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2017 Roundup.

2017 – A Weird Year.



Sooo, it’s the end of what cannot be denied has been a pretty crap year for everyone.  BUT, it hasn’t been ENTIRELY crap.


It has been full of massive unsettling changes for me, and I don’t cope well with change, but they all led to good things in the end.  I left a job I worked in and for the most part enjoyed with fantastic colleagues for the better part of a decade and sold a house, to uproot my life and move to Peterborough and Ian.  I have bought a flat (stressful!!!!!) and gotten not one but two new jobs this year as the first was going to give me a mental meltdown because of the commute (the ladies there were fantastic, but so are my new team J )


Mum is now settled, I’m now settled, the pets are all settled, and I really like it here so – despite the nastiness and stress of making such a HUGE life change, it’s all good and I’ve made lots of wonderful new friends along the way J


I have managed to successfully complete the One Good Thing challenge – you write down one good thing that has happened to you, each week, and then put them all in a jar to remind you that what MAY have been a shit year overall wasn’t all THAT bad.  I think I’m going to do this every year :D


So, My year:


January 6th-8th I attended my first Tales out of Anchor LARP with Ian and it was beautiful and fun and I’ll definitely be going to the Player event later in the year.


January 15th – I went to Haighton Manner for Grandma’s 90th birthday.  Met Jelena, Simon’s new partner who is lovely and it was good to see the rest of the fam too :D


January 21st – Ian was down for the weekend and we had a really great time at the Rippers LARP season Finale and a really relaxed weekend.  Some of my Didcot friends met Ian and liked him (not unsurprising as he’s so lovely :D).


February 4th – I went to Kelly’s for World Cancer Day gameage and afternoon tea which was fun.


February 10th-12th – I had a FANTASTIC time playing Merryweather the blue fairy at Happily Ever After LARP.  So much fun!


February 14th – I had several interviews in Peterborough, so I got to spend my first Valentines Day with Ian together.  We had Pizza and watched films and generally had a lovely evening together.


January 28th – I had a very positive job interview that I’ll hear back about next week, a really nice weekend with Ian and I met Alice his younger sister.  We got on like a house on fire – much to Ian’s dismay 3:D.


February 25th – I attended Si and Hanna’s post wedding evening do, which was great. Si and Hannah are so lovely and welcoming. I had a nice chilled day while Ian was being Si’s best man.


March 3-8th – I spent a long weekend up at Ian’s.  It was really lovely and relaxed.  I showed mum around and had three job interviews.


March 11th – I went to (and participated in!) the MMORPG show – which was awesome fun.


March 17th – I went and did a trial day at Thames Labs which went exceptionally well.  I still have reservations but my self-confidence is low right now and I hate change.  I can do the job, and was offered it.  I handed in my resignation to Fugro.


March 31st – The house has sold! I now have ALL the packing to do before I move to Ian’s


April 6th – I won a free book in a prize draw on Twitter – “And the Rest is History” from Accent books by Jodi Taylor


April 13th – I had a wonderful lunch out with Mel and Monica and they had the most wonderful leaving gifts for me.


April 21st – I moved in with Ian – it was a VERY busy day.  I have way too much stuff!


April 28th – I’m mostly settled in things wise.  Ian and I had a fun evening playing Dark souls, where I was the stabby and acrobatic assassin, and Ian was the tank that allowed me to do the coup-de-grace also played Board Games with Amy and Mark two days later which was lots of fun.  They are good people.


May 2nd – Started my new Job at Thames Labs.  The people are nice.


May 8th-14th – my degree is paying off.  I’m WELL ahead of the game with the Asbestos ID course


May 15th-21st – I wrote a cool poem and had a great time LARPing at Rippers and Met Ian’s parents.  It was a long and exhausting weekend given the amount of travel involved, but good.


May 22nd-28th – I have burned through the trial asbestos samples for training purposes, so I am now shadowing the team with live samples they have already done.


May 21st-June 4th – The money from the house sale cleared.  I am no longer broke!


June 5th-11th – I passed my Asbestos ID exam with flying colours.


June 12th-18th – Ian and I travelled down to Cornwall to spend time with my best friends Joe and Zoe and also Joe Platt and had an awesome time at the Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival, as well as visiting the Sea life sanctuary.  The weather was glorious, the company fantastic.  Perfect short holiday.


June 21st – I started at CDW in the Contract management team :D


June 26th – July 2nd – I did a lot of gardening in preparation for the fence being put in.  it’s looking better already and I’ve missed gardening.


July 3rd– 9th –  I had a quiet weekend pottering about the house and garden.  I’m also getting to grips with the new job and solved a problem on my own.


July 10th-16th – I attended the CDW induction in London which was interesting and had the best buffet spread I’ve ever had, and on Friday in Peterborough was a work awards ceremony (another buffet and free booze!) and Ian won an award :D


July 17th – 23rd – I had a really chilled weekend with Ian, signed up to the gym, and had lunch at Frankie & Bennies.


July 24th – 30th – I went down to London with Ina for Ellen and Andy’s wedding.  I helped set up the food side of things, and was honoured to be a participant/witness to a beautiful pagan rite.  Also – SO many friends were there :D


July 31st – August 6th – I went to 9 Worlds convention in London.  There were some fantastic panels, I saw some good friends, and MAY have Kermit flailed a bit when told by one of the publishers there (who I submitted a manuscript to way earlier in the year) that there was a 90% chance they were going to make an offer on it!  Eeeee!


August 7th – 13th – Ian spoiled me rotten on a day I was utterly knackered to the point of tears with pizza and pamering.  He is SO wonderful.


August 14th 20th – I met Ian’s parents gain and it went quite well – we had a nice meal out.


August 21st-28th – Dad  and Annie came up for the Peterborough Beer Festival which was lots of fun.  The weather was roasting, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ciders on offer.  We also went to a really relaxed Barbeque with a few colleages.


August 29th – September 3rd – The computers were down at work one day this week so I got a free afternoon off which was lovely and chilled.


September 4th – 10th – A relaxed weekend with fun board gaming with friends.


Septmber 11th – 17th – I read an amazing book that I literally couldn’t put down – which hasn’t happened in an age  Qualify by Vera Nazarian.


September 18th – 24th – I got the keys to the flat this week! Woo!  Also Ian and I visited a local zoo and had an amazing eastern Asian fusion take out feast from EAST in town.


September 25th – October 1st – I had a lunch at Turtle Bay for Ian and My anniversary.  It was amazing and the cocktails are dangerously good.  Then I spent the weekend at Fantasy Con which was excellent.


October 2nd-8th – I went into London to have coffee and cake with author Zen Cho, who is lovely.


October 9th– 15th – I had a really nice lunch at XOXO in town with the Contrace management Ladies, one of the account managers and BDM’s from work.


October 16th – 22nd – It’s been an incredibly busy week.  The best thing was the hot bath I had on Saturday night after moving all the furniture around mums flat for the carpet layers.


October 23rd – 29th – I had a really nice quiet weekend and a good swim.  I love swimming and need to do it more often.


October 30th – November 5th – I went to the Player event of Tales out of Anchor.  It was every bit as gorgeous as last time, as much (if not more!!) fun, and the food was delicious.  I also got to know the fellow LARPer and all around lovely person (even when in hideous pain from a bad tooth) Raye a little better as we shared a room.


November 6th – 12th – A lazy weekend watching the Original Series Star Trek on Netflix while pattern cutting a couple of LARP costumes.


November 13th – 19th – I got in some good swimming at the pool, mum’s flat is pretty much done and I booked a holiday for me and Ian to Lanzarote.  Two months and counting!


November 20th-26th – I GOT AN OFFER ON MY MANUSCRIPT!!! (which I subsequently turned down after consulting a literary agent – I can get more than £1000 for it and all rights gone to the publisher by going the traditional route when the manuscript is finished)


November 27th – December 03rd – We had a cheeky cheese and biscuits and “fruit tea” (mulled wine ;) ) because the boss’s boss was a scrooge and wouldn’t let the team leave early if we weren’t going to the company Christmas do in London.


December 10th – It was snowing hard, I baked cinnamon rolls and I sat wrapped up warm in fluffy blankets with a hot drink t my side in the conservatory with my bunnies while I read the MUCH anticipated book Before Mars by the lovely and wonderful Emma Newman.  It’s out in April. I recommend you get it and read it.


December 14th – I had a lovely morning out shopping with mum and then mum, Ian and I had lunch at Turtle Bay – a belated birthday lunch for mum.  The food was AMAZING,  I’ve found a lethally good cocktail (KoKocolada – so smooth, creamy, tropical and you can’t taste the booze in it!!!)  All of this followed by a really great food coma nap J


December 19th – I went to the work Christmas lunch with the Ladies from CDW contract management at Turtle bay.  Fantastic food, great company, excellent cocktails, and the most ADORABLE gift from my secret santa.


December 25th – A really chilled out Christmas day with Ian and Mum.  The look of joy on Ian’s face when he unboxed the drone was perfect.  Also I was spoiled rotten.


Days of Future Craft


When I was at nine worlds convention in August I participated in a roleplay game that was something of an experiment.


The premise was that we were all part of a crafting group with super crafting abilities.



First of all came character creation.  There were three characters, The Leader, The Noob and the ‘Muscle’ and three players to each character – one in the past, one in the present, one in the future each with a defined set of stats.


I played the Noob.  Named Roshan August.


Between the three of us playing Roshan we came up with the back story that Roshan was a security guard, who watches a LOT of you-tube craft videos.  His/her special craft superpower however is knitting, and s/he has a seemingly never-ending knitting project that is cursed.  The ball of wool has three colours – yellow, red and blue.  While knitting in the yellow section, Roshan is scared of all things yellow – which makes it rather difficult to get through that section.  While in the red section of the wool, anything red makes Roshan angry resulting in the project getting tossed all over the place in anger, and while knitting in the blue segment, anything blue coloured – s/he just can’t be bothered.  This knitting project was delivered to Roshan by courier while at work with an invitation to join a craft group.  The note warns that the project inside will be difficult to complete – but there will be a considerable reward for doing so.  Not one to give up on a challenge, Roshan accepts.



I played the Roshan of the Present.


S/he was invited to the manor by Mr Johnathan Delaney, the owner of the manor.  He died shortly after Roshan joined the group and the inheritance left by Delaney was inherited by a very skilled engineer – a woman by the name of Alejandra Fumero.  She’s a keen businesswoman and knows of the manor’s interesting powers, and for the good of humanity tries to use them.  She rips out the majority of the manor to create things to end world hunger – farming robots etc.  She knew of the craft group also, and is happy to let them continue their crafting nights.


Of the past Roshan knows that there are strange occurrences at the manor, and that his/her abilities to craft are enhanced while within the grounds. A project that should take days, takes hours.  There is also a mysterious box that keeps appearing and disappearing which contains strange messages possibly from the future and or the past, but Roshan has never encountered the box since they joined.


The crafting sessions take place in a wood panelled craft room chock full of crafting supplies of all sorts and finished projects.  Usually also in attendance are Chris Pierce the crafting group’s leader, a person who is highly intelligent, but also extremely risk averse.  Frances Barrows is the other member of the group in frequent attendance, and they are looked after by Jeeves – a robot AI butler.


Then we cracked on with the game.


The group assembled in the crafting room, and Jeeves who somewhat resembles a cylon with a blue glowing ‘eye’greets usually, and asks if any of us need assistance or supplies for the evening of crafting.


Roshan is fine, Frances would like a cup of tea, Chris wants a crochet hook – Size C.


Jeeves gets the tea and crochet hook while we sit at a four seater table..


“I’m very sorry but I am afraid that Alejandra cannot join you this evening, she is very busy.  I will return shortly.


Jeeves then leaves and we get on with our current crafting projects – Chris is crocheting amigurumni, Frances is folding paper into a complex multi stage origami piece and Roshan is knitting a cocktail dress.  In the back ground they can hear the familiar clang, rattle and hiss of manufacture from the great hall.  Suddenly it ceases.


There is still power, and You-tube – which Roshan always has on in the background plays for about 30 more seconds before it also stops.


“Bloody internet” Roshan curses.


S/he presses the button that will summon Jeeves.


“Please stand by. I will attend to your needs momentarily” Jeeves’s voice calls through a speaker


The noise outside fires back up again a little later, it’s louder, the sounds of manufacture are going much faster.  You-tube still isn’t working so Roshan decides to go and find the router to give it a re-boot.  Oddly none of us have any phone signal, whereas we usually do.


As Roshan heads out the door, there are a few robots out there with red eyes.  Jeeves is behind them.  His ‘eye’ is also red.  Roshan also notices that the attachments on the front robots look rather sharp, possibly weapons.  Roshan calls Frances to take a look – Frances is ex military.  Frances comes out and sees immediately the robots are in a ‘guard’ position, and are setting up to wall us in.  Frances asks Jeeves what is going on as it looks like he positioned them and is now heading off.


Jeeves turns at the call


“Please remain calm.  Everything is under control”


Roshan asks why the internet is out.


“Remain where you are.  All will be well”


This is sinister, but no one is actively doing anything bad yet.  Then there is an odd moment, a sudden sense of deja-vu.


Frances walks up to the robots on guard and tries to pass them.  They bring up their arms to stop him


“Remain where you are” The robot in front of him says


“I need the Loo” Frances says.


“Negative” is the robot’s response.


Frances tries to force his way past.  Meanwhile our leader Chris has been completely oblivious to all of this as we are in the long corridor outside the crafting room.  Frances knocks the robot aside. And Chris soon gets the idea that something is wrong.


Roshan who has watched a LOT of you-tube realises that the machines have weaknesses.  S/he swans up and jams a knitting needle into one of the robot’s joints causing sparks to fly.


Chris is looking at some plans of the manor that are in the craft room and calls out “Hey guys! There’s an air duct leading out of the craft room.


“Remain Calm’ a robot says as it tries to pin Frances.  It fails as Frances has some interesting origami items on his person – in the form of metal folded into shuriken.  They grapple and Roshan thinking quickly hoods the ‘eye’ with a knit.


Chris calls us again “Hey! You two!”


Another robot attacks and Roshan blocks it with a knitting needle raised sword like across the head.  The robot has miscalculated the level of force needed and the blade it was using slides off and cuts through a tube and is off balance due to the deflection.


Frances charges it, knocks it over, and takes it out. Then he calmly re folds his shuriken while Roshan retrieves the knitting needles.  They return to the crafting rom and ask what Chris has found, as they appear to be under attack.


She reveals that she’s found a way out of the craft room.


Roshan and Frances say the robots need to be stopped.  Chris agrees.  They kit up ustilising the craft supplies at their disposal, with utility belts of tools and supplies.  Roshan takes tin snips and needles, bandoleers of yarn and a backpack of small items.  They fix head torches – normally used for close up fine work to their heads and enter the tunnel, closing the panel behind them.


Roshan sets up a trip wire with bells to alert them if the robots get in the corridor/tunnel, they then follow Chris who is following the plans through the building – they head for the Great hall to see what’s going on.  Other options were the drawing room , the upstairs bedrooms, the library, the roof and the gallery above the hall – none of which have been retrofitted – yet. We realise we need to find the mainframe.


We sneak down to the panel below the gallery.  Frances covertly opens the panel and uses bacofoil as a tiny mirror to make a pin hole projection onto the corridor wall.  The robot production line that was installed there is moving FAST and there are wires all across the floor.


Oddly there are a series of 4 roman soldiers at the perimeter of the hall by the back wall, they look human…but also have a woven look about them, as if they have stepped out of a tapestry.  No-one remembers seeing them but they also feel like they’ve always been here – it’s quite bizarre.  The romans don’t have the red eyes, but they do seem to be directing things.


The main power lines run through the walls below us – we are in the gallery above.  Opposite are some tapestries, created by Johnathan Delaney.  We discuss the situation and have a strange sense of the ominous as reality seems to skip briefly and time ripples – as if it’s out of sync and everyone feels disoriented even though it’s the same place and everything seems to be the same.  We decide we need to get to the power plant to shut everything down.


Two of the roman soldiers stand nearby, on is vaguely female, the other very grey and faded.  Frances sneaks around behind them and snaps their necks.  I pass him some scissors.  He takes his socks off to use as a garrotte, Chris suggests that beading wire might be more effective.  Frances says he’s done it with socks before.  “I once used a pair of *REDACTED* to kill *REDACTED*”


Frances is successful, the stitch work things are chopped down and disabled. The tapestry creature when they examine it – everything is tapestry – the skin, it’s clothing – all puppet like.  Frances pulls a loose thread on the soldier a bit scared, and it begins to unravel – this is some deeply weird shit going on as the stitching goes all through it.  Roshan looks up and sees the tapestries that hang in the great hall.  There is one with a group of four indeviduals – a man in an 18th century top hat, talking with a mediaeval knight.  Another tapestry is filled with Roman paraphernalia – but no figures.  There is a space where people should be and aren’t.  Something is taking over the entities in the building.  Roshan thinks it should all be burned to the ground to be safe. Chris thinks that’s a bit too risky.  We need to stop the monsters is Frances’s argument.  Roshan says, burn it.  Burn it all.


Frances then asks where the main power supply is.  Chris thinks it’s a bit of a risky move to cut all the power but says that the plans say there is some kind of a generator and access to the main grid connections in the basement – basically the service quarters got gutted to provide more power to the place. He suggests they head there.


They follow the cables around the corner and hear the stomping of robot feet.  They look for somewhere to hide.  Frances is hungry and they are so close to the kitchen they hide in there.  There is a robot in the kitchen chopping vegetables but it hasn’t yet noticed anything.


Roshan suggests they kill it.


Frances says they have to wait until the other robots have passed by.


The cooking robot notices the team just as the other robots pass by.  The cook-bot has blue eyes however, and returns to it’s food preparations.  The team go back into the corridor.  They come up with a plan to cut the cable, and have the cook bot get the blame for it.  Frances tests the cook-bot’s intelligence by moving the chopping board.  The bot stops, reaches for the chopping board and gets it back, then resumes its task. The knife it’s using isn’t sufficient for the task, but the team devise a pulley system, attached to a meat cleaver to chop through the cable using the cook-bot’s repetitive chopping motions.  It takes some time, and makes a lot of noise so the team scarper.


They come to a pair of robots guarding a door to a HUGE room.  Roshan and Frances get past them to have a look as they aren’t sure where they are.  The place is criss crossed with thread sand crochet in what looks like random patterns the threads shine.  The room is a factory, and goes so far back it fades into the dark.  It could be the size of a city and boggles the mind.  It looks like the great hall of the mansion – but it’s clearly not – it can’t e it’s too big! It boggles the mind


What the hell? Is a question that passes their lips.  They get the weird deja-vu feeling again.


They all ask each other “Did you just experience that?”


Everyone nods, and Chris asks “What the hell is going on here?”


Frances suggests the team crack on – which they do.  They keep moving, disabling robot guards quickly and efficiently even though the robots are technically there to ‘protect’ them.  Chris has a rather ingenious override device – a rubix cube in shape and design made of crochet.  It confuses the robots – their optics lock onto it as they get close.


The team get into the generator room.  It’s huge, they find the breakers.


Frances rubs a pair of wooden knitting needles together…


There is a big cable to the wine cellar – it looks like that is where the central mainframe is.


Chris as leader thinks shutting things down via the mainframe is less risky than the more hey-go mad Burn it all down method suggested by Roshan.  Right about then a paper aeroplane flies into the room.  It contains a note in Frances’s handwriting.


“If you find this, Throw it back with your name on”


Frances does this, re folds the plane and throws it in the air back the way it came.


It disappears.



As they come through they hear something come out of the basement and go to the wine cellar.  There’s a sound – heavy work down there lots of clanging and digging and motors.  Chris suggests that they have a peek.  They sneak and have a look.  It’s very dark in there apart from the computer equipment with flashy lights.  There are LOTS of red robot eyes.  They appear to be digging through to something.


Roshan, quite angry by all the red suggests that they kill them all.


Frances, with a cooler head suggests they see IF they can.  There are 4 robots guarding the computer screens.


Chris throws some shrapnel producing amigurumni cats and dogs and pandas and bunnies in to the room.  They go plop, then explode with shards.  Some emit a covering smoke screen.


Chris has worked on them while no one else has been looking and has then been hanging them on Roshan’s backpack.


Roshan throws some as well but they don’t land in the right place.  Frances is acting all ninja with origami shuriken.  I try to use a little pizaz in my throwing, but all it does is confuse the robots – and Chris and Roshan.  The team do successfully take out the four robots guarding the mainframe however.  Thankfully the diggers don’t notice all this happening.  Chris congratulates Roshan and Frances on a good job.


Roshan then notices an odd box – they have heard of it before.  It’s sitting on the computer that Roshan was going to have a look at – having watched so many you-tube vids they are likely to know a few hacking tricks.


Roshan opens the box.


There is a note.


“Dear whoever this is, Future Frances?.  Hi, Chris here in 2012.  We are talking to Johnathan and his friends.  They received a message a long time ago – from the Roman era it’s said.  “You have to stop this, the Crafter has gone too far”

What does this mean?


Chris Pence & Frances 2012 & Roshan


Knowing that there was a breach in the group after 2012, Roshan notes down:

It’s something to do with Ina in the original group – she has no face.


Roshan shows it to the others, puts the note back in the box, and the box back where it was found – and it disappears.


As Roshan moves to the terminal they notice a strange smear of light as they move their hand and one everyone else that is moving like an after image. Frances is fascinated and keeps playing with this and observing and notices there is a slight before image too…


All agree this is really weird especially when they notice that everything in motion is doing it.



It looks like the robots are digging up a glowing box from out of the wall.  Alejandra is watching all this go on with Jeeves at her side.



They know that’s not a good thing.  It takes a while to hack the computer – even though it’s not password protected.  The core information IS protected as it’s the thing that runs much of the AI.  Roshan is able to bring up a map of where all the robots are however. Roshan has read access but not write. The strange temporal effect continues, but they are getting used to it now.


Chris suggests that they interrogate the computer.


They ask what it’s directive is: “To obey orders of The Crafter”


Who is The Crafter?: No ID information is available. Primary nodes of information for this person are Jeeves and Alejandra.”


They know that there are too many robots to take out in one go – and there’s not fire suppression system based on water in here – but a bit of digging reveals that there IS a Halon fire suppression system – because of all the electronics.  Roshan sets a timer to trip the system to force Alejandra to leave using a intricate crochet fuse.


They set it up, and it goes off.  Jeeves carries Alejandra out.


Alejandra has a glazed expression and a complex crochet device on her head covered In wires.  Roshan blinds the butler with more knitting and Frances delivers a well placed Judo Chop that Jeeves reacts to and blocks.  The strange time thing is still ongoing.


The box appears again.  It contains a new note:



Hi, We are Chris, Roshan and Frances in 2020.  There is a robot apocalypse and we are trying to stop it by changing time.  There is a robot making machine in this manor which is using the crafting magic.  Johnathan died and Alejandra took over (is she behind this?) If you are in the past, PLEASE stop the robot apocalypse (IT SUCKS!) or send us some useful information (eg what is the thread portal tapestry thing?)  LOOK IN THE ATTIC


Xxx R, F & C




The team get a really strange feeling as if the stream of things is all coming together.  The box appears in the past and the future and light seems to focus on the box.


Roshan and the team can see the other streams of time come together and come from the box – other versions of themselves coming together.


There are three different environments superimposed over each other.


The base of the steps to the wine cellar where the Halon gas is coming from with robot Jeeves with a knit on his head, and alejandra unconscious on the floor. That Roshan of the present is familiar with.


There is also a bedroom of the mansion and a corridor with a strange tapestry and four people wearing corduroys and ugly sweaters looking confused and holding swords of an ancient roman style – there is Johnathan whom everyone recognises and a woman, androgenous in appearance with a crochet cap on similar to the one Alejandra wears.  There is also a blonde woman we don’t recognise with a false face – we can’t see her properly her head is turned around – but it’s very not natural.  There are four others in clothes from the early 199’s looking angry.  Johnathan looks both angry and sad at the same time, the woman in the cap seems angry and triumphant


The areal ALSO looks like the mansion has been ripped apart, and is a huge factory similar to the prototype that is in the great hall of the present, and more robots guarding either side.  Past and present Chris, Frances and Roshan are also visible to each other.  Everything in the future is very dark – but past and present are still lit.  it’s strange.


The Frances of the past and future helps the team in the present subdue Jeeves.  His head is ripped off.


Alejandra of the past is asking what the hell is going on.


Roshans of past present and future discus what to do about the cap – it’s a case of cutting wires, but Present and past Roshan aren’t sure which ones will defuse whatever the cap is doing.  Future Roshan pushes the other two of their-self aside. “I saw this in a you tube video”


Roshan of the future is ALSO batted aside, this time by future Chris.  “The head piece looks dangerous” They use a glue gun to insulate the crochet hook and lift the cap off.


The group of 90’s people are also asking what’s going on, one of them is waving their sword around.


There is a waft of gas, and the team of the present explain about what’s being unearthed in the cellar.


That bloody box! Someone exclaims.


The robots remove the box from the wall and move it deliberately to a point where they all come together.


Past Roshan restrains the woman without a face using the yellow yarn jumper – minus the sleeves to bind her arms together.  This brings the yellow yarn to the end of it’s spool.  Things start to unravel and they hesitate.


No-one thinks the robot getting to the box that travels through time is a good idea.  They all try to stop it through various crafting means.  There is a literal bombardment of craft supplies and the box is knocked out of the robot’s hand.


The box falls and rolls across the floor.


Everyone tries to get hold of it.


All three time streams have different ideas and want to take it to a place, the roman Ina is excites and confused.  She lets out a strange scream as one of the crafter team of past present or future – no one can really tell who is who at this point, grabs the box, and foils Ina’s/the Crafter’s plan.


Roshan repeats the suggestion of Burn it.  This is agreed upon – it’s burned using sparking from power cables.  There is a whoomph and then everything goes black and the teams all snap bac to their respective time lines.


Now they are going to have to clean up all the mess this has caused.


And that was where we were forced to leave off as the room was needed for the next panel – we’d overrun by a fair bit.  but it was totally worth it and great fun :)



Much thanks to Penn Tynan and her fellow ST’s for running it.

I wrote this little twitter fiction in response to a Twitter Post in April about an Author (I forget their name, possibly Marie Brennan, Mary Robinette Kowal or Fran Wilde) regarding one of their family or acquaintances calling Red Velvet Chocolate cake, Red Velvet Chocolate Poison.

I thought I’d share here :)
Red Velvet Chocolate Poison
Agatha looked at the cabinet of poisons. “The red” she muttered before mixing it all into the chocolate cake.

It felt appropriate to assassinate the leader of the tailors guild and traitor-spy to the realm with a cake named for his favourite fabric.

The MMORPG Show!

I’m pretty sure I didn’t post about this here, which is a terrible lack I’ll be rectifying now.
In march one of my acquaintances threw a geeky 40th birthday party, hiring the wonderful Paul Flannery ( @piratemoustache ) to hold the MMORPG Show he singlehandedly runs at the civic centre.  Thus all of Didcot and beyond’s geeks came out of the woodwork for some fun.
I was lucky enough to be picked as one of the players to take part in the show.  So without further ado, I present The MMORPG Show – Didcot edition
So, the Story begins:
Bob the cheesemonger has been murdered. The mayor of Dumfries calls in a daring trio to investigate!
Enter: A Fatal Fondue! We are the Best: You cannot disabrie! If all else fails, a have a trebuchet.
Amazing George : The Wizard Lemur

Sneaky Bess: The Rogueish Lllama


Lady Gander of Stream: Badass warrior Goose!

To Prove to the Mayor that we are fit for this investigation Lady Gander Launches a Flaming Camembert from her goose run Trebuchet. Success!

We investigate the murder scene: We find a lot of cheese. Evidence of a fight. Owl footprints, and fur.  
Who could the owl be?
We travel to the food market: the local hotbed of crime! Bess and party sneak in through the sewers. Something brushes up aginst her leg!

We are trudging through water! what could it be?
A sentient toilet brush with blue bristles appears!
It attackks Amazing George with a wad of toilet paper! it misses!
George sets a bag of moths on it to carry it away! (Moths are the natural predators of Toilet brushes here)
Sneaky Bess peeeks into the food hall. Its the central hub of mouse gangsters.
The party walk right in. There are illiterate badger guards supervised by a telepathic cactus and a half cat, half squid called Catamari
We state our mission. They question our credibility as thieves. Bess points out we snuck in. They accept us as criminals

We are offered a job by the criminals to get the information we want. There is a price on the head of a man known for mayoring/embezzling.
To meet the guy with this job, we have to prove ourselves. We are sent on a quest! A quest to build a shrine to Catamari.

We build a shrine with a large picture of Catamari, Cat toys, Cat nip, and tentacle prawn. Catamari is very impressed.

Amazing George Levels up, and recieves the skill: A Rousing Speech!
We are led off to meet the head cheese.

Enter: Monty the Mouldering Milk, who is six rats on top of each other in a trench coat. He can turn milk sour with his mere presence.
We state our mission. He says the cheese merchant had it coming to him. His prices – too high. Artisanal cheese! And worse, he wouldn’t sell out to Monty.

Monty knows who did the deed. He Will introduce us to the killer – who he hired – for a price. We must kill the mayor – he bought the last election and is corrupt
Being mercenaries hired by the mayor, we see if Monty will better our pay. He agrees to double what the mayor offered

We discuss how to do the deed. The mayor is a Shark who always needs the toilet. He HATES 2 hour comedy shows. Monty offers us 2 tickets.
If we can get him to the show, we can off him there. We decide to set him up with a date with the sentient toilet brush.

Monty likes this plan. He asks us about the murder scene. We tell him there were signs of a fromage affray. Also Owl prints and fur
Monty tells us this has all the hallmarks an operation run by Jimmy the Goat. He finds Owls make good murder weapons with their sharp beaks and large eyes
We decide to try and get the MOST out of this, both the Mayors money AND Monty’s.

We start our quest to kill the Mayor by searching for the sentient toilet brush. It takes several hours to find her. She is weeping.
Amazing George Summons a familiar! A carer called Maria. The toilet brush is from Toulouse. The carer wraps her in loo roll. THEN hugs her.

Bess planned and forgot to offer the No 7 Lipstick she nicked to the unfortunate Toilet Brush, but the carer convinces her to go on a date.
She has always dreamed of going on a date with a shark that always needs the loo. They take her to Jumping Jacks

They go and speak to the mayor. He’s Shufflling about uncomfortably outside the cheese shop. Goats are loading the cheese into lorries…
Amazing George speaks to the mayor. We have a lead, we need him to go on a date with a sentient toilet brush called Bricilla. He’s keen on the idea

We ask what’s with the goats and the cheese. He says they are moving it as it’s evidence. It needs dusting for prints. We think it’s cheesy.
It’s not Blue-leivable, and we camambarely believe it. It’s not a very mature response.

We consider splitting the party so we can follow the goats un-feta’ed. But take the mayor to the show first. It’s called @KnightmareLive
We then follow the goats to the food market where we just were. The psychic cactus and Catamari are overseeing the unloading of the cheese.

Sneaky Bess tries to listen in: She rolls a Natural 20! She hears everything, even the cactus’s thoughts!

They have the cheese! The plan has worked! So long as the Mayor doesn’t double cross them. But that’s fine, someones been sent to kill him!
We go back to the comedy show. There are bouncers outside. A Demonic potato, and 1 million ants in the shape of 1 ant called Anthony
King Edward the demonic sentient potato asks us for our tickets. We don’t have any. They won’t let us past.

Lady Gander convinces King Edward that there is a Lady Potato called Maris Piper from Jersey trapped in her Trebuchet in need of rescue!

King Edward gets into the Trebuchet, he is launched! He misses the ants, but is gone. He lands halfway home to Wales, decides to finish trip

Sneaky Bess tries to convince the ants that there’s a 3 headed monkey behind them! They werent born yesterday. They are from Birmingham.

There are Lots of 3 headed monkeys in Birmingham. If it had been a 2 headed monkey however…well. It MIGHT have distracted them
Bess then tries to cause Antarchy by causing them to break apart due to a corrupt election, but fails. The ants shoot a group at George
George gets swarmed, bitten and ends up very itchy. The Lemur decides to try a Rousing Speech on them!

“In a world where Ants are Downtrodden!

In a world where Shark always need the loo!

In a world where Everyone wants to be in control!”

“Stand up and be free!

Leave the colony!

Be your Own Ant!”

It’s largely successful.
The ants at the front are inspired! they disperse, but the ones at the back who couldn’t hear remain as Tiny Anthony

Lady Gander tries to roll the Trebuchet over this much smaller target.
(I need to roll a 2 or more on a d20)
(I roll a Natural 1 ><)

The trebuchet wheel buckles! It tips on its side! The ants are unharmed.
Sneaky Bess the Llama tries to stomp on the ants and misses. The ants are antagonised but not distracted.

George decides to set his bag of moths on the ants as a distraction. It’s amazingly successful. It appears ants have a fetish for sexy moths.
Amazing George the Lemur levels up agan! He gets a mnemonic device.

We get in.The Mayor is shuffling in his seat next to Bricilla, Monty is also there. Lady Gander gets her goslings to dismantle the trebuchet. (It’ll be needed inside if everything goes to plan)  

George has a chat with Monty trying to get half the money out of him before killing The Mayor, not very successfully.
Amazing George Summons his cat familiar. 
Monty: Nice to meet you

George: Monty this is my Cat. Cat this is your Lunch
This is mostly because the money is there, but Monty’s not giving him any. The cat is also unsuccessful. Only one Rat is scared away.
Monty: Are you trying to double cross me? Because that’s Bad form. I’m paying good money for this to go my way.

George: when you put it that way, Yes.
The lights in the thetre go out.
Monty: Mayor! A Fatal Fondue have double crossed us both! They must have found the scape-goat!
The Mayor stops his uncomfortable need-the-loo shuffle. There is a swirl of lights, and in his place: An Owl, The Great Hootini!

Bricilla is agog and horrified! She hates Owls. And it turns out that Monty and the mayor were in Ca-hoots all along!

Hootini Launches himself at Amazing George, but in the dim light he misjudges and all he does is give him a light grazing.

Lady Gander Hisses menacingly at Monty and tries to beat him with her wings. Shes a touch out of practice. She is used to relying on her trusty Trebuchet! 
Sneaky Bess the Llama Spits at Hootini, Blinding him!
Hootini: I cannot See! Aaargh! Bugger! Aaaargh!

Amazing George Decants him into the re-built trebuchet.
Hootini Crawls out again.
Monty meanwhile hits Amazing George. He’s now Itchy, Bruised, crying and really wants to go home.
Lady Gander Is NOT HAVING IT. Into the trebuchet goes Hootini. Down goes the counterweight. Hootini flies acoss the room…

Right into Monty the pack of rats in a trench coat. They tangle and end up against the wall in a neat packge for the authorites to take away.
Having successfully solved the murder mystery, but without having been paid, Sneaky Bess loots the room.

A large number of the audience realise later that their pockets have been picked.

Thus ended the MMORPG Show…and this story.

Nine Worlds!

A Bit late but better than never…


Last weekend I went to the Nine Worlds Convention in London.


My first ever convention was this one last year, and this year was JUST as good.


I was possibly a bit OVER ambitious in wanting to travel down by train from Peterborough two days in a row with a Sunday for recovery before work on Monday.  Realistically, I absolutely should have gotten a room and stayed for the duration, and will be next year.


So it all started Friday morning with me getting up at ridiculous o’clock (my normal wake up time weekday of half six ;) ) to get a taxi to the train station.  I had packed way too many snackings, of which I ate most of the packet of hobnobs on the way down.  At this point I pretty firmly declared – fuck it, the diet is off for the weekend!


I had a bit of an adventure helping my good friend Hisham with an error that was made when he packed to come down for the weekend but made it to the Novotel in plenty of time for my first panel.  I even got a decent amount of Pokemon Go in on the journey and caught an Unown – my first.  It’s weird.


My First event was the Access:LARP workshop, which was highly interesting, useful and informative, and I now have a Space LARP I want to run as a result! (You MAY hear more about that if I actually manage to get back to doing semi regular blog posts).  This workshop was ALL about designing, making and running a LARP that for people with any form of disability – mental or physical NO MORE DIFFICULT than for other players.  It was NOT about making it easier for disabled players to participate, it’s entirely about inclusivity and designing accessibility in FROM THE BEGINNING so that it’s not accommodation to make things easier, but so that anyone and everyone can participate and enjoy regardless of who they are.


I had a bit of time before the next panel and caught up with a few LARP friends, including the wonderful Annie Czaikowski, who was my LARP mama at Emma Newman’s Split Worlds LARP last year.  She does some fantastic Cosplay.  Last year she did Princess Buttercup, and Westley, This year she was Link one of the days – and I didn’t recognise her until up close!


The Next Panel was shut up and write where inspiration in the form of “The Muse” was discussed in both ancient greek and modern terms.  I call my inspiration Plot Bunnies – they bite hard, and breed like rabbits!  Key questions you need to ask when struggling with a project include:

What are you working on right now?

Why Are you doing this project?

What is the outcome when this is finished?

What are the immediate consequences of not finishing the project?

How would you feel if you temporarily stop?

How would you feel if you permanently quit?

What do you believe society would say if you gave up?

Which among the above questions are you most afraid of?

I asked a very pertinent question in the end section – I have MANY projects, each roughly about the same level of development and can’t decide which to work on – how would the panellists choose in the same situation.  I liked the answer – they would chose the one they think will be most fun to do!


They also mentioned various tools to aid with the writing process.  The most pertinent for me are using the Forest app to keep me off my phone for a designated time – a modified form of the Pomodoro technique (it sort of guilt trips you into not using your phone or you will kill the tree that’s growing through that set time)


After this I had a sit down, a munch through my snackings and had a good shop for books and things.  I came home with some EXCEPTIONAL books, many from the Rebellion Publishing Stand – having spent this entire week recuperating via doing little more than reading I can HIGHLY recommend THE CHANGE by Guy Adams – they are a fantastic, and gore-festy and quirky and fun take on the apocalypse. Also I got lots of geeky clean bath bombs and candles – they smell divine, are undoubtedly geeky, and vegan friendly to boot!


Third panel of the day was Exploring the World via Fanfiction.  Which looked largely into the slash fic research generated by HBO’s ROME series, and how odd it was largely all homoerotic despite there being some strong female characters, which diverged into talking about Atalanta and the different categories of mythological related fanfic that the presenter from the OU (I’m SO AWFUL with names!).


Name only

Name and attributes/Similarities

Retelling the story set in a world based on Greek myth

Retelling in the Modern world

Re Use of a character in a new story

Re-working – using the myth as inspiration for a new story


After this we workshopped – and wrote either a story or the outline for one based on a Greek myth.  I’ve already done a Medusa style one recently, so this time I chose Icarus – in space.  My brain being what it was whispered that wouldn’t it be a GOOD idea if I worked through ALL of the Greek myths and do the same thing.  I firmly told it no, but the idea’s still niggling in the back of my head.  Damned plot bunnies!


After this panel I was flagging a little despite trying to keep fully hydrated with LOTS of water – con’s are so tiring! I’m not great with crowds, I’m an introvert so the spoons I have for social are finite, and I was engaging and fully concentrating on the panels I was attending.  I sometimes wonder if I’m on the Aspergers spectrum.  I tick a LOT of the boxes, but just not in huge majorly obvious ways… So I spent 20 minutes in the specially designated quiet room which was full of colouring books, fidget toys, cushions and seats, and two mattresses for sleep and a tray of water and fresh fruit.  My favourite pat though, was the tiny tiny spoon – and a note – Help yourself take one for when you run out!  I took one, and it’s a lovely reminder of a great weekend.  The Acessibility coordinator did a wonderful job.


I left reasonably refreshed to attend the final panel of the day Interpretations of an Interstellar Future (My SciFi streak has reared it’s head after reading the MOST EXCELLENT The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, and A Closed & Common Orbit by Becky Chambers – It’s Firefly – only better!


The panel discussed why we write about humans in space, depictions of human civilisations between different star systems from familiar to totally strange – the pro’s and cons of writing civilisations with FTL and without and how humanity to do such colonisation would have to do what effectively was a GIANT kickstarter to travel to the stars given how much its likely to cost.  Also discussed were the different forms of fiction that come with and without the FTL drive – if you have a generation ship, you get better traction for a psychological thriller because they are all stuck on the one spaceship.


There was discussion of the happy generation ship and the purposes of an artificial colony – everyone relies on one another, and the more likely result the recent TV series EDEN being touted as the prime example – everything collapsed and got really dark because it is human nature to take our troubles with us.  Everyone has a reason for leaving/travelling to a place – they aren’t all good!  Even Wall-E which on the face of it LOOKS like a Utopia – isn’t.


The other point the panellists made is that the future is OLD – there will be dirty bits, and things that are in need of fixing.  Also the pet peeve of all of the panel – explosions in space – space is a vacuum – there is no sound!


After which I dragged myself home, and basically passed out after booking the taxi to take me to the station again in the morning.


Next morning I managed to drag myself out of bed on time, mainlined tea until I woke up enough to be sensible and did a bit of Pokemon go before reaching the hotel.  I tried a solo raid on a Moltres – as you can imagine I had my arse handed to me lol.


First panel was Writing the unknown setting – really interesting and useful.  It started with an interesting conversation on how people measure distance – most people do it by how long it takes to get there rather than the numerical distance.


Useful points and questions:

Why is the story set there?

Where does the story need to be?

Sometimes inventing a location is the best thing, but they are generally based on a known location.

The setting should almoist always actively contribute to the plot’s direction – the setting is a character in it’s own right.

Where you ive is influencing you

If you can change the name of the city and it’s fine – you have gone wrong!


Tips for when you can’t visit:

Find a designated local to tell you the ins and outs you are interested in.

There is NOTHING wrong with leaning towards a location you already know.

Contact the local Tourism guild

Crowd source the problem on social media

Check in with local writing groups

Cal the local library

Search Facebook groups.

Use your technology – google maps local library websites to discover what locas find important, official city websites, local newspapers – especially the comments section.


Don’t be afraid to go old school – the history of an area is as important as the current events. Ask the designated local if there are any elder community members willing to share.


Find a local beta reader.



When you CAN go to the place:

Before going make a scene wish list

Find unique local spots to switch out for generic placeholders

Plan for 1-3 scheduled events/visits per day to allow for spontaneous discovery

Schedule interviews with local experts

Make sure you know operating hours of localities you want to visit


While there:

Always be professional,

TELL people you meet you are a writer – the person could be a potential fan/source of surprise info.


Take lots of photos – more than you think you need – at different orientations, and lots of notes

Visit local bookstores – they make great contacts for future events


Bring ARC’s of previous works for them to peruse

If they stock your books you can sign them (ask first)



After the trip:


Send thankyous, a special gift for designated local(doesn’t need to be expensive – could be a character in the novel)


Transcribe your notes – how did locations feel – use 5 senses


Label the photos.



I had a break after this and had Lunch with the lovely Annie before heading off to an RPG.

I had been planning to go to some other really interesting sounding talks, but I probably didn’t have the spoons for that, also Days Of Future Craft was a one off, never going to be played again game that intrigued me.  SO I went to that.  I will write that up in full in a separate post, but suffice to say, three characters in three different timelines had to figure out some crazy things that were going on, using their super boosted crafting skills, and save the day.  It got a bit crazy as timelines converged as you can imagine! So much fun J



The final panel I really wanted to attend was How to write Dystopia in a somewhat Dystopian World.  By now I was a bit wiped out, so wasn’t as switched on listening.  It discussed the differences between dystopia and utopia, and how the apocalypse is already here – just not evenly distributed.


There was discussion on how as a child you live in a utopia, grow up and end up I na dystopia, or grew up in a dystopia, clawed your way out and ended up in a different kind of dystopia and how one person’s utopia is another’s dystopia.  There’s never an environment that’s going to please everyone.


Dystopia is the story of people getting crapped on by society.


In the real world dystopia we are powerless, which is why we enjoy the fictional kind so much – you are enabled – there is successful survival and resistance, the ability to change things which we can’t do in real life. Basically dystopian fic is a way of distracting people from what is going on in the present.


One of the panellists wanted to see more dystopia of unintended consequences of trying to make things ‘better’ – like Thalidomide was supposed to cure morning sickness, and caused thousands of babies to be horrendously disfigured.


They also want to see more original works – there’s a lot of remakes and revisitations of this sort of thing on TV and in films.


They finished with a line I think I will finish my blog off with.  After this I dragged myself home and passed out on the bed.  This is something I think is as relevant to real life as it is to fiction:


“By being Kind to each other, We create a Utopia”

Sorry about that…life got BUSY.
Have a poem.  I’ll update at some point.



We dance the slow dance of the ages

Drifting over warm currents from below

We circle, we drift until a tiny little rift

Makes us take a breath, step apart

then the rift grows


We dance the slow dance of the ages,

Floating apart, pushed by warm currents below

You go north, I go south

A rotating Coriolis in the crowd

Will we meet again? Time only knows.


We dance the slow dance of the ages

Plates sliding and slipping as we go

We weather the changes that become us

High points eroded by our rivers

The low points filled with silty snow.


We dance the slow dance of the ages,

One of your edges shears and lets go

It sinks down beneath your continental seat

Volcanoes erupt where it’s rubbed raw blisters into your feet

And the hills on your edges begin to grow.


We dance the slow dance of the ages, 

The currents they continue to flow

They tell me of your pain

I shift my dance towards you again

So my sedimentary skirts can soothe and fill cratered holes.
We dance the slow dance of the ages

The warm currents, they guide us home

Together we come, raising mountains

Becoming one

And onwards with the dance we go



This week’s good thing was a visit up to Preston to see my family and celebrate my grandmother’s 90’thbirthday.  I drove up and that went really well, I onl;y made two wrong turnings.  One near Banbury, one near Chorley where I got too clever and came off a junction early.


I made a beeline to Abakhan fabric to acquire some netting for my bustle dress – which is starting to come together – slowly.  very slowly.  Then I went to grandmas and we had a good chat before going to the Phantom Winger for dinner.  Dad paid for that which was really nice.  I had scampi. I’ve not had that in an AGE, I also had a glass of wine as I was staying in the hotel next door.  Grandma bless her thought I was going to drive having drunk – I’m not that foolish!


I got into the hotel which is quite comfortable – and they provided me with extra teabags when I asked – I’m awful for needing tea in a morning, and more than two measly little mugs at that.  Then I crashed out.


The morning was lovely and lazy I listened to podcasts and read the book I’m currently reading, showered dressed and headed over to Asda to spend all the lovely gift card mum got after she slipped and fell on Asda’s petrol station forecourt – so I got a load of staples with it for us and we won’t need to buy food for a couple of months lol.  then I went to grandma’s and saw some of the more distant family members – cousins etc who popped in to wish grandma happy birthday.  Grandma loved her birthday present – hand creams and a small bottle of gold laced champaigne.  Dad, Annie & I exchanged our Christmas presents.  I have a lovely vegetable growing kit, and La Vie Est Belle perfume form Lancôme.
We had our meal at Haighton Manor just outside of Preston.  We last went for dad’s 60’th and it wasn’t great – OK.  but it’s changed hands and is SO much better – the food was really good, and the décor was really homey and welcoming.  I was indulgent.  I had the duck, and a rhubarb cheesecake for dessert with ginger ice cream.


Then we headed back to grandmas – I had had a good chat with cousins Kate and Simon, made friends with Simon’s new partner Jelena and had a few words with my shyest older cousin George.  We had champaigne (I had a sip for politeness’s sake and the fact tyhere was a few hours for it to work through my system before I had to drive back to the hotel), had birthday cake that Aunt Glenys made – really delicious and moist and light.  It was apparently a Mary Berry recipe, liberally fed with sherry!  Aunt Glenys is a really good baker though.  It was great to see Aunt Pam too, though I was sad that Uncle Michael (Glenys’s husband) was so much worse than the last time I saw him. He does have Parkinsons, and I haven’t seen him in several years.  He did really well though.  It wasn’t a late night.  I headed back to the hotel about 8.30 ish after everyone else had gone, and had a good chat with mum and Ian, then I crashed again.


I swear I need to schedule in a weekend where I’m doing NOTHING.  it’s a good thing work is nice and quiet right now!


So that’s the second good thing of the year.  Family gathering to celebrate a significant milestone :)

Happy 2017!

Happy 2017!


I hope everyone is having a pleasant start to the year. I’m so far having a great one.  It’s still as busy as the back end of the year but it’s all good stuff.


My Christmas was great. I wrote some fiction that has been submitted to Escape Artists for consideration, if it fails I’ll probably post it here, as I’m quite proud of it.  I also spent a lot of time bombing around the country.  This started with a visit to Ian in Peterborough, then up to Oxford for Rippers LARP – the season finale is at the end of the month and I’m very much looking forwards to it. Then there were all the work Christmas parties and lunches.  Thankfully I was let out really early on the Friday so the drive down to Cornwall to stay with my best friend Zoe over Christmas went smoothly even though the weather was awful, and I got there at a reasonable hour, unlike Rich & Sam who didn’t get there until nearly midnight.


I had a really lovely chilled Christmas weekend there, we had a fully vegan Christmas lunch – very yum! Nut roast and roast veggies. My Christmas pudding went down a storm, that too was fully vegan.  And very boozy!  We went for a walk on Porthleven beach on boxing day, and if I hadn’t met Ian I’d probably stayed there over the new year.  But I had met Ian, and furthermore there was the opportunity to meet a friend I have corresponded with over the internet that I met on the Anne McCaffrey Fans Forum, but have never met in person, So I drove home, giving Sam a lift.  The next day was bloody foggy, so I left for Cambridge MUCH later than planned to meet Sammy and Kath, but that enabled me to do a decent amount of much needed housework.  The rabbits I don’t think enjoyed the journey but I can’t leave them for more than a weekend.


Cambridge was nice, we had a lovely lunch in Wagamama and a mooch about and I said goodbye to both at the train station. Finding my bus to get back to the park and ride was…interesting…but I managed and then drove on to Ian’s.


I stayed with Ian a week, and it was just so lovely. We are both geeky and chilled out and introverts so we were happy to do our own thing while in the same room – Ian gaming, me reading and writing and listening to podcasts and be really comfortable, but also really enjoyed time spent together.  We had a wonderful time in Peterborough city, with a lunch at Wagamama, and we had a fab evening watching geeky films – Pacific Rim, Pride and Prejudice & Zombies and Deadpool.  The new Years eve Party at |Ian’s friend Alison’s was fun.  I met some lovely people, they really liked me, and the same happened at the pub quiz Ian goes to on a weekly basis with his work colleagues, who are a lot of fun.  Ian and I also had some geeeky fun playing pokemon Go, and trying out cocktail recipes from the World of Warcraft recipe book – I HIGHLY recommend the cherry grog! Sweet tart and with a ginger alcohol bite.  I finished reading Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which is a fantastic read, and I’ll do a book review of it this week at some point as work is somewhat quiet.


I will also tell you what my ONE new years resolution is. I don’t as a rule do them, I prefer to have aims for the year, of which I have 2 – one is finish the first draft of one of my novels in progress, and the other is to clear the pile of books in my to be read pile.


My one resolution is to place in a jar a note detailing one good thing that has happened to me each week. Hopefully I will also remember to note them here too, but knowing what I am like, I’ll probably forget, or get too busy, but I will do a round up post at the end of the year.


I will kick it off now. My Christmas holiday was rounded off in the BEST way.  Ian and I travelled up to Birmingham to play in the Tales out of Anchor LARP by Firecat Masquerade.


It was described to me as a mix of regency and 21930’s shanghai fashions, set in a dystopia of floating islands chained to a sea. Metal and water are scarce resources and food is mostly vegan and also rationed as there is limited arable space – given over entirely to crops, and some angora wool making rabbits and silk making moth larvae. Popular items include ‘found fashion’ – this includes clothing and also items.  A recent discovery is a gramophone, the resulting popularity of Blues music in the streets is frowned on by the church of the Anchorer.  The Beurocracy (a pretty monolithic entity) tend to ignore it so long as all the licences are in order.  The Nobility is in decline, and the populace are ready to rebel at the least provocation.  The sky dancers are the ones with the most freedom as they control the best way of transporting people and goods from island to island and have a monopoly on transport to the one source of mined metal (which also happens to be a penal colony).  The city is divided into the Day city and the Night city.  There is no electricity – and Lamps and the lamp lighting ceremony are a of considerable significance due to historical precedent – namely a ruinous locust swarm that was seen off by the lanterns that attracted weather light moths that ate the locusts.


I really wasn’t disappointed in this setting. I created a character that should have quite a lot of fun.  Her name is Brigitte Malachite from an Island called Shackle, which is suffering from Locust plagues and no weatherlights in evidence.  Brigitte found some scrap metal, and that paid for her to travel to Anchor and study at the university.  Her family raise rider birds (good for short hops from island to island) and is now an archaeologist at large who loots…ahem….excavates abandoned buildings on islands she finds or explores.


This particular LARP was set at the last night before a water tower wa due for destruction and recycling – everything gets recycled in this setting. The water tower itself was a scar draped gym, but imagination is a powerful thing and it could be described in such ways to be able to see it in your mind’s eye.  There were chairs in one corner and a map of anchor.  There was a corridor to the main refectory workers room area – lots of tables and where we all congregated for meals.  Finally there was the ‘tea room’ a very dark candle lit room of sofa’s and tables where characters could conspire and plan dodgy dealings in private.  During the day city the people explored the tower, conversed, connived and generally socialised while listening to the music that the gramophone was playing, or to songs sung by anchorites.  It’s reignited my desire to learn to play an instrument.  I’d love to play piano, but Recorder is probably going to be more achieveable.  There was also a discussion by Anchorites on what the space where the water tower was would be used for in the future.  As my character isn’t from Anchor, I sat out and chatted to one of the Noble Irisetti brothers.


There were rumours of several seditious items – Rice and Roses was one, though that got downgraded from heretical to mildly seditious by the end of the LARP, and also a seditious newspaper was circulated. The midday meal was a sumptuous (for an anchorite) buffet of skydancer bounty: Falafel, Spiced wedges, hummus, spiced soy yogurt dip, rice cakes, rice crackers, corn chips, salad leaves, carrots and celery along with dried fruits, spiced marzipan (subtly rose flavoured) and vegan chocolate fudge.


After this came the lamp lighting ceremony when the citizens of the day city changed into less formal wear and the lamps were lit, led by a Rock-priestess. Dinner followed this – a lovely green thai curry with rice – full of potatoes, chickpeas and green beans and coconut milk. This was followed by a rose flavoured rice pudding with fruit compote.  After this there was a blues music concert in the ‘water tower’ – live with singing which was wonderful.  I was getting quite tired by then not that it stopped me drinking a decent amount of mulled wine.  I had a dance, and then I retired – Ian was tired too.  I did plan to have a break then go back, but fel fast asleep so must have needed it.


It was such a fantastic event though, and I’m definitely keen to keep plying.


So that was the good thing from week one: I spent a week with my partner, ended with a fantastic Live action Role Play.


Have a great time guys and happy new year!

So work is definitely on the pre Christmas wind down now so I’ve an afternoon to keep myself occupied. I’ve been doing this by working through the Mass Observation Archive directives, answering the questions as best I can (particularly for the ones in the 80’s where I was yet to be born/a tiny baby with all the perception of what is going on in the world of a small beach pebble). This latest one is interesting.
Write a letter to yourself at 16. Share any words of guidance, comfort and advice to your younger self.
My advice to self is: Don’t panic, things will work out fine, there will be shitty times to come but also some of the best of your life. You aren’t alone, you aren’t a weirdo, you are simply yet to find your tribe, and find it you will. They are the best people a person can be friends with.
When it’s hard, know you can and will survive it. You will flourish and it will be as yourself rather than someone you think you should be.
Advice: read Georgette Heyer, Jean Plaidy and any and all fantasy & Sci fi books you can get your hands on, find others of a like mind. The internet is your friend here.

Try to enjoy metal music yes it’s screamy but there’s some deeply good shit out there and it gets better. Podcasts are cool. Look into them. It’s like personalised radio.  
Never stop being the bright shiny optimistic realist you are, you needn’t be so shy or scared of people and change. It happens to us allx 
Love me.
So my thought is this: what would you tell your 16 year old self?

Long Time No Blog

Hey all,


I thought I’d better check in.


I’ve been somewhat insanely busy the past month and it’s starting to have it’s affects.  I’m so tired right now, and last weeks stress caused my depression to amp up a level, meaning I have to up my dose of anti depressants. *sigh*


That being said it HAS been a great month.  My new boyfriend and I are very happy even with the two and a half hour drive between where we live.  I’ve visited him twice, he’s coming down to me in a couple of weeks.  I’ve been on holiday to Rhodes – it’s a lovely Island.  Lindos a glorious town, and oh my god…  you need to TRY chestnut honey (so nom)


After Rhodes I role-played a bride in Rippers which was quite hilarious – the GM had forgotten to organise that, I was dressed appropriately and volunteered, and the bride ended up getting her arm chopped off to save her life (it’s fine they re-grew it! ;))


I drove down to Pembrokeshire to visit my dad.  that was a lovely weekend.  He’s looking quite well, certainly better than before the open heart surgery of last year.  We went for a walk on Freshwater West beach, and had an amazing meal in Saundersfoot in a beach side restaurant that slow cooks/smokes it’s own local meat.  Dear gods the burnt ends in sauce were good!


Two weeks after THAT I visited my best friend Zoe and her other half Joe in Helston with friends Sera and Rich.  Rich had to drive, bless him he had utterly misjudged how small my car is.  We had a great pizza meal out in Falmouth and vegan enchiladas (very tasty ones).  I’m not fully vegan, thought Joe & Zoe are.  I am afraid I like my honey and the occasional cut of meat or fish or egg or cheese, but these are treats rather than a regular thing.


Last weekend I desperately needed a quiet one, and Ian my boyfriend was wonderful.  I did drive over, but it was the most relaxed, and I slept a lot.  I’m STILL tired, which is why I know the depression’s kicking up – I’ve been sleeping like the dead the past few days and it’s not helping.  Also – vivid odd dreams and quite a few wake up mid panic attack.  The other trigger is the Role Play gaming.  My brain is telling me I want to hide away from the world, and especially drop out of the role play games Mage and Beast and Rippers with my friends, even though I love those games to pieces and they are a highlight of my week/month.


I know I have to wait for the depression to amp back down, and I’m forcing myself to ignore my brain.  This was a good thing last night.  Mage was incredibly fun and we had a fair number of laughs.  I’m also reaching out to friends to let them know my feelings so they know what’s going on if I DO duck out, though they are all being really wonderful and encouraging.


I have the best friends.