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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Friday, 29 June 2012

What I did...

on holiday. Of course.

Readers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that I painted some little metal chaps:

These are some Perry AWI British 17th Dragoons, who will join forces with the mounted Loyalists of the British Legion, once they've received a coat of matt varnish and some flock for the bases. 

The building, also painted this holiday, is from Hovels' Northern Europe range.

But I also wandered from the painting table to the small towns and villages, the salt marsh, coastal paths, and  the sea. Norfolk is marvellously provided with very old churches, dating from the Anglo-Saxon period, when those pagans became Christian (it was said, in some cases, because of the free shirts that came with baptism...). Of course, Britain, under the Romans had been Christian, but their built remains are fewer, and often take the form of brick work embedded in later buildings. The Anglo-Saxons' stone churches, however, still stand in surprisingly large numbers. In East Anglia, and particularly Norfolk, the use of flints for buildings necessitated round towers:

This is the tower of St. Mary's, Burnham Deepdale, and it is around 1,000 years old. Inside, there is a large stone font, from the early Norman period, used to baptise Anglo-Saxon babies, who lie outside now, in the church yard, and who will continue to add to the bones of Norfolk for a while yet.

The church also boasts windows made of ancient glass. Above, fragments brought together in the 'moon window'; the eponymous moon staring wryly down at the passing of years and people.

Being on England's east coast, Norfolk is also well provided with relics from a nearer period. Since I first visited the area in 1984/5, the sea has taken much in the way of pillboxes and other concrete and brick defence works, but here is one of my favourite bits of 1940: 

An Allan Williams turret still in situ on sea defences near Cley-next-the-Sea, which straggles across the low escarpment in the distance. I have written about this turret elsewhere, as I am quite taken by its mushroom like being among the grasses.

And, all across the area the rain had done wonders for the ox-eye daisies, the dog roses and the poppies that festooned the roadsides and the hedges, while fields of barley ran beneath the sea wind in this corner of England:


  1. Good to have you back.Lovely photos esp the moon window and the evocative final one. Figures look great too.
    What rules did you say you were intending to use for the awi.Have you seen the 2 page ones called Gentleman Johnny's war? They are straightforward and great fun- orginally published in Wargames Illustrated many moons ago...

    1. My thanks! The moon window is matched by another made of fragments (the hand of the NMA, or its acolytes??), but topped with a sun.

      On the rules for AWI, I have previously used the classics - Charge!, and my own version of the Don's. But I have looked through 'Patriot and Loyalist', and 'Loose File & Scramble'; and now I have another to give me thought - thank you!

  2. Wow! Such marvellous history. Our oldest building is eight years short of it's 200th aniversary...

    1. The odd thing is that much that is old is now derided in England, especially by the metropolitan elite, the media folk, the music business, bankers (of all stripes), all of whom wish to be global and 21st Century - think Tony Blair. But not before a meal. But I think a sizeable minority of the population still regards the old. I went to a 340 year old grammar school, attended a 400 year old university, then a 1,000 year old university. My son went to a 750 year old school, and another school that was founded in 914. There are many homes in the town I live in that are 400 years old and more, and for all this time they have sheltered the English.

  3. Replies
    1. It was. Sigh. Can I have another one??