In Another World

There is an alternate timeline out there somewhere that isn’t being ravaged by, among other things, Covid-19 and the perennially venal politicians mismanaged the while thing in their rush to sell off the family silver.

In that sunny other universe, I would be in Oxford today, celebrating my daughter’s graduation alongside the ex-Lady M, with Lady M and the Charleesi’s uncle and aunt watching across a remote link from a nearby tent.

However, we won’t know the actual result until the end of next week – and there’s still no firm date for when a rescheduled event may take place next year so for now all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and prepare for a lot of excited yelling next week.

The Charleesi is projected to achieve a first, and is currently job hunting.

Happy Birthday Charleesi

Its my daughter’s 21st birthday – well that happened quickly! Still seems like moments ago that I was ringing family, having stepped briefly out of the operating theatre to find that a thunder and lightning storm had started at the moment of her birth.

Totally not an omen.

Today we have reasonably clear skies, and gentle birdsong, a marked improvement for a special day. We’re still waiting on the final result for her degree but we don’t need that confirmation to know how amazing she is.

So happy birthday Charleesi, can’t wait to see what you do next.

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…

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.

Fun and Games

The return of the Charleesi had to include both a visit to The Plough and the playing of games, and it made for a lovely relaxing afternoon, evening, and night.

A few drinks in and food inside us, we started to play Rock Paper Wizard – which combines hand gestures and tactic voting with Dungeons & Dragons spells. The backstory is that the players are powerful wizards who have slain a dragon and now stand in front of its hoard – and who then turn on each other to grab the biggest share.

Each round lays out spells to choose and you decide who you will play it on. Each card will either move pieces nearer to or further away from the board, or redistribute the gold coins that each player amasses. At the end of each round, the nearest players to the coins grabs an amount each. When all the coins have been claimed, the person with the most in their hand wins.

It’s a lovely visual game and can be very gently paced, or fast and furious. It also attracted comment and interest from other people in the pub; and the laughter from our corner table soon filled the whole bar.

Our second game, back from the bar, was Temp Worker Assassins – a deck building and piece placing game where you try to assassinate various supernatural corporate beings through the work week. Well-fuelled with alcohol, we played and laughed, and quibbled over rule interpretation – we will definitely be making it a regular centrepiece of evenings I think.

We got home late, but so worth it – Lady M hates being sociable, but she’ll always make an exception for games with the Charleesi.

Aches and Pains

My back is playing up a bit at the moment – which may or may not be related to stress levels but in either case is irritating and hopefully will be short-lived.

To distract me then I’ve been playing around a bit with video capture on the XBox and how to transfer material to other platforms so I can display them elsewhere. I’ve started with Overwatch clips, purely because the game captures a highlight in any given game so I don’t have to focus on the creative side first while I get used to the interfaces.

Why am I doing it? Just because I haven’t done it before, that’s all. It’s not like I have any kind of game plan here 😉

In other news I heard from someone who recently left the libraries to work elsewhere that certain people we both worked with had always spoken of me in positive terms, which was an unexpected and pleasant boost to morale.

So while I ache slightly, I’ve been helping Lady M with her costume making for Comiccon – largely by holding material and hoops while she pins them, and in cutting out hearts and shields for her to applique to the dress she’s currently slaving over.

In addition, this afternoon I shall be seeing The Charleesi, who has come home for the weekend – so time to see how the newly-minted student is coming along

The Charleesi Is At University

This time last week, we dropped the Charleesi off at her brand new accomodation at Oxford Brookes. By brand new, I mean that it had literally been finished about a week before.

Oh no, its a confusion of MaidmentsAccompanied by her three parents (myself and the former and current Ladies M), the Charleesi learned she had one of the biggest rooms on the landing (due to an architect’s measuring error), and got to grips with the RFID electronic keys managing security and room access. An initial unpacking, a quick shop for provisions, lunch and some minor parental flapping later, she was free to nest and unpack properly as we got out the way.

And barring a quick resupply of bed linen as the bed was larger than anticipated, we’ve largely left her to enjoy Fresher’s Week.

Small snippets of information have been carefully unpacked in our direction by the Charleesi to reassure us: of being walked home from the pub; of an evening in a speakeasy that required riddle answering to gain entry; of tempting other English students to her room with offers of Prosecco and Guardians of the Galaxy; and of a massive fresher’s foam party last night.

She has described it as a mixed week – of good bits and not so good bits, and that’s largely a function of her introvert nature reacting to the social maelstrom around her – but overall it seems to be a good start.

Oh, and she’s been asked to write an Introvert’s Guide to Fresher’s Week by The Tab – so welcome to the writing profession Charleesi!

Christmas part four or five

I don’t know what it is about this year’s Christmas but its proving rather extended. Between our journeys North and Back Again, we seem to be distributing presents on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun and appeals to that part of me that likes putting smiles on people’s faces. It just doesn’t seem to stop right now.

Today was the turn of the Charleesi and her mother, the ex-Lady M. While handing out presents from us, friends, and family we chatted about those friends and family – and how it is now less than a year until we all go away together to Disney. The ex-Lady M continues to pretend not to be excited yet, while the Charleesi and Lady M are just… plotting…

The big gift for the Charleesi this year was one a whole bunch of us contributed to: an XBox. Being her father’s daughter she joined in our conversations while systematically unpacking the various cables and components. I watched her lay them out, strip off packaging and then quietly wire it all up and into the existing AV equipment before squeeing and clapping her hands as it powered up and started its setup process.

Its moments like that which make me so proud, and which make the extended present deliveries so worthwhile, because I get to share the excitement. And in the case of the Charleesi, as she put it, I can now co-op play Halo5 with her. So there’s a bonus 🙂

Happy Birthday Charleesi

It’s a momentous day: not only is it the last day of the Charleesi’s AS exams, but it’s also her birthday. That’s a double reason therefore to celebrate at tonight’s #Tuesday, as if we really needed the excuse! Knowing the Charleesi, she will continue to give the impression of quiet calm under pressure, matching her teenage scorn of parental emotional displays to a studied serenity of poise as she proceeds through the day.

If I were particularly cruel, I would use this opportunity to present a montage of childhood photos, illustrating her growth from round-cheeked cherub (I’m thinking the Victorian cute babies rather than the biblical multi-headed engines of destruction and wrath) through awkward tween to formidable young lady that she now is.

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On the other hand, she is also a Maidment, versed in getting her vengeance in first, and with all the lateral thought and dry wit running through her veins she may wish for; so I won’t do that. Instead, here she is as a fluffy unicorn, which is far more amusing than it really should be.

I’m told that many people who know both myself and the former Lady M are initially struck by how much she looks like me. Then they recognise her mother’s features. Then they have a period of mental confusion while their brains try to reconcile two sets of features before actually starting to see the person in front of them.

From the way she rolls her eyes, it’s a set of reactions that the Charleesi is used to, and she humours people with a modicum of grace while she, in turn, sizes them up. Being the people watcher that I am, this can be hugely entertaining to observe.

So, happy birthday Charleesi; your summer waits to unfold before you, with dragons no doubt anticipating your call. Hope it’s a great day on every level.

Birthday Girl

“She’s how old? Bloody hell…” I was in a bar with W yesterday, catching up and chewing the fat – generally putting the worlds to rights.

“Yeah, 16. Can’t quite believe it.”

“16? Daaaaamn. Really? I remember you coming out and getting wasted with us when you first heard your missus was pregnant.”

“Hmm, sounds about right. But yeah, it’s her birthday, and we’re off to her mum’s for a barbecue tonight.”

“Yeah, that’s really good how that’s all come together, really pleased for you all.”

“Thanks, yeah, lucky I know.”

“I mean my little one’s just starting school and I’m like ‘how did that happen?’ but sixteen! Man…”

“She’s a formidable young lady; proud of her. She’s more focused on her GCSEs than partying right now, and considering the scrapes I’d been getting into by the time I was her age I’m damn pleased about that.”

“Hah… Yeah… It’s been what… nearly twenty years since we first met?” I’d love to say that the rest of the conversation was about my wonderful daughter who today is celebrating her sixteenth birthday, but we then wandered on through to all sorts of other things before we went our separate ways.

The Charleesi is universally acknowledged by all who know her as having inherited the best from both parents: beauty, brains, steely determination, creativity, empathy, and a tendency to roll her eyes at the gormlessness of people who should know better. The calm snark and quiet will to just get on with what she has decided to be the optimum course of action bely a gentleness of spirit that some mistake for docility, until they look into her steely eyes.

Proud father? Absolutely. Happy Birthday Charleesi, now let’s get the exams out the way and get ready to celebrate!