so, last day in Cardiff and after a slightly noisier night from the rooms around us I wake up leisurely and potter about with starting a new book and doing a monstrous poo after yesterday’s food.
Just as I finish packing the suitcase rox wakes and we get sorted to head out for lunch. After seemingly wandering for hours through ‘just this one shop’ we finally got to urban tap house- a fairly new micro brewery burger place- which offers a new special burger every Thursday.
I had the special
Sundried tomato and black olive chicken with chorizo Mayo and Cajun red pepper wings. It was really good.
Rox had The Big Welsh
Beef with Caerphilly cheese and leeks.
And she was pleased to discover the side of onion rings with big ones (she hates small ones)
I also managed to try a missed ale from Monday (still about fifteen I missed), the Cwtch.
Next up the long drive home, though actually it was clear all the way and we made it home whilst the kids were still out with my mum, giving us a good few minutes to settle in.
They arrived and we had a couple of hours of chaos as the excitement at seeing daddyn(and mummy) bubbled over.
Bedtime done, tidying done and a sit down to my last cardiff treat. Picked up this morning from New York Deli- the White House Special Hoagie
A footlong roll filled to the brim with chicken, pastrami, salami, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, gherkins and a spicy sauce. This one doesn’t offer salad because there just isn’t enough room for any. I’ve eaten the lot and now feel stuffed.
so, whilst on my holiday in Cardiff I popped into Firestorm Games for a browse and came upon the batman miniatures game rulebook including a free Alfred pennyworth limited edition model. Given its growing popularity at my local gaming club, as well as the cool models I couldn’t resist picking it up.
The models a simple one piece pose of batman’s butler (and friend, father figure, adviser, protector etc etc)
So at the very least it’ll be an easy one to paint. I haven’t assembled it yet because I’m waiting on a kickstarter basing kit (as Iv mentioned before I’ll talk about that in the future).
The rules mean very little at the current time, I can see the stat line, but without other characters to compare I don’t know how close to the averages he stands, but his special rules allow for healing and provide money (presumably good things)
To find out what the characters do its onto the rulebook, a nice hard backed one meaning more resilient to abuse. It’s nicely filled with artwork and well painted models
And the rules are clearly broken down to individual paragraphs providing detailed information
The creators Knight Models have smartly chosen to introduce the rules, followed an advanced rules section once the basics have been mastered. This seems to be increasingly common and is a smart move in my opinion.
What’s very interesting about the game is the provision of variant models of the same character, each with their own alternate rules, which allows you to pick and choose the iteration of your favourite character that you prefer
The book also has a hefty section of background summarising not just the characters and who they are but highlighting key stories in the comic series and expanding on them. This gives us a nice overview of the stories.
I haven’t covered the rules as I’ve only skimmed them and haven’t played a game yet, but I will cover those in the future.
so, today Rox is meeting with her friend and so off she went at 8 leaving me in bed with a planned day of building wee men and doing some hobby.
After a naomi got dressed and headed into town (needing some new socks) and also picking up some new lounge pants. For those of you who haven’t discovered the luxury of lounge pants I recommend giving it a go, essentially its pyjamas you wear when you aren’t in bed and im starting to build up a nice selection, these being today’s addition
I also picked up a present for the kids
A talking Princess Leia keyring to join the Yoda I got in a past geek box.
After my little shopping trip I was accosted by a dirty dreadlocked charity fundraiser for Barbados who opened with “hey, have we met? I’m serious I know you.”
Sorry buddy you don’t, and I don’t have the time or the interest to talk to you about charity, if I want to give I’ll give via a direct method without you being paid to hassle people in the street. In slightly more positive accosting I was given a ‘free lunch’ courtesy of uncle bens rice in a promo campaign
Not having a microwave in the hotel room I’ll have to save it for a later date, but not to worry, I already had my eyes on a suitable lunch replacement opposite the hotel Mission Burrito. I opted for The ancho chilli beef burrito with all the salad, sour cream, guacamole, habanero sauce and beans.
All gone and mouth burning I turned my attention to some hobby. The plan had been to build some more Wild West exodus models but I’d forgotten a basing kit I’v been waiting for from a kickstarter (more on that in the future) so instead tore open my new YT-2400 freighter for the x wing miniatures as you’ll see in the relevant blog post.
Which brings me pretty much up to date. Now for some bargain hunt and another chapter of my now nearly finished book.
Two hours later
The books finished, woo- post coming on that one. I also enjoyed another game show of general knowledge and bowling. Typically Rox is now back and napping and I don’t know whether to start a new book or just wait for her to wake up. Anything to break the house buying programs now on the telly.
Rox woke up and after an hour of not being able to make her mind up we settled on going for dinner at her initial choice cafe Citta (another of her old favourites), unfortunately all that umming and ahing meant they hadn’t the space for us, so after wandering around another 40 minutes we ended up in red hot buffet for a variety of food (knowing we like it)
Course one- some random indian street foot, sushi, olives and a sweetcorn salad
Course two- five different pizza slices, chilli stuffed taco and chicken fajita. I had to use american cheese because I couldn’t be bothered to go to the other side of the restaurant for grated.
Course three- stir fry. This has beef, squid and chicken balls as well as all the veg and noodles I could add to the plate at the cooking station.
Course four has no picture because it was Piri Piri chicken thighs (gross) and a pork curry that tasted like it had been in a slow cooker for days. I also picked at another batch of sushi whilst choosing this course.
Final course- the deserts were a bit pants so it as a handful of sweets, some dry Apple crumble and a weird mega sweet sponge ball.
After dinner we headed to the Super Bowl for a game, me beating her 93 to 46. It was a tiny alley with really old and rickety equipment and we’re convinced the lanes were far shorter than normal.
There was time for a bit of wasted money on some games machines before a ‘quick’ game of pool. I say quick, I haven’t played in a few years and rox just isn’t very good so we smashed the balls around the table for ages before I finally got into the swing and beat her. I’d also beat her at air hockey, so it was a successful night.
Back in the hotel now we’re watching some programme about idiots raising aggressive dogs for ‘protection’ and ‘status’ and I have a solid lump of food in my belly once again.
so, today I have a headache, I can’t decide if it’s a hangover or just a headache from the oven like room we’re staying in. I suspect it’s a hangover further exacerbated by being in an oven like room, as well as oversleep from nor being disturbed during the night by kids at home, or drunks in the hotel. That and the 9% beer from last night.
The sleep was far more peaceful (not being the weekend I suspect the hen parties have gone home), though I woke at six and couldn’t sleep, getting through another chapter of my book- it’s starting to drag a little now.
Rox is currently showering in a weird cripple shower in advance of trying again with harvester for breakfast.
Weird cripple shower that apparently floods the entire bathroom
So today harvester was able to provide breakfast (presumably the bank holiday Monday was a minor issue), we were greeted by a gormless miserable waitress who seated us and let us stuff ourselves
At this point rox went dress shopping and I popped to a few of my favourite shops for a browse. Now, of course browsing is one thing, not spending money completely another so I ended up picking up some bits
From cardiff games workshop, the final end times book.
Having just finished the second, the chance to get them all in hard back was too good to resist- even if they’ll be on ebay once I’m through them.
From firestorm games, the batman miniatures rulebook and Alfred model
I haven’t played the game yet, but the models look cool and it’s gaining momentum in my local gaming club.
And finally from rules of play, a ship missing from my x wing collection
I had gone in just to browse the games we’d played Last night and price them up, but couldn’t resist picking up a ship that I know will soon be out of stock for six months.
Back in the hotel now and I’m back onto the book whilst rox snores off her morning exertions. I soon got bored of reading whilst she snored so headed down to the bar for a quick drink before waking her.
Three pints later (oops) I wake her and we get ready to go for dinner. We had some vouchers after a disappointed meal at bella Italia, and we’re able to use them at cafe rouge- the location for one of our very first dates.
So a bottle of wine ordered we get to eating, starting with a sharing platter and taster bowl of snails. I’d had them before, but only from lidl so it was nice to try them ‘properly.’
Next up was sea bass with tomatoes and sugarsnaps. Unfortunately a mini crisis in the phone from my mum meant I forgot to get the picture at the start of the meal
Finally desert, I wasn’t keen on sugar so went for the cheese plate, which is something I’m definitely going to do more often
From here we had planned to go to crazy golf, but misjudged the opening (by about a week) so instead headed into a former regular haunt of mine- the live lounge.
Boy was I in for a shock, having been here numerous times it was strange to the the average age of patrons being about 35-40 with some people far in advance of that. Still it was nice to sit and listen to some live music whilst being entertained by the oddballs and old people trying to interact with women half (or more) their age.
Back in the hotel and I feel a little drunk- probably a mix of beer, white and red wine, lager and cocktails not mixing pleasantly for me.
so, after a pleasant enough day one we woke up late and headed out to breakfast, and we were secretly pleased to encounter a thick vomit smell in the corridor, so clearly our annoying wake up was hit with a decent dose of karma.
We planned to got to breakfast at harvester- always a good solid breakfast- but they were only offering continental breakfast and there was no way we were suffering that so he went next door to apple jacks and took a table. Unfortunately for the poor girl we got fed up with waiting for her to serve us and we left.
Instead we found garlands (based on Rox’s memory) and I had the following
Cockles and larger bread, bacon, eggs and larger bread pancakes
Caramel hot chocolate with clotted cream.
After this there was of course the need for a rest so we headed back to the hotel for rox to get a short nap whilst I killed time with my book and bargain hunt.
Social time next as we headed into bute park for a picnic with an old friend, typically he was late but it was still nice to get into the sun and have some fresh air.
Our final stop for the day was urban tap house, a bar with some alternative beers, for a tabletop gaming evening hosted by cardiff gaming shop rules of play.
First up we were dragged into a game by a strange chinese guy called daniel, the game was coup. An action based bluffing game.
It was an interesting one and went quickly, but it felt as though there was too much space to lose the game in an instant.
We followed this up with a round of sheriff of Nottingham, again a bluffing and lying game.
This one was better, a little longer and allowing for a bit more margin for error before being left behind,
Both games were a little let down by Daniels refusal to lie, which went against the point of the game but still, it was enjoyable enough.
We escaped from daniel- leaving the other gamers to his attentions- to play munchkin with another old friend. Munchkin of course being the classic kill monsters find treasure level up game.
I hadn’t played this since my university days and had bad memories of it being long and drawn out, but it was a fast enough game and everyone had fun. Perhaps I had played with a few bad expansions previously.
Finally we played a game I hadn’t seen before river dragons.
In this game the aim is to place planks and rocks to move across the board to another island, however, you place five ‘action cards’ to do so and these are simultaneous with other players actions, and so you can plan to place a plank and hop across it, but meanwhile another player may lift the plank from under you or even summon a dragon to stop you doing anything at all.
Alongside the games I had the opportunity to try a few beers I’d not tried before
One of which was 9% and as I write this I can feel the effect it has had on my brain.
Back to the hotel and hopefully a more peaceful night sleep
So, this week me and Rox are away from the kids and taking a restful break in Cardiff.
My mum and her partner as well as my gramp arrived to look after the kids and we were away, up the m5 to the m4. Traffic was good and we made good time, getting checked in in city centre traveloddge in time for a quick pint.
After a quick settling in we head out for dinner, deciding on the Steak Haus.
As you can see, the sharer plate mixed grill was humongous and ultimately defeated us, but I did get to try a few new beers.
From this point we had planned to head to the cinema, before changing to go to a pub quiz. Whilst waiting we headed to an old favourite haunt, the cocktail bar ten feet tall. I don’t think Iv ever been to ten feet tall sober (I wasn’t this time either) but even with the beer affected memories it wasn’t as I recalled. It still maintains the vintage style decor, with distressed leather sofas and worn sideboards and tables, but now seems to operate with a speakeasy style theme focused more on food than cocktails. Nevertheless we had a couple of cocktails each (two the same due to a weird 2 for £10 deal) and relaxed.
After the cocktails we were defeated in our plans to head to anywhere else and went back to the hotel (about 7pm). Unfortunately it seemed the meat had wiped me out, leaving me with a solid torso with no movement, shortness of breath and sore joints. It also felt like I had tunnel vision (blurry tunnel vision).
Whilst rox settled down to watch a film I passed out into a meat coma. And it was glorious.
At three o clock we had a bit of a rude awakening, as a shout of “you fucking prick” was heard from the corridor followed by a lot of noise and banging from several rooms of clearly drunk people back from the various clubs in town. At this point we regretted booking travelodge over premier in due to the latters guaranteed good night sleep policy.
So, after making the decision not to apply for university straight from school, I changed my mind and went for it.
I hadn’t applied because I was fed up with the constant pressure to do so, from school primarily but also from my father (more on him one day perhaps). I was fed up with the constant assertion that without a degree you’d never get a real job, and with a degree you’d automatically get a graduate job. What a load of crap, it ended up feeling like a challenge. So I didn’t apply and went on with my life.
Then one day I woke up, decided to apply for university and applied that week. A day later I was accepted and I was left with six months to plan for it. I had been accepted first time to The University of Wales, Cardiff on a Retail Management degree. The choice was based on my few years with tesco and it was an easy option for a business degree. My alternate was teaching, but without experience I just felt like too much trouble.
I was ready to move on and do with one small problem, a girlfriend with whom I’d been with some time. We had had a decent enough relationship, it never felt fully right to be honest, there were trust issues on both sides (unfounded regarding me) but we would probably have plodded along for a few more years before suddenly ending or having a child. She suggested moving to Cardiff with me at which point it dawned on me that she was a part of the life I’d applied to move on from. So heartless as it sounds she had to go.
Cue me working all the hours I could until September when I could move to my university hall. Wow, what a crappy room. It was big to be fair, but lacking in any warmth or character or anything else. It was a strange moment moving in, my parents took me in and left, and whilst they were walking round the building to the car I was in my room having a thirty second panic that actually this wasn’t the smart thing to do, it passed and I was left to it.
All of my sudden I was forced to be sociable- I had two choices 1 do what I always do and bide my time until I made friends or 2 break the habit of a lifetime and make an effort. Well, new country new life, I made an effort. This consisted of attending every freshers event, night out, induction etc etc etc in the effort of making friends. It had some small success, my Facebook friend list skyrocketed, but friends didn’t come. Two week later on day one of my course I meet gas (mentioned before) and the rest of the friend stories will come another time, but I was right, I should have done what I do best.
A small additional note, I was working for tesco and had applied for a transfer for the money. I was offered three hours a week, every Sunday at a store 3 buses and 90 minutes away, or a 2 hour walk. Fantastic in a place as wet and damp as Cardiff. Honestly, looking back I wish I’d accepted it, the inconvenience for 12 months would have been fixed a year later when I lived a 15 minute walk away, but such is the sacrifice I made to my financial power at the time.