Ow ow ow

As is traditional, a few days after exercise, muscles are complaining bitterly. Sadly that exercise was my being violently ill so the painful muscles are the ones connected to my ribs and diaphragm and it hurts when I laugh.

Those who know me, will appreciate how much this is an irritation. I like laughing.

A lot.

And yes, that’s in no small part due to being very familiar with depression, which is always lurking in the background.

So, hopefully I’ll feel less tender in the morning and I can enjoy my day off.

Happy Memory

I was having a brief online chat with my daughter this evening, where she was recounting a work drama with her usual dry wit – and she mentioned how her hope for the summer is to be able to drag her boyfriend to Thorpe Park.

Long-time readers and family friends will of course recall our many visits there over the years, supported by Merlin Passes and a love of being flung around complex rollercoasters. She then ruminate that now she’s earning full-time she has every intention of finishing the day loaded down with merchandise.

Pretty much simultaneously we then opined that a return to Alton Towers should happen again, and with that came memories of our staying there for the weekend of her 16th birthday – which still ranks as one of our favourite memories ever

We hadn’t told her we were going there, and it was late on a Friday when we got there, and I’ll never forget the look on her face as we arrived, or when we got to our room to find a cake and a Teddy bear waiting for her.

It was me, Lady M, and the Charleesi, staying on-site and just making the absolute most of absolutely everything. From food to early access on each day I think we hit nearly every ride several times and had glorious sunshine the whole weekend.

Even just writing these words has put a smile on my face – a wonderful antidote to the discomfort of the last 24 hours or so

Unwell Day

I’ve mostly been in bed, or on the loo today. Something I ate yesterday really disagreed with me and it has not been pleasant.

On the plus side Lady M had her post-surgery checkup and they were very very pleased with her healing and improvement so that was great to hear.

I’m finally getting back to normal, so back to work in the morning

Proof of life

Parking Oddness

I’ve been enjoying the surprisingly strong spring sunshine today, and met up with Lady G for a socially distanced lunchtime picnic while I was about it.

While grabbing some bites to eat, I was struck again by the bizarre approach to parking that various trades vehicles have when stopping at a local lights and electrics store.

The shop is right on the corner of an access road I follow to get to Tesco, last in a row of builders and plumbers suppliers at the end of the local industrial estate. The road is used by locals as a cut through, and there’s no pavement along the edge of the parking forecourt so people usually just walk along it.

For ages there was a safety issue where drivers would cut the corner across the forecourt, so after several near misses of pedestrians and parked vehicles the owners put down small rubberised obstacles along the edge – which regularly makes no difference to any number of vans or small lorries that pack into the space like confused sardines in a tin and overflow the road edges on each side.

Every time I pass I see a new configuration that seems to have no consideration for pedestrians, road markings, or indeed access to each other’s vehicles – and I wonder what it is that fosters this approach. Does it come as a consequence of working among and making the necessary mess of construction?

There’s probably reams of research, or at least a cultural machismo of appearing to not care about rules in front of each other – a badge of rugged assumed masculinity swimming in toxic adrenaline. Who knows, maybe its just a hurry to meet deadlines.

Whatever the reasons, its a constant source of bemusement.

Rumble in the Undercroft

Tonight’s session was fantastic, well-paced, and had sass and drama in equal measure. Great fun all round, had by all.

I’d planned out key milestones to help mark timings for the evening which left ample time for roleplay and plot elements to come into play – and with key events in early bouts being used to punctuate conversations, it kept a momentum going.

The wrestling references and in-jokes caused much eye-rolling from myr s and laughter from everyone else, so I’m glad I spent the time googling ring names.

A confidant of their host identified themselves as an agent of House Phiarlan, there was a meeting at last with Mr Friendly and Mrs Nice, there were fireworks and dancing lights, banners were made and flown, and Kerne made a new friend.

Oh, and in a bruising and tense knockout finale, Thorin won his match, much to everyone’s relief. Great fun, must do another one soon.

Game Prep

It’s been a bit of a lazy day, but I’ve done a fair bit of preparation for the Sunday game. The main map has been adapted, NPCs placed, and even some loose plotting sorted. I’ve also been creating a number of potential opponents for the main event, which is shaping up to be a WWE style pitfighting competition.

So far Iron Ryan (warforged unarmed combat champion), Rigger Reins (human drunken fighting monk), and Seck “The Snake” Saash (lizardfolk Eagle Totem barbarian) have been sorted out to join Thorin “The Firebringer” in the ring. I’ll finish off with Gorgeous Glorfina and The Chef (can you smell what he’s cooking?) in the morning.

Those who follow such things may have spotted some cheeky nods to well known ring names already. I have no shame…

Come join us at 7.30pm but don’t forget that the clocks go forward tonight here in the UK.

Writing Nice Things

One of my colleagues has been working for the library for some 25 years now, and it’s always good to mark these things. My boss was nudged to write nice things to celebrate this and so this morning I received a plea for help in composing it. The email was titled: “R Citation”

The original call was for reminiscences but being the garrulous soul I am, I ended up with the following (slightly edited to preserve identities):

I must have been talking to too many Americans as the first thought on seeing ‘R Citation’ in the Subject was to wonder what she’d done now…

First impressions of R were of someone watchful and no nonsense – and then I got to know her and the sheer dryness of her humour was a joy. If we were busy we were given time and space to just get on with it – and if we weren’t then things could be found.

These days when asked to quickly describe R I use words and phrases like “bundle of energy”, “leaping into action”, and “don’t leave old paperwork around or it’ll go in the bin”. R is passionate about her work and about the library service. Watching her work is a lesson in managing to sprint along the tightrope between maintaining strict boundaries with the public, and going above and beyond the extra mile in pursuit of customer care. R’s distinctive voice and genuine interest in the people around her make her truly memorable to the people she meets and works with. Perhaps that’s the key to summing up R: she cares.

R has always been a kind and intuitive listener, even if – as she’ll be the first to tell you – she doesn’t always use the right words. I am now well used to phone-calls asking me to check over draft emails; asked to help turn direct and unvarnished language into considered and not-quite-so inflammatory directives. One of these days I’m sure she will produce some of the original drafts of her emails while writing her memoirs, and we can look forward to the series of explosions across the land.

R’s dedication to fitness is legendary, with swimming, running, and bottles of wine all being regular conquests in the race to keep ahead of the demands of work, family, and escape attempts by family pets. The sight of her bike propped up in Staines Library’s back rooms or corridors has often brought a smile when considering the pile of parcels delivered from Amazon that will then need to be carefully balanced on the return journey.

Perhaps the greatest testament to R is that when you mention her name, people’s faces light up. That’s a rare gift.

So, unsurprisingly my boss has said she’ll probably just use what I wrote. Perhaps I should send a mock invoice.

Odds and Sods

Another day done, reasonably productively, so that’s good. I’d been concerned for a colleague who seemed to have slipped through the cracks in the vaccination program but was pleased to hear that they’d been successful in securing an appointment.

Perhaps unsurprisingly I seem to have gained a reputation, at least with my manager, for being able to help distressed colleagues. I’m more frequently being asked to check in on various people so I’m having to remember to maintain my boundaries and not carry things home.

Proof myr s loves me

Still, I’m doodling and plotting things for the next few games, so that’s a positive thing. Shenanigans are afoot.

A Day of Consultation

Every now and then I’m called upon to be the fount of all knowledge, or at least the nodding insurance advert dog that people come to for permission to do what they’ve already decided to do – or for sounding board duties while they justify the decision their subconscious has already made.

Today has been that day. Thankfully I was only due to work a short shift as the hours were swapped with yesterday so that we could head off an issue with cover.

During the scant few hours, somehow every single conversation was about the same small pool of topics and individuals. I was therefore very relieved to get away for a coffee date after work with another colleague. An hour of gossip and putting the world to rights was just the right antidote to it all.

In other news, I’ve been confirmed as a Mental Health First Aider, and training booked in for early next month. Just in time for the big restructure. Just, generally, in time.

Draining Day

I had various bits of training online today, presented via Teams by some of our Social Services colleagues and focused on the organisations and teams involved locally in supporting the victims of domestic abuse.

A tough session, but it did lead to a discussion of the role of libraries as a community safe space and how we might be able to contribute. Ongoing conversations to be had there I think.