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?