Jan. 20th, 2016

danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
My mother is going to volunteer at the refugee camp in Calais.

She travels over to Calais a week on Saturday and is staying for a month.

As well as helping out with general duties (which I think largely involve sorting through donations in kind in a warehouse) she's hoping to set up a simple dispensary for first aid supplies. She's also going to have a look and find out about the people who are there.

Her trip has caused some drama and anxiety in my family. Some members, mostly those in Australia (with poor access to nuanced and factual reporting) are worried mum is going to be caught up a riot or stabbed. Her trip might coincide with the relocation of some of the camp residents - who are a bit grumpy about it.

Trying to tell my mum what to do is like pushing water up hill with a toothbrush. Also, she's a 70 year old, former director level consultant radiologist, she knows her own mind and even if she were under-estimating the risks those are her risks to run. So, even if I were particulary worried I wouldn't say anything. So I haven't. Except to wish her bon voyage, donate some cash and complain in long and bitter terms that she isn't taking the car and therefore won't be able to bring me a trunkfull of cheap beer and wine.

Bluebird has taught my mum to text message so she can keep in touch whilst in France. If anything interesting happens I shall post about it but I'm expecting her trip there to be hard work, a little dull and a bit uncomfortable - mostly how imagine working in a warehouse would be - and for her to injure herself in an improbable and convoluted way. She has form on self-inflicted injuries.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
I had a very nice Christmas and New Year which I am now declaring closed.

A combination of a deliberate policy of doing an acceptable minimum coupled with general bonhomie and goodwill to all men meant that the whole period was both restful and enjoyable.

BB and my sister came for Christmas. MLW and I hosted the family (Dad, sister, BB, the Captain, her and me) to Lithmas dinner on Christmas Eve.

Herring by Jolly's of Orkney. Other fish and wine by Lidl. Vodka supplied by the back of the drinks cabinet. My sister, building on experience from last year did not get completely trollied by accident this year.

Christmas Day was our now traditional non-catering day. We don't cook a big dinner. I'll cook brunch for whomever is about before we open presents and then it's a your choice of leftovers, cheese and chocolates. Everyone got nice presents. I got some board games which I'll post about separately.

On Boxing Day dad hosted us for lunch.

There follows a hiatus whilst everyone eats leftovers and plays with new toys and so on. Andy came round for an afternoon of games. Other people may have visited. BB and my sister left for the south.

Hogmanay saw MLW and I hosting my dad and his new wife. We roasted some quail (Lidl again) and then watched the fireworks over the Castle from the Links. More people there than usual this year I thought.

Lunch round at Dad's on New Year's Day with him, my new step mum, my brother (and his dog) and two old friends of my dad's (former MP's).

I had a few more days off work before going back to the office - so I was very well rested and that has helped lots and lots.

Altogether a good break.

Extended festivities then rolled on to My Lovely Wife's birthday which, for this year only, included a celebration of my own birthday and our tenth wedding anniversary. We hosted a ceilidh, invited lots of people, had a dance, enjoyed a delicious and surprisingly romantic cake.

Most relatives came and my mum stayed on for a few days to catch up after her Christmas in Australia. She leaves today (earlier than I thought but she's keen to get on with her next adventure).

All in all the weeks of the dead of winter have been relaxed and enjoyable.
danieldwilliam: (coffee)
I have acquired, played or experienced some new board games.

The following are now in my house.

Fluxx
Tsuro
Dominion - Intrigue
Cabelloros
Alhambra

Also Dystopian Wars

I've played the following

Exploding Kittens
Lost Cities
Sheep Farm (my sister's work in progress game).

Fluxx

is mental. It's a card game. The rules change depending on what rules you cards you play. It's silly but fun. Useful I think for my games nights as a starter game or for late arrivals.

Tsuro

is beautiful. It is a tile placement game. You have to create paths for your counter to follow. If your path leads off the board or in to another player you are out. Last person standing wins. (The Captain can just about manage this game)

Dominion - Intrigue

is a Dominion expansion. I think I don't get to play enough Dominion.


Cabelleros

is a mystery. I've not played it. It looks complex.

Alhambra

is a game of deck building, using decks to purchase tiles to convert to points with a palace building theme. The Captain can just about play it although it's a little too long for him and (frustratingly) I interpreted the rules incorrectly the first time we played. These rules are now baked in his head as the RULES but they don't work brilliantly and because the game is both a little complex for him and a little long he can get aggitated.

Dystopian Wars has finally arrived and looks great. I'm looking forward to painting up the ships and trying out the game. The Captain was very taken with the ships and has helped my unpack them. They are made on a 3D printer. They look gorgeous. Mum was impressed by the detail. They are the first objects I recall holding that were 3D printed. Certainly the first objects I've knowingly owned that were 3D printed that were cost competitive with objects made using other production methods.

I played Exploding Kittens in the pub with Andy, Nicky and her husband.

It's fun and silly and quick (again, perhaps one for the begining of games nights) but as Andy says, it's basically Russian Roulette.

Lost Cities is a quick and simple deck building game which I played a couple of times with Andy. I liked it.

My sister's game had some play testing. It's certainly a workable game right now and a few tweaks will make it quicker and more dynamic. I'm looking forward to trying it again.

So a pleasant few weeks of board gaming over Christmas.

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