Farewell old friend

Paid tribute to a wonderful gentle giant today. A passing expected, due to his protracted ill-health, but still sad to see him gone. A wonderful service, with great memories shared amongst friends and his devoted family. I will always have fond recollections of our times together, at various events up and down this great land.

Slainte – rest in peace.


Losing friends

Just a few days ago, a friend of mine passed away in his sleep. He’d been poorly for some time, but had fought it well, long after the initial suggestions from the original diagnosis. I’d not seen him face-to-face for a few years but had kept track via friends and social media. While it was no surprise to learn of his passing, it still left me a little saddened.

And as such, the loss of another friend puts ‘Life‘ into perspective, again. When I decided to relocate to the Borders, it was after I’d lost others in my life. Their deaths had spurred me on afterwards to look at what I had and what I wanted.

The loss of my father was one of the first, and that seemed to fittingly sever any interest in maintaining links I still had with London, where I was born. I lost a few more friends from the re-enactment scene and that made me consider taking up the medieval period as a ‘must-do‘ ambition I had not yet achieved. And then I lost a few work colleagues, tragically taken far too soon and leaving families behind, that made me realize my employer wasn’t an entity I wanted to remain with for the years to come.

So it is that I find myself not anticipating another change, as I’m living in amidst it right now. I have other new ambitions to look at after next week, when I finally leave my employer, and escape the Civil Circus. But it does provide me the nudge to still consider what else should I do. What else could I achieve? Is there something I would find that gives me a new horizon to strive for? I’m not sure yet, so I’ll list up some ideas, review them and see what’s practical and proper.

Rest in peace, old friend. Slainte.



KS – don’t do it, don’t – oh OK then

After a few weeks of observing and thinking and re-thinking, I finally pressed the commit button and pledged on a KS project. Exactly not doing what I said I would never do again. I am so weak.

To be honest, I watched the communication and interaction, and it was good – it was way better than most of what I’ve been involved with. Most of the work is already done behind-the-scenes too, the crowdfunding is to get the production sorted. Add-Ons are relevant and affordable, although I’ve not got much there to worry about. And rarely for a US-based project, shipping to UK and EU is already factored in, and won’t be an afterthought. And I watched the stretch goals too, and they were sensible, realistic, well thought-out and above all else, achievable. So I decided to go for it.

I am quietly confident that this one will be OK, indeed, the project creator answered my question on delivery, and I like what I read.

We shall see. But it looks to be a sensible one.


Another General Election tomorrow

So – we vote again.

With two General Elections, the local government election a month ago, and the EU Referendum last year, those temporary polling booths and stubby pencils have certainly seen very active service.

I’ll refrain from making political comment, as that’s still the Cardinal Rule for this place. But I can still state I appreciate the freedom to participate in all of this. And I appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of those earlier generations who served and fought so I may do so.

That’s particularly timely given the date – one day on from a major event 73 years ago, that saw Allied forces begin the liberation of Western Europe from a political creed that opposed democracy.

Let we forgot.

House Special?

It has been a long time since we lived in an area that provided for a take-away food bonanza. Back then, back down south, we’d relaxed into an accepted pattern where we probably ordered up two or three times per week – the standard drill for Friday game nights, pus one or two other occasions as suited our lack of effort or inclination.

When I look back now, and think of all that stuff that we consumed and the money it cost us, I do end up quite surprised. I guess it’s a life trait thing, something you need to face up to or challenge yourself on. Environment and opportunity greatly affect it, as we have here, where there is no real convenient fast-food outlet in the village. So it means that when we do veer off course when travelling homewards from work to stop and buy something, it’s less whim, more planned and considered.

Except last night. An annoying day of frustration at work followed by a need to shop to replace things, that actually added to the frustration – from changed layouts to indolent staff – by the time we had acquired most of what we needed, I was the one that suggested on a whim to grab food to take home.

Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, well-cooked, well-served, and not that expensive, and it did provide a great way to kickback at home, consume and relax. It achieved the desired result. I was restored to contentment.

But I already know it’s not a habit I want to get back into.

Therefore, I remain quite glad we live where we do, and we take more interest and pride in what we can create and cook for ourselves, to eat better, fresher and healthier food, and to source all that from the local region too. We are indeed quite fortunate.



A Mish-Mash of Days

Work day was a tad peculiar. I did the handover training last week to three new young lads who actually really impressed me. They did well to get a decent grasp of the work I’ve done for the past ten years in the five hours we had. Then today I learnt that they aren’t my successors, some other staff will be instead. Whom obviously now need handover training. It sort of epitomizes in one incident the entire confused mess my workplace has become these past few years. So so glad I get to put it all behind me soon.

And if they want me to head down south, to do all that work again, they can pay for it.

This coming weekend will be spent at home. Initially I had planned a one-day jaunt to catch up with the guys to discuss the coming Pinkie event in September. But I have a bit too much on, things to sort, and I need a few days away from ‘politics’. I respect people’s opinions, but right now, I can do without the endless churn of emotive tosh and repeated tosh. I know I just won’t have the patience to prevent myself from over-reacting to some daft comment. To manage the risk, remove the opportunity.

So now I’m left with three days and a need to plan what to do with them. Or should I? I think I might keep it spontaneous, just ensure a few necessary tasks are sorted first, then see where the mood and preference takes me. Perhaps that’s actually what I need, less structure and predefined purpose – to get out of ‘work-mode’ when at home. Let’s see what happens then.

I’ll end on a reflective note. The atrocity in Manchester at the start of this week seems to have affected me more than I first realised. Specifically, to see the tragic outcome for the two young lasses from Barra. I don’t know why – I’ve dealt with death and destruction before – but this one situation has left a deep impression upon me. With one dead and the other seriously injured, truly innocent victims, I feel some sort of need to do something about it, something positive and long-lasting. I’m not sure what yet. I have ideas, but I need to see what’s actually achievable, and practical, and to get input from like-minded friends who will need to tell me if I’m right or wrong. We shall see what happens with this as well.

“Hold fast, young lassie, your dreams and music live on with your spirit for us all.”


Lazy day with no particular plans

The last four days have been taken up with work and family stuff, and the requisite travel southwards and northwards to engage with all of that. Work was fine, a bout of ‘knowledge transfer‘ to three new candidates who aren’t necessarily guaranteed a final spot in the work area I am/was involved in. I know – makes no sense to me either. But I delivered what I could for a quick introduction of eight or nine years condensed into five hours. Went remarkably well, all things considering.

Family stuff principally revolved around the Matriarch and her new hip. From an immediate post-op slump of lethargy she has improved (almost) in leaps and bounds. After doing the right physio as instructed, she has impressed the quacks enough to not need any further out-patient trips for a few months at least. That success is also a good tonic to motivate recovery efforts further, and to see that it was all worthwhile after all.

And while down south, it was great to meet up with some of the chaps and get a quick Thursday evening game of ‘Dragon Rampant‘ in as well. It was a simple 24 point affair, but with some deviously placed terrain that prevented the more usual ‘line-up-&-grind’ encounter. I was using someone else’s army of Goblins – spears as heavy foot, odds & sods as heavy missiles, with a lumbering giant as an elite ranger type and a wizardling rider as the main man in charge. One interesting tweak was that both the heavy missile units were marked ‘Fearful‘, giving them a vulnerability. The game went well, remembered the right turn sequence, and the right stats and dice to use, and found that we ended up with a battle that see-sawed a lot, with both sides losing a lot of figures. As both Leaders were spellcasters, they actually dealt each other a lot of damage, to the point that I retreated mine to support the troops for a while, before putting him back into the fray as I lost units while I was taking ground. It was inevitable that the ‘Fearful‘ trait would see one unit flee the field, and then the other soon after, but I still liked that expectation. After all, it gave it the sort of flavour I would have anticipated for a Goblin army. It was good fun,and again, motivational to get more done back at home for ‘DR‘. Good job done on hosting the gaming by the ‘Box‘ too.

The journey home took a while longer than usual, possibly due to weather and traffic. But we both reached a point where we were glad to escape the highways of the south-east, and get back up north. Driving conditions and habits were appalling. And I even include a fast-pursuit police car in that. (Guys, if you slalom onto a roundabout at high speed without having your blue lights flashing, and you nearly get rammed by a lorry and various other vehicles, you really have no-one else to blame but yourselves, no matter how much finger-pointing you do out your window, and regardless of switching on your blue lights after you slid to a halt. That was epic stoopid.)

Time to relax and be lazy. And anyway, it’s tipping down with rain!