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Thursday, December 24th, 2015 10:46 pm
Well, the builders have not finished the first tranche of the work. Ho hum.

Smokey spent the last few days at [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s house in the peace and quiet. It took her a day or so to settle in, but once she had she was stealing [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s seat with the abandon with which she steals mine. I missed her dreadfully, but it was better that she was out of the noise and disruption.

Disruption continues – my stuff is around me in boxes and I have three outfits which I’m swapping into as and when two get dirty and have to be washed, which is going to make Christmas interesting and memorable. On the other hand, the fridge is stuffed with food, which will make it tasty and fun.

The builders start again on the 27th. Yippee.

The bad news is that the wardrobes aren’t going to be delivered until the 6th of January, meaning that they won’t be installed until the 8th or so. I’ve arranged for my old cleaner, Niki, to come and spend six hours with me on the 9th Jan putting my clothes away and preparing the living room for the work. Once that’s done, on the 10th, Smokey goes back to [livejournal.com profile] gloria1’s to stay with her while the floors are done and the living room is renovated. It should all be done (!) by the 31st. Hm. We’ll see.

The second tranche of work starts properly on the 11 Jan, and that’s also the day my new fiction writing course starts. I hope they won’t want printouts, because my printer will be put away until the second tranche has finished.

I will be putting pressure on the builders to have it finished before the 13th of Feb, because I have a get-together to play Call of Cthulhu that day and as I’ve had to cancel the one on the 9th of Jan, I don’t want to cancel the second one.

Still, Happy Christmas or whichever holidays you’re celebrating this weekend, and cuddles to everyone’s kitties and doggies.
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Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 04:12 pm
Having spent a very enjoyable day yesterday with my friend David​, where we went to the Celts exhibition at the British Museum, I'm spending today on preparing a Call of Cthulhu game for my friends for the 7th November.

I'm using Realm Works​ software to prepare a series of shocks and horrors for them. They'll love it. Of course they will. Murder and Death Incorporated are always good for a laugh. Ghouls are good; of course they are.

In other (rather unlikely) news, I actually spent some money on make-up. I discovered just before attending the British Fantasy Convention that 24 hour lipstick actually lasts five days if you test it on your hand. That makes it worthwhile buying in my view.

I never liked old fashioned lipstick which tasted peculiar and lasted about a nano second on your lips. Modern 24 hour lipstick (this stuff is from Maybelline) actually lasts the time it says it does on the pack, if not slightly longer, and doesn't taste of anything. Score!
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Monday, September 7th, 2015 05:54 pm
I am back from visiting a friend in Sunderland - have I missed anything important or interesting?

Smokey was very pleased to see me and purred and purred, even letting me pick her up and cuddle her, so I was very honoured as she doesn't usually allow that.
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Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 12:32 pm
I’ve been a bit quiet recently; this isn’t because I’ve been busy, just that I’ve been idle. I’ve been commenting, but not posting.

Not working is still good; I’ve had a few wobbly days, but I’m always a bit wobbly between the middle of March and the beginning of May in any given year, because that’s when my father was suffering his final illness in 1997, and I seem to have some species of PTSD about the whole thing. I start off every day fine, and get progressively worse as the day passes, ending with being unable to sleep because of racing thoughts.

I just lie in bed and wait for the it to pass, which took ages last night at least partly due to the fact that we had high winds which seemed to make things worse. I was so restless Smokey gave up on me and went to sleep in the living room.

Good news

In good news, though, I’m going out tonight with my friend Dave to see The Enid at a venue called the Union Chapel. It’s a Congregationalist church in Islington which also doubles as a gig venue. Strange. I’m looking forward to it, because I haven’t seen The Enid since we went to see them in Birmingham a few years ago.

Other good news

In other good news, my ex-colleague from the former Employer of Doom, Anna Smith-Spark (@annalibitina on Twitter) got in touch. She’s been writing a novel called “The Court of the Broken Knives”, and has finally finished it. Almost immediately she started touting it around, and has found an agent.

I’m impressed but not astonished, Anna is a very intelligent person with plenty of enthusiasm, and I’d read the first part of the draft of the novel, and it’s good. It’s a bit dark for me, Anna writes what I believe is known as ‘grimdark’ and I tend to like the cuddly end of fantasy, but it is good.

She also suggested that she might like to go along to the Fantasy Convention due to be held in Nottingham in October, but didn’t want to go alone. So I, still sore about having missed out on Redemption in February due to that blasted cold, said I’d go with her. And we’re going – all booked and everything. Well, except for the cat sitter, which can wait a bit as I need to book my trip to Wales in August.

I suspect that the Fantasy Convention is almost entirely about books and I’m used to media conventions where the emphasis is on film and TV. So this should be an interesting comparison. Roll on October!
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Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 03:38 pm
My London-fu is failing me - can anyone suggest somewhere that will do afternoon tea that's within easy reach of the British Museum?

Preferably this should be somewhere that doesn't need days and days of notice as the plan is for next Tuesday (so not the Ritz or the Savoy).

A friend is coming from Germany and she suggested afternoon tea, and (like a fool) I thought she had somewhere in mind, but now she's emailed and she doesn't. She's asked me. But the only two places I can think of would be too expensive and probably a bit far from where we're meeting.
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Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 11:11 am
Point the first

The national ballot result for my union is 60% in favour of industrial action. So that will be fun, though I hope it will take place as the weather warms up. I could wish turnout had been higher, but then you can't take into account the views of people too lazy to vote.

Voting could not be simpler, it's by postal ballot. You are sent a ballot paper. You fill it in. You post it back in the pre-paid envelope – you don't even have to find a stamp. There is no excuse. And still people don't vote.

Point the second

I still have that cold which started on Friday 22nd February. It's not been three weeks yet, so not quite worth going to the doctor with it, but it's definitely outstayed its welcome as far as I'm concerned. I'm currently getting three hours sleep a night, what with having to wake up to cough for an hour, dozing off for an hour, then waking up to do it all again.

Plus, of course, I'm a pain in the neck as far as my colleagues are concerned and I coughed through breakfast with [livejournal.com profile] gloria1 on Sunday, which must have been unpleasant for her. But I did want to hear all her news and have a yummy breakfast.

Point the third

I have collected my new glasses, which are very nice.

My eyes, though, haven't got used to being able to see properly and are giving me grief about it. They were used to having to compensate for a pair of specs which were long out of date, and suddenly facing them with ones which aren't has come as a shock to them. They will get used to it, though.
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Sunday, December 30th, 2012 06:31 pm
I’ve been spending the last few days catching up with my sleep, and getting to grips with a new mobile phone.

An old friend from my university days did come over yesterday and he and I went out for lunch to the local Wetherspoons, where much good food was consumed. He’s not on LJ, but he is on Facebook, so I won’t mention his name here. I did there, which gives him some minor fame.

I’ve almost finished the current pair of socks I’m knitting, but I don’t think I did a very good job. Something went horribly wrong with my counting of stitches with the first one and the second one I cocked up the heel. So they won’t be given to anyone as they’re not up to any kind of standard.

I’ve got the ‘Chicks with Sticks’ guide to knitting, which is very interesting in some ways, there are some techniques there I’d like to use, but I’ve got limited interest in the projects. I particularly struggle with felting – I don’t like how it looks. I don’t care if it’s interesting to do.

News about the phone…I’ve changed to an Android phone having decided to finally sign up for a deal. The phone itself is a Samsung Galaxy Europa, which isn’t quite as bad as the reviews on Amazon would lead one to assume. It’s just not as good as a Galaxy Ace or (obviously) one of the S series. However, it came free with the deal I’ve signed up for, which is in other ways as cheap as what I was paying for PAYG phone fees.

The irritating thing is that I had to move my number from Orange to Three. So I got a PAC. That part was no problem. Sent Three my PAC and all the rest of the details. Three took their own sweet time accepting they’d been instructed to change, and then more of their own sweet time to change the numbers over. Even now, my phone is accepting calls on the ‘proper’ (previous) number, but seems to think it has the original Three number according to its ‘phone details’ screen. Which is weird, and I mean to phone Three and ask them “wtf” tomorrow.

I’ve even tried taking the phone apart and putting it back together again, which, as I’ve found in the past, solves a lot of problems with phones. It’s a bit like a hard reboot.

As I said, in other news, I’ve been asleep a lot. I’m rather dreading the time when I have to go back to work and must stop getting up at midday.
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Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 04:32 pm
I've been a bit worried about my friends over there on the east coast of the US, but I can't see anyone who hasn't checked in. Or maybe I've not seen them and not drawn a conclusion. Erk.

In other news

I had a very pleasant weekend and played AD&D with my gaming friends, in which we moved a very small step forward in our Saxon campaign. I do keep losing track of who's who with that - it's very difficult to keep in mind who's who when people are called Aethelbert and Ulfric. It's almost as a bad as ancient Egyptians where everyone's name ends in 'hotep'.

I then met [livejournal.com profile] gloria1 for breakfast on Sunday, which was as much fun as always.
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Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 10:54 am
In an unusual attempt at having a social life I went with [livejournal.com profile] clare_nce to the theatre last night to see a play called "Our Boys", starring Laurence Fox and a wide variety of other people who've been in genre shows but whose names escape me.

It was rather good.

The basis premise was that of a group of young men in an army hospital for a variety of reasons at a date in the 1980s have nothing but time to kill. Very slowly, the audience learns the reasons why they're there and finds out what happens to them. Spoilers beyond this point. I really mean this; I give away the end of the play. )

So, yes, I recommend this play if you can still get a ticket.

Irrelevant observation: I noticed that the group of theatres of which the Duchess forms a part is called "Nimax", which made me think it some kind of theatre-related Dr Who monster. Perhaps an impresario with extra horns.
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Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 03:59 pm
Well, I’m back from Wales, unharmed and unmelted from the rain. I actually only got rained on twice, and as the college had helpfully put us next to the coffee bar where we play our games, not for long on either occasion. So that was good.

I had a wonderful time on Friday and Saturday, and a slightly boring one on Sunday.

Friday we played TSR Battle System, a very strange system which involves moving bits of card about and rolling dice. The bits of card do represent something, but it’s hard to explain. For once, I was on the winning side as the ‘good’ side, played by G, decided to quit the field of battle partway through, discretion being the better part of valour and all that.

That didn’t take as long as it might have done – or has done in the past – so we moved on then to P’s AD&D campaign where we’re all “Saxons”. It’s a world he’s written himself, with approximately Saxon technology and attitudes. I think we haven’t yet got to grips properly with this as the background is very detailed, and we’ve all begged P for a ‘who’s who’ of the participants as it’s hard to keep track of when they’re all called things like Leofgar and Tirweald, Aethelred and Egwin.

Saturday I ran a Call of Cthulhu game. Not my campaign which I’m running for them outwith the Heromeet, but a second one for Heromeet alone. It’s a bought campaign, Fungi From Yuggoth. They didn’t get through as much of it as I’d hoped, but that does mean that I’m prepared for Heromeet CofC for the next two years at least.

Sunday was a bit dull as I couldn’t get into a game. All I did all day was play one round of a board game called Trans Europa, which was loosely about trains. That was enjoyable, but it should be easier to get in on something than it is. Asking about just didn’t work and it doesn’t help that I confuse people and ask the same person several times.

In future, I shall take along a second, probably AD&D, scenario and see if I can't scare up players of my own.

Travel was fine – trains up and back were on time and not to crowded. Pendolinos don’t smell any better, though.

Still looking

I’m still looking for a couple of players for my Call of Cthulhu games that I play at my place. Any takers welcome – must be willing to get to east London.

And now for some photos…click here for photos of Beaumaris castle and a duck )
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Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 01:26 pm
London is a frustrating place to be right now. I met some friends for dinner and a catch-up yesterday and found that just getting from my workplace to the place we were meeting (three streets away) was an exercise in itself.

Firstly, all the buses running down Victoria Street and up Whitehall were delayed by who-knows-what event at Trafalgar Square, and then when I got off the bus in Whitehall I discovered that the reason the driver had let me off in the middle of the street rather than at a stop was because the bus stop I wanted was closed for the Olympics.

So was the crossing where I wanted to cross the road to the pub.* So I had to dodge between the traffic to get to the side of the road I needed, and if you know me, given my speed and level of surety of foot, 'dodging' isn't something I'm all that good at. Years ago, when I was a young, slimmer civil servant who didn't have knackered knees, I could dodge. Now, not so much.

Then when I came out of the pub later I noticed that sections of the road are blocked off so that people needing to use the bus have to walk out across the road to get on. Not what I'd prefer, frankly.

Luckily, I should be avoiding most of this, because I've arranged to work from home during much of the Olympics, only coming in to the office once a week. It does mean that any union related meetings will have to take place during the little time I'm physically in the Dull Grey Tower, but I hope that should be enough time. The rest I'll have to do by phone.

I wish everybody taking part in the Olympics well, I hope it keeps fine for them and I hope everyone who finds that sort of thing enjoyable enjoys it. But I wish it was happening somewhere else.



* Or rather, newly gentrified gastro-pub. The food is very good, don't get me wrong, but the prices are twice what they used to be when it was a dark and poky hole.


ETA: Scotland has announced that they're bringing in gay marriage in the face of whipped up objections from the usual suspects. Well done, Scotland.
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Saturday, August 27th, 2011 08:06 pm
I'm thinking of everyone who's in the path of Hurricane Irene and hoping you all come out the other side with just a bit of minor disruption.
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Friday, July 31st, 2009 06:05 pm
The boss is back – which means the new head honcho's attention is no longer fixed on me like an Exocet missile. Hurrah! On the other hand, work has become unexpectedly rather busy, which we could have done without.

In other news

There is no other news, except that [profile] clare_nce, [personal profile] gloria1 and I are getting together over the weekend to watch SGA, which should be brilliant. I'm looking forward to it very much. SGA and me is an odd one – I love the show, but don't ever read the fic.

As for reading, I'm still reading ebooks from Fictionwise - I choose them because they allow you to pay by PayPal and have the books in a wide variety of formats, including for the Sony ebook reader that I've got.

I've been reading a lot of gay mysteries; I think we're up to four gay PI's now. I didn't know it was such a trope.

Write what I want to read, damn you!

I've noticed that it seems like about a third of all gay ebooks seem to be about (one or more of): vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts/about ghosts, paranormals of one variety or another, or werewolves. What is it with that? None of the above do anything for me at all, though there are so many of them I assume they sell well. Write more gay Regency stories! Neckcloths are where it's at.
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Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 02:48 pm
I am exhausted. My psychiatrist increased my anti-psychotic and I feel as if I've been stuffed with cotton wool – weak and floppy and squashable. I'm struggling to put one foot in front of the other.

A friend from the union came round and borrowed a frock I made for a convention. She's going to a Renaissance wedding and needed something to wear; I offered as I hardly wear those frocks. It was a bit stretched on her and she suggested that we both go on a diet. I don't feel much like dieting – I've got enough to think about without adding that.

I was too weak to say so, and now I'm feeling guilty about every mouthful, while still eating as much as I usually do. So that's got me precisely nowhere. Suggestions that I 'just eat less' will be treated with the contempt they deserve – if it were that easy, I'd have done it already. Besides, I know nobody IRL who's dieted and kept the weight off. There may be such people, but I'm not one of them and I've never actually met one of them.

I want to go to sleep!
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