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Changes and chances 4 June 2008

Posted by Dr Moose in Life, Ponderings, Role-Playing Games.

It has been a long time since I’ve blogged, I’m fully aware of that. Just like it’s been a while since I visited a number of old haunts and habits (all of them good, I hasten to add).

Sometimes though, it seems as if lots of changes all come together. It might even represent a Paradigm Shift, but I doubt it. I do know that sometimes you can’t see the scale of the change until you’re on the other side of it, or them, as the case may be.

My few regular readers will know my predeliction for Role-Playing Games and Imagination as my primary mental escape from “reality” (although some might say the same of my faith and occupation!) So folks will have read about my creative endeavours with varying degrees of (dis-)interest and marked the movement over the years. (And, yes, scary thought that it is, it is years).

The first change has been that I have left Eshraval, again. I did rejoin after this post, and it was great fun; liberating to simply be a player and not an administrator, to re-discover an older setting I’d written and bring it into play, and even to meet a lot of old friends returning for the latest version. The problem? Trying to keep up with it all. If you’ve never been involved on a really active bulletin board it may be a little hard to understand, but it’s a bit like a large number of written conversations, all happening at once with barely a break for breath. Simply to keep up with things is hard enough – and to make a considered response to one line of thought can easily mean discontinuing another. Small wonder then that there are multiple conversations becoming dormant daily, new ones starting and others being reawakened all at once. It’s like one vast chaotic machine that achieves a degree of forward motion while probably generating more noise than movement. Vibrant, stimulating and all-encompassing, nearly all the time. And that was before the activity requirements of actually developing details of a nation on out own wiki!

I don’t quite know how, but I just came to realise I couldn’t sustain it any more. Maybe stopping and taking the time (over a number of days) to read a book in the same room as the family had something to do with it. But whatever the reason it’s been time to call it a day.

Then at home, I’ve decided to give up alcohol for the month. I will not buy and consume any alcohol. (I have to do Communion wine, but you know what I mean). I’ve been growing a little worried about how much I’ve been drinking, and the manner of it, for a while now (mostly at home, and not in the company of other drinkers), so I think a month to detox would be a good idea. Maybe the low-level headache that’s been around for the last 24 hours has something to do with that!

That said, it could have more to do with another event in the family, with Dad having had a heart attack on Sunday night. He is as well as can be expected, but it was a particularly nasty shock for those who were with him, and I think the scale of it might now be beginning to hit him too. I have three observations that come to mind in the light of it and my visit to hospital on Monday afternoon – three shocks, or surprises, in reverse order of significance.

Least, but still a shock, was the price of fuel! I don’t drive very far which means there is often at least a month between trips to the petrol station – but £1.15 a litre is frightening.

Secondly, I was most surprised at hospital not by Dad, because if you’re in hospital you’re there because you’re not well – and anyway in my line I’ve visited many folks in hospital, and nearly all have looked rather a lot worse than he did. Actually I was most surprised by Mum, the degree of concern and simple fear, which I’m sure are a direct reflection of the love and care of a long marriage. If anyone needed me there on Monday it was her, not Dad.

But the biggest shock? Driving the familiar route past the old Peugeot-Talbot Factory at Ryton on the outskirts of Coventry. Or more accurately, driving past the site of it, because it stands no longer. All that remains is a very large leveled area with a few neat piles of rubble and a number of parked bulldozers. I knew that it was due for demolition, but to see it just gone was eery and somewhat un-nerving. A landmark that I’ve known for the best part of 25 years simply gone.

It might seem a little flippant, but it’s the truth, and maybe something of a living parable. After all, it’s one thing to know that the price of petrol is going up and that we all need to make changes to adjust. Just like it’s one thing to acknowledge that we are mortal and that we will all die one day, as well as losing loved ones along the way. My reaction to Dad’s heart attack is a little like my reaction to the rise in petrol prices. It’s been something I’ve been half-expecting for a number of years (both as a consequence of his increasing age, and the family history, since his Dad, my Grandpa Tom and the link with Northampton, died of a heart attack at 72). A shock, but not an enormous one.

The demolition, however, of a longstanding and familiar landmark, a friend along the road of many years standing (and no-one could ever say the old car plant was an architectural wonder) must be a fairly good analogy of bereavement, or the fear of bereavement, felt by those caught up in the actual events, rather than my rather more distant experience.

And the return to the old habits and haunts I wrote of at the start of this post. Well, I’m posting on another, rather quieter bulletin board again (The Tavern), and have picked up a new writing project for Glorantha (albeit at a much more comfortable pace – a magazine article based on stuff I’ve already written with a deadline of October. Rather more sedate than the expectation of weekly, if shorter, articles for Eshraval!) These are simply reflections of the changes in my life too. When I was down in Kent the post was stressful, but not busy, and so the need for something to give immediate engagement was attractive. Here, back in the East Midlands, with 2 growing children (and 2 growing jobs!) the rather more leisurely pace of leisure and writing can only be helpful.

And any other old habits and haunts? Well, I need to find an RPG group that’s for sure (and I have a contact to follow up) and, of course, I’ve written this, haven’t I?



1. Christine L. - 4 June 2008

So sorry to hear of your parents rough go of late….
Sometimes it takes things shocking us and slapping us in the face to see the forest for the trees.

Well done on your personal resolutions! It takes a level of self-awareness and determination to turn these boats around.

Better to weed the garden when the weeds are still small, I say!

Peace and continued perseverence to you.


2. Tony - 4 June 2008

Doc, I’m sorry to hear about your dad, but it’s good that he came through the ordeal and hopefully he’ll have a speedy recovery. I know you deal with a lot of sick people in your line of work, but it can’t be easy when that person is a loved one.

Good luck with the dry month, though I doubt you’ll need luck. Just think of the money you’ll save! Maybe you’ll be able to afford driving places. 😛

I can completely empathize about the loss of an old familiar landmark. I’ve been back to childhood homes to find them much changed from what they were when I lived there, and it’s always a bittersweet feeling, remembering the good times I had there and realizing that those times are gone now, but that there are many more good times ahead. I think it helps you appreciate what you have.

Best of luck to you and best wishes to you and your family. I’ll be seeing you around the ol’ internets. 🙂

3. Steve - 7 June 2008

called by via facebook
sorry to hear about your Dad. and yes understand that change thing
and strangley it does all fit togehter.

every belssing to you and your parents.

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