Birthday Gathering

We managed to get most of the DDC together this afternoon in East Brighton Park to celebrate the birthdays of Mre B and myr s – despite the best efforts of my satnav to take us along every B road between us and there rather than using the motorways.

I chose to treat lightly its choice to direct us through the village of Faygate, or to keep telling us to “stay straight” along the road.

I managed to dissuade Lady M from buying the complete stock of our local Tesco too, as she went into mother hen “feed everybody” mode. I’m not saying that her anxiety was becoming infectious, but I swear I saw people hurrying to buy what we’d left on the shelves like it was toilet paper at the beginning of lockdown.

There was a play park for the cub, a tree to partially shelter from the elements under, and cupcakes and a cupcake cake that ended up being served into cups for distribution. All par for the course really.

We’re home now, tired and glad of having had a quiet time together, enjoying each other’s company without feeling a need to perform or fuss. Nice.

Quiet Sunday

One of the first things Lady M said to me this morning was how tired she was and how she wanted to go back to sleep. Seven hours later, she just did. I did quip about it being a day of rest, which made her blink and say she thought that was the first theological comment I’d made in our time together. I’m pretty sure that’s not true, but there you go.

So we’ve mostly pootled around, played games, and made cuppas today. This evening’s DDC game is just going to be a general natter while I stream doing some art or we play some games or something. Everyone is just a bit tired – but at least Lady M got her signed Liverpool ball inflated at last, so she’s a happy bunny.

In other good news, myr s has got a job offer, the Charleesi has a new project to work on, and her boyfriend is moving in with her at her mum’s house while they job hunt and save to rent somewhere together.

Oh, and my parents have apparently bought a Roomba-style cleaning bot.

Gentle Catch-Up

What a lovely weekend that was – we finally got round to dropping in again on Lord and Lady P for the first time since we bought our flat from them. The thought had occurred to make mischief talking about how awful our last landlords had been, knowing they’ve known us long enough to join in the joke without hesitation – but we were all having such a good time that I think I only mentioned it in passing in the end.

We’d headed down after I’d finished work on Saturday and got there in time for supper and this led to a gentle evening of chat and admiration of Barney, their adopted retired greyhound – who sleeps for approximately twenty two hours a day and always looks on the verge of tears with his expressive eyebrows. At one point he was moving so little that they thought the GPS tracker on his collar was broken.

What we all enjoyed however was going in the morning in to Worthing and a children’s showing of Onward at The Dome – if you get the opportunity to go to a showing of anything there, do so – its a beautiful building and certainly for me a pleasant nostalgia-fest of old-school cinematic experience and surroundings.

A relaxed grazing session of lunch followed and then a winding journey home along the A-roads rather than motorways so I could get used to driving an automatic for the first time. Lady M has been given a Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid to replace the BMW 2 Series, so its a markedly different driving experience – but one that will be good practice for our trip to Florida later in the year.

Lovely weekend, lovely company, much needed.

A Night of Shenanigans

It’s been ages since the libatious librarians got together. All plans for celebrating birthdays and Christmas and New Year got scuppered by people’s holidays, or being ill, or just plain bad timing. The end of January (at last!) was the perfect excuse therefore to catch up, and to celebrate various people’s career moves and successes.

There was a lot of drinking. A fair amount of eating. Nachos were sent back and refunded for being pitifully small for a so-called sharing plate. Silliness, commiserations, and teasing happened in equal measure – and yes there were even tears and hair holding in the toilets.

And everyone has checked in this morning on the group chat in fine spirits and with reasonably clear heads. A successful mission I feel.

On a Boomerang

We had a lovely time at my cousin’s wedding on Saturday at a grand gathering of family. Readings were delivered by actors, music by string quartets, and the food was stunning. After the wedding, the day was spent celebrating at Hoghton Tower – and it was one of the grandest celebrations it has been my pleasure to attend.

It was also the Charleesi’s chance to introduce everyone to her boyfriend, Sir B and, you know what? He did well. They survived being plied with many many drinks without going over their limits, and given they’d had very little sleep due to train disruption that had got them in to Preston at about 1am, they were reasonably clued up and alert.

Being full time students in their third year, I’d expect nothing less.

It was good to see them properly as a couple too, rather than the hurried crossing of paths we’d had back in May at Comiccon. They’re good together, they’ve my nod of approval. It’s so easy to see how much they care for each other and are comfortable with themselves and each other at the same time. A true delight to observe.

Sunday we drove back home, dropping the kids back at university on the way, and today we just chilled until a few hours ago when we headed down to catch up with lady s.

We’re making good use of our holiday.

I Didn’t Mean To Sleep Today Away

I seem to have missed most of today, collapsed on my bed. Ive not been unwell, just exhausted I think.

I woke briefly when Lady M got up this morning full of beans and energy, and then slipped back into sleep cuddling soft toys she’d thoughtfully provided. I got up so we could watch some tv and have a brunch, but then I was just overcome with a deep lassitude.

I suspect its just a result of living off stress and caffeine the last few days and my body and brain getting tired of giving me subtle hints that slowing down for a bit might be a good idea – so my strings were cut and that was that for most of my Sunday.

I must still be running on low batteries as I can hear my bed calling me back even after all that rest – so self-care mode is duly initiated

D-Day Museum

Lady M and I visited the D-Day Museum in Southsea yesterday while lady s was at work, and I found it just as powerful and human as I did the last time I visited. It tells a rounded story of local people, the preparation, the fears, and the events and aftermath of the D-Day assault without indulging in jingoism, cliche, or fantasy.

The exhibits are carefully curated and laid out in a highly efficient use of the space available, and the whole place just feels…loved.

I can’t recommend it enough, and the cafeteria is friendly and full of tasty things too.

Long Week

My rota pattern changed recently so I’m now adjusting to the new days, including the swapping of the weekends where I work. This wouldn’t normally be too complex, but I’ve also got various weekends and days swapped round to accommodate colleagues or allow for various holidays. The general effect therefore is one of having to consciously remind myself several times per day where I am, what hours I’m doing, and whether I need to make further course corrections to avoid having to be in two places at once.

Its all a bit exhausting. Fortunately this weekend we’re off to go see lady s as its her birthday tomorrow so that will be a nice escape from the grind. For at least a couple of days I’ll be able to forget buildings that are generally porous to the weather, or that have been shaken by nearby construction. I’ll instead be able to delight in giving presents and sharing a breakfast tomorrow before being a bit touristy in Portsmouth.

We’re all pretty run down, so it’s not going to be a grand explosion of frolics and silliness (well maybe a bit of silliness) – but just being in each others company will help I think.

Weekend Gathering of the Clan

Aaaand we’re back from the Welsh valleys, gently baked from the glorious sunshine. We’ve been to another wedding anniversary celebration – this time of my mother’s cousin – and so we’ve been meeting various relatives whose names I have no hope of remembering. (To be fair I am awful at remembering most people’s names).

Our journey had been long, mostly due to roadworks and tailbacks from accidents, but I suppose that’s normal for any travel on a bank holiday weekend. We’d all been booked rooms at a hotel in Llangamarch – which certainly broke the ice – so the first evening was spent generally catching up and welcoming people.

Saturday was quiet – we were exhausted – so we slept through breakfast and instead went down to Llanwrtyd Wells to the Caffi Sosban which we’d so enjoyed last time we’d visited. One hearty brunch later, we went back to the hotel to chill out. We knew hat a minivan had been booked to make several runs on Saturday evening to drive us down to the farm freehold itself.

And yes, there was much wine, food, and conversation through the evening. Dogs were herded, small children steered away from the alcohol (mostly), and geese avoided.

We’re generally an amiable bunch, and storytelling really plays at the heart of all our gatherings. Sometimes the stories are even true.

At the end of the evening, the minivan reappeared and made multiple runs back to the hotel. An amazing evening, and with such glorious weather we were a little reluctant to head straight back to London.

Nevertheless, we left early to try and get the worst of the travel done before the roads filled – so we meandered back without any extra drama and have spent the rest of the weekend relaxing. All in all, a great break in routine.

Orff to the Rugby

We had a grand adventure today as part of a delayed birthday thing. Lady M had managed to get tickets to the Quilter friendly international match between England and Wales for today – a series that is often seen as a warm up and tryout for the Rugby World Cup.

I’m not an avid follower of rugby, but I played it at school, and have always enjoyed watching matches on TV if I happen to catch them. England Vs Wales always leaves me caught in the middle too: my parents are Welsh, but I’m a born and bred Londoner. I feel no fierce tribal loyalty either way.

That said, there’s something about the buzz of a stadium event that had us look at each other and go for it. I hadn’t been to Twickenham stadium for a good thirty four years or so, and Lady M had never been to a match. We even splashed out a bit on the tickets, and that’s how we ended up with the view above: pretty much at the front with a perfect view of the goals.

We’re also lucky enough to live a short bus journey away from the stadium so we avoided the trains. This was a good thing, as over 80,000 people attended on the day.

Rugby crowds are generally more chilled than their soccer counterparts – there’s a politeness and cheer fuelled by moderate drinking, plentiful food, and a no nonsense attitude towards people causing trouble.

This was no more evident than in the case of the group of young men behind us who seemed to have a few soccer fans in their numbers. Midway through, one of them leapt to his feet and tried yelling an obscene anti-Welsh chant. It trailed off pretty much straight away as everyone – English and Welsh supporters alike – stopped, turned, and just looked at him. He sat down and we didn’t hear from him again.

By comparison, I gave Lady M repeated giggles by translating the term “knock on” for her as “someone was fucking clumsy”, and “driving the scrum down” as “dangerous fuckery”

Behind us we heard rugby fans explaining to the soccer fans that a “high tackle” wasn’t necessarily deliberate, but it was dangerous and that was why it was punished.

All in all, a great day out – sometimes amusing for the wrong reasons, but so grateful for the chance to be there and soak up the occasion.