Wales and Wellness

New Year, fresh start! I’m getting out of my emotional slump, and also out of the tiny box room, out of the depressing night-job, and out of this bad-memory riddled town!

I spent most of last week in Kidwelly visiting my family. I’ve thought about moving there before, but this time I’m going to do it. I think I was worried that if I lived nearer to my parents, in particular my Mum, I’d simply give up trying to be an independent adult and allow her to run my life for me. My mother is a self-confessed control freak, but that doesn’t mean I’ll automatically default to a child-like role.

I realise now that this idea was planted in my head during a previous relationship. A relationship that is now officially, legally, 100% over! Woohoo! I might have the letter from the courthouse framed! It doesn’t automatically undo everything we both went through together, but it does help me to severe any remaining emotional and psychological ties.

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To be fair, I do have some childlike tendencies. 

Speaking of psychology. Moving to Kidwelly will mean having to cancel my place on the waiting list for CBT. However, I feel confident (at the moment) that I can find similar therapy in Wales, and use self-directed cognitive therapy techniques. The phone conversation already validated my suspicions that I’m dealing with anxiety, and that the anxiety may be a result of mild autism.

The more I talk to people on the autism spectrum, and to people who have autistic friends and family, the more sure I am that the difficulties I sometimes have communicating with ‘normal’ people, particularly groups, is due to this. However, I’ve learned various tricks to allow me to talk to individuals.

I have no problems in a customer service or sales role because I’m usually dealing with a one-on-one conversation, and I’ve learned to read facial expressions, body language and tone to make sure I understand. I’m also very good at using my own body language and tone to lead the conversation where I want.

I do tend to automatically try to figure out what the right thing to say is though, even in casual conversation. I think that’s why I like blogging. I can just say what I want to say without feeling like I need to modify the message for the person I’m talking to. I do write with a particular audience in mind from time to time (like the ones about ghostwriting that are meant for for potential clients, or the articles I write for Games n Geekery), but most of the time I just write whatever comes to mind. Unfiltered.

It’s freeing being able to speak my mind. I don’t often feel like I can in conversations. Talking to people seems like an elaborate dance I don’t know all the moves to, constantly watching for clues to avoid stepping on toes. Like I said, this works well when talking to customers and you have to choose your words carefully to close the deal, or at least have them going away with a positive opinion of the company you represent. Not so good when you’re trying to make friends.

I often feel like no-one really knows me, because I tell them what they want to hear instead of what I want to say. The more important the relationship, the harder I try to make them happy, and the less I express my true self. I tend to be more honest with people that don’t matter to me, ironically. This initial candour though can then lead to them becoming important, and then I fall back into audience-pleasing behaviour!

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I have two more packets of them that I’ll think I’ll save for the new place!

I have trouble disappointing people. The fear of letting everyone down can often prevent me from making choices that would be in my best interests. Sometimes though, my own needs burst forth in a sudden rush of activity. Suddenly, I’ll have to do something selfish. It was one of these outbursts that ended my marriage. Another that brought me back to England, and I think this decision to move to Wales is another example.

I felt genuinely happy for the slightly-more-than-three days I was in Kidwelly. I haven’t smiled so naturally or laughed so easily for a long time. I don’t honestly know when I last felt like I could just be myself like that. Even the other people we talked to down there, I was just myself. No masks. No performances to make a good impression. Just me.

It may not last, but if there’s a chance that I can just me happy, and my true self there, I have to give it shot. I’ve already applied for several jobs in the area, and I’ve even checked out a flat above my parents’ favourite cafe. I’d have a job there too if I was a chef, but I’m not.

I’m looking for work that will encourage me to talk to people. That way, even if I end up hermitting in the flat the rest of the time, I’ve at least socialised a little. I may even make some friends. My sister has already promised to get me out of the house every now and then. 🙂

By the way, the microphone featured in the video is a Xiaokoa mini-microphone. The instructions read as if they were badly translated, and the setup instructions don’t work on my laptop. I could at least find it in the devices list on my mini-pc (bought recently to replace the laptop when it finally dies), but it still doesn’t pick up my voice clearly enough to be of any use. Oh well. At least it was cheap.

I forgot how long it takes to upload video. I was hoping to have this article finished and posted hours ago, but I’m still waiting for the video! It’s not a flashy video either. I don’t know how to create title screens and background music, etc. It’s just me talking. I may up the production value later if I ever feel inclined to learn. I passed a little time by taking pictures of things in my room and adding them.

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Cuddle buddies!

I have to go to work in two hours. I should be napping, but I’m feeling anxious and can’t sleep. I’ve heard from two other employees, both of whom have quit, that the hotel isn’t paying our taxes in. They’re probably just doing a little creative book-keeping. Using the money to buy the Christmas decorations and extras food and booze, with the intention of using the profits from the Christmas season to pay the arrears. However, I still need to investigate so that I don’t end up in trouble.

I also got a call just before I went to bed (3 hours ago) reminding me when I’m scheduled. He said that he wanted to be sure the night-porters, plural, were coming. This makes me wonder if both of us are scheduled, and if so, is it because there’s a lot that needs to be caught up on after the holiday, or is it because they’re packed full of people?

January is supposed to be dead, so I hope that it’s just that the place is a pigsty and needs two people to clean up. It would be even better if he just misspoke, and that it’s just a regular, non-crazy Sunday night requiring just one of us. I guess I’ll find out. I’ve already taken a dose of the flower essences my Mum mixed up for me to help me when I’m feeling anxious. Hopefully it will keep me from having a full panic attack if the place is crowded.

Even if everything else falls through, I need to get out of that job. Anyway, the video is finally loaded. Time to put the finishing touches to the article and start getting ready for work.

Have a great day.

 

 

 

 

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Target Acquired!

I didn’t share my last article much. It was a rant really. An emotional outburst and not really worth sharing. However, it inspired be to have a chat with my girlfriend and start a GoFundMe campaign to help us get our own place.

It occurred to me that one of the reasons I had been feeling down lately was that I missed my family in Wales. In particular my nieces, Imogen and Bethany. They’re my sister’s girls. I came back to the UK to be with them and be a part of their lives again, which I’m not doing. I’m in Dalton, they’re in Kidwelly. So the new plan is to save up for a place in either Kidwelly or Carmarthen.

We already sort of had this plan, but we were aiming for a place in Dalton together, my girlfriend and I. The place we were sort of aiming for was rented to someone, which is only right because we have not saved up for it yet, but it was still a little disappointing. It was also disappointing to discover that the money that I thought we did have saved up towards our own place had vanished to pay a credit card bill.

There’s still a big chunk, £500 last time I checked, that needs to be paid off. We both agreed that we should pay this off before saving up for anything else. As I’ve already said in the GoFundMe campaign description, we’ll be saving too. I don’t expect to get something for nothing. In fact, we might end up reaching the goal all on our own. Really the GoFundMe page is a declaration of my intent to the universe. If no-one helps it won’t really matter, at least I’ve put it out there. It gives me a target I really want to hit.

Having a goal will help keep me motivated to write as I continue to explore ways to make money doing it, working on short stories for magazines and other publications, adding to and promoting Hermes925, and building on the progress I’ve already made. I like working at the Whitewater Hotel, and I’m clearly doing well and impressing people. I have no intention of being sucked into a career there.  My writing is my career, the part-time job is just to help support me while I write, and help me save up.

The advantage of saving up slowly would be that I’ll have more time to hone my craft and more time to build up passive income sources. With luck, by the time I’ve saved up the £5000 minimum I’m aiming for, I’ll be able to rely on my writing to provide us with an income, and any extra savings will help support us while Laura looks for work.

We could also thoroughly research the job market and rental properties in advance so that when the time comes to move we’ll have both a great rental property and work lined up when we get there.  If we do get help and manage to do it all with money left over, the remainder will be reinvested toward our next goal. The next goal will probably be some sort of self-published anthology working in collaboration with the writers I’ve made contact with on Facebook and other social media sources.

I have already found that writing is coming easier having had this mini-revelation. In addition to this article, and the GoFundMe campaign, I’ve also finally written the Hermes update that I haven’t been able to get out on paper for weeks. You can check it out here: 13/14 Infestation.

It can be a little frustrating finding Hermes pictures. I like to have a picture for each update. It looks prettier on the website and Facebook that way. The problem is that I can’t find the pictures I want because the scenarios I want to illustrate don’t exist yet. This time I was looking for a Ratkin that looked like it was diseased, plagued or blighted. It’s hard enough finding pictures of rat-men that look right, nevermind ones that look sick.

I tried looking for a picture of a Ratkin fighting a Nymph again. Once more finding a picture of a giant bug fighting a bi-pedal rat was impossible. I even tried just finding an image of the ‘library’ described in the update, but it’s hard to find a picture of a library, study or desk that looks like it was made by evolved rats from materials found on a spacecraft, in a room tunnelled out of mycelial foam insulation. I setteld for this one, but it doesn’t really do the job.

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That book doesn’t look like rats made it. They will have had 3D printed books supplied by the AI, but I doubt the Ratkin’s primitive attempts to reverse engineer the craft of bookmaking would have such classic fantasy results. I feel like the scrolls would more likely be a papyrus-like substance made from the roots of plants. The Tunneler Ratkin live mostly in the bulkheads of the ship, so they would only have easy access to plants that have grown tendrils between the panels. And perhaps some that have taken root in the insulation burrows. Certainly nothing very tree/wood like. The desk itself is wrong, as is the weapon that would probably be made from chipped ‘scrap’ or crude iron.

The Tunneler Ratkin live mostly in the bulkheads of the ship, so they would only have easy access to plants that have grown tendrils between the panels. And perhaps some that have taken root in the insulation burrows. Certainly nothing very tree/wood like. The desk itself is wrong, as is the weapon that would probably be made from chipped ‘scrap’ or crude iron.

The deeper I go into the story, the more I need to find an artist willing to collaborate with me. Not only by creating original work inspired by each entry, but by co-administrating the Hermes925 pages on Facebook and Patreon, and help me with marketing and promotion. Such an artist would be entitled to a share of any profits. There’s only going to be any profit if everyone involved in the project works their arses off to make sure the project is successful.

If you’re interested in collaboration, please contact me. If you’d like to help my girlfriend and I get our own place and start a new life together, please contribute to the GoFundMe campaign. If you’d rather support my writing career by paying just a little each month, and in return, getting notified when I write anything, check out my Patreon Page. You can also subscribe (below) or donate via paypal.

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Thanks for reading, sharing and subscribing. Have a great day 🙂

In A Box

The spare room I have been sleeping in is now lined with boxes, as are most of the rooms of the house. The moving company came today and packed almost everything, and they’ll be coming back tomorrow with the moving truck to take it all to the new Vicarage in Kidwelly.

It’s a strange idea to me, hiring a company to pack all your stuff for you and move it. I knew you could hire people to move your stuff, but to pack it for you too? I’ve always packed it myself. The process allows me to decide what to keep and what to discard. I haven’t even used a moving company, ever. I have always just rented a truck, relying on helpful friends to load it up. Then driven it myself to the new location, trusting in other friends to help me unload at my destination.

I thought it best that Dad and I be elsewhere while strangers invaded the house. Luckily he had some errands to run anyway, so I didn’t even have to try to convince him. We left before they got here. We got his church stuff done, which including him saying ‘goodbye’ to the oldest church in his parish. I teared up a little. Then we went to Kidwelly to drop off the printers and adjust the power cords on Tarragon’s vivarium.

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Tarragon is my Dad’s bearded dragon (a lizard), that we had brought up to Kidwelly the day before. The timer that controls the uv lamp and heat lamp  wouldn’t fit on the power strip, so we had to put everything on the timer. Today we brought additional extensions and splitters to be able to set it up properly.

When we got back the packers had already left, my duvet was in a box, and it finally looks like we’re moving. I’ve been saying that it’s my family that’s moving and I’m just helping, but really it feels like we all are. My family home is relocating. I actually really like it here in Wales, and I’m beginning to wonder if I should go live in Dalton at all.

To catch up those who haven’t read my other posts on the subject. The plan, after moving to the UK and spending some time with my immediate family, was to then travel north to Dalton-in-Furness. A small town just north of, and practically connected with, Barrow-in-Furness. I grew up in Barrow. I still have friends there, but it’s a grim town and I never want to live there again.

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I really should go. My Grandparents are expecting me to move into the bungalow in Dalton. They’ve already modified the box room to be able to fit a bed and a desk in there. My friends are also expecting me. They all stayed in touch during my time in America. It would be unfair to all of them to change my plans now.

On the other hand, Wales in beautiful. The house in Kidwelly has a fantastic view of the town, including Kidwelly Castle. And, if I’m really being honest here, I don’t want to leave my parents and sister again. We were apart for 12 years while I lived in america. I’ve only been back about a month. The difference though is that now I can come back anytime. I could spend a few months with my Grandparents and see how I feel, then come back to Wales if choose to.

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There’s also my Sister’s daughters. An adorably cute pair. One of the reasons I wanted to come back was to be their Uncle. I want to take an active role in their lives, or at the very least be available to them. I can’t ever be Dad myself so being a kick-ass Uncle will have to do. So I will go to Dalton to visit, catch up with my friends and family up there, and then decide whether I’m staying or coming back to Kidwelly.

In other news I’ve made a new Facebook friend! Geoffrey Porter is a writer too, and has a blog called Codename: Bear. So far my favourite stories are Potato Vengeance and Necropsy. They appeal to my own morbidity! However that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read, enjoy and follow his blog!

Kidwelly Castle

A trip to Kidwelly

Today my family and I went to check out the town that they’ll be moving to at the end of August. Kidwelly. That’s actually the English word for it, in Welsh it’s Cydweli. I took lots of pictures on the way, and while we were there. Some of my favourites will be posted on Instagram, but the full pic-dump is right here!

My plan is still to move to Dalton-in-Furness to help take care of my Grandparents and to be near my old friends and my old stomping ground. That won’t be happening until mid-september though, and there’s lots to sort out until then. Including being able to prove that I’m staying here so that I’m eligible for employment, getting a copy of my National Insurance card, actually getting the in-home care position arranged and secured, etc. In the meantime, I’m going to help Mum, Dad, Gill (my Sister), and girls Bethany & Imogen, to get set up in their new home.

I rode with my Sister and the Girls. The country roads are tiny, particularly around the village of Pontgarreg where they currently live. It’s a good job I trust Gillian completely or I might have been absolutely terrified. I tried to take video of the speed at which my sister confidently navigates these narrow lanes, but then we got stuck behind a tractor.

The first thing we did was visit Parc Y Bocs, a farm shop with a café and an amazing playground. The girls had a great time, and went for the the pirate-ship themed treehouse first.

After we were done playing, we went to the café. I had the salmon and broccoli quiche, which was yummy. The girls had the cheeseburgers, and I got to try some of Imogen’s. That too was delicious. The kind of delicious that starts at your mouth and spreads comfort and joy through your entire body. I took a picture of the specials board because I thought some of my more immature American friends would find one of the items amusing. Can you guess which one?

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It’s a Welsh-style pork meatball.

After that we had a quick glance at the Ysgol Y Castell, or Castle School, which will be the girl’s new school once they start the new school year. We couldn’t actually get close because of the security fence around the grounds. It seems appropriate that it be heavily fortified, but the real reason is because you can see Kidwelly Castle from there.

It’s not far from there to the Priory Church of Saint Mary. This is one of 3 churches that my Dad, as Priest in Charge of Cidweli and Llandyfaelog, will have purview over. This is the reason why they’re moving. The Reverend Trevor Copeland‘s promotion. It’s a beautiful old church. Here’s some pics of the interior.

Then we walked through the town and what passes for a town centre on our way to Kidwelly Castle. There were some great shots of St Mary’s and the Castle on the way.

Then we got to explore Castle Kidwelly for a bit. I’m looking forward to exploring more of it once they live here.

We walked back through town, had some disappointing ice-cream, and drove to the new Vicarage. Two and a half storeys. It’s only 2 from the front, but the pavement curls around on a slope to reveal 3 storeys from the back. Sure enough, once we get inside, there’s a downstairs with just 2 rooms in it. One of which will be Dad’s office, where he talks with visiting parishioners and church officials. The other will be the guest bedroom where I’ll be staying until I move to Dalton, or whenever I show up. 🙂 It has an en-suite bathroom!

After the grown-ups finished discussing what still needed fixing and measured up the rooms we made our way back from Kidwelly to Pontgarreg. We played I-spy on the way so I didn’t take as many pics. Here’s what I got though.

It was a fun day. Kidwelly is a nice little town. There are buses which will make it much easier for me to get around if Dad or my Sister are unable to drive me. Not that it should be an issue for long.

I’m going to get more writing done tomorrow. I’m thinking it’ll be Hermes’ turn for an update. I’ve been requested to write an article detailing my dating misadventures since I broke up with Monica. I may actually oblige them. Subscribe so you don’t miss it, and don’t forget to share my articles!

Have a great day/ night. I certainly did!

 

Fourth Day in Wales

I actually have no idea what I’m going to write about. That’s why I don’t have a better title.

It feels like I spent most of yesterday copying and updating notes. I still have more to go through. I managed to get a new page added under the City of Gate: Chronicles tab, about the characters Al and Simonides. Unlike some of the other Chronicles I’ve posted here, these characters were originally devised by friends who were playing The City of Gate with me. The things that the dwarf and the half-orc do were choices that the players actually made in the game.

If you like the fantasy world of City of Gate, you can keep up with new entries by following this blog and the dedicated Facebook page, or actively participate in the story by joining in the game on Facebook. Pick a link.

You may have noticed that I tend to include links in all my posts. I do this partly to try and increase traffic to my own pages, but also to show appreciation to those that have followed me. I also link back to pages, stories and articles I like, or to provide a deeper explanation of something I mention in passing. If you would like me to include a link in a future post to your own blog, project, product, service or charity, just contact me.

I was also considering an update for the page header. I mentioned this on Facebook. Here’s a few of the pictures that I’m considering using for the backdrop of my logo, now that I’m no longer living in the US. I’d love to hear your opinion.

There’s something oppressive in the atmosphere today. Everyone’s feeling it. Even the kids are feeling unusually tired. Are you feeling it too? It could be just local air pressure I suppose. Either way, I’m not looking forward to working on my stories today. Looking at the pile of notes, some of which I haven’t read through yet, makes me want to play a video game or sleep instead!

On the other hand, I’m wondering if some of the stories I don’t remember, like ‘Mr Johns‘, are hidden somewhere in the books and loose papers I have yet to look through. I may do more reading today, and work on Hermes tomorrow. I’ve already found an older version in which the protagonist is an engineer by trade, hired by one of his repeat clients to work on Hermes as maintenance crew, instead of janitorial. It was called ‘the Far-reach project’ in this version, and Psi-mon wasn’t just another janitor with a knack for programming, he was hired as a software engineer. I may try incorporating these ideas back into the narrative. There was no N•Viron in the older version, but it shouldn’t be too difficult.

If I can regain my focus, and shake this odd fuggy feeling, I may even be able to get started today. I’m tempted to do what I already did for this article. Sit down, start typing, and see where it gets me. Sometimes it’s good to go back over old articles and notes, to remind yourself what you set out to accomplish in the first place. Then setting out in the right direction even though you’re not certain where it will lead. We’ll see.

Have a great day everyone! I look forward to reading your comments.