Under a blanket

My cold has got worse. Urgh.

I just about made it to Slimming World this morning (not without incident), and have managed to lose three pounds this last week, which is not bad considering I was away at the weekend. Geth has gone off on a business trip, so I should have a fairly quiet time of it for the next wee while and hopefully lose the last bit that will get me back into target range. I’ve been trying for months now!

I did also manage to do some work for a client, but other than that I’ve just spent today napping (complete with fever dreams – fun!) on the sofa. I also finished watching the Good Omens TV adaptation, which has been absolutely brilliant and everything I wanted after reading the book. I really, really recommend it if you’ve not seen it already, and will do a more in-depth review in the next few days.

I’ve got two days left to get complete and total rest in the hope that I will be able to do the Blaydon Race on Sunday without collapsing at the side of the road. Here’s hoping.

OOTD 6th June 2019
OOTD: can’t manage more than a sofa selfie today due to feeling sick whenever I stand up! Back To The Future jacket All We Do (2019), vest top Primark (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight and Nikki Flores – Jason
Gunship – When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies
Calvin Harris and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Giant
Duran Duran – I Don’t Want Your Love
Duran Duran – Faster Than Light
Buddy Holly – Raining In My Heart

Phone Box Thursday: A714, Bladnoch

Another phone box that Mum and Dad found in the south-west of Scotland! The nice thing about rural places is that the local councils are more likely to maintain their phone boxes.

Red phone box
Red phone box, A714, Bladnoch, 21st April 2019.

(Coordinates 54°85’80.0″N, 4°46’17.0″W.)

This box is no longer working – there’s a notice inside that explains that BT no longer own it (hence why the phone equipment has been removed) and it’s now the property of the local council. Wonder if they have alternative plans for it?

Again, the Google Street View cars have not visited Dumfries and Galloway for a decade and so the link above shows the box in a much more overgrown situation – they’ve since tidied the location up!

Resting…or trying to

I’ve come down with the cold that Geth has had for the last week, which is obviously not enjoyable. I’ve got a race this weekend, so I would like to have knocked it on the head by then. Lemsip Max Strength pills are helping, but mostly I’m just trying to get some rest.

I spent most of today catching up with some writing, and then went out to ukulele class. I’m really enjoying playing my ukulele at the moment and have decided that I’m probably going to work hard on it over the summer so that I can move up to intermediate class in the autumn – partly because the class times are changing so beginner class will clash with poetry night when it’s on, but mainly because I’m finding beginner class fairly easy now and I’d like more of a challenge.

A nice normal Thursday tomorrow. Hoping the cold gets better rather than worse!

OOTD 5th June 2019
OOTD: garden grows very quickly this time of year. T-shirt Gildan for Preverse (2015, modified 2018), jeans Levi (2018), trainers Reebok (2013).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – Meet El Presidente
Duran Duran – Lonely In Your Nightmare
FM Attack and Kristine – Magic
Pretenders – Talk Of The Town
Thompson Twins – Doctor! Doctor!
David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes
Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now
Sam Cooke – Wonderful World
Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally
Spandau Ballet – True

Life without alcohol: five months sober

Time has really flown over the last few weeks. It’s strange to think I’ve managed another month of sobriety already.


I think my mindset has shifted a little this month. When I’m at the bar ordering a ginger beer instead of a cider, I’m no longer looking at the cider tap and feeling that desperate pang for something I can’t have, with my brain railing against the unfairness of it all. Instead, it’s been replaced by a calmer, more logical thought – a thought that goes along the lines of ‘yes, I really want that cider, but it would be a very bad idea for me to have it because of the way my brain works’ – and in some ways I’m becoming more able to detach from the emotional side of it.

If I think about the taste of alcohol, I still feel very upset. So I don’t think about it. This is becoming easier than it was.

Social situations are still difficult. I realised this past weekend that something like boardgaming is fine, even if everyone else is drinking alcohol – the focus is not the drinking, it’s the gaming, so I can forget that other people are drinking and I’m not. Just hanging around in the pub or club for hours is a different matter. It’s an issue that I think I will struggle with for a long time and that I think about a lot – I even covered it in one of the poems I performed last time I was at poetry night. I just find these situations to be very intense. First of all, everyone else is getting drunk, and it turns out that I don’t have the patience to deal with drunk people when I’m stone cold sober. Watching other people’s mental faculties failing in front of my eyes is alarming, distressing, and frustrating, and I find it very upsetting and unpleasant to be around. It’s a horrible reminder of what I was like when I was drinking, and at the moment I just can’t reconcile it with the celebratory thing it’s supposed to be. Secondly, I’ve found in the last few months that being around drinkers as they get louder and louder and less cognisant of the way that conversation is supposed to work is bringing up problems related to my underlying mental health issues. This is something that I think I need outside help for, and so I will be looking into that in the near future.

I was discussing my sobriety via text with my brother recently, and one of the things I said to him was that it’s been very strange getting to grips with not having the available mental crutch of ‘getting drunk’ anymore. Every so often it just hits me that it’s no longer an option for me, and the realisation leaves me feeling quite stunned. It’s partly because I’ve spent 2019 so far doing a lot of things that have been out of my comfort zone – getting back into pitching my books to agents, performing my poetry in public, performing with my ukulele class, getting back into driving, buying my car – and every single time I am scared and nervous because I’m about to do one of those things, my automatic thought is still ‘I need a few drinks to make this thing less scary’. And I can’t have those few drinks, and that is something that I just can’t get used to yet. There’s still a long way to go.

Booze alternatives I’ve reviewed over the last month:

Because I’ve been very busy this last month, I’ve not spent as much time utilising the online and offline resources (books, podcasts, talks, etc.) that have been helpful for me so far in recovery. I need to prioritise those a bit more over the next month while things are quieter, because I don’t want to take my eye off the ball – I’ve noticed a few insidious ‘just the one, no one will know’ type thoughts creeping in, and I need to be a bit more proactive in looking after myself.

Making sounds

Still no review posts at the moment because I’ve been busy catching up with admin and house stuff. I will get back to them tomorrow!

I went for a long-overdue haircut this morning, and then Mum and Dad popped in for a coffee at lunchtime – it was nice to see them (and to confirm that two cars will fit on our driveway, even if one of them is a giant Land Rover!).

I’ve spent the rest of the day doing house stuff and playing my ukulele. Geth is out boardgaming tonight, so the ukulele-playing will probably continue.

OOTD 4th June 2019
OOTD: new hair…and into the summer uniform despite the fact that it’s freezing. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), t-shirt H&M (2018), jeans Miss Selfridge (2018), shoes 1st Position (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Culture Club – Church Of The Poison Mind
Heaven 17 – Temptation
XTC – Senses Working Overtime
Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally
Avicii and Aloe Blacc – Wake Me Up
Sam Cooke – Wonderful World

Boardgame shelf updated…temporarily

I spent today tidying up and sorting out the boardgame shelves with all the new games we bought at the weekend. It’s not quite finished yet – I also bought some inserts for boxes that will give me a bit more space – but hopefully I’ll have it done by the end of the week.

A bit more house stuff to sort out tomorrow.

OOTD 3rd June 2019
OOTD: testing out some UKGE purchases. Back To The Future jacket All We Do (2019), t-shirt Fruit Of The Loom for UK Games Expo (2019), jeans Zara (2018), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Gunship – Tech Noir
Culture Club – It’s A Miracle
Gunship – When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies
Arcadia – Goodbye Is Forever
The Sweet – Blockbuster
Spandau Ballet – Gold

UKGE day 4

The final day of the UK Games Expo today! Geth and I got up and checked out of the hotel early (so nice to have a car in which to store all our stuff!) so that we could get across to the NEC promptly. There were a few last-minute things we wanted to buy, and Geth had some game demos to see.

I then went to watch a seminar in the suites (an interesting Q&A with some boardgame designers) while Geth did a Keyforge side event. After picking up our unsold games at the Bring & Buy (we sold nine out of the twelve games we’d put in, which is a great hit rate – I will eBay the rest!), we grabbed some lunch and hit the road.

Back in Newcastle with our games haul now. A very quiet week ahead!

OOTD 2nd June 2019
OOTD: I take a ride on this plastic sheep on the Sunday of UKGE every year. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jacket unknown brand (estimated vintage 1990s, bought at vintage shop 2003), t-shirt Doctor Who (2015), lanyard UK Games Expo (2019), skirt Gap (2007), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – Crystalline
Gunship – Rise The Midnight Girl

UKGE day 3

No review post today. UKGE has been fairly full on!

Geth and I got up early this morning to do our Birmingham parkrun of choice, Perry Hall, which I logged last year. It’s still as lovely and friendly as ever, although it is getting bigger year by year. I was nearly two minutes slower than my previous time at Perry Hall, but I did have new running shoes to break in this morning! It was also a nice choice to celebrate my runniversary – four years today since I started running.

Once we were back and showered, we headed into the main hall in the NEC to do the bulk of our shopping for the weekend. Geth was a bit disgruntled by the experience, as it’s marginally busier on the Saturday and all of the good bargains have gone – we usually do all the shopping on the Friday, but of course he was Keyforging yesterday so we had to reschedule slightly this year.

Geth has decided to brave the very busy Bring & Buy section, and we’ve got tickets for a ‘Star Trek vs. Star Wars’ show later this afternoon. Still lots to do here!

OOTD 1st June 2019
OOTD: will try and manage an outdoor picture tomorrow. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jacket unknown brand (estimated vintage 1990s, bought at vintage shop 2003), t-shirt Bella for Scary Go Round (2005), lanyard UK Games Expo (2019), skirt Calvin Klein Jeans (2004), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Calvin Harris and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Giant
Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
Gunship – When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies
Gunship – Rise The Midnight Girl

UKGE day 2

A full day at the UK Games Expo today!

Geth headed off very early as he and several other friends were playing in a Keyforge tournament all day. I took my time getting to the main hall as I wanted to avoid the ‘opening time’ rammy, so the convention had been open for about forty minutes by the time I wandered in. It was still packed though.

I spent the morning and early afternoon wandering around all the stalls to see what was available this year. I got a good bargain on Forbidden Sky, which is a game I’ve been eyeing up since last year, but the bulk of the shopping will be done with Geth tomorrow.

One of our favourite parkruns to do first though!

OOTD 31st May 2019
OOTD: geeky t-shirt, still doing hotel mirrors! Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jacket unknown brand (estimated vintage 1990s, bought at vintage shop 2003), t-shirt Gildan for Stranger Things (2018), lanyard UK Games Expo (2019), skirt Miss Selfridge (2004), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – Lost Boy
The Colourfield – Thinking Of You
Madness – Michael Caine

Booze Alternative: Becks Blue

Another non-alcoholic beer. Geth bought a pack of these a few weeks ago, so I had one to see how it compared to the San Miguel 0.0.

Becks Blue
Becks Blue.

Although it’s very refreshing, the taste is a bit more sour than the San Miguel, and so it wasn’t as downable. This is a good thing, as I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the previous non-alcoholic beer – I found it a bit triggeringly moreish. With the Becks Blue, in contrast, I was happy just having the one – which is something I’ve never been able to say about beer before.

I still don’t think non-alcoholic beer will become a regular drink for me, though – it’s better for my head to stick to the ginger stuff.