TSM Geek Jul/Aug 2022

Hello! Yes, it has been a while since my last post, but I’m now in a position to get back to something approaching normality.

What’s been keeping me away? Well, a continuation of what I was talking about in my last Geek, the garden. Pressure was on to get it to a useable point for a family party we were hosting mid-August. By useable, I mean the gravel had to be down so it didn’t look such an eyesore and the ground wouldn’t turn into a swamp should it rain (fat chance of that as it happened!).

After my tiller went up in smoke, I had to break up the clay by hand and then flatten it out, lots of good old sweat and tears! I then put the first level of beds in and levelled the area for the shed base to go on. Next, I built some new steps up to our veranda. We’d never been happy with them coming off the side and wanted wider steps straight into the garden. The steps were easy enough to do, the handrail, however, caused me a few issues with getting the angles right and working out an order in how to assemble it – I’ve currently only done one side, just enough to keep everyone safe at the party, and I still have to box in the sides of the steps.

We then decided to put in an irrigation system, and it made sense to run the pipes underground, so I dug the trenches and laid pipes to each bed and a couple running to the rear of the garden ready for when we start that next year.

9-tons of gravel! I had put 2-days aside to move it from the front of the house and lay it, but actually, it only took me just over 6-hours, which I was well chuffed about!

It was then just a case of tidying things up, staining the decking, and, whilst things weren’t yet finished, we were at least ready for the party.

Still a bit to do in this half of the garden. The steps need finishing, the beds need raising another level and filling, and the shed needs to go up.

The party went really well, and a few days later we were off on a short vacation to Norfolk.

We headed back to Norfolk to show Yasmin where she was born and the places we took her when she was a wee bairn. I also wanted to revisit a few old haunts, namely RAF Coltishall’s heritage centre. We stayed in a lovely place called the Honingham Buck, just outside Norwich, and had a wonderful time.

The Honingham Buck

We visited the old RAF Coltishall site, most of which is now a prison, and popped into the heritage centre. It was a blast from the past bringing many happy memories back of my time on 6 Squadron there, working on the mighty Jaguar aircraft. The old Squadron hangar looked in a sad and sorry state, though there was work going on with the prospect of turning it into something useful again.

6 Squadron Coltishall
Happy memories – 6-Squadron’s old hangar, RAF Coltishall

After leaving the heritage centre we bimbled around the old married quarters, finding the house we used to live in and where Yasmin spent her first 10-months. We had many happy times at Colt, and we were glad we’d decided to revisit the place – Yasmin was intrigued to see it all, as she obviously had no recollection of it, and we filled her in with stories of our life there around the time she was born.

We filled the rest of the time with a day’s shopping in Norwich, a visit to Blickling Hall, and an evening at the seaside in Wells (complete with fish and chips of course!).

That brings me pretty much up to present day, with only a couple more things to mention before I move on to the geeky stuff. Yasmin got her exam results last week, AND SHE NAILED IT! She did really well and we’re mighty proud of her. After all the hard work she put in she deserved such good results. Well done, Yas!

The other thing has to do with me, or more precisely, my hands.

Mid-July, my hands started to ache, especially in the mornings, and I had problems gripping until they’d properly warmed up. I knew what the problem was, all that constant gripping of tools, both at work and to do the garden, had taken its toll, and being ambidextrous I was getting it in both hands, as I’m always swapping from one hand to another. However, I wanted to get the garden done, so I took some anti-inflammatories and cracked on.

By the start of August, it was at the point where I was getting finger lock. I couldn’t open all my fingers properly first thing in the morning, and when I finally could, they’d get so far then pop into place. Obviously, this restricted the things I could do. I couldn’t type for more than a few minutes at a time and using the mouse caused my little finger to lock! It also meant I couldn’t paint, which brings me to the distinct lack of geekiness that is about to follow…


Time has been the limiting factor here, but over the last week I have done something I never thought I’d do, I’ve let Yasmin play Gloomhaven!

Whenever I get a game out Yas will want to play, so my solo campaign hasn’t been advancing any and I so dearly wanted to play the game again. I made the decision to start afresh and peeled off all the stickers (I’d bought the reusable set as an addon), then reset the game as if the box had just been opened.

Yasmin chose to play the Spellweaver and Cragheart, and I went with the Tinkerer and Mindthief – I had decided that the Brute and Scoundrel would stay in retirement from my earlier games. We’re now on our sixth scenario and things have been going well. All characters have just reached level three and are starting to feel like a team, thought Lucifer, The Vermling Mindthief, is obviously out for himself!

We’ve had some down to the wire finishes, which I think has drawn Yasmin right into the game, especially when she pulled one win out of the bag for us all on her own, as my two characters were exhausted mid-game and I thought we’d had it for sure.

It’s been interesting so far, in that the game has progressed in a different direction to what I’d played before, and we’ve already played a couple of scenarios I’d never done before. We’ve also yet to pull a road or city event card that I’ve seen before, and it makes the game world feel huge and ever changing; it really is the closest game you’ll get to a full-on RPG.

Other than that, I’ve only played Magic The Gathering: Arena because I can play it on the iPad and sliding cards around doesn’t hurt my hands! I’m planning a few posts on this digital game, as I have to admit, I’m hooked, so more of that to come.


I completed Viper some time ago, when I first started having issues with my hands, and realised I couldn’t hope to do any more until things started to improve.


Since the party I’ve tried to steer clear of anything that involves holding tight or squeezing and things have slowly got a lot better. Last weekend I got out the airbrush and primed some of things I’d prepped, such as the Russian soldiers, some of the MoM characters, and half-dozen Walking Dead minis. I then had a go at painting Rita Young, one of Yasmin’s favourite MoM characters. Holding a brush doesn’t half make my hand ache, but I found that if I painted for ten minutes or so and then rested a bit, I could make some decent progress. Here she is so far; flesh and hair just need finishing.

Mansions of Madness - Rita Young

Screen Shot

We’ve been watching the Mission Impossible films. Surprisingly, Yasmin had no interest in them, so it was quite nice for me and Sue to back with a glass of wine or two and watch the movies on our own.

They’re all good, entertaining films, but the first two, I felt, do show their age, and the third is probably my favourite, I thought it was darker and grittier than the others. Fallout, the sixth film, had some really good cinematography that made us feel like we were right in the middle of the action and has made us want to see the upcoming seventh film at the cinema.

Between The Sheets

I’ve read next to nothing, maybe half a book, which I’ll talk about next time… if I finish it!

Hobby Aims Update

Well, these have gone down the pan haven’t they!

Here’s my progress on this year’s Hobby Aims. It isn’t looking good…

1. At least 70 posts – This is my 28’th, nowhere near where I expected to be at this point of the year. I’m going to have to go some to hit this target!

2. 10 Reviews – Three… Doh!

3. Complete my Mansions of Madness miniatures – I’m going to get close to this if I can up my painting, and it’s going to be my main focus for now as we want to play the game again soon.

4. 8 More MCP characters – Five down, three to go, but I still haven’t bought any more yet!

5. Paint and play – Bolt Action – Unfortunately, at least for me, no chance of this, though I’m hopeful in having at least a unit or two done by years end.

6. Finish painting my Scythe factions – Back seated this one, simply because we can still play the game with all the factions I have painted. So, one for next year methinks.

7. Paint at least three major pieces of scenery – Not likely to do this one now either, but you never know, I just need to pull my finger out… Ouch!

8. Paint one miniature to the best of my ability – Now this one I have made some progress on. I’ve prepped and primed a giant from Blacklist miniatures. It’s a nice figure that should push my skills, which is what I’m looking for. I doubt I’ll get it finished this year but just making progress will be enough for me.

9. Post at least three Battle Reports – Damn, this one is slipping by and it’s one I really want to hit as I want to get those ships on the table. More effort required on my half.

10. Assemble and play at least two games of Shadows of Brimstone by end of Feb – I can finally say I’ve played a game of SoB, and it was over far too quickly, as we got massacred by hordes of monsters. I want to play again before I put out my first thoughts, as we were bimbling through the rules and I think we were a tad unlucky in some of the cards that were drawn, which meant we were thrown in to the deep end for newbies to the game – it really didn’t end well!

11. More solo content – More content full stop required at the moment, lol!

12. Back a maximum of one crowdfunding project – Success… Not one backed so far, yippee!

So, that’s the last two months in a nutshell, a small, very dull nutshell!

However, things are looking up, as my hands are improving every day and typing this has caused me no bother at all, so I can start catching up. I have at least one, ‘One-year-on’ post that’s overdue and as well as a couple of painting posts I can turn out. I’ve just got to get back into the swing of things as far as sitting down and writing something is concerned.

I also need to catch up with what everyone else has been doing, it’s like I’ve been on a different planet for a couple of months.

Anyway, that’s it, let normal service resume!

19 thoughts on “TSM Geek Jul/Aug 2022

  1. Lovely looking house!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Faust.
      A lot of work has gone into it since we bought it, so it’s nice to hear comments like that🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Its good to see you’re doing well, me ol’ mucker! And that’s a nice cottage you’ve got there. When I visit the Black Country, I’m sure you’ll be happy to put me up 😉 It makes my condo look very modest indeed!

    The garden looks great and I can only imagine the hard work you put into it. Its a shame that it has made painting more difficult. I think you’re smart to focus on MoM a bit during this period as there is only so much you can do with those sculpts as it is anyway. Also, congrats to Yasmin as well. I remember how hard I studied to get into grad school and the reward of getting the result you want after a lot of work is satisfying to say the least. I hope you’re able to get more hobbying and gaming in next month!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Free board for the likes of you matey… just teach me a few painting tricks and I’ll treat you like royalty😉

      Lots of hard work, which I didn’t mind, but the need to get it to a point in a set time really ramped up the workload. Next year, we’re doing the other end but there won’t be any time pressure and I’m quite looking forward to getting it all done🤔

      I’m hoping to bang out the MoM characters in quick succession once I get back into the swing of things, as they’re simple enough things.
      I’ll pass your thanks on to Yasmin and she’ll say, ‘Who’s Jeff!’ But she’ll bask in the glory nevertheless, Lol! She studied really hard, with no prompting from us, so we’re really pleased that she got the grades she wanted. Goes to show, you get back what you put in.

      Looking forward to getting some games played and more painting in over the next few weeks, so all is now good in life, thanks🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha, sounds like a deal to me. I told my wife I want to go to England and I’m sure the Black Country and lots of painting will suit her just fine! 😉

        If Yasmin knows who I am then she either reads your website avidly or you’ve been talking about your regular commenters too much haha! 😀

        I look forward to seeing what you play and paint. Hopefully we get to see more regular updates out of you too!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Always welcome matey😃

        I wouldn’t say she reads it avidly but she does glance at it to check I’m giving her a fair hearing, Lol!

        I have to admit, it has been hard getting myself to sit down at the computer after a couple of months away and it would have been easy to have called it a day on the blogging. But now I’ve started the enthusiasm is flooding back, I’ve just got to get myself back into some sort of routine again.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha, that is a wise move! You seem like a natural writer to me so I suspect that you’ll get your writing routine back in no time 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The garden looks great Justin, and all your hard work shows. Sounds like you had a great time visiting your old haunt.
    Well done Yasmin, you should be very proud of your achievement.
    Great looking models, and hope your hands feel better soon, have you tried soaking them in warm salty water ? Also have you seen the Doc’s to get it checked out ?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Dave.
      Yes, had a great time back in Norfolk, amazing how much things have changed over the last 10-years or so.

      Yasmin has been beaming since she got her results and enrolled at 6-form college, and, I must admit, so have I!

      The hands are getting better every day, as I’ve been resting them, thanks, so things are looking up. I did try soaking them at first, but it made no difference. The only thing that really worked was anti-Inflam rub, which got me through the days. Doctors? I was pretty sure what the problem was and knew I just had to grin and bare it for a while. Things are much better now, but I’ll see how things go when I finish the handrail on the steps.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Quite a bit going on, Justin! Glad you enjoyed your break in Norfolk and congrats to Yasmin on her exam results! Sorry to hear about your hands, so here’s hoping everything improves so that you can get all those ships and Bolt Actions bits and pieces painted! Garden’s looking good, but if you painted some of it that would let you at least tick off something from your list! And a big cheer for the RAF as they did a pretty neat flypast for me on my birthday, although I’m more used to seeing them flying slower and higher (saw a couple of Typhoons while we were at the caravan)!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks John.
      I’m slowly edging my way back into painting and with the first batch of Russian infantry base coated with the airbrush they shouldn’t take too long.
      I did do a fair bit of staining on the decking, does that count?🙂
      Was that last weekend? It was Rhyl airshow, and we had a lots of bi-planes passing overhead on their way there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I reckon staining the decking counts! 🙂 I saw the Typhoons on a few occasions the week before last over the Pennines (we were at the caravan) so I assumed they were on training runs – it seems more usual to see Hawks, so it was nice to see Typhoons for a change!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The house is looking pretty bloody impressive, and congrats to Yasmin as well. Hope your hands continue to improve over time, even if they need more frequent res periods. Getting older certainly sucks in a lot of ways!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers Azazel.
      Yep, getting old sucks. If I continue at this rate it won’t matter how bad my hands are, as I wont be able to focus on a miniature close enough to paint! 😵‍💫🤣


  6. As I said someplace else: British architecture is really nice. I mean it.
    Viper is looking good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! Thanks Anthony.
      I’ll pat myself on the back, as most of what you can see was my design – the extension to the house and the garden😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well done! Seems really comfy as well. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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