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.

Risk Assessments

I’ve started the process of talking to staff to identify concerns and issues around reopening the libraries next month if things continue as they are. For the most part so far there’s a general pragmatism and desire to be getting on with things – as much for the sense of not being in limbo any more as anything else. The biggest concern so far has been around using public transport.

The concern has ranged from contamination risks and distancing to potential delays due to any distancing preventing their getting the bus on time. We’ll see what tomorrow’s interviews bring.

For the most part, bringing people along on these risk assessments is part of a process of getting their active involvement in thinking about their own responsibilities to themselves and their families.

I can and have done assessments of the work places alongside colleagues against known recommendations, but the only people who can give me an informed assessment of how they’re doing and especially what their fears are are the staff themselves.

It is a good excuse to get to see familiar faces again as well. Even where we’re discussing contentious or difficult issues its still a pleasure to be catching up properly. We’ll see if tomorrow manages to be as productive.

Low Spoons

We’re not gaming tonight, as across the board we’re variously at a low ebb, ill, depressed, exhausted, in pain, and/or all of the above. So that’s fun.

Instead I’ve been playing around with photoshop some more while watching a boxset and occasionally exchanging texts.

There’s a lot of rough edges but I’ll keep tweaking it, and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes when I’ve the energy to explore it further.

Rings and Things

Being separated is hard, but we’re doing our best to keep as chipper as possible. The DDC is helping lift our spirits and support all round, but its still no substitute for when we can get our polycule back together.

In theory, we can after relaxation of restrictions were announced, but given how high infections and deaths are – exceeding what they were when we went into lockdown – there’s a wariness of believing the UK government’s competence and motives. In some ways this makes it even harder, but we’ll get through and it’ll be all the better for it when we do.

In the meantime, I finally had delivery of a set of rings that the core triad of myself, Lady M and mre S wanted to adopt to signify our link. We had some issues with a lost shipment and needing to reorder among the chaos of lockdown, but we finally have three simple matching rings that are staying in their boxes until we can all get together. They’re enamelled steel with the polyam symbol etched and painted on them – simple, discrete, and one more reason to hope for better times to come.

I was talking to a colleague yesterday after an LGBTQ+ staff network Teams meeting about the DDC and our gaming group.

On describing the mix of characters and their quirks I was told that it was a group they’d love to read a novel about. I think thats a wonderful tribute to the invention and warmth of the players and their alter egos. My little writeups here barely scratch the surface of what a joy they are to DM and game with.