Tag Archive: Bristol

Year of the…Blank


Although January was a fairly active month – in terms of social activity, there has not been much worth of pen and ink (or its 21st century equivalent). So that’s why the lack of blog posts. There’s been the usual gaming sessions, pub quizzes, work stuff (plus trips to Swansea and Bristol) and random activities that comprise of 21st century living. But other than going to Bristol (city centre rather than one of the suburbs), there has actually been nothing “new” to enjoy. Is that the theme for 2017? Take comfort in the familiar?

Something I did manage to do in both Bristol and Swansea was to visit the board game shops. I know, other folk in new places will make a beeline for the cultural sights, others the pubs, me – the board game shops. My lack of general life aside, I enjoyed my trip to both stores: The Gamers Emporium (High Street Swansea) and Excelsior Games (Bond Street Bristol). Both stores had play areas, bigger than those in Leisure Games but that’s not exactly difficult – no offence guys. And the stores were tastefully arranged showing the stock (sealed and opened). I felt compelled to make purchases in both of them (Eldritch Horror expansion Signs of Carcosa and Boss Monster 2 + some card sleeves) cos you have to support these businesses otherwise they’ll become something pointless like nail bars or tanning salons.

So looking ahead to February and beyond, there isn’t much more to note at present other than the usual run of birthdays and weekly activities. There’s the possibility of heading off to Dublin later in the month with work, might even be the day before my birthday. I’ve been trying to think of stuff to do either on the momentous day or that weekend but so far, I’ve drawn a complete blank. Well, that’s not true, there have been many ideas but all of them rejected for…well, pretty good reasons actually. If I don’t get something in diaries soon, it’ll be a re-run of last year’s couch fest. 

I think the vague plans I was formulating to head to Boston in late March are postponed – cash flow is an issue at the moment. The collapse in the pound has hit my finances too. I hadn’t noticed until January just how much more money I was haemorrhaging from my monthly stipend. I think these things are going to bear much closer scrutiny for the time being. It’s incredible how the newspapers aren’t screaming about this phenomenon but considering the political affinities of said papers, it’s not all that surprising. Put it this way, any dreams of home-ownership have receded even further away. Unless I can get a mortgage on a cardboard box around the back of Waterloo station.

Lastly, if you [happen to] read back through the reams and reams of material appended to this blog, you’ll see that I have a tendency to name years, sometimes after things that have happened to me, occasionally in response to other events. I’ve narrowed down 2016 to several possibilities before I settle on one: is the Year of Death – in response to the celebrity bloodbath? The Year of the Achilles – after my damn ankle issues for most of the year? The Year of the Sole Survivor – after enjoying Fallout 4 so much? The Year of Mitteleuropa – after my trips to Berlin, Austria and Slovakia? Or perhaps the Year of Stupid Decisions? I don’t think the latter requires any explanation. Comments on the back of a postcard please.




In the end, we didn’t get to see much of Bristol yesterday which is probably a good thing because I was severely flagging by 3pm thanks to Monday night’s storms.

The thunder began around 10pm but there was no rain, or not at least in Saint Ratford. Our unreliable Met Office indicated rain wouldn’t start until 6 or 7am so went to bed waiting for the cool air and clean smells to sweep in. At 1.30, we were woken up by the first crashes of lightning, illuminating the sky and the proceeding thunder reverberating off of one’s teeth. Vulcan indeed was working overtime to forge his bolts. And the rain came, mixed with hailstones the size of your fingernails. How do I know they were so big?

The damn things flooded the flat.

In the two minutes it took to realise that the balcony door and window was open, half the lounge was flooded, sofa and armchairs were soaked as was some recent washing. Also the side balcony door was blown off its remaining hinge letting in even more water and hail stones. Emergency stations were called and an armada of bath towels were installed to stem the tide. One good dose of adrenaline later, bed again beckoned but this time with the fan turned right up so that the white noise would help block out the noise from outside. I didn’t realise how noisy venetian blinds could be in the wind. Irksome.

The following morning, I was disappointed that there was no cool edge to the breeze and the smells of a sticky summer hadn’t been washed out into the gutter. Only had four hours sleep and was facing another trademark Halcyon-mad dash to Paddington – not the most auspicious start for a Tuesday. Getting aboard the “sweat express” to Oxford Circus was almost enough to send one over the edge.

In a nutshell, the next few hours can be described as “had meeting, ate lunch, chatted on the train”. Didn’t get back into London until after 4 so went to the Griffin early to carry on with Mario & Luigi Dream Team and enjoy liquid refreshment. We did ok at the quiz coming third overall but winning the bonus rounds four times (including one hot spot) much to the chagrin of the pub. Was kinda quiet though, mostly regulars in rather than randoms.

Best part of yesterday though was showering after I got home and feeling vaguely human again and then getting eight hours sleep. The smaller things in life are truly the best.

Six days left and still no ideas about what to do with time off. I’ve only just remembered that my travel card expires at the end of this month and with it goes my Gold Card discount for off-peak travel. Well, I don’t know where I’ll end up in a month’s time. Might be able to get Mr R to go to Thorpe Park (as he lives effectively down the road) on one day and there’s always the lure of Brighton for another day or two. Otherwise, Civ V beckons. As well as sleeping in late.

Grand Mezze de Joe

Another warm weekend although the edge was blessedly taken off the temperature on Saturday with the skies overcast and a fair wind blowing in. Most of us are waiting for tomorrow’s storms; will it be “divine wrath” weather or just some limp and feeble rain, mercifully washing pollution, the stench of summer and that irksome tree pollen into the gutter? Despite my histamines, yesterday was a sneeze-fest.

I clocked up twelve miles on Friday with all the walking, according to my 3DS. Very proud of that though all the hard work was undone by the big, fat dinner of stew I had. Granted it was vegetarian stew but still not quite the healthiest of options. Walked along the South Bank, hoping to clock up a few 3DS hits and only succeeded once, much to my disappointment. And I thought Animal Crossing was seeing consoles out in droves.

The Dinner Party. Very late on Friday afternoon, I decided upon the menu and I took what Stella told me about her last dinner party and expanded on it. Yup – it was one giant mezze. Most of it was “home made” and I was six hours in the kitchen preparing but I have three new recipes to add to my mental repertoire and it was nice to cook so completely from scratch in that amount. As I felt that the menu was boring, I decided to overcompensate by piling on the food.

So to badmouth my friends, all of them were an hour late and their excuses were thinner than a Hutt’s reclining cushions (copyright Isard’s Revenge). Absolutely shocking. But they were there until late and provided good entertainment value. I got appallingly drunk having mixed all my drinks which directly led to Sunday’s fatigue but hey-ho.

Yeah, Sunday was something of a write-off. I just about had the mentality to sit upright and that was about it. After a couple of false starts, I played a game of Civ V as Poland again trying out a new strategy; it worked. Eventually I dragged my carcass out to Tesco up the road just to get the blood flowing. Also played some Zoo Keeper Battle and managed to beat my highest score for attack and defence in a single battle scoring billions, very pleased.

Looking ahead – it’s a fairly mixed week this week. Sorting out the office today, Bristol & quiz tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday are fairly quiet whilst lunch with former colleagues in railways on Friday. So for my last “full” week in the office, it’s a fairly sedate one. Most threads have been tied off, outstanding actions resolved, there’s just some clock watching to be done!

I’m getting more and more into Mario and Luigi: Dream Team. It’s pretty involved though there’s a great deal of talking and less action compared with the last game (which I have still yet to complete). The graphics look as if they come complete from a child’s storybook, coloured in with pencil-crayon. And the combat is the traditional turn-based combat albeit with new twists for the new game, especially the 3D sections. Full review only when I complete the game folks.