Saturday, 28 December 2013

A review of the past year and a hopeful look ahead.

With the events of December this year, I have been having a bit of a reflective look back at what turned out to be a pretty crap year all in all. 

The year started off well, with the birth of our 4th grandchild on the 6th of January.  It also began with the doc saying "This is whats wrong with you and we will sort it out!".  Wargaming went well and I got quite a bit painted, so it was a promising start.

Things then started going downhill, with the doctor changing his tune about my stomach and Gus starting his chemo treatment for bowel cancer.  The problem with my stomach were now starting to affect work, which was starting to impact on the home life too.  Wargaming was still generally good, with the painting still going fairly well.  Being a playtester for the Too Fat Lardies forthcoming set of rules helped, with many fun games being played.

As we approached May-June, Gus began to feel the chemo quite badly and I was starting to feel pretty crap too.  So much so that I ended up having to give up the "extra" work I had at Tesco as I just couldn't do it anymore.  The gaming took a bit of a hit while the painting also dropped off as I felt rough a lot of the time.  The doc had now gone from "we can fix it" to "Ah, well, uhm", which did nothing for any positive feelings at the time.  The highlight for June was the trip to Market Larden in Evesham, a day of Lard games and good company put a shine on the month.

July and the wargaming got a big boost with the release of not one but two sets of rules I had been waiting for.  Chain of Command from the Lardies has become a favourite and is my first choice for WW2 small scale games.  Its a definite hit and has prompted some new purchases (more about them later).  The other set was Longstreet by Sam Mustafa, which has brought about the dusting off of my old, unpainted 15mm ACW figures.  They are about 50% done now, but the drive to finish them took a hit as Gus' health began to fail. 

August to October was generally crap too, as my health seemed to get gradually worse.  This paled into insignificance next to the gradual decline of Gus though.  It was painful to see him slowly losing the fight against cancer and not be able to do anything to help.  Painting had practically stopped and gaming had been drastically hit too.

November and December were probably the worst two months of my life since my father died back when I was 13.  Gus went downhill rapidly, ending up in the RD&E hospice for the last 4 weeks or so before passing away on the 18th of December. It was bloody awful seeing him gradually fading away in there and I will miss him for a long time.

At the same time I was struggling to get a handle on my feeble stomach and intestines, which resulted in some family problems with the kids.  Two of them threw teddy out of the pram over the actions of the third, which somehow ended up coming back as being my fault and, because she stuck up for me, Tina also got stick from them.  I will not go into details here, but they saw a side of both me and Tina that perhaps they should have seen before and hopefully realised that the world does not revolve around them.

Christmas has now been and gone.  Things are (hopefully) sorted with the kids, if they are not then heads will be getting banged together in the New Year.  Tina got some things she wanted, the kids got a lot more than any of them deserved and I got figures that I had ordered, then they got taken off me and wrapped up.  I now have several platoons of 15mm figures to start my 1940's Chain of Command forces.  British, French and Germans are ready to join the painting list, along with the ever present Napoleonics that seem to just keep coming in a never ending stream.

Tomorrow sees the last wargaming of 2013, with the Monday night gang getting together (yes, I know its Sunday tomorrow) for an all day bash that we do every year.  A large multiplayer game of CoC is planned, with Zombicide being the evenings entertainment.  Its a good way to end the year, although it will be a bit bittersweet this year as it will be followed by Gus' funeral on December 31st.

Next year had better be an improvement on 2013!  Things I am going to change are few and modest, but important.
1 - Lose weight. Seriously...........  I need to lose several stone and am going to do so.
2 - Be more cheerful.  If 2013 taught me one thing it's that life is too short to be grumpy.
3 - Be more disciplined with my time.  Stop wasting time messing about with pointless things and get on with what matters.

So there it is.  I will leave you now with a picture of Gus in happier times.  Keep smiling, no matter what life throws at you, and keep rolling those damn dice, even when they hate you!
Fergus Murchie   1959-2013

Friday, 20 December 2013


It is with great sadness that I have to say goodbye to my friend and gaming buddy Fergus "Gus" Murchie.  He sadly lost his fight with bowel cancer on Wednesday December 18th, passing away peacefully with his family around him.  My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. 
Gus with his granddaughter