Jan 25, 2020: Detecting

It was Sneaky Finders today, the round-a-town-talking-to-virtual-witnesses game that pops up on Facebook Ads all the time.

Today, it hit the Hudd and we were rocking up a team for it – Carole and myself, and my boss and his family. I think it’s very fair to say that enthusiasm at the start was low, and that it did wain during the course of the game because the wind was fricking cold, but we did actually have fun tramping round Huddersfield bumping into other groups (which did make it extremely obvious where the witnesses were located) and solving riddles to get to talk to the people.

We had at our disposal ten questions and one use of an informant with which – alongside the witness testimonies – we could solve the crime. We worked out, but not soon enough, that the questions (and responses) and the information from the informant were absolutely useless and that everything we needed was in the witness statements because everyone told the truth. So if they said they were with someone all night, they were. Even though you’re conditioned to question whether they were or whether a party fell asleep and the other snuck out to do a murderising because that’s how all good fictional murderisings work.

But once you know no-one’s lying, it was just a case of talking to people until we got to a suspect and a weapon and we could hand it in.

Conveniently, within a spit of Nando’s for some lunch, but that was probably just a happy accident.

Out of 120 teams, we came third for completion time. We were 11 minutes off the top spot which is, purely, down to dragging a small child around and stopping too long to read things and ask questions. Once we ditched that tactic, put the child in a pushchair and just used the witness testimonies to tick off names we were flying… if we’d known that from the get go we’d easily have smashed the top spot.

But hey, third isn’t too bad.

And there was a suspect outside work which would have been a perfect flyering opportunity had a) anyone been free to do it and b) the council not dug the pavement up and put in a death bridge right outside the door.


Jan 24, 2020: Joy

I have not had what those of us who dabble in mental health issues would call a good day today.

It’s been awful.

And I don’t know why. And that, possibly, is both the worst thing about the day and the reason why the day has been awful. I think, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, my need to work out why the day has been shitty has in turn made the day shitty.

On the face of it, it’s been exactly the same as any other day. The only difference is I took a while to get to sleep last night and I didn’t get up until gone 11 this morning.

Now, getting up that late should be a red flag. A sign. People should start to worry. Clearly I’m having trouble motivating myself to get up in the morning. It’s not that. It’s genuinely the fact that I’ve slept badly this week and I just slept until then. I was awake at 8am because I asked the home computer robot lady to wake me up, but once you’ve told her to shush she doesn’t know if you drift back off or not…

And I think that – my time of getting out of bed rather than Alexa ignoring me – is what threw the entire day out. And then I was cross with myself for not getting up. And it just created a spiral of misery and general meh-ishness which has then got on my tits during the day, intensifying the spiral. And so on and so forth.

And because my day was shorter – a lot shorter – than I planned it to be, the things I have done this afternoon have felt more bunched up and on top of each other. And that’s not helped with the mood. And you can never underestimate how annoying I find the Pinch Of Nom cookbook with it’s stupid cooking directions and wanky ingredient lists (serves 4, contains four mushrooms. Or half a red onion. Or that sort of bollocks.) so that didn’t help either – today it told me, while making Philly cheese steak – to cook the steak strips and put them in a bowl, then cook the veg, then mix the cheese in with the steak in the bowl and then add all that to the veg and mix… No! Just mix it all in the pan, why the need to cover every bowl you’ve been near with cheese.

Anyway, that got my goat to.

I have been a fucking joy today, is what I would say.

Tomorrow we’re doing a Murder Mystery thing around Huddersfield, before I poke off to work in the afternoon. I have no idea how it works, although judging from the way the app doesn’t remember log ins and things, my hopes are set quite low. I think it’s like Pokémon Go for crime. But anyway, that might shake me out of the funk.


Even though if there’s one thing I hate it’s walking around town centres on a Saturday…


See what I mean. A veritable joy.

Jan 23, 2020: Winner

Everything’s coming up Milhouse this week.

I manage to design a decent (hopefully) escape room.

And now, on Thursday night, it’s games night.

And I won things.

Almost all the things – a couple of games of Azul, and a decent game of Qwirkle.

And then it all went wrong.

But up until that moment I was rolling in the wins. I have never scored so highly in Azul before. I always thought they were massively optimistic with the lenth of the points tracker but there I was in the second half of it, on two games running. Unheard of. Unprecedented scenes.

Qwirkle as well, I don’t think I’ve won a game of Qwirkle in ages and yet there I was. It helps we were playing against “the kids” who think that someone saying, “No…” is part of every move now. We had to say it a lot. Every time we thought they had the rules sussed out, they’d fling out a crazy move that just couldn’t be done. And then Carole started doing it as well…

This was, I think, the start of the downhill slide…

Because we played Upstream – a game about salmon that came in a Board Game Crate before Christmas as which we have played before.

But, it turns out, we played it wrong when we played it – and that has just continued on. It was also incredibly hard to keep track of because the pieces kept getting knocked all over the place and no-one knew where anyone was or anything. It was hard going. And, obviously, there was the weekly sulk about not winning to contend with as well. It was a painful thing.

I want to play Upstream again, though. Just maybe with different people. And people who aren’t wearing gloves. Or chuntering on about salmon and salmonella.

Still, did I mention I won loads of games.




None of which have been entered into any kind of fancy tracking app. Dammit.

I expect that’s it for the year now… back to losing!


Jan 22, 2020: Long

Yesterday, Carole asked me to put a plant outside. A plant from the house, pretty much signing its death warrant by taking it outside into the wide open air to subject it to frost and slugs and who knows what else.

It was one of a few jobs I was given today, each of which has thrown up problems.

The plant was a problem – Carole described it as a “bit fly-y”. That’s why I was taking it ouside. “Can you take it outside,” she said. “It’s a bit fly-y.” I hadn’t really noticed up to press, but then this morning as I lay in bed several flies alighted on my phone. Then I went into the bathroom and the tiles had a lot of flies on them – I saw a spider in there and left it to its devices, it will eat well this night – and then I moved the plant and it was like taking Pigpen from the Peanuts comics outside.

A bit fly-y.

Not to mention the plant is basically dead anyway.

So I didn’t feel too bad about it at all.

Then I had to fill a bird feeder – designed for niger seeds – with niger seeds.

Designed for niger seeds,my arse. Designed to, as you fill it up, decant the seeds out of the holes at a rate just slightly less than the rate they are entering the tube, so it does fill up but it takes a hell of a long time to do so. And you end up with a worktop covered in seeds. I daren’t open the kitchen window lest all the tits and finches for miles around pile in and start pecking at the surfaces.

And then I was tasked with vacuum-sealing away the Christmas duvets and wotnot, so we can store them for next year. For one, the bags Carole has bought are massive. Massively massive. Drawrfing the amount of Christmas duvet covers we have by some degree. Then they refused to allow the air to be sucked out because the rubber seal didn’t work how I thought it would, so I had to pull it out completely. Then it didn’t go back in until enough air to negate the point of vacuuming the air out got back in before I could get the seal on.

It’s been a long day…


Jan 21, 2020: Plans

Well, that was a success.

So the next thing now is… building the room. Painting the room. Making the room look amazing.

Holy shit.

I think we’re – as in Stuck In The Riddle, not Carole and I – getting the keys to our new playground at the start of next month. Then we need to go in and fir things and measure things and mark things out with masking tape. And work out wiring and…

… it’s going to be pretty exciting, I think.

As well as working to keep the rooms we have running at the same time as doing all that, and training up our newest member of staff so she’s a happy bunny. And then asking her to do some stuff for my room because she’s an artist and why have a dog and bark yourself, as my mother would say.

It’s going to be crazy times.

But I’ve gotten my room past stage one now. I just need to come up with a couple of other puzzles, which I sort of expected – one of which I think I might have a fun idea for (and keeping it in line with the more physical manipulation style of my room idea). I kind of need to make a mock up of it, though, to see if it works.

So I might be doing a small bit of arts and crafts tomorrow, cutting up a cereal box to make models out of.

Like some kind of crazy fool.

I’m really enjoying this process – more so now I’ve made it through the boss’s first scrutiny. I mean, it was stressy as anything, cobbling everything together but now it’s all in one place and semi-coherent I want to get it built, looking sexy and see some people play it.

Obviously, the new stress comes from the prospect of people liking it, or not liking it.

But hey, that’s a problem for later on…