Tuesday 12 September 2023

Back from a Break and Going Commando

A Potters signature cappuccino - very nice with a shot of brandy as a boost! 

This will be a post of two parts - but not two posts! 

Laurel and I just got back from a three day all-inclusive break at the Potters Resort, Horton near Great Yarmouth. Essentially it could be best be described as a pimped long weekend. We had a lovely relaxing time - the weather was remarkable - and the main takeaway was that Laurel had overcome her reservations about staying away and longish car journeys. Due to her spinal surgery she has real problems with her left leg if it stays in the same position for any length of time as well as standing on it for more than around five minutes or so. The drive to the resort was around 105 miles which we split in two easily enough so she was relatively comfortable. 

The resort has a huge number of activities one can take part in - archery, bowls (indoor and out), wall climbing, crazy golf, pitch and putt, craft sessions, laser clay shooting, 10 pin bowling, darts, snooker, pool, swimming, segways, the gym, bingo, quizzes and a nightly entertainment program - mainly cut down West End shows but executed to a very high standard. The staff were helpful and friendly, the food OK (standard all-inclusive level) and the drink selection was expansive and included many premium brands which was a pleasant surprise and duly taken advantage of by yours truly….

A couple of the things we really appreciated was that you were assigned a table for the duration of your stay - ours was handily located for the entrance - and also that as well as the buffet option for meals there was also a selection available via waiter service, again very handy for us as Laurel is mindful of the space her wheelchair requires. She is quite manoeuvrable but prefers plenty of space around her. As an aside she became quite adept at freewheeeling down the entrance ramp that led into our accomodation!

It was a most welcome break and the first time we had been away (aside from a one night stay away last year about 10 miles away) since Laurel’s surgery. It was lovely and yes, we will go again at some point and will try out rather more of the activities (at least I will, Laurel has already said that the pool and the craft sessions work well enough for her!).

Going Commando

Brigadier Peter Young will need no introduction from any of the readers of this blog! Acquired courtesy of eBay for the total sun of £9 and with a very definite idea in mind….

By virtue of the fact that I am sitting on rather a lot of Britannia 20mm beret wearing British Commandoes  I have been indulging in one of my perennial flights of fancy and have opened a bit of a Pandora’s box of ideas. Naturally this led to a swift check of eBay for some, ahem, research material - the results of which you see above. You may recall that on the back of Eric’s Rapid Fire based WW2 collection I picked up a copy of the rules as well as checking out the Rapid Fire website which, even if Rapid Fire are not your thing, is well worth taking a look at if you are into WW2. I also joined the Rapid Fire Facebook group where I made the acquaintance of Don McHugh.

Don is a very knowledgable and helpful chap (as indeed are many within our gaming ‘band of brothers’) and in answer to my question about British Commandoes - my WW2 ‘special forces fix’ has tended to be paratroop related - he pointed me at the scenario you see below. This is available as a free download from the Rapid Fire site and is really good.

Lord Lovat, Peter Young, green and red berets - what’s not to like?

The action is largely infantry based and pits the British 1st Special Service Brigade (the S.S. Designation was soon dropped for obvious reasons) against a German infantry Division. No Tanks involved although a couple of SPAT vehicles made an appearance. 

It is a tempting undertaking although I have also been looking at the Special Service Brigades in action in the Adriatic and Italy. Special forces in WW2 are certainly something I have an interest in and with the figures I have my disposal would certainly make this a viable undertaking, due in part to the modest number of figures required.

Besides, exploring the wartime career of one my favourite wargame authors is never a bad thing!


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


It was great to read that both of you had a great break away from home. I’m sure that you will both feel the benefit over the coming weeks and months, and I’m sure that in particular, Laurel will gain greater confidence in her ability to cope with situations away from home.

There are so many different Commando operations that can be wargamed, from minor raids on the French coast (including rescuing a pedigree cow from Herm!) to full-scale raids like Dieppe and my favourite, St Nazaire. I’ve always wanted to wargame the latter … and it’s the sort of wargame that Eric would have fought.

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

It was lovely to get away and you are absolutely right about the confidence thing for Laurel - we are already thinking about a return trip!

I could well imagine Eric wanting to organise a St. Nazareth type game - no half measures for sure - and knowing him I reckon a pedigree cow would be included for good measure!

All the best,


nundanket said...

I am so relieved that the second half of the post was about special operations 😄

Glad the weekend was a great success for both of you.

Steve J. said...

Glad to hear you both had a lovely break and especially that Lauren felt OK being away. Neighbours of my Dad go there all the time as the wife is a wheelchair user and with very limited mobility. It just ticks all the boxes for them and for you two too by the sounds of it.

Commando raids never really piqued my interest for some reason. Maybe the lack of tanks might have something to do wtih it;)? However Commando magazine was entirely another matter!

David Crook said...

Hello there nundanket,

The weekend was really lovely and whilst we barely touched any of the activities on offer (that will be for next time - I quite fancy the archery and laser clay shooting) it was a great chance to R-E-L-A-X!

I am sure you are not alone in being relieved about the second part of the post… :-)

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Steve J,

It was a lovely break and certainly ticked all the boxes for Laurel - which was the main thing. I am sure we will visit again at some pint, I mean point…. :-)

The funny thing with Commando raids is that I always - rather naively - envisaged them as small scale skirmish style actions, which of course many of them were but the use of the Special Service Brigades was not something I had considered. An interesting area to explore methinks and certainly at a level that could be very rewarding from a gaming perspective.

Commando magazines were a childhood staple and I have often been tempted by some of the omnibus editions occasionally available!

All the best,


david in suffolk said...

Great news that the break went well! Sounds just the ticket. We have done a couple of short breaks in Great Yarmouth itself, and come to rather like the place - as well as the beach and resort, it still has some medieval city walls etc, lots of history.
I have 'Storm from the Sea' but was not aware of the biography - does it mention his wargaming activity? I suppose the Sealed Knot probably gets more attention, perhaps understandably. You will need to paint up a 'Peter Young' figure in your commando force..

David Crook said...

Hello there David in Suffolk,

It was a most welcome break although we did not venture out from the resort at all. We have been to Great Yarmouth in the past and will certainly make another trip there at some point.

I am reading through Storm from the Sea and must admit am enjoying it hugely! I will let you know about the biography (which is next) and I know it mentions the Sealed Knot so maybe Charge! Will get a mention.

On another note I shall be going through Eric’s vehicles over the weekend so will let you know what there is that may be useful.

All the best,