Home Again

I do have to say that this weekend has been the best set of journeys up and down the M1 I’ve ever had. I’m not sure if that is down to the new(ish) car – an automatic Ioniq – or people just not being incredibly odd for a change. There were also far less roadworks, which is an added bonus.

I’m not a wizard, I just look like one sometimes

Its good to be home though. Lady M has tweaked her back a bit so we’re chilling out with pizza and the second episode of Critical Role – punctuated occasionally by her muttering, or my wincing as I catch where I’ve gashed my hand.

Walking wounded? Us? Well, its about par for the course. As nice as it was to get out of London and some fresh air into our lungs, there’s no bed like home

Tall Ship Day

Lady M has been trying to drag me round the National Museum of the Royal Navy at Hartlepool for a couple of years now – and in particular to visit the HMS Trincomalee¬† which is berthed there following its restoration. Lady M’s sister had been among the Guide groups that had washed the decks during that work, so there’s a personal connection to a museum that is well regarded in the town.

As we had a few spare hours, today was the day to give in, so after breakfast she booked tickets online and we plodded round the marina to greet the ship who’d overlooked our breakfast view.

Its very good, recreating depictions of life on a fighting ship and portraying all sorts of aspects of port and naval life and their interdependencies.

Even with covid-related restrictions, we had free rein to wander and explore, while a well planned one way system on the Trincomalee itself ensured we visited more of the decks than we otherwise might have done.

So with all the good grace I can muster I’ll admit Lady M was right to pester me and this is well worth a visit – and good value for money too.

No, I’m not being paid by anyone, it really is that interesting.

We may have enquired about arranging a pirate-themed cosplay shoot there some day…

Oh that’s better…

It is so much cooler today. There’s been a bit of rain over the last couple of days, but the temperature didn’t really break until this morning. Much more comfortable. My body promptly decided enough was enough and I slept most of this afternoon. I suspect the sleepless nights were finally catching up.

We were due to be flying off to Disney today in that parallel universe where Covid didn’t rampage round the world. Instead today brought the news that we can’t really do much with the time available at the moment because Lady M’s staff member has their new arrival at last.

Well, its a week to payday, so I will have to have a quiet few days and then try and organise things to do when there’s some money in the bank. Slowing down is probably something I need to do if this afternoon’s catnapping is any indication.

At least there’s dungeons and dragons lined up over the next few days, so thats a good distraction.

On The Road

Lady M and I are on our grand tour round the UK to drop off gifts and spend time with family. Like so many other people, we’re on the road in an escape from the day-to-day and Christmas podcasts are currently filling the car.

Our first leg was the longest, a six hour trip from London to Hartlepool. I handled the driving duties with a single break as Lady M was feeling a bit under the weather. Lady M’s sister lives in Hartlepool, and it’s where she grew up so it brought up a lot of memories.

Hartlepool Marina this morning

Hartlepool is receding behind us now as we head towards the West coast. We’ve been lucky so far in that yesterday’s traffic was heavy but generally moved along with only minor stopping and starting in the M1. This morning with Lady M driving seems so far to only be light traffic, so that’s a bonus.

There you go, boring journey updates logged. I suspect the next few days’ blog posts may be filtered through Christmas cheer.

A Few Days Off

And…. Relax…

I’m visiting lady s for a few days as I had more leave to book this year than Lady M. After a long week, it’s been good to switch off. Lady M and I drove down on Sunday afternoon and dropped off presents for the household, then I stayed on – much to the cub’s bemusement.

The stress levels have been slowly dropping as we’ve watched films and YouTube clips. In between, we’ve been having a tidy up before Christmassing and generally taking it easy.

Tomorrow we’ll be seeing the cub at his school Christmas play, before Lady M returns and whisks me away so we can finish packing to go visit family next week.

Amusingly, Lady M had forgotten that I was going away at one point as she was hoping I might pick her up from drinking with colleagues this week – I mention this to forestall any visions you may have of Lady M somehow languishing like Rapunzel in her tower. One of our many strengths is that each of us are equally comfortable and in need of time alone as in being with each other (as wonderful as that is)

Winding Down

I’ve done so much covering for other people with my leave that I basically have to take all of the rest of the year off after this week.

Oh no, however will I cope.

We were already planning to see my parents for Christmas, but as I have an extra week on top of what Lady M can take, I’m going to spend a few days down with lady s. As she is heavily engaged in creating a dress, much of my time is likely to be spent providing beverages, reminding her to pause for rests, and providing supportive cuddles when things don’t go to plan. It’s not unlike my routine when Lady M is making a dress to be honest.

I plan to take sketchpads, notebooks and a plethora of pens. Writing may even be perpetrated…

Anxiety Day

We’re up and around the Cleveleys/Cumbria region at the moment, and while we had a great time exploring the amazing bookshop in Carnforth, my brain has not been cooperating today.

It was bad enough we had to make our excuses after lunch with my parents to go back to the hotel to collapse, shower, and attempt self-care.

That said, if you do get a chance to see this place then do – 14 rooms of new and second hand books, plus general gifts – and wonderfully friendly staff. I found a couple of little things, and we did some Christmas shopping into the bargain.

I’m brighter now, but do feel like I’ve cast a pall on the day. Sigh. At least I’m up to date with Inktober, and will post the final three tomorrow.

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.

Switching My Brain Off

At least for a little while – its been a busy old day, with many customers needing perhaps a little bit more hand-holding than anticipated. Nothing particularly outrageous happened; its all just been a bit relentless. On the bright side however, I’m now not due in to work until next week, and there are celebrations and shenanigans to attend in the meantime. As an added bonus, it happens to be payday tomorrow as well – meaning I can breathe a bit more easily for a bit.

I think my staff may have been a little concerned for my sanity today, all the same. I may have appeared at various moments looking a bit wild-eyed as I avoided certain customers, focused on completing certain tasks, and felt steam coming out of my ears as I attempted with my fellow managers to play enough shell games to cover staffing requirements. The relaxed expression currently on my face comes at least in part from the knowledge that I won’t be called upon to have anything to do with that for five days – three of which being a bank holiday so I don’t have to feel too guilty about my colleagues stressing in my absence.

My out of office emails have been set. My morning alarms switched off. I may even have a gin and tonic shortly…

A week off: Portsmouth School Runs

We’re having a rare week all together and I have been rediscovering the joys of the school run as Lady S was a bit under the weather the last few days. (She is again this morning, but it’s self-inflicted today after a little too much wine last night at a meal for the whole polycule.)

I digress.

The cub has been discovering that I am not quite so easily wrapped around his finger, but that I am also more than happy to act completely daft at a moment’s notice.

So far we’ve convinced him that his monster-like school bag is related to the Monster Book Of Spells from Harry Potter, and needs it’s spine stroking before being opened. I have also taken to occasionally lumbering and loping like a silverback gorilla to speed him up in the mornings. It sounds daft, but it encourages him to catch up and try and tickle my tummy.

He’s a bright, inquisitive, energetic boy, who tries to push boundaries as much as any normal kid just starting at junior school – and his teachers are already singing his praises. He also has a rebellious streak a mile wide; and seems genuinely surprised when most of his attempts to subvert things like putting on shoes are met with my spotting them and teasing before he’s even finished starting.

We were talking last night about how we’ve all been pitching in this week – how it spreads the load and reduces stress to know that all of us are invested in helping raise and guide him.

I just didn’t expect, as the Charleesi starts her second year at university, to be brushing off the parenting skills again. Life’s funny that way, isn’t it?