On the road to Warfare

Warfare takes place at the Rivermead Centre next weekend (22 and 23 November) in Reading, and it has been touch and go whether I will make it with Fighting 15s. It’s an important show – certainly one of the biggest of the wargaming year – and key because of its proximity to the festive season. It’s one of three wargames show each year where I feel I make money rather than break even. But for weeks I simply haven’t been sure whether I can commit to it because I feel I should be looking after J.

J., however, went back to hospital on Tuesday and I made the decision to go. I cleared a preparatory flying visit with Mike of Black Hat, who holds my show stock on the mainland, with the joint aim of restocking my crates and picking up an order of paints. I spent a day packing the replacement blisters.

Of course things never go to plan. J. turned up back at home on the Wednesday evening saying that the hospital now didn’t want her for another week, because they wanted her chest infection to clear up before the next bout of chemo. It’s lovely to have her back, but then all I could feel was guilt about my impending day up at Mike’s on the Friday.

And then Jimjams reminded me about school assessment day on Friday, and that I was supposed to accompany her for her interview. I could see my preparations for Warfare lying in tatters…

But it worked out. Jimjams’ interview was at the ungodly hour of 8.45am and lasted all of five minutes. F.-  the wonderful driver who has been taking Jimjams to school most days – offered to drive me to Cowes from school, with the result that I bought a ticket for the Redjet at 9.15am, caught the slightly late 9.15 boat, managed the connection to Southampton Central for a  train at 10am, and was at Mike’s by 11.30am. This is public transport at its slickest – just a 20 minute wait at Basingstoke for the connecting train to Woking.

After six weeks of doing all the cooking – J. and I usually share it – it was a delight to have Mike’s wife Sarah cook lunch. It’s worth all the travel not to have the chore!

And at 3pm I was off again, fully expecting the worst. But again public transport did its best, even the Island buses working so that I was home in west Wight at 6pm. In three hours I usually can’t get to Southampton General Hospital by exactly the same route…

Still, that means preparations for Warfare so far have been one day packing and one day travelling. I could of course be at home packing shop orders and catching up with the backlog. The show itself will take four days out of my schedule as I can’t travel up and back on the days of the show itself, so that’s six days spent on one wargames show. Plus there’s the hours over the coming week casting and packing advance orders for collection at the show. It amounts to a lot of work for less reward than selling over the internet and telephone, thanks largely to the show costs of stand hire and van hire.

And wargamers wonder why some traders don’t do many shows…

To ease my worries, Jimjams has house space with friends for the Warfare weekend – she doesn’t yet want to help daddy at shows. J. goes back to hospital on the Tuesday before Warfare. No doubt I can feel guilty about abandoning her for about a week without a visit. Still, it means plans for attending Warfare are still currently intact – but there is still a working week to go.

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