Saturday, 16 July 2011


You'll have noticed I've been uncharacteristically quiet over the past fortnight or so. Well, I'm not going to lie, I've been depressed and found even my hobby difficult if not impossible to focus on.

On Monday this week I've was instructed by the work occupational health doctor that I am not fit to return to work and can't expect to return for at least two months. You may think great, two months paid leave!  But that has it's own pressures. I've worked hard over the past two to three years to be taken seriously in the field of organisational efficiency and business improvements, and just as things are coming to fruition, my illness has whipped the carpet from under me. My projects will be given to other people and the increased length of time away also means I score more redundancy points. And If I still can't return at the end of that period, I go onto half pay. I'm desperate to get back to work in the job I love.

I have spent the week campaigning vigorously with senior managers to allow me back to work even part time and or from home. But in a meeting with the head of HR this week it was made clear that no, I have to put my ego in a box and rest.

I have a choice now. I can either give up, or I can fight. I'm going to fight. I'm going to turn the situation round by having a focus to get myself well and do something positive with the weeks ahead to heal me spiritually. Wargaming is after all, chicken soup for the soul.

Bought a copy of the classic British Army Basic Battle Skills booklet from my era on eBay for a few pounds. 

It's pure Winter of '79 goodness as well as being a fond memory. For those of you who haven't served with the British Army, it's exactly what it says on the tin - it was designed to equip the 1970's and 80's soldier with the basics of field craft and personal tactics. Also includes topics such as  map reading, hygiene and NBC defence. All done in a coloured pictorial format. I showed it to Maff who said "Oh my god. That's my vision of Winter of 79!" LOL! If you are into Cold War and Falklands era Brits then a copy of Basic Battle Skills will get you in the right mindset.

Right! I'm off to rough out a project plan to get plenty of  W'79 gaming done over the next month.



  1. Mark
    Sorry to hear about your current health problems. Hang in there mate.

    BBS was also used by the Commonwealth Armies and I still have a copy I was issued in 1986!

    It was great for ensuring that your kit was folded to the correct size as it formed a nice template.

    Best of British

    Regards Paul

  2. Trust me, Mark. If you try to go back to work before you're fit, you won't be doing yourself any favours, and risk undoing all the hard work you say you've done over the last few years.

    I hope you do keep gaming and blogging the Winter of '79, as it's been a very enjoyable read so far and has brought back a lot of childhood memories of the era (like Green Goddesses on the streets)

  3. Make the most of your rest Mark. You'll have plenty of time to show em what you're made of when you're fighting fit again. Everybody needs a chance to de-frag once in a while.

  4. Thanks guys. You're right. And the De-frag analogy is perfect.

    Don't worry, Winter of 79 is very much part of the medicine!


  5. Best wishes - I actually have a copy of BBS probably to keep my Falklands era chaps on the straight and narrow.

  6. Dear Mark
    I suffer from depression. I pushed it at work until my kidneys failed. After six months off I took early retirement.
    Workaholicism is not a successful strategy. Trust me.

  7. By Heck I remember that at Queens Div basic training in Bassingbourne.

  8. Dear Mark,

    Sorry to hear of your problem and illness, I too suffer from depression, while my bouts of depression generally not as severe. I understand what you go through when that motivation and drive just leaves you.

    Hang in there!



  9. Hi Mark

    A story..........

    You're locked into a epic battle with a monster, both holding onto each end of the same rope, with an abyss between. The harder you pull on the rope, the harder the monster pulls you towards the abyss. No matter how hard you pull the nearer you get to the pit.
    The purpose of the story is how to learn to let go of the rope!
    Sometimes doing nothing is doing something

    Good luck - Richard

  10. Thanks for the support guys.

    I have a neurological problem, as yet undiagnosed which is causing seizures. At best, my head will hurt, my brain feels too large for my skull and a tsunami rushes from one side of my head to the other. At worst the lights go out and I collapse - at home, in the street, in the shops - I've been outside only a handful of times in last 10 weeks.

    The 'black dog' is a result of my lack of control over whats happening. Of being forced off work . Of an uncertain future. Of the strain on my family.

    Some wise comments and advice has been offered above which I will endeavour to heed. Thanks again,