Occasional normality

It’s been another busy week at work and I’m really glad it’s the weekend. Geth and I are going to parkrun tomorrow morning! It’s finally back in England for the first time since that strange weekend in March 2020, and I’m very excited to return. Our home parkrun has a new name (formerly Newcastle, now Town Moor due to several other parkruns now existing in Newcastle) and a new course and a mostly-new core team running it, so it’s a bit of a new era all round. It feels very strange that we can finally parkrun again after so many false starts, but it feels like the right time. I hope Scotland and Wales aren’t too far behind.

Other than that I’m going to be chilling out with videogames this weekend, both creating and playing. I have returned to Final Fantasy I this week so I’ll be spending some time with that! I’ve also still got a lot of ParserComp entries to get through before the voting deadline next weekend, and I’m really excited to get some coding done as well.

The weather is still hot and not conducive to long runs. I’ve moved my long run day to Thursday, both because of events happening later in the training programme (to be precise, due to COVID-induced race lag, the rescheduled GNR falls precisely three weeks before the rescheduled-rescheduled London Marathon, and in a marathon training programme you’re supposed to do your 22-miler three weeks before marathon day, and I’m not doing an extra nine miles before or after the GNR! …so I’ll do it on the Thursday and have a gentle plod round the dodgily-rerouted ‘GNR’ three days later, no racing it) and because mental health wise I need FULL WEEKENDS at the moment that are not completely taken up with running, so it’s best to squeeze the long run in on a weekday instead. My last two long runs have ended up being cut short due to heatwave collapse, so next week I’m going to grit my teeth and attempt an out-and-back in the hope that, by the time I’m struggling, I’ll already be ‘on my way home’ and so it’ll be mentally easier.

Lots of groups and classes from pre-pandemic life now inviting me back, but as I’ve always said, these things will need to happen very gradually for me as I don’t want to jump straight back into Constantly Doing Stuff. Ignoring the FOMO and doing my own thing for a while longer.

Weeping willow
My favourite tree in the garden. It looks great in the summer.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Yuna’s Theme’
Crowded House – ‘Weather With You’
Don Henley – ‘Boys Of Summer’
Duran Duran – ‘Give It All Up’

Sunday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Cosmo Canyon’

Monday

Paul Weller – ‘You Do Something To Me’

Tuesday

Calvin Harris – ‘Summer’

And a bonus track Geth was humming that day:

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘To Zanarkand’

Wednesday

Therion – ‘Summer Night City’
Duran Duran – ‘To The Shore’

Thursday

Boston – ‘More Than A Feeling’
Levellers – ‘The Fear’
Duran Duran – ‘Shadows On Your Side’

Friday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Airship Theme’
John Waite – ‘Missing You’
Manami Kiyota – ‘Satorl Marsh (Night)’

Phone Box Thursday: Edinburgh Revisit

Mum took a photo of these George Street phone boxes for me the other week. Edinburgh is looking summery in a particularly Edinburgh way! (Grey skies included, but mainly because of the marquees that are out so that people can dine al fresco in the drizzle.)

I haven’t visited these phone boxes in aaaages and am so glad to see they’re still standing proud!

Red phone box
Red phone box, George Street, Edinburgh, 13th July 2021.

I can’t wait to visit Edinburgh again.

Gamebook Wednesday: Asterix: Alea Jacta Est! #1, ‘The Meeting of the Chieftains’

This is another selection from my childhood collection. My brother Malcolm and I absolutely loved Asterix as kids and had tons of the comics, as well as several gamebooks. I didn’t play this one from the Alea Jacta Est! series nearly as often as the more-tactile Asterix Adventure Books we also had (they’ll be replayed soon!), so it was a treat to be able to replay it recently without remembering much about the story.

Asterix: Alea Jacta Est! #1 The Meeting of the Chieftains

In this gamebook you play as Justforkix, a character from the comic book Asterix and the Normans. Justforkix is the nephew of village chief Vitalstatistix and is tasked with the mission of retrieving his uncle from a spa visit so that the latter can return to the village and attend an important meeting with a rival chief. It sounds a bit pedestrian, but in typical Asterix style it’s a fun romp along the roads of ancient Gaul, either avoiding or getting into fights with Romans as per your preferred play style.

The book comes with a play aid sheet for keeping track of scores and inventory (I had to rub out a lot of decades-old pencil marks). You also need a six-sided die, which was fine. I am obsessed with dice and have a special dice bag full of them. Part of this is due to the too-shiny dice displays always catching my eye when I go to the UK Games Expo.

Game aid

Some of the choices in the book are a bit odd (at one point you bump into Asterix and Obelix and they ask if you want them to accompany you; if you’re a fan of the stories, then the natural choice would be to say yes, but in this book it results in a game over as Asterix decides you’re clearly not up to the task if you want them to help!). However, it’s mostly fairly intuitive – you’re rewarded later in the game for gathering information in the village early on, and there’s a fun maze section where you need to find your way out while getting into as few fights with Romans as possible.

Once you’re out of the spa town, it’s a fairly straightforward journey home and a slightly abrupt ending, though it is fairly satisfying story-wise. The game was meaty enough to take me a few evenings to get through, which felt like just the right length.

This is the only one I have in this subseries, but as mentioned above I am really looking forward to replaying my Asterix Adventure Books soon.

Useful link: listing at Demian’s Gamebook Web Page.

2020 Pestos #11: Sainsbury’s Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

This is a nice tasty pesto flavour that I’ve always associated with summer. I used to have the Sacla version of this in the ’90s and ’00s, but I’ve not seen it in recent years (though you can still get it according to the website!). However, the Sainsbury’s one tastes very similar.

Sainsbury's Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Sainsbury’s Roasted Red Pepper Pesto.

In addition to the nice pepper taste there are also a lot of pine nuts in there, which are the perfect texture to go with the taste. The only negative is that it’s *very* slightly too moist – from what I remember, the Sacla version gets this balance better. However, that doesn’t stop it being a favourite!

Adventures In Coding: The Return

After a couple of weeks off I’m excited to get back into game creation this week. I’ll be playing with various experimental stuff and also returning to my work on Marie.

Cecil
Cecil doesn’t have a world to explore yet… but he will.

Part of the reason I’ve been doing my new ‘Screengrabs From Games That Don’t Exist’ series on Saturdays is that I have a ridiculous number of game ideas and not enough time to implement them. I’ve got a few pinned down for working on during the rest of the summer, but there are so many others that will have to stay in the parallel universe for now. One day!

Flying Sunday post

Having a lovely weekend off. Back to the running ramblings next Sunday!

Sunglasses
Wayfarers on, baby. These have been a lifesaver over the last few weeks while out running – my eyes have still been a bit sensitive while recovering from my uveitis attack.

Trying not to burn out

I didn’t have much of a weekend last week because I was too busy with work, and I’ve been working every evening till late this week as well. As such, I have zero brainspace left and I need some time off. Part of the reason I worked evenings this week was because I wanted today off so that I could have a three-day weekend, as I knew that the first day would just be a ‘staring into space’ recovery day after the last few weeks. I also aimed to do my weekend long run today in order to get it out of the way early. However it’s been really, really hot today – too hot for running comfortably – and I ended up cutting the run short after halfway, as the heat was making it unsafe. Next week I’ll get up really early so I can get out and back in before the heat gets too bad.

I’m really looking forward to the rest of the weekend now. Brain rest will be amazing.

Sofa
Laptop, loungewear, sofa. It’s been that way for weeks, but this weekend it will be that way in a non-work way.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Dragon Quest Town Theme’
Duran Duran – ‘Invisible’

Sunday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Chocobo Jam’
Paula Abdul – ‘Straight Up’

Monday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Yuna’s Theme’
Duran Duran – ‘Give It All Up’
Simply Red – ‘Something Got Me Started’

Tuesday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘To Zanarkand’
Cast of The Sound Of Music – ‘Edelweiss’

Wednesday

Duran Duran – ‘Pressure Off’

Thursday

Robbie Williams – ‘Time For Change’
Duran Duran – ‘Winter Marches On’
Duran Duran – ‘My Antarctica’

Friday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Yuna’s Theme’

Phone Box Thursday: Durham Revisit

Today we’re revisiting one of my very early phone box examples: Durham Green! (I have taken the opportunity to make some updates to that post.)

Fiona sent me a picture of the box as it is now, taken earlier this month. It’s now a defibrillator box!

Red phone box
Red phone box, Durham Green, Durham, 2nd July 2021.

I am so happy to see that this box now has a 21st century use! It’s one of my favourites in the north-east and I wouldn’t like to see Durham Cathedral without it.

Back up to Scotland next week…

Flying Wednesday post

Third flying post in a row 🙄 Gutted as I’m itching to tell you about all the gamebooks I’ve been playing recently! However, Gamebook Wednesday #2 will have to wait till next week. I’m still massively snowed under with work.

Gamebooks
I can’t wait to ramble on about these!

I can at least promise a Phone Box Thursday post tomorrow. I will need a quick break from my final push to get all my day job work done before Friday… however long it takes!