So, it's Graduation Week for the University, my favourite week of the year - work-wise at least.  Everyone is doing their best, and everyone is smiley and happy.  Lots of girls in too-short skirts and too-high heels; lots of boys in three-piece suits. And mums in fascinators and dads in ties they don't usually wear.  It's great fun.

My line-manager is on leave this week but he's told me to get in touch if I need anything as he's at home decorating.  He's still the best line-manager I've ever had.  Of course, at some point, he's going to do something that doesn't suit me but, for now, everything's good.

I've been through Death of an Ice Cream Seller and added some bits to beef up what is now the main secondary plot - the security around the exchange of the jewel.  McNeal is going to be getting in Langley's face A LOT and that is really going to wind her up.  Today, I've begun writing the history of the trading post because I need to understand the political boundaries - what are the Chancellor's areas of responsibility? what are Langley's?  Why has a human been appointed?

And I'm pretty much done with Witcher 3, at least for now.  I've spent the last few days doing some random sidequests (including finding a missing hairdresser - LOL) and exploring question marks on the maps.  It doesn't really feel like I've finished - but tomorrow is all about FFXII:ZA.  I am going to download it as soon as I get up in the morning, after my experiences with FFXV.  It probably won't take nearly as long to install but I'm out on Wednesday night, and I don't want to have to wait until Thursday to play.  Yes, I'm VERY excited.  Leave me alone.

We had a nice quiet weekend as the grandson was at some family do on his dad's side.  I did want to try to get to Despicable Me 3 next weekend but my mum and stepdad are coming down.  So, the weekend after...

OK, that's all for now.
 I'm wandering around Toussaint doing bits and pieces - just killing time until NEXT TUESDAY!!!  I did the Fists of Fury in Beauclaire quest and won - eventually.  One fight wasn't really a fight - I had to block my opponent.  Luckily, he telegraphed when he was going to hit so I had plenty of time to block.  One fight took three or four goes to win (even though I am REALLY over-levelled) and the outcome was... interesting.  The final fight (for the title) I had to do drunk - well, Geralt was drunk - but it wasn't that hard.

I've completed 7/15 sections of the 'Knight for Hire' quest.  I'm leaving the Hanses for the time being and doing the smaller bits - although they are pretty challenging.  If I wasn't SO over-levelled, I wouldn't stand a chance.  Also, I am on EASY mode!  In one fight I had about 5 bandits jump on me at once and my health bar was going down at an alarming rate - I tried to gulp some Swallow but Geralt wouldn't respond.  Somehow I got through the fight - plus one with a lone bandit who just wouldn't leave me alone - even though it looked as though I had no health at all.  Don't know if that - plus the not drinking potions - was a glitch with the game or a problem with my controller.  It's only just over a year old - it shouldn't be worn out yet, surely?  Anyway, I got through it.  The good thing about this quest is that I can pop back to my friendly blacksmith and repair my gear, then nip home for a nap to replenish my potions and health.  And because I have the Royal bed, I get one extra of every potion and bomb.

Our new office is beautiful.  It's clean, there's light, lots of natural light (and even the artificial light isn't harsh), we're all sitting together so team conversations are easier - I am happy!  My chair somehow didn't make it.  There were some instructions about chairs but I thought you only put a sticker on if you had a 'special' one - otherwise, they would move all the chairs and just distribute them, so everyone would get A chair, just not necessarily the one they started with.  Apparently you were supposed to put a sticker on your chair.  So, I have a really random, grotty thing, with a yellow sticker, which I thought meant it wouldn't be moved at all!  It seems they've left some of the good chairs because they didn't have a specific 'location' sticker, but did bring grotty ones!  Anyway, I've been told I can order a new one when things settle down, so I shall do that.

I managed to mix my phone number up with someone else's, so he now has MY voicemail message on his 'phone.  He is also on leave for two weeks, so there are going to be some VERY confused people leaving voice messages!  I'm sure he'll be able to sort it all out when he gets back.

My line manager and I went for a little wander and had a play with the rather funky ice cube trays in the freezer.  I need to check on them, today.  The kitchen isn't as big as I expected, but it'll do.  There was a suggestion - which I thought was an instruction - that hot food should be eaten in the kitchen not at desks.  I had beef stew, yesterday, which I wouldn't have been comfortable carrying through the office, anyway.  My desk is a LONG way from the kitchen!  So, I think I will eat hot food in there.  It's a chance to be sociable, anyway!

That's all for now, DW!
 Today is the last day of my 'holiday' - but I've had a good rest and I'm feeling recharged enough to return to the fray.  I've also completed a read-through of DOAICS and made a few notes of the story as it is.  Next step is to add to the notes so that the story becomes what I want it to be.

I've decided to track down all of the diagrams for the Cat Gear in W3.  It wasn't something that I bothered much with when I was playing the game but I need a task and giving Geralt a matching suit of armour and weapons sounds like just the thing.  I can also dye it pink, if I so desire *evil grin*  There are lots of other colours out there, too.  Can't remember seeing red, though...

My new copy of 'Once Upon a World' arrived yesterday.  I haven't read it in over 30 years but flicking through it yesterday really took me back.  It's a retelling of the Bible for children and I think it's one of the reasons I tend to view the Bible as a whole - the flow of the story between so many different characters but all making their contribution.  The selection of stories is very narrow but it's only a short book and it is for children.  I shall be making use of it in my talk on 2 July.

Today, I'm going into town with the daughter to choose a new telly for the grandson's birthday.  It's a bit extravagant, perhaps, but he will get the use out of it.  And he's our only grandchild - it's our duty to spoil him!

Bye for now, DW!
 So, the boss fight that I was convinced couldn't possibly be the FINAL boss fight because I still had so many quests to get through (based on my hazy memory of the quest list I looked at on line) turned out to actually be the final boss fight.  As such, the challenge level was about right, on reflection.  I mean, one of my complaints about FF final bosses is that they tend to be push-overs compared to some of the optional bosses.  One thing I can say about the final boss in W3:B&W is that he is definitely NOT a push-over.  I finally defeated him on the fourth(?) attempt, the one where I'd just realised I could SAVE with all my preparations (repairing weapons and armour, applying the right kind of oil, setting up my bombs) just before entering the fray.

And then I got the 'good' ending (at least, as far as I can tell, not having explored all the possibilities - but it all ended happily, which counts as 'good' in my book), so that made me happy.  And THEN there was some bonus happiness based, I assume, on how I played the main game.  I am now spending time working my way through the sizable list of sidequests that I didn't get around to for one reason or another.

So, my thoughts on Witcher 3...

The main game on 'super easy' was pretty straightforward combat-wise, which is just as well because I really didn't get my head around all the buttons and what they do.  Especially when play switches to Ciri.  For most battles, mashing [], with the odd Quen or Ignii worked fine.  The game is seriously beautiful to look at in all the different environments, and the people are just amazing.  The story is very satisfying and all of the characters add to it.  Ciri and Yen, in particular, are VERY well done.  Geralt took a bit more time for me to warm to - but I did warm to him.

My one real grumble is my main issue with 'modern' games.  You HAVE to do sidequests in order to level up and I found they distracted me from the main story.  This was compounded by the fact that W3 sidequests are all mini stories in their own right - which makes them more interesting but also more distracting.  Still, since every RPG requires you to level up, I'm glad that they made the levelling interesting and not just a grind.

The first DLC, Hearts of Stone also had an interesting story but a strangely unsatisfying ending.  A VERY nasty Big Bad.  I did pick up one sidequest but didn't follow it up.  There are others, so if I still have time after doing the ones I have, I shall visit the notice boards.  The part of the story that involved the lecherous ghost was hilarious.  Definitely made the whole thing worth while.

The second DLC, Blood and Wine, was almost a game in its own right.  More beautiful scenery, more situations for me to fail at (the Tourney, oh, the Tourney!) - and some VERY challenging battles.  It was in playing this DLC that I really learned what all the buttons do!  Although I still don't parry...  *spoiler alert* There was an optional story branch that took me to a land of fairy tales that was part whimsy, part tragedy.  Oh, and had the cutest sidequest!  Yes, even the sidequests (well, optional story branches...) have sidequests in B&W! 

I've already described my final encounter and the ending (spoiler free, too!).  I started playing the main game in January and took a small break between the main game and HoS to replay FFXV.  On average, I think I've played 6-8 hours a week.  It's the kind of game where it's impossible to play just one hour - it's always at least one and a half, often two and a half!  These days, my gaming time is restricted to three or four session a week (weeks off work, of course, are different!).  With the quality of the graphics alone and the sheer amount of Stuff To Do, I think the main game plus two DLCs are well worth the money.  And I haven't even mentioned the script, which is often laugh out loud funny, considering it's a translation from Polish.  And all the little side conversations you hear from NPCs as you walk past (a skit on Life of Brian's 'old ex-leper' scene, quotes from Norwegian Wood and El Condor Pasa, all spring to mind).

If you have some spare time and spare cash, I would definitely recommend getting this game.
 I managed to make some progress with Hearts of Stone, yesterday. One adventure saw Geralt possessed by a debauched ghost who had some really great lines. He made me :D

I realise that I haven't noted the fact that we are now homeowners. We have completed the purchase of our house - now we just need to pay it off! Still, that will take 17 years and cost less than paying rent forever and a day. Our lender sent us a 'welcome to your new home' hamper (even though we haven't moved!) containing tea, coffee, biscuits - and toilet roll! You can imagine it being very welcome to people who know that the coffee and loo roll are SOMEWHERE in all those boxes... For us, it was just amusing.

I am going to finally sort out the insurance (life and home) tomorrow. And then we begin the brave new world.

St Michael's were on good form, yesterday. A good sized congregation, some good-enough singing (hate unfamiliar hymns), and some candle lighting to keep them on their toes. As a good Protestant girl, I always had a slight sense of horror at the idea of lighting candles but when it was introduced at St Bride's I fell in love. It's such a simple thing but powerful. Giving people the chance to participate, even if it's in silence, is just brilliant.

OK, that's all for now. Toodles, DW.
 Finally got to start Hearts of Stone last night. Didn't get very far, partly because I hadn't downloaded it and I watched a 45 minute long thing whilst it did that, but it's looking interesting so far. And HARD. I'm at level 35 on a quest that recommends level 30 AND I've got the difficulty setting at 'story only', and I still struggled with the battles.

I was coming to the end of the first big battle - giant poison-spitting toad - when the husband came in asking for a leg rub. 'Don't rush,' he said. After the toad, there was a long cut scene and then I was right into another battle with some soldiers and a mage, and during all of this I couldn't save. By the time I'd dispatched the soldiers and had a chance to meditate and re-don my armour, then save, the poor man was asleep. I shall have to make it up to him this morning.

Well, the last three days at work have been very busy - but we know that busy is good. One of the things I was doing was preparing some slides for my boss for her to present at the cascade meeting in June. I've done three VERY basic slides that I don't think are what she wants but are what she asked for. I'm really getting the hang of being an IT professional! I shall have a word with her later.

Looking forward to a quieter couple of days.

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