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!