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Showing posts from June, 2009

While the Grand Duchess is away. . .

The Grand Duke will play! Sonja is off visiting an archive today, so after a lazy morning with plenty of coffee, a large breakfast, and several hours of German news and culture on the radio ( auf Deutsch naturlich! ), I've managed to pull myself together to head out and run a few errands. First off is our local internet cafe, but the real point of the trip is to find a card and flowers for the Grand Duchess since tomorrow (June 24th) is our third anniversary. We already purchased a porcelain tea service for each other while we were in Bremen last week, but I want to have a few additional small things to brighten the apartment when Sonja returns home later this afternoon. Then, this evening, it's off to dinner with a few friends. Tomorrow, we'll pobably kick around Berlin, specifically the Kreuzburg area of the city where Sonja lived for about two years in the mid-90s when she was a graduate student, doing research for her doctoral dissertation. Thursday, I will visit B

Hello from Berlin!

The Grand Duchess asked if we could drop by an internet cafe after dinner this evening, so here I am, making an unexpected entry to the GD of S blog. Almost two weeks into my visit, and things have been great. We got back from our anniversary trip over to Bremen and L├╝beck earlier today. Neat to revisit both areas, but things have really changed in the 20 plus years since I was last in these two smaller cities. Among other sites of interest here in the Berlin area, we have also visited the old Spandau citadel on the outskirts of Berlin early on as well as Sans Soucci Palace and the extensive gounds around it in Potsdam, both of which were fascinating. On the figure front, The Holger Eriksson cavalry, mentioned in a previous post, are lovely, and the Garrison Prussian artillery crew were waiting on our kitchen table thanks to our landlady, Frau Grossmann, who picked them up at the past office while we were away last week. Equally wonderful miniatures there. I will take and uploa

Berlin or bust!!!

About this time tomorrow morning, I'll board the shuttle bus for the ride up to Chicago-O'Hare and this time Wednesday (Berlin time that is), I should be disembarking, collecting my baggage, and stumbling into waiting arms of the Grand Duchess, a weary, jet-lagged man. I'm taking a couple of P.G. Wodehouse novels ( Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves and one other title) to pass the time since I rarely sleep on long flights: O'Hare-Charles DeGaul-Tegel. The last few days have been fairly calm with bit of work on the wargaming book project that languished on the back burner during last fall and winter while I worked on that translation. Yes! I managed to write almost 2000 words yesterday afternoon, so another short part is almost done, barring some revision today. And the final twenty RSM Prussian fusiliers all have their tan undercoat and are awaiting their coat of white. Don't know if I'll actually get to any of that step before I hit the sack this evening, but we

The HE figures have arrived in Berlin!!!

The late Holger Eriksson with a few of his masterfully designed and executed figures. The Grand Duchess informed me in her e-mail this morning that the thirty Holger Eriksson cavalry and two Charles XII guns I ordered recently have arrived from Sweden. Hurrah! She received a notice in the mail yesterday and walked to the post office to retrieve the package. Later, Sonja opened it to check that everything was ok. Verdict? Everything passed with flying colors. Wow, talk about rapid service! So, that just leaves the Garrison Prussian artillery crew, which will be sent on or about the 9th or 10th of the month. I can't wait! It's very interesting, this whole notion of rapid, courteous service. All of the companies/retailers I have dealt with in the past three years, since beginning the Grand Duchy of Stollen project, have been great (Tom at GFI, Rich at RSM95, Peter at Spencer Smith, Rob at Garrison, and Peter at PB Toys, et al). The various miniatures I have purchased hav

Zum Stollenkeller is drying out!

. . . ok, maybe to quite to the extent of the Namibian Desert pictured above, but we're getting there. I've run and emptied the dehumidifier almost continuously since the water seeped into the basement a few days ago. The water has receded and the (luckily) cheap carpet is drying out little by little. The cooler, more arid weather has undoubtedly helped things out a little bit too. No unpleasant smell, so I think we're almost out of the woods, though whether I have time to set up my table again before I leave for Berlin next Tuesday is doubtful A number of little things to take care of between now and then, as is always the case before you leave town, but there you go. I did manage to do some painting for about two hours last night -- tan undercoats on those final 20 RSM Prussian fusiliers -- the final draft of Zichenau's 7th (Von Flickenhoffer's) Fusiliers . Later, I watched the DVD that arrived from NetFlix in the mail yesterday. "Beatniks" (1960

And now the drying out can begin!!!

Well, after rapidly gathering my soldiers back into their plastic tubs and taking the table down this morning, the several days of drying out can take place in the next room (grumble, grumble). As I mentioned yesterday, it really wasn't that tragic. There was never any standing water, and nothing was damaged, but the carpet was thoroughly soaked. Sopping wet might be a more apt term. So, I've taken it up off the concrete floor, emptied the dehumidifier, and restarted it. It ran all night long and was almost full this morning. When this happened early last fall, it took about five days for everything in that part of Zum Stollenkeller to dry out completely. Fortunately, the room where my office is and the central part of the basement, where my band keeps its equipment and practices, doesn't seem to take in water when we have really heavy rain. It just seems to be one corner of the furnace room and the room where my gaming table resides. I suppose it could be much w

Part of Zum Stollenkeller has been flooded!!!

Well, we've had a few hours of thunderstorms with heavy rain here in Central Illinois, and the room where my gaming table is has been flooded! Nothing approaching biblical proportions, but the cheap carpeting on the concrete floor is sopping wet. I've quickly cleared some things that were leaning against the walls, or sitting on the floor, out and set up the dehumidifier on "high" in there. But it looks like the table and figures will have to come down in the morning, to make a proper job of drying everything out. The main thing is to prevent the carpet from developing that tell-tale mildewy stench later. That means, of course, that the Saegewerkdorf game between Jeff Hudelson and me is doomed to a premature end I fear. I suppose we could look at it from an Old School point of view, kind of like one of Donald Featherstone's chance cards -- "Due to a sudden and protracted cloudburst, both armies retire from the field with no further fighting possible than