A Small Box Mountain

I got home today after an over-enthusiastic 40 minute walk back from work in the blazing sun to find a full mailbox and a stack of deliveries outside our door, all addressed to Lady M.

I may have quietly made some uncharitable noises while carting them all indoors before stripping off for a shower, even though they weren’t particularly heavy.

When Lady M got home, and we’d compared stories of wilting in the heat, and showered, she started opening them to find that they were rewards from an online conference that she had attended a while back – so there were some nice little things like new pillows, a favourite fragrance, some sunglasses, things like that.

All on all, a nice surprise at the end of a day of feeling grimy. Oh, and our XBox had finally given up the ghost in playing physical discs – not bad for a Day One XBox – so we managed to find a second hand replacement in an XBox One X. Favoured games are now being reinstalled…

Return of the One-Shot

For those who haven’t seen the streamed games, here’s the story so far:

The rural township of Gobblett lies in the shadows of the mountainous borders of Droaam – a nation of monsters that in this small corner consists largely of goblins.

The characters in this standalone adventure are all from the township, having ventured out into the world in search of riches. They have returned for the midwinter feast and a hefty portion of the first session was spent establishing their links with the villagers and some of the notable inhabitants.

Then a lone shepherd appeared on the main green, pursued by elves wearing the insignia of the fanatics known as the Silver Flame. The adventurers leapt to defend the village and drove off the elves. The badly injured shepherd warned of a force of the fanatics approaching with the goal of stealing away the village’s children to raise them within the church’s workhouses.

The players had roughly 36 hours to prepare for the invaders.

That was last week. This week’s session saw the raising of lengths of crude palisades and ambush points prepared. The artillerist assembled an eldritch cannon with a view of the main green, while the village families retreated to the Chief’s rambling mansion and barricaded the doors and windows.

Blue-green skinned goblin with green dreadlocks clutching a rifle. She wears white clothing and steampunk styled accessories

The totally unsporting mercenaries that comprised the main assault arrived by flying boat – two skiffs each containing five warriors accompanied by a berserker, and the mercenary captain in addition in one of the boats. A direct hit by spells forced one of the boats to crash just inside the palisade while the other stayed aloft so that the troops could fire from above.

While the battle raged largely across the green and nearby alleys, there was a sudden screech from above, and a large green winged lizard flew across the rooftops. A figure on the dragon’s back cut cords on sacking, releasing dozens of small packages across the township before the dragon flew off.

The adventurers focused on defeating the mercenaries, and as the session ended noticed that the brightly wrapped presents had been moving slowly toward the mansion and surrounding buildings. Some had already made their ways down chimneys and through windows, and now there were sounds of disturbance.

And to top it all off, the dragon could be heard screaming in the distance…

So, no pressure for next week.

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.

Another Day

I’m not a fan of doing huge amounts with spreadsheets even as I acknowledge how powerful and versatile they are. This is mostly due to my number blindness which makes reading and recalling number sequences something akin to wrestling an oiled python.

Currently however that’s what a significant part of the day job entails, so I am now very pleased to have a couple of days off for the weekend – being able to remotely work has brought the advantage of bringing some form of structure to the week after all.

I’m hoping to use the weekend to get some letters off the DDC as a general nice thing for people. I’ve hand written some missives with a drop pen and calligraphy inks on some traditional paper-milled paper, and included a D&D game prop and a little present in the envelopes too.

I hope it brings a smile to everyone’s faces, but especially to myr s who is particularly struggling with lockdown isolation at the moment. Fingers crossed.

They Know

Being a geeky little polycule, sometimes the best gifts are simple, and sometimes you just have to embrace the madness. In the run up to Valentine’s Day I was browsing Etsy and found someone making little lego-style lightsabers for keyrings with accompanying tags that recreated the famous exchange between Han and Leia: “I love you.” “I know.”

Although there were options to buy multiples, the site would only make them available in pairs, so rather than just getting us one each I got two identical sets – and then as I gave them out, invited both Lady M and myr s to select one for their keys and I’d have the other.

As you can see, they both opted for the same piece and so now I have this double token to put a smile on my face. Simple things please me.

Wrapping Presents

There’s one disadvantage to our tactics of buying things through the year to space out the cost and stress of Christmas – and that’s all the wrapping.

That’s what I’ve mostly been doing the last couple of days, and I’ve lost track of how many rolls of paper I’ve gone through. At least the card inside the rolls will end up integrated into props down the line – and most of the paper is recyclable.

In theory I could wrap things as I go, but there is something therapeutic about wrapping presents in large numbers that I enjoy. I am reaching the point soon where I will have to reorganize what is stacked under the tree though.

In the meantime I’m having an early night so that my back can stop complaining about being hunched over the table. A day back at work should sort that all out. I did leave instructions for the Saturday staff to have fun with the Christmas decorations, so I’ll be seeing what they did soon.

Christmas Week

Compared to the high octane shenanigans of last year – where the Maidments descended on Disney in Florida for Christmas and New Year, and realised they weren’t ready for the experience – we’ve been having a quiet Festive week.

My parents stopped in on the Sunday before, so we had a meal and catch-up. Christmas Eve saw Lady M working so I did battle with the crowds to get some last-minute food and drink in. Christmas Day was quiet, and then The Charleesi and her mother came round on Boxing Day.

Lady M retired with sub-migraine-related sickness that evening, so I drove down for a surprise visit to Lady S with a hefty proportion of the various Christmas presents for her household and stayed over before returning to see how the invalid was doing.

Trust me, Lady M does not ‘do’ being ill with grace. She’s the only woman I know who gets ‘man-flu’. She was fine for having some uninterrupted sleep and a work from home day.

Friday we were both back to work – so nothing exciting to report there – and then this weekend brings a catch up with one of my brothers and his family; followed by a gathering of the whole polycule on Sunday for a roast dinner and gift-exchange.

So, both busy and sedate at one and the same time – which is just as well given the various colds and illnesses doing the rounds. There are worse weeks to have had – and I am… content.

Decorations and Celebrations

A busy weekend this week. Lady M was at the first of what seems to be a string of office parties last night, and made her own skirt and top to wear to the occasion. As she was still working on final details late Thursday night, I was driven to observe that only she could have a con-crunch for a party.

Nevertheless she had a stunning outfit ready for the event, and I spent a quiet evening wrapping a mountain of Christmas presents, drinking wine, decorating the Christnas tree, and binging episodes of Luther on Netflix.

Today I’m off to see Lady S for a couple of days, so I had time for breakfast and pain au chocolate with Lady M before leaving her to tackle her own small hillock of presents and recover from the party.

I normally travel light, but I’m delivering birthday presents for the cub and a couple of early Christmas presents, so I have a suitcase nearly as big as I am. We may have gone a little overboard this year…

Travels and Trust

Oh, yeah, I have a blog – so hi there anyone who’s still hanging around… It’s a bit of a busy time of year for everyone, and we’re no exception having realised that this weekend was our main chance to try and get presents out to far-flung family members before we flit away on holiday.

So Friday saw me doing a full day at the library before going to counselling, and then driving up to Hartlepool straight after. With the closures of several sections of the M1 this meant that we got to our room at 3.46 am on Saturday morning.

A quick handful of hours’ sleep later and we dropped presents in to Lady M’s sister before popping over the Pennines to catch up with my parents and do likewise with them. This led to a gentle evening of gin, food, wine, and board games and then a relatively early night to try and make a dent in the sleep debt.

Cue a restless night, because my brain wasn’t cooperating.

And now we’re driving home again. Or rather, Lady M is doing the driving and I’m forcing myself to relax and ignore the part of me that is uncomfortable as a passenger.

I know it’s purely a control thing, especially with the weather being so wet and windy, so it’s a good exercise in trusting Lady M and her extensive driving experience – and forcing my jittery brain to just let go.

It’s been good to step outside of normal routine and comfort zones. That’s the positive here, alongside knowing that a good proportion of Christmas presents are now where they need to be…

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 🙂