Twenty Nineteen
Ah, time for another reflective post. Nothing like getting your nostalgia in early.

I've not made as much progress towards some of the goals I set myself 365 days ago as I'd have liked. I'm nowhere near meeting my weight goals (mostly due to a combination of not really liking running and rather liking beer), and despite good intentions about sorting out the career thing and an initial burst of activity early on in the year, have only recently started polishing the CV again. But for both I have a clearer idea of what I need to do, and at least some enthusiasm to get moving on them now. We'll check up on this in the next post in this series.

I've done a good number of trips away. I spent the August Bank Holiday in Brussels, proving to myself that man can survive solely on frites and beer alone. I had a smashing time with Davpaz and somebody else at an Octoberfest in Liverpool. I'm still not sure how I made it safely back that night. Probably the best weekend was over Easter, camping at Ennerdale in the Lakes with probably the best weather I've ever had up there (and boy didn't I regret not removing my cold and wet weather gear from my pack before attempting the first ascent!).

Cottage was as enjoyable as ever. Played a heck of lot of Flamme Rouge over the weekendbut never tired of it. Cruelly overtaken by Curio in the last deal of the World Championship but was happy with second and third place.

The big trip was to Turkey, where I spent a week hiking and camping in the mountains before spending three days in the mysterious landscapes of Cappadocia. Watching the early morning balloon launches is an experience I'm never going to forget.

Now the obligatory list bits:

Favourite film: I only went to the cinema once this year so there's little competition but 'Stan & Ollie' was charming.

Favourite podcast: 'Power Corrupts' was compelling listening, with well-researched episodes on the darker side of life ( vote rigging, drugs, assassination, witchcraft, money laundering etc) . Also, although it's been running for a few years now, I only started listening to 'Irish Passport' this year but it's a well-produced look at Irish history, culture, and contemporary life. Some of the standout episodes have related to the border.

Favourite TV: 'Years and Years' . A compelling family drama with a real sense of what could be. Emma Thompson was superb. I really, really wanted to put 'His Dark Materials' in this spot. The cast were superb, but the direction just felt like it kept on missing the shots despite plenty of wide open goals. Still watched it and looking forward to the second series, mind.

Favourite Play: I went to the theatre far more than the cinema this year! I finally saw a version of "Richard III" so that's another Shakespeare ticked off. "Digitiser: Live" was probably the most surreal and bizarre thing I've ever seen on stage, and David Braben will now haunt my dreams for ever. "The Good Scout" was a tender piece in that under-explored genre of Rover Scout/Hitler Youth coming of age tales. But "The Unreturning" was the highlight of the year. An intense story of three soldiers from the same town but from three different time periods coping with PTSD. Bonus marks for the stage being taken up by a rotating shipping container.

Favourite Game: Parks . It's easy to explain, contains some deliciously-tricky decisions, and is utterly stunning to look at.

Favourite Book: Undoubtedly Tom Holland's "Dominion". This book really deserves to be called "epic". He's trying to tie together over two thousand years of human thought and experience, and whilst I'm really not sure if he actually pulls it off, the individual stories within the work and his relaxed writing style kept me spellbound. Highly recommended.

Thanks for being such an excellent bunch of folks. Have a great 2020!

I don’t do year end lists or year end reflections. So here’s my year end reflections as I wait to go to our NYE party (we’re in Thailand so have a tiny head start).

Wasn’t a terrible year by any means but some stupid personal admin (didn’t take a Proper break from work for nine months until) and a costly failed house purchase led to me get close to going under mentally, which led to some large scale re-evaluation which had leaving my business (and even London) as serious considerations. The past couple of weeks away have therefore had a lot on their shoulders in terms of needing the time to refresh, reflect and consider.

One highlight was deciding at 10am on 24th October that I didn’t much feel like smoking anymore (and with a maelstrom of shit around me, realising that stopping would be a real positive to look at). So stopped.

I also don’t do New Years resolutions. So I’m going to get fit again (this started with my first gym visit and pedalling a bike in 3.5 years on Xmas day and repeated three times since), do another stupid fucking bike ride for sponsorship (this one really is stupid), and find something else that is neither work or my kids to give some variety to my headspace (getting ready for the ride will cover this for a while. Hopefully that will also cut down the drinking which doesn’t help.

Professionally, I’m going to get us to piss a load of other peoples money on a director to do all the things that I have to do that (a) don’t make us money (b) never get done properly because I’m too busy doing stuff and (c) give me sleepless nights three times a week.
I can see into the future because I’ve got 2020 vision
I think my only real goal for 2019 was to keep my job until I qualified for state pension, after which I might not need to give a fuck about working, or at least the job I'm still doing. Well, I achieved that, and found myself earning a lot more than anticipated because the way we work generates quite a lot of overtime. As the year has gone on the amount of overtime I've earned has steadily increased to the point where I made nearly a grand extra in November. Added to that, I no longer pay National Insurance which has more than compensated for the tax hit I took on my civil service pension as consequence of still working.

For 2020 I guess I'll keep working unless it really begins to piss me off. All the threats from management about not hitting our SLAs or complying with their frequent demands for more work or changing the way we report on completed work, have so far come to nothing. I just keep my head down and do the minimum required to complete all the work I'm sent and I see no reason to quit this when it's generally not very difficult work, though it is often frustrating.

2019 did piss me off with the lies and fake news relating to Brexit and the election campaigns, and I found it hard to comprehend how the swing to the Tories had happened. It just proves that politicians can broadly get away with any old crap.

The only highlight I can think of is welcoming a dog into our home, who is both a source of delight and amusement as well as a pissing/shitting machine, but he's pretty well house trained now and has mastered retrieving things way better than our last mutt, who never really worked that out.

Watched a lot of TV, much of it not living up to expectations, with a couple of exceptions (Vanity Fair, Les Miserables, .... I'm sure there were others but I can't bring them to mind).

I don't really do resolutions, but being disappointed how my 5:2 diet gains have gradually been lost I'd like to do that again and maybe try to do some exercise, if I can get my arse in gear.
Well, thank fuck that shitshow is over and things can only get be- oh Jeremy Corbyn.
MaliA wrote:
oh Jeremy Corbyn.

*stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp*
MaliA wrote:
oh Jeremy Corbyn.

*stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp*
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