So, the weekend has come to an end. Again. Saturday was unproductive in the conventional sense of the word but I feel happy with what I achieved. After my brief stint with Prince of Persia: Sands of Time earlier in the week I felt compelled to play it more – to the point of completion no less. I enjoyed every second of it and have higher regard for the game than I did originally.

I’m more than pleased with my completion time of seven hours and I wondered what the best time for the game was. After all, this was the second time I’d completed the game and some of the routes through the environment were now familiar to me. I recall being stuck for some time simply because the camera didn’t give me a comprehensive view of the situation and I couldn’t fathom how to proceed. No such problems this time.

Still, a quick scurry to the Speed Demos Archive showed me that the game had been beaten in a humbling 2:09. With bandwidth to spare I downloaded the video of the run and watched the technique. Pah! Dodging all the fights – WIMP! Still, I was very happy to note that I’d spotted a short-cut that Mr. Speedy hadn’t.

I spent a bit of time at the Speed Demos Archive, marvelling at Metal Slug being beaten on one life and Contra: Shattered Soldier being given similar treatment. I’d love to see a good playthrough of Gradius V on the PS2 without having to import the Gradius Perfect DVD. If anyone happens to know that such a download exists, please let me know. Thanks.

Sunday was going to be a day of hard labour. My mother-in-law is halfway through transforming her front garden from a rather solid, plant-unfriendly place to something more suited to her green fingers. This involves turning over a large patch of earth that turned out to be clay. Now, me and hard labour aren’t exactly bedfellows. Hell, we barely know each other. But when it comes to helping out my mother-in-law, the answer is YES regardless of the task. She looked after me and spoiled me rotten for a solid year when I lost my job and she’s a fabulous woman – wise, funny, sincere and the mother of a fabulous, now married, woman.

So, I was moderately relieved to learn she’d decided to get the professionals in with a digger rather than rely on me. This just left a good family afternoon gathering at my sister-in-law’s place were much good food and liquid was enjoyed by all. The family had only recently returned from a holiday in the south of France which they were keen to tell us all about. In no time at all a plan was hatched to return in 2006 – this time with all of us in tow. My wife was rather jealous of them originally as she adores France and had spent a few years living and working there. She’s now delighted to have another holiday planned and has already started counting down to August 2006.

Life is good. I’m a man of relatively simple means and it often turns out that because I’m rarely reaching for an impossible goal that I’m rarely disappointed. Of course, having a stupendous amount of good luck doesn’t hurt either – but I can’t really give any tips on that.

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