Polycule Assembled

It feels like it’s been a very long day – in no small part because I was sick again and with guts back in turmoil. Fortunately its been long enough that I was able to sort out the stool sample – and that’s an experience that little can prepare you for – and so was able to restart the medication to help settle it all back down.

Then we had everyone descend on the flat for our first tabletop game in ten weeks or so and that was a joy that filled the rest of the day with laughter and gossip. Everyone had downtime so we used that to catch up on what the adventurers had been up to.

Caeluma had been running their knitwear stall in the market and had been making a steady profit as winter nights rolled in and temperatures dropped.

Thorin had returned to his pitfighting career and been successful, but not without accusations of cheating that we worked into him adopting a heel persona for the ring.

Valenia commissioned an improvement for her bow and gathered some of the rarer ingredients in between babysitting Odif.

Coal disappeared for a few weeks and came back somewhat richer after a heist targeting a corrupt merchant.

Kerne buried themself in decoding the tomes retrieved from the coven of hags that detailed Kemsler’s travails and revealed that her sister Faye had been training under the hags before double crossing them at the behest of her Archfey patron: The Winter’s Knight.

And baby Odif? Well he’s growing fast and is no longer a toddler, being nearer in maturity to a human ten year old and showing a fascination in building traps and devices. Egged on by Tanglefinger the Boggle, there was hijinks and chaos for all.

Then we started the story, which led them to the Winter’s Fair at the University and the start of a number of small encounters – from Caeluma successfully arguing the interpretation of a mummers play with a professor of theology to Valenia duelling an Undying swordsman from the Elven Court of Aerenal and receiving a silvered scrimshaw knife as a gift.

We’ll see where we pick up in our next session. Hopefully we won’t have as long a break.

Oh, and it was of course Halloween so we threw sweets from the balcony for the organised kids walk on the estate – and hardly brained anyone in the process.

The Future Is Now

Back in day I played Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun tabletop games, among others, and among the regular fixtures of such games is the concept of the ripperdoc. This is a private surgeon, often in a commercial or backstreet context offering cybernetic implants and surgeries.

Why am I talking about this today? Well Lady M had the lenses in her eyes replaced in an opticians in a local shopping centre. This was a surgical procedure that technically – at least in the terms of such games – makes her a cyborg.

So, what was once the premise of sci-fi Cyberpunk games, is now a standard part of life in 2021. Couldn’t make it up really. Oh, Lady M’s eyes are fine by the way – she doesn’t need glasses any more.

And Now For A Break

As of this evening I’m on holiday, both to celebrate Lady M’s birthday next week, and for mental health self care. Admittedly this year its also to recover from last weekend’s shenanigans and anything else that decides to rear its head in the meantime.

We’ve got an early start in the morning so I can take Lady M for an eye appointment, while the cub is staying behind to look after boy s who is not enjoying his seasonal cold in the slightest.

In the meantime I’ve found an old sketchbook page that has tickled my creative itch, so I’m relaxing in mindfulness mode by adding to it

Probably not coming to a tshirt near you

Random Scribblings

In between looking after ailing partners, a plague rat cub, and trying to get back to work (at least remotely), I decided to write some randomness as a block breaker. I’m trying to rekindle the writing so just letting stuff spool out of the brain seemed a good idea:

There are few guilty treasures in life like discovering a rogue After Eight mint tucked away at the end of the box – especially if it’s tucked flush against the end that looks empty, overshadowed by one of the tabs. The feel of the smooth waxy paper against your fingertips instead of cardboard sends an illicit thrill up your spine that is part surprise and part anticipatory glee.

It’s like finding an unexpected fiver in your winter coat pocket when you put it on for the first frosty morning of the year – except that the associated gratification is far more immediate, and comes wrapped in mint fondant and dark chocolate.


The one thing about being off sick but in that semi-recovery stage is that the brain weasels like to pop out to play. The latest conversation with my GP has basically set me on the path to investigate what they suspect are stomach ulcers, but so that the first set of tests aren’t skewed I need to stop taking the drugs they put me on to stabilise me.

As a result, the worries about the next week are about a repeat of the weekend rather than on looking after everyone else, and the what if scenarios that are mugging for the camera despite my best efforts to remain grounded. In no particular order I could be facing a regime of pills, diet changes (again), or surgery, or the discovery of nastier causes of the blood upto and including cancer (thank you brain for that very unlikely option)

So, I’m focusing on being well enough to at least work remotely the next couple of days before my booked leave, on celebrating Lady M’s birthday next week, and on not letting fireworks freak me out, and generally getting past this year’s unpleasant memory day. Yay for complex PTSD.

So, big lad pants on, focusing on the positive, here we go.

Remembering to be ill

I’m forcing myself to take the day off and just be unwell. My brain is screaming at me to go to work but I can’t fix anything else while I’m still breathless and in pain.

Besides, the partners have very gently frowned every time I’ve talked of work today and even at my most oblivious I have occasional moments of clarity.

I’m exhausted, everything aches, I’m now chasing my GP for an appointment

Yuck and Ouch

I spent most of yesterday evening in A&E last night, and before that most of the day exploding at each end (not to be too delicate about these things). It’s the third time this month I’ve had this issue, but what necessitated a trip to the hospital was that this time I started vomiting blood – which even I considered an alarming development.

So, with the boy s still at work, Lady M bundled me and the cub in the car following a hurried conversation with the NHS 111 non-emergency number, and I began the long wait between triage and treatment.

So, by 2am we knew that it wasn’t my heart, liver, kidney, or pancreas because they were all working properly. My blood pressure was fine, and there was no blood ruptures into my body cavities showing on xrays, or blood elsewhere in my guts. Yay.

So, they patched me up. Various injections and fluids helped settle things, and I’m off to talk to my gp on monday to start the search as to whether this is stomach ulcers, ripping my throat with vomiting, or my gall bladder playing up.

So that’s a new adventure.

All’s Well…

We carried on with interviews today and it’s been wonderful to be able to offer posts to two people at the end of it all. It was a nice contrast to some more serious and unpleasant things I had to attend to as well today.

Generally through the household it’s been a complex day hit by tech issues, weather, and unforgettable cherubs banned and/or carted off by security.

A long day, but we have the windows cracked to hear the rain outside, and I’m only mildly wondering how many reports of leaky roofs I’m going to hear in the morning…

Interviewing Again?

In a dance that is now very familiar I’m mostly interviewing for posts replacing some people who left last month. Employment churn is always a little higher than usual after a restructure, largely because people who are nearer retirement often see it as the final push as they see everything changing, or when their own circumstances have changed.

Today we had six people through the doors, and I have another four to see tomorrow so we’ve broken the back of it and it shouldn’t take too long to finalise our decisions. In theory that can then clear the decks so i can focus on the next three.

Why not do all five at once? Well mostly so that I can focus the interviews by location and make sure that the branch manager is actively involved in the process of building their new team. It’s especially important as so many of my team of managers are themselves pretty new in post and I want to use these interviews as a training exercise as well so that they have the confidence to lead next time.

We’ve had two people withdraw from tomorrow’s list, so at least that frees up the morning a bit so I can keep on top of the many other bits and pieces spinning at the moment.

Never a dull moment

Homework and Haircuts

The cub has had a good first week, with a routine of evening reading that got him a reading star, and comments from his teacher when I picked him up that he was settling in well.

We gave him a day off yesterday but today Lady M has engaged him to do his homework with the promise of boardgames afterwards. Only minor active resistance was employed, mostly because we’ve waved a game he’s been wanting to play for ages at him, and because Lady M has negotiated a pocket money earning scheme depending on his doing homework and housework.

I’m currently sitting opposite him while Lady M uses a combination of open questions and humour to head off his deflections when he can’t see an immediate answer.

He’s also rocking a new haircut, following a sneak booking into the barbers in our local Tesco. I went to do the shopping accompanied by the cub and boy s, and then handled the queue and payment while boy s took him for his booking. The cub apparently uttered a ” Oh no…” when he saw where they were – which feels a fitting response to the almost passive resistance we’ve had all week to the concept.

Now he’s got it, he is of course very pleased but like many typical ten year olds he won’t be told. So far, so normal.