What a year. I have often done some kind of new year or birthday review blogpost. This year is really hard to cover, obviously dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic. This year at work has been like a decade, and that deserves a seperate story.
This “Leisure” post is mainly self-indulgent, an aide memoir for future me about what I’ve spent my time on outside work.
Here goes …
TV: My highlight was probably Brave New World, followed closely by the Queen’s Gambit. Discovered Harlots. Recently watching Raised by Wolves. Rewatching the Good Place with my 11 year old: a great intro to philosophy! He has also been boxsetting Brooklyn 99. I am just starting the Gilmore Girls. Documentary “the Vow”. The Social Dilemma. Loved Tales from the Loop and also Devs, which shared some themes and were both haunting.
Films: Drive-In Jurassic Park, Elf. Watched Contagion in April: oof. Train to Busan was great. “Brittney runs a marathon” was sweet. Knives Out was fun. I’m sure I watched loads more films on tv but they don’t seem to have left much impression.
Music: This would have been the year of live music for me. The Killers supported by the Manic Street Preachers: postponed. Elton John: postponed. So I have been focussed on my karaoke app, a terrible weakness for hits by Chicago (the band, not the Musical, though the Musical would probably be a cooler thing to like), and discovering Alicia Keys “if I ain’t got you” which I’m working on the piano for, along with Adele’s “make you feel my love”. And a special mention for “Think about things”, the Icelandic entry to Eurovision!
Health and Fitness: 2019 was the year of my endometriosis diagnosis and I nearly had my ovaries removed but decided against in a consultation. I do get occasional acute abdominal pain but trying to manage it better. I have kept fairly active this year, enjoying my solo walks and jogs and the occasional walk with friends. Enjoyed a dance exercise class subscription in September but not very good at sticking to a routine. Just started a virtual challenge to climb Mount Fuji!
Food: In September I started a diet for the first time in my life, I’m enjoying it and on track to lose 2.5 stones over 6 months without too much hardship so I’m happy with that. Its low cal, low carbs, high protein, high nutrition meal replacement shakes, bars, soups etc. Loving pancakes for breakfast! I am missing restaurants, especially brunch. We’ve had some good takeout from Casa Rica in Leamington (tortilla salad bowl!), Piccolinos Warwick (goats cheese salad), Baabzi in Warwick, and a recent highlight has been the Church Farm Brewery Rootz drive-through on Fridays.
Fitness Tech: Bought myself a xaomi mi fit band for step count. It has a blood pressure monitor too. Also some bone conduction headphones so I can walk/run more safely outdoors.
Other pastimes: long walks in the evening during lockdown one enjoying exploring the architecture of my home town, Warwick, and in September I went on a history walk to learn more about the Great Fire of Warwick 1696. I also started building a miniature library from a kit but I am getting bored of that now.
Books: I always read a lot, this year I’ve gorged myself. Mostly bleak but with some uplifting reads from Haig, Ifso and Osman
- Midnight Library by Matt Haig (I have recommended this to several people this year, it really is a great read)
- What didnt quite by Chris Ifso
- Skin by Liam Brown
- Stories of Hope and Wonder (anthology): the first story Last Contact by Steven Baxtet took my breath away
- The Warehouse by Rob Hart
- Vox by Christina Dalcher
- Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
- The Wall by John Lanchester
- 84K by Claire North
- Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
- Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
- Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (published 1992, I’m late to the party)
- Sun Fall by Jim Al-Khalili
- Girl Woman Other by Bernadine Evaristo
Apps and games: What is it about merge games? Got terribly addicted to Merge Dragons. Now rediscovering Design Home again. Enjoyed Hue until it got too hard. Introduced to Among Us by my sons. I have a longstanding solitaire habit. Relatives bought us chameleon and family cards for humanity this xmas, we’re really enjoying them.
And I’ll leave it there. I hope you have also found ways to be absorbed in things escape reality.