Fitness Ow

I’ve been a little lacksadaisical about exercising regularly in lockdown, and so this week has seen a concerted effort to at the very least get my step count back up by going on walks round the block – about thirty-forty minutes depending on pace – with Lady M.

View over the M3 motorway

Today my body has decided to register its protest by twinging at the base of my spine across my hips; so I am currently sitting carefully, reading and writing while I let a hot water bottle ease the spasmed muscles. Later, I shall slowly shuffle to the shops to get some painkillers, and a few minor groceries – and count that as today’s exercise.

Back to the walking tomorrow when everything is a bit more sensible. A pity really, because it looks really nice out there at the moment. On the plus side, I’ve been getting some nice snaps on the phone as I’ve been walking about – so that’s another reason to keep doing it as there really are some hidden gems locally.

Whether it’s local plantlife, or views across the horizon, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re right on the edge of London, just where the countryside starts to open up into parklands,woods, and farming but still also relatively urban. It makes finding signs of spring both easy, but also easy to overlook because it rarely takes the form of woodland clearings covered in snowdrops and daffodils. Instead there is blossom on trees and bushes, thick verdant foliage, and the sound of birdsong – all of which do surprisingly well at pushing out past concrete and asphalt – albeit sometimes quite discretely.

Right, I can feel my muscles easing – so I shall change to go out, and try not to look like my spine is fused.

Little Gifts

All the yum, to be savoured at leisure

Its been our turn to receive little somethings from the DDC – not as part of any schedule or expectation, but simply as nice things to do. Its always nice to get things in the post, but thoughtful things from loved ones rather than Amazon orders do put a bigger smile on the face.

In this instance, across two deliveries, it was things picked out by myr s and the cub as “just because” morale boosters for both myself and Lady M. The first was a hamper of cheese and chutneys – they know our foodie nature so well – that the cub had spotted and picked out

We don’t have a Groot problem, we’ve got plenty

While the second delivery contained a new Groot Funko for Lady M, and a really well stocked art roll of pencils, charcoal, and chalks for me to get lost in my artwork with.

The notes and letters that came with them are a wonderful boon and reassurance – just whats needed as lockdown continues.

Keeping Things Moving

I was just having a post D&D session chat with myr s and Lady B via the wonders of Discord and the topic turned to ways of dealing with the grey blur of days in lockdown.

As I rambled through the sorts of things I’ve been doing, I had a bit of a realisation: that most of the small things I do in the house involve moving little bits around to present vistas. I’ve been rearranging the placement of groups of funko pops, or rearranging books in their shelves, or moving minor pieces of furniture. At first I thought it was just lazy tidying, but there’s something more interesting going on.

One of the things I’ve learned while managing libraries is that displays and notices need to be varied in placement and composition quite regularly. This is because people very quickly get used to them and overlook them. Why? Well apparently its related back to our prehistoric roots where pattern recognition evolved as survival hinged on spotting things out of place that might be a predator.

When we see something new, our attention catches to assess if it is a threat or opportunity, before being relegated to known background while we search for the next anomaly.

During more normal times, going out keeps the brain fed with new stimuli to process and assess, but at home we start to climb the walls because we’ve assessed the normal surroundings as safe and yet that primitive part keeps screaming that we just haven’t spotted the tiger yet.

So, I’m in a process of keeping my living space and activities in flux to satisfy my brain’s inherent paranoia. It seems to work, and probably explains why I find data cleansing both easy and a high stress activity.

There’s probably a good debate to be had there that its not so much a matter of a low boredom threshold as ongoing hypervigilance on my part, because reasons.

But thats a whole other story for another time.

Feelgood Movie Night

I’ve been feeling out of sorts most of the day – a combination of head fog and a rattling in my chest that I can’t quite pin down to heart or lungs. It’s only really been the last half hour that I’ve decided its the lungs, but the worry hasn’t helped me through the day.

Sensing that I wasn’t too perky, Lady M prescribed pizza and daftness – which is how we’ve just finished a double bill of Marvel films: Antman and the Wasp, and Captain Marvel and it has done the job of distracting me and raising my spirits through music and light banter. Just what I needed to switch the worry centres off.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Antman films. I love heist films, and the daft childlike spirit of the original and its sequel are like a comfort blanket – largely because of the ensemble cast who seem to be having fun making them. That sense of fun shines through more and more when I watch Captain Marvel too, despite the efforts of the space fascists (Kree) to be oh so serious. They’re not high art films, and they know it, and when I need a distraction that just fits the bill – and I say that as a very very long-term Marvel fan.

Data Musings

I’m back on the data cleansing today, removing out of date remarks and correcting errors where encountered. Its a painstaking process that even with my glasses on requires taking semi-regular breaks.

What I am noticing as I work through the spreadsheet and system is the sheer diversity of our customers. It is wonderful. Sometimes there are whole families with sequential entries where they’ve all joined at once, but more often than not a single digit difference at the end of the card tells a story of the range of people in our community that have walked in through the doors and joined up for their card.

Its something I’m aware of when working with the public every day, but something about working through each entry is reinforcing it for me, and reminding me of how lucky I am to work with so many varied individuals

Oh, hello there weekend

Wait, what, how? I’m not quite sure how the week has managed to drag and and yet zoom through at breakneck speed, but here we are and I’m two glasses of gin down with Great British Menu on the TV.

So I really can’t complain, and I even have some spoons rattling in my mental drawer.

I still need to do the singing cosplay filming, but the plan is to do that tomorrow. What I have done though is taken steps to assemble a version of Wolverine as per the film Logan. I just need to find a suitable wig.

I think we may do some online nattering tonight, draw the DDC together to talk nonsense and possibly play some Cards Against Humanity. Here’s to relaxing for the weekend.

Fuzzy Head Day

Well, I’m not sure what happened to this morning – there was much sleepiness and fuzzy electric brain fog, so we roused briefly and then collapsed for a few more hours on the sofa. I now have coffee, a small amount of chocolate, and the balcony door open to pass a breeze through the room.

I’ve been trying to keep to relatively work-normal sleep patterns, but my body and brain obviously decided that was not to be today. On the plus side there’s still enough food and drink in the house to not have to go and do battle with the supermarket or anywhere else at least until payday next week so as long as I can continue to resist buying things online then we’re all good.

That said I have been tempted by some of the Kickstarter campaigns, especially those where their deadlines are after payday – and I may have backed some things that I think will be helpful both as prompts for the tabletop gaming, but also as writing hooks. That reminds me – I have story dice knocking around in the other room, I really must break those out while I actually have some spare time.

So in retrospect, I really must have needed that extra sleep because my brain, just in the course of writing this, has switched over into creativity buzz mode. I finished the envelopes of nice things for the DDC last night but have missed the limited post office opening hours locally so will have to dive out first thing on Monday to get those out. I think therefore that there may have to be some writing perpetrated.

Easter Bank Holiday

Even before I opened my eyes, I could tell that it was a Bank Holiday – not because of a lack of traffic, but because there was a strong wind blowing and the temperature had dropped noticeably in the night. Bad weather on a Bank Holiday is something of a tradition, and I’ve even seen a scientific paper on why that is. I just can’t remember the details as it has been a few years, but its something to do with a disruption in warm air from factories being closed.

You may have noticed a small change in colour scheme, if not layout, over the last twenty four hours – and that’s because I’m making use of my time to update and alter a few things. One of those is the beginning of documentation of the game that we’ve started as the DDC, and therefore a bit of a shuffle of the Gaming menu structure so it doesn’t get lost. I’d love to say I had a grand design, but just as the strap line for the website says: I’m making it up as I go along.

How has my Bank Holiday been? Quiet for the most part. I’ve made more maps as contingencies for when the group goes off-script, and I’ve played a bit on the XBox, and then Lady M and I watched the remake of Aladdin while we had our supper and were pleasantly entertained. I’ve just been out for a brisk twenty minute walk, and now am trying to enthuse myself to write while Lady M plays some Assassin’s Creed. I think part of the low-grade irritation at the moment is that I’m missing myr s fiercely but there’s nothing any of us can do about it

Sunday? Again?

Happy Easter everyone – I won’t get into the whole debate about origins or alternative names or anything like that, I’m just going with the name that the dominant culture knows it by and looking across the room at the small pile of chocolate eggs that we’ve either bought or had gifted by neighbours in our block of flats.

There’s a definite sense of inertia today, so Lady M and I have made a point of going for a walk around our estate to get some laps in on our step counts and look at something other than the proverbial four walls. As much as I love my flat (and I’m still getting used to calling it that), I do miss having the option of a garden. As we live on a private estate however there’s far less worry about traffic cutting through so a good half-hour or so amble has been a welcome change of scene.

Along the way we’ve seen some neighbours we know, and others we don’t but in each case there’s been pleasantries and checking in on each other as we swap stories and jokes. You could be forgiven for thinking it an average Sunday if not for the occasional facemask on dog walkers. We’ve decided that we do need to make a walk a part of our regular routine now, before we start working on our assassination plans.

The decluttering continues apace – how is it that we have so much stuff? Well some of it is still stuff left over from clearing out Lady M’s father’s place, and other bits are paperwork from earlier in both our careers, and others are just the detritus that builds up. I’ve even been throwing out old tabletop gaming notes and characters on the basis that if we’ve not played a given game in the best part of twenty years its not very likely that I’ll need it again. One thing I do need to start doing is taking photos of some of the older rulebooks that I have that I want to sell on because there’s a frightening amount of space being taken up by these older systems. I may hand the documentation then to Lady M to take charge of as doyenne of all things Ebay in our house, but we’ll see how the lockdown goes.

So, here we are. The sun is shining, birds are singing, and we’ve survived another week.

Morning All

Well its a glorious sunny morning and we’ve all the windows open to let a gentle breeze through the flat. The sound of birdsong is mingling with the chattering of children being walked around the estate and the dull roar of the M3, and an enormous bluebottle flying round the living room trying to find the open windows in front of it.

I have coffee, all is well

Okay, the windows being open may be partially to dispel some of the lingering smells of the after effects of the rather chilli-heavy mince dish Lady M cooked last night but thats purely coincidental.

We had another Cards Against Humanity game last night, this time factoring in Doctor Who and Harry Potter among the standard decks, and because there was no one on an absolute roll the scores were pretty even – making for a game that at one point I’m sure we began to think might never end. (We were playing first to twenty with seven of us in the game.)

So having a quiet day of officially not working is good timing as far as I’m concerned. I may do some more prep work for the D&D at some point today, but otherwise sitting and reading, and continuing to chat and be nonsensical with the DDC and anyone else who happens virtually along is the entirety of my plan.