Apr 20, 2019: Weed

Traditionally, Easter is a time of cold weather and – more often that not – snow.

And yet this year, bloody global warming has come along and made it chocolate-meltingly hot. What the bloody hell is all that about? What is the point of us getting voice activated heating systems if it’s going to be too warm to use them? I’m already working out how many plugs we need for all the fans just so I can justify have the home robot lady living in our rooms.

And, amazingly, I’d forgotten how warm it gets at work.

I must have blocked it from my mind after last year but it all came flooding back today. It gets very warm. And we always get two flies and a bee come in if we have the window open.

And if we open the window that’s directly above the entrance to Corals we all get high from the huge amount of weed that is apparently smoked in the doorway.

I mean, holy Christ on a bike, today the air was thick with it. How some people who smoke weed in public think they’re getting away with it, that no-one realises what they’re doing, is beyond me.

It was so strong for us that we had to choose car exhaust fumes via a different window as a preferable pollutant for the office.

So that, I think, is going to be the flavour of the office this year – weed or toxic carbons. And the two flies. And the bee that always goes between the two parts of the window and is a bugger to get out.

Apr 19, 2019: Plans

We went over to mum’s today to do things. Do shizz, as I think I said in the text message to my mother. And then spent three or four further messages explaining what I meant by shizz. But yeah, we went over to mum’s to make the most of the nice weather and get stuff done.

I wanted to sort out stuff in the garage and do a few odds-and-sods and Carole needed to book flights for their outing to Toulouse to see my Uncle. And all was right with the world. The sun was shining, birds were singing and I wasn’t working.

I think we’d been there about an hour before a shift came in for me. Because, obviously, that’s how things work. I was on a pretty decent roll and actually getting stuff done which is rare when it comes to sorting out the garage – normally it’s just moving things from one side to the other. But I was doing things. I was just about to start the fun task of sawing up all the awkward bits of firewood I haven’t been able to axe into oblivion and *ting* I find out I will be needed at work later.

There was already a shift in for today – you never really know which way Good Friday will go, with it being a day people set off on trips and the fact that the weather was beautiful. But there was one shift and, it stood to reason, if anything else came in today they would also be assigned to the person who was already in.

Of all the slots, though, throughout the whole day – the booking comes in for the one in the same time slot.

Of course it does.

So there’s me, in a garage in Halifax, covered in bits of soil and muck from a cold frame which, when it situ would fall apart as soon as you looked at it but when you wanted to take it apart would refuse, point blank, to break into its component pieces, needing to go to work.

I tried to sort of subtly point out that I was busy by sending my boss a picture of what I was doing – i.e. a picture of the whole garage – but that sort of backfired and ended up with us selling him two of the numerous stepladders enshrined in the depths. Which is great, I guess, from a tidying point of view because it’s two less things to sort out in the long run, and how many ladders does one half-blind doddery pensioner need anyway. You know, really.

I was a bit miffed though, because I don’t feel like I achieved a whole lot today and I was definitely in the groove for sorting stuff out. I could definitely have gone longer. But Carole was happy with what we achieved, and we did pretty much tick off everything on mum’s hastily written and hard-to-read to do list.

And made her some money from the sale of ladders in the process.

But still…

Apr 18, 2019: Puzzling

Part of the fun, I’m finding, of designing an Escape Room – other than coming up with a coherent scenario and not being able to remember any of the layout of some rooms you saw a couple of months ago – is this particular bit of repeated monologue: “Is that even possible?”

That’s what’s going through my mind at the moment as I throw ideas into the ring for inclusion. I’m quite pleased with an idea I’ve had, as I think it’s kind of quirky, but I have no idea how to do it. Which is, it turns out, an incredible amount of fun.

Because now I find myself trawling the internet trying to learn things about things so that I can do things. And, in the meantime, trying to come up with a way to play with the idea in a safe space – in this case, my front room – while still having no idea how to do it.

I bloody love it.

Oh and then there’s the problem of, once I’ve got it sussed (maybe) linking it to the software that runs the room. I don’t even know if I can. Or whether I need to do it in such a way that the people playing the room will do something which will prompt the Game Master to do something else. I think that’s the easier of the two options (aside from the whole first part of the damn thing).

Things have ramped up a little now that I know I’m pretty much going ahead with a room build now. It’s all become massively real instead of just a guy doodling things on a pad of paper and occasionally colouring them in. And equally, I’m also trying my damnedest not to steal anything from anyone else – any puzzle I see that I really love, I’m having to sort of exorcise from my mind so as not to directly lift it into my world.

Oh, and since I started doing this, every puzzle I’ve come across has been brilliant.

I’m sure mine will be too.

If they can actually exist in the real world.

Which I’m sure they can. I mean, at the end of the day it’s only the most convoluted way to trigger a maglock…

Apr 17, 2019: Light

Carole, bless her cotton socks, is going out of her way to show that we need a second magically remote-controlled plug in the bedroom.

We already have one, all nicely set up, which controls the electric blanket and, yes, that should become redundant fairly soon but Carole is a big lover of a warm bed so we’ll probably have to keep the plug there, just in case.

But ever since Upstairs Alexa has moved in, Carole has been drifting off to sleep much more easily it would appear. Wafted off into dreamland by a cosy warm bed, a good book and some background music for a fixed period of time.

So for the past two nights she’s fallen asleep with the fairy lights on. The fairy lights which I put on the bed head on a whim, years ago, and have proved popular enough to put some in the kitchen to light up the worktops and in the back bedroom as well.

Unfortunately, when Carole falls asleep with them on, I have to turn them off. And they’re an absolute arse to get at. Especially since she’s introduced a little basket thing into the mix as a bed-side (or, technically, behind) table type affair.

Now I have to reach through that to get at the plugs.

One wrong move and the metal basket thing bags against the metal bedframe, causing it to ring out like I’ve struck a bell with a hammer. As I discovered last night.

Not that it seems to wake her up. Since she’s all earplugged up nowadays to try and avoid my slight snoring, she can’t hear a bloody thing. But then, she did sleep that earthquake that one time. And part of a car fire. And countless other things. So she is immune to most noise. Just not the passing of air through my nostrils.

So, yeah, I’m considering another plug, just so I can plunge the bedroom into darkness without bringing out my inner bell-ringer. It does seem like a high price to pay, but the ability to plunge her into darkness when she least expects it…

… tempting.

Apr 16, 2019: Brum

I’ve discovered a new love during evening shifts. Something that is becoming more prevalent, it appears, as the nights lighten.

The late night boy racers, in their souped-up-mis-firing-because-it’s-cool cars who drive round and round town, all night, presumably hoping to impress someone. There’s a subset of these that have expensive-and-not-misfiring-cars that also drive around. Both sets of cars, though, rev at a volume which is not necessary. For anyone.

The best part of this, I think, is that their chosen track – Huddersfield town centre – is awash with traffic lights. So you get incredible revving and the burst of speed as a light turns green – look at them go, they are SO COOL, I wish I could be them or with them depending on the onlooker – and then 100 yards or so further on, they reach a set of traffic lights. Where they stop.

Some rev repeatedly at the lights. They are the massive douches. Others just wait, ready to surge forward like they’re Marty McFly and they’ve just been called a chicken. Either way, they’re stopped again in another 100 yards because, you know, lights.

And then they drive round and round and round. All night.

Am I missing something? I mean, clearly I am because I can think of nothing worse than just driving round the town centre in speedy one-second bursts. But what are they actually hoping to achieve?

Whatever it is, it can’t be that successful if you’re still driving around a couple of hours later, on the same streets.

I can’t wait until the full evening sun of summer brings them all out in droves, racing each other. Trying to outdo each other for loudest engine, most unnecessary misfiring noises or quickest burst of speed between traffic lights.

Every now and again, you see a car used in this way on YouTube just catching fire. I have my fingers crossed, I’ll be honest.

Although where they tend to drive – and potentially combust – would have a direct impact on my bus route home…

But still… It’s be worth it, I think.