Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Saving Throw For The Soul...

2014, has on balance, been a really awful year.

True, I have acquired a few nice armies, but as many of you will know, due to my personal opinions, I have had a rough year with regards to acquaintances and friendships. Some have been irrevocably sundered, it appears.

Anyway all this has had me suffering some really severe mood swings, to the extent that my G.P decided that it was time to see a consultant with regards to getting some cognitive behavioral therapy. Oh the joy; what with dealing with the effects of pretty bad arthritis in my hands (yeah, I know, I'm a full time painter, etc, etc) and this, I'm generally a pretty unhappy bunny.

Today has seen consecutive visits to three hospitals, starting with a hydrotherapy session at the first venue. Let me tell, you that an hour in a pool leaves you knackered when you spend it doing various exercises that would be a doddle on land. On the upside - nurses in swimsuits!

Thence it was a quick trip 5 miles across town to venue B to give blood. As my veins are not noted for giving up my life force to NHS vampire, this took 3 attempts and left me looking like a patched up Swiss cheese.

And from there it was a short but now very exhausting walk to venue C, cutting through the Weston Park museum.

Now, I am glad that I took this route because it took me past two points of wargaming significance for me.

Firstly, I saw the rather wonderful carved statue of two Samurai Sumo wrestlers.

Carved in 1890 from wood and wax, it depicts a 21 match bout between 12th century Samurai, Kawazu Saburo and Matano Goro. Matano was beaten and obviously was left humiliated. Like all good losers, he then had his opponent assassinated.

Now this is not only a wonderful work in wax and wood - stunningly lifelike - but when I sent a pic of it to my old friend Professor Darren Ashmore over at Akita University, he reminded me of spending time in the museum when we were but level 2 Frothers in the 80s. We would often sit in galleries, and talk games, absorbing the culture. As Darren said, one particular snowy afternoon stands out in our memories.

Secondly, in the grounds I came across the site where once stood a 3 sided park shelter, now sadly replaced with this:

Back in 1987 over the weekend of the Triples show, whilst all my club mates slept in hotel beds, I was living with my parents about 10 miles out of the city in a semi rural area which had no buses first thing on a Sunday morning or last thing Saturday night. And so, after the Triples night out, I bid farewell to colleagues and their mattresses (for I was poor, back then) and collected my sleeping bag and rucksack from a public locker, before climbing over the wall of the museum (quite a feat in leather trousers and clogs, for I was something of a 'Goth' back then') and settling down for one of the coldest nights of my life in that long gone shelter. On Sunday I climbed back over the wall and arrived ahead of everyone else, looking and feeling like shit, and thereby blending in splendidly, with those, hung over from a good night out in Sheffield.

It's odd how a simple walk can evoke such deep memories.

But of course memories and hang-ups were the order of the day after I arrived at the hospital for some CBT. For two hours, I relived the recent upsets, and delved back into the 80s and a rather upsetting past  involving gaming friends sleeping with girlfriends, and a life ban from a well known gaming store which was a put up job and which so called friends new of, and said nothing for 25 years. At 16, things like that leave a mark on you. (Note: You can read about it in all it's lurid glory in 'Real Life's A Bu**er! -  A Tale Of Sex, Dragons And Rock 'N' Roll')

It's going to take a lot of ironing out, but two hours later, I was feeling a little better with myself, and frankly I'm just going to let other people think and say what they like, and let them deal with their own issues. I'll speak as I find, and if that's objectionable to some, they will now just have to get over it!

Today has as the title suggests, been something of a saving roll for the soul...

And so, I will leave you there as I have just seen the time and I have just over an hour to get ready to go to another of my gaming clubs!