Monday, 29 December 2008


Sunday I went out with my war gaming friends Jock, AndyH and DaveA, but before we went for a meal at a local pub in the evening we spent the afternoon playing a zombie war game in Dave's newly converted war games room in his cellar which is very plush.

(AndyH, DaveA and Jock)

Dave had spread out the terrain and wrote a new set of rules to give the feel of your typical zombie movie and it played and looked excellent, so good I've wrote up our brief story below.

(Please click on images to see larger photos of the zombie models)

My names McNab and yesterday we made run for our lives from our fortified farmhouse to the armoured sanctuary of the special forces police vehicle that would takes to a sanctuary where rest of mankind was gathering to try to save itself from the zombie plague.


Five of us where left in the farm house when SWAT officer Decker found us and told us of the vehicle less than a mile away and with food running short we decided to make a run for it.

(Decker following up behind Johnson)

(Rufus and Johnson)

We pack our remaining meager supply of ammo, Cindy a nurse who couldn't hit a barn door from 5 yards carried most of our first aid stuff, then we had Refus the ex-junky a nervy young man but handy with sledge hammer, Tyrone our token black guy who we joked just like the movies was bound to get killed, and then we had Johnson a suit, he clung on to brief case chained to wrist like his life depended on it.

(Tyrone and Cindy)

Within half a mile of the small town we encountered our first hoard of undead, charging us smelling the fresh human meat, Decker proved his skill but was jumped from behind when no one watched his back, he probably would have been fine but Cindy in her panic tried to shoot the zombies off his back and hit Decker with a bullet straight in the head, so much death she hardly blinked that she just killed a man.

(Decker attacked)

I took point blasted heap of Zombies out the way with my pump action shotgun, while Tyrone covered out rear. Johnson the suit ran back to pick up Deckers assault rifle and proved quite handy with it, he was more than he claimed.

(Tyrone and Cindy)

We then tried to move forward between the barn it proved a bottle neck, a couple of times Zombies got in close and Rufus swung his hammer to knock the Zombies flying, Tyrone had a soft spot for Cindy and kept running to her rescue risking his and our necks by not watching the dark corners and then their were hundreds of them, we were surrounded and overwhelmed, I was down to my last clip and need to reload when a Zombie grabbed me, Refus swung his sledgehammer and broke it on the zombies head, dam near broke my back, not complaining since he probably save my life, Cindy patched me up before we moved on.

(McNab on point)

Meanwhile Johnson the suit had ran off and left the remaining four of us to die under the horde.

(Johnson making a run for it)

Somehow we blasted a gap and I called it, run, run, so we stopped fighting and just ran duck and dived towards the armoured sanctuary, I got there first then, Rufus closely followed by Cindy, Tyrone our rear guard didn't he found himself surrounded and that's the last we saw of him, but we hared his screams.

(Tyrone's last stand)

Johnson the suit had lead a group of zombies away and either by accident or design created the gap that allowed us our freedom, and still clinging on to his brief case we saw him fall to zombies in the headlights of our new safe place.

(Johnson surrounded)

So three out of six escaped, could have been better, who knows what the future will hold.

(The Survivors Rufus, McNab and Cindy)

The Zombie figures where converted by DaveA from railway modellers 60mm figures then given heads and hands from Games workshop figures.

The game itself played very different from your typical skirmish war game since in a normal game you would be moving your figures to cover for protection, in this game that's the last thing you wanted to do since that's where the zombies were hiding, great fun, tactical and more by luck than judgement I got both my figures to safety, I thank AndyH for his movie moment with Johnson when he tried to escape on his own with his vitally important breifcase and ended up drawing all the zombies away from us.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Christmas with friends

Christmas Day was spent with my friends AndyT and Linda they cooked a nice big Christmas dinner with lots of veg and some lovely stuffing which I could have ate loads of. We were also joined by their daughter Katie and her boyfriend Luke who has just escaped from the army for few days, Andy's mother Doris and occasional visits from their son Christopher who spent most of the day in a room on his own playing his new computer game.

(Doris, Linda, Katie and Luke)

I took round some presents including snail cream for Linda, a face cream to remove wrinkles and stretch marks made from slime collected from snails, Linda seemed not impressed ;) for Katie I found a totally pink tool kit with everything from a pink cordless screwdriver to pink handled hammer, it even included a pink bandanna to wear when your working, I was quite impressed with the kit with came inside a strong pink aluminium case. Andy and Linda got me a Viking belt bag and fashionable top.

(Belle Katy's new cat.)

Late afternoon we all walked down the road to Freda's, Andy and Linda's friend.

When we got there I learned we had gone to do karaoke, or Sing Star it was called, a computer game that not only provides the words but judges how in tune you are. Breaking out in cold sweat, I really hoped I wouldn't be roped in, I really hate my singing voice, (private bathroom or car performance with myself has the audience only) Freda's family and boyfriend was also there who I vaguely know adding to any embarrassment.
Andy and Linda are very extrovert and really got stuck in, as did everyone else, apart from me, Katie and Luke who sat it out. Freda's son Dan is studying music at University and in a band and very, very good, he then played the guitar so we could sing along with Christmas carol, before playing us some of his own songs.

Once I escaped the karaoke we walked back Andy & Linda's house where Christopher was still playing his computer game and ate desert before trying to play a game of Munchkin Quest unfortunately as I read the rules I declared we did not have a whole day to play what looked a very complex game. By this time it was late and so we decided play Kill Dr Lucky, this did not go plan since Andy was drunk, Katie was talking to her friends over the Internet on her new pc, Christopher kept saying I coming to join us but never actually left his computer screen and Luke was busy trying to program a new fancy remote control for Linda.

For Boxing day I went round to Julie and Dave's to play games, and swap gifts, their friend Nat was also invited making a cosy little group.

Julie made me a knitted hat, which I love, it suits me and she knows I have wanted some of her hand made knitting for quite a while, worth the wait.
(New hat)
I found Dave a large tartan hat with cabbage leaves around the edge, which I hope he gets to fit him since it would make a ideal accessories for a McUen. I also managed to get Dave a book he already had a copy of, but it eventually found a good home, I also got a another book from Julie and Dave which is a look at medieval reenactor.

Dave showed me his latest Orc models for warhammer, if he has time he really should do a blog he puts a lot of effort into the modelling, probably spending twice as long with his milliput than his paints, he also does lots ambigrams which I think would be appreciated as well.

We played a few games ate Julie's lovely chicken stew and watched Dave try to get out of Julie humorous attempt to make him feel guilty for picking on her during our game of Munchkin Booty.

And I did get proper game of Kill Dr Lucky, its a good game.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Its Christmas

Since I have time I'm writing this.

Normally by this time on Christmas day I would have been at my mothers with my two brothers, my sister and my two nephews opening presents and preparing for Christmas dinner. Today with with my mother and sister on holiday in Central America the family are going their separate ways with friends and partners and it feels very strange. I will be off in an hour or so to my friends AndyT and Linda for the day and really looking forward to it.

Sunday evening my dad made his annual visit which was pleasant and he left me more memorabilia of his side of the family, including a whole file of census forms and birth certificates right back to 1841, seems half my fathers side come from Burton on Trent the other half from St Helen's Lancashire.

Since I don't know that many Andy's I also went to see AndyL at the shop on Sunday and deliver presents, the shop was dead, Ripley was empty and AndyL was painting Warhammer figures with Mike, I spent a few hours chatting, and will see them New Years Eve along with Heather and few others for the evening.

On Monday night I went out with Jock (AndyC) and Assy (AndyH) where we chatted about relationships, World of Warcraft, reenactment, larp and it seems Jocks want to retry his hand at Larp and Assy being frothed at by DaveP when we went TORM wants to try it. We have agreed they will have a go at a local AscendancyLRP linear event in the spring and also when I'm free and we can coordinate it probably June have go at MaelstomLRP two different styles of larp.

The last thing I did yesterday was visit Pets at Home for a few gifts for Jasmine which we opened last night, the vibrating frog was a immediate success, the crinkly fingers were also played with but the Cat Bubble Gun with catnip flavoured soap suds sent Jasmine behind the sofa, although this mornings fun is diving into the Christmas wrapping paper.

Actually not quite the last thing I also visited my friends Ste and Deb to drop off present, their house was chaos with lots of people comming and going, so I only stayed just over an hour, not one who likes too many people, especially those I don't know.

Anyway I've opened my selection of present which include gift vouchers, socks, biscuits, a magnifying glass, incense burner, clockwork Robby the Robot, magic cards, tea, a book on hand shadows and a pretty box, no presents from the family this year since we decided not to buy any, although I did since I purchased some of them at Chatworth in August. My brother Stephen also cheated and bought me something and brother texted me and said he would be dropping off a present so no buying present didn't go quite to plan.

Merry Christmas to anyone who reads this, I will probably seeing quite a few of you anyway over the next week.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

This is the season to be ill, it seems

Tonight I had arranged a evening out with friends Jock, Bridgette and AndyH unfortunately Bridgette who has been off work for 8 days with a virus has now come out in spots so can't go out.

I also rang my friend Ste to make arrangement for Christmas Eve only to find his wife had collapsed last weekend and had been rushed to hospital with suspected food poisoning, this resulted in her staying hospital for several days, meanwhile Ste himself has been off work for 2 weeks with Bronchitis and told not to go back to work until the new year.

Work has also been hit, on Tuesday this week nearly half the staff were either off ill or queasy with a sickness and Diarrhea bug that latest all of 2 days before disappearing from the building, fortunately I missed it. The management meeting was called off because several manager were off with flu, man flu or colds depending on your point of view, since most of the managers seem to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week I suspect they were ill with more than colds and man flu.

Myself I'm just recovering from a cold that left me with a horrible dry cough I can't shift, but after speaking to everyone else I'm beginning to feel lucky.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Weekend of cold and pleanty of tea.

The Ascendancy Christmas party this year was at the Unstone Grange a kind commune conference centre run by dedicated bunch of nice people on a shoe string, not far for me to travel either.

I came down with a mild cold earlier in the week and it appeared to be just going on Friday before the event however once at the event I got terribly bunged up, my sinuses swelled and my head felt like it was being suffocated in cotton wool. This put a kind of damper on the event since everything seemed like hard work, I nipped off several times during the event for a lie down for 1/2 an hour since I was so tired.

It was nice to see everyone and hand out Christmas cards, I even got a couple of Christmas presents back one from SamK, AndyL and Heather gave me a present too both will be opened Christmas Day. What was very unexpected is yesterday my next door neighbour who I hardly speak too gave me gift voucher, apparently for cutting their hedge a couple of time in the year.

Talking of Sam she is 40 this year, can't believe it, I thought she had a couple of year to go before she joined me in her forty's, pity I have other arrangement so will miss her birthday.

With dry throat and a handy kettle I drank lots of tea, also with a indoor event you don't have the fear of having to get out your warm sleeping bag and dress for sub zero torrential rain if you bladder demands the loo, you can more or less decency permitting get up and go. I managed to snaffle a room of my own based on saving everyone from the snoring monster that gives Julie nightmares, apparently, it also hopefully acted has a quarantine hopefully reducing the chance of me passing on my cold, although I think it had mostly passed the contagious stage by then I was just heavily bunged up.

(Picture of fellow tea drinker.)

After the event Andy revealed his plans for next year which have gone down well with most, although some who don't like to travel far or can't drive would have liked at least one core event a bit more South, although nothings totally finalised yet. Biggest bit for me is no week long next year, so will have to look elsewhere for any holiday plans.

Once home Julie and Dave stopped off for long afternoon and a bit of food, I gave them my house keys while I took AndyL and Gabriel home, and by the time I got back Jasmine was being pampered and brushed and really enjoying herself, so much so she did not even say hello has I unloaded my car.

Before they left we finalised part of my Christmas plans since my Mother is away on cruise through the Panama Canal and so will miss Christmas and with it no family get together will occur, this left me feeling a little stranded, luckily my supply of very good friends have all come up with ideas and pleasant days to ensure I have a good Christmas.

I can know breath through my nostrils and don't have muffled hearing, only 6 working days left to Christmas hurrah I can't wait.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Craft and Chimera

What a lovely bright weekend. Yesterday (Sat) I went to visit friend Martin whose wife Jo teaches ceramics, she was displaying some of her own work at a local craft fair in Wirksworth where they live. Wirksworth is beautiful town, that somehow has managed to hold onto its independent stores owned by the residents, built into a valley the houses rise steeply from the meandering main road. Parking was horrendous, I ended up almost out of town, as well as the craft fair the town was having local farmers market.

(Below Martin and Jo)

The craft fair was spread over the Town Hall and the Parish Rooms, I found Jo and she phone Martin who took me to his house to show me Jo's kiln and workshop. Martins house is well up the hillside and he has no way of parking his car anywhere near his house. I met his cat, 22 years old, blind, shaky back end but very cute, she can't go out, not because of traffic, but 20 foot drops from the garden to the next house below. Martin showed me his other garden with the Kiln which involved getting a extending ladder to climb up too.

(Below Martins Garden)

(Below view from Martins Garden)

After leaving Martin I found a brilliant antiques come junk shop, the sort where the items are just piled on top of each other in giant heaps and you have to clamber your way through, to make matters worse the shop has no natural light and is lit by a single sodium lamp giving everything a yellow/orange tinge. I found some bits of brass and a old brass blow torch, how much for these, hmm seven quid said the owner, not what I was expecting, I will be back again to look through his junk, (DaveP if you read this you would love it).

I bought some of Jo's work for Christmas presents. Her work the Raku work, basically pottery firing at low-ish temperature then dropping into sawdust while still fire hot to remove the oxygen, most of the other work was well out my pocket, paintings for fifteen hundred quid and more, un-priced bits of very arty bent metal that each have a story and photographs to explain how they where conceived they have to be expensive. Wirksworth is one of those town where Arty type accumulate.

(below some of Jo's pottery)

On Saturday evening I went to Chimera Christmas works meal, somehow I got invited, basically all the shop staff Becky, Leah, Mike, Rich, owners AndyL and Heather plus Jock & Bridgette who helped man the shop during the summer and me, who spends far too much time there. We went to Frankie and Bennys and it was good fun night, a few photos below, AndyL and Heather paid has a thank you to everyone which was a pleasant surprise, should have ordered a dessert ;) then again I think I would have exploded trying eat anymore.

(below outside F and B)

(Below Jock)
(Below Bridgette)

(Below Mike and Leah)

(Below Rich and a sleepy Becci)

(Below Bossman himself AndyL)

I do have photos of Heather but she would not thank me for posting them.

After that I spent the rest of my weekend wrapping present, everyone is now done apart from one yet to be delivered by the Online supplier, but that should be here sometime next week, then that's it all done well ahead of schedule. I had to be since my Mums goes on her Panama cruise with my sister this Friday so she won't be around for Christmas, which is going to be very odd, in fact I delivered her presents, and my brothers and sisters today.

Is it only the 1st week of December, it does seem odd.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Visit for my Mums sweet tooth.

It was my Mums birthday this week so I offered to take her out Saturday to sunny (I wish) Belper to visit the new chocolate shop Midland Midlife pointed out.

My mum is big chocolate fan, loves Thornton's whose factory is 1 or so miles from her house, loves Hotel chocolate and also has a monthly specialty chocolate order, so once I learned about the new shop I knew a visit would make good birthday gift for my Mum. So Saturday morning through the freezing fog I drove her to I should Cocoa, a small shop and cafe in Belper, where I treated her to one of everything, well nearly we didn't get any giant white chocolate rats with pink tails since they were far too scary. My mum thinks the chocolates are great.

The chilly day when straight through me with mid day temperature hovering at around -1 deg C to 0 deg C and damp air making it feel even colder, we did quick walk of the street of Belper since it not normally on my radar looking at the the Old Fashioned Sweet shop and bead shop. Belper for a small town as quite nice selection of unique shops.

After that we headed in Matlock direction before I took her home where I was fed Thornton's Birthday cake, my brother had delivered and offered fresh lime and cream cake my other brother had sent, and then looked at big box of chocolates my sisters had delivered and was in the process of eating.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Seeing Trouble

This week I have been out and about with work and next week will be the same, this time of year I like to spend my time in a nice warm office rather than get up at 5.30am to travel to the far flung corners of England though horrible traffic, still it gets you away from your desk and eye strain.

Talking of which I collected my new glasses, frame less super light ones, I must admit they are light and you hardly notice you are wearing them.
I can report no change to my eyes, which is good news I'm short sighted but I can still easily read with my glasses on at 6 inches from my face so don't have worry about bi-focals for few years yet .

I'm busy at home at the moment, not with the housework I should be doing but running a play by email game for for Ascendancy players in one group, the game is testing the water to see if the players enjoy it, and if its practical for me to run, when I say busy its probably taking about less than hour a night.
The game features a story or plot given to me by head ref of Ascendancy AndyL, he then leaves the rest to me so I can respond to players quickly without constantly having to contact him, he is then copied in all the communication so he's up to speed.
The game has no real rules or boundaries very free form and so far so good, I will ask the players at the next event how it went, if they will do one again and how it might be improved.
I have another group of Pirates, sorry Sea Robbery challenged, lined up wanting play after next event to keep me busy.

Tuesday saw me out with my friends Linda and AndyT, both coughing and spluttering their way out of colds, but other than that in a chipper mood, I got to see their, well Katie their daughters new Kitten she has called Bel (No Pictures I forgot my camera). Bel looks only a few months old is from the Cats protection league and is into teasing Andy and Linda's 2 Jack Russels and climbing up the chimney, sounds like trouble to me.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Sea Battle

This Saturday was the day of the Ascendancy table top sea battle.

I had spent the week putting together the ships and rules sheets for the sea battle, having about 15 ships rather than hundreds of figures made it far easier than previous battles.

Turning up at the shop at midday I set the battle up in about 5 minutes as opposed to the usual hour or so, even if I di peirce my thumb with drawing pin as the pin shot through the pin top into it, after a bit of bleeding over everything I continued my set up while the players arrived.

Kate Admiral Lizzie, Chris Captain Morgan, Alex Joseph Kisner Captain of the Charity, James Carden the Fomori warrior, Rob Jack Samuel ships surgeon and Kieron Marlow ships mage. v's Jock El Diablo of the Crimson brotherhood with Andy Captain X as creative input.

See photo below

The battle went great the players instantly got to grips with rules which are quite tactical and need players to think ahead, the only downside is a game which me and Jock would have played in 3 hours lasted 5 because 6 heads are not as fast as one and need time to discuss between each turn.
A couple of other factions controled by me arrived, to throw spanners in thier plans but did mean the players had to do some roleplay, some negotiation which all added to the fun, and also left the players with new things to investigate, new enemies since they fired first and a couple of problems to resolve.

Picture below of ships and the battle.

After the battle we went to the pub, it was freezing outside, and since I had not set foot out the door nearly all day I felt it. At the pub the players discussed many crazy ideas which I best not go into, hmm too much sugar perhaps but you never know with enough resources.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Busy Weekend

I've had busy weekend of shopping, visiting and game preparations.

Saturday started with a early morning looking for a present for Katie's 18th, her mother not being able to help with ideas left me to fend for myself, what do I know about suitable gifts for 18 year girls, well zip really. Having consulted a couple of people for advice which gave me a few avenues to pursue I went looking, but with no time I could not find stuff that fitted the bill and my sense of humour for presents. I had less than a hour to find the gift since the rest of the day was full, in the end I got a remote control realistic rat that jumps and giant jar of jelly beans, nowhere near my intended jewelry box or pink slippers.

Next the Optician where my prescription as not changed again, but since my glasses are 5 years old decided new glasses are in order, I went for rimless variety for a change.

Straight after that I picked up Jocks wife Bridgette and AndyH to go to TORM, Jock wasn't coming due to World of Warcraft addiction of a new upgrade, although he would claim otherwise. Setting off for Coventry we crawled through the centre of town to pick DaveP up and then headed off to TORM where everyone disappeared on their own little shopping spree's. I found myself looking at a grey/brown wig which suited me, got a second opinion, then went into to purchase, it was a little expensive so I asked if he would reduce the price, he did budge a inch, being so used to always getting a few pence off traders and it being a something I did not really need at that price made me step away from the purchase. I then purchased a cloak I did not need and some jewelry and saying would you do me a discount the trader gave a instant 25per cent off, a lot more than expected. After that I wondered the stalls with DaveP running into Colin and Lotti, Doug and Iszy, Kate and I can't remember her boyfriends name, Doug was very jovial, spending money on kit, while Iszy was at the Mulberry Dyers stall buying yarn. Me, Bridgette and AndyL left Dave for coffee and chatted to a few Medieval friends while Dave did a last minute dash before we headed home.

I then spent the evening after watching Merlin preparing for next weekend sea battle wargame, Jock's tall ships rules needed revising to suit the fantasy element, and simplifying for a non wargame audience, before I knew it, it was midnight, the house heating had switched off and I found myself wondering why I was feeling cold.

Sunday involved dashing over to see Katie to deliver her presents, somehow the remote control rat turn out to be a hit has she chased the families 2 dogs around with it; Jack Russels aren't they supposed to chase rats, not the other way around. AndyT and Linda where both there with bad colds as was Christopher home from University with a new girlfriend who is also into Larp, after feeding me rich chocolate birthday cake they then disappeared to the Cat Protection league looking for cat, they wanted one like my Jasmine, I think they will be very lucky if they do as was I when I found her.

I then visited AndyL (another cold victim) at his shop, discussed game stuff for next battle before going around to Jocks to play test the revised rules, 4 hours of play later a few minor tweaks we declared them OK, before I left for Sunday evening dinner at my Mums.

My mum had baked me a massive Christmas cake she was just feeding whisky to keep it moist, it smells wonderful I'm not sure it will keep until Christmas, but I will try. Whilst there she showed me a singing Christmas farting dog, well I had to video it, see below, totally tasteless but it made me laugh.

Definitely a busy and enjoyable weekend even though Jasmine probably did not appreciate me being out the house so much.

Only play when you can listen as well as watch.

You have to laugh :) even if I am shaking my head in disbelief at the same time.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Cold, it was and I had

I started the run up to Ascendancy event with a cold, Friday morning I woke up and decided I was too ill to be of any use and would catch pneumonia camping outside.

Having volunteered to provide the food for the weekend Julie still needed however to pop round to collect it and by the time she had arrived I felt well enough to risk the event and in a last minute decision motivated enough to pack my kit, and was nearly ready by time Dave and Julie arrived.

Travelling to event was no hassle apart from realising as the journey progressed all the different things my last minute cjoice and cold induced brain failure had caused me to forget, biggest of which was food for me and my glasses, since I was wearing contact lenses at the time.

I was playing a crippled character that evening which my cold actually helped with since my hearing was bunged up and I was not feeling sharp, my character was blind which was fun. It was a event about time travel full of time travel experts so my character took a back seat as I always do at time events since their is always too many cooks that come out the woodwork, so I usually take on different role. The crippled character was a one off which I enjoyed playing this once but won't again for while, it also gave me an excuse to take a few photographs.

Below: Blind me

My crippled character also had been badly burnt so with a tips from Julie I painted my face red with the odd black steak then covered it in PVA glue, this dried and started flake off just like dead skin and I found it a great pleasure to pick off, much to my doctors annoyance.

The nights in the dark age huts where not too bad wrapped in my sleeping with extra blankets, but the mornings in costume were bitter, Sunday was extremely cold with a wind that went straight through my thermal underwear and left me with cold feet, not something I suffer often, but the inactivity of being injured make it worse.

Below: Julie talking to Paddy.

The event overall hit the mark with everyone, AndyL was running around since he played nearly all the major npc and so was constantly changing costume, well done to him since he was very ill the week before.

Below: Andy as Sabrejaw, Stiltskin Ribbons, Indech, he also played many others including Levi Tempest and Capt.Dove.

After the event we drove back through the motorway spray went back to my house for Pizza and warm before Julie and Dave left just after eight to drive back home through the heavy rain.

Below: Dave wrapping up warm, I like this photo for the colours.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

A quick round up my weekend

This was a weekend of wind and rain.

After a day of light shopping Saturday, I found myself invited around to Ste and Debs for tea.

On the way to Ste and Debs my car was narrowly missed by a airborne umbrella which made me swerve as I caught sight of it in the corner of my eye.

I enjoyed a meal which Deb was convinced hadn't turned out right, I liked it even if it should have tasted different and had a empty plate almost licked clean to prove it. We then chatted the evening away before watching the Iron man DVD, a film I saw at the cinema and thoroughly enjoyed while the wind pelted the windows.

On Sunday I got up to go to the Living History Fair near Warwick, this started with me squirting a unpleasant jet of cod and haddock cat food into mouth as I opened the foil carton for Jasmine, requiring the gargling of mouth wash to remove the taste.

I went to the fayre with Julie and Dave who I picked up on the way, now its usually Julie job to convince me to buy at hat, she failed only to point out a black wig which I bought instead, Dave's job is usually to find me a bargain or shoot a cross bow bolt across the display stands, again Dave failed, he did manage to find his own bargains and loose his scarf, found eventually at the bottom of his bag the 1st place he originally looked. My Job is usually to convince Julie to spend money, well it was my turn to fail, she found Dave a Christmas present and spent away without my help, much more than me for a change.

Didn't see any of the usual suspects at the fayre, did see CatherineW who gave me a massive hug like she had not seen me years, possibly she hadn't. Poor Catherine had her stall of fabric water damaged by a leak in the fayre roof.

I also bought a few Christmas present, a hat, some slug skin cream made from slug slime from Annie the Pedlar that I'm sure will be a hit or a good humoured smack in the face, and then a Jabot for me from Magies Costume the same place I got the wig from.

After the Fayre we went for some pub grub, I took Julie and Dave to the Cocked Hat a place frequented a few time by me, Jock and Bridgette that served excellent homed mad pies, well in the 6 months since my last visit it had totally changed the building extended, entrance moved, grotty bar removed and new pub grub menu installed with a two for one offer. Food was fine, desert yummy, price good, I just missed the home made pies that weren't your typical corporate chain pub food.

By the time we had eaten it was 4 ish so it was far too late to go to mums for Sunday roast, so after I had dropped Julie and Dave off I had to make a call to my Mum to put my dinner aside and I would visit her Monday instead.

I then headed home hitting heavy rain and heavy traffic on the M1, but South bound looked a disaster as passed mile after mile of congested traffic.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Cold Days

Having booked the installation of new boiler to replace my old back boiler, I found date chosen left me and Jasmine without heating for the coldest days so far of Autumn. Monday night after the plumbers had left I sat watching telly in a coat and gloves with Jasmine inside the coat with me.

Jasmine was not a happy cat having been spooked by all the work, sledgehammers knocking bricks out the fireplace to get the old boiler out, blowtorches constantly setting off the fire alarms, they also used a big industrial vacuum cleaner to suck the old pipework dry. Poor Jasmine also ended being shut in rooms out the way and at one point when the plumbers had all the windows opened the front and back doors I had to put her with blanket into a cat box or she would have run off.

By Tuesday morning the plumbers were teasing me the promise of heating by noon, they actually turned it on for 5 minutes around 3pm, before switching it off to do more work, so I didn't get warm until 6pm by which time I'm sure it was colder inside my house than outside.

My friend AndyH popped by seeing my car in the drive, but didn't stop long, he was driven off by the cold.

I now have a room thermostat and pressure for my shower which was brilliant this morning, and the mess to clean up, but need to wait for cement and plaster to dry before stuff can go back in the cupboards and furniture put back, plus the plumber needed to return tonight to finish off some last bits which will then leave the redecorating.

I also went over to Andy and Heathers last night and played a silly Monty Python TV and Holy Grail card game (twas a sample from a supplier), where you can get with the right cards extra turns for quoting Monty Python lines, talking in a silly accent or singing Monty Python songs, fortunately they only had to suffer my silly accent, although Heather kept her false Indonesian, Welsh, Germanic half French accent up longest. Good fun and if you don't sing or quote it makes no difference to your chances of winning.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Wicker hats

Today I went to the Larp Fair at Barnsley with Jock and Bridgette photos below.

At the fair I also ran into Sam, Jak, Heather and children, Carol and Mike, and just as I was leaving Mike, Rich and Amy.

The day was cold, damp and very windy, the wind biting straight through you, but once inside it pleasantly warm, the fair did not have as many stall as the one earlier in the year and was surprisingly devoid of customer again unlike my previous visit, not sure if that was credit crunch, weather or time of year, still it did mean the stall holders had plenty of time to chat to you and allowed plenty of room for heathers pushchair.

I bought a nice shirt from Primal Forge, a walking stick, a hat, a wicker hat or head piece a prop from Chows Emporium I think some play or other with carrot on top, it was very cheap hat by my standards and decidedly different see the photo below.

We also wandered around the Elsecar heritage centre, bypassing the wool shop, but found a massive antiques warehouse on the site which took another hour and where I also bought a pair of folding glasses as a prop, they are without lenses but I intend to put some coloured acetate film in them to make them look odd, perhaps red and green depends what I can find.

Stopping at the cafe for a beef and gravy roll, which is not a good combination the gravy dribbles and makes the roll gooey, we left around 2 pm spending a good four hours of mainly window shopping.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Old friends

I went out on Friday night and met up at a pub with Pete and Barbara who I had not seen (after some working out) for 8 years, they had not changed that much, a little larger around the waist but that was about it, unlike myself who they believe has somehow got younger and thinner, it was nice compliment.

The pub in Ashover was a real ale pub and jam packed because of a band playing, I also think they had the heating on so even after I took my coat off I found myself dripping sweat from standing still, I might be younger but I envied those with seats, and those near the cooling breeze of doorways, I felt old standing there with my orange juice.

An hour into the evening who should tap me on the shoulder but my youngest brother Stephen, apparently he waved and gestured from the other side of the pub, but I had not seen him staring straight passed him. So after he checked my eyesight we had a chat and he pointed out his friends, names I knew from when I lived with my parents with him, but faces apart from Cannon who I no longer recognised at all. Stephen's still working up in Scotland, trying to work out how to fit a what I would call a catalytic converter the size of 4 houses to power station.

I also ended up this weekend with new compact camera when looking for a mp3 player, the camera plays mp3 to plug into to my car, is very gadgety and takes ridiculous 10 mega pixel photos, stores 1600 plus of them or a silly 10,000 plus photos at 1 MPixel with its 4GB memory card, seem camera's like everything electronic have got better and smaller. It fits in my shirt pocket, will I ever use my SLR again?

Some photos below taken with my new camera.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Kit Kat Thieves

Possibly the last Ascendancy weekend at Candleston due to price increases although I hope not and the October weather was at its best, putting the damp summer months to shame in fact by midday it was lovely tee shirt weather.

I camped at this event with Dave only since Julie was cat sitting although from reading her blog, more like cat fighting. I also learned today Jock and Bridgettes cat Monty had died, probably of old age, apart from this last few months looked he quite young for age possible because he was a small furry ball of a cat, he will be missed.

I decided to cater this event and brought a big pack of donuts, upon arriving at Dave's he produced a big pack of donuts, so catering sorted we ate donuts the whole weekend, although Dave did scoff 10 out the 12 packets of crisps, not complaining since don't eat crisps. A squirrel also ate a half used packet of bread roles while I nipped the loo and a packet of kit-kats bars went missing, could have been crack squirrel team, they left no evidence, the alternative is they will turn in years time next time I use the tent or rolled up in a jumper.

Talking of tents, as I was taking down my tent a tent pole broke at the metal joint tube for no could reason, Dave said it looked like fatigue, I do use the tent a lot, but its still only just a year old, lucky no more camping events this year.

The event was bitty, I mean that in good way though, lots of plot bits resolved or created, but no single plot thread running through the whole event, it was in a way a pleasant change from too much world saving. I had my enjoyable little bit of political gaming and business dealing, but found knowing stuff and not being able to pass it on a little frustrating, I must have heard at least half a dozen times a player say, Izzanbard would know, and he did, Alfonso didn't.

I got home about a hour earlier than usual, since travelling with Dave we only stopped for a quick burger and fries, although we intended to meet up with Sam and Jak, but somehow overtook them and thought we where late and had missed them.

Today I seem to have pain in right shoulder which hurts for no apparent reason, it even made driving difficult and is certainly going to make it hard to sleep.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Games and games

I have just had one atrocious day at work because of sickness, holidays, and a site visit I was the only one in a busy office normally with 6 people, so with the radio for company I did nothing but answer the phones and try to work out how do other peoples jobs I'm not familiar with, needless to say the day was tiring and I did not do any of my own projects, went quick though it was lunch before I remembered to drink my tea made at 8am.

My weekend on the other hand was very lazy, I seemed to have spent most of it in Chimera shop chatting to Andy and others while playing card games, on Saturday Andy was shattered having run a competition MTG card tournament Friday night which did not finish until 1.30am, he then tried to have a lie-in unfortunately its sounds like his kids had other ideas.

Sunday I entered the 2nd MTG sealed deck competition not being available for the Friday night epic, this started at 10am and lasted until 3pm when the shop was due to be taken over by Yu-Gi-Oh players. In the competition I think I came around 12th out of 16 players, not very good really but sealed deck competitions do rely a lot on luck, I did not have bad luck but some people had very very good luck just pulling out the correct mana at right time to play that perfect wining card.

To complete my lazy weekend I also purchased my 1st computer game since World of Warcraft three years ago, (Yes it was a cold dark wet windy day) the game was called Spoor and recommended by psychichazard. I'm not entirely sure why I bought but as well as psychichazard recommending, I was listening to the radio and presenter who was enjoying the game, and I then spotted it in Sainsbury's while looking at DVDs. In the game you evolve your creatures from spoor to space faring race with every stage in between, evolving your spoor, then creature with pincers, cats ears, shark like mouths, suckers, long necks, anything you can think of. The only downside to this tale is after 3 hours of play the game kept crashing at a certain point, the point my race had discovered fire, which stopped me playing and I can't get my enthusiasm back at the moment. May give it go tonight.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

New Blog Background

I've just spent a just over an hour installing a new layout having been pointed to Allie Browns's site by Esther's blog, installing the new background itself took less than 5 minutes, in fact it took much longer to choose the background.

I then spent the rest of the time playing with font colours and making the header fit spot on.


I finally put together the cardboard cat playhouse fire engine see pictures below. Unlike Julies Charlie who would not fit in the playhouse Tank, Jasmine is a small cat and fitted, but she still made it look small.

Jasmine - Fire Cat Rescue Service.

Jasmine Fire Engine Driver - "MEOW meow, MEOW meow, MEOW meow" went the siren.

Jasmine Fire Engine Mechanic "The cardboard drive shaft needs some fish oil meow thinks"

Alert for Danger. Jasmine like any good fire cat is alert for other dangers, pieces of string and cat treats.

Like any good fire engine it also serves as good scratching post for the itch on the back of the neck.