A different kind of busy

Friday evening is here, and so we move from weekday busy to weekend busy. A nice change of scenery!

It’s been a really busy week with work and so I’ve not had time to do any studying. Hopefully I will be able to fit that in next week. The course organisers have just released three new modules so there’s plenty to get on with between now and Christmas.

Geth and I were meant to be volunteering at Jesmond Dene parkrun tomorrow, but unfortunately they’ve had to cancel. Under normal circumstances this would mean I’d be scrabbling around trying to decide on a replacement parkrun, but there’s an all-day TechUp online event tomorrow and it’d be nice to attend all the sessions for that, so I think it’ll be another week with no parkrun. I definitely want to get back to it next week though!

On Sunday I’ve got my last race of the season. A bit late this year – next year I’ll definitely be ending the season with the GNR in September! But it’ll be nice to tootle along for 10k and get some fresh air, assuming the weather’s not awful. We’re then seeing Mum and Dad later in the day, which will be lovely.

The weekend after should be a lot quieter… which will be a well-timed lull before the busy Christmas visiting period!

New hair
Same new hair as on every haircut day, but this time with bonus tree lights.

This week’s earworm playlists:


Masashi Hamauzu – ‘Thunder Plains’
The Running Channel – ‘Run With Me’
Celine Dion – ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me’


Bing Crosby – ‘White Christmas’


Chris Rea – ‘Driving Home For Christmas’
Masashi Hamauzu – ‘Thunder Plains’


Herman Hupfeld – ‘As Time Goes By’


Elton John – ‘I’m Still Standing’


Masashi Hamauzu – ‘Thunder Plains’


Masashi Hamauzu – ‘Thunder Plains’
Boyzone – ‘A Different Beat’

Phone Box Thursday: Millbrae, Dornock

Here’s another phone box found by Mum and Dad along the back roads of Dumfries and Galloway…

Red phone box
Red phone box, Millbrae, Dornock, 12th October 2021.

(Coordinates 54°98’40.8″N, 3°19’93.7″W.)

Interestingly, when the most recent Street View image was taken in June this year, the phone box was white apart from its door! Maybe they were in the process of repainting it and had put a white undercoat on…

The fact that there’s an unidentified drum of something or other inside the box and a ‘keep out’ chain on the door is fairly intriguing.

Another from Scotland next week!

Outside is still there

I finally left the house today so that I could do some Christmas posting at the post office. I’ve been a bit anxious about it but it was nice to get some fresh air. I feel a bit better about my upcoming outdoor activities this weekend now.

Today also marked the start of a very busy December. The to-do list still feels a bit endless but I’m gradually getting on with it!

Christmas coaster
These coasters are some of my favourite Christmas decorations.

Weekday hibernation

I’ve not set foot outside the house for nine days. It’s cold out there and it’s got to that point in the year where I’d far rather be on the treadmill with a YouTube video in the background than outside running in the cold, even though the treadmill is not at all ideal for my running. I’ve got some outdoor time booked for the weekend, and I need to go to the post office at some point, but in general I am very happy staying at home. To be honest, that tends to be the case all year round.

Things are still very busy with work and studying but I’m getting lots ticked off the list every day. I’m not going to wish December away, because I absolutely love the run-up to Christmas (and I always get really depressed in January when I have to take the decorations down), but I will be really glad when I can sign off on Christmas Eve for a couple of weeks of downtime. In the meantime, it’s one day at a time, as ever.

The snow has mostly melted now, but it’s been very pretty over the last few days.

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

…well, you know the rest.

I’ve spent three months now gradually doing Christmas prep (I’ve been following Organised Christmas on The Organised Mum Method app – not just for mums, it’s helpful for everybody!) in the hope that I won’t have to rush around doing it in December. December will be very, very busy as Geth and I will be doing all the family visiting that we couldn’t do last year, and I’ve got work and studying and my last race of the year on top of all that. As such, I’m not going to have any time to write cards or wrap presents or put up decorations*, so I’ve been getting all of that finished this weekend instead.

Helpfully (and unusually), it has been snowing all weekend here, which has made things feel very festive. Also helpfully (and also unusually), Geth appears to be in the Christmas mood early too, and has been watching Christmas films for the last few evenings. This has been a very nice soundtrack for all the card-writing and present-wrapping!

I’ve also bought a few extra gift bags this year. There are some gifts we won’t be able to buy until closer to the time, but after the end of this coming week (once the last of the Black Friday purchases arrive), I refuse to do any more wrapping. Gift bags will be fine!

*Though I will be helping with Mum and Dad’s decorations early in the month!

Christmas tree 2021
I’ve never put the Christmas tree up this early before, but there’s just not going to be time for it once December hits.

This is the weekend…

…when I will finally get all the non-work/studying stuff that I’ve been meaning to do for the last few weekends (and not had time) done! Including the last of my Christmas prep, which I’ve been spending three months doing gradually so that I don’t have to rush around doing it in December. December is extra especially busy this year, because this year has been extra especially busy in general.

Storm Arwen is due to hit tonight, bringing high winds and snow, so Geth and I are not planning to leave the house this weekend. The treadmill is available for running (we won’t be parkrunning tomorrow even if by some miracle our local ones are going ahead) and our supermarket delivery has just arrived, so we’re looking forward to a couple of days of hibernation.

If I’ve got time, I may even do some game planning, seeing as I feel a bit bereft after finishing my two recent short ones! I put up the post-comp release for The River of Blood today (the EctoComp results were announced this morning – my game came 9th out of 23 overall and 7th out of 15 in the Petite Mort category so I’m pretty happy with that), and it looks like a good number of people are playing Morris as well, so I’ll be excited to see how that does in the next couple of weeks.

Picture frame
Another framed image that was up in our Leeds hotel room a couple of weeks ago. I’ve not been anywhere or photographed anything interesting in the interim!

This week’s earworm playlists:


Soft Cell – ‘Bedsitter’
Taylor Swift – ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’


Cast of Moana – ‘How Far I’ll Go’


Masashi Hamauzu – ‘Thunder Plains’
Goo Goo Dolls – ‘Iris’


Pointer Sisters – ‘I’m So Excited’


Kuana Torres Kahele, James Ford Murphy and Napua Greig-Nakasone – ‘Someone To Lava’
Goo Goo Dolls – ‘Iris’


Masashi Hamauzu – ‘Thunder Plains’


Harry Belafonte – ‘Jump in the Line (Shake, Señora)’

Adventures in Coding: Knowing When It’s Time To Stop Tweaking

That is probably a slightly misleading headline. It’s never really time to stop tweaking in my world! If I didn’t have deadlines imposed by jam deadlines and the like, I would probably just keep making tweaks forever and never release anything as a result. This is also true for non-code-y writing, which is why I’ve always found it so difficult to bite the bullet and send out my novel pitches to agents. It always feels like things could be a tiny bit better with just one more pass.

However, even when no deadline is involved, I can still sort of tell when it’s time to stop, even if I’m slightly in denial about it. When I do yet another playtest and there’s just one or two tiny things, and I’m dithering on whether I should even change them, and I go back and forth on those tiny things for a few runthroughs without spotting anything else I want to change… at that point, I really do need to stop faffing and get the project out into the world.

This post is a result of prepping my post-comp update for The River of Blood this week. The EctoComp judging period comes to an end on Friday, and after that I’ll be free to update my game (you’re not allowed to do so for Petite Mort games while the competition is still on). Originally I was just going to fix the one bug somebody had pointed out, but then I started messing about with something else due to somebody else’s feedback, and then while testing that I found another bug, and it took me ages to pin it down… I’m done now, though, and I’m sitting on my hands with that for the rest of the week (unless anybody flags up anything else, which is unlikely at this late stage of the competition). I’m looking forward to posting that update.

It’s time to get back to playing other people’s games, which was the main aim of this week!

Morris on Borogove
In other game update news today, my most recent game, Morris, is now playable online on Borogove.