A Small Update

Well, it has been a while since my last update.
We visited relatives in Wales recently which was nice, though there were a lot of train and bus journeys in unfamiliar territory!
We went bowling, played air hockey and visited Caerphilly Castle which was good for a few pictures.
We also had a lovely fried breakfast in a cafe in Merthyr after doing the charity shops and markets.
I even found an unopened copy of Star Munchkin for £3 in a charity shop which I snagged very quickly seeing as it is nearly £20 online!
When we got home, we opened the box after reading it was for 3-6 players and that had previously put me off buying any of the munchkin games but it turns out to be a whole lot of fun with just 2 players and we rapidly bought the expansions for it and now it has been added to our lounge/gaming room collection!
I can recommend it if you like killing monsters, taking their stuff and screwing over your friends! (as it says on the box!).

One nice thing about Aberdare is the views from the top of the garden were fantastic and more pictures were taken, though there is the small matter of the steep road/cliff face that you need to traverse to get to the house which tired us both out! But we enjoyed the sun and sat out in the garden enjoying the quiet before venturing indoors to play Red November and Mille Bornes, two other games I can highly recommend.

One good thing about using the bus every day was we got to see a lot of the Welsh countryside.

We did miss our little furbaby Milo terribly though and we asked our friend who was kittysitting for us to send us daily pictures and updates to help, though he was glad to see us when we got home and it was cuddles all round (from Milo that is!).

Recently, I have been toying with Dwarf Fortress again, more specifically the Mod Dwarf Fortress Masterwork, which is not for the faint hearted! I usually use the Lazy Newb Pack as it has all the mods and utiities you will ever need to run your fort, though Masterwork has all these tools and then some, I am hoping to learn enough of MW DF to post AAR’s on here for anyone who may be interested in reading how quickly my fort falls!

I have also been enjoying Fallout 4 and Alien:Isolation on the Xbox, which are both great games in their own right, though on Fallout, I tend to just drift around in survival mode and try not to get killed rather than doing any of the missions! I strongly recommend playing on survival once you have some experience with the game on normal difficulty first (it is a whole different beast of a game that way!) so far, I am only a few levels in on my survival character though enjoying every minute of it! Though I do need to go back to my main character and finish the game (which won’t be anytime soon).

Well, I will finish off here, I hope you enjoyed this small update and I have given you a few games to go and try!

Now im off to Scrivener to try and get some writing done!

Volunteering and Gaming

Hi all! it’s been a long time since my last post, but here i am with a fresh new one to thrill and amaze!
Volunteer work has kept me busy over the intervening period as well as my long suffering wife Tracey.
Sadly, our time with the council run local library came to an end as the library closed, though we did walk away with a friend and reference in our boss.

We then started volunteering for the Maritime Archaeology Trust identifying and recording lost wrecks from World War One, which goes right down my alley, being able to use my Google-Fu to tease any extra data from the Interweb!

I started volunteering at a local cafe which went really well and I discovered that maybe i could go back into a fast paced dynamic kitchen environment again after so many years away, there i gained valuable experience both in the back and out the front and remember my time there fondly (even one day when the freezers needed to be scraped out and cleaned which was fun! 😉

Recently, I started volunteering at a charity shop with Tracey and a friend to gain valuable retail experience and also with the Council again with the Museum Collections Service, digitising old records, which suits me fine being up to my neck in old records and entering them into a spreadsheet, which is probably as boring as it sounds to most, but to me it gives me a chance to brush up on my Excel skills! though some of that writing can be tricky to read!

I have been slowly coming around to my games again after a long time being unable to do so for health reasons and have been particularly enjoying Microsoft Flight Simulator X:Steam Edition and Euro Truck Simulator 2 with the amazing Promods, Rusmaps, and Jazzycat Trailer & AI Traffic mods amongst others (which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone who has ever fancied taking a truck across Europe!).

I love Simulators, 4X games and RPG’s and I am hoping to take this blog in a slightly different direction in the future.

I will be keeping to these small ‘updates’ about my life, but will also be talking about what games i have been enjoying recently and what mods I can recommend based on my personal preference.

I have also been enjoying Mass Effect Andromeda and Fallout 4 on Xbox way more than i probably should but Tracey and I have an understanding so I get games during the day, then we veg out and watch our series and maybe a film or two afterwards in the evening with dinner.  It works really well for us.

Being a huge, huge fan of the Mass Effect franchise, the release of Andromeda was greatly anticipated by me but due to being unable to run it on my PC and not owning an Xbox One, I couldn’t play it, but careful saving and a liberal splash of trading in old games and hardware in our local CEX, i managed to finally join the current-gen club!
I have not tested the mods feature of Fallout 4 yet, but when i get around to it, there are definitely a couple i would like to try out (though part of me is saying wait for a PC upgrade and get it on PC too for more modding fun and mod managers!).

Well, on top of all this, I have been trying to write where and when i can.  I have the software, the hardware and no excuses yet still struggle at times.

I have a collaborative fiction piece with my brother in law which is going really well and we are both enjoying it (yes, i will get back to it i promise! 😉

I have my blog, which as you have all realised has been somewhat abandoned of late (okay longer than that!) and i am working on my novel of which i hope to be able to post updates on here very soon.

And then there is my reading… thanks to Amazon and Bookbub, i have been able to expand my Kindle library to probably over a hundred books nearly all of which were free (book 1’s of a series or really old) or were heavily discounted, which is all great on paper, but with everything going on, I tend to just want to chill out with YouTube videos at bedtime (yes i know videos are probably not the best thing to be doing in bed!) though my Watch Later list grows by the day and the amount of series I have started watching of various game Let’s Plays also never seems to shrink!

I think that is all i have for you today, sorry about the long wait to those of you who read this blog, but i hope to get back in the saddle again quickly so please bear with me!

Weymouth 2015

After a nice week away in Weymouth with my wife and a close friend; it is now time to settle back into being at home.
We had another close friend cat/house sitting for us which was a great help.
We left on the Monday afternoon in the wind and rain, it took us ten minutes to get out of our road due to the huge volume of schoolkids leaving school for the day and the multitude of cars blocking the road as they were picking up their kids and trying to park in the side roads near the school; nevertheless, we eventually made it out and were on our way.
Our friend was using her phone as a Sat Nav and before long we arrived at Seaview Holiday Park and entered our caravan which was to be our home for the week.
It was a little; shall we say cosy, but we all managed to unpack without event.
Shortly after unpacking, we made our way up the road to pick up some essential supplies (washing up liquid, sponges, kitchen roll that sort of stuff) from somewhere that wasn’t hideously overpriced like the shop on site was.
Getting back in, we played a hand or two of Zombie Fluxx and went to bed.

The next day, bright and early; we tried our best to navigate our way to the Asda in Weymouth, though both our phones were playing up and trying to send us down one way streets and dead ends (which was fun!) but we eventually got there and did our food shopping for the week.
We sat around later that day drinking coffee and trying to prepare our plans for the week; what we wanted to do, where to go etc and managed to hammer out a rough itinerary for the week.

Before we knew it, Wednesday was upon us and we had a destination in mind: Dorchester. We made our way there and browsed the charity shops, visited the Roman Town House and took lots of pictures which we all enjoyed.  My wife even managed to find The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett which i was considering reading as i thought it would make a nice change from the normal sci fi that i read.
Back at the holiday park, we took our bags of two pences from home and made a beeline for the arcade and the 2p slide machines which we love!, we even corrupted our friend into playing them! after winning a load of tickets which you can cash in at the end of your stay, we made our way home for the night.

Thursday rolled around quickly and we decided today we would visit Lyme Regis where I used to live.
We walked along the beach and across the Cobb and took some nice photos on the way, we then stopped for some chips on the beach before going for a walk along the backstreets and along the river to the spot where I proposed to my wife back in 2009.  It is a lovely spot and it was nice to share it with someone.
We went into a bookshop down the bottom of Lyme and introduced our friend to the delight of rummaging around piles of books in every room to find a bargain!, sadly we didn’t find anything this time, but just as we went to leave a song came on I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire by the Ink Spots which was the theme tune to the popular and amazing game Fallout 3!
We quickly nipped into a fossil shop to browse as we did not manage to find any fossils on the beach (too late in the day really) and then made our way back to the car.

Unfortunately, the main road out of town was closed, our friend’s Sat Nav was at home and she had no signal to use her phone for navigation! eventually, by using the GPS on our phones, we found an alternate route and managed to get back on track until later in the day when the signal just as suddenly came back.
We played some Boss Monster, had some tea and went to bed after watching a film.

Friday we decided we wanted to take a walk over the cliffs to Bowleaze Cove which was a short walk away form the site.  We couldn’t remember the way exactly as it had been four years since we were last there but my wife called her brother and he navigated us back onto the correct path!
Taking lots more pictures of the stunning views (even though they had added an enclosed football field at the top of the hill which occupied the best spot) we passed the Riviera Hotel (which always looked to me like an old asylum) we arrived in Bowleaze cove, visited the cafe and amusements there then made our way back to the park.
We spent a few hours in the main entertainment room listening to the live band (Reservoir Rocks which were great) and i enjoyed a few Cobra Zero beers (the fact that they had alcohol free beers was great and made a change from coke!).

Saturday, our friend and I used our phones (which were working great now) to make our way to Portland (our friend wanted to wind up the locals about their rabbit superstition and to visit Portland Bill Lighthouse on the recommendation of her friend).
The walk up the lighthouse with a tour guide was very interesting and gave us all real insight into life as a lighthouse keeper and although the stairs were steep, we all made it to the top and gained a badge to commemorate the fact (the final set of stairs were more like a ladder than stairs!).
We then decided to visit the Sealife Centre not far from the park and enjoyed an hour wandering around peering into tanks and over fences at the animals inside.  I particularly enjoyed the underwater tunnel bit and saw sharks swimming literally over our heads! i then fell in love with a family of Otters! after visiting the gift shop and picking up a stuffed Otter, we made our way back to the caravan and watched a film.

Sunday was a day of rest, we were planning on swimming but we didn’t feel like it in the end, the weather wasn’t really warm enough and me and my wife had just got over a cold shortly before leaving Southampton and didn’t want to risk another one! we then drove to Bowleaze cove and ninja parked near Jordan Hill briefly to take pictures of the Roman Temple remains there.

And then the end of holiday was upon us, we cashed in our tickets and got matching starfish keyrings, had an evening meal and made our way back to the caravan to pack.

We left early the following morning, made our way home without incident, had a coffee together then our friend went home, we walked our other friend home and then spent time with our little kitty Milo while catching up on our series from the week.

That was our holiday! now depending on what happens next year, we have time to think about our next one (I just hope it is not four years time like this was! 🙂

 

Bathroom, Birmingham and Business!

It has been a busy few weeks!, in the last few weeks, we had a new bathroom fitted, visited family in Birmingham and both Tracey and I had interviews!.
Let me jump back in time a little…

A couple of months ago, a letter from the council arrived, informing us that we needed a new bathroom (coming less than two years after our new kitchen!).
Needless to say, we contacted the contractors and arranged a date for them to start.
Within a few days the work had started and we were once again playing host to a seemingly endless stream of craftsmen pouring in and out of our home from morning till dusk.

I even printed out a little sign requesting that they closed the front door after themselves as we didn’t want Milo getting out, surprisingly, a couple of them even took notice of it! one in particular paused at the doorstep to read it, looked at me, then opened the door and walked upstairs leaving it wide open, why the guy felt the need to perform this petty act of defiance was beyond me, it was a simple enough request and I feel didn’t put anyone out.

The first day they ripped out the old bathroom and installed the new one, we thought that they would be done by the end of the week at that rate, but alas, it would be another couple of weeks until the work was declared complete.
We managed to keep Milo (our kitty) out of their way and the noise was only bad for the first few hours, after that he was fine and we hardly noticed the workmen were there!.
We had full creative control over the colours and took photos at the various stages for our own records.
After the chaos of the bathroom died down, I had an interview at a major shopping centre for a cleaner position, which I consequently got offered before we went away to Birmingham to visit family.

Every day, we took a nice, long walk around the local park and enjoyed the hot weather, even spending a day up the local high street, hunting around the many charity shops (where i found a couple of books and a collection of Star Trek games for next to nothing).
Sadly, the Star Trek games were too old to even install except one (Starfleet Academy) and the expansion for Starfleet Academy wouldn’t even install under win XP (even though the base game did!).

Time to crack out DosBox!
On the way home, we decided to make the most of the day and walk back, though we got turned around somewhere and ended up using my phone’s GPS to navigate back through unfamiliar streets (which was more fun than it sounds!).

It was so nice visiting family we hadn’t seen for a long time and having someone else do the cooking!.

When we left, we were given some Thyme, Rosemary and Sage to pot up when we got home.
Our friend who looked after Milo and our flat for us while we were away, met up with us in town and bought us a coffee (which was SORELY needed!).
Finally we got home, put the herbs in water and crashed out!.

Since then, we have potted them up, bought some Basil, Mint and Parsley and planted some chilli seeds (which started to come up today) and I managed to get all my mods installed for The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games (though that is a post on its own!).

Within a couple of weeks, Tracey had got herself TWO interviews one after another!, she then had another couple of calls from potential employers wanting to “check her details” and now she is just waiting for ‘that’ call that means she will be working too!.

I am so proud of her recent achievements and it goes to show what you can do when you apply yourself!.

So now we sit, enjoying watching TV while I try to get some writing done!.

 

Games, Glorious Games!

Well, it has been a long time since my last post.

I think it is for a variety of reasons, chiefly being the fact that I am now well and truly back into my games and spend time on them when I should be writing.

I have definitely turned into a steam addict and my game collection grows by the week (though now Tracey has given me an allowance each fortnight!).

Lately, I have been mainly playing Crusader Kings II (where I am trying my hardest to become the King of Ireland [unsuccessfully] as YouTube recommends to new players), X2:The Threat (I am making my annual attempt at an X:Marathon where I start with X:Beyond the Frontier and progress through X:Tension, X2:The Threat, X3:Reunion and X3:Terran Conflict building my empire before finally getting my hands on X3: Albion Prelude and finally X:Rebirth if my PC can handle it).

Continue reading “Games, Glorious Games!”

A Relaxing Weekend?

Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just got in from a rather hot walk up to the big Tesco’s up the road.

Tracey made the whole trip there and back without stopping which is a huge achievement at this stage of her recovery.

Now we are both sat down with a cold drink and I thought it would be a good time to write.

Yesterday, we had to make another trip to Southampton, firstly to return a cheap pair of speakers we bought for Tracey’s computer, and secondly to return a game (Stardrive) that we bought from CEX and turned out to be a Steam game that had already been activated.

CEX were great, they refunded me straight away and the voucher went towards… (and I am almost ashamed to say this)  LEGO Star Wars The Original Trilogy.

In my defence, I am trying to get more games that both Tracey and I can play together and we are both Star Wars and Lego fans and the games came recommended so thought it was worth a try!.

Continue reading “A Relaxing Weekend?”

Wheelchair Wonders

I needed to go up Tesco’s recently to collect our prescriptions and it was while I was pushing Tracey in the wheelchair I noticed a very odd thing:

People were making way for us.

There is one road especially where we are normally standing waiting for a good five minutes while cars speed past from three directions.

But the last three times we have crossed that road, people have actually stopped their cars and waved us across!.

We also had a trio of mom’s pushing pushchairs who moved into single file to allow us past! and to top it all off, on our way home today a couple of schoolboys on bikes standing in our path moved aside to let us past!.

I managed to put aside my shock and thank each and every one of them for their kindness.

I remember reading a long time ago about the topic of committing one random act of kindness every day, and this last week I have seen that in action albeit in a small way but it made our trip that much easier.

Maybe all those small random acts I have committed over the years have started to come to fruition? they do say what goes around comes around!.

As it turns out, I should have called the pharmacy before we made the trip today as they didn’t have a delivery yet which meant they couldn’t completely fill Tracey’s prescription.  The delivery arrived while we were waiting outside with a cold drink in the heat but was sadly not opened when I went back to enquire so instead I got the pharmacy’s direct number and will definitely be calling it tomorrow before committing Tracey to this journey for a third time in three days!

At least we are both getting some well needed exercise and fresh air!.