Tag Archive: Vauxhall Griffin


Once again folks, there’s been another blog gap. I’ve not had much impetus to complete an entry – there have been several false starts but after getting to a second or third paragraph, I realise that my scribings are utter drivel and just cannot bring myself to inflict them on the public. But today, I wanted to catch up re E3, GTA Online’s latest update and of course to whine about the summer. 

So in that order – E3. IMHO, Nintendo were the winners although the new Super Mario is basically a rip-off of the Amiga game Putty. Or Kirby. Still, they got people excited and talking by just announcing stuff without actually committing to anything. For yours truly, what I’m looking forward to most has to be Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. I watched the trailer and have to say, I bought that recording of “Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton so every time I hear it, I can mentally picture BJ running through the USA blasting apart Nazis.

As for the new Xbone, looks good, upscaling might be a very nice feature to have but the biggest drawback as far as I could see, is that the console only comes in a 1TB HD model. Surely a 4K game is going to be bigger than a regular HD one and the internal HD won’t cope. However, my concerns aside, I think the better news has to be the fact that backwards compatibility is going to extend to the original Xbox console. With any luck, that’ll mean Battlefront 2 (as in the original game) will be re-released! I mean, I enjoy the occasional killing spree on my laptop but I seldom switch it on these days, not least as the dining table is horrible to sit at.

GTA Online – last Tuesday saw the release of the latest addition to the online world: gun running. It starts off by using your in-game funds to acquire a bunker where Agent 14 (aka the contact from the Prison Break and Humane Labs heist) inducts you into the world of weapons development. You can also acquire a truck to act as a mobile operations centre (which clearly underscores somebody’s affinity with Knight Rider – first KITT, now the FLAG Mobile Unit) as well as a much welcome anti-aircraft gun to swat Hydras from the sky.

The point of the base is that you can either manufacture weapons, develop new weapons (not available at Ammu-nation) or do both. All the bases are located in Sandy Shores, Paleto bay or other isolated spots in the north of the map thus further addressing one of my long-held bugbears, that players tended to spend huge amounts of time driving around LS itself whilst neglecting Blaine County. And you can access your base whilst being a CEO or heading up your local MC so both options are available to the player.

I’ve not really immersed myself into the game too much – other things going on. That said, I did manage to rack up a few hours. My in-game bank balance of $5M has crashed to $1M by just buying the base and the add-ons which _were_ optional but still… Still don’t have enough for the truck, not without buying in-game currency or grinding horribly. That said, my car warehouse is full of vehicles that are begging to be sold. Anyway, I’ve taken care of a few resupply missions and they’re actually pretty challenging on the main map and a great deal of fun as armoured vehicles are de rigeur. Driving halfway across the map to drop off a tank whilst blasting apart army jeeps – great fun.

My last post was about a month ago so I haven’t really commented on the election. One of my abortive posts which I still have the draft of read:

“Speaking of the election, in Vauxhall the Liberal Democrats are really going all out to see Kate Hoey (current Labour MP) dumped, principally on her pro-EU exit stance. I’ve had correspondence and flyers every day this week, stickers are appearing all over the borough – on lamp posts, on telephone exchanges and the like. Given as Lambeth recorded the highest pro-Remain vote (Gibraltar aside), it’s not looking too good for the incumbent.”

Alas, that didn’t become manifest. I did see the candidate on polling day, with child strapped to his chest in one of those baby carrier things but no sign of Labour’s electoral machine. Ah well, I think that she’ll be dumped ahead of the next election. Correction – I hope that she’ll be dumped ahead of the next election.

Oh, and I wanted to post the following about the Griffin:

The refurbished Vauxhall Griffin has opened under new management. The new landlords have gone for an idiosyncratic look, kinda like the old place but there’s a smash-up of two very different styles (possibly three) which I have a hard time seeing it blending together. I don’t know if they’ve deliberately gone for eclectic (or post-modern) deliberately – it’s just…odd. The two feature walls: one is red brick, the other is recovered (and painted wood). The bar area is white ceramic, the furniture is contemporary, the light fittings are quite nice (hi-tec lanterns), the toilets are a vast improvement but the upstairs function room hasn’t been touched other than a clear out of the art (so far). It’s definitely lost something but I’m at a genuine loss as to say whether anything has been gained. The landlords seem nice enough. So all things considered, I don’t hate the place – I don’t ‘like’ it – I guess cautiously neutral for now. If nothing else, at least I still have Zeitgeist (although I still object to the sneaking in of Adnams behind the bar for the real-ale twats).

S’all for now.

 

Picking up the January pace

Intended for publication on 12 January. 

Salut,

The gentle beginning to 2017 continues unabated, eleven days into this new calendar. Only one person has complained of being broke but that’s because they cannot leave the sales alone rather than having overspent at Xmas or anything like that. Some of us can do restraint, it seems.
It was a pretty busy weekend at Casa Beaufoy. Friday night though was “lie prostrate on the couch”, particularly after the spicy chilli I cooked for myself. The week had by no means been busy – though exercise has been upped now leg is feeling better – but I felt drained and needed an evening of nothing/very little. Saturday morning, I pottered around the flat, finished off the chilli for lunch and then went out for much of the day. First stop was the board game shop in Finchley. Bought myself an expansion pack to Resistance (Hostile Intent), picked up one for Joey for Coup Resistance and 100 card protectors which will fit Talisman cards and Eldritch Horror cards. But if I were to protect all those games’ cards, I suspect well over 1500 will be needed. I don’t want to price that up…

Unlike most trips to Finchley, there was no time for coffee and pastries, it was on to the huge Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road for stickers (the mundane sort for identification mark purposes) and birthday cards. If like me and Adrian Mole, you find stationery buying vaguely erotic, then stay away because the sale will tempt you will all sorts of items. Exercise books, jotters, diaries, pens, pencils, weird and wonderful items…all designed to test the maxim “a fool and his money are soon parted”. Why Paperchase hasn’t supplanted WH Smiths as a good supplier I just don’t know as their merchandise is far superior. Distribution networks, I suppose. Why mention the stickers? Board games. My plan in the next month whilst things are still relatively quiet, is to begin to amalgamate/merge board games and their expansion packs together, particularly given the small space in the flat. If you remove the cardboard inlays, the boxes are far bigger than are needed but will hold more items. The problem is separating out multiple expansion items (characters, cards of various types, tokens etc). So different coloured stickers are my way around this. I don’t think _much_ space will be saved but it really needs to happen.

Back to the story-telling: post Paperchase, Orc’s Nest in Covent garden and the other board game shop where I felt suckered into buying the Eldritch Horror Expansion, Under the Pyramids. I just wanted to check to see if the price of Labryinth (the War on Terror Game, not the Ravensburger maze game) was cheaper. Somewhat poorer, I threw caution to the wind and had a late afternoon tea at Patisserie Valerie, chiefly killing time before going to Mr Butterley’s drink in the Welly. Vile place. I lasted an hour before my general antipathy drove me out of Soho. Certainly will not be trying that again without some fortifying Valium or similar. Way, way too busy, loud, obnoxious and full of nasty people. And no, not the people I was with, the general Soho-going masses.

Sunday was the board games day at the pub and it was utterly, utterly rammed. Tube strike didn’t deter _that_ many people. I was the principle target in Ca$h & Gun$ but my demonic leer made people drop out a lot (I don’t like using my powers for evil). Avalon – evil won three back to back games (idiot good types). One of the “children” in attendance had a mini-meltdown which served to put me in a ratty mood. Real childish stuff over losing games – if you can’t hack losing, don’t play.

This week, thus far, is your standard January week. We’re all doing our best to get through it even though there’s not much to get excited about. Routine hasn’t varied though last night we played a game of Shadows Over Camelot and the armies of good once again let Camelot fall to the armies of Mordred by siege engine victory. Did well on Spaceteam – level 12! 

Back hurts today. Was walking out the front door when I felt the stabbing pain of a trapped muscle/nerve. No painkillers yet…

It was a forlorn hope that the temperatures had peaked last week and were going to return to more “manageable” levels in the run up to September but I read with trepidation that by the middle of the week, they’re going to spike in the 30s (that’s “hot” to those who refuse to join the 21st century and continue to use Fahrenheit). The water in the flat has started to act up; shower plumbing is somewhat temperamental with about five minutes of water before it dies off completely. TFF the swimming pool. 

Weekend; quite a productive one as it happens, or at least as productive as can be had when you’re committed to leisure time. Friday night was a GTA evening but felt tired which definitely meant my game was off. Was making a lot of mistakes that could have otherwise been avoided (repeated car crashing, just not taking cover when the bullets were flying etc). Also made time to clean up my captures on my Xbox Live profile, deleting the poorer quality content and captioning the better ones. It’s like a scrapbook, it has to look presentable rather than be a random collection of rubbish.

Saturday: a four-part excursion from home to Borough Market (Utobeer & German Deli), to Covent Garden (Orc’s Nest), to Waterloo (Real Food Market) and then to Clapham for board gaming. I’d never been into the German Deli shop but it was quite good, a lot of recognisable products on the shelves including some favourites which could lure me back on a regular basis. The only missing detail was a lack of Riesen Pieces, particularly the jumbo-bags. Though that’s a blessing in disguise, I’m sure. The market itself was a frustrating experience. Too many people walking at pall-bearer pace, too many people conveniently ignoring my “excuse me please” as they were slack-jaw gawking at people slicing cheese or measuring out olives whilst blocking the thoroughfares. Or walking around with Selfie sticks…it’s not a goddam museum, it’s a frigging market.

It took all of three seconds to decide to buy Archer: Once You Go Blackmail in Orc’s Nest and whilst there, I snapped up a booster pack for Boss Monster. The Archer Game is a Love Letter derivative which tweaks the rules by making more use of the hidden card: being able to see it, subbing it out, mixing it up etc. It plays a lot faster than other versions of Love Letter that I’m familiar with and it easier to remember. A worthy addition to my collection, I think. As for the Boss Monster booster pack, it gives you a little of everything: bosses, heroes, rooms and spells. The overarching theme – well, there isn’t really one but many of the cards give a +1 (so you’re required to find some tokens to play with as the +1 is a one-time use bonus). It’ll be interesting to see how it plays with the imminent expansion pack which throws space aliens into the mix.

Real Food Market was a bit more civilised than Borough Market and I picked up some cakes for the board gaming at J & S’s. The Cookie Dough cake was by far the most popular as everyone descended upon it like wolves on a carcass. We played a couple round of Bang (I was on the side of the lawful in both games where we won), Some Quiplash & Bidiots, Room 25, Archer and Martian Dice. It was a great afternoon – crawled off home around 10.30, got in and was all but ready to pass out but as Star Trek Insurrection was on TV, thought I’d watch that, an episode of Sherlock and then surrendered to oblivion. Damn compulsive telly.

Twas Griffin Games on Sunday, headed over and pre-determined that I wasn’t in the mood to play anything new. Having learned three new games this week, I wasn’t up for adding a fourth to my repertoire. So it was a familiar pattern of Avalon, Archer, 7 Wonders, King of Tokyo, and Hex Hex. Lunch was good, dinner was absent (IKR). Met a few new people but pleased that I could remember the names of many of the now familiar faces. Felt drained by the end of the day so was lucky to have been able to snatch a shower before the water went off-line again. Though I enjoyed Games at the Griffin, the room was kinda noisy, particularly when a round of Dobble started (I’m not a fan of the game) which really made it difficult to play a couple of the more verbal-type games such as Avalon and Hex Hex. Might have to make more use of the space downstairs – possibly. Though I’m not going to be there next month, I’m going to take the Bratislava trip. First things first – I want to plan how I’m going to make maximum use of the time both there and in Vienna.

Jackbox and Fat Kids

Someone unhelpfully pointed out that there were fewer than forty days until Xmas today. I told them, in florid terms, what they could do to themselves, involving anatomical impossibilities. I did walk past Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park last night. It isn’t open as yet but I think they’re almost ready to dazzle the public with the usual high-priced entertainments. The lights looked nice though and from a distance, the ride which is a sheer drop looked like the top of le Tour Eiffel. Of course I wouldn’t have liked to have been on any of them given last nights very strong winds. Hard to believe how so many trees were still clinging on to their leaves. Snowdrops were pushing their way up through the grass in Archbishops Park. Oh dear…

Last weekend was the double-gaming sessions of Saturday and Sunday. Jackbox 2 pack…we played all five games between ten or so of us. There was another bluffing game like in the first pack, another drawing game but with an auction twist. A bomb defusing game (not entirely unlike Keep Talking…), a sound effects game and Quiplash which is effectively a rude version of Blankety Blank. I think most of us are going to hell as a result of the game but as that is most of our likely destinations…meh. 

Sunday’s board games were also good – held in the Ruby Lounge at the Griffin. Most of the old favourites, some new ones: Ca$h & Gun$, Zombie Dice, DC Deck Building, Avalon, Coup. We also played Shadow Hunters (for me, the first time) and the Hunters won. I managed to kill off three of our enemies (we played an eight player game) as Egon (Gregor?) from the Ghostbusters. Ultimately lasted ten hours in a gaming orgy before staggering home, utterly drained by it. No wonder chess players can expend 5000 calories in a match (or whatever the claim was).

Downloaded the backwards compatibility patch for the Xbone. Haven’t downloaded any of my already owned games but I’m not sure about the new aesthetic for the operating system. In honesty, I preferred the O/S of the 360. Also, the avatar store is more than a little incomplete with nothing new to enjoy. Or at least not yet, have to point that out. What I did succeed in was finishing episode 3 of the Walking Dead: Season One. The new characters…yeah, not huge fans and I was hoping the fuel truck would have blown up instead of burn and do nothing.

I’m also going to shamelessly plug a book that a work colleague co-authored: Fat Kid Stuck in a Flume (Ian Edwards and Paul Waller). It’s only available on Kindle at the moment (other ebook formats are promised and possibly print too) for £2.99. I haven’t bought it, I’m waiting for the iBooks version. But knowing Eddo, it’ll be twisted! And having heard someone read an extract from it, I heard one of my lines being read out.

Chickspreading

Ahoy.  

Firstly, a comment on the US Presidential Elections – specifically, the Ben Carson comment about the Pyramids being used to store grain and people wondering why he came up with the comment. Clearly, he must be a massive Civ 2 fan as we civfanatics all know that for 200 shields, completion of the Pyramids will give you a free Granary in each of your cities. In Civ 3…think the cost was the same for the same effect.

Secondly, time to be sexist. The dictionary, or at least ones here in Britland, have added “manspreading” to the text, a word meaning men who sit on public transport (though I guess any form of communal seating) with their legs wide apart so as to prohibit/inhibit other people from sitting down or as a form of passive/aggressive posturing. Usually in the form of complaint from women who frequently retort about not wanting to see a man’s package. Well, as a man I would like to offer a rejoinder – chickspreading. When women get onto crowded public transport refusing to remove bags from arms/shoulders so that they take up far more standing room than they need and inhibit other people from getting onto trains and buses. Secondary definition – where women wear bags on shoulders when they are seated, constantly digging into one’s arms/torsos etc.

It was another sedate weekend last weekend, possibly with an eye on this coming weekend which may well be megabusy. Saturday was given over to the fine art of gaming – mostly GTA online but I downloaded Star Trek: Trexels on the iPad as the advert piqued my interest. Good fun but there’s a lot of grinding required to progress the game. It’s a freemium piece of software and as it’s getting a fair amount of play, decided to buy some of the stuff, as y’know. I wish there was a proper instruction manual for the game however. If one of the tutorial lessons doesn’t register, you might miss out on a vital game function.

Actually, most of next week will be busy – lots of stuff happening, will end the week with an overnight in Swansea and possibly start with another overnight in Brussels. And there’s an outside chance of a work-related Berlin trip. Just sold a week’s leave from the surplus so there’s a wad of cash coming up for the end of January. The life of a jet-set playboy I don’t think. 

Going back to GTA – I finally made my character buy a rocket launcher (hideously expensive – at least according to my meagre budget) but I’d been getting tired of the die-hards with jets flying over Los Santos blowing the hell out of the city and coincidentally, me. At least I can fight back and bought down three fighter jets on Sunday, much to their considerable annoyance I’m sure. My little thug is now at rank 55. Game keeps crashing though for some reason as of late, once right in the middle of an event so I get a “bad sport” rating. S’not fair.

Snips, trips and flips

Brightly coloured wrist watches, what’s that all about? Are you five? Did you get that out of a Kinderegg or a Christmas Cracker? Do you think it’ll imbue a lively sense of personality and a quirky disposition? Or will it make you look like a stupid tosser with no sense of style? My money is on the latter. And men, you’re not suited to wear white watches, SO DON’T.

Emerging from the darkness of Cross Border Enforcement here – multiple deadlines of the extremely tight variety have all been put to rest, handling awkward queries done, lusting after alcohol abated and the way is clear to my five weeks out of the office. Been snuffling and sneezing since Sunday but that’s mostly abated and I’m happy with that. Means when I start my leave on Friday, I won’t waste the first few days being ill so long as I keep this week quiet(ish).

Yeah, been a while since my last blog entry but everything has been working hard and playing harder. Just haven’t cleared time in the diary for a little peace and quiet with the ability to marshal one’s thoughts into prosaic form, as grammatically bad as they are. Mind you, it’d only have been one moan after another in all honesty.

The Gaming: Arkham Asylum, Arkham City again on Xbox, Civ V on Steam and a return to Paper Mario Sticker Star on 3DS. Board Games: Talisman and that’s been it really. But now that summer is waning and the darker nights are upon us, we can see a return to more nefarious pursuits like Risk Legacy and Eldritch Horror. I’ve been trying to get Arkham Origins working on my Xbox having completed Arkham Blackgate and also having purchased the Season Pass. But the damn game keeps coming up with download content error. I emailed WBID for help – useless. Like trying to catch diarrhoea in a fishing net.

So, Scotland voted to remain within the UK and Baron Greenback and woman with cheap wig complain that the Better Together campaign was a negative one. Considering the question and how the answer was loaded, could they run anything but a negative campaign? Stupid fools. If there is another referendum, the next question should be the inverse in the interests of fairness, something like “Should Scotland Remain in the UK?” Or can we just swap Ireland for Scotland – Scotland out, Ireland in? That’d be cool.

We’ve been doing quite well in the Griffin Quiz, won four of the last five quizzes though we tied with Science in one and lost the tie-breaker. Naturally we aren’t too disheartened at this lost. The amount of liquor we have at home is at ridiculous portions and I can’t wait for Alex to head on over to drink it all! I also approve whole heartedly of the tweaks to the food menu; had the Halloumi kebab last night with the brown rice salad. This is now cooked (the rice) and with grated carrot which really works well and was very not bad.

The old woman (not the ancient one) was in town at the weekend. We didn’t do much and it just came at a really bad time for me. After I realised I’d worked 45 hours on Friday, I walked out of work early – to hell with the consequences. Went up to St Pancras, had a glass of Riesling (£8.45…), met the train and wowed her with the joys of contactless payment on the tube. We didn’t do much at the weekend in all fairness. I was way tired, slept ten hours Friday, nine on Saturday and eight on Sunday.

As you might have twigged, this should have been posted some time ago…another Joeanian demonstration of general uselessness.

Eight is the new number

Whilst Dr Doom was on the Rock with the Apes, I had the flat all to myself the other weekend. How did I mark this momentous event? I cleaned.

Eee, last week was quite a busy one with the first Brussels trip in months. Although it was in and out in a day, it was a chance to quickly replenish Brussels stocks at home – cheese and chocolate as per usual but no liquor, didn’t have the time. It was a mad dash to St Pancras in the morning as ignored my alarm and a mad dash to Gare du Midi because a meeting overran. Rained the entire day, the second the Eurostar crossed from France into Belgium it seemed to start and was bucketing it down all the way back. By contrast, London saw brilliant sunshine in the early evening when I got home to NO BOARD GAMES (he said bitterly). Will be back in Brussels on 23/24 July.

We won the quiz on last Tuesday, had an impressive performance and carted away the Asahi and the Bulmers. Whether we are in the lead or not overall is debatable but there are four weeks remaining in the current season. Concurrent to the quiz was the football. Most people stopped listening to the questions and was watching the demolition of Brazil by Germany. It was perversely amusing to me – after each Brazil victory, not least because of the Brazillian pub down the road, the whole of Vauxhall is bathed in noise, people blasting air horns, cars honking up and down streets – Tuesday at 10.30, absolute silence. Although I’m nowhere near Zeitgeist, I would imagine Tyers Street and Black Prince Road would have been somewhat…voiciferous.

Although there were no games on Wednesday, last night saw Claire, Paul and the Streatham two come over for Eldritch Horror which seemed to go down very well. I was the only player that died – the Politician was up to his eyes in debt and had made a dark pact…why does this not surprise? The rest of the week passed by in relative quiet, albeit interspersed with the odd person walking up and down the street in full leather or rubber gear for fetish week. In this heat.

100% completion and all achievements obtained on Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, that makes eight 100% games on the Xbox. What will be number nine?

More stinking rain last night meant I didn’t head out after work as my wallet and credit cards were begging me to do. Shoes are continuing to take on water faster than the Titanic which means general discomfort and sulking all round which was the other reason not to head out. Oh I could have hopped on an 88 but I just didn’t feel like it. So I got home, felt the urge to take a bath and spent the rest of the evening watching season 5 of Deep Space Nine whilst continuing to render aid to the good people of Isenstadt. New low? Don’t think so. Wasn’t quite at the “beyond all help” stage.

Friday lunchtime typically sees a visit to the Real Food Market outside the Royal Festival Hall – it’s always the fault of the damn cakes. They pull me in like Die Lorelei luring German sailors along the Rhine to their doom. I usually buy a fudge cake, some sort of brownie (and there are plenty to choose from) and a random third cake then parcel them out over the next few days. I thought about getting lunch there too from the Cyprus stall (Halloumi wraps which are very not bad) but I caved and went to the canteen for salad; hey, have to make room for those pastries in terms of calories. Though it’s a good, brisk walk to Waterloo and back.

I might have to head up to Camden this evening – I have a lead on some Retsina wine which might be found locally there. And if I get to Camden early enough, I might head to the bakery on the High Street again and buy some more pretzels. Whether I walk there and bus back or bus there and walk back I’m not sure though if the heavens decide to open again…might give it a miss. Think bus there and walk back; should theoretically be able to swing by FP on the return trip as I haven’t had any geekery for a while. Need to decide what (or if) I want to get for JL for Monday’s BBQ at the Griffin.

As you can tell from the blog entry, I’m really scrabbling around for things to write up as everything seems in flux at the moment; there’s too much anticipation and not enough action (in more ways than one). I suppose it’s not all bad but the high degree of action, particularly in the past six-eight months leaves me a mite uneasy with the lack of overall direction. With European Elections and local elections less than a month away (third UKIP poster in Vauxhall has been defaced/vandalised btw), many people are sitting around with a little too much time on their hands and not enough to be getting on with. Still, a lot of the lower priority crap can be taken care of in the interim. Like putting up the picture hooks at home!

Anything else? Not really. The board games competition has been formally announced but I haven’t sat down with John to see what sort of changes he has considered to my draft programme which ought to be done sooner rather than later. And there’s the Griffin quiz prize coming up soon which I think is next Sunday; dinner and wine at Vinopolis (again). And THORPE PARK BABY!

Another reason why I hate cyclists

All of my projects at work have really come to life in the last few weeks and a few new ones have popped up also. What it’s meant is several late finishes, a feeling of utter fatigue at the end of the day and more positively, recognition of skills and abilities. It was tricky trying to juggle everything and fill in my first PB6 job application form (team leader level) for Stella’s job. Whilst I’m realistic about my chances, I’m also holding out a little hope that I’ll be able to make it to interview stage. Hell, if I get the job, it’s a £15k pay jump. I’ll be set then. No more ‘I’m not paid enough to care’ excuses.

So, why do I hate cyclists? Generally, they ignore the Highway Code by riding on the pavement, they crawl through red lights, weave in and out of traffic and can be utterly arrogant beyond belief. Oh man – that just reminds me of Monday evening when I screamed abuse at this demroid motorist who went through a red light and nearly mowed down twenty pedestrians including myself. She wasn’t an amber gambler, the stupid cow actually drove willy nilly through a red light. We were all half way across when she began papping her horn for us to get out the road. I went over, jabbed my finger towards the light and screamed “it’s f-ing green, green. You just went through a red light. You almost ran us all over you stupid-” and at this point, I was told to calm down by several passers by. Whilst a few others had some choice words to say to the woman, banging their fists on her bonnet. Should have taken her number and reported it. Driving through a red light? Driving without due care and attention? Driving without regard for other road users? Being grossly fat? Ok, maybe not the last one but she was a porker.

So yeah, cyclists: nuisances. But last night I was walking past Bloomsbury Square, texting on my phone and felt the damn thing yanked out my hand, earphones pulled from my ears. Frigging cyclist had snaffled it in one of those drive by thefts! I took a picosecond to chase after the sod who had to swerve to avoid three tourists and in doing so, my iPhone detached from the headphones and it dropped to the floor. I scooped it up and carried on running, keeping pace for two blocks (those massive terraces in Bloomsbury) until he got a clear run and was able to bomb it away. It struck me he is the opportunistic type and I lay in wait, just to see if he’d circle the area again and I am fairly certain I saw him again five minutes later but I just couldn’t be sure. I didn’t see his face, only his clothes. So I chose to let this second cyclist go – I’d have hated to have knocked an innocent persons off his bike and proceeded to kick seven shades of hell out of them; I was that furious.

But the git still has my earphones. It was a definite robbery and not a snaffle, I was deep into the pavement and he was cycling down it at top speed. Sufficed to say, my rage was maintained until I got home. I was a good thing no other cyclist tried their usual road tricks, especially in Camden as I’d have taken it out on them. Or any random drunk idiot for that matter. After I got home, it was straight to the comfort food and a Radox heavy bath as my shoulders were throbbing having been raised higher than Alexis Carrington’s shoulder pads.

Now as David T righty pointed out, I’m confusing thieves with cyclists. But damn it, I’m still irate about it all. Tis is the second attempted robbery on me in the last year, the last time was when that git tried to swipe my bag off my back other Brussels Metro (good thing I wear my straps tight). I’ve been working hard not to wear my “stay away as I’m angry” face whilst out walking but maybe, just maybe it needs a thorough airing. And yes, to keep more of an eye on my stuff when out in the open. I’ll think about other lessons to be learned later. Right now, I’m on the Eurostar heading off to Brussels again – got screwed at currency exchange as I couldn’t get out to the usual place in time. Should be a nice, relaxing day and an easy meeting tomorrow. Going to buy some clothes whilst here – another sand coloured pair of jeans from c&a at least as I just love the colour – that dirty yellow/gold combo. It works well with dark colours and white.

Video games – finished banjo Kazooie, now playing Banjo Tooie. Maybe Batman Arkham Asylum next. Saturdays board games afternoon was great – about fifteen people turned up and we had a tonne of cake. Played the usual games but didn’t get round to buying a new one. Ceajay has the uk version of Cards Against Humanity which went down a right treat. I won four hands. And it was always good to catch up with people old and new. Think the next one will be in November. I also think I’m going to buy munchkin for myself. At some point. Maybe.
whic

Friday evening – what the hell happened on Friday evening? Clearly it was a very good one because my recollection is near zero. Actually, I think I got home earlier than normal. Ah yes, it’s all coming back to me. Something I have now learned is that you shouldn’t read the Tear Jerker pages on tvtropes before you go home because you don’t quite look your best. And then you shouldn’t listen to maudlin sounding music because that only exasperates the feelings experienced. I’m grateful to the heavy rain on Friday evening – the water on my face didn’t all come from the heavens.

So because of the incessant rain that evening, I was compelled to cut short my evening walk as I didn’t have any protection from the elements and it was that nasty rain which feels like an angel left the power-shower running. But having arrived back at Stratford by just after 7, I went to Westfield on the great Board Game hunt. WH Smiths was a bust, John Lewis had what I wanted but I’d seen cheaper elsewhere whilst the Entertainer (toy shop) retailed a board game for £10 which I’d not seen before – Bezzerizzer. So I snapped that up and headed over to Argos. Irritatingly they were out of stock for both Pointless and Cranium Wow so I went home with one game, fully intending to try again Saturday.

Went to bed early that night so I could look vaguely acceptable in the morning but because last week was five days of six-hour sleeps, woke up at 6 and dozed the next couple of hours before I dragged myself up. Thought long and hard about what games to bring to the evening and decided on Articulate Your Life, Scattergories, Rapidough and Bezzerwizzer. Had forgotten to borrow Trivial Pursuit (regular) and I didn’t feel like bringing AoM or Taboo. However, I swung by the other WH Smiths in Stratford and bought Pointless from there as they did have it in stock.

Arrived at the pub at dead on 12 – thought the hunt for another board game might have taken longer and so the day’s drinking began at 12.05. Brendan (not the Saffa, the Australian) turned up around 12.15 and we had lunch; he tried the Griffin Burger, my choice was Eggs Benedict which narrowly beat out the Scrambled Eggs with Jalapenos. Was very not bad – kudos on the new brunch menu. The rest of the gang slowly arrived between 12 & 2 and we had a quorum so began the board games with Articulate.

Other people turned up over the afternoon – Stuart bought an armful of games of the more table-top variety (by that I mean more “hardcore”) and so some people broke off into one group whilst the rest of us stuck with the more party games. Christian and Stephen were supposed to bring Settlers of Catan but alas they didn’t appear so we missed out on that one. It’s just too bad that there was a party going on upstairs in the pub otherwise we could have used the Ruby Lounge.

As the day wore on, I think I racked up at least 12 bottles of Kopparberg and Hoopers – we had a very successful Hat Game (well two) and managed to play each of the other games at least once. The Bezzerizzer game was disappointing as it’s an American game so there are some references that you just won’t get being a Brit (or pretty much any European for that matter). It was a good concept however and one can hope that Mattel bring out a regionalised version (hell, we could write our own questions).

Getting home was a right faff – another bloody person under a train meant the Victoria Line was halted for what seemed like forever. Eventually caved and dragged my tired and aching body to the District Line. And the fun didn’t stop there; when I got home, I noticed the little black cat looking out of the window: IN MY FRIGGING ROOM. Bitch ran out before I could have gotten hold of her but the next time I see her, she’s one dead cat. That’s it, out of nine lives. You know, May 4th can’t come soon enough.

Anyway, had a nice lie-in on Sunday but there was no way I could go round to the Doctor’s for lunch as I was officially “bleurgh”. Weather was really pleasant though, best day of the year thus far and I felt confident enough to leave doors and windows open without fear of shivering. Rather than resuming the three games of Civ V I have on the go, I started a new one as Dido; actually, two but the first one was a huge bust being wedged in three ways so began a second one. The plan was to try out some “tall” strategies but ended up slipping into my standard tactics. However, this was chiefly due to the fact that I played on an Earth map where there are huge chunks of the Earth to inhabit which only have marginal production (Siberia for example).

Dinner was good but I felt completely stuffed by it all so had no room for cheesecake dessert and lay prostrate on the couch for the next hour watching Crash on Film4. It’s a bit too obvious a film for my tastes but considering the primary audience, it has to be. Then again, I can really abhor subtlety which is more obfuscating for its own good. During the evening, we both realised we’d run out of time – a decision about the living situation had to be made. Once again, I just couldn’t bring myself to say with any sort of authority or certainty what I wanted to do. This decision is just too hard to make – I dunno why. Have tried examining it from all angles but the right choice has yet to chime with me.

When I got home, I played a little more Civ – just to get my mind off the problem at hand but it was bouncing around my skull inbetween turns. At least I was able to crush the Polynesians whilst playing. Why does a decision have to be made now? The only real reason is that after today, I/we are obligated for another month’s worth of rent. Eventually I made a choice, typed it, sent it and am waiting for the consequences…