Sunday, October 22, 2017

Paint Table Sunday: Rocks 2

A brief entry this week as I have had no time to do hobby stuff, lately, and am trying to evade potential oversea trips.  Nigeria has been postponed (hooray) and I shifted Saudi onto a colleague (double hooray - at least Nigeria has beer and statuesque women to look at) but still have two week long trips in November (I get back from one on Saturday and have to fly to the next on Sunday).  In fact we are going to see Charlotte again in Edinburgh that month, so I will have to do 10 flights in November.  I hate flying and will probably expire on one of these trips.  At least my blood pressure is down, thanks to my glamorous new doctor.  190 over 100 not so good, 130 over 83, much better.

Yesterday, I did get a bit of paint on my Savage Core/Lost World rock formations.  I have three big aquarium pieces and will add some smaller CD and MDF based ones to scatter around them.   I still haven't tried painting any figures lately but have to have an eye operation next week (I don't even want to think about it).

I haven't bought much hobby stuff, either, although I did succumb to this Star Wars kit on the basis that I will probably get Star Wars Legion when it comes out next year.  This AT-ST is, it seems, exactly the right scale for the 32mm figures.  It's a long time since I made a complex model kit (Renedra buildings apart) so I am not sure how this will go, given my dodgy eyesight.  I'm not going to give up trying yet, though.

I have had several requests to become friends on Facebook lately but when I have looked at the person's page they are usually full of the standard political drivel so I don't bother with them.  Facebook can be useful, though, and recently there was a post on the Death in the Dark Continent players page which highlighted the fact that the old BBC series, The Search for The Nile, from 1971, had been put on DVD at last.  I saw this when it first came out and have been hoping it would appear at some point but it disappeared.  Great to see it again now.  Shot on location in Africa and with James Mason narrating I can't wait until mine comes from Amazon!  There seemed to be a feeling that the BBC wouldn't release it given they regarded it now as politically incorrect.  Interestingly it is labelled as "as seen on the BBC" not an actual BBC disc.  Should be good African inspiration anyway.

I need to clear out some old figures and rules of periods I am never going to realistically paint or play.  First up is Frostgrave where I have some of the books and a few figures.  Eric the Shed played a game or two and was not impressed with the rules mechanism which he found a bit blunt (especially combat).  I found all the descriptions of how magic worked totally confusing and well beyond my poor brain.  As a fantasy world I would rather stick to Lord of the Rings, especially with the news that the Battle Companies rules (which only ever appeared in White Dwarf, some years ago) are coming back.

J interviews the Legatus

Speaking of Lord of the Rings, Guy, who is on the Oxford Union Committee this term, was a bit miffed that Liv Tyler cancelled at the last minute but this week he met JJ Abrams (which made Charlotte jealous).  I used to enjoy his Alias (although I still haven't watched the final series, where Jennifer Garner was pregnant and Rachel Nichols came in to do the action stuff).  One of my past lady friends, J, a kickboxing infrastructure journalist was the motion capture body double for Jennifer Garner for the Playstation Alias game, which is why it is the only computer game I own.

Now we live in pretty much equidistant from three supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury and Waitrose) so I don't get over to Morrisons in Weybridge very often any more, now Guy isn't rowing but I went there earlier in the week to take some books to the charity bookshop (most charity shops won't take books any more and the price you can get for them on eBay makes it not worth the effort of selling them).  Anyway I was staggered to see that Morrison's sells Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc (the best sauvignon blanc on the planet - well, it used to be).  I had to buy some.  I had the very first vintage of this wine when I visited their sister vineyard in Western Australia, Cape Mentelle, in 1987.  I tried to get it back in the UK but it wasn't imported then.  The initial run was very small, not like the 100,000 cases plus they produce now, now that they are owned by LVMH.   In fact it was the Cape Mentelle, Australian team that chose the name, against the wishes of the New Zealand winemakers who wanted to call it Tua Marina.

I might have some time this afternoon to do some painting so might see if I can do a bit on my Sikh artillery which I really want to finish as it will complete my TMWWBK's British force.  So far it looks bright this morning.

It's all a bit Austrian this week (my family on my mother's side was Austro-Hungarian) and today's wallpaper is a painting by Austrian artist Franz Eybl (1806-1880) who by the age of ten had already entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.  Most of his paintings were landscapes or portraits so this lovely nude, from about 1860, is unusual.  Portraying an everyday scene, rather than a classical or mythical story, was somewhat unusual and daring for the time.  Her figure (especially her posterior) is very reminiscent of J, the computer game body double, I realise.  I did do some drawings of J rather like this.  I wonder where they are? Viennese bakers, in this period, were famous all over Europe and the croissant (as seen on the bottom left), as we would call it now, was very much an Austrian not a French creation (the modern croissant was created by a former Austrian artillery officer (inserts desperate military reference) who set up a Viennese bakery in Paris in the late eighteen thirties).

Austrian music too, in the long and expensive form of the complete Mozart symphonies by Jaap Schröder, Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, using period instruments.  I remember going along to Blackwells Music Shop in Oxford, when the first boxed set (not box set, pig ignorant Millennials), came out in 1980 and finding that they had all sold out in four hours.  It has taken me 37 years to buy them and discover the complexity and controversy over authorship of these symphonies.  Being a late romantic aficionado I have always had a rather schizophrenic relationship with Mozart (50% hack, 50% genius) but they certainly make calming background music when writing reports on US education models.

Mirabel machine made

Now, Mozart also reminds me of the world's most sickly chocolate: the Mozartkugeln, a disgusting amalgam of chocolate and praline marzipan which has also been the subject of bitter legal battles in the cut throat world of European chocolate.  The originals are hand produced by Fuerst but other firms, notably the better marketed Mirabel, are allowed to produce their versions under slightly different names.

Fuerst, hand made

I discovered these hideous chocolates in Switzerland in the mid nineteen eighties when I had a girlfriend who was just about perfect (39D-23-36), apart from her penchant for sickly food and drink  (she loved Bailey's Irish cream. embarrassingly) products.  My mother always wanted me to marry her and, indeed, invited her to dinner the night before I married the Old Bat, as a sort of 'you've made a big mistake' gesture.  S would do anything (literally) for Mozartkugeln and so in the (we shamefully admit) four year intersection between her and the Old Bat (Plastic Woman, the Old Bat called her, on account of her wearing, shock, horror, makeup) I plundered the duty free shops of Europe to feed her insatiable appetite for these stomach churning treats. The complete Mozart symphonies is, I admit, a sort of aural box of Mozartkugeln and there is only so much you can listen to without feeling queasy.


  1. Ten minutes to spare, a coffee, biscuit and Paint Table.

  2. I have to ask, why don’t you get your eyes fixed or spectacles?

    1. This isn't a question of short sightedness. This is blurred vision caused by macular degeneration.

  3. Hope all goes well with the eye surgery and that the overseas trips aren't too draining :)

  4. I too have fond memories of The Search for the Nile (Catherine Schell washing her hair!) and have a very dodgy copy from one of those very dodgy copy companies. Remarkably un-PC for the BBC but it would be nice to have a decent verrsion.

    1. I'd forgotten about Catherine Schell as Florence Baker! My DVD arrived today!

  5. Good luck with the eye operation. My brother used to work at Cape Mentelle, and they do indeed make very fine wine.