Didn’t we have a lovely day…
The day dawned much clearer than the previous Invasion. We made our way in a leisurely fashion to Hornsby station and hooked up with Blue Sue and Spike, the Reverend and Mrs the Reverend. Spike had obtained some artery hardening second breakfast in the form of hot chips, with barely-less-than-solid fat. This was duly passed around.
Imagine our horror when it became known that Helmut the German, that Invasion Stalwart, was not joining us this time! No Special Coffee or physically impossible amounts of Middle Eastern Pastries!!! Fortunately the president had rallied and done her best to make “yuppy coffee” despite Spike’s intervention, and did a pretty phenomenal job at the near impossible task of living up to Helmut.
The dear feller’s company sadly missed, we set about playing a game of debate – one of Spike’s card games (photos of which you will see below). This seemed to me to go on all the way to Newcastle!
However, at Gosford we were met by Lee, who had sacrificed his morning in bed to head south and accompany us back to his home town. At this point we played the game at which we are now so expert…juggling hot cups of “coffee” , thermoses, pastries, cakes and fruit.
Upon arrival at Newcastle we sauntered over to the Wharf and met Buffalo Bill, his missus and their various progeny. Magnus set to with a 3D game of Angry Birds with young Evan and apart from eating and wearing vast amounts of tomato sauce with some fish and chips, nothing much else happened down the kids end of the table.
At the river end of the table, we drank pint after pint of ginger beer (which was back on tap – hooray – though there seemed to be a pint glass shortage) until we were deemed liquid enough to have a meeting, which we did, and there was much rejoicing – especially when it was finished.
Delicious meals were had and more chitter chat until it seemed that the 3 o-clock entertainment was setting up. The marvellous Mr Dixon joined us at this point.
Too soon it was time to head home. The Cessnockians left and we headed for the train with Puppy. A fun trip back south, though unfortunately someone didn’t sleep as hoped (but his father did). Rail-weary and battered and bruised (the scars of child-minding) I returned home and neglected for weeks to write this promised account.
A successful trip! Absent friends toasted, new friends welcomed, traditions upheld. A wise new committee evidently agrees that once a year is not enough for this type of event. I look forward to the Inaugural Invasion of Wollongong coming up in August and suggest in the meantime a Waistcoat Outing to Woy Woy via train, for fish and chips and duck feeding.
from the ed
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Now you have all your new-found board game skills worked out, what do you do with them? Get one of these to play on, obviously.
There’s chess on the B side and backgammon inside. Here’s another example.
And there are entire sites devoted to them. Obviously the flash sets are for the nobs, but let’s have another, closer look at the one the soldiers were playing draughts on from the post a few back. You can plainly see the division between the two layers of the board and the two catches holding them closed.
So there were plainer ones around for the plebs, just very few of them make it in to the history books or on display in museums. There’s an earlier backgammon board from the Mary Rose (1545) made in a similar way but without the B-sides for the other games, the two leaves of the board look like they have been made by different people and really obviously don’t match. The quality of the work is similar to the one in the painting. The other remarkable thing is that the veneer, particularly on the German ones, is as thin as modern knife-cut veneer, not medieval sawn veneer. You can see it in the corners where it’s lifting.
Often they were carried in a cloth or leather bag to protect them. The Mary Rose one had traces of red cloth on the outside, and there’s a couple of inventories from the 16th century specifying white leather bags.
So now there’s no excuse not to get a board or two. I’m going to have a crack at making one and might let you know how I go.
Time for another mea culpa. I had been of the understanding that the use of char-cloth for fire lighting was introduced slightly before the American Civil War. I’ve just discovered I was wrong after reading a quote in the latest Mary Rose book (Vol 3, Weapons of Warre) I’ll give the full quote because it also describes the method for preparing normal tinder and the tinder box.
Take those great things which are called olde Todestooles growing out of the bottomes of nuttrees, beechtrees, okes, and such like trees, drye them with the smoke of fire, & then cut them into as many peeces as you will, and hauing well beaten them, boyle the in strong lie with waule floure, or saltpeeter, till all the lie shal be consumend. After this laying them in a heape uppon a boorde, drie them in an oven which must not be made verie hotte, and after you haue so done, beate them well with a wooden mallet, and when you shall haue cause to use any parte of those Todestooles (now by the means above declared made touchwood) rubbe well that parte betweene your handes for to make it softe and apte to take fire. But when you will make tinder for a Gunners tinder boxe, take peeces of fustian, or of old and fine linnen clothe, make them to burn and flame in a fire, & suddenly before the flame which is in the doth die, choke the fire, & keepe their tinder so made in a boxe lined within with clothe, to the ende that it may not be moyste at any time.
Appendix 20-1, Lucar, C., Translation of Tartaglia, Three Bookes of Colloquies Concerning the Arte of Shooting in Great and Samll Peeces of Artillerie with Appendix, London,1588
Nine Mens’ Morris or Mill is played on a board consisting of three concentric squares connected by lines from the middle of each of the inner square’s sides to the middle of the corresponding outer square’s side. Pieces are played on the corner points and on the points where lines intersect so there are 24 playable points. In this version of the game, there are nine black and nine white counters.
Preparation and Objective
To begin with the board is empty. The basic aim of the game is to make “mills” – vertical or horizontal lines of three in a row. Every time this is achieved, an opponent’s piece is removed, the overall objective being to reduce the number of opponent’s pieces to less than three or to render the opponent unable to play.
Players toss a coin or have a fistfight to decide who will play white – white moves first and has a slight advantage as a result. Play is in two phases. To begin with, players take turns to play a piece of their own colour on any unoccupied point until all eighteen pieces have been played. After that, play continues alternately but each turn consists of a player moving one piece along a line to an adjacent point.
Whenever a player achieves a mill, that player immediately removes from the board one piece belonging to the opponent that does not form part of a mill. If all the opponent’s pieces form mills then an exception is made and the player is allowed to remove any piece. It is only upon the formation of a mill that a piece is captured but a player will often break a mill by moving a piece out of it and then, in a subsequent turn, play the piece back again, thus forming a new mill and capturing another piece.
Captured pieces are never replayed onto the board and remain captured for the remainder of the game. The game is finished when a player loses either by being reduced to two pieces or by being unable to move.
Alternative board layouts have been used over the centuries. One common pattern adds four extra diagonal lines to the basic board outlined above, the lines being drawn from the corners of the inner square to the corners of the outer square. Pieces can be moved and mills made along these extra lines in the usual way.
On a rare fine day of the summer, why don’t you…
1) Empty the trailer
2) Look at the stuff
3) Chuck some stuff, clean some stuff, fix some stuff, list some stuff we don’t have
4) Put it all back into the trailer
Tell me that doesn’t sound like a top day out!
Thank goodness our wise new president added a step 5) Lunch & Beers!
I think Ross has a mouthful of brown sauce at this point.
One of the main objectives of the day was to look at items we may have accrued over the years that are either no longer fit for purpose or that are not consistent with the latest in 17thC artefact research. Some things squeak above the yellow line by virtue of their handiness rather than their accuracy.
Very handy, not very period.
Some things are handy, but not period in their design and a more accurate version is desirable (and relatively easy).
Need to increase accuracy by replacing cork stoppers with wood.
Some things lose points (please note dear all on the interwebs, the word is ‘lose’ not ‘loose’) for design innacuracies but are saved by period construction materials and the ability to stack neatly in the trailer.
Anything that stacks is likely to stay.
Some things were just too grotty/non period or unnecessary to survive the day.
The naughty corner.
Some things defy description.
The very naughty corner, aka too hard basket.
If there are any coopers out there wanting a gig…
Great lists were listed, wishes wished and notes noted. Stay tuned to a Soldier’s Council meeting near you for full reports.
Please insert your own joke about having wood.
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