Over the last two weeks, no painting has been done... for the first time since my honeymoon last year, I believe!
Instead, I've been off gallivanting around Dorset (in England) and Snowdonia (in Wales) for a week each. Thoroughly frazzled due to all the sunshine we had, and very glad to come back to a rainy Teeside! Our car last weekend showed an outside temp of 40oC, and it must be the longest period of using suntan lotion I have every had in this country. Suffice to say on our last day (Thursday) it was overcast, cool and windy. We didn't put any lotion on and both got burnt!
Anyway - the visit to Dorset came about as my Mum and Step Dad, who are normally residents of Spain, are in the UK for the summer. As they are working/residing in Dorset, we decided to visit. Or to put it another way, when my mum mentioned a week before that there was a tank museum near by, my response was 'why do you think I'm coming to Dorset!'.
My long suffering wife and I spent a full day at the Tank Museum in Bovington, more or less from opening to closing time. I'd happily do the same again (though I'm not sure she would be so enthusiastic..).
Highlights were seeing up close some of the vehicles I have been painting and modelling, sitting in the turret of a Chieftain and getting to just wander round the vehicles on display. Of specific interest to me were the Buffalo and Shermans as well as the other allied vehicles - but the two types my Grandfather drove were really cool to see close up. I'm not afraid to admit that on visiting the memorial chapel and seeing his regimental cap badge I got a little lump in my throat.
As any good tread head would, I took a whole lot of pictures, which can be seen on my Facebook page here. Some of the ones with me (for scale purposes!) can be seen below, as well as the panoramic shots I took inside the turret of the Chieftain and in the Tiger hall.
We also went fossil hunting along the Dorset coast, and found a few bits and bobs.
I managed to fit in a visit to Entoyment in Poole - an impressive wargames shop, with a lot of variety. I picked up a few bits:
The Commandos I can use for my recce Brits/Poles - but importantly the pack contains a Piper and I needed another one. The objective cards sounded interesting and I wanted some lighter A/T guns for my Germans. I'll paint these up as Normandy guns and crew, and they should be fine.
I also picked up a Birthday pressie, which Amy paid for. It's now been taken off me till my brithday, but at least I know it's there:
I had a chance to pick up a few book in various book shops (and at the Tank Museum):
The Goodwood book is excellent, full of aerial recce pics taken during the fighting. I'm going to pick up the authors other stuff. Unfortunately it seems he died in a plane crash a few years ago.
As well as a souvenir from the Tank Museum:
And I managed to find a box of figures I've been looking for since last year - still in shrink wrap and for a reasonable price. The package was waiting on me when I got home:
During the quiet evenings, I had a chance to put together some models from the lead pile (taken only after permission for such light hobby activity had been obtained):
We also visited Tyneham village, which is in the middle of a MoD live fire range. My head was on a swivel checking out the range target vehicles! The village itself was interesting, but very sad. The people were given short notice in 1943 to evacuate as the area was required for training as part of the D-Day prep. They were never allowed back and the area is still a MoD Training area.
The other location I managed to visit was the Dorset and Devon Regimental museum in Dorchester. Very interesting museum - the the usual terrible lighting. I mainly took pics of the WW2 stuff, but again there is an album on my facebook page.
The last week we spent in Pennal, at the southern edge of Snowdonia. Not a huge amount around to interest me, although in the field next to our cottage was a suspicious (smallish) mound which I correctly guessed was a Motte and Bailey castle. A few fields away there was a Roman fort discovered and we found a memorial to the crew of a Wellington bomber that had crashed nearby in 1941.
The area was also under the 'Mach Loop' which is a RAF/NATO low level training area. While we heard jet engines constantly over the two weeks, I only managed to catch sight of some Hawks and some Eurofighters at low level. In Dorset I'd also spotted some Tornado's at low level as well - although I got to see lots of military vehicles on the back of low loaders down there as well - and had Challenger training tanks drive past in Bovington (making the whole car shake!)
So other than the military stuff, lots of shopping, ice cream shop hunting, picnics and spending time with family!