Quiet Anniversary

Eleven years ago, Lady M and I invited a bunch of people to join us at a castle for a party with a bit of paperwork attached. Memories of our wedding still put smiles on faces – and especially ours – all these years later.

We deliberately didn’t make any plans for today – but there were possibilities of book shops, coffee, maybe some wandering in fields or woods. Sadly, Lady M has had a horrible migraine today – and on top of that we ate some very rich food last night that very much disagreed with us both this morning.

So its been a quiet day. I’ve been reading some of the books I got for my birthday, as well as done some writing and sketching. I dropped the cub back round to boy s when he came round after school, and now I’m watching some videos on YouTube while waiting for our regular Friday Destiny Twitch stream.

We’ll do something to mark it properly at some point, I’m sure, but for now its just nice to sit and reminisce on the passage of years and how blessed we are where we are now.

A Trip To The Zoo

The salt sea air always knocks me sideways when we visit the coast, hence my not posting for a couple of days. We’ve been visiting my parents – the first time I’ve had the opportunity to see them since before the first covid lockdowns. The journey up was fairly draining due to roadworks slowing our average travel speed, but safe enough as these things go.

Today then, the boy s and I went to Blackpool Zoo – in particular to see the otters there. The boy s is currently hyper-fixated on otters, so the news that the local zoo offered him the chance to see some in real life rather than just on YouTube. We left everyone else behind and made it a mini road-trip for the day.

The weather kept threatening showers, but held off, so we had a great time exploring the whole place. He grabbed a map and marked off every animal that we found – but his first sight of the otters I think just made his day. There was a massive grin and shocked expression at just how loud their chirps were. We did also find many other animals that provoked a similar response, but that and the promise of feeding time later was the highlight of the day. He was also blown away by the sealion display as we went into full tourist mode to fill the time.

All in all, a really good day out. I enjoyed rediscovering somewhere I last visited when the Charleesi was small, and boy s is determined to return once the wild cat area has finished being redeveloped.

Back on the road tomorrow…

Unexpected Child In The Bagging Area

I knew it was going to be a strange day that would wander off-script when I got a call from boy s saying that the cub’s bus had broken down and could I give him a lift in exchange for a cuppa.

Because I am, contrary to scattered myth, a reasonable fellow, I duly did battle with local traffic to relay the cub. We noted his stomach was a bit uncomfortable, but as he was a good colour and otherwise moving with an approximation of purpose, he was deposited just down the road from the school. This was, of course, to spare him the embarrassment of being seen with a parental figure by his schoolmates.

I then popped the car on charge at the supermarket and walked home to start a morning of meetings. Just as I was due to retrieve the car about lunchtime, I, of course, then got a call from the school to come and retrieve the cub.

He was much more subdued and pale, so after checking his temperature I lined him up with warm cereal and a hot chocolate in front of YouTube, made him a hot water bottle, and started my next meeting next door. By the end of that, he was fast asleep and remained so until just after 9 when I went to get some fresh milk.

He seemed somewhat perturbed by the notion that Lady M and I were winding down for bed, and that he couldn’t start playing on the xbox. We settled him with more warm cereal and water and said he could watch his phone for a bit if he was back in bed.

So far, so good. We’ll see what he’s like in the morning

Laser Tag Party

We had the excuse of a celebration and a special request from the cub – and that’s how we ended up driving round the M25 to out the back of Caterham to play some laser tag in the woods. The original plan would have had us just watching while kids battled it out, but with some last-minute cancellations we had enough slots for myself and Lady M to join in while boy s watched from the side-lines and huddled under all our coats.

The mechanics were fairly simple – a sensor on the gun and three types of gun: a sniper, an assault rifle, and a submachine gun – each with differing rates of fire, range, reload times, and damage done against a notional value of hit points. Two teams of roughly a dozen on each side, and referees keeping an eye on it all. We had one hundred hit points per life, and five lives in a non-contact game where minimum distance to the other team was five metres.

And you know what – I really enjoyed it. We all did. I favoured a sniper so I didn’t have to run around too much and could put years of pinpoint FPS gaming to good use. The games were quick with some variants and two different arenas – and footing by and large was good despite snow and frozen mud. One small disclaimer, I did manage to lose my footing and do a very impressive tumble where I broke my fall by landing with the point of my elbow in my rib. It’s a bit sore, but some painkillers and the occasional wince of discomfort are seeing me through.

I hadn’t heard of GO Laser Tag before – and not having to wear a load of sensors was a big bonus – staff were friendly, kept good control of the sessions, and all seemed to be focused on making sure everyone had a good time. Their website is https://www.golasertaglondon.co.uk/ and for something a bit different that caters to a wide age range its a good option. We all enjoyed ourselves and have been making noises about not being averse to doing it again. Let’s face it, for the British that’s a glowing endorsement.

It also gave me a good excuse to give the new car a bit of a stretch on the motorway rather than just the local trips I’ve been doing for work and while I’m not a petrol-head, it was a smooth transition and satisfying to get some different driving under the belt. The new car is a plug-in hybrid so while it runs quite happily ramping up battery power from the flywheel to augment general driving, it can also operate as a purely electric car. As soon as the charge card is all sorted out, I’m looking forward to using it on the local commute.

Hello Weekend

It feels like it’s been a very long week, but at the same time has had some good things in it. I had a diagnosis on the tiredness and a hopefully simple and effective remedy that I’ve started now. I had my payday so that’s always helpful – and I took delivery of my new lease car.

That alone will make work immeasurably less stressful as we won’t be competing for use of Lady M’s work car. Like her my vehicle is provided as part of a fleet under a salary sacrifice scheme which covers tax and services and tire wear and tear and things like that. We’re both now driving hybrids, and mine can also be driven as a purely electric car once the VIM registration goes through and I can register with the BMW tariff for charging.

Sadly we haven’t any charging points on the estate, but various places around the area do so I’ll be learning the gentle art of planning journeys with an eye to charging points. Who says it’s too late to learn new skills?

So my plan for tomorrow is to properly read the manual, work out how to customise things and connect my phone, and then take Lady M for a drive somewhere. Its been a good ten years since I’ve had a vehicle to call my own.

Back Home

I’ve loved being away despite my wobbles – but there’s still nothing quite like that first shower when you’re home, and the settle back into your own bed. The silence was briefly unexpected and then I remembered this was a good thing and all was well.

We of course hit the souvenir shop on our way out the door, and have some nice odds and ends snuck away for presents as well as for immediate gratification.

Fortunately the traffic and weather was good for the return trip, and I did have one of those quiet moments of sublime happiness at seeing my partners asleep in their seats as I drove for a while. Its no secret I’m a soppy soul.

As a bonus, I have tomorrow off as a planned recovery day. Sleep is very much on the agenda

Out And About

The grand outing to Alton Towers has had, if you’ll pardon the pun, its share of ups and down with amazing rides, humour, silliness, and some mealtime stresses

The weather has been kind, with only minor showers once or twice, and comfortable temperatures and breezes. The banter and cheer has been great for recharging batteries and passing time in queues.

My anxiety however has been through the roof on occasion, mostly around mealtimes and things connected to that not going to plan. We’re also crammed a little sardine-like into two hotel rooms: four adults and three children. With no aircon it’s all a bit close-quarters.

Still, I’m choosing to be positive and reminding myself of all the positives despite by brain doing its best to sabotage me.

And She’s Back

Lady M is back in the country, having lightly terrorised her European counterparts, traumatised random gawkers who tried ogling her, and bemused fellow travellers by snoring through takeoff on the way home.

Apparently.

Lady M always looks nonplussed when people say that she is scary. I’ve never seen it myself, but I’ve had enough people confess that they’re lightly terrified of her to presume it’s some combination of the North East accent and her tenacious attitude.

Lady M in full sail is a masterclass in watching someone go from point A to point C without being concerned that point B makes it not a straight line journey. It might be a zigzag for most people, but not Lady M. Nine time out of ten, reality shuffles a bit to accommodate this, and the times it doesn’t is where I step in.

In the words of Nanny Ogg shes’ “an old softie really”

Any similarity between Lady M and Greebo is purely coincidental.

Jubilee Weekend

I’m not particularly engaged with the jubilee, probably because I’ve been helping my staff arrange events around it over the last few months. While I appreciate the event for the historical thing it is, it doesn’t really set my world on fire.

It’s also, after a half term of looking after the cub, actually been nice to do very little today but play Two Point Gospital, some Destiny2, and watch some TV without a quizzical little voice in my ear.

As for the rest if the weekend, I’ll be catching up with the Charleesi tomorrow for a birthday meal, and then fingers crossed for Dungeons and Dragons in the evening.

I’m more excited for those two things, I have to say.

Half Term, oh and that Pride thing too

Being utterly awful people we all forgot it was half term this week until the cub reminded us. Fortunately Lady M and I had already booked some time off to take advantage of the bank holidays so we’ve taken him in while boy s continues to work.

Being myself I immediately booked tickets for myself and the cub to visit boy s at his work place and caused all kinds of merry havoc while we were there. The rest of the week has seen us take the cub to Go Ape, and a variety of other activities away from his usual computer screen.

We’re having a quiet day today – I can hear YouTube videos from the other room, I’ve gone shopping for groceries, and I may even have a nap to make up for a broken night for a while.

Meanwhile, its June. Happy Pride Month alongside all the other things taking place. Its as important as ever, because its impossible to understate how much of a difference it makes for people to be able to live as themselves.

I’ve been asked to put my name forward at work for a position with the LGBTQ+ Staff Network which will be hard work alongside the day job but well worth it if I can help facilitate positive changes. The AGM isn’t for a few weeks so I’ll talk more about that when the dust settles.

And yes, the autism referral stuff continues in the background. I’m not expecting to hear anything on that front for quite some time as it doesn’t seem to be something that BUPA covers and the NHS is overwhelmed. Patience, and all that.