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.

Cards and concrete

It’s Geth’s and my ninth wedding anniversary today! We are looking forward to a nice evening with some takeaway pizza. We used to go out for anniversary meals but home is the greatest place for both of us these days so takeaway is the preferred option.

It’s been a day job work day otherwise. I’m doing a lot of work for my civil engineering clients at the moment, which means I’m reading a lot about the scientific properties of concrete. Proofreading is most certainly a career where you spend your life learning about things you never expected to know.

Anniversary cards
We got some lovely cards in the post! I also couldn’t resist buying that ‘Happy Anniversary’ Toblerone – it’s one of Geth’s favourite chocolates.

Another busy week begins

I had hoped this upcoming week would provide a bit of a breather, but as ever there’s a lot to do. Today I did a bit of day job work and caught up with most of the housework, and the rest of the week will mostly be spent either working or studying. I am going to prioritise some evening downtime, though, as it’s badly needed at the moment.

Still hoping to have everything organised for Christmas by the end of November…

Christmas cake
I made the Christmas cake yesterday, which is a big job ticked off the list!

Game release day!

Late post tonight because I always make full use of the time allotted for game jams (although today that was a case of resisting making any last-minute panicky changes because the game was pretty much as ready as it could be last night!) My new game is out and you can play it here. It’s my first PunyInform/Inform 6 release (all my previous games have been made in Adventuron), and it was a very different system to get to grips with – I’ve still got a lot to learn! As such, my new game is fairly short and simple, but I’m very pleased with it.

After the release of two short games in quick succession, I am looking forward to getting back to working on my long-form stuff! I have games that have been works-in-progress for literally years and I would love to get them finished and released next year. I do love making a short game occasionally though, as it’s quite satisfying to get something made in a very short time period.

For the next week or so, though, I’m just going to be playing games made by other people!

Cover image
The Itch cover image for my game. One thing I’ve needed to get used to with Inform is the lack of graphics!