Cutest Session Ever

The DDC continued their adventures on Sunday night, continuing with a cautious approach verging on paranoia. Every monastic cell in the abandoned temple was empty, but the kitchen/refectory brought a new surprise: the zombified remains of ancient goblins going through the motions of preparing meals, serving them and clearing them away – unheeding of the fact that there was nobody there, and all the supplies and foodstuffs had long spoiled or rotted away.

With many groups you’d be forgiven for expecting urgent battlecries, but instead the group watched for the moment as Caeluma hugged one and helped it set the table. They recorded what runes and artifacts they could see, and then carefully retreated, closing the door behind them.

And then, because they’re not stupid, they barricaded the door and wrote Dead Inside, Don’t Open – or was it Dead Don’t Inside Open?

Then they took a short rest before trying one of the bigger doors that looked like a grand entrance – that instead led to a corridor and the looming shapes of mansized and roughly man-shaped mushrooms lurching towards them with hands outstretched. With lightning reflexes the group downed one of the figures before sprayed spores stunned the ferocious dwarf fighter and one of the creatures pummelled him lightly in retaliation.

And then another set of spores sprayed out and got a voice speaking in their heads, wondering who they were and what had the myconids ever done to them? Some hasty de-escalation later, including some druidcrafted repairs and healing, and hostilities were called off. The myconids had been trapped in the temple space below while investigating what they called a wound in the world on behalf of the Gatekeeper Druidic faction. A group of humans wearing the symbology of The Mockery had invaded the buried temple on their own quest for The Egg, and been driven off by the mushroom men.

Despite the plethora of fungal and mycelial puns and jokes, an alliance was agreed to deal with what they called The Wound, with one of the myconids leading the group back to a room they had previously barricaded due to the red light shining from under it. The rest of the myconids stayed to contain “the wandering flame” – whatever that is…

There was a lot of laughter and soppiness this session – along with calls for Caeluma to put the zombie goblin back down and to knit the mushroom men some scarves. A fun evening.

Sleepy Day

My body decided that today was not going to be a productive day. I was up late chatting with mre S while I painted and streamed a couple of new images to go up on the store. Waking up while Lady M dived in to Staines to see the optician was therefore not an option my body wanted to contemplate.

That said it hasn’t been a totally unproductive day. There’s been hoovering and cleaning, the flying of Pride flags from the balcony, and the breaking of a second mirror in as many days.

So that happened. Oh, and I slept pretty much all afternoon as my muscles decided that hurting all the time was getting old and I needed to just stop and lie down for a while.

So that’s my Saturday…

Hot and Bothered

It is lovely and hot here, with gentle breezes now and then that brush across the balcony. At least it is more comfortable now than when the full heat of the sun was in play.

The good news for me was that I was working in an air conditioned library. We’ve been moving furniture, laying down vinyl signs and hazard tape, and generally getting ready to open in a couple of weeks.

Its going to be an odd experience re-openimg, and there’s still disquiet over what may yet happen. It has only ramped up with seeing footage of people abandoning all pretense of distamcing. Beaches, rivers, pubs – all swamped by people who seem to believe that the danger is past.

I really wish I believed that. I really wish that things were safe enough to see loved ones, family, and friends.

Working Pride

Sadly with lockdown still wreaking havoc there’s absolutely no chance of getting to a Pride event this year, but at least through work there is an opportunity to celebrate a little.

I’m working as part of the LGBTQ+ Pride Network where I am, and this week has seen an invitation go up on the staff Jive network to post rainbows either as flags, themes, filters or whatever for Pride.

Cue one virtual Pride picture

Its only a little thing, but seeing everyone putting up posts is heartening. The rainbow Funko has been produced by them in support of Pride and the It Gets Better Project with part of the proceeds going to that charity.

So there’s a positive thing.

Sciatic Annoyance

I still have this trapped nerve in my left leg/buttock – though there is now a worrisome part of me that is considering whether it is actually diabetic nerve damage given the amount of pins and needles sensations in my left foot.

Everything is fine if I keep moving, but sitting down for any length of time then means that attempting to walk feels like my hamstring is tight and the core of my thigh aches when it isn’t dealing with hot and cold running stabbing pains.

Maybe this means its getting better? I can’t tell any more. I’ll give it a few more days before annoying a GP. I’ve still got good circulation and sensation in that foot, so its not like its going to fall off just yet.

Yes, it is making me grumpy.

Oh? Sunshine? Again?

I thought we’d had all the good weather we were going to have now that people have been out and about more. I am pleasantly surprised therefore to have clear blue skies and sunshine all around as I go to pick up my prescription renewals.

Last night’s DDC game was fun for me, if no one else, in that it allowed me no small amount of GM sadism. The group is still investigating the buried remains of an old goblin temple, and had discovered several very old sets of remains from what looked like a pitched battle.

Beyond an open archway was a large room with benches along the walls and an enormous carpet that smelled awful. Rather than just take this in as a bit of scene dressing, there then followed real fear as they tried to investigate for traps, or some nefarious purpose to the carpet. At one point they thought the carpet might leap into life and try to eat them.

It was only when someone tried to flip the carpet, and the corner tore off wetly in their hand, that they accepted that their GM had been telling the truth the whole time – that it was just a carpet and there were no traps.

Okay, I may have used the “are you sure?” and “which corner are you reaching for?” approach, but I think I have done my job well in instilling caution in my players. I’m sure the next carpet will be just as innocent.

Would I lie to you?

Battling the Fear

Lady M had to pop out this morning to drop some things to the post office, and then get some ingredients to do some baking. All things that sound innocuous enough, but when she returned, she was exhausted – and revealed that her stress levels had spiked so hard when getting to the supermarket that she’d had to stop and have a bit of a breather. This is not unlike the sort of conversations I’ve been having with staff this week.

The UK government decided to lower it’s pandemic severity rating from a 4 to a 3 this week, to catch up with the announcement the week before that it was going to recommend more places opening up. There are more than a few medical and clinical workers facepalming at the moment, but in truth it is a political decision as much as an interpretation of the highly contentious statistics of infections and deaths.

Lady M, like many of my staff, have obeyed the lockdown – in no small part because they’ve been working from home and so haven’t had the experience of seeing people getting used to the strange interpretations of social distancing and mask wearing that different people have been making. I’ve been able to get out and do grocery shopping while she’s been battling work issues so my usual internal grump is around the anticipation of queueing a while.

By comparison, Lady M has also had to battle the stark clash between media sources urging care and the reality of the Great British public who are worse than a bundle of cats for staying and doing what they’re told. I shall continue to bear this in mind as we work to get the libraries open safely for both staff and customers. On both sides we will have people who are rightly nervous on some level about accessing the buildings and the treasures they contain – and I hope we can maintain both understanding and kindness in the process.

Buy My Stuff

Might as well be blatant about it for a moment. After years of people saying “oh you should do this professionally”, or “you could sell your art” I’ve caved and opened a Redbubble store at Ludd72.redbubble.com and begun filling it with both old and new stuff. Some of it will have been seen on Instagram in some form or another, but a lot of it is going to be brand new as I’ve been taking fresh photos of some of my line art.

Yes, this design is in the store

There’s prints, canvases, stickers, pins, some t-shirts, dresses hoodies, even a couple of clocks and duvet covers, all depending on the resolution of the original artwork and I’m going to keep adding to it – because we all know I can’t stop drawing stuff even if I wanted to. A lot of my older stuff tended to be done for web sites only, so they’re only really suitable for smaller pieces – so at the very minimum there will be pins/badges with those designs – but newer stuff and actual photography will be on the larger items.

Go on, have a look, put a smile on my face and maybe get one on your own…

I’m not good at this commercial stuff…

In Another World

There is an alternate timeline out there somewhere that isn’t being ravaged by, among other things, Covid-19 and the perennially venal politicians mismanaged the while thing in their rush to sell off the family silver.

In that sunny other universe, I would be in Oxford today, celebrating my daughter’s graduation alongside the ex-Lady M, with Lady M and the Charleesi’s uncle and aunt watching across a remote link from a nearby tent.

However, we won’t know the actual result until the end of next week – and there’s still no firm date for when a rescheduled event may take place next year so for now all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and prepare for a lot of excited yelling next week.

The Charleesi is projected to achieve a first, and is currently job hunting.

Seeing Happy Faces

I’ve carried on with doing risk assessments with my staff the last couple of days. If there’s been one common observation it has been the look of relief on people’s faces as I’ve let them into the building.

Many of them haven’t been far from their houses during lockdown – for a couple it was one of their first forays out of their house – but each of them visibly relaxed their shoulders and smiled as they re-entered the library and saw colleagues.

I don’t know about anything else, but those moments alone have made the effort of the last few days worth it.