And We’re Back

Merry Christmas everyone, much food and drink has been consumed and a state of pleasant befuddlement has been enjoyed. All this despite the last minute lockdown.

We spaced out presents through the day, and enjoyed spoiling each other rotten in the unexpected quiet.

And then this evening we ran an online version of what I’d been planning as a tabletop one shot – or at least the beginning of one – in what I’ve started calling the one point five shot session.

It is a goblin themed one shot, set in a goblin village. We have:

  • Truxi the Bard played by Lady M
  • Angre the Wizard played by myr s
  • Dranverk the Barbarian played by the cub
  • Morrus the Monk played by Lady W
  • Meekface the Artificer played by Lady B

All the characters are goblins, and this has given license for a certain degree of silly voices in the stream and for some reason 80s and 90s-themed football references to the retired hero, now brewer, called Cann Tonna and his missing rival Red Knapp who disappeared while raiding the New Castle to the North.

If it weren’t for the lockdown we would get out more.

Oh, and a goblin scout was chased into the village and shot down by elves wearing the insignia of the Silver Flame before the goblin heroes could drive them off. In two days a force of these fanatics will raid the village. They will attempt to steal away the goblin children at the height of the Winter Festival.

Christmas Eve

Lady M has been working today, I have not. I’m enjoying the fruits of the decision to take time before Christmas even with everything else going on in the world. By fruits, I mean putting my feet up, reading, playing games, watching YouTube videos, and maybe a couple of quiet drinks between snacks. There’s a definite feeling of overdue indulgence to today that is very welcome right now.

Inspired by a friend’s post on social media, we have given each other a pre-Christmas Funko, and resisted pressing each other to open any more. It’s a nice little thing I may do next year too, in line with our habit of giving little birthday presents in the week leading up to them.

All in all, it has helped keep positivity up, despite everything. It may not be the Christmas we hoped for, but it will be a good day tomorrow for us here. I hope it is for you too.

Christmas Eve Eve

I decided to deliberately have a day of doing very very little today. I managed to break the back of preparations for the one-off yesterday so I’ve given myself the day off. Instead I’ve watched The Muppets Christmas Carole and The Muppets Treasure Island while stretched out on the sofa.

On a not unrelated note we also did a lot of Christmas supplies shopping the last couple of days for basics, fun stuff, and yes alcohol. If we have to be in lockdown we’re going to do so in comfort and ease.

My biggest problems today have been checking in on a colleague (Lady Sz) for reasons, and resisting the urge to start passing presents to Lady M to open early. There are worse problems to have.

Okay, Holiday Time

That’s it, I’m on holiday now. I normally take time between Christmas and New Year, but this time I’ve opted to take the run-up instead. In part it’s to give my peer managers a turn at that stretch of time, and in part to just stop and enjoy the amble towards the celebrations.

I may have spent time today at work joking with my staff about whether it was time to go home yet, but now I’m home, feet up, fed by Lady M, and most of a bottle of rioja downed while we watch the Masterchef final. All in all I’m happy to call this a good start.

The next few days should be quiet. I have planning to do for a D&D one-shot featuring Christmas goblins vs elves, and we’ll have some visitors from Christmas evening for a couple of days – but that’s all that is lined up. Just as well with the new restrictions.

Decking The Halls

Yes, I know it’s not yet (quite) December, but its been a horrible year so letting people start to get creative in their decorations is an important morale booster.

At the libraries this week this has led to innovative thought on how to use scrap materials to brighten the place up. We want to welcome people in as we leave lockdown.

So I’ve been both encouraging people to come up with ideas, and leading the charge – and yes, I may be a bit proud of what is starting to take a hold in our little cluster of libraries this week.

Here’s a couple of examples as we get started…

What Day Is It?

It’s official, I’ve finally reached that stage of the Christmas holidays where I’ve lost track of what day it is. I was beginning to feel left out. It was only when I messaged lady s about something this morning and she reminded me that it was only Sunday today that I realised that I have entered that weird state fuelled by excess and no work where I have come adrift from all routine.

Admittedly the amount of driving up and down and across the country hasn’t helped as those have now taken on the status of week resets even by dint of not being actually a week apart.

So yes, this is my reminder to myself that it’s the last Sunday of the year and decade. A quick look at the site stats tells me that this is the busiest the site has been in four years in terms of traffic – must be all the more regular posting I’ve got back into doing 😉

Right, I’m off out to see my daughter for our third? Christmas. Have fun everyone

Christmas Eve

“They read your site you know” I was warned – albeit a couple of days ago – of a vicar joining us for a family Christmas Eve meal at a favourite restaurant. I never know quite what to make of comments like that. The site is here to be read: it’s kind of the point of it really.

Today’s grand meal at The Italian Orchard has been a set piece of gathering together to enjoy fine food, good wine, and good company. Even with my mother deciding to stay home as a winter cold triggered her asthma there were eight of us around the table and we all enjoyed the little bubble of relative luxury and pampering that such a setting allows.

Writing and drawing? That’ll be me then.

The warning – such as it was – came of the other family joining us, the vicar of the parish that my parents are part of and her husband and son. Quite what this warning was meant to highlight is something if which I’m unsure: I’m told that my writing was found enjoyable, even if the route by which my blog was directed to her attention is as yet unclear.

“I love your drawings” I was told – and so we went from there. As the afternoon drew on my fingers began twitching for paper, so Lady M provided a notebook and I doodled away to let the daemons out – but quite why a warning was required in the first place I’m still not entirely sure. Perhaps there was a concern that I would be taken aback by someone knowing something of me – and of all the many things I talk about here it was nice to have it just be about my need to draw and illustrate.

My biggest frustrations come from having to throttle my creative impulses, so talking about my process, both conscious and unconscious, was relatively relaxing and eased us then into our respective small huddles if conversation as we indulged in the food and atmosphere before us.

All in all, talking about my artwork rather than my stories, or my relationships was probably the least contentious approach for all concerned. Perhaps the warning was more one to me of keeping the conversation to safer waters than delving into polyamory, mental health, or any other aspects of life around the dinner table.

Who knows – it was an odd injunction but a lovely meal and set of conversations where grand nonsense flowed and a great time was had.

And now for a quiet chill out and companionable silence as Lady M and I nurse our cuppas and collapse a while.

Wrapping Presents

There’s one disadvantage to our tactics of buying things through the year to space out the cost and stress of Christmas – and that’s all the wrapping.

That’s what I’ve mostly been doing the last couple of days, and I’ve lost track of how many rolls of paper I’ve gone through. At least the card inside the rolls will end up integrated into props down the line – and most of the paper is recyclable.

In theory I could wrap things as I go, but there is something therapeutic about wrapping presents in large numbers that I enjoy. I am reaching the point soon where I will have to reorganize what is stacked under the tree though.

In the meantime I’m having an early night so that my back can stop complaining about being hunched over the table. A day back at work should sort that all out. I did leave instructions for the Saturday staff to have fun with the Christmas decorations, so I’ll be seeing what they did soon.

Wrapping Presents

If anyone reading this knows me well enough that they’re in line for a Christmas present, please don’t read too much into the choices of wrapping paper this year – I’m basically using up all the scrap ends of rolls that I had knocking around in the cupboard when I grabbed all the decorations at the weekend.

Last year I used brown paper extensively as a recyclable alternative – but I’ve found so many odds and ends that I would end up throwing away anyway that I might as well out them to use before you throw them away. When I’ve used those up, I’ll get more brown paper. So, if your present is wrapped in rainbow glossy colours, or swirls of hearts, then you can at least know that yours was one of the first I wrapped this year.

The more cynical among you may wonder if this is just an extended decluttering exercise – and you’d be right. At least it’ll look pretty.