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

Wait, where’s November going?

I swear sometimes it’s like I blink and I’ve time travelled, or fallen through a crack in the space-time continuum, and it’s suddenly halfway through the month.

Admittedly we spent the week after MCM London largely recuperating and sleeping – and then celebrating Lady M’s birthday. Going back to work after that felt like standing at the bottom of a steep set of stairs, but I think that’s fairly normal.

I think the time has slipped past simply by dint of it being one of those periods of time where you just need to get your head down and plough on.

We’ve had some nice little highlights: we’ve more or less finished our Christmas shopping for example – and we had Lady S come by for a surprise weekend visit with the cub. We’d plotted this as a surprise so she and Lady M could have a proper date night as a delayed birthday treat.

(I had a boys night in with the cub on the xbox – and there was hardly any rage quitting on either side.)

So, a quick and quiet update post for you all 🙂 and here’s a recent photo of my sketch pad, because getting me to stop sketching is always an issue…

Picture of intricate inkpen artwork taken over the artist's shoulder, showing the page, his arm, and fine pen

Okay, back in the room

The Inktober posts are resuming now that illness is rebuffed and we’ve survived the madness that was MCM Comiccon this weekend

Speaking of the Convention, it was huge fun, somehow aptly summed up by the image above – a great rush of geekery, humour, and catching up with friends. I’ll write more on it as my brain settles down, but the whole polycule was there, along with the cub at his first Con, and it’s been exhausting.

Anyway, back to the ink sketches…

There’s This Week Gone?

Not working on Monday has totally thrown my sense of where I am in the week out the window. I’ll get used to it, but the rearrangement of library hours seems to have thrown my planning out. As a result it feels like I’m chasing my own tail a bit.

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It doesn’t help that I’m feeling a bit under the weather. There’s a stomach bug doing the rounds, and even my cast iron stomach seems to be twitchy. I’m hoping that it doesn’t develop into anything, especially as I have Rhymetime tomorrow. I somehow doubt that my popularity as a singer will survive my trampling toddlers in an emergency rush to the loo, let alone the alternative!

Still, much to look forward to this weekend. We’ll be at the Wessex Pistols album launch on Friday, and the Charleesi is staying over too, which is always a pleasure. Then I’m in Brighton on Monday for a CILIP Carnegie event, so friends have offered to put me up for the Sunday night so I don’t have to battle commuter traffic.

I suspect I’ll need to cancel the upcoming Monday game, thinking about the timings. That’s a pain, but on the plus side Lady P returns from another con on Monday, so fingers crossed our schedules allow a catch-up. We’ve had a fairly fraught few weeks between us all, but things seem to be settling down again, so definitely looking forward to opening some wine up soon. We may even see her return to the pub on a Tuesday soon: stranger things have been known.

Speaking of which, we’ve just started saying “Tuesdays” as a catch-all response to shenanigans on our nights down The Plough. It saves trying to explain certain jokes and references to cheese and Disney songs to the resident musicians. The respective Ladies M, and Lady G are certainly getting a bit of a hellraising reputation.

Weekend Runabout

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Oh, we had so many plans for this weekend just gone, but reality continued throw spanners into the works with gleeful abandon. We’ve changed the weekends that we’ll have Charleesi in visitation so we were all hyped to hit the rollercoasters again. Sadly ill health changed those plans, but not before we’d at least had a great evening in Isleworth with the Wessex Pistols. We’re known enough now for band members to say hi as they finish their sound check. It’s always a good night, even when some of the locals get a bit, um, odd…

Our other original plans for the weekend had been to attend the Artyfakes weekend barbecue, but we were so exhausted and wrung out from the travel and emotional fallout of the last month that we reluctantly gave our apologies and stayed home instead. A decidedly quiet Saturday night was had in front of the television instead.

A chance conversation with W and B led to our going to visit them on Sunday after we’d dropped the unwell Charleesi home. They’ve just moved to a lovely new home about five minutes’ drive away from their old place. One impromptu barbecue and a late night game of Cards Against Humanity later and we ended up sleeping in their spare room. Thank heavens for Bank Holiday Mondays.

And so, back to work. After being on the road for the best part of three weeks it’s all feeling a bit odd. Thankfully the Great British Public have remained as fiercely odd as ever – so it’s been a great distraction from everything. I’ve also confirmed my phone interview for the new job for next week, so I’ll be focusing on preparation for that soon. The Monday D&D games will resume soon too, so I need to do some work on that, and to make sure I’ve actually written up everything here too.

Allons-y!

I’m Tired

There’s a bone deep lethargy making everything just that little bit too difficult right now, and it is mostly a result of travel and grief. (It was my Grandfather’s funeral on Monday.) As a result I’ve not been blogging, writing, or doing much except travel up and down the country and drive Ladies M and P to distraction. They’ve only occasionally growled back, being themselves busy people, but to them, and anyone else I’ve breezed past or barged through over the last week or so, I’m sorry.

We have had good news this week, most notably in the Charleesi’s results. Her GCSE results came through on Thursday morning, and with an A* in Geography, 6 more As including triple science, and a B in Maths ( her least favourite subject), she’s romped off to enrol at college for A levels in Photography, English Literature, Biology and Geography. Being the perfectionist that she is, she was more irked at missing out on an A* for her English by a couple of points than anything else, but is ecstatic that she’ll never have to study Mathematics again.

Today is my sister-in-law’s wedding, so I’m trying to rest up so that I can be on top form to be an usher, and be a more gracious and outgoing person. I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic day, even if my anxieties are playing merry havoc right now. I’m currently looking out over the Hartlepool Marina, listening to gulls and the gentle lap of water against the dock. It’s quite a gentle way to spend a morning, so there’s a bonus

Slowly getting back up to speed

Its been an interesting experience being generally disconnected from online life the last couple of weeks. I’ve been using my Frankenstein’s Desktop machine as a stand-in, hence the occasional spotty activity online, but given that it is at least six years old it has a few speed issues and is given to lurching from keystroke to keystroke like a drunken snail.

To add to the whole experience, my iPhone decided it no longer wanted to talk to wifi spots and started crashing and freezing more than usual, so I had to bite the proverbial bullet and decide what I wanted for an upgrade. This now leaves me with the entertainment of setting up both a new laptop and a new phone simultaneously. Its been quite refreshing in some ways: especially in forcing me to prioritise what software I reinstall and update and which websites I reconnect to, as well as imposing new routines for handling emails – something the new phone (the Samsung Galaxy S2) is much better at handling than the iPhone for example.

The new laptop has brought me into using 64 bit computing for the first time – so there’s been all sorts of fun downloading new versions of common bits of software; and I have to admit I’m generally enjoying Windows 7 – though considering I’ve been using Vista for the last few years that’s like saying I’m enjoying being in a pillow fight much more than being hit with bunches of nettles…

So here I am on a Saturday morning – on the third anniversary of myself and Jo getting together back in Switzerland – with me tapping away in the light gloom and t’other half semi-conscious with a migraine (or possibly a hangover, its hard to tell in this light). At some point I’ll get up and eat, but for now its nice and quiet and I’m hardly cursing my brain’s decision that I’ve had enough sleep for now. Outside, it looks gloomy and overcast so I think I’ll stay here in my pit just a little longer and work out how I’m going to get my protagonist out of the corner I’ve just written him into.

Technology Refresh Time

Well, I’m still waiting on the delivery of a replacement laptop but at least the new phone is here and working – so I’m busy configuring it and learning all the little differences between the new phone and the old (I’ve opted for the Galaxy S2 btw).

There may be a little bit of swearing and muddling around over the next few hours while I try and get the mobile client to work for WordPress…

Self Employment

So… that’s the paperwork off, and a long day spent at the HMRC on a couple of seminars… and didn’t I start doing this last year? So what’s different this time?

I’ve just registered as self-employed for the purposes of concentrating on the writing, and in common with a number of people I’ve encountered recently – including the spouses of HMRC employees – I’m partly doing it to get the powers that be to back off and let me get on with my life without having to trudge down to the Job Centre and be patronised at length on a regular basis. With my other half back in work and bringing in enough to cover the household I believe that the small amounts of Class 2 National Insurance and the calculated Class 4 and self-assessed tax is worth the peace of mind to not feel like people are peering over my shoulder and trying to meddle all the time.

And any additional income I do manage to generate is a nice bonus for running the household – but in the meantime I can be useful being a househusband and concentrating on the writing which I’ve been wanting to do, while doing the training for the Surrey Drug and Alcohol Careline which will hopefully then lead to being able to retrain as a counsellor.

As a nice bonus we’ve had some good weather this week so I’ve been able to feel a little smug about not being trapped in an office, and in being able to restock the kitchen without having to trip over too many small children.

And now to field test a revised lemon chicken dish I recently made – shouldn’t take long and if it works I’ll post the recipe