1. Out-of-Town Sister couldn't make it for family Christmas this year, but the rest of the immediate family could, and we had a nice afternoon together in a shady part of the parents' yard. Two different people gave me TARDIS-shaped money boxes, one containing a fortune in jelly babies. My mother gave me, among other things I received more graciously, a can opener and frying pan, which I suspect was a Hint. (It's not as if I don't already own multiples of both already; in fact, I'm pretty sure one of my other can openers was also a Hint.) I gave the elder of my nieces The Book With No Pictures
2. When Out-of-Town Brother is in town, our usual bonding activity is video games, but this year I got him to help me try out a couple of board games that I backed on Kickstarter but have never had a chance to play.A Study in Emerald
is a game of conspiratorial maneuvring in a world ruled by the Great Old Ones, with each player either attempting to overthrow the tentacle of tyranny or working as a loyal servant of Thing and Country. It has lots of dice and counters and cards and rules, and took almost as long to set up and read the rules the first time as it did to play, but I can see myself warming to it if I ever get to play it often enough to internalize the details.Machine of Death
is a collaborative storytelling game set in a world where there is a machine that produces accurate but cryptic predictions about how people are going to die; the players are a group of assassins who have been given a list of targets and have to plan and then carry out assassinations that fit their respective predictions. It was a lot of fun; more difficult than it looked in the demo videos I've seen, but I suspect that's because we only had two players.
We also played a few games of Star Fluxx
and Once Upon a Time
3. Less successful was my attempt to introduce the family to Dixit
. It turned out not to be a good moment for it; there was a lot else going on, we only managed to get the minimum number of players, Younger Niece kept trying to make off with the score counters, and we only managed to get in one round before we had to stop, in which everybody got all the clues so we ended up on a draw. Oh, well; there's always next time.
4. The arrival of summer has meant the realisation of all the holes in my summer wardrobe and more clothing shopping. And more trying on multiple things just to find one that fits. Although when I did find something that fit I could really tell the difference, which reassures me that the difficulty of finding it is the clothes and not just me. (And perhaps, thinking back, that one particular shop. I forgot to mention, last time I was complaining about this, that at that one shop there was a shirt I tried on that was so badly cut that one sleeve fit fine but I couldn't get my arm all the way into the other.)
5. BBC Radio 4 recently aired a six-part adaptation of Good Omens
, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's comic novel about the end of the world. All the episodes are available on the official website
for the next few weeks, even to people in foreign parts.