Hot Memories

So, here in the UK we’re having a heatwave with temperatures pushing 30C as I write and warnings of 40 tomorrow. As I’m diabetic I’m keeping an extra eye on myself and keeping hydrated and as in the shade as I can so I don’t burn my shaved head and boil my own brain. Perhaps I’m not particularly exercised at the moment though because of my relative memories of visiting Florida a few years back during one of their heatwaves. You could tell it was hot because even the native Floridians were commenting on it and I lost track of the number of overworked air conditioning units I saw leaking everywhere.

Thinking more close to home however, I was reminded today that the last time we had weather like this was in the summer of 1976 – which for me remains the high bar of the perfect summer (at least judged through the eyes of four year old me) – the days were long, we ran around in very little. We had a paddling pool pretty much permanently up or being refilled. The garden paving slabs were too hot to walk barefoot on – but of course being me I made a game of how long I could run on them before either hopping into shadow or onto the dry crinkled grass beside it. I don’t remember burning my feet but I’m sure my parents despaired.

We had a dog – a dalmation – who very sensibly stayed indoors, or stretched out in the shade with a expression of “touch me and die”. He was a vicious brute, but he was our vicious brute, and he would greatly enjoy accompanying dad into the church to lie on the cool flagstones inside and keep him company.

Thinking about it, I’m pretty sure I’m mixing up memories of being older in a similar hot summer a few years later while living at a different vicarage but the basics remain the same. I can’t remember very much from my childhood – but hot summers definitely made their mark.

Is there a point to this? Not really, just sharing reminiscences born of the heat and how this weekend is largely spent doing very little, or appreciating the shade as I do things like take the recycling out or do battle in tesco to take advantage of their air conditioning. At least with no children in the house I can enjoy walking round naked in the flat while the water from my most recent cool shower evaporates. Now there’s an image…

No Game Tonight

We’ve got a general approach with the D&D game that if someone is unwell or hasn’t the reserves to play that we pause. While we stream and do charity events, it is after all just a fun thing to do rather than a job.

On a purely selfish level, the creative writer in me is a bit relieved this week as I’d been struggling with story beats and potential set pieces for the next section. I’ve at least been able to use this extra time to do some poking around in various wiki sites like https://eberron.fandom.com/wiki/World_of_Eberron and the various books I’ve accumulated.

I almost have a plan. It could always go sideways if (more likely when) the adventurers go off on a tangent, but I believe they’re invested enough in the story to be curious about where their current path takes them. At the moment that path is taking them to Thorin’s home and a mounting tangle of mysteries.

The summons home came from Thorin’s long-lost sister. His father’s axe was delivered in the mail. A paladin-Inquisitor of The Silver Flame tracked him down and started asking veiled questions about his sister, and now there has been an assassination attempt.

Like the group, I can’t wait to find out what happens next – this really is part of the joy of collaborative play.

Post-Pride Month Thoughts

I’m tired. I don’t really feel like I’ve had a Pride month to speak of and I’m not sure if that’s down to being incredibly busy, being worn out in support of Trans partners and friends, or as a bi man not feeling particularly part of the community at the moment. Everything feels just that little bit more of a struggle this year – even as I acknowledge that good things are also happening, at least on the personal front.

I think in part, to be fair, this has been down to being focused on family and childcare – these have always got to take priority, and as an extended household that includes cover during half term for smaller people who aren’t quite old enough to be home alone for a couple of hours. It means I’ve been doing a lot of time slicing to help out. I’ve written about how supporting each other is a big part of the spirit of Pride – this year seems to have had that element land squarely on my shoulders – swings and roundabouts I suppose, at least in the microcosm of what my parents have called ‘The Entourage’

A lot of the public focus has also been focused on the Jubilee – a major public event across the nation – so it sounds petty to point fingers at that in any way because it has been a major unifier of communities. I think as I’ve been so involved in supporting my staff in setting up and running events related to it I’ve missed most of the holiday buzz that so many have enjoyed.

Plans on the work front are now focusing on Pride In Surrey, and on some work I’m doing for the libraries on Equalities, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). There’s a lot to do, especially balancing with the day job, but when isn’t there?

So – looking at my social media streams, people are generally enjoying their Pride Months and events – and I will no doubt enjoy the August event when it arrives in Camberley, but none of that buzz and excitement is currently swimming round either me or those immediately around me. As if to illustrate that, I just looked at my phone and saw a reminder that its London Pride tomorrow – and my internal response was a resounding “meh”. Maybe the burnout is coming from being so front and centre in being an active voice – the feeling of banging my head against a brick wall feels particularly ubiquitous at the moment.

I obviously need to get out much much more

Stompy Day

Well, I’ve been pretty productive today, just not always in ways thT I had planned. I’m pretty sure we’ve all had days where a stream of things crop up in quick succession and utterly derails the day. Today was that day for me. Lots of little things that needed a nudge, or a suggestion, or a decision, or a quick chat to resolve.

It’s been a pretty intense few days, but for all that there are some positive outcomes and foundations being laid for great things to happen – which is just as well or I’d be feeling grumpy about now rather than just tired, and nobody wants that.

And another thing, how is it already nearly the end of June?

How Bungie is Breaking My Partners

A regular part of the week is where boy s, Lady B and myself team up to play Destiny, usually streaming it on Lady B’s Twitch channel. It’s usually a bouncy fun experience of teasing, mindless shooting, and putting the world to rights.

Then Bungie released its latest Season of Content and started telling a harrowing story that confronts major characters with loss and regrets in the form of embodied nightmares of people who were important in some way to them. As players, we assist in their attempts to bream free of the grip of these taunting entities.

So far, so normal, but the dialogue and pace and beats of the story have been making my partners cry, and occasionally making me wince, as attempts to sever links fail and instead the characters have to come to terms with accepting these dark shadow sides of their regrets and fears. The nightmares are unrelenting in their taunting and harsh observations, in a way that anyone who has wrestled with their own demons and regrets in the small of the night will find arresting familiar.

Through a mix of cut scenes and in-game dialogue we’re being taken on a harrowing story of the need to forgive ourselves and come to terms with the people and events of our past that still hold on with fierce grips. It’s like being beside people doing deep therapy work, and it’s an unexpected rollercoaster that has been deeply affecting us.

Who would have thought that the new weekly chapters of a shoot and loot game all about space magic would turn out to have some of the deepest and sympathetic treatments of loss and regret across a whole slew of popular media currently available, and would be doing so in an engaging way that keeps us coming back for more and caring ever more intensely for these imaginary figures as they reflect our own fears and doubts back at us.

As the saying goes: “I came here to have a good time, and honestly I’m just feeling so attacked” – and as entertainment that pulls us out of our comfort zone, I can’t think of a better summation

Back To Work?

I suppose I’d better go back tomorrow, and see what new challenges await. Its a good way to pass time until the next pay day and the next set of shelving I want to buy so I don’t keep having to stack books on the floor or under beds

I don’t have a book problem – I have loads of them. I’ve even read most of them, and the ones I keep hold of are either useful references, old comforting friends I read over and over, or curios to flick through in idle moments or with which to bemuse visitors.

I haven’t quite got to the point of shelving by colour or theme, let alone by Dewey Decimal, and try to have a mix of things on them to draw the eye. Give it time.

Okay, to display Funkos as well

Time Taken

I’m lucky enough to have a reasonable amount of flexibility in the hours I work as well as the locations in which I work. When I work longer hours than planned it’s usually not too difficult to plan time off in lieu. After a hectic week I took yesterday off and somehow I think I’m even more tired now.

My GP was meant to call first thing so I’d arranged to take a friend to Kingston for a gentle pootle around. Life being what it is, the call didn’t come until late in the afternoon so our decision to head out anyway rather than wait for it panned out.

I’d promised to show Lady T the art gallery I’d found earlier in the month, and we ambled around coffee shops putting the world to rights in a gentle and sunlit afternoon.

By contrast, the GP conversation around referral was a bit of a slog, and as draining as I’d feared. I’ve been quietly worrying over the last few days about it all – and hearing a read back from my notes of my mental health treatment history was difficult. On the one hand it was a testament of stubbornness and progression. On the other a series of blows endured.

I’ve spent a significant portion of my counselling session this evening sorting through both aspects and their nuances.

Perhaps it’s not surprising therefore that today has been one of near shutdown. I shall hit the gym tomorrow.

Tangled Days

Work is complicated at present – well more so than usual – and I think between that and personal processing it has been more difficult to bring things to the blog in any coherent way. Sometimes, especially when it comes to work, there are things that I can’t talk about in a public form because of financial or confidential matters connected to them.

Likewise in the tangled pathways of my brain I have things I can’t coherently talk about because they’re still being mulled over. In some ways it’s like a jigsaw puzzle that I don’t want to display yet.

However I find the discipline of maintaining a blog schedule to be a useful one, if only so I’ve got somewhere to put things on display for later consideration or to entertain you. That’s why sometimes I have rambling posts like this that don’t go anywhere until I get a random flash of inspiration.

In this case its to muse that all things being well, the D&D group will be back on Sunday to continue their adventures. They are currently on a fantasy steampunk railway, mixing with reasonably high society. What’s the worst that could happen? What’s that, a murder? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

Brief Update

I can’t think of anything witty to title today’s entry, but basically life ticks on, work is continuing, and I’m filling a new notebook with pictures and scraps of story as a simple outlet in between planning things for the D&D group and spinning metaphorical plates at work.

I’m booked to talk to a GP on Friday next week, my blood pressure readings are all submitted, I think I’m due a new set of diabetic blood tests soon, and I’m feeling reasonably good in and of myself.

The D&D scenario? Think murder on the orient express but with only vaguely housetrained adventurers. This is going to end up like the restaurant scene in the Blues Brothers, isn’t it?

Ah Payday

I would say that I’m not sure why the last week has been a bit of a struggle with money but I can very firmly point to the two parking tickets I managed to earn this month as contributing to the pain. Never mind, lessons learned and all that.

It’s been a quiet couple of days, but I did go to Kingston yesterday to have a payday spend, looking at things for the flat. By far the best decision I made was to walk in to Not My Beautiful House, which is a pop up art gallery set up and run by students at Kingston University. They are focused on selling art by local people and I found a fair few things that caught my eye. In particular there were abstracts created by an ADHD support group, and I couldn’t resist

For £20 I had a new canvas piece for the hall, and I’ll definitely keep an eye on the place from now on.

Other than that it’s been quiet. Both the introverts have tucked themselves away so I may go out to the gym later – or spoil myself with a nice rioja – I haven’t decided yet.