Thursday, 22 May 2014

A great day to age

Yesterday was a very good day. Remembered to get to swimming early to avoid the children and was finishing my 64th length as the cacophony began. Then late morning met up with two lovely people I met on a writing course in Richmond. We wandered down to the Tide Tables Cafe by the river and yapped on for  a good couple of hours. They both write really well in my eyes and yet aren't the most prolific of writers which is such a shame. Hopefully we will encourage each other and become more productive!

In the afternoon it was the final 'intro to apple mac' course, must sign up for the intermediate one after half term. I've great at turning this one on now after all the practice I've had recently. From there it was the H37 from Richmond station to South Street, Isleworth and a short walk to the London Apprentice for games night. Miraculously I won two of the three games I played - coming a distant last in the other although I scored my highest score by miles. Each week we write a blog about the evening. Here's my submission for the game 'Stone Age', slightly adapted for the non-gamers amongst you.

'Our ancestors worked with their legs and backs straining... in Stone Age, players live in this time, just as our ancestors did. They collect wood, break stone and wash their gold from the river. They trade freely, expand their village, and so achieve new levels of civilisation. This is exciting and interesting.'

Now, as part of my recent teaching to some creative writing undergrads I asked them to become more away of literal and figurative speech. To be careful around the use of cliches, to try and consider each and every word they chose to use. So let's have a closer look at the game of Stone Age through the marketing spiel as Philip, Andy and I played it last night...

First off, I have to admit that we hardly 'lived in the time as our ancestors did'. Philip and I had our glasses on for starters. What would those ancestors have made of them? With Philip on hol at the mo' only Andy had done some hard work during the day and yet, it is fair to say, he looked pretty refreshed upon his arrival. Our ancestors would have been proud of Philip's venison and black pudding dinner, maybe less so about my house salad and pint of 4% lager.

Secondly, 'collect wood'. Now this is something we did do. In abundance. We collect timber shaped pieces of wood, meeple shaped pieces of wood, brick shaped pieces of wood... you get the picture. Each one weighs 5 grams as a guess. Was it 'just like our ancestors did'? Mm, not exactly. You know. Andy and I collected a lot of wood early on, indeed I also hoarded brick shaped wood and meeple shaped wood too, but the energy expended was, frankly, embarrassing when compared to the stone age days.

'Break stone'. Can't say we did any of that. Me dropping a couple of pieces on the floor was the nearest we came to that. But they both wooden bits. It might have been whilst the others were scrabbling around trying to find those bits that I rearranged the huts and cards but I couldn't possibly admit to such a thing!

'Washing gold from the river'. Nope, the Thames wasn't laden last night and never has been as far as I know, so, we didn't do that either. One of the dropped bits undoubtedly resurfaced covered in a mashed chip but we just wiped it on the green blaze, sorted.

'Free trade'. If only. Every trade costs you know. Bits of wood, precious bits of wood that we'd been working hard to collect. And competitive it was too. The huts were in demand from early doors and although I picked up six of them it was tough let me tell you. The cards trade was even more intense. Those other boys were there collecting cardboard like it was the precious gold mentioned above. And then there was the 'free' element of the dice rolls. Always a gamble. Philip didn't get the rolls that Andy and I did it's true. His technique undoubtedly accounting for this, the determined use of the stone-age-dead-animal-smell dice cup turned swiftly upside down and planted firmly on the table. That was the most energy any of us consumed throughout this hard time; legs and backs decidedly unstrained.Expanding our village. The player boards are difficult to expand. On occasion they got a little lumpy with bits of wood and cardboard on them. And my sixth hut had to be crammed in with my nine workers struggling for space amongst the food. Greenbelt expansion? Not exactly.

'Achieve new levels of civilisation'. Now, this is where we did meet the job description. We were magnanimous in our skill sets, impressive in our competency range and unyielding in our capacities to collect all that wood and cardboard. 'Exciting and interesting', we flooded the whole room with our infectious, life-affirming qualities; did you feel it Isleworth??

I love box descriptions. I was recently asked to write one for a Spanish designer. I carefully selected every word, thought through every phrase and sentence. He liked it... wonder if any potential publishers will? 

Some say this character looks familiar...
Whilst Philip and Andy moved further up the food track, and collected all of the green civi cards between them, they didn't quite match my number of huts and points scored from those, as well as my great hoard of workers scoring at 5 points each. A close contest, all could have won or lost with one more item. But they didn't. I did, yippeeeeeee!!

Final Scores; Neil - 157, Andy - 149, Philip 145 (or thereabouts)

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