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?

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.

Making the Most of Things

A colleague told me yesterday to try sitting on a tennis ball to relieve the pain that she believes is sciatica. So that happened. I shall keep an eye out for a spare, I’m sure I’ve seen one knocking around somewhere while cleaning out the library.

It’s fine. Its just pain. As long as I keep active nothing seizes up too badly.

As a morale boost though some Discworld merchandise themed around the Assassins Guild arrived at lunchtime. I used to have a diary at work based around the same organisation, and I do miss it, if only for its sleekness and the bemused expressions of colleagues.

Today had at least a portion of it devoted to arranging risk assessments for next week, so there was some productivity at least. In other news I got a bit bored and started photoshopping more pictures of myself:

At least if I go missing mysteriously there will be plenty of options for alarming photos for the media. Oh well, time for bed I think.

Mission Accomplished

Despite the tiny size of the available car, I was able to retrieve the Charleesi from university yesterday. Even better, I was able to do so in one round trip. We’re still not entirely sure how we did that – there is a suspicion that the Fiat500 is actually a Tardis.

Fortunately, while playing Tetris with bags, books, and assorted household goods we had sunshine and a gentle breeze. Even the Charleesi’s traditional moment of locking herself out of her own flat was taken in good humour by the concierge who ambled over to let her back in to empty the recycling bin.

And so there it is – the end of one chapter, and the beginning of another for the Charleesi. I still can’t believe we fit all that in such a small car…

Guerilla Tidying

Psst, there’s an advantage to being a library manager during lockdown. I get to go in there when no one else is around and sit and read and look after the books.

The libraries, I am sure of it, get upset if left alone too long. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve had systems play up, or books slip from shelves when they’ve been alone for too long.

One of my libraries is due to be decorated this week, so I joined a couple of other managers to do some preparations ahead of the workmen arriving. Vulnerable books have been relocated, outdated paperwork shredded, and access points cleared so things can be quietly and efficiently completed with a minimum of annoyance to the library itself.

I could swear that the library is all aquiver about the attention its getting after weeks of quiet – its certainly been good to see colleagues again and to do something practical while maintaining our distances.

One or two books may have been perused in the process…

Fitness Ow

I’ve been a little lacksadaisical about exercising regularly in lockdown, and so this week has seen a concerted effort to at the very least get my step count back up by going on walks round the block – about thirty-forty minutes depending on pace – with Lady M.

View over the M3 motorway

Today my body has decided to register its protest by twinging at the base of my spine across my hips; so I am currently sitting carefully, reading and writing while I let a hot water bottle ease the spasmed muscles. Later, I shall slowly shuffle to the shops to get some painkillers, and a few minor groceries – and count that as today’s exercise.

Back to the walking tomorrow when everything is a bit more sensible. A pity really, because it looks really nice out there at the moment. On the plus side, I’ve been getting some nice snaps on the phone as I’ve been walking about – so that’s another reason to keep doing it as there really are some hidden gems locally.

Whether it’s local plantlife, or views across the horizon, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re right on the edge of London, just where the countryside starts to open up into parklands,woods, and farming but still also relatively urban. It makes finding signs of spring both easy, but also easy to overlook because it rarely takes the form of woodland clearings covered in snowdrops and daffodils. Instead there is blossom on trees and bushes, thick verdant foliage, and the sound of birdsong – all of which do surprisingly well at pushing out past concrete and asphalt – albeit sometimes quite discretely.

Right, I can feel my muscles easing – so I shall change to go out, and try not to look like my spine is fused.

Little Gifts

All the yum, to be savoured at leisure

Its been our turn to receive little somethings from the DDC – not as part of any schedule or expectation, but simply as nice things to do. Its always nice to get things in the post, but thoughtful things from loved ones rather than Amazon orders do put a bigger smile on the face.

In this instance, across two deliveries, it was things picked out by myr s and the cub as “just because” morale boosters for both myself and Lady M. The first was a hamper of cheese and chutneys – they know our foodie nature so well – that the cub had spotted and picked out

We don’t have a Groot problem, we’ve got plenty

While the second delivery contained a new Groot Funko for Lady M, and a really well stocked art roll of pencils, charcoal, and chalks for me to get lost in my artwork with.

The notes and letters that came with them are a wonderful boon and reassurance – just whats needed as lockdown continues.

Keeping Things Moving

I was just having a post D&D session chat with myr s and Lady B via the wonders of Discord and the topic turned to ways of dealing with the grey blur of days in lockdown.

As I rambled through the sorts of things I’ve been doing, I had a bit of a realisation: that most of the small things I do in the house involve moving little bits around to present vistas. I’ve been rearranging the placement of groups of funko pops, or rearranging books in their shelves, or moving minor pieces of furniture. At first I thought it was just lazy tidying, but there’s something more interesting going on.

One of the things I’ve learned while managing libraries is that displays and notices need to be varied in placement and composition quite regularly. This is because people very quickly get used to them and overlook them. Why? Well apparently its related back to our prehistoric roots where pattern recognition evolved as survival hinged on spotting things out of place that might be a predator.

When we see something new, our attention catches to assess if it is a threat or opportunity, before being relegated to known background while we search for the next anomaly.

During more normal times, going out keeps the brain fed with new stimuli to process and assess, but at home we start to climb the walls because we’ve assessed the normal surroundings as safe and yet that primitive part keeps screaming that we just haven’t spotted the tiger yet.

So, I’m in a process of keeping my living space and activities in flux to satisfy my brain’s inherent paranoia. It seems to work, and probably explains why I find data cleansing both easy and a high stress activity.

There’s probably a good debate to be had there that its not so much a matter of a low boredom threshold as ongoing hypervigilance on my part, because reasons.

But thats a whole other story for another time.

Feelgood Movie Night

I’ve been feeling out of sorts most of the day – a combination of head fog and a rattling in my chest that I can’t quite pin down to heart or lungs. It’s only really been the last half hour that I’ve decided its the lungs, but the worry hasn’t helped me through the day.

Sensing that I wasn’t too perky, Lady M prescribed pizza and daftness – which is how we’ve just finished a double bill of Marvel films: Antman and the Wasp, and Captain Marvel and it has done the job of distracting me and raising my spirits through music and light banter. Just what I needed to switch the worry centres off.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Antman films. I love heist films, and the daft childlike spirit of the original and its sequel are like a comfort blanket – largely because of the ensemble cast who seem to be having fun making them. That sense of fun shines through more and more when I watch Captain Marvel too, despite the efforts of the space fascists (Kree) to be oh so serious. They’re not high art films, and they know it, and when I need a distraction that just fits the bill – and I say that as a very very long-term Marvel fan.

Data Musings

I’m back on the data cleansing today, removing out of date remarks and correcting errors where encountered. Its a painstaking process that even with my glasses on requires taking semi-regular breaks.

What I am noticing as I work through the spreadsheet and system is the sheer diversity of our customers. It is wonderful. Sometimes there are whole families with sequential entries where they’ve all joined at once, but more often than not a single digit difference at the end of the card tells a story of the range of people in our community that have walked in through the doors and joined up for their card.

Its something I’m aware of when working with the public every day, but something about working through each entry is reinforcing it for me, and reminding me of how lucky I am to work with so many varied individuals