A Warm Welcome to my Blog

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Biggles and the Big Bristol

“What ho chaps, I’m looking for a couple of volunteer to test drive this new crate we’ve just been sent, and at the same time to get some photos of the big guns the Boshe have located over to the west of Nieuville”. “It’s only about 20 miles over their side of the lines, it’ll be a doddle chaps”. That’s the Skipper, a jolly lively chap, a bit too lively at times.

“Pilot Officer Vagabond you look a likely volunteer, when were you last up on patrol”. “Dawn sir” I responded rather glumly, I don’t do mornings well and it was still only 09:00 hours. “Come on look lively, go find your gunner chappie, the days not getting any younger”. I muttered “breakfast sir, is it possible to have my breakfast before we go”. “No time young man, your country needs you, get them to put some bacon between a couple of bits of bread, you can eat it on the way”.

“Don’t suppose you’ve even seen the new Bristol F2.B” he guffawed, “dashed good plane they tell me, it will win the war and we can all go home for Christmas, but first we need you to get these photo’s. Off you go and let me know how you get on with the bally crate, especially fuel consumption. For some reasons the boffins haven’t sent me many flying characteristics yet. Make sure you take a dip stick with you. Pip pip”, and he left.

My giddy Aunt Gemmima what’s he got me into now.

I went looking for the dip stick, that’s Jack my gunner by the way, we’ve been together for ever, well it must be 2 weeks but it seems like forever. He has this nasty habit of referring to me as the taxi driver. He tells all the girls I’m the driver and he’s the brains doing all the work, mainly recce photography but we have been given bombs to drop as well. I don’t like that so much because generally if our Brass wants us to blow something up, the Huns don’t want us to and they can get very nasty about it.

I explain the situation to him and he’s not as upset about it as I am, two reasons really, firstly he thinks I can fly and all planes are the same to the man who uses it as a platform to take photographs, but more importantly he’s had his breakfast.

Well we got off the ground, a bit too quickly for my liking this lump of canvas and wood is rather faster than what I’m used to, but she’s a nice looking plane and responds well to the controls, fast is good right - get to Nieuville and back in time for lunch. Climbs a lot faster than our current crate, which is more of a canvas coffin if you ask me - but no one does.

We arrived over Nieuville and could see the netting covering the big guns to the north and south of the town, but there was a slight problem. A pair of Albatros DIII from the look of them but it could be the DV, let it be DIII’s I pray, they are not so fast and with my new found speedy steed we might be able to out run them, but first the photographs, we’ve not come all this way for nothing and the skipper won’t like it if we go home empty handed.

Sorry the game photo’s are on a plain board, but I’m so envious of the printed mats that I wanted to try and emulate them, not very well but it’s the thought that counts. These bad boys below landed this morning along with the Bristol so first time out. Mind you it’s only my 4th sortie, I’m flying them using Richard Bradley’s AI system, and am a bit concerned because it’s better than I am.

I’m not used to having a gun firing forward, Jack’s the one who gets all the fun and so our usual tactic would be to try and get him in a position to shoot, that’s a bit theoretical because he’s not a good shot and usually we have a fighter escort that are there to protect us. However they weren’t at the rendezvous today and in view of the cryptic comment about fuel consumption we decided not to hang about. Looks like that might have been a mistake.

Well they came at us in the same old way and I expect they thought we would run in the same old way, but I now have a gun and went straight at them, they weren’t expecting that.

The Red plane turned to starboard S and then to port P and then jinked a bit to S and they closed the gap between them very neatly.

This Richard Bradley knows his stuff.

Here we go, “Tally Ho” I shouted as I flew straight at them.

There is some nonsense in the Mess about never flinching from a head on attack, anyone in their right mind knows this is bound to lead to a collision, but the received wisdom is the Hun will always loose his nerve first.

I believe that we don’t duck left or right because we think they will go the same way and we’ll have a collision, it’s much safer to stay on a straight course and then they know what we are going to do and avoid us.

Oh no the Red plane doesn’t know this.

But at the last minute Red dived under my wing and missed by a hairs breath. We were in spitting distance but of course we are gentlemen – the Knights of the Air. If we’d been those oiks in the trenches we probably would have spat, and thrown stones for good measure.

Too damn close to shoot though.

We all broke to port P and Jack got to fire the twin Lewis guns at Green. He was going to fire at Red but I had yelled over my shoulder don’t shoot the bloody tail off – AGAIN. He doesn’t like me to refer to that incident.

Smoke started to pour out of Greens engine, I’ve hit him, I’ve hit him Jack was shouting. There’s a first time for everything I thought and now was a good time to start shooting straight.

We continued to circle, they were keeping a tight formation, and the smoke stopped. Humm not so good.

About this time I realised they were circling in a tighter circle than us and that Red plane was going to have us in his sights soon.

And that’s when they made their big mistake, they both straightened up but I continued my turn to port. Green is in range and I open fire, it’s glorious having a gun, de, de, de, de it went and I missed. Bugger I’m never going to hear the end of this.

I’m still turning to port and so are the Hun, I fire another blast at Green and miss again, Jack’s never going to let me forget this, but I feel the crate shake as Jack lets rip, but a quick glance over my shoulder and I see he’s missed. Well that’s good and bad - good that it’s not just me missing, but it’s bad that we aren’t dishing out the damage when we have the chance.

We are all still circling to port, I just miss the tail of the Green Albatros and it is a DIII, that’s a bit of a relief but I am going to bring stones next time, they might be more effective than this damn gun. We’re certainly getting close enough to use them…..

 Red continues a long turn to port, and is out of the action for a while.

I continue to turn to port but the idiot in the Green plane swings to Starboard, what the hell is he doing – he’s going to get us all killed if he carries on like this. I pull back on the stick and just scrape over the top of him.

It’s OK to take avoiding action now because this wasn’t head to head, and I’ve ceased caring I just want my lunch.

This is known as a Bristol sandwich on Albatros. One out of range and one out of angle. The Red plane and I continue with our circle of death to port, but I think I’ve got him next phase.

Wrong he is turning tighter than I am and we are both shooting lumps off each other. Of course his lumps are bigger than mine and we take 4 damage and he takes none.

I swing to starboard giving Jack a clear shot at point blank range. He hits doing 4 points of damage, get him Jack I yell, but he can’t hear me above the sound of the twin Lewis guns, and that’s when Red made his big mistake. I swung back to port and he did an Immelmann turn, right in front of Jack.

Of course it wasn’t looking so good for us either, I’d been concentrating so much on Red that I’d given the Green Albatros the opportunity to come straight at us. Jack put a long burst into the Red plane, bits were flying off it, he was causing a lot of damage and.

There was a loud explosion and the Red plane blew up in mid air, it shook me I can tell you, one minute he is there fighting like a good un and then he’s gone.

It must have shook Green because he fired and the bullets went wide causing no damage.

I’m still swinging to port, it’s like being on one of those fairground rides, round and round, but Jack gets another clear shot but his guns are quiet. Looking back I can see him hitting the damn things with his gloved hands, come on lad that’s not the way to do it.

I need to create a bit of space to give him time to get up and running again, so fly straight away from the Hun, a bit of a turn and then straight’ I’m lining up to do an Immelmann of my own, wonder if this machine will take the stress, should do. We’ll soon find out.

We come flying back straight at the Green Albatros, he turns.

But not fast enough and I’m on him, the shots are slightly off and I’m hitting his tail, causing 1 damage and jamming the tail so he can’t turn to starboard, but he’s going to port, so am I.

This gives Jack another clear shot but his deflection shooting is off and he also hits around the tail, he’s caused 2 damage but also jammed the rudder from turning to port. Bloody good shooting Jack.

I swing round and give chase, the Albatros is diving to get as much speed as possible he can’t turn to port or starboard and we’re gaining. We get too low, ground fire is putting holes in the plane and I pull up and let him go. No one chases a wounded fox, where’s the sport in that.

He made it off the board.

The stick felt a bit loose when we landed, quite a few wires were damaged holes all over but nothing too bad, Jack jumped down whooping with joy, relief, who knows, we had our first kill. The Skipper seemed quite buoyed up about it, said maybe we could keep the bus but his face fell when he asked after the recognisance photographs and we dragged the camera out of the plane. It had a neat bullet hole just behind the lens and had been useless.

Better luck next time.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The Adventures of Becky - The Lost Information

A quick roundup of the events so far:-

Becky and her friends have been given some information relating to a mysterious Red Jade Buddha, they have had bad dealings with a gang of bikers led by Boris a bald headed thug, who stole this information from them in Midnight Callers and then they retrieved from Boris at his hotel in Boris and the Swan in Inverness in the last chapter.

OK - good to go? 

NO - ok. These are the previous games. Don't be long.

Midnight Callers

Boris and the Swan

OK back now? lets go.

Following the successful raid on Boris and his hotel room the girls go back to Roxanne’s house, maybe not such a smart move, they know that they can’t stay long but need to get their stuff together and read the information they have and get some idea of what to do next.

They are able to break in to Boris’s laptop, he had not password protected it, a warning to everyone. However your thief might not get a lucky die roll to decide that there was no password.

Reading Boris’s e-mails addressed to the “Count” (play sinister music), they discover that there is some more information relating to the whereabouts of the Red Jade Buddha that has been stashed away in a cottage in the border lands between Scotland and England near a town called Selkirk.

“If we act quickly, maybe we can to get this before Boris and his cronies are able to collect it” yelps Gabrielle.

Editors note I’m really not sure we can say “yelps” in the 21C I know Enid Blyton would have been happy with the word so I’m going to let it go this time but it will be a sharp reprimand for the script writer if he doesn’t get with it. Humm “get with it”, that’s so 1990’s.

“OK, forget about this angst over out of date phrases” snaps Becky “let’s go”.

An aerial overview of the board, 2ft or 600mm square depending on where you live. The girls will drive down the road from the left hand side of the board, and there will be some opposition. It will arrive in a random time and from a random direction.

The green pennies will be the encounter markers although they are not on the board at this point, I played this game quite a long time ago and have since lost the sheet of paper with the encounters written on it, but obviously one of them is the additional information they are looking for and the others are something else.

Simple game objective, grab the information first and get away.

Just one gratuitous shot.

Well maybe two.

Turn 1 – The girls drive on to the board - Gabrielle and Roxanne in a rather nice MG 2 seater and Becky in a borrowed e-Type Jaguar.

Turn 2 – they jump out of the cars and start to search the area, Becky in the background checks out the encounter marker by the field and finds nothing, Gabrielle checks the outside toilet and fails her Awareness check, they have 2 attempts at this check before assuming there is nothing there, obviously this means they can miss the vital clues and Roxanne moves towards the door into the house.

Turn 3 – A blue van can been seen in the distance, it arrived but failed to activate and so does not get on to the board, giving the girls a bit more time to search, which is a complete waste as they discover nothing.

Turn 4 – Gabrielle is round the back of the house searching and Becky was just going to check inside the house again when the blue van screeches to a halt in the lane.

The bad guys arrive and climb laboriously out of the van.

I used to get a lift to work in a van very similar to this and after an hour in the back, sat on a pallet with a blanket on top for cushioning you take a bit of time to get the circulation going and the legs moving, and I was only 17 then, so laborious is a very good description.

“A Ponds Skin Care Cream van!!!, Who are we dealing with” chuckles Becky, as she turns to face them. “Looks like some of the guys we met in Inverness” but where is Boris, has he been replaced by handsome dark haired Sam Fernando.

Turn 5 – “Get them” shouts Sam who like all good leaders stays behind to direct operations as his henchmen lumber across the short distance to the nearest two girls. Keith A the Asiatic looking biker runs straight at Gabrielle, this is a bit of a mistake because whilst he is quite brave, he can’t fight for toffee and goes down beneath the flailing feet and fists of Gabrielle who can fight for toffee. In fact she quite likes toffee.

Big Dave thinks that the slim blonde Becky is going to be easy meat, he has never heard of Tai Quan Do, no - it’s not a type of toffee and the effects are quite stunning as he lands on his face in the mud OOF. “Out of Fight”

Two down two to go.

Turn 6 – Tank (who can fight) attacks Gabrielle but he can’t fight well enough and he also goes down OOF.

Sam looks on.

Turn 7 – Sam decides he needs to report back on the failure of his troops, so jumps back in the van and reverses as fast as he can up the road. The girls go back to searching but find nothing.

Turn 8 – Gabrielle is having a good day, knocking down two bad men and she finds the missing information in one of the stacks of crates. Go Gabby Go.
Sorry I'll calm down now.

Game over and a complete white wash for the bad guys, but total victory for the girls, :)

What has happened to Boris, the bald headed bad guy, has he been sent to Siberia. Who is Sam – does the fact that his van seem to have more reverse gears than forwards mean he is a quick thinker or as yellow as the sun, will he join Boris in Siberia?

To be continued ……….

If you are still here - thanks for reading and please let me know you passed this way.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Western Adventure - The Law comes to Little Whiskey

Buildings are going up so fast in Little Whiskey that a man with five fingers on one hand will have already lost count.

The latest are two adjoining buildings – The Sheriffs Office and the Arizona Territorial Bank. There are obviously very good reasons for the Bank to want the Sheriffs Office built next door and it means English Bob the Sheriff doesn't have far to go to deposit the towns tax revenue.

When Whiskey Jack walks down the Main Street he feels a tremendous sense of pride and achievement, this is his town, he owns the land all the businesses are built on. The place is booming, silver has been discovered only a days ride out of town, there is still the possibility of a rail line passing through, but Agua Fria a town about 50 miles south has plenty of water and has been entertaining the railway engineer lavishly.
Direct action might be called for, and he is just the man for the job. Well he knows a man, how knows a man, who for a fist full of dollars will see the job done.

A general view of the enlarged town from the South West, the new buildings are just behind the pack horse train.

A quick run round the town to remind you of the various businesses that are here so far. On the North (far) side of the street, on the left are the new buildings the Bank and then the Jail/Sheriffs Office, in the centre and right are the two original buildings in Little Whiskey the Tail Feathers Saloon and Big Jims Blacksmith and Livery.

An overview from the North East I turned the board around ;)

On the south side of the street, furthest away from us, on the left is Rob Tilney Gunsmith shop, in the centre the Westmoorland Grocery Company, with Blonde Edna’s Saloon and Brothel above it and on the right is the Wells Fargo Office.

It confused the hell out of me taking the photo’s from the opposite sides of the board when I came to describe everything, hope you are not dizzy yet.

A close up of the Bank, and guess who's the new Bank Manager, yep it’s old Sweet Sticky Fingers himself, Ebenezer Douglas. Off to the right English Bob has recovered from his near death experience in the Skull Rock Holdup and is back on his feet again. He’s wondering who parked their horses on his hitchin rail.

In the foreground you should recognise Billy, he now has 3 horses in his mule train, business is booming.

A sexy little shot between the buildings to catch a rancher and his wife Molly coming into town, but the little vignette in the background is more interesting, but we'll get to that.

Marshall McAlister has also recovered after the shoot out in the Incident in Little Whiskey, he is now sharing an Office with English Bob but to maintain proprieties he has his own door and office sign.

 I think he is off to the outhouse but after the aforementioned incident his sawn off shotgun goes everywhere with him. Rumour has it that he even sleeps with it, but this is hotly denied by Dora DuFran from Blonde Edna’s Home for Wayward Girls. She maintains that when they share a bed the only explosions are of her making, I don't know what she is referring to.

A long shot up Main Street from the East.

And the view from the other end of the street.

Mr Douglas wants the bank to look it’s best today because great things are happening in Little Whiskey, so he has had some local cacti planted in pots outside the bank to add a touch of class. I wonder how long they will last.

It looks like there is some more building work about to take place although as usual no one has any idea who might be doing it or what it might be, or when it might happen.

The Stage arriving, seems to be heavily laden with boxes, quite big boxes, quite strong boxes!!

Big Jim is over in his usual position in the coral, leaning on the fence and watching the world go by and that looks like a different woman he’s talking to.

Yep it's Mary Ann Conklin from Blonde Edna’s Home for Wayward Girls she is chatting away quite happily to this great hunk of a man. How does he manage it, every good looking woman in town seems to gravitate to the man.

The Westmoreland Grocery Company is open for business and doing a brisk trade, but not as brisk as Blonde Edna’s upstairs.

Sarah (yellow dress) who runs the Grocery side of the business is in partnership with Pearl De Ville (crimson dress) but she doesn’t approve of the woman nor her business, however she does approve of the income generated.

When the building was erected so to speak, she insisted that the entrance to the brothel was around the back and up the stairs.

Word got out that a brothel was opening in Little Whiskey and a big queue formed because the men thought is was a soup kitchen providing soup or broth as it is known in the Midlands. Once they found out what was really on sale the queue got much bigger!!

Up stairs at Edna’s Pete seems to be in deep conversation with Eleanor Dumont and Dora DuFran, maybe enquiring into the truth of the rumour about Marshall McAlister and his shotgun.

A more cynical view might be something to do with the fact that Edna’s balcony has a commanding view of the whole of main street so there might be an ulterior motive!!

Temperance Jenkins (black hat) and Miss Virginia (blue hat) are discussing the appalling state of the morals in the town and what on earth can be done about it. The children have no school, the sinners have no church and the Temperance Society have no meeting room. Appalling.

Pearl De Ville maintains very high standards in her business and private life, she is always immaculately dressed and has a very high opinion of her pale beautiful looks. She just knows that she turns every man head when she walks down the street, which is something she likes to do regularly to upset the 'good' women of Little Whiskey. This is something else Sarah disapproves of, but she keeps her thoughts to herself.

I suspect Sarah is comparing Pearl to the horses ass, but we’ll never know.

I’ll come back to the Tilney establishment but just wanted to show you that there appears to be a couple of lumber piles round the back at Edna’s, the business has been so successful they are opening additional space to serve the broth.

Apache George is a new comer in town, he seems to be rushing to the outhouse, maybe the broth didn’t agree with him.

Another shot of Molly and her rancher, with little Bob running along behind. Molly obviously doesn’t have a driving licence and so has to walk while her husband controls that 1 horse power motor in front of the cart.

The evil looking lady in the yellow dress is Irene Adler, you may have heard of her, not long out of England. I realise you can’t see that she looks evil because I didn’t take a good photo of her, but trust me – she’s a wrong un.

Round the back of the Wells Fargo office you can see the sort of goods that are pouring in to the town.

Donna staggers out of the Saloon clutching a bottle of her own special Rye Whiskey, she’s paid for it and it’s hers and that makes it very special. Miss Virginia, sees this happening.

And tongues start wagging again.

As she staggers up the street there is a figure in the shadows. On the sidewalk, outside the saloon!

It’s still not a clear view  but it could be Dangerous Dave in his newly touched up duster. Maybe I should say partially repainted duster, well you probably know what I mean.

If you can – look at Donna’s face, I am incredibly impressed with the facial sculpting of the Col Bill’s female figures I have bought, and they are almost all fully clad as well.

If you remember the last Little Whiskey town post, the latest building was - Rob ‘Slim’ Tilney’s gun shop. Most people seemed to think this was surplus to requirements and that a Doctor or an Undertaker was called for in Little Whiskey but I knew the law was coming, in the form of English Bob and Marshall McAlister and that there would be no more shootings in town. ;-)

Well in fact the figure of Slim was of Little Slim Jr and he is the son part of the shop sign. This chap is Rob ‘Big Slim’ Tilney Senior.

In close up he is a dour looking individual, it’s hard to realize what a hellion he was in his younger days. Don’t get on the wrong side of him even now or he’ll rattle your shins with that stick he always carries.

Keeping to the shadows behind him sweeping the stoop is Bertha Tilney, his long suffering wife.

Where I come from the front step of a house is called the stoop, does anyone know what the American expression might be?

Humm I said it was a 1 horse power motor but I think we’re looking at pony power here.

Just a moody shot of the back streets.

I see Tilney still hasn't put a door on his outhouse, I wonder what Temperance Jenkins thinks of that, hummm I probably know.

Ebenezer Douglas behind the cactus is consulting his watch, looking a little nervous as Billy leads his pack horses into town.

Sheriff Bob is still looking at those horses outside the jail and thinking.

Across the street there are two more horses he doesn’t recognise, and they are packing heavy! He continues thinking.

In fact there are quite a lot of horses packing heavy! He continues to think and I believe he is thinking – why haven’t I got a deputy. It’s that skinflint Whiskey Jack’s fault. I'm going to need someone to watch my back in this town and maybe sooner than I would like.

Ok you will have guessed before now the stage is carrying a s**t load of silver from the local mine, this is to stay in the brand new safe in the bank overnight before moving on tomorrow. I guess that’s why everyone is a little nervous.

All except these guys who are getting liquored up, they are very nervous.

Between them they have taken a lot of lead and done a lot of running lately. Bill Samuelson has got them into more than one piece of trouble in the past few jobs but maybe this is the time their luck will change, we will just have to wait and see.

Well this was supposed to be a game report but I got a bit carried away with the intro and I didn’t even get to introduce the girls from the soup kitchen properly. Sorry about that.

Oh - just a final note, you might remember Joe Turner got shot in the leg and was laying in the street bleeding to death. Well by a strange quirk of fate in the time space continuum the stagecoach that was being held up in the last game arrived in Little Whiskey at that very minute he was shot.
Dr John Watson (disbarred) still drunk, fell off the stage and seeing a man in need of medical attention called for a hot branding iron from Big Jim Smith the Smith and slapped it on Joe's leg. Cauterizing the wound and miraculously stopping the bleeding.
Joe and Jane are now recovered and along with all the other characters in Little Whiskey are ready for the story to continue. I do like a happy ending, although this is not the end.

If you are still here – thanks for reading and let me know if you passed this way.