Jan 18, 2021: Bumholes

It didn’t go any better.

In fact, if anything, Charterstone was worse than it’s ever been before.

Daniel got 80 points in one game.

I was nowhere near him on that one. Nowhere near. Two of the three simple level AI characters got more than I did.

And that’s without taking into account the fact that I start each game with 3 points due to a perk I unlocked early on. I have a three point head start and I’m still dragging myself into a place that if not last is definitely last adjacent.

I have the fewest buildings built. I have the fewest glory spent. The fewest wins. I am doing terribly.

The one shining light in all of this is that for the first time ever, I wasn’t the worst player when it came to ripping the spirit from their body. That fate has fallen on one of the AI characters. I can still win. It’s all to play for.

It isn’t.

I have no chance.

At all.

Ever.

I could not turn up next week, and I would probably end up with a better score than if I actively played.

I really do like Charterstone. I genuinely do. I loved it when we played. But I’m so bad at it. I’m wondering if all the love I had for it was down to the stickers we got to put on things. I wonder if I got demob happy about decorating the board with colourful building stickers, or adding to the rule book. I wonder if that’s what did it for me, and the gameplay just fell by the wayside. I mean, I did lose the physical game as well. So maybe that’s the case…

Anyway, we’ll be playing again next week so there’s always a chance I can pull it back… we’ve still got a few games of the campaign left to play…

Ah who am I kidding.

Jan 17, 2021: I Don’t Know Why I Bov-Erdell

“Oh god, I have never had such a bad start before…”

That’s Carole at the start of Everdell today. A mere forty minutes or so before she tots up her score and is still adding up long after she has passed the points total I got to in what, I have to say, was an absolute shoe-in of a win and I can’t believe I did so badly.

Three games. Three loses.

I mean, I’m not surprised in the slightest. This is me we are talking about and I never win any games whatsoever, but still it’d be nice – just once – to actually come out on top.

Oh, I tell a lie, I won a game of New York Zoo the other week. But that’s it. That’s all I’ve won for ages. Certainly for the stats of 2021 anyway.

Honestly, I don’t know why I bother.

I think it through. I make what I think are informed decisions and yet when I’m up against what is, essentially, chaos in human form it makes no difference. No amount of planning or strategic thought can fight against what is happening on my opponents side of the table. My city is neatly laid out, hers in disorder.

And yet here we are again.

Lost.

No wins on the sheet.

It’s been packed away now. There was some argument to leave it out for another week. But no. Away it goes, to taunt me from the shelves as we pick something else to play which I will be equally bad at. I think it’s probably going to be Chocolate Factory – a game about a chocolate factory, oddly enough, which we last played when we had a table too small to accomodate it. I don’t remember winning then, either.

It is great that all the various lockdowns and variations on a theme have afforded us all this time to play board games, either real or virtual, but I am potentially returning to normal society – if, indeed, such a thing exists on the other side of the plague times – a broken man. A man a shadow of his former self, having lost all of his mojo to a variety of board game defeats over a twelve month period.

I daren’t even try any of the solo variants of the games we have because if I can’t even beat cards that I am turning over then what hope is there…

Still, gotta keep on smiling. Charterstone tomorrow.

Maybe that will go better.

Jan 16, 2021: Cars

I’ve had to insist on a car cut-off time. I’ve had to. There’s only so long you can keep talking about what car we should get next and where we should get it from and how much we’re willing to pay and who knows what else.

Not to mention, buying a car in the midst of a pandemic and lockdown is a bit of a nightmare.

You can’t test drive anything, you can’t sit in the cars and get a feel for them. Technically, you can’t even ask the car salesman people anything about the cars either, as they’re operating a click-and-collect service, essentially, rather than being open for actual business. So you buy the car and have seven days to see if you like it.

Having said all that, we think we’ve decided what we want, and how much we’re willing to pay and everything. We need to trade in the old one, but it’s worth next to, if not actually on the dot of, fuck all so it’s not going to make any difference to the price really. It’s a dead car rolling, essentially. But he’s served us well and it’ll be a shame to see him go – mainly because if there’s any sort of delay between trading it in and getting the new one, I’m not sure where we’ll keep all of Carole’s coats and shoes.

If we weren’t doing the trading in thing, we could have almost bought a new one today. Carole went off for a walk via a dealership and found one we wanted (although with less spec than we really desired, so we’d probably not have gone for it). I think if it had been bob on, we might have though. And been, briefly at least, one of those two car families you hear about before we sent ol’ Norman off on a trip to wherever he might end up. We kind of need to see if we’d get more for him as scrap than as a trade in, but then it’s sorting out getting him to the scrappers and all that shizz.

Anyway, all this chat was still going on past six in the evening.

So I’ve made us have a cut off. No car nonsense after 6pm. Nope. Not doing it. Carole’s brother-in-law is in his element searching for the car we want. He’s found us ones all over the place, so we have to look at how we get them here and if that costs us more and all that jazz, but we had to gently persuade him to stop searching past the car watershed, just so we could have a couple of hours of chilled out sanity without having to worry about plate numbers and bluetooth connectivity or how big the rear window is or whether the front window is heated and so, so many other things that I’m not sure why I’m bothered about.

But we’ve got to do it this way, in a lockdown induced distance purchase fashion, so we have to do extra legwork on our end. We can’t hope that lockdown will end when they think it might maybe possibly end and then we can snatch one up because we’re in quite a small window of time, so we have to do all this stuff.

Just not after six.

Jan 15, 2021: H2-Oh-No

One thing I have become quite aware of during the various lockdowns and the like is how little I am drinking (non-alcoholically) when I’m at home. When I used to go to work, I’d have bottles of water and whatever and I’d be drinking all of them even if I was only in for one shift (so about two hours of in-work time), not to mention there’d probably be a coffee or two in the mix as well.

But at home, not so much.

Some days I’m fine and do drink decent amounts. Some days I have coffee after coffee in quick succession. Other days, almost nothing.

So, new year new you and all that horseshit, I decided to get myself a water bottle to encourage me to drink at home more as well as it’ll be super handy for going to work with as well when the time comes. If the time comes. Whichever.

What it’s doing though, or seems to be doing, is pointing out how little I am drinking.

Which is the exact opposite of what I wanted it to be doing.

It’s a 2.2 litre bottle, with gradations for up to 2 litres in handy 250ml increments. So you can see how much you’ve drunk during the day. One of the reviews of the bottle said that this was a great feature as it lets you track your water consumption (although if you’re using phrases like “track your water consumption” you’d surely want something more accurate than just eyeballing a plastic mark on a bottle, and there’d certainly be a spreadsheet involved) so you can proudly see how much you’ve drunk.

Or it can shame you.

Nothing is more off-putting than noticing, just as you’re going to bed, that the water is only down to the 1500ml mark, say.

Wow, you think as you head up to bed, I’ve drunk 700ml of water today. And as you climb the stairs you start to worry about whether the electric blanket is still on as too much warmth could see such a meagre amount of moisture evaporate and you’d wake up the next day to find you’re mainly just powder.

Or sometimes even less than that. And before you go to bed you have to think through the day and try and work out if you refilled the bottle at any point.

But you mostly didn’t.

And when you do drink it all, or all and more on a few occasions, you feel great. You can start to see the effects on your skin, or in your eyes or something. I don’t know. You can’t.

You just spend half the night peeing. Gone are the nights where you’re woken by the cat leaping upon you and you can just go back to sleep. Now you’re woken by the cat jumping on you, which sends a wave of urine lapping against the pressure sensors in your bladder. No return to sleep will befall you while it feels like you could, at any moment, burst. And you daren’t risk falling back to sleep in case you have a dream where you’re having a wee and then you actually have a wee. But you’re in bed. And it’s a big wee because you drank 2.2 litres of water earlier and feel super smug about it.

But, still, it’s all for the greater good.

Probably.

Jan 14, 2021: Snow!

Mere days after slagging off the weather’s inability to provide snow where we live, lo and behold we have snow. It has snowed for most of the day, although in the afternoon it was kind of just going through the motions. This morning was where it was all at.

And, in our tiny backwater street, off the beaten track, chaos ensued.

Marvelous.

The weird lady who has a lot of cats and a house which is filthy and supported by scaffolding beams went out. Then she came back. Whether she went out before the snow or not, I don’t know. Some people did. Others did not. Others chose to go out while it was snowing and the roads were a mess and cars were being abandoned left, right and centre. She came back, anyway, under the full weight of the snow. Most of her windows were snow-covered, so she was in effect driving a seasonal tank.

Because that’s the sort of woman she is.

Anyway, she drove past our house and up and round to her house. Our street is a loop, with a slight uphill element to it – we live on the bottom side, while the higher-ups are higher up. She lives in the top corner. With all the cats and the craziness.

So she drove past to get to her house. She drove past her own house as she favours reversing into her parking spot which is less of a spot and more of just the entire corner. She couldn’t reverse. Wheelspin. Disaster.

So, rather than just park up where she was, she went to drive round the street again and take a second go.

Disaster.

She couldn’t get back up. Which saw her sliding around the bottom corner close to our house – but sadly not close enough to put our car in any sort of mortal danger, annoyingly – until a variety of people went out to shovel her a route up the road.

Even I considered going out to help.

I know, right.

I didn’t rush to it, admittedly. Because there were already three people at it and too many cooks can spoil the broth, but as it continued on I did throw on some boots and run through a mental inventory of shovels and the like that we have to aid in the digging process. As it never really snows, we do not have snow-shovels. Why the frick would we. But we do have a normal shovel.

I was ready to go and get that. I looked out of the window again to see where I was headed (via the back garden for tools) and she was just parking up and the side of the road and walking to her house.

Further away, I should point out, than if she’s just parked where she was when her wheels were spinning in a failed reverse motion.

But yes, I got myself in a position to go and help dig her to the top of the road because, sometimes, even I am not a complete arsehole.

And then Carole came downstairs, fresh from several fun meetings with work, and told me off for ruining the snow in the back garden when I went out for the shovel.

Sometimes it’s just better to be an arsehole all the time…