Matthew Munson: From Titanic to Risk and Chess

Bryan starts his Titanic build

Easter is done. Are you replete with sugary treats? Have you eaten your body weight in chocolate? I think Bryan’s blood sugar levels are more sugar than blood right now, but he’s had a lovely time, so there’s that …

The building of the Lego Titanic is underway. Bryan spent eighteen months to two years saving up for this 9,090 piece Lego extravaganza, and it’s HUGE. It came in three large boxes, and it took all my strength (not very much) to carry them up the stairs into our flat. Box One (the front of the ship) is now done, and the attention to detail is incredible. There are decks on the inside, and on the deck is everything from lifeboats (not too many of them) to intricate designs of everything that would have featured on the real thing.

The intensity of that first box means that Bryan has slowed down a little on the second. He’s started, but is taking his time a little more to savour the experience – or perhaps just to recover from the build of the first section. I don’t blame him. I’d want to build and build and build until it was done, but a slower approach has its advantages as well.

We’re also in a board game mood at the moment. We’ve just finished playing a long campaign of Risk, the world domination game that involves dice and little plastic figures. I bought it on a whim ages ago, and didn’t have a clue how it worked. I’m so glad I did, though; we’ve played it before, and I pulled it out a few weeks ago and suggested we play a couple of games. Bryan got into it a lot, and we ended up playing for weeks. I certainly wasn’t going to object to that.

But we actually put it away just the other day, in favour of checkers and chess. Bryan got a two-in-one board for his birthday, and he loves it. We had a small checkers board before, but it wasn’t that easy to use, so this new one is a revelation. I’ve taught Bryan checkers before, and he’s played a lot with me as well as with his nan and granddad.

I know a little bit about chess, but not much beyond where the pieces go at the start of the game (and it turns out I was wrong about a couple of them), as well as the basic moves. But there is so much more to it than that, and Bryan has become determined to learn. I’ve set him the challenge of teaching both himself and me, and he’s gripped with a determination to do it. The strategic element of chess is one that I am still struggling with but, to be fair, I’m a beginner. I like to think I’m reasonably good at checkers, and there’s a strategic element to that – but chess is on a different level, with all the pieces and the moves they can make. I am absolutely certain it will take a long time for me to learn all the moves, and that Bryan will get good at it before I do.

I’ve had the whole week off from work, ever since Good Friday, and it’s been lovely. I’ve enjoyed spending time with Bryan, even if I’m obviously embarrassing from time to time. We’ve not done anything spectacular and gone away on holiday, but instead stayed close to home, recharged our batteries, and just pottered in our beautiful area. With the parks and the beaches and all the other local bits and pieces we enjoy, there’s enough to keep us going. I remember back to the lockdown era, and being so thankful that we had some lovely outdoor spaces to keep us sane, and I still think the same way now.

Next week, however, I have to face the reality of work, and so be it. Bryan will go to a summer camp for three days, and I know will tire him out as well as let him see some friends. Then school starts again, and back to the proper routine … gulp.

1 Comment

  1. Matthew. Had you written this a week ago I would have assumed it to be an April Fool. The Titanic, in Lego? But no, I’ve looked it up, and wow, what a great project for Bryan. I’m sure most local folk are aware that the senior surviving officer of the Titanic, Commander C.H. Lightoller (after many further adventures in the intervening 28 years), crossed the channel in his motor yacht Sundowner from Ramsgate on June 1st 1940 and rescued over 120 troops from the beaches of Dunkirk. They were crammed into every space aboard, above and below decks, far more than the boat should have carried, and despite being strafed and bombed by nazi aircraft made it back home. Long after the war the Sundowner returned to Ramsgate, was restored and took part in commemorative Dunkirk celebrations. Again in need of restoration, she left Ramsgate in 2020 (?) and is apparently moored at a boatbuilders in Chertsey while funds are raised. Does anyone have any updates?

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