from Sue Laflin-Barker & Phil Barker

Hi everyone. First let us wish you all the very best for 2017.

It's been a fairly quiet year. With increasing age we seem to be slowing down and doing less, but we are keeping as busy as we can and our health is good for our ages (84 for Phil and 76 for Sue).

Early 2016 was frustrating. Nothing to do but wait while our partners in WRG found new printers and got the sets of rules back in print. We were delighted when this finally happened and later they added the Army Lists for the DBMM rules.

About this time, we had the HFG fiasco. Phil wanted the early version of HFG to be published as a visible record of what he had achieved so far. Sue tried to do this, but initially made the mistake of allowing an early version to go on sale before it was ready - a blunder which upset our partners in WRG and for which she is very sorry. However she persevered and the correct Version 1.1 is now in print and available. It joins DBR which was published last year. Later she also re-published Phil's "Rules for All-Arms Land Warfare" for both 1925-1950 and 1950-2000. These had previously been published (in 1988 & the 1990s) as two separate books and had been out-of-print for several years. This means that all Phil's earlier work is now back in print and exists as a record of what he has done. He still hopes to continue with his work - initially with HFG version 2.0 which he is working on when he is able to do so.

In April we attended the Society of Ancients Games Day when they re-fought the battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC. Phil had a part in a large DBMM re-fight while the Shrewsbury Wargames Society (of which Sue is a member) produced their DBA versions. As usual, the DBA rules produced a quick result, allowing more than one re-fight during the day while the other sets of rules took longer and some did not reach a conclusion in the time allowed. It was good to get out and meet old friends again.

Later in April we had a short holiday in Paignton, where we stayed at an hotel near the sea-front. Our excursions included a visit to Greenways (Agatha Christie's home which is now a museum and gardens) as well as river trips although the sea was too rough for the advertised sea-trips. The journey home by rail was unexpectly stressful because coach in which we had booked our seats was not in service and so we had to fit in where we could.

Sue has been scanning old versions of the WRG "Armies & Enemies" series to get them back in print. So far she has produced :-
"Armies & Enemies of Imperial Rome" by Phil
"Armies of the Dark Ages" by Ian Heath
"Armies of Feudal Europe" by Ian Heath
"Armies of the Macedonian & Punic Wars" by Duncan Head
"Armies of the Greek & Persian Wars" by Richard Nelson
"Warfleets of Antiquity" by Richard Nelson.
All these have been published by WRG Ltd and are available from their website.

Sue is still actively researching her family history and organised the annual Reunion for the Preen family in June. Since the next volume of the "History of the Preen Family" was not due until June 2017, this year's meeting had little new and dramatic to announce. However it was still a pleasant meeting and well attended.

Sue is playing an active part in the Coalbrookdale Women's Institute with a varietry of talks, craft workshops and an outing in August as well as running a stall at the Local Market in June and December. The Christmas Marker in December was a mistake - it was far too cold and dark for outside stalls and only a few hardy members turned up to run it. In future we shall restrict our participation to the Summer Market.

In July we went to the CONFERENCE OF WARGAMES at Knuston Hall. Sue had rashly volunteered to put on the plenary game on the Friday Night and had designed a game called "Collecting Relics". Each team represented a church or monastery who wished to collect additional relics for their saint and so make the church an important (and rich) place of pigrimage. To do so, they had to use scrabble tiles to make the name of the relic, which was then accepted or disllowed by the Pope & committee of cardinals. Scrabble tiles turned out to be in short supply and the game degenerated into an enjoyable riot. After this, Sue found the rest of the weekend a slight anti-climax.

At the end of July, Sue attended the Latin & Paleography Course at Keele and this turned out to be hard work - even harder than she had expected. She was out-of-practice having neglected her Latin earlier in the year and she resolved to do better when she returned home.

In September, we had a short trip to London to attend the CONNECTIONS-UK Conference. Here we met visitors from overseas and also many familiar faces from COW. We decided that in future we would probably only attend COW.

In October we travelled to Newcastle-on-Tyne for a one-day meeting of the Society for Name Studies and although we lacked the energy for the walk around Newcastle, we enjoyed the rest of the meeting.

Now we are all set for a quiet Christmas at home and then we are looking forward to the New Year. Phil has decided that at nearly 85, it may be about time to consider retiring, but may re-consider when he has finished hibernating. He is spending his timekeeping up with brexit politics and re-reading our large library of fiction (historical, SF & fantasy). He was struck by his observation that Celts in novels by American authors are always Irish and never Welsh, Scots of Gallic and that these authors think of horses as animated motorcycles and not big, friendly animals with their own individual personalities. Also in the 1960's SF novels, all computers are as big as a room or a house even though the novels are set in the far future and everyone smokes. Not a good prediction for even a mere 50 years into the future!

Page maintained by Susan Laflin-Barker, last updated December 2016