19 Dec 2013

Hestia remembers the S1 school dance

My S1 school dance was probably before you, dear reader, were born.  Unless you are also 50 in which case we probably endured enjoyed it at the same time.

It was the 1970s and long dresses were IN.

I was so excited when Juno agreed that I could have a long dress!  My friends told me about their frocks - various scarlets, electric blues (what can I say? It was the 70s) and even one in BLACK which was very, VERY daring for a 12 year-old.

I don't remember the actual buying of the frock.  I might not even have been present because I can't imagine that I would have willingly selected what I wore to the dance that night.

Yes, it was a long dress. But it was BROWN.  Very dark brown.

In the dimly lit Town Hall, I was like a little polyester short-haired turd.

13 Dec 2013

Hestia and Insomnia Part 2

So we gets into the car and heads off in the general direction of Telford Conference Centre. I say 'general direction' because if you've ever been to Telford, you know that there are eleventy-billion roundabouts, none of which seem to take you in the direction that you have carefully planned.

And lo! it came to pass that I ended up hurtling down a leafy country lane thinking to myself, 'this is definitely NOT dual carriageway.'  A swift 3-point turn (well, 5 point turn) had us back on track and we turned onto a roundabout that was so stacked with traffic that it could only be the parental cars of small gamers heading to Insomnia 49.

We queued and queued only to be told that the car park was full and that we should head off to the overflow car park.....which was back down the wrong turning that I'd taken 3/4 of an hour earlier.  Of course, you know what happens next.  Overflow carpark is full.

By this time I have huge sweat rings beneath my armpits and my knuckles are white.  Where on earth can we park?  I haz a brainwave.....and drives to the Holiday Inn hotel, next to the Conference centre.....and into its blissfully car-free car park.  Now, I'm no dummy, I high-tailed it to Reception to ask for a parking token or to offer payment, but the gorgeous girl on duty said that it was free to park.  I wanted to have her babies, I was SO grateful!

This meant that we had a two minute walk to the conference centre.

Reader, I was trepidatious.  Neither of us had ever been to a Gaming Festival.  I had brought my book (The War of Art, if you must know), my specs and plenty of cash for coffee and buns.

We walked gingerly into the main trade hall where every kind of game known to man was available to play....you could test new products that were not yet on the market, like this Occulus Rift which was so excellent I was SCREAMING like a girl and wobbling about from side to side as I became fully immersed in a roller coaster ride inside the helmet.

Occulus Rift - when this goes on sale GET IT!

There was a retro gaming arcade where, for another tenner, you could play arcade games ALL day.

Upstairs was the restaurant and lots of board games (or bored games as Sonshine calls them) and this was where Sonshine pissed away lots of his money on raffle tickets and plastic Things For Your Desk That Don't Do Anything.

There was a Cosplay competition (A competition where you costume-up as a gaming hero) and THIS Griffin costume won.  You could SIT on it.  The eyes moved and it had WINGS.  Am dreading Sonshine asking for this for Hallowe'en.

And then the Gaming Hall.   And it alllllll became clear why it was called Insomnia - the kids game alllllll night!  Yes, there was a pizza delivery service TO YOUR COMPUTER CONSOL, sweeties, endless cans of juice and a surprising level of trust - handbags (yes, plenty of lady gamers!) left dangling over the backs of chairs, jackets and purses on display.  One can't help thinking that if it had been set in Glasgow, all these things would have been spirited away in a hastily balled-up tracksuit top.

Security was very high at the event all round.  The gig ran like a well-oiled machine and felt so safe that I quickly let Sonshine do his own thing while I retired to the main hall with my book.

Then the main hall presentations started and suddenly I was hooked on the stop-mo videos that had been made of Minecraft cities.  The video makers were greeted like conquering heroes as they ascended the stage and pretty soon my book was discarded as I listened to them talking about how they made their cities.

But the hall was filling up and I couldn't see the main screen too well.  A brainwave! Sit on the BACK of the chair and get a few vital inches.  Fablas!

'hey!' shouts one gamer on the stage 'Let's take a 360 degree photo for Notch* and post it to facebook for him.  Everybody - wave!!'

Reader, I raised my hands above my head and wooped with the mad gamer weirdos.







And landing with a huge BANG on the floor.

All eyes turne to me, sprachling like an upturned beetle on the floor, chair tipped over, legs up in the air.  A couple of teenage gamers rushed to my aid and I did that oddly defensive LEAP to my feet shouting: 'I'm FINE, I'm FINE! Don't worry, I'm FINE! Thank you, I'm FINE'  While all the time unable to breathe because all the air has been knocked out of your lungs... and your arms feel like they've burst straight through your shoulder blades.

The chair was put upright and I disappeared back into obscurity and my book...

Lunch was a high-class affair

Sonshine arrived in a short while later, curious to know about the new friends that I'd made.  Yes, every man and his dog came up to me to ask whether I was, in fact, alright.  I explained to Sonshine who looked extremely relieved not to have been in the same room as me when it happened.

All too soon 4pm came around (our agreed departure time) and making my way through people who were STILL asking me if I was alright after my fall, we headed back to the car and had an uneventful drive home to the hotel.

Sonshine and his gaming swag

PS - the black suede shoe was no-where to be seen.  The guests had alllll gone and we got a BRILLIANT night's sleep :-)

And he wants to do it all again next year!  Over to you, Tartarus!

11 Dec 2013

Hestia....and Insomnia Part 1

I was going through all my posts, deleting some that had never made it past the 'draft' stage and came across this.  My first part of my visit to Insomnia 49, a gaming festival in darkest Telford.  I don't know why I didn't post these two posts, but here you are anyway.  

Insomnia Part 1

I focus blearily on my wristwatch, tilting it to catch the faint light creeping through the gap in the curtains.  It is 6.40am.

It is Saturday morning and I am lying awake in a hotel room in Telford with Sonshine tossing and turning restlessly in the single bed next to mine.  We are here for a gaming festival called Insomnia. The hotel is nice enough, but it seems to have been taken over by guests at a nearby wedding and they have been rolling home in dribs and drabs since midnight.  I have no idea why they named the festival Insomnia, but it's fucking appropriate right now...... I am so tired I feel like I've been drinking.  Sadly, I am the only person in the hotel who has not:

We have been treated to raucous home-comings from giggly girls, slurring men and a horrendous amount of door-knocking,  lost-key-in-handbag-fumbling and this:

Somewhere down the corridor: 'Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock....Karen .... knock, knock, knock, knock.... Karen? Karen are you awake (louder) KAREN!  Let me in, KAREN!'

A huge sigh emanates from the bed next to mine.

'Are you awake?' I ask, in a whisper.

'Are you kidding?  You would need to be deaf to sleep through this lot.' Another sigh and some pillow punching takes place. He throws himself back down.  'What time is it mum?'

'Nearly 7am'.

'SEVEN?!'   What's WRONG with these people?'

'They are," I remind him in saintly manner, 'just back from a wedding.  They've just been having a good time.'

At this point 'Karen' answers the door.

'Where the FOOK have you BEEN?' echoes up the corridor.

The errant female remonstrates with her room mate:  'Ai lost me shoe, look.  I lost it!

At this point I imagine her hanging on to the door frame, woozy with drink, a body-con frock sprayed on...rocking the Kardashan-chic look.  I imagine her wafting the tanned leg (shoeless) in 'Karen's face.

Karen immediately mellows. The pain of a lost shoe is a unifying force for women the world over. 'Lost it? Where did you lose it, girl?'

At this point Sonshine and I are lying on our backs laughing like drains.  We are not bothering to be quiet.  They haven't toned down their conversation, therefore we can laugh at it.

'Well, if I knew where I'd lost it, it wouldn't be lost, would it?' retorts Shoeless girl.  Her tale of sartorial woe is not over:  'And me handbag.  I've lost me handbag.'

'Oh Bridesmaid's got your bag.' Karen announces with a yawn. 'Your bag was the same as the bridesmaids' bags, did you see?  One of them lifted your bag by mistake.  So it's not lost.'

Shoeless remains out in the corridor.  A man's voice joins in.  It is muffled.  We cannot make out what he says other than the fact he's much plummier in his accent.   I assume that Shoeless and the man have been granted access to Karen's inner sanctum because silence reigns.  

Sonshine closes his eyes and nods off into welcome sleep.

I wonder whether I might get an hour 's sleep before I have to get up and drive Sonshine to the Games Convention.  But no.

knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock.... Karen....... I've got me bag.  KAREN I'VE GOT ME BAG.

Groggily Karen opens the door and admits Shoeless.

I have had 2 hours sleep.  My temper is short (shorter than Shoeless's frock, I'd imagine).

Cut to breakfast.  Got to hand these folks their due - there are loads of exceptionally hung-over wedding guests loading up their plates with carbs in the vain hope that they will be fit to drive in a couple of hours time.

One young woman speaks.  I recognise her voice - it is Shoeless.  She regales the table with the story of  The Lost Shoe and The Lost Handbag.  The second tale has a happy ending but the shoe it would seem is still lost.

Sonshine and I are standing in the foyer, just about to leave for the Insomnia Gaming Weekend when he spots something.  A black suede 'Stripper' shoe sitting on a black chair in the hall.  It's almost impossible to see against the black chair.  Sonshine thoughtfully sits the wickedly spiked shoe on the floor for Shoeless to find after breakfast.

Cinderella's shoe story will have a happy ending after all.  Huzzah.

And with any amount of luck they will all have buggered off by the time we get back from Insomnia and at last, I might get a good night's sleep.

9 Dec 2013

Hestia's Sonshine...and Social Dancing

Don't you remember the torture and bliss of social dancing.  We used to call it Country Dancing, but Country is a word that is just begging for trouble when it comes to being uttered aloud so the schools have changed it to the much more acceptable 'social' dancing.

Sonshine is learning all manner of jigs and reels and whatnot and it has spawned a welcome interest in using the shower much more frequently as he shufties his small armpits into the faces of willing victims partners as they spin around the hall.

There is so much Lynx body spray in the bathroom that it is peeling the silver from the back of the mirror and flies are dropping...well, like flies.

5 Dec 2013

Hestia...and chums in NaKniSweMo

So, it's not coming as ANY great surprise to anyone who has known me for more than 5 minutes:  I utterly failed to knit a sweater during the month of November.

Yes, while men were decorating their faces with all manner of unusual bum-fluffy 'tasches for Mouvember, a goodly portion of us were taking up the needles for National Knit A Sweater Month.

Where you, erm, knit a sweater in a month.

I had plans, reader, PLANS!

I was all set to knit Nero a sweater to keep him all toasty and warm as he pitty-pads mournfully around my big, echoey (is that a word?!), Victorian home complete with drafts, chimneys, stone floors and the odd mysterious happening at the top of the stair...... (that's a tale for another day!)

I myself am kitted out in two sweaters, a thermal vest, thermal leggings and jeans as I type this to you, so don't go thinking that I'm being cruel to the dog by giving him a poloneck.  He needs it.  Sonshine has so many layers on, he looks like The Incredible Hulk Mini Me.


My NaKniSweMo month crashed and burned, but  I have talented chums.  Enter Stage Right, the lovely Viv.

Viv is to knitting what Mozart was to music - bloody irritating to those of us who languish in the Beginners' Recorder section).

Here's what SHE managed to achieve in November:

Look - there's CABLE and button holes and other fancy-pants stuff in this!  Isn't it wonderful?

AND not only did she knit this sweater, she finished off this:

It's knitted fucking LACE!!!!  I *know*!!!!!  Apparently it is really bad form to use loads of exclamation marks but I DON'T CARE!!!!! Loooooooook aaaaaaaaat iiiiiiiiit!!!! If that's not worth four or five exclamation marks, I don't know what is.

BTW - she doesn't always knit in pink.

You can follow her kitting progress on her blog, here, where the sharpness of her needles is only slightly less than her sense of humour.  I luffs her.

I has another, equally talented chum called Ania - she also makes corsets and wedding dresses and all manner of lovely tight-waisted stuff!  She decided to knit her dawgie Dexter a jacket too.  She's not quite finished yet because she had to rip it up and start again *hears Orange Juice track inside her head* but here's her Work In Progress, as modelled by Dexter.  Isn't he cute as a button?!

What did I knit?

3 Dec 2013


So I'm on-line looking for some kind of inspiration to hit me for the ol' Christmas shopping and I decide to buy a whole wodge of cheapie things for Sonshine to open on Christmas morning to keep him occupied until such times as I decide to elevate my carcass from my Christmas Day bed and get into the Spirit of things.

I go to website and fill my little shopping basket with £20.00 worth of tat and Proceed to Checkout.

I am asked to sign in. I know that I have bought stuff from them before, but it was ages ago.  I don't really want to sign in, I just want to buy the stuffs and GO.

It asks me to sign in again.


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