01 December 2014

Today is December 1st. . .

The Holstein Gate along the way from the train station into the old center of Lübeck , Germany.  My thoughts always turn to this sleepy North German city as Christmas and Winter approach.  It looked much like this the first time I visited the old Hanseatic capitol during January and February of 1986.

While there will continue to be plenty of in-progress photos of model soldiers during the month of December, I will occasionally share seasonal photographs and illustrations as I've done in previous years here at the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog.  While I always grow nostalgic for my formative years in southeastern Pennsylvania as Christmas approaches, at the same time, I also wonder it might be like to spend Christmas and New Years in some  of the places I've fallen in love with over the years.  Lübeck is one of those, to me, magical places.  That special blend of the past and the living present.  Maybe one day, the Grand Duchess and I can arrange something special for the two of us and the Young Master there, and we could invite our Berlin friends to join us for Christmas Week?

In the meantime, planning for the Christmas holiday begun in earnest, and the Young Master should be surprised and pleased come Christmas Morning.  It's funny how once you have a child , their delight and happiness become paramount.  In no way do I advocate raising overly pampered, spoiled brats, of course, but within reason it is terrific fun, from a parent's point of view, to provide them with a few nice and fun things when occasions like birthdays and Christmas roll around each year.  You know, besides the obligatory underwear and socks.

On another seasonal note, and you'll pardon me I hope, but I have heard Justin Bieber only once on the radio so far this Advent season.  Some tune called 'Mistletoe.'  I must admit that I am now ready to wretch until there is nothing left to bring up.  I ask you. . .  Who in all of God's creation hath wrought this inexcusable dreck and pablum on the eyes and ears of humanity?  There are plenty of rock and pop artists around in 2014 who display genuine talent or some other redeeming quality, and I try to keep an open mind.  But I fail to see any such features where young Justin is concerned.  Ugh!

But back to wargaming.  Two Austrian 12pdr. cannon, just released by Minden Miniatures arrived with the mail earlier this afternoon, and they are wonderful little castings, which seems kind of an understatement.  I made a small contribution to Jim 'Der Alte Fritz' Purky's Kickstarter campaign to help finance the production of the new range of Austrian artillery, and received these in return.  The new guns, once painted, will replace a couple of the older MiniFig guns in the Grand Duchy of Stollen collection, which aren't bad, but they don't hold a candle to the Minden guns.

Last of all, I was letting my mind wander, as you do, late yesterday afternoon, considering how I might use the recently arrived Crann Tara Duke of Cumberland figure along with General Hawley and the third guy.  Then, it hit me.  They can serve as the officers in charge of those two companies of Minden pontooniers due to be painted shortly.  Ladies and gentlemen?  Say hello to Lord Cadfael Huffington-Blather (and his two aides), an English mercenary of dubious origins, as well as a veteran of the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War, who serves in the Army of Stollen, or, occasionally, that of Zichenau. depending on how the wind blows.  

It's funny what sometimes comes to you when thinking about other things.  Clearly, part of my mind wanders while reading and grading student papers.  At it's best, the activity is almost thrilling as the more conscientious and/or better writers walk you through their arguments and related discussions.  "Yes!  That's it!" you think to yourself.  And at its worst, reading undergraduate writing can be akin to having bamboo shoots driven beneath your fingernails.  Or maybe like having needles driven into your eyeballs?  It's definitely not for the faint of heart when you get a string of barely formed , to say nothing of coherent and cohesive, ideas typed into a computer file and printed onto paper at the last possible minute.

Ok, time to do something real, like maybe read and grade a few more student papers.  Or make a pot of fresh coffee.  Hmmm.  I like that second idea.

-- Stokes 

4 comments:

Matt said...

I have never actually heard any of Mr Beiber's music. From what I have read I believe I may be the only person in the English speaking world that hasn't.

Hooray for me!

REDTROOP said...

I always look forward to your winter photo's. It makes up for the lack of snow here in England.
Cheers.

Si Bath said...

That's a great picture Stokes and it has brought back my very happy memories of being in Germany as a bachelor and as a married man. There is something about Germany that draws me in.
Best wishes,
Simon

Michael Peterson said...

Such a lovely picture. I am making my first trip since childhood to Germany next summer, to a conference in Erfurt, which should be most enjoyable.
I too recall the horrible feeling of starting yet another first year Lit paper, usually beginning with a sentence like "No writer in human history has captured the creative spirit of genius like William Shakespeare ..." and knowing that at best it would rate a C- but had to waste another 25 minutes of my life on vague generalities that had little to do with the assigned question. Good luck with your own grading.
And yes, Justin Bieber is one of my people, and as we Canadians like to say, "Sorry."

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