Oct 15, 2019: Coat

There was a man on the bus this morning who insisted on chatting to everyone around him. He didn’t know anyone, from what I could gather, but by the end of the bus journey everyone knew him.

He’s just had a second stroke, about two weeks ago. He seems fine and dandy. It’s certainly not affected any of his speech, judging by his performance this morning.

Oh, and for extra points, guess who he chose to say next to.

Anyway, the best part of his chat came about as he was randomly talking to someone going past him. He was sitting in the aisle seat of our double and he was checking that a fellow passenger could get past with the phrase, “Can you manage to get by, love?” which is, if nothing else, a phrase which will almost urge someone to speed up.

He then proceeded to tell the woman in the chair opposite him that it’s his coat that makes him fat.

I’m adding this to the list of excuses I can come up with, along with having a severe allergic reaction to all food where when I eat it it makes me swell up.

But yes, apparently in his summer coat he is slim and waif-like. He barely casts a shadow. He can slide between things like a sheet of paper. He has almost no substance.

But in winter, when he wears his winter coat – which he’s having to do because of the fact that you just don’t know where you are with the weather at the moment – he becomes a huge ball of a man. Someone who blocks bus aisles with his enormous girth.

I’m not fat, I’m just wearing a big coat.

I mean, come on.


Oct 14, 2019: Kickstart

I was in a position, today, where I was walking to the door wondering what the heck was going on. The postman had been earlier in the morning and knocked because he had an unbendable thing which must never, ever be bent and – for some reason – was actually obeying that instruction rather than twisting it into whatever shape he fancied and sticking it through the letterbox.

But later in the day the post van pulled up and there was a knock on the door.

And, as I do on such occasions, I walked to the door muttering about Carole ordering things and not telling me, or chastising the neighbours for having stuff delivered when they’re not in.

And it was for me.


That never happens.

It was a board game that I backed on Kickstarter ages ago on what I would like to call “a whim.” I’d backed one thing on Kickstarter before – the lovely comic book work of Rachael Smith – and I clearly had the bug and just searched for something and then went all in on a deluxe version. Because who doesn’t want a wooden first player token and some acrylic coal?

And then I forgot about it.

I periodically remembered it existed, if an email update came through to say that the bits had been made, or something had been printed, but I forgot it soon afterwards. I confirmed my deliver address months ago. A couple of weeks ago there was a message to say the games were in the UK and it would just be a matter of time.

And then I forgot it again.

But it’s here now and it’s lovely. I’ve opened it and had a look. And that’s as far as I’ve gone.

It’s another game I’m in two minds about. It can be played as a single player experience, so I am thinking about taking it for a spin while Carole’s at work, to get to grips with the mechanics and what-have-you so that we could play it in the evening (although, if we play in an evening it should be Charterstone because it’s been ages…). But I am also thinking I should hold on a couple of weeks and play it on the new table. After all, does a deluxe version – not available in shops – of a game deserve to be played on a lowly, used table. It should be savoured and treated to Royal Blue baize and (hopefully) expert craftsmanship.

But it’s a long time to wait until the 9th of November. And my gaming fingers are getting itchy…

… as is my Kickstarter finger, as well. I feel I should hop online and see what other treasures I can find out there. If only because it’s ridiculously nice getting post that you’ve pretty much forgotten all about!


Oct 13, 2019: Rooms

They say you’re never supposed to meet your heroes, and I have discovered today that the same can be applied to escape rooms that you’re very excited about.

We’ve been in the lovely city of Nottingham today to tackle five of their escape rooms with Mr & Mrs Boss.

They were all ok, but we were bookended by a couple of ones which were less fun than the others.

One of them was Carfax at Cave Escape – a game which I was giddy with excitement about doing. I’ve seen people rave about it, I’ve heard good things. And then it was a bit meh. And that’s without factoring in me having a tantrum about a puzzle which I’d worked out but no-one else was on the same page for but were happy to tell me I was wrong… I wasn’t wrong, as it turns out. But I was briefly frustrated.

I was gutted that the room, in general, wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. It didn’t live up to the experience I’d imagined in my head.

And yet their other room, Monuments – based on the story of the Monuments Men – was bloody brilliant. I fricking loved that one. And there were no tantrums throughout the whole thing. Maybe that’s why it rates so much higher for me? It’s not. Obviously. It’s because it was a lovely game which fit the setting and was very much right up my street. Oh and not that I’m blowing any trumpets in this, but we set the fastest legitimate time for the room, coming in at 42 minutes and some seconds. There are a couple of times faster than ours but they may have used cheating (ingenuity, they’ll say) over the correct method.

It’s also possible that Carfax, being our fifth room of the day, also suffered from tiredness which didn’t help the tantrum one little bit.

Earlier in the day, though, we went to Cryptology and dabbled in an explosive job interview (meh), a spot of tomb raiding – excellent stuff, and travelling through a dreamscape which involved, along the way, walking on clouds and making porridge. For real.

Again, I’m not out with the trumpets, but we were in the top 2% of all teams for all of those three games. In one of them – the first, which we disliked the most, we were in the top 1%.

We bloody rocked.

Apart from that tantrum that I threw.

For which I apologise.

Oct 12, 2019: Baize

Now we know when the gaming table is being delivered.

It’s coming on a Saturday morning between 8am and 10am. Which means two things:

  1. We should start getting used to using coasters, like sophisticated people. And not just pop drinks down willy-nilly like heathens. We have a few weeks to mend our ways, but every day we don’t do it is a day wasted.
  2.  I should absolutely book the day off work and Carole should clear anything she has planned so we can just play games all day and roll dice around the nice, sexy baize inlay.

I already know how big the table is going to be, and how big our existing table is currently. I know these things, so in my mind I can slide the boards across from one – the current, existing, cramped version – to the other – the space and sexiness of the new table. But that needs to be done for every game, I think.

A game of Quirkle, say, where we don’t have to build off the side of the table onto something that can then act as table adjacent. Or a game of Charterstone where we’re not using an upturned washing basket as a side table to the table. Just games where we can lay out the components onto the table in draw piles instead of leaving them in the box because there just isn’t room or they might roll off the table.

It’s going to be heaven.

The last few weeks I’ve had a hankering to try my hand at the Fallout board game. I got it during Amazon’s Prime Day event which is months ago now and it’s not been played at all. I have popped all the parts out, and built the scoring tracks, but it has not yet been used in anger. I fancy trying it as a solo experience one day when I’m at home, and as it ways in at a hefty three hour play time (according to the box, so add on a bit for having to check the rules all the time) it’s a commitment.

But now, so close to new table time, I’m thinking I might hang back. I won’t sample it. I won’t dedicate a day to dice rolling and dodging the rad scorpions just yet. I’ll hang on. Because a new game should feel the sexy baize underneath its component parts.

And because I can just put the lid on the table if I have to break off to do other stuff. We once half-played a game of Dungeon Lords – it took us ages because, again, rules – and we ended up covering our in-progress game with a bed sheet in order to trick the cat (or cats, at the time, maybe) to not interfering with our layouts.

You know what cats love? Titting about on bed sheets, it turns out…

This new table though… the imps will be protected.

And that’s what it’s all about.

I am so excited, honestly!


Oct 11, 2019: Exhaustion

It turns out, I learnt this morning, that I’m surprisingly good at video games at five in the morning after very little sleep.

The saga of the difficulties of sleeping with this cough go on and on and on. Just when you think it’s all sorted and you’re on the road to recovery you find yourself wide awake, lying in bed trying to keep your lungs on the inside whilst trying not to wake up your beloved and/or the neighbours. Although, truth be told, wake up the noisy bastards. I don’t care.

Anyway, I have managed to run this week on a ridiculously small amount of sleep. It’s taken a lot to get to sleep and then when I’ve been asleep I’ve had a dream about coughing – because I’m super fun – and then woken up coughing. There has not been a lot of sleep going on. I have seen most of the hours of the morning. I have heard the little milk float that pootles around for some reason (probably delivering milk). And I have heard the birds spring to life.

I have, until this morning, avoided the sleeping sitting up that I have been promising myself.

But it can’t go on any longer. I’m running on fumes. I need to sleep. So I came downstairs and attempted to sleep on the couch, sitting up. It did not go well, although I did get a little bit of sleep in it didn’t really stick, and I gave up on the whole idea at around quarter past five, favouring instead a bit of gaming on the Xbox and the hope that exhaustion would snatch me later – which it did for around an hour.

There’s hope for me yet.

But at 5am I am pretty shit hot. I should save particularly tricky sections of games and then get up early and blitz my way through them. My reactions were on point, my control was masterful. Five in the morning is clearly my go time. The end of staying up late. Instead, I’ll be one of those cool get up early gamers that you hear about all the time.

I don’t know, though, if it was the time of the morning or just the lack of sleep and my body just throwing adrenaline and whatever else in to me to just keep me ticking over in a competent state and hope for the best until I can snatch some shut eye.

Hopefully, tonight will be the night.

I’m destined to enjoy the upright stuff. I need to. I can’t lose an hour of my morning to hacking up a lung. But this time I’ve already felt my eyelids growing heavy. I’ve fought them off already tonight. Sleep, I think, will be upon me.

As will a stiff neck from sleeping upright.

But at least that will draw my attention from the lingering cough of death…