Archive for September, 2007

Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again…

There wasn’t a locked gate, mind. Just the sudden shock of waking up in the dark, at four in the morning, with the rain desperately lashing against the window, and the same thought running madly through my head: “I didn’t just dream that again, did I?!”

I had. A clear five or six years since I last did, I had the same recurring dream. Or, rather, I had a very similar dream, because the precise details, location and causes and things, always seem to change, I guess depending on what unsorted backdrops my subconscious can find waiting to be filed away neatly in my memory. But the precise content; Deus ex machina meetings, and revelations and forgiveness and tentative friendship was just the same as ever it was. The only real differences I could work out was the anachronistic use of a Thames Travel double-decker bus (rather than a creaking Midland Red one), a major role for Ruth, and a definite fuzziness in people’s faces, where the synapses my brain used to polish daily have got worn down and overgrown as I’ve slowly given them less and less attention.

It’s the kind of dream I used to have more or less regularly, and it once buoyed me up during some of my darker moments with the pathetic hope “but it could happen!” It hung round for a while after it was strictly relevant, resurrected, I imagine, by my thoughts straying vaguely as I was drifting off to sleep, but it’s not been back since, until last night.

Which is why I woke and was shocked. Or – more specifically – I woke and my first thought was “O, God, no, it was only a dream!” just as ever it did, closely followed by “No, wait… What was that?”

Evidently some part of me still wants answers, explanations, acceptance. In this day and age, presumably, I could even endeavour to accrue them, with a little help from the All-Seeing Eye of Google, and perhaps a couple of speech marks. On the other hand, Google cuts both ways, which is why I’m being sparse on names and details, here. I have no idea if I ever caused damage or upset to anyone beyond myself, but if I did I’d rather not compound it out of the blue.

The whole thing was a big mess, and the best analogy I’ve ever found to describe it is the experience of being adrift in a shark-infested ocean on a life-raft lashed together from the debris of your sunken ship, bound loosely together with incomprehensible knots you can’t see, let alone begin to fathom, and which randomly flips itself over, desperately trying to throw you into the sea, baring jagged edges that slice at your fingers every time you’re forced to cling on, spilling fresh blood in the water, whilst the lead shark dances round in a spitefully oblivious frenzy screeching the phrase “the precious meanwhile!” like a sadistic parrot on acid and deriding your feeble skill at swimming at every chance it spots…

A big and horrible mess, like I said. Given the alternative, though… well, I was never a very strong swimmer, and I doubt I could train a shark to give me a lift to a happy island paradise full of rum cocktails with little umbrellas in the glass, so I guess I had to make the best of what I got, huh?

Still, it looks like I’ve still got a level of concern that I might’ve worried people who had nothing to do with me. Hell, people who would never have had anything to do with me as long as I lived. I don’t know if that made things better or worse. Probably worse, I think, because if I’d had any chance of being friends with them in any way, I don’t think I’d’ve been in that crazy situation of… Well, I still don’t really know. But I think it was the crazy situation of relying on the sight of them to drag myself from one day to the next without needing to think of the

[sweet Jesus Christ. This is a sentence that doesn’t want an ending putting on it. Uh. Bear with me, I’ll try again.] …relying on the sight of them to take my mind off the fact that I’d never be able to see [look, guys, I don’t want to burst into tears in my office, OK? If ye can’t work out where that sentence is going, ask me at some point when I’m very drunk.]*

Crap. See, this is why I never tell people things. My brain digs its heels in and says things like “I’m not going back there! It’s scary and sad, and I haven’t got a torch!”

[O, hey, a feeble joke to distract everyone from the issue at hand. Nice going, brain! Unsubtle useless bastard.]

I guess everyone needs a floatation device, anyway. And, probably, I’d’ve had to find one from somewhere. It was just bad luck – and fucking awful timing, like there was ever going to be any other sort – that meant a burgeoning teenage crush heading in one direction met an out of control juggernaut of pain and sorrow and loss heading the other way, with nobody sufficiently in control to sort out the pieces properly.

And so, just shy of a decade since the whole thing started, just over six years since I last did anything of the sort, I find I’m still waking up in the middle of the night, thinking “God, it was only a dream,” like a seven-year-old thinking it was Christmas and then waking up in October, and still, apparently, flailing around in the desperate hope that “Hey! We could put all this behind us, explain it, forgive! We could be really great friends!”

…The difference is that now, I can see that it won’t happen. And I think that’s probably for the best.

No real point beyond that, but this is one of those things that I’m pathologically incapable of thinking through and setting out if I think I’m the only person who’ll read it. I explain much better to an audience than to myself, I guess. Anyway, the coin says post.

* I was going to edit out this whole section, to make everything look neat and smooth, but I don’t really like doing that with blog posts anyway, and, besides, I went to a lot of fucking effort even to get those two half-sentences down; I’m not just digging ’em up and throwing them on the compost after that.

(I actually wrote this on Saturday)

Well since my choices, just at the moment, appear to be “further bloody packing” or “draft blogpost” I thought I’d go with the latter. And, yes, I know I’m kinda running three months ahead of the curve, here, but I thought I’d lash up a quick retrospective on the last twelve months or so, which is more or less the time since I moved down to Wallingford.

Wallingford is a really nice town; it’s got a lot of the “proper” English town feel to it, which I’d previously assumed still existed everywhere, and which got me really depressed when I realised that, actually, no, everywhere’s either conglomerated and horrible, like every town in Telford, and their soulless repetitions of Woolies, Aldi and First International MegaBankCo (formerly Local Market Friendly Society, LTD) .

Wallingford’s a bit better than that. It’s got a Waitrose (and dear God I am going to miss Waitrose when I’m back in Aber. (Quite apart from selling absolutely everything, at a moderately viable selection of prices, they contrive to have the largest collection of ‘Female till staff qualifying for the adjectives ‘young’ and ‘nubile’ that I’ve ever seen in any shop, ever, which really takes the aggravation out of queuing for twenty minutes while the old lady in front of you buys a bottle of gin with pennies…)

But, in addition to Waitrose, we’ve got a really strong local choir, which kept Ruth busy, a bunch of bell-ringers who were all very cool and friendly, a Pizza Express that Dan and Claire got us more or less kicked out of (In that we were in the back bit, and they started saying, in loud and pointed tones, “Should we shut the back now?”), a brilliant dude in Threshers, who never seemed to mind when we went in and asked for help picking white wine (“What are you looking for?” “Well, crisp, dry and refreshing, really…”) and my favourite bus company in the world, ever, Thames Travel.

Thames Travel, alone out of every bus company I have ever travelled with, have, to my knowledge, never been more than three minutes behind schedule. Except once. And, on that occasion, Ruth and I spent the entire delay saying how amazed we were that the bus hadn’t come yet, and wasn’t that weird, perhaps there’d been an accident and they’d had to shut a road?

(This is in incredibly stark contrast to Stagecoach in Oxford, who are the only bus company I have ever used where, when you stick your hand out to flag down the bus, the driver stops, opens the doors and then, as soon as you are on the bus, says [and I’m not making this up] says, in sarcastic tones, “O, thank you very much for making me stop. I’m really going to get into town on time now. I’m running late already, you know!” – Which, of course, held us up even longer, because I was so preoccupied trying to work out if he could have really just had a go at someone for using his company’s shoddy late service that I didn’t bother to tell him where I wanted to go, and asked him to repeat himself instead. But I’m going off on a tangent again. Sorry.)

Wallingford also possesses the Corn Exchange, a great little theatre-cum-cinema, owned by the local Am Drams, the Sinodun Players (Who also mostly comprise the local Choir, and every extra in the background of a Midsommer Murders ever), with whom I did Panto for the most exhausting January my life has ever compassed.

The only problem I have with Wallingford, really, is it’s terminal shortage of anyone I care about, beyond the people in the house. Caro and Jerry are great people, and frequently very fun to be with, and I’m very fond of them, and, of course, Ruth, when she was here (as opposed to hiding in Norfolk) has an amazing talent for making everything seem better… Beyond that, though, I don’t really know anyone. I know that my amazingly well paid boss (in contrast to me, at least) lives round here somewhere, because she’s caught the bus with me a few times, and I’ve always assumed that if she wanted to have anything to do with me outside work, she’d make the approach, and have thus treated her more or less like everyone else on the bus, ie, I’ll smile if we happen to meet each other’s eyes, but otherwise I’ll not attempt contact.

I know a few people vaguely from Panto, but not very well; I’ve had a few proper conversations with them, as well, but I don’t really have any actual friends down here. I think that’s party why I started to hate my job back in November (The main reason, however, was that I kept making really stupid errors – due, as it eventually turned out, to the fact my glasses were actually working against my eyes, which probably only I could manage – and Gail, who was supervising me, got increasing impatient and voluble in her criticism of me, which made me incredibly reluctant to interact with anyone in the office, ever. [If, as seems amazingly unlikely, Debbie Hazel is reading this from somewhere in Canada, I’m sorry I didn’t have the guts to go to your leaving party; I didn’t realise it was happening until everyone else was already there, and I didn’t have the courage to walk into a room full of people who spent about five hours a week listening to me getting called thick and incompetent. It wasn’t personal, and I’m sorry if you thought it was]).

Anyway, back in November, when all the bad stuff was going on, Gail (fairly reasonably, as assumptions go) decided that the reason I was making errors was because I’d periodically tab into IRC, and see what the Aber people were saying. She promptly forbade me to go anywhere near the thing, which had two effects: firstly, my productivity went absolutely down the tubes, because work ceased to feature anything remotely approximating to light relief, and secondly my alertness fell to nothing, as well, because I stopped drinking coffee in my coffee breaks, and instead used them to catch up on scrollback and say hello to anyone about at the time. That was unfortunate, but I got over it in the end, and sacrificed large bundles of flexitime to take two-hour IRC-laden lunches instead.

It’s only now, thinking back, that I realise I was actually really lonely. How weird. I don’t really remember being lonely ever before, although I must have been because when, years ago, people who didn’t like me at school demanded to know who my friends were, I listed names of people I’d been at primary school with, and hadn’t, in fact, spoken to for ages [which I did, of course, because I didn’t have any friends. I used to sit in the Library and read Jennings and Molesworth]. Also, a memory has just surfaced of me faking a couple of signatures on the cast I got when Tom Perry broke my wrist, which is literally pathetic… Well, anyway, it doesn’t matter now, because I’ll be coming back to Aber – brilliantly described by Ruth’s smarmy kid brother Robin as “Ah, Aber! Land of plenty!” – in a few days, and everything will be better.

I think, on balance, I like my job, even if it’s ruined my eyesight [I used to loathe the idea of glasses. It is probably very fortunate that I happened to first need them at the same time as we were all watching Evangelion, and I suddenly realised glasses could look cool (providing you can get the light to bounce off them so nobody ever sees your eyes…). The only real quibble I have with them is the way they seem to get laden with smears even when I’m really careful not to touch the lenses. And I do like the people in the office, and I’ll miss the crazy politics, and the almost stereotypically mental decisions of upper management (my favourite ever was the one that said “Will all staff please not that being unable to attend work as a result of the recent heavy snow is unacceptable…”) I think I could grow to like working in an office…

So, really, it will be strange, I think, to be leaving. It will, however, be brilliant to have the Uberflat, and some actual space to ourselves, where we can loll on the sofa and eat TV dinners if the mood takes us, without displacing Caro and Jerry’s desire to watch the West Wing (I still think I could really grow to like that show, but I’ve no desire to start watching it from the middle of series five, I’d be horribly confused!)

And it will be good to be living with Paul, I think (our last attempt to do anything of the sort got kyboshed by the Porters, and then Elaine Watkin forbade him to live at Hafan, with the words “I know Paul very well, and I’m very fond of him, but he never listens to a word I say, so I’m telling you: if you have this accommodation, Paul is not allowed to sleep there, understood?”).

I’m looking forward to Troma and Geek Nights, as well, and, well… everything. Except for the bit where I cease to have a) a job, and b) a thousand pounds paid into the bank every month. That’s going to take some adjustment, I think. Also, faintly tragically, looking forward to buying furnishings and things for said Uberflat and generally making it “ours,” rather than “random cool-looking flat I looked round once, for ten minutes.”

Of course, first I have to finish packing, and I can’t properly do that until Friday morning (Once everything else is loaded into the van, I can pack up the computer and stow that, as well). Current plan is to leave Wallingford by 10:00 at the latest, swing, incredibly briefly by Newport, to load up whatever the Hell it is from Hafan that’s left in the entry (and the proper speakers for the computer, and possibly the SVGA monitor for the DOS box, which, I guess, the Rev will take to Aber in November, if not before) and then be away from Shropshire by 15:00. So I should be back by the evening on the 28th, barring accidents (yes, I have used my last remaining day of holiday to go home a lone day earlier than previously planned. Shut up.)

It’s been a great year, it has. It’s just some of the really best bits (the Real Ale Ramble, the narrowboat holiday, Cropredy, Edinburgh, and so on, have all been bits that didn’t happen actually here. Mostly what’s happened here is that I’ve commuted, learned to sleep on buses without fearing for my actual physical safety like I used to, and counted down the days until I get paid again. It’s not been unpleasant, but it’s been very tiring and the payoff hasn’t always been grand. I think as long as I can get something to keep the money coming in, I’ll be happier in Aber.

Bring it on, then, y’buggers. Bring it on…

Huzzah! (Broadly)

Computer appears to have come back up and fixed itself of its own accord. All seems well, bar two minor snags; first, the BIOS seems to have forgotten to support USB keyboards, so I’ve had to plug my spare, via an ATX to PS2 converter, into the PS2 and try not to let it fall down the back of the tower. Secondly, when I ctrl+alt+del, it gives me the Windows security type box in nasty spazzy tellytubby mode, but everything else seems fine.

Indeed, so fine was it, that I played Nethack for a full half hour yesterday, without it rebooting itself once!


Farvel Janet the Valkyrie.

You died in Gehennom on Dungeon Level 33 with 749109 points and 19241 pieces of gold, after 28552 moves. You were level 14, with a maximum of 138 hit points when you died.

Final Attributes:

You were piously aligned.
You were fire resistant.
You were cold resistant.
You were shock resistant.
You were magic-protected.
You saw invisible.
You were warned.
You were invisible to others.
You were stealthy.
You were protected.
You were polymorphing.
You had polymorph control.
You were very fast.
You had reflection.
You were extremely lucky.
You had extra luck.
Good luck did not time out for you.
You are dead.

Vanquished creatures:

a mastodon
an iron golem
a master lich
3 gray dragons
a silver dragon
2 red dragons
a white dragon
a black dragon
2 blue dragons
2 green dragons
9 minotaurs
a jabberwock
Lord Surtur
a baluchitherium
3 demiliches
a stone golem
4 Olog-hai
a pit fiend
2 sandestins
3 titanotheres
2 trappers
a baby black dragon
a baby green dragon
a disenchanter
4 vampire lords
2 shopkeepers
an aligned priest
2 captains
4 liches
8 water trolls
a clay golem
4 nurses
4 ice devils
a lurker above
a frost giant
an ettin
9 black puddings
13 vampires
5 lieutenants
a watch captain
22 ghosts
2 mind flayers
7 giant mimics
3 zruties
28 fire giants
5 ogre kings
6 ice trolls
18 rock trolls
4 umber hulks
4 flesh golems
2 Elvenkings
4 doppelgangers
5 hezrous
5 bone devils
6 large mimics
2 long worms
a couatl
8 stalkers
an air elemental
4 fire elementals
3 earth elementals
4 water elementals
7 hill giants
3 giant mummies
a black naga
4 xorns
6 giant zombies
an elf-lord
8 sergeants
a water demon
5 barbed devils
6 vrocks
6 wargs
a winter wolf
7 small mimics
2 warhorses
8 xans
5 ettin mummies
3 ogre lords
5 quantum mechanics
17 trolls
2 wood golems
2 erinyes
a marilith
4 sharks
6 gelatinous cubes
a pyrolisk
a large dog
3 freezing spheres
2 flaming spheres
5 shocking spheres
2 large cats
3 tigers
4 gargoyles
a dwarf king
a tengu
7 ochre jellies
4 leocrottas
3 energy vortices
3 mountain centaurs
4 stone giants
8 elf mummies
6 human mummies
2 red nagas
2 green slimes
2 pit vipers
a python
a cobra
24 wraiths
2 carnivorous apes
6 ettin zombies
a leather golem
7 Grey-elves
44 soldiers
4 watchmen
4 horned devils
a succubus
2 incubi
3 chameleons
4 crocodiles
7 giant beetles
5 quivering blobs
6 cockatrices
8 wolves
2 winter wolf cubs
2 lynxes
a panther
4 gremlins
a spotted jelly
8 leprechauns
3 orc-captains
3 mumakil
6 giant spiders
2 scorpions
8 horses
4 black lights
11 vampire bats
5 forest centaurs
a gnome king
3 orc mummies
4 dwarf mummies
4 ogres
6 brown puddings
5 rust monsters
2 owlbears
4 yetis
3 gold golems
3 werewolves
13 Green-elves
7 giant eels
8 lizards
7 chickatrices
2 dogs
3 dingos
a housecat
4 jaguars
2 dwarf lords
4 blue jellies
3 white unicorns
2 gray unicorns
a black unicorn
a dust vortex
2 ravens
2 plains centaurs
a gnome mummy
4 snakes
2 water moccasins
7 apes
7 human zombies
3 rope golems
5 Woodland-elves
27 soldier ants
62 fire ants
22 bugbears
an imp
7 lemures
4 quasits
6 wood nymphs
6 water nymphs
5 mountain nymphs
10 Mordor orcs
8 Uruk-hai
3 orc shamans
5 rock piercers
6 rock moles
3 ponies
3 fog clouds
6 yellow lights
2 shriekers
7 violet fungi
20 gnome lords
14 gnomish wizards
2 kobold mummies
a red naga hatchling
a black naga hatchling
2 guardian naga hatchlings
7 gray oozes
3 barrow wights
15 elf zombies
10 ghouls
5 straw golems
3 paper golems
5 jellyfish
6 giant ants
2 little dogs
7 floating eyes
2 kittens
8 dwarves
2 homunculi
a kobold lord
a kobold shaman
3 hill orcs
8 rothes
3 rabid rats
4 centipedes
3 giant bats
a monkey
11 orc zombies
5 dwarf zombies
2 werejackals
8 iguanas
30 killer bees
an acid blob
4 hobbits
10 manes
4 large kobolds
18 hobgoblins
2 giant rats
12 cave spiders
4 brown molds
a yellow mold
a red mold
71 gnomes
9 gnome zombies
3 geckos
7 jackals
a kobold
5 goblins
7 sewer rats
2 grid bugs
4 bats
7 lichens
5 kobold zombies
8 newts

1318 creatures vanquished.

[Select] items:

An uncursed amulet of reflection(being worn)
the rustproof +2 Sunsword
The rustproof +3 Mjollnir (weapon in hand)
a blessed +1 silver Sabre

A blessed +2 grey dragon scale mail (being worn)
a blessed fireproof +2 pair of speed boots (being worn)
an uncursed rustproof +4 pair of gauntlets of power (being worn)
A blessed rustproof +2 helm of brilliance (being worn)
a cursed thoroughly burnt +0 cloak of invisibility (being worn)
a cursed +0 shield of reflection (being worn)

an uncursed ring of Slow Digestion (on right hand)
an uncursed ring of polymorph control (on left hand)

The Bell of Opening
the blessed Orb of Fate (0:5)
a blessed magic marker
an uncursed blindfold
a +0 unicorn horn
a can of grease (0:11)
a +0 pick-axe

Contents of the bag of holding:

an uncursed ring of free action
an uncursed potion of object detection
an uncursed ring of see invisible
a wand of create monster (0:11)
5 uncursed scrolls of blank paper
an uncursed scroll of light
an uncursed scroll of fire
a cursed amulet of restful sleep
a cursed -1 pair of levitation boots
an uncursed +1 ring of increase damage
6 uncursed food rations
a blessed +1 ring of increase accuracy
a wand of create monster (0:12)
an uncursed leash
an uncursed ruby
a can of grease (0:1)
a wand of striking (0:4)
an uncursed +0 oilskin cloak
a wand of digging (0:3)
an uncursed ring of sustain ability
an uncursed potion of levitation
a wand of digging (0:5)
a wand of digging (0:6)
a wand of striking (0:6)
a wand of create monster (0:12)
an uncursed scroll of create monster
a wand of digging (0:6)
an uncursed amethyst stone
a cursed ring of aggravate monster
7 uncursed wax candles
a blessed tallow candle
a cursed tallow candle
6 uncursed tallow candles
a cursed potion of object detection
4 uncursed worthless pieces of violet glass
an uncursed +0 pair of gauntlets of power
3 uncursed jasper stones
19241 gold pieces
2 uncursed luckstones
an uncursed scroll of destroy armor
a wand of digging (0:4)
a wand of digging (0:5)
a wand of magic missile (0:4)
2 uncursed fortune cookies
a wand of striking (0:7)
6 cursed food rations
a cursed potion of object detection
an uncursed ring of regeneration
a cursed wand of cold (0:3)
a cursed potion of full healing
an uncursed amulet versus poison
2 cursed diamonds
2 cursed partly used tallow candles
an uncursed tin whistle
a wand of digging (0:4)
an uncursed luckstone
a cursed +1 ring of protection

[Sorry, I know that’s long and probably Abnib-unfriendly, I just wanted to keep tabs on how I was doing in terms of Blog-worthy scores…

Although, actually, I think most of my old scores are LJ or in the Missing EQ Archive, but still.]

Anyway: work.

God damn lazy bastard machine!

OK, so my tower fell over on its arse last night. I am less than happy. Mostly, I am less than happy because I don’t really know what’s wrong with it; it isn’t connected to the Internet, or anything that isn’t itself, and yet it’s behaving awfully “Look at me with a virus!” like…

(Can you get a virus through a USB key?)

On the offchance it helps, the order of events was roughly:

1. JTA boots computer. All is well.
2. JTA launches C&C Generals. Plays about five minutes.
3. Generals terminates, shuts self down, accompanied by warning box from Windows to say it’s encountered a critical error.
4. Click ‘OK’. Computer restarts.
5. Windows returns. “Recovered from serious error” dialogue box. Click OK, don’t tell anyone (because how the Hell can it? It’s not wired to anything).
6. Computer restarts.
7. Windows loads. Waits five minutes. Restarts.
8. Ditto.
9. Windows starts to load, is displaying desktop. Explorer presumably loading (no toolbar or start menu yet). Computer restarts.
10. Attempt to start in safemode. Computer BSODs.
11. Worry.
12. Attempt to start in safemode. Computer tells me that “txtsetup.ini” is corrupt, startup cannot continue.
13. Manually restart machine.
14. Wait, whilst computer whirs and clicks and does nothing. Don’t even get a “no signal” message to monitor, it’s just firing black at me.
15. Repeat five times. Switch tower off at wall. Switch on again.
16. BIOS starts in “fail-safe mode.” Never seen that before. Getting worried now.
17. Discover BIOS fail-safe mode appears not to include support for USB keyboards. Can’t F8 into safemode.
18. Plug in proper keyboard via ATX – PS2 converter. Start safemode. Roll back to System Restore from Friday 14th September.
19. Computer restarts mid roll-back.
20. Repeat step 18. Computer crashes during restore, sits there half an hour. Manual restart, repeat step 16.
21. Turn on power at wall. Contrive roll-back to System Restore from Sunday 16th September.
22. Computer completes system restore, looks fine and happy.
23. JTA gets suspicious, waits ten minutes.
24. Computer restarts at random.
25. JTA leaves house to get bus to work.

…Seriously, I’m kinda stuck here. (All my live CDs and boot disks are in Norfolk, with Ruth (apart from some old ones, which are in Suffolk, which is just as useless.)

Not sure what can’ve happened to it; all I can think is that there’s a virus come in on my USB key, but I’ve just run that though Sophos here at work (because I dinnae want to infect the office PC, of course) and that’s come out clean… The only other thing I can think is that, when I cleaned up the Rev’s PC a while back, and got all her My Documents files off it (because that had a nasty virus) one of those files contained a virus itself. Word documents, a couple of spreadsheets and .jpgs of dead people from memorial service booklets, any of them likely to harbour a virus that waits two months and then goes off without you opening the files? Or is there just a mechanical failure in there?

…I was kinda relying on that PC to, pathetically, take my mind off how weird it is to be in the house whilst Ruth’s away (seriously, it’s not something that’s ever happened before in the year and a bit I’ve been here), so I’m vaguely strapped now.

No internet at home, either, because Ruth has the laptop.

Any ideas? (Just wondered, don’t really expect much… Might need someone to help me resurrect the damn thing once I get back to Aber, though. Any volunteers for that, either?)


Qparty: Afterword.

OK, so I didn’t post about Cropredy. I know I should’ve, I just failed to get round to it, somehow.

And, yeah, I didn’t post about Edinburgh, either, and I really should’ve said something, even if it was only “Hoorah!” (although we didn’t see Brian and Krystal this year), but by the time I got back I owed about eight hours of flexitime, so I never got round to it.

Still, I might yet manage it; I’ve got pages and pages of very cramped diary entries for both of ’em, so in the event that I find free time, and nothing else to distract me, I’ll bung something up, and post-date it to annoy and confuse people.

Meanwhile, got back from Preston this afternoon, dropped the suit back at Moss (very aggravated that they didn’t check it was all there; I could’ve filched that waistcoat which, though not the fanciest I’ve known, was still pretty damn nice!)

I’m really glad we didn’t leave ’till this morning, it gave me some time to wind down after the whole thing – for those of you who didn’t see Roper Hall as it was at the time we got there, I’ve got a few “before” shots as well as later ones from the party, and Dan‘s given me sufficient access to the Qparty gallery that I’ll be able to upload some (also, I guess, since he and Claire are off on Qmoon, at the moment, he won’t object if other people send me their photos, too, and I can chuck some of them up as well.

But, yeah, once I’m home and have uploaded those you’ll be able to see why I swung merrily out of retirement (for the few of you who don’t know, I used to cleaner at the Union building in Aber, and then the County Hall on the seafront, and some crazy offices in Portland street) and grabbed a broom and started scrubbing things up, along with pretty much everyone else who was there (except the staff, who spent some time standing round and offering to hire me, and not knowing where stuff was – at one point I asked for a few J-cloths, or something, with which to clean the bar, and the poked ’round in the storeroom for about ten minutes, before I got bored and started opening up their boxes of supplies and found some).

It was, in a crazy slightly worrying way, really good fun to be desperately trying to get things ready against a fixed deadline, especially with all the usual suspects equally rushed and efficient. It must be a September thing…

And, as everyone’s been saying already, the party was fantastic (and, yeah, some of the speeches made me cry, as did some of the clip-frame contributions. Happy tears, though, so it’s all OK!)

Glad I left when I did, though, I don’t really like nightclubs full of random crazies. Also, a big cheer to the huge number of people who turned up for LASER Quest bowling; that was great fun, so many thanks for coming and contributing, even if you weren’t bowling yourselves.

Great to see everyone again, even though travel is exhausting, and even though I think I’ve done something horrible to my back (because moving or staying still hurts) it’s been a great weekend, and thank-you all for being there and being ace.

And, of course, extra thanks and congratulations to Dan and Claire, who are both wonderful people, and to whom I’m not ashamed to say I felt really, honestly, proud of the pair of you, and thank-you for an amazing party, and the chance to see everyone again.

Anyway, some of us have got Green Dragons to catch up with, so I guess I’ll see you around.

Have fun!