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Brian Wolfe

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Everything posted by Brian Wolfe

  1. Great idea. I have used a ribbed boot tray with success in the past but this time I think the vegetation was wetter than normal and that was why I was surprised when the bag gave way. I try to time my weed pulling and shrub trimming to the weekend before the compost pickup on Tuesday, which is also every other week here where we live; in the case mentioned in the blog the bag had sat in the garage for an extra week, so I was totally to blame. The forum used to have a quite active "What's In Your Garden" section a few years ago which was interesting but seems to have run its course. Thanks for your comments. Regards Brian
  2. I Hate Gardening! Today, early in morning, I decided to get some long overdue gardening done. Specifically the removal of yucca bloom stems and young smoke trees growing where they are unwanted; they are a plague and I would not recommend them to anyone but the most dedicated gardener. I had a half filled garden waste bag that is of the type to be picked up by the garbage men for composting and decided to top that one off before starting new ones. It turned out that the stems of the yucca bloom spikes and the smoke trees had gotten too large for the small nippers so I went into the garage and retrieved the larger lobbers. So back to cutting up the heavy stems into small lengths that would fit the bag then using the nippers finishing off the flesher stems, placing both into the partially filled bag from earlier trimmings. The bag was pretty well filled to the recommended height so I decided to return it to the garage to await its transfer to the curb for pick up tomorrow morning. As I lifted the bag suddenly the weight was gone, nothing, no resistance to my arm muscles what-so-ever. A split second later I looked down to see a column of compressed vegetation the shape of the bag sitting there like some weird sculpture and me with the now paper bottomless cylinder still clutched in my hands. Within the next second gravity took over and the column disappeared leaving a pile of an indecipherable green mass of different species of weeds and leaves. The bottom of the bag, the "cul de sac" I suppose, had given way dumping its contents leaving me to relocate it into a new bag. OK, no need to call upon the wrath of Odin to fall upon all gardens, I just decided, for a change, to apply my favorite "stiff upper lip" British slogan from the War years, "Keep Calm and Carry On". Having finished with my retrieval of the detainees attempting an escape of their paper prison I proceeded to roll the lip of the full second bag in an attempt to close it somewhat. My efforts were met with a sudden ripping sound and upon looking down I saw that the end of a small branch, about the size of the lead pencil, had caused a rip to appear the width of the bag. Why we call them "lead" pencils is somewhat of a mystery as the rod in the middle of its wooden casing is actually graphite. There went my attempt to draw upon my British ancestry of stoicism and in its place language that would have made the roughest East End Londoner bush. In the end, I took a third bag and slipping it, much as if it were a boa constrictor, over the second bag top end in first making it ready for tomorrow's compost pick up. The surrounding elderly neighbours could heave a sigh of relief and were satisfied that they need not press the last number of 9-1-1 in order to call the proper authorities to deal with some demon possessed psychopath about to go on a rampage through everyone's flower gardens. Yes peace and tranquillity reigns supreme once again in our quiet little neighbourhood and the citizens, mind numbingly marking time until the end of their days, can sleep soundly in their beds this evening knowing that no one managed to summon Grendel; though history will argue that a serious attempt was made. As for me the rage has turned to the realization that I hate gardening and this afternoon I am going to the hardware store and purchase 50 gallons of the strongest vegetation killer I can find. Agent Orange, where are you when I need you! Bwahahaha. Regards Brian
  3. Hi Hashim, That is one beautiful medal indeed. Well done in finding one I can't begin to imagine how rare these must be. Thanks for sharing the image of your latest find, you made my day.. Regards Brian
  4. Hi Duncan, This could prove to be the most valuable information in the forum for some poor devil. Thanks for taking the time to alert us. Regards Brian
  5. Serious Problem Solved – For Now. It has been a while since I’ve written a blog and thought I should catch you up on News from the Home Office. I would like to first reference a couple of earlier blogs dealing with collecting, “Space: The Final Frontier” and “Why Collect – The Best Answer” as a lead-in to this entry. We discussed the problems of a collection outgrowing the space available and the reasons for collecting. Thanks goes out to Beau Newman for his comment under the blog, “Why Collect” and pointing out that collecting is a poor investment; a topic that ties well into what I am about to talk about. I don’t know about you but I used to have a habit, perhaps bad, depending on your point of view, where I would attend a show and not finding anything that I was looking for purchase something that “fit into the collection”. Let me explain. As an example when my main focus was British military medals and finding nothing new and exciting at a show I would purchase something like a brass tobacco/candy box that was given out to the troops in WWI at Christmas 1914; or another such box that was given out in 1900 to the troops in South Africa wishing them a Happy New Year during the Boer War. These are real examples but could have just as well been an artillery shell, bayonet or even an elephant goad or ankus. You’ve probably heard or even said yourself, “That would fit into the collection”. You can only do that so many times until people visiting your collection use the term “eclectic”, but not necessarily in the best way. The Victorians liked clutter, but organized clutter. Their dens and collection rooms were a menagerie of things natural and man-made and photos of such parlours demonstrates this well; just Google this under images to get the idea of what I mean. My wife insists I was born in the 1850s and never really left that era. I might agree with her in that my collection room and office are indeed a somewhat organized chaos, I like to say it is organized, or even selective, hording. Rest assured that I have read and researched the Victorian period and back as far as the George II era and have no delusions about wanting to have lived in those days. There are children back then that had lives so much harder than mine as to make my life seem like extreme luxury by comparison. Having said that, I see no issues with wanting to study what I will term as pre-Edwardian eras. My past addiction to making purchases that “fit in” started to fill my available space to beyond capacity. These I have often said were those, “What the Hell was I thinking?” purchases. I realised I needed to make a change in my thinking, a paradigm shift so-to-speak. To this end I called a couple of local antique dealers, pickers, if you will, to come over and see if there was anything that they might consider interesting enough to purchase. This is much like the television program “American Pickers” or the poorer cousin program “Canadian Pickers”. They come to your home and look through your collection and if something sparks their interest and is for sale they make an offer and after some negotiation a deal may made. If you have seen or even see re-runs of the program “Canadian Pickers” and are not Canadian please let me assure you that these two DO NOT exemplify what Canadians are like. Enough about them other than to say I do not respond well to rude and crude people! This initial purge of odds and ends rid the collection of the most unwanted items but still there existed too many collectables and themes to which I no longer desired to continue to add specimens. A couple of years past and I started to become very aware that I had to do something as the problem of space to house the collections simply had not been alleviated. Looking at options: Option One: Take over the guest room across the hall from the main collection room. That might work but where would the in-laws stay when they visited, solution: SOMEWHERE...ANY WHERE ELSE! That was starting to sound better and better all of the time (in my head). Of course that would also include our grandchildren as there would exist no spare room, so that was out of the question. Option 2: Sell off a sizeable portion of the collection. I almost threw up a little in my mouth just at the thoughts of this; however, as time went on and the problem just got worse (it never occurs to me to stop collecting) option 2 started to sound a lot more palatable. How to decide? Since the medals were housed in shallow drawers in several cabinets selling them off would not give me the needed wall space, especially considering that above each cabinet the wall space was already occupied. And that material is not up for consideration, for one reason or another. I thought about it and decided to apply something I had experienced years ago. Have you ever visited someone who lived in a house where the water contained an extreme amount of sulphur? If not allow me to say that it smells exactly like rotten eggs. I grew up on a farm so I have always assume everyone knows what rotten eggs smell like, the odour they add to natural gas smells like this. The people who live in houses where there is sulphur water get so used to it that washing in and drinking the water is no problem at all and they no longer actually detect the smell...they become “nose-blind”, to paraphrase a current television commercial for air freshener. We can also get so used to our surroundings that we no longer notice things like a messy garage or perhaps a storage room stuffed with odds and ends in boxes prompting us to keep that door closed for fear of a junk avalanche. Were there areas in the collection room where this applied; turns out that there was. The police headgear was the first to grab my attention. I really never looked at this display much anymore and usually when I did it was to dust off the hats and helmets. This was a good sized display and other than a few helmets that were gifts I felt I could part with them. On the opposite wall was another good sized display of modern firearms. I really like my British military musket collection (housed in another display that had originally been a wide closet and therefore has garnered the title of “The Musket Closet”. This display of modern weapons was situated in another former closet, a nine foot wide and 28 inch deep closet one of the many I had built in our daughters’ bedrooms, anticipating the day when they would hit their teen aged years and their wardrobes would explode, needing more space. While I dust, clean and re-wax my musket collection quite frequently I found that as time passed this became more of a chore when it came to the modern firearms. I called two dealers I have know for a long time, one who has several police collectors waiting for new items to become available through him and the other dealer who has a website and sells everything from muskets to land mines. I evaluated the two collections and decided on the price I would accept and made appointments for them to visit. I will admit that perhaps because I have known these two fellows for decades I was a bit “kind” with my expectations and both disagreed that I was too low on my estimates and offered well above my asking price. Perhaps they felt the same way toward me, being long term acquaintances, as this is a rare occurrence indeed when trying to sell to dealers. I finally had my space and lots of it. The office is now pretty much the police room with painted truncheons, tip-staves, headgear, lanterns and police swords. The collection room is now devoted mainly to Victorian and pre-Victorian items, after a small bit of renovation to the modern firearms area. Do I miss those items? No, not really, I think I was done with them and it was time they went to other collectors who would appreciate them a lot more. I have decided to let some medals and small odds and ends such as bayonets and police helmet badges go and will be setting up as a vendor at two different militaria shows in our area starting this fall. Of course one problem solved often results in a new issue. There were quite a few spaces to be filled in the new display area so some of the swords displayed will be “rotated out” as I upgrade and others are duplicates. OK, I’m really stretching things to call this a problem; perhaps a “happy results” to reducing the collection as a whole is more accurate. Collectors, like soldiers and police, are only happy when they are complaining. As to the idea of an investment, mentioned earlier. It is a poor investment concerning the return on the dollar, even when dealer/friends are involved. Here is something you will seldom here regarding “investing” in collectables. If we take $10,000.00 as a figure for example and invest that in true investments you will do better in the long run financially. However if one person, say you, takes that $10,000.00 and puts it in collectables and your neighbour spends his money on trips to some exotic locations then in ten or twenty years you both need a new roof on your house here’s the difference. You will be able to recoup at least a portion of your ten grand and after your roof has been repaired perhaps even be able to purchase some pots and pans to lend to your neighbour when it rains. If you want to use this angle the next time your hobby spending becomes an unwelcomed conversation between you and your spouse, just know that you are on your own. Your first mistake could have been taking my advice in the first place; my logic has a track record of being slightly flawed. Happy collecting. Regards Brian
  6. Hello Dave, I agree with Peter on the issue of the urban legend of "weighted" truncheons. A number of years ago, here on the forum, there was a proposed competition to produce a lead weighted truncheon using only hand tools. It was not too well received and I think I was the only one to complete the assignment. I was in contact with Mervyn through Skype quite frequently back then and we talked about the likelihood of such items being used in the UK and it was his opinion that this was never the case. Here in Canada the Ontario Provincial Police carried a weighted leather "sap" in the 1960s (?) but this was an issued item and not a modification of an existing piece of equipment. The sap was around 6 to 8 inches in length and fell out of use quite quickly, if memory serves me correctly. Good luck with the book. Regards Brian
  7. I have been told, by Ed Haynes a number of years ago, that once a soldier is awarded a medal he (or she) is expected that medal or the ribbon without the medal to appear on the medal bar by the time of the next parade. Apparently it takes time for the medal to arrive in the soldier's hands. I have several with what looks like medals missing when in fact is is a matter of just the ribbon there representing the medal itself. I suspect that the tailor's copies fill that regulation's need, providing the service person has the funds, which lower ranks probably lack. Regards Brian
  8. I would agree with 922F, this is probably a tailor's copy. The one I have is struck from silver, named and the detail is much more "crisp" especially the word "Territorial" on the medal's bar. Still a tailor's copy is not worthless in a collection at least until an original comes along. Regards Brian
  9. Hello Alan329, Welcome to the GMIC and a great collection as well by the way. Well done. Regards Brian
  10. Hi GrantRCanada, Thank you form your comment and the correction, it is appreciated. When I saw this post I had forgotten about making the original entry way back in 2012. Regards Brian
  11. Well done Dave, a very nice looking display. I'm in the process of trimming down my collection as well; I have pretty well run out of space. Thanks for sharing your pictures of your new den. Regards Brian
  12. Hello RGJDEE, Great photo of your grandfather and the stacked (proper term?) SMLEs. You've progressed to swords and especially cavalry sabres? I'd say you are going in the correct direction! 😉 Thanks for the comment. Regards Brian
  13. You certainly posted a sword that had me looking through my reference books. The "R" looks like an attempt to copy the first letter of the famous sword supplier, Runkel" of Solingen. Runkel wrote Solingen with a spiral start to the "S" which looks to have been attempted on your sword. The more I looked at my references the more I must agree with Peter. Possibly this was an attempt to "cash in" on the great need for swords during the Napoleonic War. During the Napoleonic campaigns Infantry Officers often equipped themselves with the Pattern 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre rather than the light weight spadroon normally carried. The Pattern 1803 Infantry Officers sword looks a lot like the 1796 Cavalry sabre. I have one that actually has the Cavalry blade with the Infantry hilt. I wonder if the original owner of this sword was one of those officers who wanted a sword more like the cavalry sabre but not the weight. He might have purchased a cheaper sword to use in the field keeping his 1796 Infantry Officers sword (spadroon) for dress occasions. I like this sword and I think there may be a great story behind it, if only we could find out what that was. Regards Brian
  14. Hello bolewts58 and mconrad, Thank you very much for your comments. Not being a real writer (I'm more of a conversationalist) I must think that, like a sports game from the day before, if there are no comments or disagreements about the game then it surely must have been a dud. Some people liked the acting and others the writing, so all in all it was a great series. We own all seven seasons and when season eight is out for sale we intend to binge watch it until our eyes bleed. That's my plan, I doubt my wife would agree, she being the brains of the household. Thanks again it is encouraging to see comments. Regards Brian
  15. OK, I've had time to do some reading and I can see how the history of the War of the Roses could very well have had a bearing on the writing for The Game of Thrones. However, I would like to hear the opinions of others. Regards Brian
  16. The Game of Thrones The Game of Thrones or How I Wasted 8 Years worth of Sunday evenings – and Enjoyed Every Minute. The television series “The Game of Thrones” (GOT) is ”all the buzz” at the moment, on the Internet and around office water coolers everywhere. I know as I constantly have to chase the staff back to their duties here at the Home Office. Just because I don’t pay them and they are not allowed outside...ever, should not give them the right to waste time. Ingrates! They should have read the small print. If you have not heard about the series, “The Game of Thrones” you are either hiding under a rock or have something actually important you would rather be doing then you might not understand much of this blog. When I think about it, how would that be different from most of my blogs? This series has had a longer run than the Seven Years War (easy math that even I can do) and has been compared with England’s War of the Roses. I really must read the full history of the War of the Roses as I’m not sure I can fully see the parallel but must let that go until I have a more informed knowledge of that conflict. I do have a question to all of the history buffs reading this and especially the British members of our forum. Wouldn’t the War of the Roses, in fact, be the first English Civil War? I won’t go into a condensed version of the GOT as that would be far too long even for one of my blogs. What you may not know is that somewhere around half a million viewers have signed an online petition (for all that’s worth) to have all of the current writers fired and the last season rewritten. I usually don’t make the type of comment I am about to make for fear of insulting a reader. This time, however, I must ask what sort of egotistical self-centered person with an over inflated sense of entitlement thinks GOT should be rewritten to suit whatever fantasy they may have. We must remember that the current writers have only 8 episodes to wrap up 7 years of plot lines and character building. One season to kill off the bad guys and finally see who will sit on the Iron Throne, that’s the one made out of partially melted swords. Man, would I like one of those for my collection room; it would go so well with what we call the “Death Chair”, a chair of which I am the 4th generation and 6th family member to own. But that’s another story, perhaps for Halloween. Speaking about subjects you might not want to know about. No! Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) why did you do that. I didn’t need to see that! It brought back the feelings I had when our daughter announced that that she was pregnant. Yes. I know how she got that way but I really didn’t want to shake the hand of my son-in-law and congratulate him for impregnating my little princess. Something much more sinister sprang to mind, “Have you ever sat in the Death Chair you little son-of-a-&*%$#?” Now back to the story. It could be that those unhappy with the eighth season simply don’t want to face the end of what has, in my opinion, been a great run. I can understand that emotion; however, it may be better to end it now rather than feel like is has been drawn out well past viewer interest tolerance. After all we are a fickle lot. It’s a bit like reading about the history of the Napoleonic Wars and being upset that the Battle of Waterloo ended too quickly. Sorry, but I don’t think anyone is about to rewrite the Napoleonic Wars and then stretch out the Battle of Waterloo just to suit some fans of the era and its history. We have to look at The Game of Thrones in the same way we look at a history documentary, the ending has been written and that is that. The only advantage we have is in knowing, after watching this series for the past 8 years that it will all end this evening, Sunday the 19th day of May, 2019. A day which will forever be known as the “End of The Game of Thrones Day”, a day where we can gather around the Iron Thrones that will have been erected in every town square around the world, wearing our GOT t-shirts while we try to hum the theme music in unison and at the same time trying to forget that scene with Arya and Gendry (Joe Dempsie). (Shudder), I need a drink. Regards Brian
  17. There is an interesting myth surrounding the design of the “dumb-bell” cross section blade. This is a myth that has been around from the very issuance of this pattern and has been held as fact by many sword collectors in the past. Unlike the scandal over inferior British blades, both sword and bayonet, of the mid 1800s this was not, to my knowledge, exaggerated by the media or politicians of the day to further their personal agendas. Rather than stumbling through a paraphrasing of the work of another I will quote the passage from John Wilkinson Latham’s book, British Military Swords, From 1800 To The Present Day, page 17, first published in the U.S.A. in 1967. “Whether the following story is true or not the author would not like to say, but it has been handed down from father to son and is one explanation of how such a blade came to be adopted. Both Wilkinson and Mole had been asked to submit patterns of a new hilt for the infantry sword and, commencing in 1890, various different designs were put forward by both companies. However, just presenting a sword guard by itself did not really show what the sword would in fact look like if completed with a grip and back piece. It was therefore the practice to mount these swords on dummy blades, the majority of which were rough rolled and ground. Eventually, in 1892, one of the above manufacturers – and there was no record of which it was – submitted a hilt which fulfilled all the requirements of the War Office specification. This hilt was mounted on a roughly finished blade which had not yet had its edge ground and was therefore dumb-bell shaped. The story goes on that approval was given not only to the hilt but of the complete sword, and thus a new pattern was born having a blade which in fact had no edge.” The idea that a sword Pattern would have been based on a gross error is, to my way of thinking, most doubtful indeed. To give full credit to Mr. Latham, he did state that he was not about to present this as a proven fact. Therefore this should probably be filed under the heading of mythology. I noticed that the section in his book containing this story had the number 7 denoting the notes at the end of the chapter. However, when I checked this I found the reference was to cavalry swords used by infantry officers at the outbreak of WWI. Given the drive by the British to develop a thrust-centric sword as far back as the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815) it is quite doubtful that this would finally come about by pure chance. Aussiesoldier, in his excellent post (see above), has given credit, and rightfully so, to Colonel G.M. Fox, Inspector of Physical Training at the Board of Education as being influential in the design of this sword. In support of what aussiesoldier has suggested I offer the following section from Brian Robinson’s book, Swords of the British Army, the revised edition, pages 164 & 165, published 2011. “It appears that the blade owed its design to Colonel Fox, the Chief Inspector of Physical Education Training at the Board of Education, who was later responsible for the design of the Pattern 1908 Cavalry sword and owed something to his fencing experience.” Anyone who has either participated in the sport of fencing or even watched such matches will attest that “giving point” or thrusting is used rather than cutting actions. I think this pretty well puts the old myth to bed once and for all, even though there is always room for a good story.. Regards Brian
  18. Hi aussiesoldier, Thanks for the submission it was most interesting. I was hoping others would join in on what I think a most interesting subject, thanks again. My example is marked to the 1st (Canadian) Hussars.Sorry for the poor quality photo. Regards Brian
  19. Thank you very much, that was greatly appreciated. Regards Brian
  20. Hello eurorders. Thanks for your comments and what beautiful reproductions. You are a very talented fellow indeed. I tend to stay in the area of less attractive archaeological specimen copies, such as the two mummies shown below. These are copies from photos of British museum specimens and represent the mummified remains of cats and hawks used as temple offerings in ancient Egypt. The wraps are on carved wooden bases and the wrapping style is as close as possible to the originals. I attempted to make the cat look as if the pitch and natron used on originals had seeped through the bandages. I was not all that pleased with the outcome even though it was pretty close to the originals. When I made the hawk mummy the wrappings were more complex and I didn't want to take away from their decorative looks so I simply artificially aged the bandages (as with the cat) and left it alone. I thought it was more pleasing to the eye. Keep up the good work and if you have any more I would like to see them. Thanks again, Regards Brian
  21. Hello eurorders, Thank you for your comment. I would have to agree with you completely. I like to reproduce different museum items for my own amusement and a friend of mine often assists me. We were talking about what we do and both agree that we, for the most part, lack the talent to develop, weapons for example, that are unique or fantasy items. We are pretty handy at reproducing what we see but the idea of developing items completely of our own design is beyond our skill base. I think the same thing holds true with fiction writing as compared with non-fiction. Personally, I simply lack that degree of imagination. I do hope others will weigh in on this point. Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog and respond. Regards Brian
  22. Congratulations on the new addition. This hobby is never dull, always something to challenge the collector's knowledge. Regards Brian
  23. Congratulation on an excellent addition to your collection, well done. Regards Brian
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