It has been way too exciting a day for a woman on no sleep. Well, not very much sleep. I went to bed at an acceptable Saturday-night-before-Sunday-morning-service-ring hour but . . . I have all these books on my bed. I get into bed and . . . and there are all these books. And they look at me. And they make little friendly murmuring noises. Last night I got involved in a quest for a remedy for an old homeopathic client* and this is research I love and that I don’t do as much of as I would like** and the . . . uh . . . hours fly by and . . . uh.***
So when the alarm went off something less than five hours after I turned the light off I was . . . not happy. Fell downstairs groaning and tipped about half a pound of strong black Indian tea into my teapot. Found clothes. Put them on.† Glug down tea strong enough to make my hair stand on end. Hellhounds, by the way, haven’t stirred. Why do you get up at this lunatic hour every seventh day? they say. Close the door after you quietly, okay?
Ran down hill and pelted along pavement in my usual Sunday-morning-and-I’m-late manner, praying that there are only five of us and one of them’s Cordelia.†† Aaugh. I’m the fifth and Leo and Cordelia haven’t arrived yet. And then it gets worse because Edward and Alex show up after Leo and Cordelia. Which means the crucial eight method ringers. Grandsire Triples! shouts Niall jubilantly.
Leo sprints for the tenor. Penelope sprints for the treble.
Which leaves me ringing inside.
Obviously I wouldn’t be setting you up like this if it had all been a big ugly smash. Anybody who has learnt—especially painfully, talent-free-ly learnt—a demanding skill which requires sinew-popping on both the physical and the mental levels, knows the way the process goes in jerks, lurches and gridlock. I’m just coming out of a gridlock period—partly caused by PEGASUS, partly caused by not having enough of the right people showing up for practise, partly caused by incurable native stupidity†††. A week ago I didn’t know I was coming out; a fortnight ago I made a mess of Grandsire doubles which I ought to be able to ring in my frelling sleep‡ and the following Wednesday practise it took most of the evening for me to start getting it back again. Anguish. Despair. Last Wednesday week tiddlywinks was looking like a really good alternative obsession.‡‡
And then this Wednesday . . . I’ve told you that I’d already decided I ought to learn to call call changes, but I’ve been sort of nursing this secretly and not getting out anywhere that anyone might make me try. And then this grisly business about Deputy Ringing Master happened and as DRM I really should be able to call something. Which has meant that I haven’t been struggling very hard when Wild Robert decided a few weeks back that he was going to teach me to call call changes.‡‡‡ This past Wednesday—when I almost didn’t go because PEGASUS was due the next day, but I decided that if I didn’t go ringing I’d probably just run away, and a useful thing about bell practise is that I have an entrenched habit of coming home afterward—Wild Robert gave me this NIGHTMARISHLY complicated pattern to call.§ And to my wholly dumfounded astonishment I did. I did it kind of slowly§§ . . . but I did it. What? I did what? Which also meant that I went home in an absurdly, a ridiculously good mood§§§ and this probably made my final few diabolical hours on PEGASUS much more efficacious and productive than they would otherwise have been.
And then Friday I rang Kent. And today . . . I rang a touch of Grandsire Triples inside. For Sunday service. I have to say that having a go with someone who’s rung exactly one rather shaky proper touch inside for Sunday service is pretty daft#, and I needed quite a lot of nodding, winking and shouting from other band members . . . but really it was not too bad. And ringing Grandsire Triples is one of my biggest, thumpingest ringing goals. Yes, I want to ring Kent because the next step is my first ‘surprise’ method and surprise is the seriously upper-level stuff and I’ve got this far frell and dranglefab it, so, yeah, I want to ring surprise, sue me. Grandsire Triples is a little different—Grandsire Triples is New Arcadia’s default method—when we’ve got the band. If I can ring Grandsire Triples inside it’s like I’m a real New Arcadia ringer. I get the secret handshake and the funny hat. I’ve been wrestling with this idea that I’m a real ringer for a while now—just being able to ring plain bob doubles, Grandsire doubles and bob minor reasonably reliably would make me popular in, I think, the majority of bell towers, and Stedman doubles is a bonus. But then six bells—which mean doubles and minor methods—are the commonest number of bells in English/British towers too. New Arcadia has eight bells—which mean triples and major methods. There are great frelling alpine ranges of eight bell methods, but I don’t care. If I can ring Grandsire Triples I say I’ve arrived.
Next week, you know, I’ll get tangled up in my rope and find myself hanging upside from the ceiling. . . .
* * *
* Who won’t go away. Go away! I say periodically. Go to a real homeopath! No, she says. Keep reading your weird books.
** There is nothing, of the things that I like doing, that I do enough of. It’s all a sliding scale of exasperation.
*** I did find a remedy however. You’re always looking for the ultimate cure and . . . well, the journals seem to be full of ‘cured cases’ but that doesn’t seem to be the sort of person-who-won’t-go-away that I attract. I attract the ones that month to month you think ARRRRRGH but then you look back several years—or they look back several years when you’re trying to make them go away—and you realise that they’re in fact a good deal better off than they were x years ago. Good. That’s what you want. But . . . Sigh.
† Okay, wait. This goes over the head. And this is a sleeve. And these are my jeans. I know they’re my jeans because of all the stuff in the pockets. Some of which will fall out as I put them on.
†† Cordelia can only ring call changes, and if there are only five of us we’ll want all of us ringing. Which means no brain-jangling methods.
††† No I’m not stupid stupid, but I am stupid about most of the basic knacks and aptitudes that make learning to ring feasible. I keep telling you I have a genius for obstinacy.
‡ Ie on Sunday mornings
‡‡ Except that tiddlywinks is also hard. Sigh.
‡‡‡ Not that struggling would do any good, so I might as well go quietly.
§ No, I’m not cruel and/or deranged enough to try and explain it to you. But I will add in a small, humble voice that it would not be nightmarishly difficult either for someone who knows how to call call changes or for someone with those basic knacks and aptitudes referred to above.
§§ A good crisp conductor snapping out commands will get you through in about two minutes. It took me . . . about ten.
§§§ There is this to be said for learning something you are constitutionally very very badly equipped to learn—when you succeed it feels like being number one on the New York Times best seller list. Not that I would know.
# That would be Niall. And I know if I say anything to him about my triumphant touch of Grandsire Triples he’ll look at me blankly for a minute, say something along the lines of ‘of course you can ring Grandsire Triples inside it’s JUST LIKE Grandsire doubles only with two more bells etc, etc’ and then he’ll say, ‘but have you memorized the first lead of Cambridge for handbells on Thursday?’
I have no hot water. After no hot water—when was it? Thursday?—I twiddled with the controls* for a while, which usually makes the boiler snap to attention, and it did. It seemed to have reset itself somehow which I knew was not a good sign, but it was roaring and gurgling again and I figure you let roaring-and-burgling boilers lie. By morning I had hot water. Last night . . . nothing. Twiddled again and . . . nothing. No roaring. No gurgling. Not even a whimper. No, the whimpering was from me. Of course this happened on a Saturday night. And not only a Saturday night, but a Saturday night when I’m going to London on the following Monday and can’t wait in for an emergency plumber, even if there was one on offer. **
Nor did I have forty-five minutes in which to boil my tiny electric kettle 1,000,000 times and to get one medium-large pot of water slightly more than tepid on my plug-in burner . . . going to bed half frozen is not conducive to a good night’s sleep.*** So, as so often on a Sunday morning, when the alarm clock† went off I was not clawing my way back toward wakefulness in peak condition. But clawing and wakefulness did occur.
Two cups of black tea later I went juddering off to the tower. But we were ringing at Old Eden today for arcane Anglican reasons too complex for me to fathom and, furthermore, I still had the tower key from yesterday’s wedding. Oh, I said to myself, ah. I had better get there early—I tend to roll up with .05 seconds to spare at our home tower, panting rather from the thirty-second flat-out sprint from the cottage door—or Vicky will worry.††
I got there ten minutes early. Vicky was already there.††† Well, I tried.
We were four method ringers and Cordelia, which meant call changes on five. And then [ ] showed up, who I’m going to have to give a name, because suddenly he keeps turning up. [ ] . . . okay, let’s call him Felix . . . is a really excellent ringer, but he leads a complicated life ‡ and for about the first two years I was ringing here I thought he was a myth because I never saw him. I heard rumours that he rang quarters of Toplofty Plushness or Zenobia Supreme when they were having trouble getting a band‡‡, but this is nothing that concerns the hoi polloi like me. I was quite startled when some ordinary-looking middle-aged bloke showed up one Sunday morning and everyone else called him Felix and was very glad to see him. Oh. Felix. He’s not seven feet tall and I don’t see any wings.‡‡‡ Anyway maybe he’s wound up his consultancy in Japan because he’s come to more Friday practises and Sunday mornings than he hasn’t, this last month or so, and he came again this morning.
So that made five method ringers. We rang call changes on six for a while, while Cordelia made heavy weather of the Old Eden bells, which are not the easiest or most forgiving bells in the ringing world§, and then Niall, who was in charge, suggested doubles without the tenor behind, and asked Felix if he would call it. There are lots of doubles methods but the two commonest basic ones are plain bob and Grandsire. Plain bob is easier. Plain bob is safer. Grandsire is prettier to listen to. Most people prefer Grandsire. Okay, said Felix. What do you want? Grandsire?
Everyone turned and looked at me. Well, Niall, Vicky and Penelope did, because they’d all been there a few months ago, which is the last time I tried to ring Grandsire inside without the tenor behind on a Sunday morning and it had been a really ugly disaster. Breaths bated. Someone could have told me to take the treble—as we stood, Penelope was on it—or I could have been sensible and knocked Penelope off it. But for pity’s sake I should be able to ring Grandsire inside by now, even on a Sunday morning without a sixth bell to cover. And on the Old Eden bells which are not, as previously observed, the friendliest? McKinley, how death-defying are you feeling here? And have I mentioned that I’m not at my best in the morning? The holes that the ME leaves in your neural pathways seem larger and more abyssal in the morning.
Robin? said Vicky.
I’m thinking, I said. Okay. —And I grabbed the two.
And I did it. I rang a touch of Grandsire doubles on a Sunday morning without a cover bell and it had Horrible Singles in it and I had a Most Horrible Single, which is when you hang around in thirds for a very long time and then have to remember to go down to the front and lead again. Long thirds in Grandsire are like the Evil Three-Four Down Single in bob minor: the hobgoblins of little ringers. Us little ringers can hear them gibbering in the rafters.
But I did it. Beam.
And the awful truth is, because I am an insane bell junkie, that in balance, I’d probably rather be able to ring Grandsire doubles inside for Sunday service than have a boiler that works. You can just fix a boiler. Well, eventually. I’ll phone tomorrow morning and see just how long I’m going to be taking showers at the mews.
* * *
* It’s one of these cascading menu things. Almost none of the choices make any sense to me, so I tend to press the button up and down a few times like a kid on a lift/elevator and then choose at random. Down at the bottom of the little black box—although in this case it’s beige—in large emphatic letters it says: consult manual. Generally speaking my predecessor was brilliant about keeping crucial paperwork—she kept all the Aga stuff, she had the phone number of her carpenter^, the installers of various windows, double-glazed and Velux, the names of the paint she’d used both indoors and outdoors^^ . . . but if there’s a manual for the boiler, I never found it.
^ Who when applied to did not want to build millions of bookshelves
^^ I’m pretty sure I’ve mused here previously on the enigma that is other people’s taste as manifested by my predecessor’s choice of decorator colours.. The indoor was—was—lavender grey, sort of Caucasian zombie skin, and guaranteed, if you lingered carelessly in its company, to make you look as if you died six months ago too. The exterior paint is Caucasian sunburn.+ I perceive a pattern . . . and not a commendable one.
+ I still haven’t had the outside repainted. I was going to do that and put in granite kitchen counters—speckly grey-white, not black—and then I bought Third House. Oops. Meanwhile the cracks in the plastic or vinyl or whatever it is they make ordinary kitchen counters out of, that is at the cottage now, are getting rather extreme. The plastic countertops at Third House may be moderately hideous but they aren’t cracked. I want to say ‘unfortunately’ but I can’t afford to replace any of this anyway so it’s all moot.
** Twenty four hour emergency call out plumbers do exist. If you want to take out a second or fifteenth mortgage to pay for them. I may be taking a lot of showers at the mews in the near future. Or even the not-so-near future.
*** I turned my electric blanket on. In July. Although it’s perfectly true the English weather might necessitate this, it was not the weather in this case. I also turned the Aga back on. This was more of an adventure than I wanted at that time of night/morning, but it did eventually deign to forgive me turning it off and refire. Which means I could boil a lot more water tonight . . . but I think I’ll have a shower at the mews.
† Which is to say my 24-hour digital kitchen timer. We’ve had several conversations on this blog about measuring the passage of time.
†† Ahem. Or rather, Vicky will toast me over a slow flame. A bastion of the old-fashioned virtues, is our Vicky, and punctuality is one of them.
††† But I didn’t get toasted.
‡ My feeling is slightly, don’t we all?, but it’s true that I don’t do consultancy work in Japan.
‡‡ Vicky, speaking of Vicky, has decreed that we should ring a quarter for Peter’s OBE. I thought it was a great idea till I found out Vicky is assuming I want to ring. Gah. The thing is that I would like the quarter, you know, successfully got, more than I would like to ring in it. If I were a better ringer or I didn’t have ME, or preferably both, I’d be learning Zenobia Supreme right now. I suspect Vicky is going to do her Carrying It All Before Her thing and I’ll find myself in a quarter band the end of the month, and if we lose it because I fold two-thirds of the way through, I will have to find a pond to drown myself in.
‡‡ Bat or feathered. You have to be cautious about the sources of genius.
§ Among other things they are on plain bearings. Someone—drat her—actually did ask me what plain bearings were and I’ve wasted some time trying to find a better definition than the one I would give you—and, preferably, a diagram—but I have failed so far. Very roughly, a plain bearing is just a metal ball that grinds back and forth in a little groove cut into the bell frame. The preferred modern alternative is a ball bearing, which is a practical attempt toward frictionlessness. Plain-bearing bells are not only heavier to pull, they’re more erratic: heavy one stroke, flighty the next. You’re either frantically trying to keep them from coming down on you or frantically trying to heave them back from overbalancing in the other direction—which means bashing the stay. Bash the stay too many times, and you break it. Whereupon you will be tied up in the belfry while a very, very, very long peal is rung.
Two. Niall and I. Eeep. We stared at each other for a few minutes and then Niall said, well, we can get the bells up for the quarter tonight.* –I’ve told you that if you’ve only got two ringers, you can’t ring. Well, you can ring up, which makes a bell noise. So we started ringing up. We were ringing up our second pair when Cordelia appeared . . . which was almost worse. With three, you have to give it a shot. With two we could finish ringing up and go home. But with Cordelia we were going to have to ring . . . three. But the bell fairy, bless her, pulled two more ringers out of her hat . . . and then one laggard but welcome more. **
Cordelia is still a beginner, so ringing methods meant we were only ringing five–doubles without a tenor-behind, and Edward, being in an uncompromising mood, made us ring on the back five–the heavy end. The difference in speed between five bells and six is considerable, and the presence of a tenor-behind provides mysterious*** ballast as well. I was only on the treble and I was still hauling away like anything to keep up–or down. The variation in velocity between slowly going ‘up to the back’ and quickly ‘down to the front’ is pretty dramatic–and then there’s the hanging around you do briefly at the front and the back, which is an in-between speed carefully judged to throw those of us who have no stride to begin with, off it.† Us mediocre ringers can bluff it a little on six including a tenor behind; on five there is absolutely nowhere to hide. Clank.
My Sunday mornings are so stimulating.
Meanwhile, because very, very occasionally your wish is my command, I told Niall that Branwen had asked if I might post photos of his . . . bell bags.†† Niall blinked a few times and said he’d be home mowing the lawn this morning and I was welcome to stop around.††† So I did.‡
I want waistcoats made out of that orange and blue on the left and either the purple or the yellow–I haven’t decided. The woman who makes the felt is one of Niall’s colleagues and Niall has even suggested waistcoats and she says she doesn’t sew. Well, learn, woman!
And this is the size we’re talking about. (The ‘G’ on the handle is, as you might expect, the note it rings.) This is the second-smallest. The little ratbag looks so harmless, doesn’t it? Makes a sweetly resonant noise–ding!–what could possibly be wrong and awful and harrowing? MWA HA HA HA HA HA. Ask Branwen. Ask me.
* * *
* If you’re ringing again the same day, you can leave the bells up. Otherwise you ring them down for safety as soon as you’re finished. But there seems to be some subtle ringing etiquette about getting the bells up for a quarter: if it’s a practise quarter with your local band, it doesn’t matter. If it’s a serious and/or commissioned quarter and you’ve got hired guns from other towers coming, you get the bells up before they arrive. I think. Our quarters are usually rung Sunday evenings, however, so we ring ‘em up Sunday morning and leave ‘em.
** Saved by the bell . . . fairy.
*** I know, it’s not really mysterious. It feels mysterious. It feels like the difference between walking a tightrope and walking a white line painted across the gym floor.
† And Edward is laconically ringing our eighteen-hundred-pound tenor ‘inside’ like it’s no big deal–the zigzag bits of the pattern, where you’re constantly going slow-fast-slow, slow-FAST, not the simple straight lines that the treble rings. Gasp.
†† There’s got to be a better term. Bell integument. Bell cozy. Bell etui. Belletui. Bellaril. I rather like bellaril. Saccus campanae.
††† Niall, aside from bell mania^, is fairly normal. He doesn’t read blogs.
^ Which I admit is a rather large, noisy aside. Especially in Niall’s case.
‡ I had hellhounds with me, whom Niall graciously invited in. They actually lay down and stayed where I put them. Sometimes I think there’s hope. I don’t think so very often, but occasionally. . . .
The new green, leafy installation downstairs at the cottage is doing very well.* I tell myself this is good news. The slimy green outsides of a few of the pots are even getting clean, not because I washed them off but because the slime keeps coming off on my hands. I do wash my hands. Sigh. One of the osteospermums–one of the ones I’ve declared an official house plant for the winter, and found room for on a windowsill**–is producing a new crop of flower buds. I can’t believe it’s going to go through with this madness, but it perhaps demonstrates that plants too have a sense of humour.
Meanwhile, outdoors, there’s a geranium at the front of the cottage that should have been dead weeks ago.
On the detached side of the house there’s a gap just wide enough for a waterbutt on one side and two small dustbins on the other. My tiny greenhouse is wedged in the back half of this gap, and through that is my handkerchief garden. The point is the gap is a short sharp wind tunnel. The wind comes in over the houses at the bottom of the little hill*** and splatters against the cottage which stands halfway up the hill–and then it’s funnelled between my house and my neighbour’s, goes whap against the back of the greenhouse and then falls ravening on the plants lining the gap. Of course there are plants lining the gap; it’s hard to get the dustbins through. Have I posted photos of the front of the house yet? It’s up half a flight of stairs, so too is the gap. Which makes the situation with both plants and dustbins more interesting. Anyway.
The plants on either side of the head of the half-stair to the gap tend to be sacrifices to the gods; I want something flashy there for the summer but I don’t expect much to survive the winter. There are two big pots with roses† in them, and I underplant with snapdragons and busy lizzies and geraniums and things. The snapdragons and busy lizzies, despite being at the back of the gap, were goners a while ago. The geranium, which is at the front, leading into the teeth of the gale, is still alive. At first I wasn’t paying attention. Things die, I pull them out. But as almost all the tender stuff but what I bring indoors has fallen off its perch, I’ve started noticing this geranium. Two of its sisters are in small individual pots, and they are coming indoors. This one is the biggest of the three . . . and it’s in a huge pot with a rose and life is short and I’m not going to repot it in something smaller. And I’ve missed my chance anyway: if I tried to repot it now it really would say, Hey! Unfair! –and croak.
So I said good bye to it last night, feeling rather guilty, because it certainly wouldn’t make it through till morning this time, and it’s been rather a gallant old thing. You see where this is going.
It was alive this morning. When I went out it certainly looked frosted, with its leaves in that limp, collapsed state that pansies recover from and geraniums don’t. But when hellhounds and I got back from our walk and the sun was out†† . . . lo and behold it was standing up again. Still green. Still alive.†††
So tonight, after I got my jungle indoors ‡, I sighed heavily, found a large cardboard box and some more bubble wrap . . . and went out and covered up that geranium. If I think of it I’ll take a photo tomorrow before I deconstruct it. It looks really, really silly, and if my Fancy Gardening Neighbour sees it he’ll probably burst into tears or sue me for defamation of landscape or something.
* * *
* Between the plantlife and my Glorious Electric Heated Laundry Airer–in frequent use during the cold-mud season as opposed to the warm-mud season–at present I have no sitting room. Hellhounds and I could just about make it to the sofa by sidling through the gap between the books waiting to go to Oxfam and the jungle, and then take a short cut over the rocking chair, but I’m afraid of accidents.
** One of the reasons I’m so fixated on the shortness of winter days is because it’s dark indoors all the time because no sunlight can seep through the foliage. The sills are rather spectacularly backlit . . . but you need the lights on.
*** It gets a lot taller, suddenly, as soon as there’s a little light haze of ice on it. Like today.
† Four years on the tough easy rose is struggling and the flimsy damsel with vagaries that I was insane to try to grow is doing brilliantly.
†† Yes, you read that right. The sun was out. It even had a remarkable little exhalation of heat to it, which you do not expect in December. Hellhounds and I went on one of our favourite walks around Jenny’s village, and which includes going past The Really Big Big House which was bought by a mysterious kazillionaire a few months ago and they appear to have torn out or up everything but the mere skim of exterior brickwork and are renovating from the sub-sub-basement up.^ Today about eight workmen were sitting in a circle in lawn chairs having their elevenses in the sunlight . . . with their gloves and their woolly hats on. Pretending it’s July, are you? I said.
^ They’ll never get all the goblin holes plugged. They might as well not bother. They’ll just have to have the goblin catcher in occasionally, like everyone else.
††† And no I’m not hallucinating. It’s tender. I’ve lost a lot of apple-blossom geraniums over the last eighteen winters.
‡ Why don’t there seem to be any fewer pots to bring in and take out even though my windowsills are now FULL of for-the-duration house plants?
Comment readers will know that Katherine kept trying to post in response to the games entry and WordPress kept eating it, which is WordPress’ little game.* So she emailed it to me, at approximately the same moment as I was writing an answer to her comment saying ‘email it to me and I’ll post it.’ That was, as I say, a while ago. Better late than never.** I’ve added a few links: her email apologises for not containing live links, for fear that my computer will run mad and start biting people.
I am not a fan of games of strategy–my mind doesn’t work that way and during slow times (most of the game, really) I find myself thinking, “You know, I could be READING right now.”
Yup. Took the words right out of my mouth.
Settlers of Cattan, for example, swept through my friends with the force of a thousand tornados. When made to participate, I tended to do things like trade everything for sheep cards and create in my mind a town entirely populated by an all-sheep dance troupe. I was usually overrun and never won. I am no longer forced to participate.
Yes, I understand this. I like twiddling with the pieces*** and admiring the board as opposed to playing the game. I loathe learning the rules. It occurs to me this is very like my attitude toward facts as described in the FAQ on my web site: there are two kinds of facts. Boring ones which I want to escape as fast as possible, and interesting ones which I want to make up stories around, and never mind the context.† Better games sets rouse in me the sense that I could really do something with this. . . .
This is in stark contrast to the standard Dickinson clan response to a new game. They jostle each other to read the rules, and get to grips instantly with the crucial question of how to change them.
I prefer games that require random knowledge of trivia (reading thousands of books is very good for this skill set)
Only if you have the memory to back it up. Not one of the features that came with this model.
or understanding of the psyche and personality of my fellow players. I kick butt at those games and they move much more quickly. Games like Trivial Pursuit, Balderdash, Taboo, etc. I like interaction. (I also REALLY like to win, but that’s neither here nor there…mostly).
I merely dislike winning somewhat less than I dislike losing. I’d much rather not be forced to do either one.
Here are a couple of my all-time faves:
–Cranium: combines trivia and charades (for you!) and word play and the loosest artistic ability. It’s brilliant and because there’s a wild option, I can win by breezing through the wordplay category. And because one plays with teams (two or more), I can foist the bits I’m not as good at on other people who are. Everybody wins!
–Loaded Questions: Fascinating game. Often falls under the category “ice breaker” but I prefer playing it with people I know fairly well. One person asks one of the six questions on each card (“If you had to kill one person in the world, who would it be?” “What do you not eat enough of?” “Name the best quality of the person on your right?”) and then has to guess who answered what. And the idea is not so much for you to guess right (although you get points for that), but for the person to guess your answer correctly. If they pick your answer as yours, you get to move up. You can win without ever guessing correctly yourself. (This is a very confusing explanation, but I swear it’s a good time).
I rather like the idea of winning merely by being more emphatically yourself than anybody else is themselves. Being forcefully Robin is something that comes pretty naturally to me.†† It’s still a game.
This takes forever to load, and then you may need to scroll around to find the relevant bit. And it’s nothing about playing the game!! But I thought it was pretty interesting about the mindset of the fellow who invented it.†††
Two other games I find weirdly addicting are dominoes (which I only learned to play two years ago) and Pass the Pigs. Which you can find on Wikipedia (I’d link to it, but I’m not sure if your email will accept links without deletion).
And here you can play it on line. Brrrr. Just looking at the rules makes me feel twitchy and claustrophobic. . . . Sorry, can’t play, have to walk hellhounds, make cookies, plant something, iron the car.
And then Kyndigen says:
Our favorite non-digital game thus far has got to be Fluxx
<<http://www.wunderland.com/LooneyLabs/Fluxx/>>. It’s the only card
game I’ve ever played where the rules change continually throughout the
game. Even when it gets crazy it’s still relatively approachable since
the rules are all printed out on the cards. To figure out what the
current rule set is, you just read everything that’s on the table.
Here’s a nice user friendly schematic. Okay, okay . . . it’s still a game.‡
Meanwhile, speaking of unusual takes on games and playing, two of you with my best interests at heart have emailed me this:
Er . . . thanks.‡‡ I can’t get the Whedon clip to play, and Peter says ‘seriose’ is not a Latin construction. So I’m just cranky. I concur that Whedon walks on water‡‡‡ so obviously I’m missing the point: But professionals inviting amateurs to give it their best shot make me nervous. What’s in it for the amateur? If they’re that good, they should be producing their own we-try-harder-because-we-have-no-money DVD, not being patronised by the best in the business. I’m suffering concept failure and sense of humour drop-out, right?
And last but definitely, definitely definitely not least, jmeadows sent me this link:
Which is unspeakably wonderful in every way§ and just in case I’m not the last person on the planet to have discovered it, but only the second to last, and the last person reads this blog. . . . Check it out. You’ll be happy all day. Probably tomorrow too. I’ll let you know.
* * *
* Ha ha, very funny, now cut it the (*&^%$£”!!! out.
** If I were organised, I’d be dangerous.
*** And I always hate it when they’re cheezy plastic with ridges all round where they’ve come off the mould or the stamp or whatever, and I especially hate them when you have to break them off an even cheezier plastic frame, so they have a horrible little rough plastic tag forever.
I am not, as I keep saying, a games person, but my old Scrabble board is one of my prize possessions: it’s so old it still has wooden tiles.
† I write fantasy. Unusually dimensioned angles on things is what I do.
†† Other people have also remarked on this fact.
††† Typical. I don’t want to play the game. I’ve just effectively distracted myself.
‡ Is there an echo in here?
‡‡ All those little icons at the bottom are LIVE! And I haven’t heard of ANY of them!^
^ Well. Google. Facebook. But why does a bookmark thingummy name itself Delicious?
‡‡‡ Even if his stupid video won’t play. Mmmph.
§ And I want most of the stuff in the shop