Tag Archives: general

In exile

Life is begining to settle down after the “Great Move out so men in hard hats can demolish my garage and make me a new vast kitchen (with 2 new bedrooms and ensuite as a side effect)”. We took the wise move of getting the heck out of Castle Newport while this is going on. Dust, Damp, Noise and the shear heart break of seeing big rough men tear your hearth down does not sit well with this Newt. Oh no.  So here I sit down the hill from Castle Newport, in a lovely rented house that can only be described as part of Hobbiton crossed with Narnia. The proximity of countryside and verdant gardens and lots of trees make this place the enchanted suburb indeed.  On one hand its like living a parallel life, were we are comfortably suburban middle class living in a forest of Freeview Aerials, a short walk away from the bus stop to work. On the other hand I’m acutely aware , and miss the individuality and comfort of our own pad.  Its all very perfect, but blemishes spoil the experience and remind me this is only temporary and in a couple of months time it will be time to pack up and move in (hurrah!).

Mirrored from Newtworld.

Henry’s Christening

Henry’s christening yesterday was probably the most intense day in intense days. Fun but hard work, since Henry was teething.

Still very much recovering, hence this is very much a ‘picture post’

The Newport clan: L-R  Me, Evie, Henry, Rachel.

Henry's Christening

Me and the kids playing in the garden.

Two cheeky Newtlets!

Mirrored from Newtworld.

Boardwalk Empire

In Short: For the Win!

Long review.  Its good to see the depth of storytelling and good standards of production that programmes like the Wire have pioneered have now being taken up for other series. On the surface this is just a 12 part gangster Epic detailing the fortunes of 1920s Atlanta gang boss Nucky Thompson (based on real life Enoch L. Johnson). While it has that its much more than that, the main protangoist having more depth and skeletons in his closet. There’s also a fully realised cast of supporting characters, Nucky’s Altana associates as well as gangsters of the day (such as a young Al Capone), who are never two dimensional.  Like the Wire its more of a 12 hour film in 12 parts, so you can’t jump in at any point, you have to put in the time investment to see the whole thing through. I must admit I nearly baled halfway through the Martin Scorcese directed first episode (he produces the whole series), but suddenly it gripped me and pulled me in. Its an amazing set up for the whole series, and many of the dilemas shown are only concluded in the masterful resolution in  episode 12.   Although Steve Buscemi , who plays Nucky, is a strong central actor and perfect for the part, there’s not a dud amoungst the ensemble of actors. Visually its a delight, lavish and atmospheric you feel that you are transported back to 1920s Atlanta, and the seaside Boardwalk of the title is iconic as any Manhattan skyline.

Oh and for all you Omar fans from the Wire, he’s back sort of, in the form of Chalky White a black bootlegger who allied to Nucky

Spring has sprung!


So April is here in full force and with soaring temperatures it feels like early spring has whizzed by. The physical aches and pains from my overweight, constantly full of cold, recovering from serious illness body are now subsiding and disappearing. My mood has considerably improved as a result :)

Gardening is in full flow here at Newt Towers, given a big boost by the rest of the family joining in. Rachel, who despite a phobia of insects which prevents her doing any weeding, is setting up lots of pots of herbs, flowers and vegetables which Evie helps with. Henry even got in on the act by helping me do some weeding this morning. I’m conducting my usual war against the weeds, but I’m greatly encouraged by the fact its not a solo activity anymore. We’ve had some fine weather over the last couple of weeks and I hope it continues. A bit bittersweet that this is the last year that we’ll enjoy the garden in its current incarnation, because…..

The architect got back with the plans for the house extension a couple of weeks ago which are now in for planing permission. This effectively means a doubling in size of the house and complete re: landscaping of the back and front gardens. While I won’t be sorry to see the block-paving at the front go, I’ll miss the jungle at the back. Its going to be a big leap forward for us. Operation ClearOut has already begun. All of Evie’s baby clothes and accessories (baths, bouncy chair etc) went to a couple the other day who are having a girl. To give you a sense of scale it filled the front of our garage to a depth of a metre! Next up is a clear out of my excess Roleplaying stuff, *gulp*!

Mirrored from Newtworld.


Sometimes life just forces you to stop and reassess.

So there I was charging through life, having revelation after revelation hit me when it all came to a stop.

Had a breif pause at the weekend when I got away from it all with some mates in a rented town house in Mattlock. Dubed D101 con we played lots of games, drunk alot of beer and generally had a blokes chill out weekend. It was grand, and on a personal level a much needed break from my beloved family.

Whisked back on Monday morning to find that in my absence the family had come down with the latest vomiting bug (eeww!). Both Rach and Henry had it over the weekend, and I dealt with the recovery of Rach who caught up on some much needed sleep.

But none of this put a cramp on my style, still I blitzed onwards and upwards.

Then on Wednesday (my non-workday) it hit me. Wave after wave of nausea, throughout the day. I was sensible and kept food intake down to a minimum and this seems to have paid off since there was none of the associated vomiting that Rach and Henry suffered. However by 8pm I was spent. I’ve never been so tired in all my life. So I checked into sofa land and watched the latest Boardwalk Empire and Treme (if you liked the Wire that was but a mere warm up for this televisual feast).

Today energy is nervously returning, but the sheer rock bottom – where I was drained on all levels – I have never experienced before.  So a quiet one today, and probably tomorrow where I’m going to do a bit of quiet introspection to see where I’m up to.

Mirrored from Newtworld.

The Magnificent Journey begins !

So here we are all present and correct in February.

January was a hell of a month and whizzed past at a terrifying pace.  Gradually I got used to the fact I now work two mini-weeklets seperated by a day at home. Its nice since it gets me away from the stress at work and into the bussom of my family on Wednesday, when I’m Dad in charge!!

Went down to Sheffield a the end of the month and back in time ten years when I went out with George on the town to celebrate his birthday. Had a skin full of real ale at various pubs and got a lot of exercise walking between said pubs up and down the hills of Sheff.  Throughly recommend local ska band Jungle Lion which we saw in a crowded late night bar which sold Hobgoblin on draft :)   Ended up at Al’s a mate of George’s gaff with discs being spin early into the morn. As I say time travel 10 years into my past ;)

It safe to say I’ve spent the last three weeks or so not knowing whether I was coming or going. Its quite strange, like a tidal wave rippling through my psyche.  So I’ve learnt how to balance myself and stay happy and calm no matter what, focusing alot of techniques I’ve learnt over the last twenty years. It all came together in a sold and tangable form at the begining of the week in an experience that I can describe as highly spiritual.

So now there are no ceilings, no worries, no fear :)

Time to watch it all peacefully unfold.

Mirrored from Newtworld.

Happy 2011 one and all!

The xmas period just gone was slightly bizarre, but very cool in its own way.

Started with the annual trip to Centre Parcs, this time the Sherwood forest one, where we got trapped under the snow. But a it was a good place to get trapped under the snow :) Lots of quality time with the family as well as quite an active schedule of activities.

sherwaod under ice

Next was back to work for the first week of Dec. I had planned a nice end for the year, get various loose ends tied up and end up with a clear intray. What I got instead was a revisit of the skin infection (cellulitis) on my left leg which had me laid off work in May/June earlier this year. Not that I fully realised until I laid in the bath on Friday evening and saw my leg all swollen and red! Up until then I thought I just had a particularly grim cold!  This week was also notable since it was my first week working four days a week, since I’ve dropped one day to help with childcare now that Rach is doing her online Masters in Clinical Research. Wednesday is going to my general ‘not-at-work-day’ , as opposed to ‘day off’ because with Henry and Evie to look after that would be a misnomer, and it was good, even though I felt that I was ‘sciving’ and expected a phone call from work any moment.

So the run up to Xmas saw me laid off with this skin infection, which to be honest was a bit of a blessing in disguise since it helped Rachel who was finishing off her first assignment in the first week I was off. The drawback was that I didn’t get to fully focus on getting better until she had submitted.

Thankfully Xmas itself was pretty chilled for our annual family get together. After three years of holding them I reckon every-one’s got the hang of what goes on the big day, including the 3-4 hours of present opening! (which was split into various manageable chunks this year).

The following week, saw me and family potter around whilst fighting cabin fever due to the continuing cold spell.

All in all a relaxing time, which has seen me develop a more chilled out attitude towards life. The challenge now is to take that into the wacky world of work and into a very hectic year ahead.

I don’t do resolutions, but as a Taoist I do do balance.  There’s a couple of life-balances that are out of balance at the moment ; health is a big one that I started on meekly last year but must be intensified this year, social life is virtually nil so plans are about to get out and about and work needs further er well work. My plans this year are not to engage upon a mad dash for expansion, but consolidate, solidify and improve upon my lot. That way lies true advancement.

Mirrored from Newtworld.


Last train to Newtsville, all change!!

Been a busy period of my life since my last proper post here and the changes sure are ringing in my and my family’s life. I was 39 a couple of weeks ago and it suddenly came crashing down on me how things are moving out of the rather numb and tired post-birth period of Henry, with all the pent up desires for change coming into reality. Lets just say sometimes I’m slow to realise ;)

Rach is now doing an online MRes Clinical with Manchester University. As usual she’s going hard at it with dedication and focus that is admirable. Its been difficult juggling her doing 5 hours on it, going to work, housework and childcare. We reached a crisis point a couple of weeks ago, sat down and had a rejigg and refocus and are now settled into the routine.

My work is moving me on from being a Junior Developer/Programmer to something that better reflects my ten years in the Software Development game, which over the last six months definitely has taken me out of my comfort zone. However it was long on the cards and a source of great frustration, that basically I put my career on hold while we had Evie and then Henry.

Talking of which. Evie is now moving towards being a little girl, who chatters intelligently constantly and who has her own opinions on things. Henry is can no longer be called a baby, and is becoming his own little man with expressions and personality. He’s now fully mobile and will be walking very soon. Its something he’s wanted to do from being 6months old and I think it will be a rude awakening when one morning he cracks it and he’ll be off!

D101 Games remains a delight and joy to be involved in. Its now completely broken out of the tiny small press where its just me working on it with a couple of helpers popping in to add bit and sales via lulu, to small press with regular contributors, fans, and shops to be supplied. The amount of stuff I’ve put out this year is staggering and I’m keeping a careful eye on how it grows in the future. Not going to reveal my plans here but D101 takes a big step forward next year.

And of course the I’ve left the biggest change to last. We are finally going ahead with a big house extension. Basically we live in a 1930s Semi-detached in a leafy suburb of Oldham. We inherited it from Rachel’s Grandma and its a bit of a squeeze for our growing family. Also some of the wiring is very old and very dangerous. Think rubber clad copper wiring, which would disintegrate if you touched it.  So were shorting out the gremlins and doubling the size of the house while we are at it. The architect is currently finalising his plans, so I reckon sometime next year we’ll be moving out for a good nine months while the house is done.

With all this happening I’m firmly resolute not to react with grumpyness or fear.

Expect updates :)

Mirrored from Newtworld.

Hello Hurray!!

Since the birth of my second child – Henry back in Sept its been like all the Slack ™ I’ve taken in the past (and man oh man has there been lots of that) has been repaid in full and with interest.  This of course has caused me no end of freak out and stress , but I think this week I’ve finally gottne on top of it all. I am master of a my own Slack ™ once more. As a result I shall be visiting Planet Freak out less and enjoying Ranch-Relaxo more.


Evie is  now a bubbly and excitable three year old.  Rach is a domestic goddess on a keep fit regime lossing weight at truely terrifc rate that puts me to shame. Henry is 9 months old and a happy smily chap who now has his first couple of teeth :)

Gaming is still quite a large focus of my life, but I’m going to be taking steps to do other stuff along side it. Personal Exercise and Gardening particular spring to mind.  Just returned from a truly triumphant Continuum convention in Leicester a couple of weekends ago.   I released Monkey , a long term project of mine, which sold out its initial print run :)

Work has become more intense recently, but despite a few tense moments I’m enjoying the change in pace and the learning curve. Planning on doing more web-programming in the coming months, and really making my skill set much more robust for big changes in the coming months.

Mirrored from Newtworld.