Heaven Help Us

Heaven Help Us

The clock just ticked past 3pm – in a couple of hours I will finish work for Christmas – cycle home through the rain that has been falling for the last several weeks, and collapse in a heap for a day or two before starting to tidy the house like a maniac before the big day arrives.

Of course when I say “collapse in a heap”, I really mean “do all the same chores as normal”, because life doesn’t stop, does it. The kids won’t stop getting cups, plates, glasses, and cutlery out before leaving it everywhere. The rest of the family won’t get the world and it’s dog out without leaving it wherever they last used it. I won’t trip over shoes, bags, coats or whatever the hell else while trying to… you know… make a cup of tea.

If you were wondering about my temporary absence from the internet yesterday, real life kind of landed on me in the same manner that grand pianos tend to in cartoons. I worked from home to keep my eldest daughter company. She’s been on something of a rollercoaster this year, and it seems to be finishing it’s run in concert with the falling grand piano.

To take her mind of her troubles yesterday I took the kids out after work to a nearby town for a race around the shops that were open late, and dinner at a sushi restaurant called “Yo Sushi”. One of our kids hates sushi, but she settled for sriracha fries – the others tried to eat their own body weight in tiny pieces of fish, and nearly set fire to the bank account in the process.

It’s funny how fate comes calling sometimes. While out last night I gave the kids a certain amount of pocket money each – proceeds from an unexpected Christmas bonus I received – and I allowed them to spend it on whatever they wanted within reason. Miss 19 bought some Studio Ghibli anime DVDs she has never seen, and Miss 14 headed straight for “Poundland” (a dollar store). I pointed out several shops she might visit instead, but she shrugged, and informed me that Poundland was cheap, and she could get loads of snacks. I love her simple view of the world sometimes.

Miss 15 wanted to get a new board game to play, so headed for the sole remaining toy shop in the town. After realising that we already have all the “good” games – Catan, Carcassonne, etc – she looked a bit glum.

“How about we go and look next door?”

“What’s there?”

“Follow me…”

There was a “Games Workshop” next door – one of a chain of stores that sell table-top miniature wargames, and various card games – Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, Magic the Gathering – that kind of thing. I have never seen a reaction by anybody to something new quite like it.

Ten minutes later – after fearing our bank account might start flashing warning signals to everybody within a ten mile radius, I talked my daughter down from a hugely expensive “Starter Set” to a very much smaller “Beginner Set”, and a set of paints. I didn’t know if it might go anywhere until I saw a post from my other half on Facebook at lunchtime:

“Heaven help us – Miss 15 has discovered Warhammer. Spent the morning putting the pieces together, has read the entire instruction book and is now painting her armies whilst trying to explain the rules to her older sister.”

I have never played a tabletop wargame before – I wouldn’t know where to start. No doubt this evening I will be taken through the intricacies of armed conflict between Orcs and Wood Elves by my daughters – while painting new infantry soldiers for their horde.

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