ventured into Scotland. Pausing only briefly at Ecclefechan to pay our respects, it merely took us a very long time indeed to drive to Kirriemuir. 

The view from Venice, with the Alps on the far right

I trust that James will post about the game comprehensively, and as umpire he had an overview and is best placed to do so, and so will others no doubt; indeed the King of France's take can already be found here. I will therefore restrict myself to my own part in proceedings which, apart from constantly asking "Are we there yet?", was to be in charge of the city of Modena (to paraphrase Pope John XXIII: "Wargamers are like wine - some improve with age, but others turn to vinegar"). If I have any complaints about what was otherwise an excellent weekend it would be about the limitations of my geographic position, with rivers on two sides and impassable mountains on a third. However, and this more than compensated, on the fourth side were the forces commanded by none other than Charles S. Grant; and I was privileged to spend a couple of days rolling dice against the author of Tabletop Teasers himself. That won't mean anything to my non-wargaming readers, but those in the brotherhood will recognise that this is a story to tell one's grandchildren.

The photograph above shows a part of the Venetian army as it trailed down past Bologna towards Rome in order to do battle with the Pope, following the King of France's decision to break with the Pontiff. Similar columns from Milan, Ferrara and from France itself also wound unmolested past Genoa, Modena and Bologna. I am proud to say that immediately after they had moved down into Tuscany the three cities previously mentioned all left the French alliance, declared for Spain and moved towards the Po with the intention of rampaging through the undefended territories north of it. I take no pleasure in reporting that we didn't get there, but it was a good plan nonetheless.

"A gentleman is simply a patient wolf" - Lana Turner

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