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Saturday, 25 October 2014

The empty Throne.

Yesterday I took a day off work, originally it was to allow me to prepare for a night on the drink and to attend a Paolo Nutini concert in Newcastle.
 Anyway by chance I discovered that Bernard Cornwell was doing a talk at the Harrogate Historical Book Fair, so I decided to get up early and drive down there for 09.00.
 Naturally the talk would be mainly about the release of his two latest books, Waterloo and The Empty Throne.                                   The Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate was mobbed by 09.00, and why would it not,considering how successful an author Bernard Cornwell is.
   I must admit I did enjoy the hour long talk, which covered not only some anecdotes from his early life as an adopted child, through his time in Northern Ireland during the troubles up until the current times. Mr Cornwell is a very good raconteur both verbally and with the written word.
 There was a Q.A session which was also interesting. My question regarding the Starbuck series was answered clearly and with no messing. There will be no more books in that series, purely because he cant face starting more research and because he recognises he is getting old. Mr Cornwell is 70.
 He has started the next part of the Alfred series and envisaged a series of 12 books in total.
 He also intends to write one more Sharpe book, going back to the late campaign in Spain circa 1813-1814.
He also talked of the BBC2 series that has started filming based on the Alfred series, and how he had no intention of reading the scripts or being on plot because he didnt want to spoil the whole event.
I cant wait for this series even though the director is the same guy that had done the Tudor series.
  During the early part of his talk he mentioned about the historical research he had to do regarding his books, and the realisation that he could not write a story and guarantee that it would be totally accurate. This was borne out by some helpful soul e mailing him to point out in the Arthur series that there were no Snowdrops in the Dark Age period! [I bet that person was a wargamer]
 Similarly during the question and answer session a voice piped up from the back with a question/observation regarding the Alfred series where Uthred nearly captured back his castle.
The questioner in a rather indignant voice wanted to know how Uthred had intended to gain entry through the inner gate of the castle, when he had no means of entry. Mr Cornwell carefully explained, and I must admit I was impressed with the authors depth of knowledge regarding his books that            Uthred knew the inner gate was never locked when he had bluffed his way through the outer gate, and would have succeed, if not for the guard dogs. One nil to the author.
 The incident took me back to a show many years ago where John and I were displaying the Battle Of Austerlitz in 6mm.
 We had made all the terrain especially for the game,painted up every unit that we knew had been there, and I had even been able to get made all the Russians in bicornes and early shakos. We even had our own lighting and a video playing of the battle, I dont think I could have done anymore.
 Until a skinny disheveled person piped up, ''I say I dont think there was any swans on the lakes behind the Pratzen Heights!'' Well of course he was correct in that the lakes were famously frozen over, but me being the anal wargamer I was then, thought that the swans may add some interest to the table for none wargaming persons, really a bit of artistic licence. It just shows you cant please everyone all the time.
  I still see that guy at various shows, and he is still the same knacker he was back then.
 Anyway I digress. So I got my Waterloo signed by Bernard Cornwell, shook his hand and thanked him for the pleasure he had given me. I would recommend that if he is in anyone's area giving a talk, go and see him, he was well worth the £11.00



9 comments:

  1. Glad you had a pleasant day.
    Have you read Barbero's book on 'Waterloo'? The best narrative on this battle I have ever read.

    I wonder who "Mr Knacker" is... :)

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    Replies
    1. I could say I am much to professional to name him. However I remember a couple of years after that incident he tipped up at a wargames show decked out as an 'officer' in some English Napoleonic regiment. The problem was he looked like a strong wind would have knocked him over, he also had the annoying habit of dragging his sword along the ground a la hussar! Twat!

      Delete
  2. 'Knacker', yep, know just who you mean!
    Dave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dave,
      I only hope he isnt a friend of yours. I have seen him at a number of wargames shows up here in the North East. Its a testimony to how tolerant we as a society have become, because there was a time he would have been carried to the toilets and had his head shoved down the loo, now theres a thought.

      Delete
  3. Nope, no friend of mine. as to the toilet thing I think we both know a certain shall we say, Old and Glorious fellow who wouldn't tolerate him for long, and quite right too!
    Dave.

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    Replies
    1. Dave I find a meaningful growl metioning that famous Russian General Ferkov usually has the effect I need. Look remember like most hobbies we suffer from the socially inept whose lives are so dismal that they can only get their jollies by being fatuous or nasty- it gives them a thrill of power in the otherwise dismal calender of hours.
      Have a little pity !!!

      Delete
    2. Morning Andy,
      I am impressed by your new found maturity, it is supposed to come with age.
      Personally pity is not the word that should be spent on certain people who unfortunately frequent wargaming. If it hadnt been wargaming they would have no doubt joined a political party where their strangeness would be seen as an asset. Personally all my wargaming life I have had a fear that one of the socially inept would somehow latch onto me and embarrass me at some social event. A bit like the looney on the bus does.

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    3. Robbie Pity- but only a very little I can think of several occaisons where I have mentioned aforesaid Russian General. or to aviode blokes in your one-time line of work coming to see me - have run a mile to save the little **** from actual physical injury. Mind you I probaly deal with more of em than you - see an olsd post Wonderful stories on my blog for a taster - it makes it easier when they hand over money though!
      Well finally new site should go live this week with luck !!!

      Delete
  4. Bernard Cornwall was on Desert Island discs a few years ago and you can still hear all these. Well worth a listen especially him talking about his early life and working in N Ireland. A friend who was involved in something called the Sharpe Appreciation Society v kindly got him to sign a book for me. Apparently he's a v decent bloke.

    Regards,
    Guy

    ReplyDelete

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating