Stretching out

I ran with Geth again this morning…

…and since then we’ve just been in the house, hiding from the cancelled world outside. Geth went to Sainsbury’s, and came back with approximately half the things I’d sent him out for (panic-buying has officially set in here in Newcastle), but we’ll manage. I also went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription – the outside world feels a bit odd and apocalyptic at the moment.

It’s felt like a long day, but I’m not about to complain, because extra time is my most treasured thing and suddenly having a lot more of it is a real silver lining. Sage Gateshead has now closed, so my ukulele classes are not happening for the foreseeable future, and I don’t know when they’ll be rescheduled. The UK Games Expo confirmed this evening that they are postponing the event to August; parkrun will make an announcement tomorrow.

The North Tyneside 10k has also postponed to October, so that’s the last of my spring races fallen by the wayside. I’m amazed and grateful that none of my postponed races clash with each other (or with the GNR), and also feel quite lucky that I hadn’t booked any of my planned autumn races before this all kicked off. I had wanted to run the South Shields 10 Mile and the Great Scottish Run this year, but they’ll be there for me in the future.

Keeping in touch with family as the daily situation changes is my main priority at the moment, along with keeping myself and Geth safe and sane. Running is a big help with the latter, and I’m really glad I have that in my life at the moment.

Brooks running shoes
I was able to try out my new running shoes from Inverness this morning. They’re super bouncy and did give me a slight but noticeable boost!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Lightwood Games – ‘Link-A-Pix Theme’
Ollie Wride – ‘Back To Life’
Mesh and Mechanical Cabaret – ‘Born To Lie [Duet Version]’
Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’
EMF – ‘Unbelievable’

Settling in

A nice quiet mile this morning…

…and since then I’ve been spending the afternoon getting a bit of admin done and thinking about possibilities for the weeks and months ahead. All but one of my spring races have now been postponed to the autumn, resulting in a packed autumn race season that I wouldn’t have chosen myself, but it is what it is, and I am grateful that I will still get to run the races. Newcastle University are asking staff to work from home from tomorrow onwards, so I will have Geth home with me for the foreseeable future. The Social Run Group are no longer holding gatherings. I’m still waiting to hear about parkrun, my ukulele class at Sage Gateshead, and the UK Games Expo at the end of May, but I fully expect that all of them will go the same way, especially given the new measures that the government have announced today and the fact that things seem to be getting worse every day at the moment.

I am an introvert and a homebody by nature, so I have absolutely no problem staying in my home for a few weeks (if we get fully locked down and I have to run on the treadmill, I may get a bit grumpy, but at least I will still be able to run!). I appreciate though that not everybody is like me, and that some people are really dreading these measures and/or will feel really lonely. If that’s you, I’m thinking of you. I hope we can all get through this sooner rather than later.

Tomorrow, other than running in the morning, I’ll be at home, getting work done and playing videogames. I expect that will be the case every day for some time.

Hello, 3DS, my old friend; I’ve come to play with you again.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Richard Marx – ‘Right Here Waiting’
Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’
The Killers – ‘Mr Brightside’

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

UKGE day 1

The UK Games Expo has started! Well, in a way. It’s not actually open yet but we’ve done lots of stuff.

Geth and I drove down to the NEC this afternoon and met up with Sharpy, Heulwen, and Laura, our core UKGE crowd. After going to pick up our convention lanyards (shinily green this year, with added advertising for the latest Catan expansion), we went for dinner at Zizzi’s, and then Geth and I headed to the Bring & Buy to drop off the games we’re trying to sell this year. Hopefully they’ll bring us a bit of extra cash and make a bit of room on our game shelves for new ones!

We then rejoined the others for a few rounds of Spyfall, before I made my excuses and went up to bed (it was a long drive today and it’s going to be a long day of browsing game stalls tomorrow).

OOTD 30th May 2019
OOTD: hotel room, late night, bathroom selfie. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jacket unknown brand (estimated vintage 1990s, bought at vintage shop 2003), vest top Batman (2018), lanyard UK Games Expo (2019), leggings Primark (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Gunship – Dark All Day
The Midnight – Gloria
The Midnight – Days Of Thunder
Sister Sledge – Lost In Music
The Midnight – Lost Boy

Last day of catching up

The UK Games Expo starts tomorrow, so I wanted to have all my stuff done by the end of today. I’ve just about got everything done – client work finished, writing and admin done ahead of the weekend, TV and radio all caught up with, Wednesday pre-weigh-in food cooked – and all with a very excited husband constantly babbling at me (UKGE: similar to dealing with a small child at Christmas), so I think I’ve done pretty well.

A quick trip to Slimming World in the morning, and then the weekend can start!

OOTD 29th May 2019
OOTD: florals for (the last few days of) spring, even if I am still having to wear a winter jumper a few days out from June! Jumper Ellend (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2019), skirt UK2LA (thrifted from Steff 2016), tights Primark (2017), trainers Nike (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Buddy Holly – Raining In My Heart
Jim Diamond – I Should Have Known Better
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes
Duran Duran – I Believe/All I Need To Know
Gunship – Dark All Day
Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally
Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care

Convention Review: UK Games Expo 2018

I’m back in Newcastle again, for a good long while now!  I’ve spent the last three days at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham, which has been a brilliant weekend.  Geth and I went for the first time last year, but I think this year was even better, largely because we were able to travel down on the Thursday and have the full three days.

Sharpy came down on the Wednesday to play boardgames and drink beer with Geth (I did not partake in either, as I was furiously stockpiling Now! reviews for the weekend and being super careful with my diet in a last-ditch attempt to hit target – it worked, as I may have already mentioned).  After I got back from Slimming World on Thursday – stopping briefly for a quick hen do lunch for my fellow SW member Alison – we all piled into Sharpy’s car and headed off down to Birmingham.

What was great about arriving on the Thursday was that after we checked into the Hilton and got unpacked, we were able to head across to the NEC and get our three-day passes without having to queue for more than a minute or so.  We then headed across to Resorts World for food.  Because of all the people arriving in the complex for two conventions plus various other things going on, we had to wait half an hour for a table at Pizza Express, but we were able to grab a quick pint in TGI Friday while we were waiting – and I bought my first boardgame of the weekend, a copy of vintage ’80s game Nightmare On Elm Street, which is (obviously) a tie-in with the film of the same name.  A fairly good condition copy had shown up on eBay for a tenth of the price that it normally goes for, so in the spirit of the Expo I decided to go for it!

After the meal, we headed back to the NEC for a game of Sonar in one of the halls, and then to the Ibis on the other side of the complex to meet up with Heulwen and Laura (Geth’s sister and sister-in-law) and various other friends.  Unfortunately, when we decided to head back, it was too late to get back through the NEC as it was closed, so we had to walk right round the outside of the complex.  It took forty-five minutes, and at one point there was a torrential rainstorm.  Not fun.  When we finally got back to the Hilton, Geth and Sharpy went for a drink in the hotel bar, but I was knackered so I went straight to bed.

Friday morning proved that we had made the right decision in showing up on the Thursday evening – the queues for passes were just ridiculous!  As we already had ours, we were able to go straight in, which was great.  The morning was mainly spent investigating all the stalls in the main hall and then going shopping.  I bought a few things – Mamma Mia, HMS Dolores, various geekery-themed scented candles and a cheap but important D20 (its function is to help with future dice-buying decisions) – but my main aim was to make a list of all the stuff I wanted to get on the Sunday.  Geth, meanwhile, spent pretty much all his spending money in the space of ninety minutes.  I went outside to meet him and Sharpy for lunch and found them sitting on a bench surrounded by bags and bags of games.  I’ve got some serious reorganising of the game shelves to do this week.

Friday afternoon was spent chilling out and having a go at some new games in the open gaming room back at the Hilton, before heading through to the suite on the other side of the Hilton lobby to see the MMORPG Live show.  We’d seen Knightmare Live last year, and this was done by the same guy, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good – there was too much audience participation for my liking, and by the end I was getting really irritated by the sound of fifty or so people all thinking they were funnier than they actually were.

Back to the open gaming room for the rest of the evening – it was great that so many people we knew were able to come and join us at our bit of trestle table.  Due to a longer-than-expected game of Lords Of Waterdeep, Geth and I weren’t able to get quite as much of an early night as we’d planned, but five hours of sleep is better than nothing, and in the morning we dragged ourselves out to Perry Hall parkrun and got some exercise in.

Once back at the NEC, we met up with Sharpy and his girlfriend Steph (who had arrived on Friday evening) and we all had a quick go at a prototype of a game called Chocolate Factory, which was quite fun.  We then split up and did a bit more shopping – I picked up Ghostel, some more dice, and a print of some Stormtrooper art for the house, and Geth got some paintbrushes and a board for his planned new hobby of miniatures painting – and then went for lunch, met up with Sharpy and Steph again, and headed back to the Hilton open gaming room to settle in for the afternoon and evening.  Geth managed to go see the This Game Is Broken show, and we got lots and lots of gaming in with lots and lots of people before the late-night The Dark Room Until You Die show.  We all made it until the interval at about half past midnight, at which point I think everyone drifted back to their various hotels for some sleep.

This morning, I went and did my big shopping haul – Timeline: Music And Cinema, some expensive-but-beautiful wooden inserts for all the Eldritch Horror expansions that we now have, another gorgeous piece of artwork for the house, some more dice (I have a problem) and a portable rubber dice tray that says ‘UK Games Expo 2018’ on it.  Geth, meanwhile, went and talked to lots of game designers about games that he will probably buy at some point in the near future.

Then we went back to the hotel, got all of our luggage and piles of games down to Sharpy’s car and packed away in the boot, had some lunch in the sunshine, and drove back to Newcastle.  It’s been a great weekend, but it is good to be home.  With our massive haul of stuff.

UKGE haul 2018
That is a big pile of games. Reorganising the game shelves will be a job for tomorrow.

Will we be back next year?  Well, put it this way: Geth’s already booking the hotel.  We’ll see you there.