A lot of things change in twenty years of friendship. We get older and hair goes grey and starts receding. We move away, some of us get married and settle down to have kids. It’s no wonder that our get-togethers have also changed over the years
There was a time in our early twenties when we’d meet in pubs nearly every weekend, our lives a cacophony of drunkenness and next morning regret. Then as we reached our late twenties we’d meet a couple of times a year for our shared love of film. Who could forget the annual Easter Film Festival – three days of back to back film that was more about endurance than enjoyment.
As we grew out of that and the friend pool dwindled (partly because of the horrors of the Easter Film Festival, partly because people drift apart and getting together becomes less important, more easy to miss), fFilms gave way to videogames in our thirties – weekends of playing rock band and other multiplayer games. I was usually trying to write website updates in the kitchen. The beer was replaced by tea.
And now as we start to move into our forties, our now near annual get-togethers have become about Tabletop gaming. The first few were a bit of a mess, the hosts not really knowing the games. This lead to long periods of waiting whilst they read or rules being changed mid-game (usually to their advantage I’d note) because they’d misread them.
But now, we seem like the early problems are ironed out. A few of the group regularly tabletop game which has given them time to understand rules and have a couple of playthroughs.
Friday saw me in the Nene Valley near Kettering. Having finished my course in Birmingham earlier that day and due in Cambridge on Saturday it made sense to travel direct and stop off along the way to do some Geocaching.
Over the years I have worked for a number of companies that say they offer training and then in reality never do. So when the day job offered to send me to Birmingham for the week, I jumped at the chance. Whereas for most people a week away, stuck in a hotel, sounds like hell, for me it’s perfect.
I train during the day, get to geocache in a new area in the evening and then write when it gets dark. For me that’s pretty close to perfection.
Just a quick note to say that the blog could be a little quiet for a couple of weeks. I’m off on a week long training course for the day job followed immediately by a couple of weeks holiday. As a result I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for blogging. I’m not going away for the entire time and will be contactable. Play safe and I’ll see you all when I return!
I know there will be those that say that doing the impossible no longer makes it impossible. Likewise there will be those that say that my leg obviously can’t be that bad if I managed what I did on Monday. The truth is that for all my careful planning, all my insight, all my knowing of the secret limits of my body, I was so unsure whether I’d be able to complete this that I only told a couple of close friends where I was going, and only then so they knew which canal to dredge for my body should I not turn up for work on Tuesday.
I am sure there are some high security inmates who have a better social life than myself right now, but I suspect that might be true of many writers.
So I was glad when I heard a good friend of 20+ years was in this part of the country on work and I, for once, wasn’t on out-of-hours call with the day job.
Anyone who has read the novel will know that I’m very interested in hidden parts of Wiltshire. The vampire D’Toeni is found in a tunnel system based loosely on the Burlington Nuclear Bunker, located over near Corsham. In that case, I’ve never been able to visit the location, basing my research on photos and articles. But it’s not the only secret military location in the county.
When I got offered my current day job I got warned that I might be required to travel and would I be OK with that. I think it’s a pretty standard question these days in interviews. I replied that I was more than happy to travel and the thought of being stuck in a hotel with nothing to do but write or find the local geocaches was my idea of Heaven.
This got put to the test this past week when I had to go to Birmingham for a set of training courses. Being in the middle of NaNoWriMo the idea of a week of no distractions sounded great so my Macbook got packed along with my work PC and taken with me.
As everyone gets older it can get more and more difficult to find xmas presents for people. The family decided to do arts and crafts a few years back and that’s been a lot of fun. But for people like my brother and parents, finding presents has been a bit of a pain.
When stuck for something I usually go with the “day out” choice. It gives them a memorable day and something to look forward to. A few years back I got my brother an Aston Martin experience and he had a lot of fun.
So when I heard that they were doing a Harry Potter studio tour, I thought it would be a great idea for a present. My brother and father had made it a tradition to take my father to see the movies since the books made him start reading, so it seemed a good fit.
It’s been a busy couple of days. New Year’s Eve saw me working until the bells chimed trying to finish off a short story submission. I managed to get it in time which felt like as big an achievement as the story itself as this was created in about 48 hours.
As a result the alcohol I’d got in to welcome the New Year waited until everything was submitted. Given that the bottle of champagne I bought to celebrate completing the novel is still sitting in the fridge and getting this story done in the timeframe was a challenge I thought “what the heck” and started drinking at around 12:30am.
This in itself wouldn’t be too bad if I’d not arranged to go with family down to Hayling Island and so I was woken about 8am, slightly hungover and possibly still a little drunk by my mother saying her and my father were on their way to pick me up.