Dark days 

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Today has not been a good day for me. 

All day I’ve had an itch to write here but the knowledge my brains been clouded and in a dark place has stayed my hand. You may or may not notice I have forgone my usual starter of ‘So,’ the reason being I didn’t know how to start it, and my brain couldn’t navigate an opening line.

For a little background, I suffer from anxiety, which occasionally manifests into depression. I have good days and bad days, mostly good but easily overwhelmed and then things get harder. My vision blurs, brain fogs and I sink into an emotionless malaise that I can’t just shake. For eighteen months I was on medication, varying doses based on whichever doctor I’d most recently seen, and then three consecutive doctors told me I ‘don’t present as a typical depressed patient.’ The ridiculous notion that everyone’s the same aside, there’s a good reason for this. It’s not constant, it fluctuates. I can’t plan a bad day to see them and sitting for half an hour in a waiting room is a good way of putting your life in order and restoring some calm, enough at least that when the doctors asks how you’ve been, “fine” springs to your lips without a moments hesitation. It’s then not easy to convince them there’s a problem. 

Nearly a year ago this happened, due to my inability to express the extent of my anxiety I wrote a list. It wasn’t exhaustive, just bits that came to mind in the run up to the appointment, so when the time came I sat down, responded to the “how are you?” With “I wrote a list” and put it into his hands. He scanned it, and immediately suggested that due to my ability to compile a list I clearly wasn’t that depressed. Hmm, ok. He went on to suggest the medication clearly wasn’t needed and/or needed and so I should look to come off it.

And I did. I weaned myself off the medication, which in all honesty had no impact on my mood (a few days of odd side effects aside), and I stayed away from the docs, ‘knowing’ they thought I was fine. In the run up to Christmas I went back with a new list, extended this time to include a few physical niggles. Anxiety was discussed, to which the doc suggests I was clearly dealing very well with it. This as aside from the fact I don’t feel fine. At all.

I’ve tried to take positive steps. I’m exercising more, I’ve lost weight, I’m eating better, I’m looking to get back to work soon, I’m trying to be more proactive and productive (not always successfully) and aside from being overwhelmed when the kids are screaming around me I felt I was moving in a positive direction. I was even considering referring myself to talking therapy- even if it does sound awful. And then today happened.

I’m not going to go into details, you don’t care and my brain hasn’t taken them in (a sure sign somethings affecting it). But I woke up knowing it was going to be a difficult day, I could feel the slight detachment I usually feel on a bad day and the kids fighting was digging particularly deeply into my patience. Rox was up late poking after the girl so aside from a quick mention to her that I wasn’t right today I left it, getting on with breakfast, albeit clumsily and a little dazed (bad days see, to affect my coordination and focus). Through the morning the kids were in bad form, fighting, screaming refusing to do as they were asked, this drained my already exhausted patience. Simultaneously, every time Rox spoke to me it felt that she was telling me off or criticising the things I was doing or the way I was doing them. I’m sure that wasn’t her intention, but a tired northern Irish girl can be quite abrupt.

By lunch I was ready to shut down, the fog descended and my tunnel vision pretty narrow. Unfortunately it was about this point the boys refusal to behave pushed Rox past her infinite reserves of patience (?) she went for a sleep and I spent the afternoon watching two kids who used to love each other fight and scream at each other.

Reading back through it doesn’t doing all that tough to deal with, but the fact is I’ve had one of the darkest days I can remember having, even now wishy the kids in ned and some peace in scrabbling for a grip on my usual place,I still feel detached and my emotions are conspicuously absent. The knowledge tomorrow’s a different day and likely not to start the same way isn’t a relief, this hasn’t been a good day for me at all.

Life, I’m not dead

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so, I remember a previous blog id been working on died a slow death, and at the time I read that you should never post to apologise for an absence. But that seems silly.

I have been busy, with various things going on so my long list of prewritten posts all published and I hadn’t found the time to write more. Fear not though more stuff is on the way this week 
If anyone has specific posts they want written then comment below and I’ll get them done this week 

Life, what next? A follow up part six

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so, Iv spent the last week or so reading a list of aims I wrote last year and am slowly coming to the conclusion I’m a complete failure, my list for the future is going to look very unoriginal.
Watch all Star Wars films with girl

An immediate failure for this list so far. We watched The Phantom Menace which she enjoyed a lot (unsurprisingly) but she got bored by The Attack of the Clones (again unsurprisingly) due to all the talking and lack of entertainment. With a new film out at Christmas we do have a new target for it though.

Watch x men days of future past

I think I put this in specifically to help catch up on the hero films, unfortunately though Iv now watched this one (quite good, though I wish they’d stop using Wolverine as the frontman all the time) Iv fallen well behind on many other hero films.

Rewatch firefly

I did, over just a couple of nights. It hasn’t lost anything with its age, though I think the clamour for more has reached a point in excess of its quality.

Watch a life of pi

I read the book a few years ago now, and still haven’t watched it. I own the DVD but due to the quality of the book I haven’t quite got to the film.

Watch the hobbit desolation of smaug

I did, and even got to see the Battle of the Five Armies at the cinema. Desolation was enjoyable, though the ending was too abrupt, whilst the five armies was entertaining but really not very good. 

Learn something new

A few new painting techniques, rules for some new games but nothing completely new yet. 

Have a ‘dinner evening’ with friends

We still haven’t managed to make many friends, so this hasn’t happened yet. We’re beginning to make friends which is of course nice, but aren’t quite there yet.

Invite one of the girls school friends to play

This was about helping her to make friends and it has happened several times now. We also took some of her friends bowling for her birthday which was fun for her.

Drink whiskey without watering it down

I had a bottle over Christmas. I managed one drink neat, but couldn’t enjoy it a great deal without coke to dilute it.

Buy a bottle of wine that isn’t gone in an evening

I’m getting very good at this. Rox was using it in cooking and I would occasionally have a glass, but I can also now buy a bottle and have it last the weekend.

So that’s everything covered. It seems I haven’t done very well so will have to have a scan back through before writing a new list for the remainder of this year.

Life, what next? A follow up part five

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so, Iv been looking at just how much I failed at achieving a list of planned achievements by the end of 2014.

Maintain my blog, including scheduling future posts

Finally, one Iv achieved with little fuss. There have been gaps and absences but for the most part my future scheduled posts have covered those until Iv caught up. At present I have about three weeks of daily posts scheduled so I’m well ahead. I’m considering dropping the daily post for a less frequent yet more interesting post every few days or so.

Make friends with a school parent

I haven’t. I haven’t tried because I haven’t seen a kindred spirit or even anyone ‘open’ to chatting to, and it hasn’t happened naturally either, which is unfortunate as it would be nice to have a friend with children for the kids to also play with. I think Rox has managed better, at least having someone to chat to occasionally but we do seem to have failed slightly.

Get my body sorted

Hmm, no. I have recently started running again, but the aches and pains seem more frequent now.

Read 4 ‘classic’ books

I tried To Kill a Mockingbird but couldn’t get through it, beyond that I have a few stacked up in my pile hit haven’t got to them yet.

Watch 4 ‘top 250′ films I haven’t seen

This is almost too easy as new films seem to shoot into the top 250 very quickly, but I have managed The Avengers (was ok), Taxi Driver (not bad, a little dated) and LA Confidential (average). Hopefully I can get a few more of the classic films in the near future.

Watch 2 foreign language films

I haven’t, I have four or five sat there waiting for me, but since university have lost the ability to just sit and watch a film, the subtitles mean I can’t look away and I haven’t had the attention span for them.

Rewatch Jodhaa Akbar

Not sure why this wasn’t in the foreign language film bit, but no.

Play a game of chess

Iv played many games but not chess, it’s been a few years now.

Get boy off dummies

Another no, though I wouldn’t want to force it on him until he isn’t ready. He’s starting to make progress in using a potty though which is nice.

Find a new hobby

I haven’t strictly speaking found a new hobby, but Iv been enjoying painting again so it feels like a new hobby.

Find a geocache

The local church (fifty feet away from home) has one, but a cursory check has turned up no results. I keep checking the website but just haven’t got round to it yet.

Learn to use washing machine and tumble dryer

Yes, a definite yes. I probably couldn’t wash anything weird, but I now know what some of the numbers mean and can guess at the arcane symbols.

Listen to four ‘top 250’ albums

I’m slowly rediscovering my love for music, so far I can’t think of any ‘top’ albums but I’m getting closer.

So again, I’m mostly a failure.

Life, what next? a follow up part four

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So, Iv been looking over a list of things I wanted to achieve before the end of 2014. So far Iv not done too well.
Try some food I haven’t tried before

A nice easy one to start here, I take every opportunity I can to try something new and In recent times Iv tried crocodile that I can remember. I also apply this to beers I don’t know.

Approach someone I don’t know and start a conversation

In the pub for definite, thought it hasn’t had a lasting effect. I’m also getting quite good at doing it at my geek club, almost as though my time with games workshop developed my ability to interact with people (including socially limited individuals).

Plan bigger better targets for next year

Given my failure to complete this list I haven’t just yet, though I do intend on writing a new list soon.

Reestablish routine in my life

This was in there as a way of breaking the chaotic day to day events that were disrupting my state of mind. It’s definitely getting better.

Decide where I want to go/what I want to do with life

Not yet. I don’t know and barely have an inkling. Reassuringly the majority of my peers are in a similar place, almost as if this is the lost generation.

Make a plan to make it happen

Hard to make a plan without a destination, but things are in motion to at least get myself moving until I do decide where I want to be.

Pre thirty bucket list

This one ties in with the other, and so I haven’t managed it. I’m not worried about turning thirty (I feel much older anyway), but I remember seeing a list of things that if you haven’t done before thirty you’ll never do. This is probably because you settle into family life and take less risks, but I’d still like to get a list together, perhaps to extend slightly behind thirty given the timescale.

Find a way of making more money

I haven’t, my junk clearance has made some, but it’s not a permanent thing. Unoriginal I know, but I do intend to return to work soon so that would help.

Persuade my partner to join something

In the end I didn’t persuade her, she just did it but still it gets her out of the house.

Fill my days with more activities, less vegging out

I’m getting there, me and the boy get out more and I’m doing less TV watching in the evenings.

Discover a new band

I hadn’t, that I recall but just this morning I heard a decent snippet from a band called John Coffey who I intend to look into over the next few days.

Music magpie my DVDs

I have done some, but not all yet.

At this rate my next list is going to be a lot of copy and pasting.

Life, what next? a follow up part three

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So, about 9 months ago I wrote a list list of things I wanted to achieve before the end of 2014, so far I haven’t been doing particularly well.

Play a game of warhammer

This was written as a nod to the fact I hadn’t played it in an age (including some time as a games workshop store manager), I haven’t because my interests have shifted towards skirmish games and warhammer just isn’t that (yet?).

Play a game of something new

Haha, what a stupid idea this was. Iv picked up several new systems over the last year as everytime I play something new I get hooked.

Inventory my wee men collection

Things are more organised than previously, but not inventoried. It’s something I will need to do soon as I have to reorganise and find a suitable storage solution for bits and pieces.

Do a car boot sale

Hardly a key moment, just a way of speeding up junk clearance, hasn’t happened, but the junk is clearing slowly.

Do something amazing for the kids

Christmas I think was. It’s hard to define but Christmas was definitely an ‘amazing’ moment for the boy.

Do something special that makes my partner say ‘I love you’

Again, I can’t think of a specific, but it does happen frequently so clearly I’m doing something right.

Get better at tolerating morons

This wasn’t ever going to happen.

Get off the anti depressants

Yep. Done. Now, I should say officially I’m not ‘off’ them as its not a discussion I’ve had with the doctor, but given every appointment was a different doctor telling me I don’t present as a typical patient therefore I’m probably not depressed/ suffering anxiety I took on the challenge of getting off them. Several months later I feel ok, sometimes I’m overwhelmed- more than the past- but I’m coping ok without them.

Get a friend to visit

After a several year gap my friend Gareth from university visited for a few days. The kids terrorised loved him.

Get in touch with some old friends

I did try, I fired off a few Facebook messages to some people I haven’t spoken to in years but either they didn’t see them, they ignored them or after the niceties it tailed off to nothing. It’s not as easy as just starting to talk again, I suspect bumping into them in a pub would be an easier way of doing it, but Facebook just doesn’t work that way.
A few things achieved isn’t awful, but I’d like to be able to remember the ‘special’ things. There’s also a few failures there.

Life, holiday in Wales arrival and day one

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So, we’ve just returned from a weeks holiday in Powys Wales on Papworth Trust’s Kerry Farm, a working farm offering supported holiday opportunities to disabled people and their carers. The Papworth Trust are an excellent charity who look to provide opportunities for disabled people Website here.

In the run up to the stay I hadn’t been given much information from Rox, despite being the ‘carer’ who is supposed to get the support and have a ‘break’ from caring, but finally got the details from her a few days before we left and had a chance to look into it. I anticipated animal feeding and farm work, so potentially lots of exhausting activities for the children.

Arriving at Kerry Farm, near Newtown in Powys, Wales the farm was peaceful and quiet and we were shown our cottage for the week 

With the weeks activities not starting until the Monday we got settled in and then headed into nearby Newtown to find somewhere nice for dinner, after wandering around for a while we finally found somewhere open- Mirrens, which annoyingly specialises in fancy foods and exotic meats but was running a Father’s Day menu of fairly standard pub grub. Settling on a steak and ale pie I was pleased to find it was at least a good quality meal, even if it wasn’t zebra or kangaroo meat.

I also discovered Montys brewery of Shropshire   

On this occasion I tried Old Jailhouse and Masquerade. Jailhouse was a pleasant bitter, which went down fairly quickly leading me to quickly ordering the Masquerade without realising it was a Gluten free beer. Nevertheless it was tasty enough to accompany my cheese board.

We headed back to the farm and settled the kids to bed ahead of some farm activities in the morning.

A meet and greet was scheduled Monday morning for the families to meet each other as well as the staff and to learn the weeks schedule. This was set at 10am to allow for a lie in and relaxed morning however the kids decided this was an awful idea and were up at 6, sprinting up and down the hall excited to be somewhere new, apparently a stair gate not being present at the boys door allows for plenty of freedom.

Finally it was time to head across, and I will admit to a little apprehension. The charity caters for all forms of disabilities and whilst Rox’s isn’t a minor disability, I was concerned the other guests would be more severe. It wouldn’t have been an issue really, more guilt regarding perceived need for help. As it turned out both other families were parents with children of comparable ages to ours, so I presume guests are allocated in similar situations. A quick breakfast provided pain au chocolate, croissants and muffins and everyone seemed friendly. It turned out autism and similar ‘spectrum’ issues accounted for the other disabilities, which was a curiosity to El and allowed for (hopefully) a better appreciation of some of the children in her class.

After the breakfast it was back to the cottages for private talks with the staff as to our needs for the week before a planned health and safety session for the farm. It turned out Rox had spoken extensively with a member of staff in the run up to the week, however, that staff member was on holiday and so our care needs hadn’t been communicated to the rest of the team.

The health and safety session was fairly straightforward, don’t go into the maintenance shed, don’t let the goat eat your coat etc, and then we were able to feed the animals. The kids really enjoyed it, Myles getting very excited about A duck ‘eating’ his fingers and Eleanor taking advantage of an opportunity to touch animals (allergies normally preventing it).

After this it was a roast dinner and two tired children were bundled into bed and quickly snoring. Rox watched TV and I got an opportunity to read a book and have a few beers. 

Life, what next? a follow up part two

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So, nine months ago I wrote a list of things I wanted to achieve by the end of the year, in part one I looked at some of them and realised I only achieved half of them, so hopefully this batch will be better
Clear away all my crap from the house

Bad start, I haven’t. A huge amount of it has gone, but it’s still a work in progress.

Get a new suit

Another I haven’t done, though as much as I want one I haven’t had the need for one. My wardrobe is due an upgrade though.

Pay off my overdraft

So very very nearly, the Wild West Exodus kickstarter took a chunk off, as did Salute, but those two aside I’m nearly there (just in time for our household income to drop significantly typically).

Reduce my loan ahead of schedule

Yep, by the end of this month it will be gone woohoo.

Close my littlewoods account

I think I did this the same day I wrote the list, easy one.

Cook once a month

I don’t cook a specific meal for the family once a month, but I have been cooking far more frequently with Rox increasing her hours at work.

Close my bank credit card

Done and done.

Get credit rating to top bracket

Yep, closing the littlewoods account and paying my loan and overdraft down put me into excellent.

Do something I haven’t done before

Not hugely exciting but I recently did some archery, which was fun.

Go somewhere I haven’t been before

Nowhere specific I can think of, but we managed Great Yarmouth, some Liverpool places and a couple of others

Learn to budget properly

Pretty vague, but I now hold a gift card for top up shops meaning fewer mini transactions, and my overdrafts reducing so clearly getting something right.

Run 100 miles

Haha. No. I stopped running, I think I managed about 14 miles, but I do intend to get back out again soon.

Do something weekly with the boy

We started going to gymnastics and trampolining for a while, but the novelty wore off so we changed to a music and singing class. He loved this due to it being in a softplay centre. This has now ended so we go to football practice every Monday.

Give blood twice

I haven’t managed once, one of the times we were away the other I missed. The next local session is in August, but I can guarantee it’ll be the week we’re in Belfast.

Take the girl to wookey hole

I did, we had lots of fun. She liked the caves, and luckily we were in well ahead of the queues. She also got her first go at crazy golf and beat me (with a little assistance)

Travel somewhere for me

We haven’t done this yet, but that’s down to me not looking for something suitable- short notice tournaments being a bit of a hurdle.

Make someone I don’t know laugh

Does going out with Rox’s work friends count? I caused laughs.

Make someone I don’t know smile

I can’t think of anything specific, but hopefully.

Play a game of pool

I played Rox, I won, she grumped.

So not a particularly positive list again, there’s a lot I still haven’t done.

Life, what was it like working for Games Workshop? 

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so, some time after I had planned to I intend to look back at my time with Games Workshop and consider whether they were a good company to work for.

I worked for about 15 months as a trainee store manager, before earning the opportunity to run my own store which I did for a similar length of time. The job roles within each were completely different.  Working in a top store, with staff and a manager meant I was performing alongside a team, allowing me to bounce off of other people as well as providing a group interaction on decision making- even if the manager had the final say.

Working as manager of a single staff store was entirely different, gone were the other staff members to bounce off, gone was the manager safety net, also gone was the high customer numbers of a busy city centre store and also the kick up the bum when needed from the people around you. 

Now, i can say right now I spent most of my time as a trainee thinking it was hard and a pain having a manager pushing you to do it better and always jumping on mistakes made, but looking back now it was that time that was the most fun I had working for the company. Fun is a key word as a games workshop employee- you’re working with toy soldiers and mostly playing games all day so fun shouldn’t be hard to find. However, I found as time went on the fun dropped off to be replaced with a functional approach to the games and toys- it wasn’t a game, we were having to sell things to children. It was about the time this happened that my performance improved sufficiently that I began to be noticed by the people that mattered- managers, area managers, regional directors. It’s a fine line between that approach and just cynically selling overpriced toys to children and a lot of people I encountered were well entrenched in that cynical side (some for the better other the worse).

Upon getting my own store (and when covering other stores) the big realisation was just how much ‘freedom’ I had to do things my way. Iv put that in inverted commas because freedom isn’t an accurate enough word to describe it. Certainly there was some flexibility to do things your way, store setup, opening times, activities etc just so long as you could justify it and show in store performance that it was the best option. However, the big stuff- stock, releases, merchandising, approach to customers was tightly controlled- you will do it this way, meaning less freedom. Even the areas I mentioned where there as the freedom to decide was open to the regional managers to push for change. A huge example of this was the shift from the idea that filling the shop with people who could be customers was the best way of making money to the idea that the only people in the shop should be customers who have come to purchase something or take part in an activity which they have purchased something for. Whilst I can see the benefits of reducing the numbers in a single staff store, it ignored the fact that so much of what the store staff do is spontaneous- yes you can run a game in which everyone buys a model for, but the big money comes from getting people around the introductory tables and convincing them to start the hobby (£20-£30 for a model or a minimum £100 starter bundle). This was a pressure that was put on me, prompting me to cancel the gaming nights and regular activity in favour of an invite only approach. This worked for some customers- the regular spenders- but inevitably meant the casual spenders who needed convincing had no real reason to come to the store and so weren’t convinced to buy things.

This would suggest that support was lacking for managers, however I found it was there when asked for , if not always there as standard. When Rox was hospitalised the support was overwhelming, I had time off, my shop covered and plenty of calls offering help. When I locked myself out of the shop a locksmith was arranged and paid for. Even when I got the manager job, the relocation package was generous and helped us get settled in the area quickly. However, when my sales figures were low, or my performance dipped there was just a phone call or visit to say ‘do it better’ rather than an attempt to help improve. Additionally, when changes were made there was no open discussion, simply a ‘this is happening, get on with it.’ This is fine, higher ups make decisions, however when I was told that my holidays would no longer mean my shop being covered by a trainee, but instead being closed for the week, whilst my sales targets were expected to remain the same I needed an opportunity to discuss this and what it would mean (matching 52 weeks of sales against 46 seemed mental), but any attempt to do so was met with ‘don’t be negative.’

This was a major bugbear for me, the constant requirement to be positive about anything and everything Games Workshop was hard. It created a world where staff don’t have opinions, or at least can’t express them. Sometimes models didn’t appeal to me, other times I loved them. Being able to be myself and honest would allow for a more personable service with everyone, as opposed to “isn’t this latest thing the best thing ever, at least until next month when something even better will come out.” Of course we have to be positive in negative times- such as price rises and the like, but ‘always postive’ just feels forced.

One big area of forced positivity was in dealing with customer grievances; price rises of course please nobody, but I found a real struggle the disappointment when Codex changes weren’t to people’s liking. It inevitably led to the kind of outrage you’ll read on any warhammer forum, as the new things are of course absolutely wrong. One key change that sticks in the mind is the release of a new Chaos Daemons codex for 40k, a customer glanced through the new book and immediately became incensed. Daemon princes had been moved from heavy support to HQ choices “What? That’s ridiculous! A nurgling wouldn’t listen to a Daemon Prince! This shits all over the fluff!” Hmm, yes ok. Firstly, you’re wrong- a Deamon Prince has been elevated to that position by the Chaos Gods. Also, the fluff is of course going to change- it’s Games Workshops to develop.  It went on, as he discovered the troop choices had had their abilities reduced (as well as points cost), “well that ruins my army- I can’t take plaguebearers now they’re rubbish.” Yeah, well it’s a new book, you’re naturally going to have to make tweaks. And actually everything you previously did with your nurgle army is doable, you just need to get the upgrades in the right places to do so.

Of course, the forced positivity meant I couldn’t respond as I wished and instead had to push the positives. Unfortunately this guy was a classic example of the socially incompetent stereotype of warhammer players and the outrage and indignation was only increased. At this point a second staff member would have been handy to allow me to back off and someone else break his flow, but as a single staff store it’s not possible. The hardest thing was by far the lack of company, as well as the natural competition that comes from having other sales staff around you. The lack of company meant the temptation (probably subconsciously) was there to think of anyone coming through the door as a chance to have a chat, not as a chance to sell something. This was exacerbated for me as the nearest store was over an hour away so I got few opportunities to discuss work.

The most common opportunity was at the quarterly manager meetings in Nottingham, an expenses paid trip, with free beer. These varied from fun to boring, being mostly boring once the venue was changed from Warhammer World to a hotel miles from anywhere- meaning no breaks to wander around. This coincided with a ‘train yourself’ mentality, allowing us to choose what we wanted to train in. This in theory is fine, but given all but ten managers have spent the last few months training alone it didn’t seem particularly sensible.

A major issue I had with the ideology  was the entire focus on new collectors at the expense of ‘veterans.’ Whilst it is absolutely essential to constantly recruit new people, it is naive to ignore the established spenders. The focus was on getting new people to invest whilst providing no real reasons for the others to buy. Of course a lot of the so called veterans will spend little, already having done so, but others will spend heavily on their collections, constantly adding to them. This was another area closed for discussion, even though the majority of new releases are geared towards established players over new ones.

So, reading back through this it would seem it’s an awful company to work for, which I don’t think is true; i think for a young person with no real responsibilities it can be a fun and enjoyable job, however the low salary and solitary working, as well as the loss of weekends can be a major issue for anyone with a family to look after. By far my best time was working as a trainee instead of as a manager.

Life, what next? a follow up part one

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So, about 9 months ago I wrote a list of things I wanted to achieve before the end of 2014, which you can Read here

I’m going to go through it and see how I did.

Win a game of x wing

This I have achieved numerous times, having played a variety of standard and large games at the club.

Play an x wing tournament and not finish bottom

Unfortunately I didn’t get to another tournament, they seem to be a long travel away or at very short notice making it hard to arrange and get it (with having a family).

Paint some kind of wee man from start to finish

Just about. Well actually, strictly speaking it was early January, but my Wild West Exodus Lawman have been painted- even if I do now have a lot more to do.

Find some productive way to get out of the house more often

I haven’t yet got a job, but I’m attending the geek club most weeks and manage to get out with the boy much more often during the days, even if it’s just a walk to the shops. Iv begun tentatively looking for work opportunities at the same time.

Find a good balance of drinking- ie less time drinking lots at home, a little more time (perhaps a regular) drinking a couple in the pub

Not yet, the problem being I’d rather buy four beers in a shop than one in a pub, however I am looking to cut down so maybe a couple in the pub will be an easier option if I do so.

Write something- no more half started ideas, fully write something, with plans and expansions, submit it for critique online and begin the rewriting

Not yet, I’m a bit disappointed as I had made some good progress with a few drafts, but writers block hit and everything stopped.
Teach the girl to ride her bike

Another I’m disappointed at, with a variety of reasons/excuses we just haven’t got out enough to do so. Definitely plan to do it more in the summer though.

Teach the girl to tie her laces

This I can’t claim as my own, I’d shown her a few times and she was getting better, but then school showed her better amd she worked it out quickly.

Talk to the boy more so he can pick up a word a day (minimum)

Absolutely fantastic progress with his speech, as I can now have full conversations with him. Maybe not so good for my sanity but he seems to be doing ok

Teach the boy something

Not too sure what I had in mind (given my track record with teaching the girl to do in appropriate things) but he’s developing well so I guess so.

Have a good time away with my partner

We went to Liverpool for a dental conference and managed to fit in some nice food and a Tommy Tiernan show which was excellent. We also made it to Cardiff at Easter for a few days of food again.

Make some new friends

Iv definitely progressed my relationships with some of the people at the gaming club that I’d consider them friends, I would like to make lore effort to see the, outside of the club too though.

Write three full chapters of my rom com novel

Nope, this was one to the well progressed drafts caught up in my writers block- but I hope to get there soon.

So far then a pretty average completion rate, hopefully some of the others have been achieved