Morning After the Munch

I managed a great and rare thing last night – which was to drag the boy s off his couch and with me to a local munch – a social gathering for people in the kink/poly community (there’s a fair overlap) not that far from us. He’s been saying he wanted to go for some time, as he hasn’t been to any in four years. Between moving, covid, and ill health he’s not felt up to it – while I’ve been making connections with the locals over the last year or so so I could introduce him properly. Its as much an element of peer support and presence for a community who are not particularly visible as anything else – and he was very very nervous.

Part of that was that he would also be meeting Lady T in person for the first time – they’ve chatting along with everyone else in our group chat, but just like introducing new cats to an existing household you hope that in person people get on.

Well, we got there and headed to the freezing beer garden that normally hosts this particular event and as you might expect he sat and shivered while people chatted a while and then the ice broke with the mishearing of a comment turning into a running gag that turned the air several shades of blue. We did then all retreat into the warmth of the bar as it was relatively empty. And I have to say that I was proud of him coming out of his shell and talking to people with more and more confidence. He came close to being overwhelmed by the auditory input for a while, but Lady T had some stress putty that distracted him – and so an autistic alliance was formed, and rollup cigarettes shared, and an evening passed well. All in all, the boy did well. Here’s to getting him out the house some more.

Unexpected Child In The Bagging Area

I knew it was going to be a strange day that would wander off-script when I got a call from boy s saying that the cub’s bus had broken down and could I give him a lift in exchange for a cuppa.

Because I am, contrary to scattered myth, a reasonable fellow, I duly did battle with local traffic to relay the cub. We noted his stomach was a bit uncomfortable, but as he was a good colour and otherwise moving with an approximation of purpose, he was deposited just down the road from the school. This was, of course, to spare him the embarrassment of being seen with a parental figure by his schoolmates.

I then popped the car on charge at the supermarket and walked home to start a morning of meetings. Just as I was due to retrieve the car about lunchtime, I, of course, then got a call from the school to come and retrieve the cub.

He was much more subdued and pale, so after checking his temperature I lined him up with warm cereal and a hot chocolate in front of YouTube, made him a hot water bottle, and started my next meeting next door. By the end of that, he was fast asleep and remained so until just after 9 when I went to get some fresh milk.

He seemed somewhat perturbed by the notion that Lady M and I were winding down for bed, and that he couldn’t start playing on the xbox. We settled him with more warm cereal and water and said he could watch his phone for a bit if he was back in bed.

So far, so good. We’ll see what he’s like in the morning

And Back To Work

We had a good catchup on Monday with the Charleesi and boyfriend – who have both been working over the Christmas period like us. It was an excuse to get presents to them and spend some time – and to give our newly donated slow cooker a first go. Fair to say that the melt-in-your-mouth meat alone was a treat, especially when mixed with spices and coconut milk for a slow-cooked beef curry experience. It was a good start to the week.

Then it’s been back to the grind – and a strange combination of a slow start that also brought some tough managerial decisions. As is always the way with these things, compromise and conversation in person rather than the sole medium of emails got results and kept storms in teacups where they belonged. It also brought some improvements for some of the people being supported so I’ll take the wins.

I dropped by an unofficial munch (if there’s such a thing) over in Farnborough last night following all that to catch up with people and met some interesting new faces, including a couple of fellow D&D people so a lot of geekiness and sharing of silliness from our respective tables happened. Got some good ideas, and think I introduced one person to at least three new authors they hadn’t encountered before. End of the evening I gave Lady T a lift home and then promptly got stuck after that driving behind someone who barely drove over twenty miles an hour for most of the distance between Staines and home. So, that was fun. At least the new car is a pleasure to drive so as the route didn’t really give me any great overtaking opportunities I settled into my heated seats and pootled along behind until they turned off and cleared the way.

My added bonus today is that, by and large, I haven’t had much discomfort from my ribs. There’s still some tenderness near the sternum, but I’ve been able to take deep breaths, cough, even laugh, and not had stabbing pains for my trouble. I think my body has gone into healing overdrive today though as I’m absolutely shattered and drowsy as I reach the end of the afternoon. I logged off from work, and made the mistake of closing my eyes for a few moments and promptly lost a few hours – so I’m going to take the hint and just be kind to myself for the evening

Welcome 2023

Well, so long 2022. Let’s see what comes along next. My own little corner of the world is doing well on the work front, though there’s a lot of sickness in the polycule that we can hopefully all support each through.

Lady M and I had a quiet evening last night with a double-bill on Netflix of Knives Out and Glass Onion and a bottle of wine. Neither of us were in the mood for shenanigans so it was good to just switch off. I’ve also quietly carried on making tokens and portraits in Heroforge as that’s a great distraction.

Last night’s cuppa and book

Today has also been gentle. Some of us are unwell, some of us are hung over – and I am just very tired. I suspect that’s related to my ribs still healing. They’re definitely improving: I was able to actually sleep lying down in my bed for the first time in a couple of weeks. Lifting and shifting too energetically is still painful, but there’s less of it which is encouraging – as long as I dont slouch or lean too often.

I did at least get the group together on discord and roll20 to get characters set up for the one-shot. I still haven’t come up with a title for it – I’ll announce it here when I do.

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.

Hello Weekend

It feels like it’s been a very long week, but at the same time has had some good things in it. I had a diagnosis on the tiredness and a hopefully simple and effective remedy that I’ve started now. I had my payday so that’s always helpful – and I took delivery of my new lease car.

That alone will make work immeasurably less stressful as we won’t be competing for use of Lady M’s work car. Like her my vehicle is provided as part of a fleet under a salary sacrifice scheme which covers tax and services and tire wear and tear and things like that. We’re both now driving hybrids, and mine can also be driven as a purely electric car once the VIM registration goes through and I can register with the BMW tariff for charging.

Sadly we haven’t any charging points on the estate, but various places around the area do so I’ll be learning the gentle art of planning journeys with an eye to charging points. Who says it’s too late to learn new skills?

So my plan for tomorrow is to properly read the manual, work out how to customise things and connect my phone, and then take Lady M for a drive somewhere. Its been a good ten years since I’ve had a vehicle to call my own.

A Dippy Day

We had a day out today up in town as Lady B was staying at the boy’s place. Quite by chance we’d seen adverts for the return of Dippy the Diplodocus to the Natural History Museum and as Lady M hadn’t been in years, we turned it into a day out for Lady M. Dippy has been on a tour around various museums around the United Kingdom and has been the focal point of exhibitions and work around how the world changes as part of the framing of the tour.

Dippy the diplodocus fossil, assembled and free-standing in a brick and stone and timber hallway. People are gathered all round, admiring and taking photos

I have many fond memories of Dippy in the main hall on my many visits during my childhood. The long face would peer down at all who entered with what seemed to be a gentle smile – and was that rare thing in not being tucked away behind glass. I’m happy to report that while Dippy has not returned to her old spot, she is still not locked behind glass. Moreover, the pose is now more active, with tail in the air in line with the spine, curled above people’s heads rather than coiled and heavy on the ground. It adds an air of dynamism and nimbleness to counterweight that long neck that feels a better depiction of poise.

For those wanting a closer look at the skull, a replica is available to touch and examine on a nearby table – and a ten-minute looping video plays on various screens around the hallway with people talking about how they’ve taken inspiration, or have worked in areas of research that fill out our pictures of how Dippy lived and moved when alive.

The whole museum was pretty busy – especially in the earth sciences section as the majority of people were being directed to use the side entrance due to some development work in the gardens – but Dippy was undeterred and unbothered – and her hallway remains a quiet pool of wonder. I was impressed at how the whole building felt turned around and invigorated, and will definitely go back soon to rediscover it

How Strange

I was just thinking that haven’t been nagged by my phone to post anything and found that the WordPress app had disappeared. Cue a few moments of redownloading and then authenticating my login and we’re back in the room. Most perterbatory as the saying goes.

Still, we’ve had a quiet day today, following a lightning trip up north and back for family reasons. A round of upset stomachs suggest a bad batch of pizza last night, but at least the diabetic nurse is reasonably pleased with me.

A more substantial update tomorrow: writing is being perpetrated…

Trying for Simplicity

The rule of Sod feels quite active the last couple of days. Work has been productive despite constant exhaustion so I booked out some time to try and relax and rest. So of course, the boy had unexpected late shifts and we were asked to have the cub over, and he promptly developed a deep cough and a temperature.

At least he’s low maintenance as an invalid, and while Lady M works I’m able to have a quiet collapse on the sofa. The cub is currently in our bed half-heartedly watching YouTube videos on the xbox…