Napoleonic Saxons painted by the incredibly talented Doug Mason (one of my painting idols) and featured several years ago on the Unfashionably Shiny blog. This is just one of many units that will soon be in my possession.
Several months ago, I was contacted by the attorney of a distant cousin -- "Genevieve" -- from the state of North Carolina, several times removed and much older than myself, who passed away early last year. To make a long story short, it seemed that she had been extremely impressed by and grateful for some translation and editing work I did for her in back in 2007. Something she never forgot and mentioned often in conversations with friends and family if and when the subject came up. It also seems that her assets were rather more than anyone in the family suspected.
The long and the short of it is that the Grand Duchess and I have learned that we are now rather more well off that we ever expected to be as academics. Even after taxes. I won't belabor the point because, after all, talking about one's finances and how much you have is, let's remember, tasteless. Suffice to say that we have been able to invest most of it, ensure the Young Master's future education and comfort with a trust fund, and donate some to worthy charities. Even better, there has been some money left over to play with now.
Which brings us to the real subject of this particular post. We've been lucky enough to find and purchase an apartment in a delightfully old section of Hamburg, Germany, where the Grand Duchess spent some of her student days, and we plan to spend most of our summers there. Our close friend "Tante Anita," from Berlin, will reside there the rest of the year and look after things for us. Better still, we are currently negotiating a final price on a wonderful old townhouse not far from the center of Bolzano, Italy, a place I have always wanted to live. Finally, I'll be able to practice both German and Italian! But the best part about this particular house, in my eyes, is the attic, which a recent owner finished fully, heat included.
The yellow house in the center of the photo is the one we have purchased.
And I've saved the absolute VERY best part for last, so stay with me just a bit longer. My own attorneys have also been in contact with the folks at the Wargaming Holiday Centre in the U.K., who have agreed, after much begging and cajoling on my part, to sell off their entire stock of painted 25mm Napoleonics to yours truly. It seems they want to start from scratch again given their fairly recent relocation in Southern England, and they have a new staff of painters already hard at work doing just that. Anyway, these figures, some of which date back to the 1970s, will be used to populate the attic of the yellow townhouse above, which will feature a 6'x18' table fully stocked with scenic goodies.
It should take a little while to arrange for the shipping of everything from Britain to Northern Italy, but I'll be onsite by late July this summer to set up the attic and the rest of the house before the Grand Duchess and Young Paul arrive at the start of September. For those of you Grand Duchy of Stollen visitors who might feel like making the journey to Bolzano to spend a few days refighting key Napoleonic battles like Borodino, Leipzig, Austerlitz, or Waterloo (with good brandy and cigars afterwards), there is a standing invitation from mid-autumn onwards. Just contact me offline, so we can set up dates.
In the meantime, I hope I don't have too much trouble with the Tyrolean accent since most of my time in German-speaking Europe has been spent in the north of Germany. It should be interesting though to see how the Italian and German cultures meet and mingle in Bolzano.
Loads and loads of figures like these will shortly be making their way to our new home in the northern Italian city of Bolzano. I cannot begin to describe my excitement.