Apr 4, 2020: Fifteen

I have not enjoyed today.

It’s been, by far, my worst day from a mental health point of view of the whole escapade to date, and that’s even with my government sanctioned, Carole-enforced walk. You know, the walks that are supposed to help with mental health but actually I wake up and think “ugh, I have to go on a walk” today.

So that’s working.

Today we saw more people than ever before on the canal. Having to pull over on numerous occasions to dodge people and keep the assigned two metres distance.

Including one silly old fuckwit who went “No, it’s alright, I haven’t got it.”

Because there’s always at least one of those, it turns out.

In other news, we played some Charterstone – just me and Carole – and I put in my best performance ever. I won a game. I bloody well won a game. The game hasn’t acknowledged that in the slightest and has assigned my winning cup to Carole – no word of a lie – but I did win.

In the following game I put in my worst performance in a game of Charterstone ever.

The game didn’t award me a cup for that, either.

I’m not to bothered about the cup thing – we’re keeping track of our scores after each game anyway, so we can do the end game scoring ourselves. But it’s a bit annoying coming across a bug like that. If I was one of those people who used the internet properly, I’d be writing a massively complainy Steam review, joining their Facebook group just to complain and demand my money back and kicking off on Twitter and wherever else would listen. I’d probably have to join Reddit, I guess.

But I’m not.

I’ll just move the six, seven or eight points across at the end of it all.


Apr 3, 2020: Fourteen

Fourteen, eh? Two weeks since work closed, just less than that since lockdown began. Life is still good. The shopping slots are always an exciting high spot of the week – partly for how far away the delivery guy will go after leaving the stuff at the door, and partly because, even now, you really never know what you’re going to get.

But I will say this, the number of people who have taken up baking – bread especially – in these troubled times is absolutely mind blowing because bread flour and yeast are like rocking horse shit at the moment.

Games Night lives on, though. We took to the interwebs this evening for a much smoother, more polished and less connectivity-issued game of Charterstone. Game 2 of 12. The six of us – Addy, Joe, Nik, Daniel, Carole and little ol’ me – battling it out to be the bestest.

Daniel won again.

Which is not that surprising, really. Although what I am finding surprising is that Daniel has played the entire campaign before but seems entirely clueless to the whole thing. I’m not so shocked when Carole doesn’t remember stuff because that’s standard fare, and the kids and Nik haven’t played before. But Daniel knows his games. Usually. Although the way he keeps winning – and the fact he’s drawn the game board out on a piece of A3 paper so he can plot and plan – would suggest he’s running a long game con on us all.

I came in joint second again, which was nice. It’s not last, which is even nicer. But it’s not getting me any nice shiny cups. It’s just increasing my capacity which – actually – is a nice position to be in and I’m trying to be all tactical about it. But it’s impossible to guess what’s actually going to happen because everyone around the virtual table is a loose cannon. And loose cannons, as the saying goes, are just bloody trouble all over the shop, yes siree, Bob.

And it turns out that our campaign was played incorrectly, as we did something which is not taking place in the digital version. Which all makes sense, to be honest. But we did it consistently throughout the whole thing so I guess we call it a house rule for our campaign and I can’t complain that Carole should never have won.


I’m not sure the saying does go like that, now that I think about it.


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.