Merry Christmas!

I hope your day has been peaceful, your people kind, your sustenance plentiful, and that you are now sinking into a celebratory relaxation

Lady M and I have spent the day with boy s and Lady W and the cub, and caught up with my parents and brothers by way of a Google Meet so we’ve been blessed with laughter, silliness, and no particular urgency along the way.

Plans have been laid to visit my parents some time in the next couple of months, and I need to track the Charleesi down to pass presents to her as well.

Lady M and I have a quiet day planned tomorrow, with a few gifts between us as we mostly focused on giving things to other people and opened things from the rest of the family.

I do have one piece of loot from Lady M that I’ve opened today:

She’s had this hidden away for the best part of a year following a Kickstarter and I love it. The open framed dice have a rough iron feel that along with the skulls suggests a dice set suitable for a villain in one of my games. The case itself has a good heft and solidity too that has a good tactile feel.

I shall now have to find a suitable way to display it

Christmas Eve

And suddenly we’re nearly there – ready to feast and spend time with people. Bonus points are awarded if they’re people we love and cherish too. Today has been spent in the traditional activities of visiting people to drop off presents and have a natter – in this case Lady B – and gathering up people for transport so they’re in the right place for celebrations in the morning.

As is also traditional, there’s a few gifts that also need properly wrapping up ready for handover to the Claus, and so that’s why I am currently “banished” to the living room to play on the XBox and blog while Lady M is busy in the other room with Christmas movies and wrapping paper.

I’m looking forward to not running around too much tomorrow as my ribs are hurting quite a bit after all the bustle. I currently have a hot water bottle against my back to ease that side, and am sitting carefully upright and shallow breathing to manage the front. I will no doubt get jumped on by a child tomorrow, so I must remember to take extra painkillers with me when we go round to the boy s – which is where we’re cooking and spending most of tomorrow.

So, I hope you all have a wonderful day that goes to plan, fills you with joy, and brings you some peace amid the bustle and celebration.

Laser Tag Party

We had the excuse of a celebration and a special request from the cub – and that’s how we ended up driving round the M25 to out the back of Caterham to play some laser tag in the woods. The original plan would have had us just watching while kids battled it out, but with some last-minute cancellations we had enough slots for myself and Lady M to join in while boy s watched from the side-lines and huddled under all our coats.

The mechanics were fairly simple – a sensor on the gun and three types of gun: a sniper, an assault rifle, and a submachine gun – each with differing rates of fire, range, reload times, and damage done against a notional value of hit points. Two teams of roughly a dozen on each side, and referees keeping an eye on it all. We had one hundred hit points per life, and five lives in a non-contact game where minimum distance to the other team was five metres.

And you know what – I really enjoyed it. We all did. I favoured a sniper so I didn’t have to run around too much and could put years of pinpoint FPS gaming to good use. The games were quick with some variants and two different arenas – and footing by and large was good despite snow and frozen mud. One small disclaimer, I did manage to lose my footing and do a very impressive tumble where I broke my fall by landing with the point of my elbow in my rib. It’s a bit sore, but some painkillers and the occasional wince of discomfort are seeing me through.

I hadn’t heard of GO Laser Tag before – and not having to wear a load of sensors was a big bonus – staff were friendly, kept good control of the sessions, and all seemed to be focused on making sure everyone had a good time. Their website is https://www.golasertaglondon.co.uk/ and for something a bit different that caters to a wide age range its a good option. We all enjoyed ourselves and have been making noises about not being averse to doing it again. Let’s face it, for the British that’s a glowing endorsement.

It also gave me a good excuse to give the new car a bit of a stretch on the motorway rather than just the local trips I’ve been doing for work and while I’m not a petrol-head, it was a smooth transition and satisfying to get some different driving under the belt. The new car is a plug-in hybrid so while it runs quite happily ramping up battery power from the flywheel to augment general driving, it can also operate as a purely electric car. As soon as the charge card is all sorted out, I’m looking forward to using it on the local commute.

Surrey Stars

I was invited along last night to something that Surrey County Council hasn’t really tried before – an awards ceremony for outstanding individuals and teams. Various nominations, including some I put forward for my team, were whittled down to a select few, and my invitation lay unnoticed until my co-chairs in the staff LGBT+ network started commenting about how the date clashed with various family plans and asked if I was going. One hasty brushing off of the spam filter later I’d got the paperwork sorted.

Hosted at Sandown Races, the traffic was… heavy as only rush hour can be in that neck of the woods, but I was there on time and headed for the very sparkly-dressed people standing at the main entrance to gain entry. I’ve not been to anything like this before, so the nerves were firmly squashed, and I stepped forward all suited and booted.

It was a good evening – partly to meet people I’ve only ever met on Teams and Zoom, and partly to make new connections with my staff network chair hat on. There was live jazz and reasonable food and drink for a corporate bash, but the people there were definitely the draw. I think setting it right at the beginning of the Christmas period was a good move as it gave people an excuse to break out the glad rags and let their hair down a little bit. The mood was light, the networking was non-stop, and I was somehow surprised still to find how many people either already knew me by sight or reputation – or who wanted to talk in my network capacity.

There were some amazing stories that came out through the awards of the amazing work done with and for people in our local communities and in the pursuit of equality, diversity and inclusion for all. I don’t say it lightly, it was inspiring and I’m determined to get more library recognition in for next year. As it was, our Young Employee of the Year award went to a Saturday Assistant based in Camberley Library – much to his complete surprise.

I was even home at a not too late time – so I was quite buzzed for work this morning and spent quite some time making sure my peers and staff knew about the awards and how we need to get nominations started for next year. Pleasant to have something nice to plan really.

Good Start

So, I forgot yesterday that it was a Bank Holiday and that seems to be setting the tone for the week. Very little got done yesterday, but that’s fine.

This morning I woke up in excruciating pain and recognised it as a kidney stone. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised after the heat and direct sunlight of the weekend and drinking at a barbecue round the ex-Mrs M house along with the Charleesi.

So so much for getting anything done today. I’ve mostly been semi conscious under the influence of some very strong painkillers and a hot water bottle. Oh, and many pints of water to help flush it through.

I think the worst is past now, but I’m completely wiped out. I have at least been entertained by the flow of pictures from Pride on social media. There’s lots I remember, but so much more than I saw while we ran the stall. It was a fantastic day.

Camberley Pride

I was wearing three metaphorical hats today and no physical ones as a sunny day dawned on Pride in Surrey at Camberley’s Recreation Grounds.

Eight in the morning saw me assembling the library stall as part of a wider group putting together stands in the Surrey County Council marquee and there was very little let up from that point.

My metaphorical hats were those of being one of the Library Group Managers, of being co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network, and part of my extended polycule as we coordinated various vehicles and modes of transport to get there. Somehow the plate spinning didn’t get out of control and I was able to slip between the competing roles with ease, which was helpful.

The whole day has been amazing – a much bigger site than last year at Godalming and thankfully all on a level rather than the entertaining slopes we coped with previously. The route of the parade was also far longer, weaving through the town and shopping centre before heading through residential streets to the park. Barring one very small group of teenage boys trying to be edgy we also had nothing but support and cheers from the crowds who had turned out. If there were counter-protestors (as had been threatened) they didn’t disrupt or dismay anyone.

Instead I was able to support colleagues, network with politicians and other organisations, mind our library mascot for their appearances, and still spend time with my loved ones and the assorted children we had with us.

We may even have persuaded our political portfolio holder to get his face painted with flowers and he very gamely let us decorate him in celebration of his being a fantastic ally both of libraries and the lgbtq+ community.

I’m home now, footsore, slightly sunburned, but fed and watered. Everyone has been delivered home to where they need to be, and I’m having my last cuppa to round out the day. It’s been a good one, and so’s the cuppa.

Father’s Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day – as far as I am aware, a completely fabricated excuse to sell cards rather than anything traditional (I’m pretty sure it didn’t exist when I was younger)

Still, it’s a nice excuse to do and say nice things, and to recognise the good that most people do. Within a varied polycule of people with various gender expressions it gets a bit complicated until you settle down and relax. My daughter sent me a card and a Viking-style glass drinking horn. The cub went the traditional eleven year old boy route of not even noticing it was happening. I left an answerphone message for mine which I’ll follow up today, and various others had interactions with those parental figures still alive or present.

And for those having a bad day, we gathered round and were found family.

And now back to the grind, time to put the kettle on.

Jubilee Weekend

I’m not particularly engaged with the jubilee, probably because I’ve been helping my staff arrange events around it over the last few months. While I appreciate the event for the historical thing it is, it doesn’t really set my world on fire.

It’s also, after a half term of looking after the cub, actually been nice to do very little today but play Two Point Gospital, some Destiny2, and watch some TV without a quizzical little voice in my ear.

As for the rest if the weekend, I’ll be catching up with the Charleesi tomorrow for a birthday meal, and then fingers crossed for Dungeons and Dragons in the evening.

I’m more excited for those two things, I have to say.

Celebrations

It’s been delayed a couple of years by the pandemic but today is special. The Charleesi is having her graduation ceremony. We came up after work yesterday evening and have a quiet morning planned before it all kicks off.

I’m proud of her. She has done so well and brokered her hard work and focus into a job she enjoys and a life recounted with wry humour.

Today is all about her.

50 Already?

So, uh, somehow I’ve made to 50 years and I have pretty much most things working okay, a good job, people who love me, most of my marbles, and as of today an all clear from a cancer scare. So that’s a good way to start the next revolution round the sun.

I’ve just finished a charity stream with Lady B and boy s playing the new Destiny expansion and been getting blown away by all the deep lore that is being paid off after years of breadcrumbs. The gameplay is slick, the storytelling compelling, and the excited noises from boy s deeply amusing. We had to force ourselves to stop because it was gone 2am.

So, what’s planned for this year? To be honest I don’t know. I never expected to get to this milestone. I was surprised to be so happy at age 40, let alone still among the living. My next markers are my tenth wedding anniversary and the fourth anniversary of collaring boy s in this next month. A holiday might be nice later this year.

For now though I have a week off work and some vague plans for D&D this weekend. That’ll do.