Apr 2, 2020: Thirteen

We were all set to have a games night tonight, gathering souls across the globe to play the second part of Charterstone via the interwebs but things got in the way and we all had to abort it at the last moment. We thought about trying to pull something together for the remaining few of us, but in the end ended up playing on the ol’ table, just the two of us.

We played Tiny Towns. I love Tiny Towns. I loved it when I first saw it played. I loved it when I second saw it played. I loved it when it came in our final ever game crate. I loved it when I won the first game.

I hate it now.

I made such a fricking mess of the game tonight.

In a game where you have to build buildings by placing cubes, and the smallest of those is 2 x 1 in size, leaving yourself with a lot of 1 x 1 spaces because you’re a huge idiot is not a good plan. Nor is building buildings that don’t score unless they’re next to another building just because they fit in a space you had available. Especially when that available space is nowhere near the building you need it to be near.

Damn it.

I realised very early on I’d fucked it. But there’s no moving stuff once you’ve placed it. Them’s the rules and all that.

I carried that luck on to Azul as well, ending the first two rounds with a score of 0 because of hideous penalties for smashing tiles.

I managed to turn that one around, though. And managed to stiff Carole with a huge tileĀ  penalty as well.

Mwah ha ha.

Apr 1, 2020: Twelve

Some years ago – must be around seven, I guess – we made the relationship-threatening decision to decorate our hall/stairs area. This was a nightmare for a number of reasons, not least the fact that the ceiling in some points is ridiculously high and, because some of the walls were plastered – I don’t want to use the word badly, but – badly (with strange, unnecessary outward curves and things) we wallpapered it.


Never do that.

It was awful.

But we did it. And we are still together now.

Now, in a time of global lockdown. Where we find ourselves with time on our hands. Although no, we don’t. Because apart from the commute to work, Carole has no extra time and it’s really pissing her off seeing people online complaining about being bored or whatever. Anyway, we have weekends together which is something we haven’t had for ages. And Caz has adjusted her working hours to be ridiculously early in the morning to mid-afternoon so we can have some quality time for me to complain about my government sanctioned walk which I did very well without beforehand thank you very much.

Anyway, shortly after we papered the hallway, we got Peppa. And then as a kitten Peppa climbed the wallpaper. The newly put up, fucking ballache of a job wallpaper.

And so we have lived for however long with one tatty piece of wallpaper, right at the bottom of the stairs on the corner which had Peppa’s claw marks all the way up it – she climbed it well – and a chunk missing where she worked her magic.

We took that off yesterday. Just that one piece. Any other scrapes to the paper which have been done by getting a clumsy gentleman to carry a wash basket, for example, are staying. Screw that shit. But that one bad bit. That’s gone. Stripped. Removed. It revealed an interesting hole next to the light switch which is now, hopefully, filled enough so that if we lean on that wall we won’t disappear into the space under the stairs.

So, yeah, we’re decorating.

Suddenly the lunchtime walks don’t seem so bad. Except it’s been really cold this week so I haven’t been on any of them. Instead I’ve been filling a hole in a wall with filler and questioning my life choices.

We’re going to paint it all, once we’ve re-papered this one section.

Which seemed easy(-ish – see above regarding stupidly high ceiling) until we factored in the wooden boards on the walls which hold the banisters… now we have to sand those arseholes first. And take the banisters off. And then not fall down the stairs because there’s nothing to hold onto.

It’s a lot to deal with.



Mar 31, 2020: Eleven

Carole is, as are many others, working from home.

This means she has become a convert and ardent fan of the video-calling app Zoom which has burst out of nowhere just as everyone needed to start working from home. I’m not saying that there’s some sort of conspiracy afoot, but if someone at Zoom isn’t related to someone in China who ate a bat (or whatever nonsense is blamed for the start of this) then I’d be very surprised.

Anyway, Zoom is allowing Carole to catch up with her colleagues on a regular basis. She’s even thinking about using it to catch up with her family at the weekend.

Carole is also INCREDIBLY LOUD when she uses Zoom.

We believe the reason for this is because she is wearing massive gaming headphones which muffle sound in the room she thinks she is deaf. And as we all know, when you think you’re deaf – or if you’re talking to someone in a foreign country – you shout. It’s just human nature.

Her gaming headset has a microphone mere centimetres from her face. I dread to think how loud her colleagues are receiving her, especially given that she is upstairs and I am downstairs and I can hear every single word she says with crystal clarity.

My heart skips with joy every time she says she has a staff meeting, or a virtual coffee morning or whatever other nonsense is being cooked up so that colleagues can get face-to-face, while wearing pyjama bottoms, in these dark times.

And it jumped for joy when it heard that even Sunday, a day of rest, was going to include a good portion of shouting at members of her family via the internet.

And that’s without her shouting down whatever voice chat app we decide to use for games night on Thursday too…

Maybe, just maybe, by the end of it she’ll have worked out she can just use a normal talking voice.

I’m not hopeful.


Mar 30, 2020: Ten

I genuinely don’t know how people are going to cope when the lockdown is lifted. Whenever that may be – and it probably won’t be for a few more weeks as people can very much not be trusted to be disease-spreading bellends.

Because, for example, all Carole and most of her family have done for the past ten days or so is discuss the availability of online shopping slots, whether they have one and whether it’s wrong that we use one if we are given the opportunity.


All the time.

They get the hellos and the how are yous out of the way at the start of the call, then it’s a good ten minutes about supermarket shopping, getting said shopping, whether Carole should go to the supermarket (no, she shouldn’t), whether slots are being released, if we should be using click-and-collect rather than delivery and how they are identifying people as vulnerable.

I mean, I guess we’re lucky that it’s just that. We’ve been talking today about all the people who don’t really get on who are stuck together, or the ones who were about to or have just split up and are now in the same house together. Not to mention the people with the secret second family. And the ones who discover that their partner is nothing like they thought they were when you remove all elements of being able to go out. And those other people who discover what their other half actually looks like once the spray tan wears off, the eyebrows grow back, the lips return to normal size and all the wrinkles spring back.

It’s an interesting time.

Divorce lawyers are, probably, rubbing their well-washed hands together with glee anticipating the Scrooge McDuck Money Towers they’ll be able to purchase once all this is over and everyone comes to them.

Unless, of course, you’re Carole’s family. In which case it’s just a time to worry about shopping slots.

Not to mention how they’re all suddenly into baking bread.

Everyone, all of a sudden, needs bread flour. Back the hell off, people, that’s my thing. It’s one thing I’m good at, stop muscling in on it. Just because you were inspired by the cheesy hot cross buns I made this morning… get in your lane.

Stop baking.

Get back to worrying about whether you can get a delivery or not…




Mar 29, 2020: Nine

We took to the digital age tonight, and brought games night to the table again via the medium of steam, some Facebook voice chat and a few tears when everything went wrong and it took us 45 minutes to get going.

But we did get going, and we had a six-player game of Charterstone with almost no hiccups. Apart from the odd random kicking from the game and some drops in quality which we almost ironed out.

And, I came second.

Fricking Sweeeeet.


A place I never normally come.

At one point I genuinely thought I could nudge first with my sneaky, unconventional tactics honed on twelve chapters of loss against Carole. But no. I could not.

But I nearly made it, and that’s all that matters.

Well that and we managed to actually get it all working on a system – Steam – which is definitely not my usual digital playground. At all. In the slightest. Sure, I have a Steam library with games in. But they’re mainly free ones that I’ve snaffled during promo times. I don’t have a gaming PC, really. It can handle stuff like Charterstone fine and dandy, but struggles with anything meaty. It’s not my wheelhouse.

But still, we winged it. And we winged it well.

So games nights are back on for Thursdays, all being well. Another eleven chapters of Charterstone and trying to explain things to people who don’t pay attention and very much won’t read text when it is put in front of them.

Ah, why do we do this to ourselves?

It’s also quite nice, though, throwing out times for people to be available and knowing that they will be, because there are literally no other things going on at the moment.


But weird.

And you can’t even go straight to the excuses. Because there’s nowhere you could be. There’s no thing. And nothing. All at the same time. So yeah, Thursday nights. More technical wizardry and maybe not chatting through the medium of Facebook because it was a noisy pain in the bum…

Maybe Discord voice chat? Or Skype. Or Zoom. Or…

That’s tomorrow’s problem. For now, let’s celebrate coming second at something for once! Whoop.