You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that something has been amiss with me. My contribution to the wider Oldhammer community has been minimal and updates on this once seminal blog have slowed to an insignificant trickle. The reasons for this are manifold and need not be discussed here in any depth, beyond that the origins for these problems reside in that potent mix of professional and personal challenges. Oh, and the house move from hell dolloped on the top of it all too.
The brutal truth is thus: I have had no time nor yearning for anything Oldhammer. Nothing at all. In fact, nearly all of my collection was long ago packed into boxes along with my painting kit and put into storage. Continuing to collect was also an impossibility with limited (and in some weeks) no connection to the internet. Not that it bothered me. I had other mountains to climb, and none of them were made of lead.
Disinterest had gripped me anyway. Looking back, I think this was largely due to mental fatigue. With my creative energies being spent elsewhere, the last thing I wanted to do was excavate out my collection of Citadel and daub them despondently with paint. If you are anything like me, to produce work of a standard that is pleasing takes time and energy. Two things I have not had much of since March.
Despite the difficulties, life has this funny way of bringing you back, doesn't it? Some call this serendipity - a happy accident. And I can think of no better way of describing what happened to me yesterday as a happy accident. Not in a physical sense! Please don't envisage falling blocks of Regiments of Renown from passing aircraft or some mysterious stranger tapping my on the shoulder and pressing Sandra Prangle into my palm.
I was not injured in anyway.
As part of our attempts to move house, my wife and I have boxed up much of the contents of our house and selected which possessions are no longer viable. I have three huge boxes of Black Library books destined for a local charity shop alone! Junk, or broken items, have until recently been stacked in the back garden alongside the conservatory. My mission this weekend was to dispose of as much of this as I could at the local tip.
My wife drives one of those four wheel drive gas-guzzlers and the boot space can be extended considerably by removing the backseats. There was just enough space to shove in the contents of our junk pile and for me to still drive the vehicle legally. The short trip to the council recycling centre was uneventful, save for the odd encounter with a tottering Essex girl or two still reeling from Friday night. Parking alongside the household waste section, I set about gathering up our unwanted items and tipping them into the large, metal containers the council use to dispose of our rubbish.
Sadly, a great number of people deem this too much effort and abandon their waste alongside the containers. Perhaps the metallic steps are too much for their flabby legs? As I was walking to my car something familiar caught my eye. It was a font printed on a piece of aged paper that stirred some recollection in me. The paper stuck slightly out from a dusty looking book face down on a broken chest of drawers, fluttering slightly in the wind. Could it be? I thought. Surely, that isn't a font similar in style to something GW would have used in the 1980s?
I walked over and stared down at the purple book. Though covered in thick dust, it looked in great shape and clearly had not been exposed to the elements for very long. After all, it had rained in the night and the book had no protection from the weather at all. I brushed the dust off idly, curious to determine what it might be. Bright flower patterns were exposed as my fingers curled around the edges of the spine and I lifted the book into the light. Flipping the volume around I was astonished with what I had found in this place of decay and dust...
Incredibly, it was a near mint flyer/poster for Citadel Miniature's Summer Sale in 1986!
How this piece of history came to be abandoned inside a spiritual sex manual with optional moving parts is totally beyond me. But it made me smile from ear to ear. After a quick glance at the models displayed, I grew concerned that the paper might become damaged by the weather, so I carefully refolded it and placed it inside. My smile even broader.
"Like the dirty stuff, eh?" Came a strong, Norfolk voice. I looked up to see one of the refuse-workers, who run the recycling centre, guffawing at me, his eyes leering down at the image on the front cover. "Stuff like that puts lead in ya pencil!" he exclaimed further, his eyes bulging in appreciation of his mastery of comedy. "Feel free to keep it mate," he smiled. Walking off.
Forget lead in your pencil - I thought - a discovery like this puts lead back into your soul. Where it has always belonged. And always will.