Jan 20, 2021: History Is Made

It’s one of those historic days today.

One of those days where you’ll always remember where you were. Not that you can forget, because it’s basically home. It is a lockdown after all.

I’m not talking about Trump leaving the White House probably, lets be honest, after stealing anything that wasn’t tied down and pooping in at least one of the drawers. I’m not talking about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ushering in a sense of calm and truthfulness to the US political system. I’m not talking about any of that.

We’ve bought a new mother-flippin’ car.

I mean, currently what we’ve done is paid for a new motherflippin’ car to be moved from Glasgow to here. But it’s a step in the right direction.

It’s exciting times. We’re making promises to each other to keep the car neat and tidy and to look after it. Because, sometimes I leave a bottle of water in there. And we can’t be doing that.

Sometimes Carole leaves several bottles of water, eight pairs of shoes, a couple of coats, maybe a jumper, some Polos, a handful of copper and something that’s now sticky in the door panel.

So we both have a bit of work to do on that front.

But hey, we’ve done it. We’ve not faffed about or gone on major sulks about it and not wanted to do anything. We’ve been proactively reactive to the fact that the current car is dead on its wheels and we’ve been excellent. And we’ve done it. And now Carole’s worried there’s too much technology in there…

… and that there won’t be room for as many coats because of it.

Jan 19, 2021: Weeeeell, Shit

Yorkshire Water were working on a pipe, connected in some way, shape or form to the closest manhole/access point to us for. That access point is on next-door’s path, or technically, the communal path for the round-the-back access for this row of houses.

The work, I suspect, has something to do with the urgent matter of rats which came up at the start of Lockdown 1.0 as someone on a different street complained about rats and they did a survey and found out there was a crack here, which is why there were rats there. Or something. Because as we all know, we’re only ever a certain distance from a rat, but if there’s a crack they can use for access and it’s close to you, they’ll be several rat miles away. And those rats will definitely not have anything to do with the amount of dog shit that’s in the garden where the rats are.

But anyway, they’re working on the pipe.

And while they’re working on that pipe, there are some works going on with my pipe. If you know what I am saying. If you’re picking up what I am putting down. Which you absolutely should not be, at least not without gloves and other forms of PPE.

Now, they have not been round to tell anyone not to use the loo or anything of that nature. And you’d think, for the most part, that they’re a proficient enough unit that repairs can be done without disrupting their customer base.

But…

BUT

Butt…. lol

But there’s still the thought, isn’t there, that going for a number two just isn’t the done thing. I mean, I know people traipse about in sewers and wotnot and there’s no way of stopping everyone having at it, so to speak, but when you’re working in a specific pipe for a specific set of houses…. I mean, I don’t want to think of a turd I have produced shooting past a poor workman who’s got their head in a pipe to see how the repairs are going…

I mean, I know they wouldn’t know it was mine. I don’t sign all my works. But even so, I’d know. I’d know that I had just, essentially, defecated on a workman. From a distance.

And they might know it was me, if they’d seen me go to the window at any point and look at the vans and mouth “oh, as if they’re still here, I need a poooooooooooooo…..”

In the end, I had to. There’s only so long you had hold a train outside a station before the passengers get too restless.

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.