<![CDATA[Life... - Remembering...]]>Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:30:14 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Juni and Dick.... Part 2]]>Mon, 16 Nov 2015 22:09:49 GMThttp://zephyrcorpdreadball.weebly.com/remembering/juni-and-dick-part-2Well as the post underneath apparently announced itself on Facebook I trolled through and noticed that I had not ever posted part 2 of our story : How I eventually conned Juni into saying yes - so here, for anyone who is interested, is that very story...,

Part one - how we met is a few posts down.

An Aussie at the edge of the known world... Or how Juni said, “Yes!”
Whirlwind romance, possibly, if that's what you call going to work, going out afterwards and then going back to our shared house every day a whirlwind (no pesky marking or planning in the mid 80s folks). People at school thought we made a cute couple. Compared to the rest of the staff we were pretty normal, but that is another whole story in itself - worthy of its own book. Although, I am pretty sure no one would believe it.

About one week into my first term working they found asbestos in the school and after a rather lame attempt to get the staff to meet every day to discuss work we had 4 weeks 'working from home'.

Days were spent wandering London, laughing and joking and if I remember rightly numerous trips to the then popular, and very good, Taco Bells. I got to meet, and know, some of Juni's Aussie friends and get a first taste of good old Aussie culture (beer, wine and a bit more beer).

Our first Christmas was spent in a snowy London and Matlock (Derbyshire) with yearnings for the sunshine. But a dodgy cream cheese and onion sandwich put paid to our half -term planned trip to Southern France in quite a spectacular way.
Avert eyes for about five lines if you are squeamish.
For those readers who know Juni's penchant for finding fart and poo jokes hilarious beyond their worth you can imagine what she was like when the sandwich hit. It was my gurgling stomach, quick leap out of bed to sprint to the sanctuary of the loo, followed by what can only be described as a fart with a follow through that got her rolling around laughing and screaming... This followed by about twenty minutes ribbing and giggling until the same sandwich wrought the same vengeance on her! It did however exclude us from making the journey to Dover and the ferry the next day - the only trips made were upstairs to the loo!

We did manage a brief few days in a very cold and wet Newquay – Juni was very amused at my ‘hours’ in the raging, cold Fistral surf. Hilarity not due just to the fact from the car (you could almost park on the beach in those days) she couldn’t see ‘a bloody thing’ but rather to my ‘hours’ out in the overhead surf on a hired board and summer wetsuit being actually about eighteen minutes!

So, it was the Easter holidays until we managed to escape to Portugal; to a delightful (and, at the time, unknown to Brits on the whole) couple of beaches at Sagres. We had become basically inseparable by this time, much to the amusement and actual disbelief of most of Juni's friends. Arriving at Sagres by bus we were met by a line of old ladies enticing us to use their B&B. This was how it was done pre internet you youngies... You turned up somewhere and followed the person who looked the nicest!

We definitely came up trumps... Over the next couple of weeks we became part of the old lady’s family. So much so that when we left for three days but went back she actually vacated her room for us as the 'guest room' was taken for a night! Mornings were spent on the beach, either the Atlantic side if there was surf or round the point in the beginnings of the med if there wasn’t. Afternoon sea breezes meant walks along the numerous points there or trips further afield.

It was on one of these walks to the furthest point of the European mainland that it happened. The Portuguese adventurers called it the edge of the known world – as in those times it was, at least as far as the Europeans were concerned. I remember it was a very hot, very long and very windy walk to the point. But as always we were happy, walking along holding hands and laughing (life was easy and happy in those days I suppose) and it didn’t matter about the heat or near dehydration. We got to the end and it did indeed feel like the end of the world as we stared over the seemingly endless ocean.

Now, I must admit that I had by this time taken to proposing to Juni every so often when it felt right – although at no time did she ever say no (although due to her experience of her parents’ marriage it was not something she ‘ever’ wanted to do) these attempts were met with a slap and a laugh/look. But the end of the world seemed like a good place to me so I leapt (yeh I was fit and thin enough to do it in those days) onto the wall at the edge of the world (incidentally I also discovered mid landing that health and safety was different in Portugal and indeed the chest high wall was 'at the end of the world' and on top of a very, very high cliff – but hey that added to the romance surely) and proclaimed my love to Juni (and the group of bemused German tourists) leapt off onto one knee and asked her to marry me.

I was ready to roll away sideways to avoid the oncoming slap and then almost fell over in shock when the words,
“ OK Cobba,” and a laugh came at me instead. I’d like to say I jumped up and embraced her to the cheers of the before mentioned German tourists – but I can’t. In fact I remember being confused and actually asking,
“Are you sure duck?”

So there you have it, how a Sheila eventually said, “Yes.” ]]>
<![CDATA[The Cure... but really there isn't one.]]>Mon, 16 Nov 2015 19:21:37 GMThttp://zephyrcorpdreadball.weebly.com/remembering/the-cure-but-really-there-isnt-onePicture
Coming up to 28 months... I'm sure some numerologist would have a field day, our anniversary was the 28th, we met on the 28th, the final day was the 28th etc etc. But as anyone who knows me knows it holds little store with my skeptical brain; but still a good leader one feels. See, that is a classic case of avoidance/distraction behaviour going on and believe me I have got really good at that in the last 28 months, real, real good. 

Anyway, this wasn't to be a morbid post, that would be too easy and far too unconstructive - plus no one gets to read these anyway so from a cathartic point of view there would be little point, I have my own psyche for that crap. Juni and I always talked about having a song. She was far more into music than I was. My taste is probably the epitome of eclectic (or weird some people say) raging from Hawkwind, Led Zep, AC/DC through B52s and surf music to PIL and Green Day (and other punk and pop punk) all the way out to Jack Johnson with a bit of everything in between (Seasick Steve anyone?)... Juni's was more organised in a way and heavily revolving around Paul Weller and mod type music, with the Cure thrown in for good measure (early 80's you could add U2 and Aussie Rock like Midnight Oil). So, finding 'a song' looked like it would be hard... But really it wasn't, this is what was always playing at soppy times:
"Lovesong"  - THE CURE 1989

Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again

Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am young again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am fun again

However far away
I will always love you
However long I stay
I will always love you
Whatever words I say
I will always love you
I will always love you

Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am free again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am clean again

However far away
I will always love you
However long I stay
I will always love you
Whatever words I say
I will always love you
I will always love you

Along with Jack Johnson's 'Better Together' this is the song which will always, always be OUR SONG !

Click here to listen - fucking weird video though !

<![CDATA[Two years...two long, hard years.]]>Tue, 04 Aug 2015 10:53:40 GMThttp://zephyrcorpdreadball.weebly.com/remembering/two-yearstwo-long-hard-yearsWhat can I write really? I've grown to hate August, which is bad considering I am off work for all of it. I was right in my last post however, things have changed little. It's hard to imagine they ever will - still looking back and wondering if I could have done things differently to help, still pissed about the petty little arguments and things that made me annoyed which, when looking back on them, were an absolute joke. Wasting precious time with people you love by being annoyed is just a waste of precious time - which would be my one bit of advice for any poor soul who is actually reading this. 

Life is still basically in limbo - playing games, surfing, paddling and skating seem to be the only outlet to get my mind of 'things'. Weird really... Can't face doing stuff we used to do together, which means a lot of old friends now never see or hear from me, which is a source of chagrin. But not one I am brave enough to do anything about really. 

So not much to report really...]]>
<![CDATA[Eighteen months...]]>Sun, 15 Mar 2015 12:51:57 GMThttp://zephyrcorpdreadball.weebly.com/remembering/eighteen-monthsI'd like to say it had got easier but then I don't like lying without a good reason! It's a weird old thing this extended grieving. Moments of grief and tears when songs, adverts and 'issues' appear on TV or the radio are interspersed with moments of happiness and contentment (often surf or game related) and laughter (with family and friends) which then leads bizarrely to utter feelings of guilt. That's the one I am finding hardest to deal with to be honest, there really should be no guilt when life seems normal - but there is. Certainly if any form of afterlife/presence was a reality it would probably be the last thing Juni would want, but still, it is there. But I think that slowly it could be balancing out.

Tasmania at Christmas was hard - very hard. I spent a lot of time in the water and while that in itself is probably not a shock it was for different reasons. It was easier than going back up to the shack and having no one there to share the waves with or be happy that it meant I would then happily spend a few hours doing chores... In the end though it is the only place I really feel happy I think, even if the memories are so strong there, maybe that's why.

The absolute weirdest, most crass thing, and one I feel angry and appalled at, is some peoples insistence that it is natural (and that I should) move on ... Questions about 'have you met anyone else' or 'oh I have a friend you should meet' (even done by my mother in law who spent a week trying to get me to meet some widow from her French club) have quite rightly been met with a firm 'Fuck you...' (don't panic, in my mother in laws case I said 'stop it'). It annoyed me enough when people did it after Joey our dog died but REALLY suggesting it for Juni. Why would I even want to for fucks sake?  Anyway enough on that one.  

I don't expect people to read this - if you are, I apologise its supposed to just be cathartic for me, not sure if it is but I suspect it may be slightly. Again I think it highlights just how alone we really are, one can be surrounded by people and friends but when it boils down to it perhaps it is one major person and 2-4 semi-major ones. Outside of that its people you know and would probably not really care if you didn't see again (if absolute truth be known). OR maybe I am, as I have often suspected, just a socio-path. 

Still can't face sorting stuff out like our wardrobe or the garden - here I find the old ostrich urban myth is my friend; ignore it for long enough and it may go away. I have the girls to keep me going of course - forays into thinking what I would do I didn't have them usually are not a path worth going down.

So eighteen months, a disturbance in the force every Friday 13th or the 28th and a kind of limbo effect at other times. Check in in another six maybe... I suspect things will not be much different. ]]>
<![CDATA[A Year Gone By...]]>Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:03:06 GMThttp://zephyrcorpdreadball.weebly.com/remembering/a-year-gone-byPicture
Very nearly a year has gone by, the longest year I have ever known, a year of my life I have hated with a vengeance. I don't think anything can prepare anyone for the experiences that have occurred, no words, no advice, no actions, no nothing. 

Knowing how and why I have felt what I have hasn't helped at all, in fact probably the opposite and has been annoying in the extreme when people have tried to pass on some sort of TV counselling wisdom, telling me how to feel. 

Grief, that's a strange conceptual word for the feelings of wanting revenge (who against I don't know but the feelings are there - maybe the world in general), crying ten times a day, the feelings of 'can't be arsed' about anything. But in the end those are the obvious feelings; the one that crept up and has whacked me in the head with a sucker punch is the feeling of utter loneliness. It's easy to say. "How can you be lonely?" and on the face of it I would have agreed - a year ago. I've got my lovely daughters, some friends who keep an eye out on me, some friends who are pro-active and a lot of peripheral friends who help take my mind away by what we do together (play games, surf, skate or whatever). 

Not really the picture of loneliness maybe...  But then there are the times when I can't say the stupid things I was so used to saying, brilliant discussions about utter crap which one would never discuss in company, moaning about work at the end of the day and getting a hug for it all. Having no one to turn to and just waffle on about nothing during a stroll along the water front - that's loneliness and I suspect it isn't going to go away, and in a sense why would I want it to. 

I have always considered the saying, 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' has some fundamental flaws to its logic and this year has certainly shown a lot of flaws and not much logic. Why is it people always say. 'It will get better in time' - How? How will it get better, and don't start me on the god crap that some people feel the need to impart on a regular basis. See anger, it's still there lurking under the surface. I just wish that some time in the last year someone would have said, 
"Shit mate, it's never going to get better, never, you'll never feel really happy again - live with it." 
Because that's the advice someone really needs, non of the attempted feel good discussions, non of the magazine psychiatry bullshit, no medicine, no herbs - just the advice that it's shit so live with it. 

So... What have I learnt in the last year, not a lot at all really. Maybe that a lot of friends are not really friends (although we all probably know that anyway), sympathy is only a shield (what they really mean is 'thank fuck it isn't me' ) in 95% of cases, a conditioned displacement activity. What I have learnt is how right all the numerous adages and mottos extolling the fact that, apart from loved ones, shit all matters except what you are doing at that moment actually are... Juni and I never got to do the things we wanted to do but were leaving for later (for whatever reason we justified leaving them) so my one bit of advice, if you have managed to read this drivel thus far, is do not let happen to you. Because you never know when you will be lonely, and then it will be too late. 

<![CDATA[An Aussie Abroad... Or how I met Juni]]>Sat, 05 Oct 2013 21:01:28 GMThttp://zephyrcorpdreadball.weebly.com/remembering/an-aussie-abroad-or-how-i-met-juniPeople often ask me how I met my beloved Juni, possibly imagining it was across some sunset licked tropical beach as salty water dripped off my (at the time not old and fat) body as I returned from a surf. Possibly the one part of the story which doesn't have a fairy tale feeling I am afraid the truth is nothing as exotic. In was in fact across a very crowded school hall which had been pressed into service as a classroom for a very overcrowded school in the East End of London.

But let us backtrack a little to find out exactly what had bought a Northern Boy from the sticks and a world traipsing Aussie 'chick' (I only dare write that as I can't be physically slapped around the head) to the 'Little Bangladesh' which was Whitechapel in 1984. Once the haunt of Jack the Ripper, then a Jewish refugee stronghold (the bagel shop around the corner from school was frequented by us both daily), the area was now home to a quickly growing community of Bengali families. I'd finished my Psychology degree the year before and lacking the funds to continue with a suggested path to a PhD I had spent the year doing a PGCE in Multicultural Education at Bradford Uni. With a tremendous effort to overcome my natural inability to learn any language I could speak fairly good Urdu at the time. It is an indictment of the Greater London Council therefore that they managed to send me to a school where the kids did not speak any Urdu... But maybe the force had other things in mind. Juni (or Julie, or Juuli depending on how you knew her) on the other hand had fallen into a teaching job at the school on her standard Aussie 'work your way around the world' trip where she had just arrived from a stint teaching for the Royal Family in Nepal. So back to the story...

I was wandering around the school having a look at my new, and first real, place of employment. Like it was only just yesterday I remember pulling open the heavy blue door (which on a side note was found shortly found to have asbestos lining and kept us out of school for the first nine weeks of my career) and hearing that ever so familiar laughter ringing out over the hall and a curly haired (80's meant perms remember) vision sitting on the edge of a table thronged by adoring Year One kiddies. Seriously; and I didn't imagine this as Juni was to relay the tale in exactly the same fashion many times in the years to come; our eyes met and locked over the organised chaos. I didn't get any further on my look round.

We chatted, I helped out in the classroom, we chatted and eventually break came when we adjourned to the staff-room where apparently, according to peoples' reports later, we sat, chatted and laughed basically oblivious to the world. I think this went on for the next few days as I supposedly got paid for getting a feel of the school and in reality just spent the time in Year One! It was the end of Summer term and in those days that meant there was not really a lot going on, apart from practicing for the staff panto and getting supplies in for the school staff party.

Now according to popular legend, or at least what Juni's friends said afterwards, there was already a lot of talk about the 'chemistry' going on between us. Like normal I was about a year behind in all this feelings malarkey and was just going with the flow; the flow being I had found someone I really liked. Never really considered that we were not destined to be together – naivety, arrogance or hippiness you are free to take your pick. I had not been to a staff party before but suspected that it was not going to be what you would imagine the parents wished for in the people who were responsible for looking after their wards. This suspicion was mainly formulated with the experience of my only other outing with teachers. Previously I had been invited on a staff only evening out at the school I did my final teaching practice at. We were asked to leave a restaurant and then a pub! Quite an eye opener for a goody two shoes from the sticks! So I was prepared, sort of. Apparently half way through the evening I put my hand on Juni's knee for longer than just being 'friendly' dictates. Again this was all news to me, I was just going with the flow. This is not the time or place to go on about what happened at the party (mainly after we had left I might add) but lets just say one of the local lunch time supervisors opened fire with their hosepipe onto a 'rocking' and steamy mini parked outside their house belonging to one of the more liberal teachers and a male Australian relief teacher.

I wasn't drunk, Juni was (as would be the scenario all of our time together, as Juni says she only saw me drunk once – I don't like it) but by the time we had walked around Whitechapel talking; in those days it was safe to do such a thing late at night; we had missed the tubes and ended up going back to one of the other teacher's shared house. School the next day was a funny old affair as only about ¾ of the staff made it in at all and ½ of those were very the worse for wear. By then I suppose Juni and I were an 'item' or at least an item of gossip anyway. I spent another day at the house I was staying at before taking around a bagful of shopping to make Juni a curry. Wine in the afternoon meant the curry idea was dispensed with and instead I cooked the, what was to become the infamous, Haunted House Spaghetti Shapes on toast! From that evening I didn't actually ever move out! We were both doing the school 'Holiday Reading Scheme' for two weeks and I suppose this was the start of us becoming inseparable...It was to be about 7 years later until we actually spent a night apart which didn't involve a maternity ward.

After the reading scheme Juni was going Euro-railing and meeting up with Helen, an Australian friend (who lived in Newcastle with Susan her partner; we stayed with them on our arrival in Oz but lost track of them as it was pre social media times) and as I was still getting free rail travel courtesy of my Dad working on the railway all his life I decided to go with her for a week, until they were due to meet up. We carried on having a ball together mainly in France if I remember rightly, I'd turned Juni veggie by this time and it was a challenge in those days, French onion tarts figured highly. But I remember as the week went on we were both feeling sad as the day to meet Helen in Germany (and therefore for me to go home) grew ever closer. The appointed meeting day came and went – no Helen. Again, and this is hard for you younger readers to realise, with no mobile networks and the internet still being science fiction, there was no way of contacting Helen to find out what had happened. We hung around for a couple of days, both being secretly happy I suspect and then Juni said she didn't want to travel by herself! Trouble is we had enough money to last one person three weeks not two as I was planning on going back and this was before cash cards could be used overseas. Budding love over-ruled common sense however and we decided to carry on until we ran out of cash.

So three weeks of evening wine, tins of lentils (and their associated after effects), Roman ruins and fairy tale castles ensued. We stayed in a castle (not as idyllic as it sounds), got bitten by bed bugs in what was then Yugoslavia, thrown off a train at gun point (long story which involved a copper banging hard on the loo door where Juni had asked me to stand guard while she washed as there were lots of leery dodgy blokes – apparently disarming an armed Yugoslavian copper is not the done thing, even if by accident), laughed at the concrete 'beaches' in Spit, farted a lot in Meersburg and had Juni laughing raucously out load every time we heard, said or saw the name Tittisee. It was in Germany where we had to catch the next train back to France to make sure that Juni got back to England before the pass ran out. Running onto the platform we dived on the train laughing, only to find out it was the wrong train. It was during the three hour wait at some random train station where Juni said if we survived this holiday we could survive anything – I took that as a sign and proposed, on one knee on a concrete station in the middle of Germany. She laughed, but didn't say no.

The rest, as they say is history – or at least chapter two, if anyone is interested.  

<![CDATA[Farewell to my dearest...]]>Thu, 12 Sep 2013 19:34:00 GMThttp://zephyrcorpdreadball.weebly.com/remembering/farewell-to-my-dearestPicture
For those people who would have liked to have been with us tomorrow but for whatever reason can not be here is the service for my dearest wife whom I am still not sure how I am going to do without....

I wanted to do the service myself; crazy idea maybe but hey, what do you expect...

Entry Music – Wildwood by Paul Weller

High tide - mid afternoon
People fly by in the traffics boom
Knowing - where you're blowing
Getting to where you should be going.
Don't let them get you down
Making you feel guilty about
Golden rain bring you riches
All the good things - you deserve now.

Climbing forever trying
Find your way out - of the wild wild wood
Now there's no justice
There's only yourself - that you can trust in
And I said - high tide mid afternoon
People fly by in the traffics boom
Knowing - just where you're blowing
Getting to where you should be going.

Day by day your world fades away
Waiting to feel - all the dreams that say
Golden rain will bring you riches
All the good things - you deserve now - and I say
Climbing forever trying
Find your way out - of the wild wild wood

Welcome, it is good to see you all; thank you for coming to this celebration of the awesome person that was Juni. This morning we look back in happiness and love... (please be seated)

Opening Words
My dearest was loved by so many people; many of whom are here today, including of course our two beautiful daughters; Khally and Keshia. But because of the 11000 miles separating us many friends can not be with us but have sent word that they are using this time to raise a glass in memory and join us in spirit.

Juni was born in 1960 in Tasmania, a wonderful little island nestled under mainland Australia. An island she realised she was more and more fond of as the years went by. Daphne, her mother is from England, travelling out to Australasia after the war. Juni's father, Kalju (and I can still hear her admonishing my Derbyshire accent's inability to say the vowel sounds correctly) was a refugee from Estonia who had to flee the Russians after the war. The coming together of two cultures on a distant continent was to meld Juni into the wonderful person she was. Juni has a younger brother Tony whom I had the pleasure to get to know once we were married, I spare a thought for Daphne and Tony who were unable to make the trip over but who are at this moment thinking of Juni.

Also hailing from Tassie is the Speed family, Juni's other household when she was growing up and part of our 'extended family'. Juni was so lucky to have Anne and 'Wick' in her life as she grew up and I have heard countless stories of Juni's teenage exploits with Tamara and her brother Anthony. The girls and I are lucky the Speeds have accepted us into their family as well and while Tam is able to be here with us I send a thought out to Anne, Anthony and his partner Paul who are joining us in spirit from the land down under.

Juni came to England in the 1980's on her 'traditional' Aussie work one's way around the world spreading the love of Vegemite trip. She was working at the first school I got a job at in the mid eighties. Corny as it sounds it was 'love at first sight' and after I put my hand on her knee at a school staff party we never looked back. Indeed from that night onwards I didn't move out, and we were engaged a crazily short amount of time after. Since that point we have had a continent hopping lifestyle, dragging our two daughters (and now Tom) as well as our other family member 'Joey' the dog, behind us. One UK based constant in all this has been Juni's dear friend Liz who had to put up with sharing a house with us (and baby Khally) for quite some while and then even more amazingly wanted to keep on seeing us after we moved out!

But it wasn't all about traipsing over the globe, family and surfboards (Juni did put up with a LOT in this regard) in tow. Juni was a dedicated teacher for all of her adult life and she made a difference to hundreds of people's lives in Australia, Asia and England - both students and working colleagues alike. She was always seen to be 'strict but fair', but for any class and TA lucky enough to have her as their teacher they always remember her as 'fun'. I know she passed this ethos on to the younger teachers whom she helped as they embarked on their teaching career. Many became part of our extended family also (I often feel I have an extra four daughters/sisters) and I tried my hardest to put the balance back in the force of the universe by showing them you don't HAVE to work all hours; but ultimately I suspect I failed.

Juni loved creating things, whether it was a new lesson, a new part of her garden, her jewellery, knit-wear, drawing, or making quilts; she always had a multitude of projects on the go and it is lovely to think these Juni creations are living on around the world. She loved cooking and creating in the kitchen and while this was somewhat lost on someone whose favourite meal is beans on toast (she forgave me in the end) many people have benefited from her advice and actual food over the years, not the least of which of course are Khally and Keshia. On the subject of food, Juni has been veggie since the 80's and this was linked to her love of animals and nature (so long as it stayed in its rightful spot when it came to creepy crawlies). Water has always figured highly in our family's life, Juni was never happier than when she was next to the water, whether this was the sea, river or even the canal which she grew to love during the splendid times we had with our dear friend Chris and her hubby Peter (and Winston the dog of course) up in Audlem. Obviously though the sea figured highly and while I could never get her into the surf with me unless the water was as warm as a bath Juni would spend hours watching the waves, something made easier when at her family 'cottage' on Park Beach. If she couldn't be near the water Juni wanted to be in her garden, a wild natural looking place which in fact was meticulously planned out and packed full of native plants and flowers which left hardly a month without something happening. Juni was the first to offer to help people with there gardens, again often taking me along as the hired muscle.

Juni could spend hours wandering around old houses and castles imagining what had gone on. Luckily I could often outsource the accompanying duties to Khally and Liz while playing the part of the obedient chauffeur who wouldn't admit that they often found it intriguing too. However, I am sure while she was imagining some romantic encounter between lovers torn apart by custom or family I was imagining some sword wielding scoundrel fighting off the local minions. People often seem to use Juni and I as a prime example of how opposites attract; I see us as being a prime example of how soul mates attract...
Juni loved all kinds of music and fashion as the shelves of records and cds as well as the wardrobes of retro clothes can attest to. Anyone who has been present during our karaoke sessions will have vivid memories of Juni's renditions of songs, so good that they hopefully drown any memories they may have of my attempts to join in! I have been dragged along to countless Paul Weller and Echo and the Bunnymen concerts and I remember fondly Juni's transformation into 'teeny bopper fan-girl' which accompanied every gig, luckily I could often pass the gig experience onto Liz and from what I saw they could hold their own in any crowd!
Of course as wonderful and as awesome a wife as Juni was she was equally talented at being a 'mum', in fact on our fridge is a postcard declaring. “OMG my mother was right about EVERYTHING' bought by Khally I often wanted to add /wife to the caption. So I now leave you for a while in the capable hands of my two daughters...


Khally and I have been so lucky to have Mum as the most important woman i
our lives. She has influenced us in unimaginable ways, and is the best, most
admirable role model we could wish for.
Together with Dad, Mum shaped every aspect of my life. My partner Tom once
said he's never met anybody so influenced by their parents. Mum and Dad really
are the source of all my inspirations and influences.
When I think of Mum I think of her gentle and kind persona and her special
sense of style, but most of all her beautiful and infectious laugh and sense of
humour. I always felt lucky growing up, that I had 'groovy' parents who didn't
really ever enforce strict curfews and rules, and who let us make our own
decisions. But because we were so loved and well brought up we often made the
decisions they hoped we would anyway!
I often turned to mum for advice – for a little window into her wisdom, and we
can't imagine life without her. I do however realise that she is still alive around
us; she lives in the children she taught, the plants she grew, the smile she
passed on to others around her. She lives in her creations (knitted, jewellery,
recipes) She lives in the young women she shaped in Khally and I, and she lives
through the life and the love shared with Dad.
The more I grow up the more I realise that Mum really was always right, I
wished I had always known that! Also, the more I grow up, the more I realise
how much I am like Mum. Which often people laugh at. Even if it wasn't
necessarily intentional as I've grown up (just in my genes I suppose!), I will
now do whatever I can to be as an incredible woman as Mum

I dont have the words to do justice to Mum or to explain just how much we will all miss her. Mum was the kindest, craziest most unique person I will ever know and I will miss her every day.
It is only as you get older that you appreciate everything that your parents do for you from the big things to the small everyday things that's it easy to take for granted. My mum taught me how to be myself (even if that's not who people expect you to be), how to appreciate art and history, how to be the hostess with the mostess, how to enjoy karaoke (even if you can't sing) and never to wear pattern with pattern. But most importantly she taught me how to be a good person. She lead by example and showed me how to work hard, how to go out your way to help people, how to be generous and charitable and to do everything you can do to look after the friends and family that you love.
Mum wouldn't have wanted us to be sad today but it is hard to be happy as the universe is worse off without her but I know that she won't be forgotten and some of you will miss her just as much as I do. My mum was always full of energy, always looking for a new challenge or adventure, and you certainly knew she was present in a room. Instead of holding a minutes silence I'd like to ask everyone to take this opportunity to clap and cheer and show a bit of appreciation so that just in case she is out there somewhere she'll know how much we love her and miss her.

I'd now like to play the song that I always said was 'our song' although this normally got me told, 'not to be such a soppy dick'... Please use this time to reflect on how Juni touched your life and remember the happy times.

Better Together by Jack Johnson

There is no combination of words I could put on the back of a postcard
No song that I could sing, but I can try for your heart
Our dreams, and they are made out of real things
Like a, shoebox of photographs
With sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer,
At least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and
Sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together

Mmm, it's always better when we're together
Yeah, we'll look at the stars when we're together
Well, it's always better when we're together
Yeah, it's always better when we're together

And all of these moments
Just might find their way into my dreams tonight
But I know that they'll be gone
When the morning light sings
And brings new things
For tomorrow night you see
That they'll be gone too
Too many things I have to do
But if all of these dreams might find their way
Into my day to day scene
I'd be under the impression
I was somewhere in between
With only two
Just me and you
Not so many things we got to do
Or places we got to be
We'll sit beneath the mango tree now

Yeah, it's always better when we're together
Mmm, we're somewhere in between together
Well, it's always better when we're together
Yeah, it's always better when we're together

Mmm, mmm, mmm

I believe in memories
They look so, so pretty when I sleep
Hey now, and when I wake up,
You look so pretty sleeping next to me
But there is not enough time,
And there is no, no song I could sing
And there is no combination of words I could say
But I will still tell you one thing
We're better together

We'd like to thank you all for coming this morning... Juni loved so many people and looking out over you all I can see the feeling was mutual, which makes it a lot easier for us to get through this time and helps to restore the balance. All I can ask is occasionally you have a thought and a giggle 'with' Juni -possibly over a dubious shaped ice cream! The next song is the one Juni always said she wanted at such an occasion – you may want to get the hankies out though...

We walk forward and out followed by the crowd as the music plays.
Exit Music – Nothing ever lasts forever – Echo and the Bunnymen

I want it now
I want it now
Not the promises of what tomorrow brings
I need to live in dreams today
I'm tired of the song that sorrow sings

And I want more than I can get
Just trying to, trying to, trying to forget

I'd walk to you through rings of fire
And never let you know the way I feel
Under skin is where I hide
The love that always gets me on my knees
And I want more than I can get
Just trying to, trying to, trying to forget

Nothing ever lasts forever
Nothing ever lasts forever
Nothing ever lasts forever
Nothing ever lasts forever

I want it now
I want it now
Don't tell me that my ship is coming in
Nothing comes to those who wait
Time's running out the door you're running in

So, I want more than I can get
Just trying to, trying to, trying to forget

Nothing ever lasts forer
Nothing ever lasts forever
Nothing ever lasts forever
Nothing ever lasts forever

All the shadows and the pain
Are coming to you
All the shadows and the pain
Are coming to you
All the shadows and the pain
Are coming to you
All the shadows and the pain
Are coming to you
All the shadows and the pain
Are coming to you
All the shadows and the pain
Are coming to you
All the shadows and the pain
Are coming to you

<![CDATA[Give me more thrust Scotty...]]>Sun, 01 Sep 2013 21:00:21 GMThttp://zephyrcorpdreadball.weebly.com/remembering/give-me-more-thrust-scottyPicture
After desperately trying to avoid the game for since it came out a week or so ago Richard Cook came round and gave showed me the new game from Wizkids... A Star Trek version of my beloved X-Wing Start Wars game. They managed to licence the 'Flight Path' mechanics from Fantasy Flight Games and fit it into the Star Trek universe. 

Now Star Wars is my true gaming love, Star Trek I had never gamed at all in any form and really my frame of reference for Star Trek came from 'The Original Series' or TOS as us nerds call it and a couple of the films, which I have to admit I was no great fan off mainly due to the fact it wasn't 'real Star Trek'. For a start there wasn't my dad admonishing the world that Kirk was about to, "Dip his bread," again, much to the chagrin of my mother (a reference I did not 'get' until I was an awful lot older). I was also convinced it was just going to be the same game but wouldn't be right as the ships were capital ships not fighters. But I was willing to give it a go.

You certainly get a lot in the box. So an hour later I had a game under my belt. I was also left slightly gutted. Why? Well, because I hate to have to report that is is probably a 'better' game mechanics wise. It has more depth than X-Wing and (this real hurts me to say) feels more like Star Trek than X-Wing feels like Star Wars. 

The mechanics are basically the same but its the little things like being able to 'disable' weapon and ability cards when used and then pay an action to get them back instead of having to discard them which make all the difference. Also the interplay of the cards has more depth to them, possibly because you tend to use more cards per ship.  A-Wing relies more on the interplay of the crew you pick rather than the 'upgrades' - although weapons are handy. The ships are on the whole less manoeuvrable, obviously as they are supposed to be big ships, but many can 'reverse' which adds a dimension to the movement. The scenarios are good and its here the 'feel' comes in - beaming down crew onto the planet token felt good. I must admit I have stayed with the TOS ships so far - mainly so I can have Kirk, Spock etc but also because then I can take tribbles - yep everyones favourite troublesome over cute ball of cotton wool make an appearance, enhancing your dice rolls, obviously as everyone is feeling good, until they start taking over and become a distraction (one adds a tribble token every turn) at which point its time to beam them onto an unshielded ship (especially good if you can find a Klingon to do it to). Cloaking, getting more thrust, warp core damage - its all there. AND yes its better!

The only saving grace as I am feeling that I am cheating on X-Wing is that the models appear not to be anywhere near as good as the X-Wing models. This gave me quite a bit of satisfaction until today - why today? I hear you ask. Well it was today I decided that I couldn't make them worse by trying to repaint them with a bit of a wash and drybrush (which is something which is very likely to happen if one tries it with the X-Wing ships. 


Even after a quick wash and a base dry brush (before more dry brush and detailing) the ships look a lot lot better, in fact the models are as good, its the pre-paint which is crap. DAMN... Am I going to have to admit this game is better all round?
Adding Tribble trouble to a Klingon ship - priceless!
<![CDATA[Ninja! Where? Here of course:]]>Tue, 27 Aug 2013 12:33:37 GMThttp://zephyrcorpdreadball.weebly.com/remembering/ninja-where-here-of-coursePicture
A few people have been enquiring about playing Ninja in the new Ronin skirmish. One can cobble them out of the existing Koryu Buntai for competitive play. But for more informal play I have made the following up as a start. 

Please try them out and send me feedback as obviously they will need testing for balance and playability,

'They travelled in disguise to other territories to judge the situation of the enemy, they would inveigle their way into the midst of the enemy to discover gaps, and enter enemy castles to set them on fire, and carried out assassinations, arriving in secret.' Historian Hanawa HokinoichiIn his Buke Myōmokushō 1760

Historically Shinobi ('ninja' is an chinese influenced pronunciation of the kanji) were the spies and assassins of medieval Japan. Thought to be, by many, as the special forces of the army they were secretive in nature and often drawn from certain 'clans' who would hand down the skills and information. It appears that the clans were less mercenary than is popularly thought of and many were affiliated closely with certain Samurai families. Fact and fiction are entwined in myth of the Shinobi (often perpetuated by themselves it must be said). They can be a faction well capable of taking on any Buntai in a head to head fight; but will excel when used in a more 'devious' fashion.


  • There may only be one Rank 5 model.

  • There must be more rank 3 models than all the other Ranks unless all the Buntai is made entirely of Rank 4 models.

Ranged weapons count as Yumi but may be modelled as Yumi, or Fukiya (blowpipe) although as an option this may be limited in range to 18”.

Special Rules

All Shinobi may be equipped with shuriken as per the rule book. This is at an extra 3 points cost to the model.

Only one model may be deployed as disguised as per the rule book page 44.

At a cost of 10 points overall the Shinobi Buntai may use the following set up rules:

  • The opposing player sets up first (if they are also using Shinobi then place one at a time).
  • The Shinobi player then places all his Shinobi anywhere on the table between 8-14” of any opposing model so long as the model is out of Line of Sight (basically behind or in some cover).
  • Optional rule; for a further 3 points per model using it the Shinobi can be using Kyojutsu (juxtaposition of truth and falsehood) to convince the opposition that they are where they are not. In this case the Shinobi is represented by 3 models on the table with one of them marked with a sticker underneath (the real one) the decoys remain on the table and may be activated as normal until they are within 1” of the opposition at which time they must be revealed as a fake. (This will need playtesting to determine the right cost of the ability


The morale rating for Shinobi is 9 so long as there is a Chunin or Jonin on the table; otherwise it is 8.

Rank 3 CP3 Initiative 3 Fight 3 Shoot 2 Light armour 26
Katana/kusuri-gama and shuriken.
Acrobatic and one other Ability or Bujutsu
May take Yumi or Fukiya for +3 points.

Rank 4 CP4 Initiative 4 Fight 4 Shoot 2 Light armour 29
Katana/kusuri-gama and shuriken.
Acrobatic and one other Ability or Bujutsu plus one extra attribute for +3 points.
May take Yumi or Fukiya for +3 points

Rank 5 CP5 Initiative 5 Fight 5 Shoot 3 Light armour 33
Katana/kusuri-gama and shuriken.
Acrobatic and one other Ability or Bujutsu plus up to two extra attribute for +3 points each.
May take Yumi or Fukiya for +3 points.

All models may take other weapons +3 points per model. No swords for hire may be purchased.

Suggested abilities to model Shinobi 'traits'
Intuition – to represent the reported 'sixth sense' and ability to feel sakki (the killing intent).
Acrobat – represents the Shinobi 'free running' skills and the ukemi (tumbling) skills; especially useful for getting out of combat.

Optional rules – which may well unbalance the Buntai so use with caution.

Tetsubishi/Metsubishi – caltrops/blinding powder – melee use weapon. Shinobi forgoes any attack that melee (but may use defence stones) to gain the use of the above in the 'action phase'. This causes an automatic stun result to opponent – to model it slowing them down in the next round.

Kuji-Kiri – in historical use this relied on the opponent being very superstitious – seeing a shinobi finger weave was often enough to slow an opponent for a while. Any Rank 4 or 5 Shinobi may use this ability in the movement phase. Any opponent within LOS and 7” will gain an automatic stun marker unless they roll their Rank or UNDER on a d6.

<![CDATA[Sohei heading for the table...]]>Mon, 26 Aug 2013 21:38:11 GMThttp://zephyrcorpdreadball.weebly.com/remembering/sohei-heading-for-the-table]]>