Thursday, December 29, 2022

My Sporting Life and other Bollocks


I could never throw overarm. I'm better now but if I try to throw with any force it can go anywhere - from straight to my feet as I just don't let go in time, to any possible tangent other than the intended target.

I was always the last to be picked for football at school. Even after the kids who bunked games because their little finger hurt. I was good at cross-country running which I enjoyed. I actually did enjoy football but I was obviously rubbish at it.

It's malcoordination: my brain just doesn't do things automatically that others' do. I can barely dance unless the music really takes me. I've never really enjoyed it or found it a natural thing to do when listening to most music. I can feel the rhythms and dissect the layers of rhythms and beats in my head in a piece of music and totally immerse myself in it all, but it never translates into anything terpsichorean.

The footballers at school wasted no time in telling me I was crap. I don't recall telling them they were crap at Maths or Art. 

Maybe I did. Memories are unreliable.

One time I got huge praise from our games teacher. We were playing 11 a side and I was in defence. I got the ball and saw a good player, called Paul Jepson, in space and hoofed it up the pitch. By chance it landed on his foot and he was able to set up a goal scoring opportunity. 

Mr Roberts (and this is games teachers down to a tee) said "I know you all think he's crap, but Geraint got the ball, he looked up, saw Jepson was in space and passed it up there where he was able to play it. That was the best move of the match."

The footballers all murmured and muttered and looked resentfully at me. I basked in my moment of glory.

Years later when I 27 and living back in Wells, I was playing Sunday league football. I didn't really enjoy it as football to me seems to bring out the worst in some people - toxic masculinity. I turned up early for one match and waited in my car. 

Another car pulled up - it was Martin Lovell who was a terrific footballer and sportsman. And he recognised me, and laughed. 

And he sat there in his car still laughing at me - 11 years after school finished. Time doesn't move on in these small towns.

I wish I'd had his sporting prowess, but I'm equally glad I had none of his charm or interpersonal skills.


I do go on about this, but I'll do it again anyway as I have dementia and am approaching grandparent age (or greatgrandparent age if on a council estate). My favourite book when I was 9 was The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe (TLTWATW), and I read it twice as I loved it so much. No one mentioned that it was one book of seven.

So I'm currently going through all 7 books, reading about one a day. I'm really pleased I can still read as I perhaps won't be able to in a few months or years time.

They're my kind of books - edited perfectly so there is little guff, and there is something going on all the time - the pacing is fantastic. 

The Horse and His Boy is the weakest of the first 4 by far, and I'm currently reading Prince Caspian which is in my opinion the second best after TLTWATW.

It's wonderful stuff - the perfect Christmas series of books.

I'll be reviewing all seven of the series in the next instalment.

Not enough Gaming

I've ordered the Elden Ring. This is a huge Fantasy Role Playing Game for my console. I could no longer wait around for other people to join in or organise themselves to play TTRPGs (Table-top Role-playing Games) so I'm going back to the Xbox and I'm going to immerse myself (guilt-free) in someone else's fantasy vision rather than my own.

Saying that, I am Dungeon Mastering 2 back-to-back Drakkenheim sessions on New Year's Day and the Bank Holiday Monday. I just need this level of thrill and excitement and immersion most of the time and I'm not getting it.

 My name is Barbie. I love you very much.

Reading is good. Watching can be good - as  fan of The Witcher TV series I was enormously disappointed by The Witcher: Blood Origin which was a lazy and hackneyed attempt to cash in of the TV franchise. I got midway through the second episode but it was terrible. 

Much better are the Anime series such as Dragon Age: Absolution or DOTA: Dragon's Blood. 

Apart from that I don't watch much TV. Especially lazy panel game shows which all seem to have any 4-6 of the same pool of comedians on.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Cheery Thoughts at Christmas

You have no idea how alone you feel 

Withdrawn into a world ever distant from those closest around you. Told how out of order you are, that your behaviour is scaring certain people, that people are treading on eggshells around you. It feels everything I do or say at times is wrong or offensive to someone. You end up just wanting to go into a room where you can lock the door behind you and indulge your own quirks and interests. It's better for everyone.

Me and you are understanding each other less and less.

It's increasingly impossible for me to understand what is upsetting people. I know I lost my temper weeks ago but I'm still paying for it. I scared people. So I took pills to mitigate my anger. I still lost my temper - we all lose our tempers now and again (well, most of us do) but in a less explosive way. 

So I'm here listening to Louis Cole's latest album which is delightful, and typing this as a form of catharsis. And a smile is back on my face. 

Last time I did this I mentioned names but I've learned that lesson. There's some very sensitive souls out there.


My parents are elderly now. You know that thing where you visit them periodically and they are incrementally older each time? You notice it if you live apart.

Mum had a stroke last summer and I was there to witness it. It was like she'd saved it for all of us to be present and then let go for it to happen.

It wasn't like that of course, it was just a coincidence. But it felt like that to me.

I think she's had mini strokes since then. She doesn't want to leave the house now. In a way her and I have synchronised. She has issues with her semantic memory, gets muddled up from time to time. 

Dad is doing everything around the house but he is getting more frail. Demented son is going to go back in the New Year to do some odd jobs for them around the house. God help 'em...

Mortality becomes really apparent when you witness chronic conditions in yourself and your loved ones.

I'm gonna be a star!

On the upside, I've been contacted by those awfully nice people at RDS to be interviewed for Radio 4's Women's Hour. I sent an email to the neurologist who'd be interviewing me and if my pathetic attempts at humour haven't put her off I may be chosen for the final cut.

I'm also part of a group of partners/carers and people with dementia who will be doing talks to get the word out about the seven rare dementias (there are around 200 different types of dementia) that RDS represents.

It feels good to be able to speak about my condition without hopefully bleating on about how terrible it all is.

I shall make some huge faux pas no doubt - all part and parcel of being demented!

Dungeons and Dragons update - no wait!

D&D is ongoing with the 2 campaigns. I would play every day of the week if I could.

But I need something else and I've just bought the 7 books of Narnia. When I was around 8 I read The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. It was the best thing I ever read. I loved it so much - (SPOILER ALERT) that there was another world accessible through an old wardrobe.

But the teacher, Mrs Allery, never told me that there were other books in the series so I read it again and it was only years later that I learned it was a series of 7.

I'm really looking forward to reading them through Christmas and the New Year.

That and the speech-making/giving for RDS are really positive intro to 2023.

Monday, December 12, 2022

It's all in the mind...

 How are you?

Have you ever regretted asking that question? Sometimes if you're having a bad time of it and you really know the person who's asking, you can open up. 

But otherwise, please spare the details. 

I once asked an ex-work colleague how things were, and he proceeded to tell me every project that he had managed to get for the company. Oh my god - it went on and on and on. After half an hour he said "...and that one's worth nearly a thousand pounds." 

At that point I just said goodbye and walked off. I didn't care how rude it appeared.

That one's worth nearly a thousand pounds! I think he'd got his decimal points in the wrong place!

We're British, and asking how are you is just a polite soundbite. It's showing an interest in the other person without wishing to be intrusive. It's not really asking for much of an answer either - it's more of an implied wish that the other person is in good health in body and mind. 

You never want to burden people by actually answering truthfully, or boring people senseless with the minutiae of your working life. 

You just say, 'not too bad', 'mustn't grumble', 'fine thank you' - that kind of thing. 

Saying you feel amazing - fantastic, is borderline vulgar. It's boastful. After all, no one likes a show-off.

I think this should at least be on the National Curriculum. It would help enormously for those of us who don't wish to be stuck in embarrassing and tedious conversations.


Why did the model stare at the orange juice?

I'm in a pretty good place at the moment. The Sertraline is STILL working - or at least mitigating the worst of my anger, and I feel calm and content most of the time. I can concentrate on reading and writing; I even did something useful yesterday and tidied and cleaned for an entire morning (long overdue it must be said) while I had the house to myself.

On reflection, I've stalled writing as I don't think I have any thing that new or interesting to tell you. I've been getting fitter by running in intervals with the dogs as I've joined in with their squirrel chasing. We've yet to catch any as the squirrels are unfairly advantaged by having eyes on the sides of their heads giving them almost 360' vision, and are also able to run up tree trunks.

But at least I am getting fitter. 

One thing I have noticed with my vision is my eyes seem to work in slow motion. As I'm running I have to look at the uneven terrain and I have to concentrate on it. It's like the centre of my vision is more in focus than the outer, and the information is taking fractionally longer to get to my consciousness. So I'm really having to concentrate a little bit more to avoid hazards, in other words.

Maybe I should run on football pitches and the like. It's only a matter of time before I have an accident.

Spinal Tap

Had a lumbar puncture the other day. Odd procedure. I've got to say the staff at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neuroscience  are incredible. I felt so put at ease - everyone there was charming. I would hazard a guess it's a great place to work.

So you sit on the edge of a bed and crouch over. They give you an anaesthetic and then the procedure. They asked if I wanted to contribute some more for research purposes. Yeah, knock yourselves out: take another pint! 

So I was there as the spinal fluid was extracted. It took a few minutes - how many I couldn't say. 

Repercussions - the next day I had pain around my coccyx area, and a slight headache. These pains I was told to expect, and they lasted about 3 days. Small potatoes really.

So now I have to wait till the new year to get the results.


Jacqui's last day at work for 2022 is on Monday 12th. That means that the mad dash to get Xmas ready will  be a gentle canter instead. I can't do the shopping - I've always hated it but in recent years I've found the crowds and general hubbub really disorientating and unpleasant. Thankfully one of the good things about shopping is miserable buggers like me can do it all online now.

I've always loved Christmas so I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family. I'm looking forward to playing games and good cheer. I realise some people hate Christmas and I understand why, but as an opportunity to be amongst people and have fun and good times it tops any other event in the calendar IMO.


I've been writing character personal quests in Drakkenheim. These are secrets the players' characters have that they don't tell the others. There's a list of them from 'I need to reclaim a family heirloom' to 'I am the rightful heir to the kingdom!' to 'I must kill the leader of this faction.' 

Threading these plot points into an already complex story is great fun. It gives me enormous excitement to secrete these things throughout the adventure knowing that the characters will discover the lost items or make a certain event come to pass.

The great thing about Dungeons and Dragons is the Dungeon Master AND the players make the story. It can potentially go anywhere. 

It's the highlight of my week. And oddly I'm becoming less and less tired after a long session.Maybe because I'm fitter?

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

D is for Dementia

Drugs Update

So the Sertraline is still doing the business. I haven't exploded into a berserker's rage for weeks now. Which is nice.

Yesterday was the last session at The London Wetlands Centre. Felt a bit sad in a way. Two of the couples didn't make it in. The weather was pretty inclement too. I let them know about this blog. I read a bit out of my last post - the bit about me being a miserable bastard which made them laugh.

Drugs are good.

Maybe I shall try CBD or micro-dosing with magic mushrooms. What is there to lose?


We currently have no internet so I'm, tethering this computer what I am typing 'ere through my phone to the interweb. Amazing what we can do with technology these days. Waiting for the man to come and fix it. Which as we know this can sometimes take more than one visit.

in a moment I shall be venturing into Kingston town centre to get my Covid and flu jab. What fun!

Drakkenheim update - not that you're interested, and one could hardly blame you...

Did a 6 hour session on Sunday. 6 HOURS OF DUNGEON MASTERING! Wave after wave of attacks by various monsters on a fort that the players had to defend.

It was actually really good. Markedly different to the previous session which was predominantly role-playing. That's what's so great about this game - role-playing - exploration - combat. Something for everyone.

They all went up a level too. Just rewards. But things get tougher in the game now. 

I'm loving this.

I also have to embellish their backstories which are tied in to the whole scenario - each of them has a secret or guiding reason why they're there, or what they need to do. They haven't told the other characters what they are and I need to expand and integrate these into the adventure, one-on-one with each player. 

It will get complicated so I need to keep it clear and concise or yours truly will get very muddled indeed!

Don't like readin' or speakin'

Reading less of the paper these days. I used to devour it beak to arse, but now I just read some of the comments section and do the quiz, skim the rest. Is this symptomatic of a stage I'm going through or my condition worsening? Who knows.

I stopped reading Private Eye about a year ago - just couldn't get down to reading all that dense, forensic text. I'm considering cancelling my subscription to The Times. I would miss certain writers though. A paper becomes a familiar companion, and strangely comforting. It's dependable in that it always arrives and you look forward to certain features and writers, like familiar voices. 

I'll keep it for now as it may just be a stage I'm going through. I've learned that with dementia it's rather like a wavelength. For instance yesterday I was really chatty and up when I arrived at the Wetlands Centre. By the last half hour I was withdrawn and elsewhere.


...what I am becoming. I have so few interests now: D&D, Abba, nature, politics (on the wane as the movers and shakers are so depressingly awful). The dogs are lovely. So are my friends. 

Things are quiet before Xmas. I haven't done any Xmas shopping. I don't know what to get. My creative thinking seems to have gone. My imagination can be sparked but is as responsive and inactive as our broadband is at this time of writing.

Talking of creativity, I want to run Drakkenheim until its very end. This is because I'm finding it harder to prepare and I'm not sure when it will be too much and I will no longer be able to do it. It would be a shame if we didn't get to the end. 

So that is my goal for 2023.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Drugs please.

I am a Floater

 I've been very lazy recently. This extends to wearing the same clothes day in and out, staring at YouTube waiting for one of my subscribed channels to have something new on, and prepping D&D. Haven't cleaned the house. Haven't even done a blog post for weeks.

It's not good.

J was very kind and said I needed to have a list of tasks to do. She's right. I just drift off otherwise into the astral plane, floating untethered in the mists. I need to be reeled back down to terra firma and shown which direction to go. 


My temper has been insane - worryingly about to boil over like a broken pressure cooker on a full heat. This was really uncomfortable physically and mentally. I'd had some Sertraline (an antidepressant prescribed by my neurologist) on my table since July 30th. I'd taken one on July 31st and it had made me do jaw-dislocating yawns. I didn't like it. It also listed the myriad side-effects and said don't drink alcohol. This was enough at the time, for me to not take them.

The anger was so worrying to me that I thought I'd start taking them anyway. I also haven't had a drink since early September.

The anger left me within an hour of taking the pill. Oh my god - the relief from the pressure was borderline euphoric.

I've heard they don't kick in until weeks after taking them, but that wasn't my experience. Something chemical happened inside me and since then I have been a far happier bunny. 

The alternative to not having these drugs was awful.


I went to see ABBA Voyage AGAIN!! This time with J and our neighbours. It was wonderful. I think Mark was initially less keen, especially when the price was factored in. But both of them loved it - said it was incredible. 

Going to this event makes me so happy. Like an old person, I'm sick and tired of comedians and popular culture where they say shock words or use pornographic language for laughs. I don't even find it offensive; I find it boring.

I can go down the pub for that.

Talking of comedy, J and I saw the play 'Spike' with my old mate Will and his partner. It's currently at The Richmond Theatre. It was okay. It was better than okay. But the casting of Spike Milligan was the problem - he didn't look like Spike, nor was he very funny. I guess we're talking about comedy from 60-70 years ago, so timing is everything. I guess if a chameleon like Benedict Cumberbatch had played him, that would have been something to see.

Culture, innit?

Dungeons and Dragons

Drakkenheim continues on Sundays apace. It is deadly. Last Sunday the characters were sent half-mad merely looking through a gate. They're exploring the city to get a sense of the geography  - this is called a sandbox adventure. What that means is rather than a linear questline of goals and achievements with no deviation and a chronological order of events, instead the party go where they like. Luckily Drakkenheim is so well written that I can quickly review a section if I haven't prepared it and run it almost immediately.

The deadly nature of this setting is making for an edge-of-the-seat gaming experience.

My Monday lot are all high-level and seem to be immortal. No matter what I throw at them - and in this case it's rooms full of giants - they seem to win every battle with merely a few scratches to show for it. 

This particular adventure is older than the players, being the first written adventure ever published by TSR - the original Dungeons and Dragons company - back in 1978, although it was first played as a competition module before then.

It's basic and brutal. Very combat-heavy. I wonder how long it will be before they get bored of it.

London Wetlands Centre

Every Monday morning I've been attending the above centre in Barnes. It's an oasis, but look to the horizon and you see the whole place is surrounded with the gray nastiness that is London. Also, every 10 minutes a gigantic AIrbus roars overhead on its way to Heathrow.

Apart from that, it's really lovely - full of Cormorants, crested Grebes, geese and ducks of many varieties, and also lots of songbirds.

There have been lots of activities there which I have not taken part in - miserable bastard that I am. But I felt I was at the Wetland Centre not to make things out of clay or carve pumpkins, but to immerse myself in the nature and fauna and look up and listen and smell the air. 

In certain parts of London it's easy to miss the seasons changing, so places like commons, parks and Barnes Wetland Centre are great barometers and places you can breathe and relax and be human again.

Here are some photos I took on my iPhone. I decided not to take my SLRs as I don't have a 600mm prime zoom.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Why I'm angry all the time

I never write these posts on Saturdays.

I woke up at 9. NINE! That's such a lie-in. J was out last night with a friend. No text as to an eta, but that's normal. 

Stanley couldn't or wouldn't grasp that his Mummy was coming home. And the fireworks were not conducive to his relaxation. The slightest noise was setting him off, so I waited up with him, trying to calm him. J got home around 12.15. 

I then took a while to get to sleep.

But back to today, I woke up in a really good mood. So what happened then?

I don't know. Something made me really angry: full of inner rage. 

I really busied myself - I cleaned the window frames, put the cellophane on the windows for the winter and used the hairdryer to get the creases out which was not wholly successful - even had to take the curtains off too. 

I also mowed the grass. I repaired the flex on the hairdryer. Little things.

I thought this would make me feel good; after all I was achieving things and not wasting my day. 

I guess J relaxing and not taking in what I was doing was slightly grating - how dare she not appreciate my toiling for the good of the house! 

I reminded myself she's worked a 50 hour week. She's allowed to relax.

J was at the hairdressers from 10 till 2. Mmn. I'm really angry.

I'm still at a loss why I'm feeling this way.

The Semantic Variant hasn't really taken hold, but the mood swings are awful. It's Behavioural Variant I'm struggling with. My Frontal Lobe is being eroded - eaten away - and I'm finding it so difficult to join in socially where I used to so 

What’s on the TV? Rupaul's Drag Race, Strictly Come Dancing, and variations on those themes. I can’t join in with any of those. Only Murders in the Building is the exception which we all like watching. 

I can't do the frenetic, camp, fizz anymore, that's for sure. It means I spend more time on my own in the house than I used to.

I'm not perfect. J does the cooking: I clear up. It always has been and it's getting more challenging. Things are left habitually, without malice I've come to understand,  but it's just never-ending.

And of course, they feel they're tiptoeing around me, which of course they are. 

Apparently I’m leaving the oven on and the toilet seat up when I’m urinating. 

It's good to know this stuff. I can then work on these things.

Life is a balance and it's about choosing your battles.

Anyway, I sometimes feel my points of view are quickly dismissed in this house. Maybe that's the reason I get angry. 

It feels like it's me vs the females at times. Or me vs the non-demented at the least.

And there are plenty of people without dementia who can be just plain wrong. 

Many of whom are female.

Which proves it.

What do you do to relax?

John Taverner, exercise,  this video (below)? I'm much calmer on my own watching this CGI interior listening to the auto-Jazz in the background. Maybe Putin goes to bed listening to this. Maybe not.

Aside from walking the dog I need to do some proper exercise. My body's atrophied since giving up work. I haven't lost as much weight either as I thought I would since giving up alcohol, which is disappointing. I guess that's in part my age and a more sedentary life. 

I am not going to the gym. I used to be a gym-addict in my 20s. I went again for a few months in my late 40s. I can't stand the places.

Not sure the knees or ankles will stand running again. 

Swimming is my favourite exercise - wonderful flow activity with zero impact, but can you find a decent pool in this country?

No, is the answer you were looking for.

Dungeons and Dragons

Yes. You were waiting for that. And one can hardly blame you.

That's you that is.

So, Rick's pub is unavailable until 4pm so I've cleared it with the females and the 5 goblins will come here, to the dining room. I think the girls will make themselves scarce if they can help it. 

We can be quite loud and smelly. 

More fun in a Lovecraftian-horror, set in an epic-fantasy world akin to our own European Gothic-Rennaissance. How many boxes does that tick?

It really is proving to be one of the best D&D campaigns I've ever run - 'hugely exiting and full of peril'. Sounds like a modern film rating!

So we should have some fun tomorrow.

J and I love fantasy and sci-fi - X profoundly doesn't. J and I devoured House of The Dragon. We also found a really good Cyberpunk thing just started on Prime the other night: The Peripheral. Worth checking out.

So, on a positive note, I'll bid you goodnight.

Be nice to each other, read a good book. Remember the clocks go back tonight in the UK.


(FACT: we only have GMT for 5 months of the year!)


Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Trying hard not to be a burden

Every Day is Nostalgia Day

My sister came up to visit briefly, in order to go to see Abba (second time for me). 

It's an extraordinary thing. Mainly middle-aged people; some older, some younger. Everyone in a party frame of mind. Many dressed up. 

The journey there was stressful only because of my condition. Once you get there it's a really lovely arena due to its pleasant staff and the calming environment of the foyer's wooden interior.

It's easy to dismiss, but this Abba show means something to people. It's the happy-sad Swedish nature of the songs - but also the time it was created. The 70s may have been bleak socially and economically, but it was very creative musically. And it was my childhood. There's a certain poignancy about the Abba songs that best reflects the time, in my opinion.

At the concert everyone stands up and dances. Especially the 'David Attenborough' guy (as my sister called him) in the row in front of us, though thankfully a few seats to our left. 

Luckily the people directly in front of us looked really square and lived up to expectations, not getting up from their seats until Dancing Queen, giving us a clear view.

So we're in the arena, sat down -I'm  feeling happy, nostalgic, sad. Such a mixture of emotions. FTD has given me a sense of melancholy - that I somehow long for my past, yet much of the past I remember is a past that admonishes me.  

I sit in cinemas watching Star Wars films with tears in my eyes throughout the whole movie, glad no one else can see me. Like a time-traveller, I switch back and forth from the present to the little boy in Swansea Odeon next to my big Dad, watching the whole film through a C-3PO mask.

I'm living my life in multiple time-lines. Everything has a resonance to a previous age - anything at any time can draw parallels with past experiences and I'm suddenly in a classroom getting told off and crying, or being a total shit to some poor girlfriend; it can be anything. The emotion generated is visceral. I cry out, swearing.

'Why are you here? Let's get back to the present.'

At last, that calm inner voice.

And I return to the present moment. Having done a Mindfulness course I'm 'mindful' enough to acknowledge my awareness in realising where I was in my mind and having the ability to return, and I give myself a pat on the back for doing so.

As an epilogue, my sister loved the Abba concert and I loved it just as much as when J and I saw it back in June.

Just as well as I'm going again in 2 weeks! 

"That's all I can see is green stuff!"

Those wonderful people at RDS have organised 6 Monday morning sessions at the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes. 

Yesterday was the second session.

Thankfully after the horrendous storms we had on Sunday, this was the breezy, bright Autumn day we needed.

We were encouraged to embrace nature. It was too far for me to go barefoot in the grass, and I've never been one to hug a tree. But I do find them enigmatic and mysterious. I've always been fascinated by what goes on under our feet, and it's only recently we're starting to discover the communication between trees and fungi.

Charlie and Raksha gave out notebooks and information leaflets. In order to give back I took lots of A-levellish photos with my iPhone. I have a ton of pro-photographic equipment which I have barely used for years as you end up being a photographer when you really should be experiencing being in the moment with nature. 


Rather like the people who go to a concert and video the whole thing. They're missing out on the experience in order to get a third rate recording of it.

The title of this comes from a hide we were in. A dad was showing his little boy how to use the telescope to see the wildfowl. The boy was struggling and said "THAT'S ALL I CAN SEE IS GREEN STUFF!"

Made me laugh anyway.

Am I a burden?

J's having a hard time at the moment dealing with it all. Work, the future, the house, kids, the dogs, the past. I always think it's me and me alone that's the problem. I think of myself at times as the constant reminder to her that she made the wrong decision in marrying me. She asks all my friends and they say - no - he was always like this.


Really constructive!

Let me break this down. 

I have never been the easiest person. I am relatively thin-skinned, I am quick to anger, I am a total coward when it comes to confrontation...blah blah blah. Posts passim

However, in my 40s I had become a lot calmer. More thoughtful. Always trying to become better from my 30s, I'd read lots, been on courses, had therapy. None of us are the finished article. 

It is so hard. I have tried to get a thicker skin, be more calm, be less outspoken, think more about proffering my opinion etc.

When I met J I was in a good place: a more mature and less abrasive me. 

Then FTD. Oh the irony.

I became angrier again; with myself, with the world. Temper frayed, my intolerance worsened. My faux pas knew no limits.

I can hear my Mother's voice: 'Leopards don't change their spots!'

While an addict suppresses their addiction, the addiction is always there, and like a dormant volcano it can occasionally spring back into action.

I can't tell you how hard it is to keep it together all the time. If something angers me and it can be anything - the coping mechanisms I've created and deploy you would not believe. And it is really hard work, which adds to the tiredness people with dementia experience the whole time. Even a couple of days on holiday are tiring - and that's just talking to people you know.

So just remember that I am having to consciously deal with anything life throws at me now - when all of this used to be done unconsciously.

I am trying so hard not to lose who I am - to lose the best of me. 

I don't want things to be like this either.

Drakkenheim Continued

Sunday - a 4 1/2 hour DMing session. We had 2 special guest stars, Larry and Adrian from the other Drakkenheim group (from the games holiday) who met the Sunday players at The Bark and Buzzard Tavern in Emberwood.

From there they went to The Rat's Nest Tavern and and into the burrows, managing to defeat the hoards of Ratlings (2' tall bipedal sentient rats) and the Rat Prince and his Warlock. On the way back they chanced upon a wailing from a ruined house. It turned out to be a wretched ghost or in this context, a Warp Witch. On defeating the creature they heard a clapping behind them. 

This was a strike team of The Queen's Men - sent to duff them up and take their magic items away. 

However, by the skin of their teeth our heroes prevailed. It was a really exciting session in a really vivid setting of a shattered city, its characters and lore. 

I'm really looking forward to the next session.

My Monday session with a different group of players and the world setting is markedly different. Their characters are much higher level and are unfortunately going through giants like a dose of salts. D&D is very difficult to get the balance right at times.

And it's very tiring too, but worth it.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

I can’t get my head to think

Games Holiday

 So I went on holiday, a gaming holiday. And the 2nd day I got Covid and had to come home and isolate. Very annoying. I'd hired a car too and had (naughtily) taken Wilbur the spaniel with me, despite the 'No Pets' instruction.

(Anarchy or what? Yeah, I know!)

I came home and all symptoms were gone in 2 days and after a clean LF test I came back. 

We played some games but not so much any RPGs, but for the last 2 days I Dungeon Mastered for 11 hours . It was so exhilarating but really tiring. The players all loved it too. Very kindly, the guys rearranged the timetable to accommodate me. How very kind and thoughtful of them.

Lots of other games were played: 6mm Napoleonic wargaming, card games, railway games (this is a genre) boardgames or other weird things. I even played one where you had to feed a Panda bamboo.

Napoleonic Wargaming using 6mm figures. Can you see them?

But my thing is Role-Playing Games and with a few exceptions they're pretty much all I really want to play. Those exceptions are Marvel United and Here's Negen and a few others.

By the way, this was the first time in 20 years a timetable had been used to organise the week. 

Some said it would never catch on. Others that it would upset the apple cart. 

It proved to be quite the game-changer (see what I did there?). 

At least when something is written down it can be changed/moved.  With RPGs once you start a campaign you need the same players as many sessions make up the whole game, rather like chapters to a novel. Some of the games can last years even played weekly with a 3-4 hour session.

In previous holidays games sessions were conducted on a far more ad hoc basis and there were hours spent waiting around for other players playing games we were told would last no longer than 80 minutes. 6 hours later and they were still playing.

Wilbur's Holiday

Wilbur loves it on the farm but he found the composting area in the private area at the back. I ran through to the private area of the owners, through the huge hissing geese and posh chickens and despite calling his name several times I ended up having to drag him out of the compost by the scruff of his neck, still with a rotten fermenting apple in his gob.

He woke me up at 3am to puke it all up. Thanks Wilbur.

Farmer Wilbur 

I tried taking him for a walk, but 200 yards in he just dug his paws in and headed back for the farm. He just loves tootling around there and there alone. 

Luckily the other gamers (for the best part) like Wilbur too. He takes a seat next to me so he's on the same level when I'm DMing.

He's one of us.

Everyone you know is mental

Gamers are mental. This was the fourth time I've holidayed with them so I should know. 

I am now an EXPERT.

And it's all of them. People who don't wash, or do wash but not their clothes. People who have a room in their house full of Amazonian tree frogs. People who have made 6 attempts to leave the house because of their fear of getting Covid. People who are rules lawyers with no self awareness whatsoever regarding how they impact on others, who deny the existence of rules they aren't aware of. People who have the loudest voices you've ever heard. People who look at you in utter horror if you use a metaphor or analogy because they are so literal and cannot make that leap. People who can't bear any material on their feet. People who cannot bear any material on their arms. People who cannot do anything for themselves as their wives/mums do it all at home. 

Of course, I'm only scratching the surface here. But you get the gist.

Gamers are also kind, gentle, inclusive, accommodating, interesting and thoughtful.

And this is why a demented - such as myself - fits in with it all.

Life back on Earth

I had a stress-free time at the gaming holiday. It was hugely enjoyable and relaxing (except when Wilbur runs off to eat compost). 

Dungeon Mastering  for that amount of hours and the intensity of it also turbo charged me into a good place, but now I'm back I have all manner of crazy negative thoughts coming into my brainage, none of which were present on the holiday. A lot of these are the same old stupid things that have been haunting/possessing my conscious these last few years, all of which happened years ago.

Possible reasons as follows:

  1. The Conservative Party. They certainly don't help matters.
  2. Pelotons of city-boy cyclists on 15 grand bikes shouting about their what their broker's advised them while tearing round Richmond Park don't do my mental health any favours.
  3. Knowing that I'm on a high as far as cognitive function goes means I can expect a trough in the very near future.
  4. We all feed off of others' fears and worries unconsciously, whether from hormones, smells etc or body language and the subtleties of communications.
  5. Other/don't know.
As always, I tell myself to remain creative and keep busy and all will be well. I still haven't drunk since that Friday in September when I lost my shit.

Luckily I found it again. 

It's just retaining my shit that's the problem.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Quaint little hellhole

 Vanless, clueless

Having sold the van I’m now consigned to public transport. I came down on the train for the first time in years. I’d thought Castle Cary was much further away  - the same distance Bath is - but it’s only 10 miles. Dad was there to pick me up - just like when I was in my early 20s! It was a really nice journey on a new train. My noise-cancelling headphones and a half-full carriage added to the quality of the journey.

Dad chose a really dumb way to go back. I wanted to go back through the pretty villages of Croscombe and Dulcote for old times’ sake. I used to cycle to see friends who lived there. Bike lights back then had about as much illumination as a cigarette. I never got run over, but I did end up in ditches a couple of times. 

Instead we went back through country A-roads with high hedges and littered for miles. With the detritus poured out of vehicles by scum. 

Long-haired hippy bastard!!

What can I tell you about this place? Well it’s changed and I’ve changed. We’ve changed. More populous, more affluent and at the same time more down and outs. Visible heroin problem and lots of mental heath issues. The 2 are not necessarily mutually exclusive of course.

I realise this is par for the course for almost every developed country in the Western World, but hey.

I know very few people here now. It always amazed me who came back, not who stayed. When I left and being a creature of habit, I never wanted to leave, yet I ended up in London, dirt-poor, looking for work. But it was so exciting and vibrant. To a young person it was great. No one calling me out for looking different, no one trying to ruin mine and my friends’ evening because it was their way of feeling better about themselves. In fact, lots of people like me, relishing their new found anonymity and that no one else gave much of a fuck either. No one was going to try and ruin your day. There were lots of people much more edgy than me so I really truly was a minnow in an ocean. Bliss.

Freedom in other words; a chance to reinvent oneself. I shone brightly for a few years, thankfully realising there was no place for me in the world of advertising - despite having won an award as a student - and then after an epiphany and retraining to be a stonemason, I found that the umbilical cord I thought had long-gone snapped me back home like a bungee and I got a job in a local stonemasonry banker shop - the only positive reply I received from a dozen letters, and so I returned, churning out stones in factory conditions at £4.15 per hour in 1996. A 39 hour week meant I would have a net pay of £130 if memory serves. And the place was like Lord of the Flies with the chosen alphas at the top who would give beatings out to the apprentices, but had their favourite - a surly little bastard just like them. They’d call it toxically male these days. 

I spent a year there an then went to a much nicer place in Shepton Mallet which produced a far better quality of work.

But I digress. It’s strange moving back to a small place when all your peers have left as well. It’s like the heart and soul of Eden has just disapperaed making it feel like a semblance of itself. There are people who never left who can be quite resentful that you were ‘disloyal’ as they see it. I find the patheticness of that really funny.

It’s also funny - to me at least - that the biggest rebel I know returned there. I know she’s told me why but I can’t remember and I think the reason that I can’t is that I could never truly get my head round why.

Brain not compute…brain not compute…

So after 2 1/2 years I packed everything in and moved back to London, but that’s another story.

Modern life IS rubbish (but it has its compensations)

I’m at the cafeteria of The Bishop’s Palace having a vegan sandwich. I’m not a vegan but I’ve developed an intolerance to lactose. It’s an age thing, you see.

Middle-classed hippies with their home-schooled boundary-free kids running and screaming at the other end of the restaurant. I’m here at the furthest end from them, safe with my coffee and cake with my noise-cancelling headphones.

What would I do without you…?
I recommend these to everyone who has dementia or any sensitivity to noise. Other people’s dogs, children, mobile phone conversations, loud revolting students (a tautology, I realise) and just general pub/restaurant/classroom etc noise. Makes life more tolerable. Not a cure, but a treatment.

You probably need a product demonstration. In fact, you definitely do if you haven’t put a pair on. Unless you’re already hard of hearing which I would say is a far better place than being hypersensitive to noise.

I should have been in advertising. 

Actually, no.

Even the people I know who went into it regret it.

Stonemasonry was the least worst way of earning a living I ever found. I tried a lot of different things see. I would have much preferred to be a trustafarian just doing course after course. Loved learning new things.

Maybe in the next life.