Apr 7, 2020: Eighteen

Charterstone again…

And the convolutions of trying to get six people all talking on the same thing rear their ugly head again. For whatever reason, Steam’s voice chat doesn’t like us. And last night, Facebook chat died on its arse.


We then had to fight to work out a different way to chat which ended up with one of the six of us having to install WhatsApp despite him not believing in it, wanting it or trusting it as far as he could throw it.

And then, randomly, in the middle of it all Facebook Messenger rang us all.

But that’s by-the-by in the greater scheme of things.

I didn’t win. I don’t even know where I came. It wasn’t last. It definitely wasn’t first. It could have been much worse, though, if Addy had made the right decision to count the building points at the end of the game and not just click away and accidentally choose the other option. And then swear about it a lot. And shout “back!” repeatedly.

But most importantly, neither did Daniel. Joe – the dark horse of the group – has fallen into that groove where he suddenly works out how a game works and establishes a 40 point lead while no-one is looking.

Which is exactly what he did.

He’s established himself as a bit of a threat, for the next 9 games at least. We’ll have to keep an eye on him.

I suspect Daniel will be befriending him at some point. He can’t let that kind of power go unchecked…





Apr 6, 2020: Seventeen

I like to think I was channelling a little bit of my mum’s teachings today.

I made a macaroni cheese which has almost none of the correct ingredients. Mother was, when she used to bake religiously on a Friday, notorious for making things and getting part way through before she realised she didn’t have what she needed but just soldiering on anyway.

We’ve had butternut fingers without any nuts whatsover.

Cake that started out as one thing and ended as another.

There were a lot of things that we had as children which were nice but could never be fully recreated because they were MacGuyvered together before MacGuyvering things even became a thing you could do.

And so that was me, macaroni cheese without any of the usual flavourings and oomph-providers.

Oh, it normally has the bite of mustard does it? Nope. Not this time. This time it will just gum you to death with the cheese-pasta goodness. There’s normally a hint of something – is it bay? I guess. This time there are no bay leaves. But, and let’s keep this between us, apart from providing entertainment as we try to remember how many leaves have been added to a chilli, stew or whatever, I’m not sure bay leaves do anything. At all. I know. Controversial as that may be, but I think we’re just basically sticking leaves in food, then taking them out because someone did that in times of yore and so everyone has just done it that way since.

There’s normally a wave of spring onion throughout my macaroni as well. But this time, alas, there was not. There was supposed to be, but the spring onions we got were – well, they were shit. There was very little spring to them whatsoever. And we can pretend things are just there to add the subtle hint of flavour, but I prefer my spring onion to have a circumference larger than that of the business end of a cotton bud.

It turned out alright though. If Carole wasn’t here, I’d have happily just sat with the entire dish of it and gorged my way through the day’s lockdown fun.

But she is here. And she frowns on that sort of thing, Covid 19 or not.


Apr 5, 2020: Sixteen

The first good drying day of the year.

A time to celebrate by getting up far earlier than you should on a Sunday – especially when there is nothing going on – to strip off the entire bed down to, and including, the mattress protector, washing it all, hanging it out and getting it back on the bed, dried, before 7pm.

This is the stuff of dreams.

I love days like this. Because, apparently, I reached an age some years ago when I really started to appreciate drying days. Because I’m a massive nerd, I guess.

I love them even more when I’m organised and remember to remake the bed and don’t suddenly realise at 11pm that the bed is still in a basket.

Happy days.

I mean, there’s always a downside to stuff like this, though.

And for me it was finding a tea towel – inexplicably – inside the corner of the duvet cover when I took it off the line. A still damp tea towel nestling in the corner – but not damp enough to convey that dampness to the cover itself, weirdly.

And that’s before you even start trying to work out how that tea towel ended up in there in the first place. I assume it must have got scooped up with the duvet cover when I loaded the machine. But I know not. It could have been in the bottom corner of the cover throughout the entire previous run of the cover being on the bed. But then surely we would have noticed it when we did up the buttons, or manhandled the duvet into the cover. In fact, the cover would have been inside out. It couldn’t have been in there.

But how did it get there?

And why?

Maybe I played a trick on myself, just to give me something to wonder about in a world where there’s not a lot to wonder about.

Maybe it was just on the floor next to the duvet cover and it got mixed in by accident.

We’ll never know.

What a drying day, though, eh? Rogue tea towel or not, it was spectacular.


Apr 4, 2020: Fifteen

I have not enjoyed today.

It’s been, by far, my worst day from a mental health point of view of the whole escapade to date, and that’s even with my government sanctioned, Carole-enforced walk. You know, the walks that are supposed to help with mental health but actually I wake up and think “ugh, I have to go on a walk” today.

So that’s working.

Today we saw more people than ever before on the canal. Having to pull over on numerous occasions to dodge people and keep the assigned two metres distance.

Including one silly old fuckwit who went “No, it’s alright, I haven’t got it.”

Because there’s always at least one of those, it turns out.

In other news, we played some Charterstone – just me and Carole – and I put in my best performance ever. I won a game. I bloody well won a game. The game hasn’t acknowledged that in the slightest and has assigned my winning cup to Carole – no word of a lie – but I did win.

In the following game I put in my worst performance in a game of Charterstone ever.

The game didn’t award me a cup for that, either.

I’m not to bothered about the cup thing – we’re keeping track of our scores after each game anyway, so we can do the end game scoring ourselves. But it’s a bit annoying coming across a bug like that. If I was one of those people who used the internet properly, I’d be writing a massively complainy Steam review, joining their Facebook group just to complain and demand my money back and kicking off on Twitter and wherever else would listen. I’d probably have to join Reddit, I guess.

But I’m not.

I’ll just move the six, seven or eight points across at the end of it all.


Apr 3, 2020: Fourteen

Fourteen, eh? Two weeks since work closed, just less than that since lockdown began. Life is still good. The shopping slots are always an exciting high spot of the week – partly for how far away the delivery guy will go after leaving the stuff at the door, and partly because, even now, you really never know what you’re going to get.

But I will say this, the number of people who have taken up baking – bread especially – in these troubled times is absolutely mind blowing because bread flour and yeast are like rocking horse shit at the moment.

Games Night lives on, though. We took to the interwebs this evening for a much smoother, more polished and less connectivity-issued game of Charterstone. Game 2 of 12. The six of us – Addy, Joe, Nik, Daniel, Carole and little ol’ me – battling it out to be the bestest.

Daniel won again.

Which is not that surprising, really. Although what I am finding surprising is that Daniel has played the entire campaign before but seems entirely clueless to the whole thing. I’m not so shocked when Carole doesn’t remember stuff because that’s standard fare, and the kids and Nik haven’t played before. But Daniel knows his games. Usually. Although the way he keeps winning – and the fact he’s drawn the game board out on a piece of A3 paper so he can plot and plan – would suggest he’s running a long game con on us all.

I came in joint second again, which was nice. It’s not last, which is even nicer. But it’s not getting me any nice shiny cups. It’s just increasing my capacity which – actually – is a nice position to be in and I’m trying to be all tactical about it. But it’s impossible to guess what’s actually going to happen because everyone around the virtual table is a loose cannon. And loose cannons, as the saying goes, are just bloody trouble all over the shop, yes siree, Bob.

And it turns out that our campaign was played incorrectly, as we did something which is not taking place in the digital version. Which all makes sense, to be honest. But we did it consistently throughout the whole thing so I guess we call it a house rule for our campaign and I can’t complain that Carole should never have won.


I’m not sure the saying does go like that, now that I think about it.