I’m still, in some ways, processing the death of Queen Elizabeth and the change that brings to the sensation of what I’m calling the touchstones of normality. That said, my work has required me to be involved in making sure that protocols and agreements are rolled out effectively in how my libraries operate and communicate at this time.
There’s nothing outrageous, just a lot of communication and relaying of questions up and down the chain – and thanking everyone working for me for their hard work and resilience during some fast-changing times.
That’s partly why today I herded the polycule all into one place so we could just spend some time together at Geek Retreat to chat, gossip, and support each other. One touchstone may have gone, but we have each other and the affirmation of being in each other’s company as another touchstone.
Tomorrow will be a quiet day of recharging batteries and, for me at least, some prepping of options for the D&D game in the evening.
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.
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.
I’m currently stretched out in bed after a rollercoaster of emotions but all in good company. Lady M and boy s both had trainer appointments at the gym so it was a good excuse to make a day of it. I’ve been using gym visits this week to help get through muscular and joint pain I’ve had since having covid last week, so I also had a plan of attack. The cub wanted to swim.
With all the stress of this week, my mental reserves have been slender today, especially with the residual pains. It’s days like this where my partners rally round in support. Hugs and simple gestures, quiet moments and silliness all helped as we came and went from the table we were using as a base.
The space and quiet have been needed. This has not been a good week. This evening feels a bit brighter.
According to various lateral flow tests we’re now in the clear, though aches and pains and lingering symptoms are still making it very clear that we’re not as well as we might like. What we did do last night though was go in support of boy s to his induction at the gym and take the cub swimming.
Well, by that I mean introduced him to the changing rooms and then sat and watched because I’ve tweaked my back and am currently hobbling round with the aid of a cane, but I’m pleased to say that both the cub and boy s enjoyed themselves immensely, while Lady M and I were walking wounded and looked after bags and food.
We hadn’t intended to be there that long, but suddenly it was nearly nine in the evening and I’d missed my counselling session (for which I’ve made copious apologies and set a very loud alarm on my phone for next time)
The cub went from being very reluctant to be away from his computer to being very engrossed in swimming and then the treadmills and cycling machines in the gym (never underestimate the power of animations and YouTube on gym equipment) while boy s is now seeing the draw of studying in the quiet area and taking a break in the gym while working on his degree.
So it looks like we have an addition to our social activities and general health to look forward to. Here’s to my back muscles relaxing soon.
Wednesday was the fourth anniversary of collaring boy s – in kink terms a form of commitment not unlike marriage – it was just a shame that both of us were too unwell to celebrate much of anything. I was staying over anyway so it was largely a day of napping in between doing the school run and doing some more work on the Amazon store.
We’ve decided instead to try and have a date night in the next week or so once payday has arrived and we’re in better health.
What we do all have to anticipate however is that we’ve got tickets for the Thorpe Park preview day on Saturday thanks to his working there. We’ve not been on any rollercoaster since before the first lockdown. Lady M has had her eye surgery since then too, so this will be the first time on them without glasses or contact lenses.
So, highs and lows and literal rollercoasters to come. Can’t wait.
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.
Munches are informal social gatherings held by the kink/alternative/poly/ethical non monogamy communities to just… chill and hangout and are a good way to put faces to names and see what people are like in general.
During covid we’ve kept to ourselves, and with boy s moving up to us we’ve had less contact with people in those scenes over the last couple of years. With things becoming more stable though, people are starting to cautiously make noises about starting them up again in our local area, so I decided to go introduce myself and catch up with some of the people I’ve been talking to online for a while.
And so to a pub garden, where we sat and ate and chatted until it was time to close up. And that’s what a munch is. The only real difference is that there’s less small talk and more deep discussion and geekery – favoured topics were comicbooks, authors, TV shows, boardgames, warhammer, oh and how useful a softly commanding voice can be while managing staff sometimes 😉
The boy s wasn’t feeling up to it, so I dropped Lady M over for a sleepover and went on my own, so that I can at least make introductions at the next one, in much the same way that boy s did for me when we first got together. Seems only fair to be able to return the favour.
One of the people I was talking to actually lives quite close, so I gave them a lift as they were on the way and that was another nice round of chat to make the journey go smoother. So all in all, a good start back, and I’ll see about the next one.
We’re looking after the cub this evening while boy s is visiting Lady B back in Portsmouth for their tabletop D&D group. Well, I say looking after, but he fell asleep on me about quarter to six in the evening after I’d fed and watered him. At first a nestle against my arm, it soon turned into an arm shoved through the front pocket of my hoodie and a nestle under my arm and lights completely out.
He has what can best be described as a “burning the candle at both ends” approach to being awake, which largely comes from a fear of missing out on anything interesting going on around him. Today was the day that his body said enough, and so I had a small sleeping person curled up on me. It was very sweet.
Lady M and I eventually manhandled him into bed in the spare room and he slept for a good five hours before briefly surfacing just as I was switching lights off to go to bed. I brought his phone in, plugged it in to charge it, and he was asleep again as soon as his head hit the pillow.
So it’s been a quiet evening, and I’ve largely been working on my short stories to polish up the collection. Silver linings, and all that.
As someone recently noted on social media, I live a strange life, and I embrace that and aim to keep it that way so it doesn’t lapse into being boring and dull. I am proud to include a diverse and vibrant bunch of people in my life and celebrate their individual journeys as well as our commonalities.
This Christmas has allowed us to reconnect and bond with friends, partners, family, and those who might wander between. I caught back up with my brothers, and the Charleesi, with friends who have built their own forge, my parents, my partners, and a variety of children attached to various of the above.
So the plan today has been to sit quietly with Lady M, give our presents to each other, watch TV, play games, and not stray too far from the sofa.
It’s not the family gathering we had planned, but it’s a good substitute and rest ahead of the excitement and busy weeks ahead.