Lady s was able to stay on for an extra day this weekend, and we had made plans to go up to London and introduce her to Forbidden Planet. However, having had a long couple of busy days across the weekend, lady s just wasn’t feeling up to it.
So we compromised, had breakfast locally, and I introduced her to the many charity shops in one of the local High Streets. Lady s is an absolute devotee of the bargains and oddities to be found in them, and it made for a nice relaxed afternoon to just potter from store to store, talking to the volunteers and being occasionally alarmed by some of the items on display.
I certainly learned more that afternoon about the nature and work of some of the local charities than I’d picked up in working in the area for a few of years, and between us we picked out a few treasures.
Thinking about it, it was a needed change of pace, especially with all the travel I’d done the previous three days. Frequent stops for coffee along the way gave me the pretence of being reasonably human too. Diving straight back to work the next day felt like a huge shock to the system – though that was more to do with having to talk certain colleagues out of their own states of panic.
Self care, everyone, if only so you’ve the reserves to help other people too…
This weekend was a celebration in my family of my parents’ Golden Wedding Anniversary – fifty years together and still teasing each other every day. The venue was a hotel near Box Hill in Surrey that we’ve used for various celebrations over the years.
The twist was that Lady S was also invited along, marking her introduction to my wider family in a somewhat wider scope than I’d ever anticipated.
I’d pushed for an invitation when they were first planning the event, partly to make the point that both Ladies M and S are important parts of my family and I wasn’t willing to sacrifice them. Given how my relatives are spread out around the place it made for an easier way to demonstrate that despite our unconventional relationship, no one involved in it had three heads.
I’m pleased to say that we had a wonderful evening celebrating my parents and catching up with each other. My family is generally one that gets more talkative and garrulous as the drink flows,and it’s safe to say that Lady S got a good look at where my storytelling comes from. We didn’t get to talk with everyone, but Lady S was happily welcomed right from the start, and our collective nerves rapidly settled.
Lovely food, good company, and a very late night as we opted to drive there and back rather than stay over – partly because of our nerves before hand in case things didn’t go well. And now… relax…
Just had a nice day catching up with people and buying things for my parents’ golden wedding anniversary that’s coming up soon. As part of the celebrations we’re all gathering at a hotel shortly for a meal, and all three of us are going.
Are there worries? Yes, of course – on all sides I’m sure – but it’s not like we’re going to be giving a slideshow about polyamory and seducing the catering staff. We’re there to celebrate among family and loved ones and contribute to an amiable and chatty evening of food and joyfulness.
Presents have been bought; now I just have to sort out wrapping paper and a card that doesn’t feel laced with saccharine. I’m perhaps more worried about that than anything else.
Lady S has the biggest worries, and understandably so: she doesn’t really know anyone there, and that’s daunting under any circumstances, not just at a family celebration, let alone as part of a non-traditional family unit.
All will be well.
Lady M has had knee pains for quite some time. In one knee it’s been since childhood as a result of intensive dance and gymnastic training (and kneeling on an upturned plug, but let’s not go into that right now). The other knee however has been deteriorating too, especially when on stairs or bending down to pick things up – somewhat tricky in a second floor flat.
I eventually nagged her into consulting our GP and with some health insurance queue-jumping (because let’s face it that’s all that a BUPA membership really is) we got the diagnosis that it was early stages arthritis.
So early in fact that it could be offset or even sidestepped with physiotherapy and exercises.
As a result, Lady M has an exercise regime that she keeps forgetting to do at home. She does it, or at least elements of it, at work instead with stretches and various bits of leg contortion under her desk. I have come to call this the Ministry of Silly Sits, largely from her recounting the occasional expressions of concern from co-workers when they catch sight of her doing it.
Any of her co-workers reading this who is willing to do a complete Monty Python-style Ministry of Silly Walks routine past her desk will probably get to hear her taking my name in vain.
Lady M was recounting a moment from her work day where all professionalism and reserve went out the day as banter and silliness in some downtime had people quietly chuckling. Although there are apparently new people in the wider team around her, they all seem to have started to get their ear in for when she adopts a new portmanteau word or malaphor inspired by her fibro-fog.
As such, hilarity abounds when they notice – and Lady M was happily telling me all about the various reactions and how they were “kinked with laughter”. Now she meant “creased up with laughter”, so the jump still maintains the same visual imagery, but I of course had to tease her.
“Kinked with laughter?” I said – “have they all discovered a tickling fetish?” And I advanced on her, miming a tickling motion that had her backing away and giggling uncontrollably. I couldn’t not pursue that tease, and our flat echoed with screams and laughter for some time…
I had a very long day on Sunday, but I’m glad I stuck to my guns and guested with Squad UK at St Alban’s Arena. We had a table to display props, so I grabbed as many as I could and loaded up the car. Lady M has unfortunately got the summer cold thing that flattened me last week, so I left her sleeping and pootled around the M25, not entirely sure what I was going to do for parking – but determined to wing it.
Once I’d parked in the Maltings and ferried boxes and cases to the venue I eventually managed to find the others in the pre-opening set up confusions and we set about sorting out the table.
Now, I enjoyed the event immensely, but there were issues with the venue. It’s a theatre, not exactly designed for bustling stalls and tables. There was no air conditioning, though we were lucky enough to grab a window location so could get a breeze or two. Far worse though was that the venue was totally unsuited for people with mobility issues. Access routes were narrow, we were on the first floor with no lift access, and I only saw one disabled toilet in the building.
The staff were friendly, even if some of the organisation was a bit…vague… but most importantly we had a good turnout, and I rarely stopped talking all day with families about our props – and how simple techniques and tools could make outstanding items.
We had masks and headdresses, bodices and pieces of Halo-style armour. Cigars and cigarettes, wands and guns, hearts and sunglasses – and people were amazed at how light but sturdy most of these items are. All day long we talked about layering fabrics or working with foam and card – and encouraged people to take photos of friends (or selfies) with the props.
By the time we packed up and hit the pub afterwards my voice was croaky, but it has resparked my enjoyment of cosplay and events far more than I thought it would.
And I have a new challenge. I’ve agreed to make a new gender-bent cosplay: Poison Ivy. Watch this space…
I’m going to be at the St Alban’s Comic Convention on Sunday, guesting with Squad UK again. I’m taking Boomerang to fit the theme so I’ve minimal preparation to make, other than double checking tonight and tomorrow where all the elements are.
The shirt and scarf are freshly laundered, while the props SHOULD be in their usual places. The last couple of years have taught me however to assume nothing.
What I can look forward to though is the fun of catching up with people I’ve not seen since the end of May. I’ve been on a bit of a low and lack of inspiration when it comes to cosplay, so being able to just chat and compare notes and mess about with the talented people around me will do me a power of good.
I’ve also put my head above the parapet to volunteer to take part in a small panel about cosplay at the event – where I’ll be talking about body positivity and creativity among other things. I’ve even made some notes so I won’t be totally winging it. (I will be totally winging it).
So, that’s about to happen… I may even post my notes after the event and comment about what I actually say in comparison.
I’m still not sure what this bug is, but it floored me these last few days. I’ve been calling it a summer cold because there’s been a sore throat and blocked sinuses, but it has mostly made me incredibly tired, with both hot and cold sweats. I suspect that this bug, plus the hot weather, have interacted with the diabetes to give me some overlapping symptoms, but that’s pure conjecture.
It was hard to force myself to stop, to stay home, and practice some self-care the last few days. It was mostly my inability to really focus much through an exhausted brain fog, and huge amounts of lethargy whenever I did anything that forced my hand. I forced back the feelings of guilt over how stretched at work things are, and made sure to be sensible with my health.
I know: me!?!
I went back to work today. I still feel rough. My throat is still slightly sore, my voice a little thick, and I still want to sleep a lot; but I’m better than I have been.
A few years ago I went to a gathering of a branch of our extended family on my mother’s side down in the Valleys. It was in a part of Wales I’d never visited before – properly rural, with the phone reception to match – but beautiful in every way that the greenly lush Welsh countryside excels.
The only other members of my immediate family present were my parents, so having gone down there for the weekend we agreed to meet up in the village the night before the event for a meal. During the day the place offered cream teas, but at night it came into its own as a restaurant.
And that’s when I started spotting rainbows everywhere – typically squares with the curve if a rainbow – and recalled seeing a number in different places around the village. Had I stumbled into a stronghold of LGBTQ+ supporters in this isolated Welsh village? Was this a hidden outpost of love and acceptance?
Well, yes and no. It’s a symbol used by churches in the area, but they were all lovely people. We had a great time, and it reminded me of why I love semiotic analysis – crudely put as the use of symbols to tell or add context to a story depending on cultural expectations and shared themes.
It reminded me that rainbows have context and can’t be taken for granted, but at their best they are symbols of peace, community, and love – things we could all do with more of whether it’s Pride month or not.