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Posts Tagged ‘games’

Yesterday I drafted a long post about the major lesson from last week, and how it relates to the 6 months prior to this. It’s really deep and revealing and emotional, but after the last 24 hours (go, go gadget crisis divorce negotiation as it applies to the meaning of life – I want that on my CV!) I’m all out of ability to plumb emotional depths.

The Plough, St Johns

This is where we had dinner on our one night off, Tuesday. There’s an Australian bar tender there. Surprise! Well, she was when she found out I was from Newtown. She’s from Wollongong.

So last week:
Was the week of parenting.
We had L with us every night except Tuesday, and all of the weekend. Exhausting! There were a couple of melt-downs from everyone, including me. At one stage I found L curled, hiding, up IN THE BOOKCASE, because her lego wasn’t working. We survived, no-one died, in fact we’re all a bit stronger for it, although rather tired and wanting to never, ever, do that again. (Same as we will never, ever go to McDonald’s for breakfast, despite the secret hopes of a 10yr old girl).

Was the week of Australian friends.
I saw Bec-Juliana, Sharon-Aeron and Mikki and Justin on Saturday. To say goodbye to Mikki and Justin before they move to NZ (sneef!), to have a much needed vent and rant with Bec about life and work and cultural clashes (and visit Kew Gardens for the 3rd time ever, I need a membership), and to pick Sharon up from the airport for her week in England. I’m seeing her for dinner again tonight.

Was the week of flash games.
Jed and I escaped the child crazy in various flash games. I’m posting this from work, so I’ll chuck a list of URLs in the comments if anyone else wants to try them out. Beware, they are all time sucks. Except the duck game. That was fun.

Was the week of cleaning.
One of my reactions to the week of parenting was to clean. Lots. It was probably also a delayed reaction to the flat-mate drama last week. Our bedroom is now cleaned and decluttered, half the kitchen got a good scrub-down and we started packing for the move.

Was the week of money stress.
We need a better plan/system. We’re working on it. Nuff said.

(I’ll post the long emotional post later under a different heading. Which is actually a better idea, it fits the “On Flying” theme rather than a weekly update)

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not yet opened

After purchasing the Cafe Corner last month, (all photos of the model as now here) and getting out the lego that was shipped over with all my belongings, I’ve re-discovered the fun of lego model building. And discovered that I’m not the only one. There’s, not-surprisingly, entire communities out there, commonly called Adult Fans of Lego (AFOL).

I’ve spent some time over the last few weeks browsing various blogs and flickr sets looking at what other people have built based on the specifications for lego buildings inspired by this particular set and getting ideas (and I accidentally found this post via a completely different blog, it amused me lots, I feel like I’m making a similar confession). I’ve also realised that I’ve previously had a much more expensive, equally creative and yet bizarre hobby, aka the SCA, so if I choose to spend money on lego there’s no real problem. Oh, and there’s a pick-and-mix option on the lego.co.uk site, and a lego designer software which allows you to design a model, price it and then request a custom shipment. My first one should arrive this week. On the wishlist for birthday and Christmas are the Greengrocer and Fire Station sets.

By Tuesday I’d worked out that I had enough pieces from medical related lego sets I received as a child to build a quite decent medical clinic based on these specs. So, most of my spare time this week has been spent doing that. It’s gone through about 3 re-builds so far, as I’ve played with decoration, placement of the stair case and internal walls. The delivery this week will get me a black tiled roof, and enough pieces to hopefully finish it off. Well, except for a basement and a small access ramp I want to build…

Wednesday Jed and I went on the first of what might become regular weeknight a’ventures. We decided on dinner in London, specifically chinese dumplings and a colleague recommended a place in the Chinatown that made their dumplings in house. It was fantastic! Exactly what we were after, to the extent I declared it was nice to have “real food” at the end of the meal. Very reminscient of beloved dumpling places in Ashfield, and sitting on metal stools around communal tables in Thailand. We had two plates of pork and bamboo shoot dumpings, steamed and fried, a small place of soy chicken, and a small plate of bok choy. With rice and bubble tea/iced pineapple drink. All for £30. Heaven!

It was a wonderfully warm evening, and the sun was still up So we then wandered around China town. I introduced Jed to durian, as the smell of it was deliciously wafting across the courtyard. We bought two fortune cookies for dessert. Mine read “your dreams will soon come true”, I’m hoping it refers to a meaningful job. We ran around inside a Korean sweet shop, and came home with random boxes of chocolate biscuit-y things, and some black sesame glutinous rice balls. Nom!

Friday was games night with friends. Introduced them to Settlers of Catan which we recently acquired. Jed bases his strategy on observations of Mat(my former flatmate)’s tactics and we’ve decided that the development card deck is now called the “Mat wins” deck. It amuses us. Unfortunately the robber piece has also been renamed “the gimp”, which seems to amuse everyone except me.

Saturday I went to a friend’s birthday party in nearby Wallington, in which I got off the bus waaaay too early and had a nice walk from one town (Purley) to the next past gardens and fields. This map should give you an idea. I got off the bus halfway up Foxley Lane/A2022. I walked to Wallington, the next town NW of there) Only two blisters to show for it. On the other hand, my friend, the lovely Dee, lives so close that we can plan regular tea or beer catch ups, I just have to get off the train 3 stops earlier. This is really cool, as it was the one thing that was really missing. Regular chats with someone who’s not Jed.

Sunday we went Blackberrying up on the Common, picking a small ice cream container’s worth to make into a dessert later this week. It was warm and sunny, perfect for picking blackberries which were warm and juicy, although probably at their best in another week or two. Also perfect for getting the requisite blackberry scratches and unobservantly standing right next to a tall stinging nettle plant and getting stung on the back of an elbow. Which I did. All of which brought back many childhood memories. Including that nettles stings are nowhere near as bad as bull ant bites, or as icky as leeches, so I could just deal with it (all three of which occurred to me on one regular family camping trip up the back of the Hawkesbury).

A really nice weekend all up.

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Redhill, Surrey

The GaribaldiI’ve ended up in Redhill, Surrey, for the moment. It’s a railway town, with predominantly Victorian housing stock, and a town centre that was rebuilt during the 1980s. It reminds me a lot of a large Australian country town like Bathurst, combined with the rural north-west of Sydney where I grew up. It’s probably a combination of surroundings, climate and demographic.

I’ve made some additional tools for this post, an annotated googlemap, and a Flickr set which you may find interesting.

Redhill is about half hour by train from London. It’s just outside the M25 that rings London, and is essentially a satellite town for the nearby city of Reigate, as well as a commuter town for London. There are a number of finance businesses located here, so the centre of town is bustling at lunch, and therefore supports a number of eateries and retail shops. That being said, there’s no stand-out place to eat or to socialise in except the pubs which means it’s a good place to live, but not an outstanding place. I’ve taken to getting my morning coffee from the local Costa, which is a chain maybe a few steps above Starbucks. At least they have soy milk, actually know what a macchiato is, and offer fair-trade at no extra charge.

The centre of town has grown up along two cross streets, which have been converted into pedestrian only spaces. A line of trees planted down the south arm of the cross have had circular solid benches built around them, a pleasant place to sit and wait for certain men to go on their lunch break. The north arm is under a glass arched cover, with small black benches to sit on. This end is closer to the local Sainsburys.

To my eye the town seems to be divided between these two spaces, in terms of where you will wait for a friend, or eat lunch. The north arm seems to be more chavs (bogans in Australian parlance), whereas the south arm seems to be more porfessional. This split exemplifies the town in general, with both groups existing, but not necessarily mixing.

There are a number of pubs. Our ‘local’ is the Junction, right in the middle of town, which has frequently been referred to as a pub attempting to be a wine bar. This does mean it’s quieter and a bit trendier than other pubs in the area. Seems fine to me.

One of the things I notice about the area (and England in general) are the gardens and greenery. Gardens of all sizes, in almost any available space. Colour and greenery. Some of which have been there for years and grown into a lovely, but pretty mess. Some of which you know was recently purchased and bought to bring a shot of spring colour into a landscape that was recently wintery and grey.

There’s a local market here every Thursday and Saturday, which means there’s a butcher, fishmonger and fruit and veg stall which I can visit on a regular basis in an attempt to maintain seasonally based eating. To compliment this there’s a Delicatessen and fine food store on the hill behind the house, which sells the other small items I need for my cooking, and they do a decent coffee, although there’s nowhere to sit and enjoy it.

I’m sure there’ll be more to say about the town as time progresses, but this is enough for a introduction and backgrounder.

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Recent History

Wherein the author provides a short long treatise on what she’s been doing recently and reflections related to the subject matter.

I fell off the face of the internet for a week, and social life in general for a few months. It was entirely necessary. So, if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, here’s the answer.

Last Wednesday night I completed my Masters Degree. Hooray! (pending advice that I actually passed the subject, of course). This was the major reason for the internet absence. The first part of the week was needed for study, the second part for recovery. I couldn’t even stomach the idea of engaging the text-based communication side of my brain until about Sunday night.

So, I played SimSocieties instead. I’ve read the reviews, and sort of agree with most of them. BUT it also fixes some of the issues I had with SimCity 4 AND was so completely visually based and mostly mindless that it was the perfect antidote to study.

I realised last Thursday precisely how much strain I’d put myself under and how much this degree of mine wasn’t as simple as I was deluding myself that it was. I was trying to be superwoman (again) and should have known better. On Thursday morning I ‘danced’ to work with a smile on my face for the first time in months. I possibly even did a tiny bounce into the air, with a small squee at the wonder and joy of life in general and the future that is currently unfolding. For those of you who have seen excitable, bouncy, squeeing me you may be slightly disturbed when I say that was the first one since about August.

Two weeks ago I got sick again, the ‘low-level virus’ that has been hanging around for months. I took two days off work, and hung around in KoL chat. It was nice. But, at the end of the two days I found myself bawling my eyes out, missing support networks and ‘just…want…someone…to…cook me…dinner’. Mostly I was worried that I was going to fail, and so therefore the basics of life were not being looked after, which led to a cycle of not studying effectively, which added to stress which created this lovely spiral effect. Not pretty. Luckily, I have an awesome, wonderful sister who let me study at her place and fed me good homecooked food. I don’t know what I would have done without her. The low-level virus has disappeared. Perhaps I actually had a case of ‘study anxiety’? Or at least a compromised immune system.

The exam itself was the most surreal I’ve ever done. I used to like exams, would generally do quite well in them as I’m good at thinking on my feet. This one, well, the pre-dominant thought that ran through my brain in the exam room was: “why am I here? Why am I sitting an exam in this room at age 30? Exams are things you do in your early 20s”. Which was odd, but sums the mentality up. I was just over it. Walked out with 15mins to spare, did not do any editing, I know there was at least one paragraph-sentence in there, if not more. But my hand hurt, I’d demonstrated I’d paid enough attention to pass the course, and that’s really all that matters.

On Thursday most of my work mates commented on how much better I looked overall, most specifically that I didn’t look tired. One night. It took one night to look better, and THE ONLY thing that had changed was the fact I didn’t have to study anymore. I didn’t feel utterly exhausted, which had become the norm.

I am walking straighter. I run for the joy of it. I can think strategically again, which has been useful as this week I’m the ONLY person in my team and line of management at work, so I’m sort of acting 4 positions at the moment. Sort of, only for emergencies. This week I am relishing it, last week I would have crumpled.

I can remember detail again and can dream about the future (that wonderful, exciting future). There was this big dense wall that was blocking anything post Nov 12. So, if you’ve told me something in the last few months, OR you’ve invited me to something and I’ve not been there, OR you were waiting for me to do something OR there was an obvious connection between two pieces of information that I should have made and then told people about, then it’s entirely possible that it was a detail I simply could not hold onto. Planning anything beyond the present was very, very difficult. Related to this is the fact that I’ve not seen, or corresponded with a lot of people I love. I miss you guys and am getting around to fixing it.

Talking work, this week I’ve had bunch loads of deadlines and intricacies and people seeking advice, and I coped, more importantly I coped well and was able to communicate and feel competent. Again, last week this would not have been possible.

My landlord has decided to sell the house I live in. Which I found out about an hour before my exam. At least it gave me something else to worry about. I’m dealing with that remarkably well, however it looks like the house selling timeline and the moving to the UK timeline might match up extremely well anyway.

On the weekend I went to a museum, wandered through the botanic gardens, took photos of both, spent time with friends and played board games. Utterly lovely.

My house is cleaner, I’m getting through my to-do list (have you seen http://www.rememberthemilk.com/ ? It’s fantabulous!).

And in two very, very short, wonderful weeks life takes on a whole new aspect and a deep gentle smile may become a permanent feature, and it seems likely that I may never have to deal with the world alone again. It’s good to know that I can, but the promise is so much better.

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Pirates! Reprise

Mouse, Tops and I sat down last Friday night to take the ships on their maiden voyages.


Round 1: Collect the treasure
Round 2: Carnage on the high seas, with tricksy moving fog banks.

Lessons learned in this game:

  • Games of carnage require big ships with many masts for a wonderful broadside effect.
  • Fire pots are fun
  • Fog Banks are not. Except they make the game more interesting
  • Sons will take after their fathers (and their mothers of course, but she’s not in this photo).

topsy and son

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Piratical Obsession


The Fleet
Originally uploaded by Miss Krin.

Q: How many pirate ships does one girl need?
A: MORE!

But I cannot justify the purchase of more toys until these ones have actually played a game. So, who’s in? I have enough ships that we could just use my set, or you can bring your own!

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