Lightly Battered

This week, I got a delivery of pre-mixed cocktails from Manhattans Project.

Today, having done way too much driving in snow and stuff (and probably more about that later) I have imbibed in said cocktails.

They are bloody good. Even the ones based on tequila/mescal.

That is all.

 


December Already

Bah HumbugSomehow we’re already in December. How time flies when you’re having fun locked down for half the sodding year.

It’s been weird this year already, in that I’ve seen a number of people who’ve already put up their Christmas trees and so on, even more prematurely than usual. There seems to be a school of thought that says it’s OK because “we need something to look forward to“, but that rings with the dull plop of bullshit. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m more of the viewpoint that even if I started today, I’d be sick of the bloody event by the time it comes round. Adding another two weeks to that is surely just a way to be even more jaded about it all.

But then, as we know, I’m a grouch.

I’ve also been gobsmacked about the hysteria around “We’ve got to have our Christmas“, and the mindset that people would’ve broken all the rules in order to have “a proper normal family Christmas“. We’ll get past the horrific racism of the government being quite happy to cancel the festivals of other religions (The first Lockdown was announced less than 24 hours before Eid, and the second one blocked Diwali – and I’m fairly sure there’s been at least one more festivity that’s taken a kicking) while Christmas is apparently the be-all and end-all of UK Civilisation.

Honestly, I’ll be glad when this year’s over and done with. I don’t think 2021 is going to be any easier, although there’s some hope on the horizon with Covid vaccines etc. But it’s still looking like it’ll be another ongoing hellscape – just possibly slightly less of one than this year has been.

Again, I can’t deny, I’ve been lucky throughout the whole Covid thing this year, and I’ve been affected far less than a lot of people have. I know that, and I accept it.  But I’ll still be happy to be through this year.

 


Alone vs Lonely

With the current Covid stuff, I’ve found it interesting to see how it has affected a range of people.

One of the big complaints about it is how the lockdowns have made so many people realise how lonely they are, along with the damage it’s done to those social norms and events.

Truly, this isn’t something I can empathise with. I’ve never really lived close to any of my friends – they’re scattered all over the place – so I’m absolutely used to being on my own in any particular area. So I’m alone, but I’m never lonely.

Alongside that, I don’t know, I simply don’t feel those things. I’m happy on my own, and always have been.  Being sociable is my “not normal“, being on my own is the default position.

In all of that, I recognise that I’m “lucky“. I’ve come through this year OK, with far less damage than most people have suffered – whether that’s realising their lives are more lonely than they thought, being ill (or watching others being ill), or just seeing things change so much and feeling insecure because everything “normal” has suddenly tilted beyond recognition.

I sort-of understand that desire for everything to “go back to how it was“, but to me even that still carries a fair degree of self-delusion.  Things have changed, and it’s (to me) far easier and smarter to embrace those changes and make progress with them (I hate the expression “the new normal”, but that’s what this is – even with vaccines and so on, there’ll still be major changes for the forseeable future)

I don’t know what 2021’s going to bring – although I don’t think it’s going to be a positive year – but I’m pretty sure I’ll get through it, same as I have this year. And all I can do is hope that the same is true for those I give a sod about.


An Office Move

Over this second Lockdown, it appears that quite a few companies have decided to move out of the building where my office sits.  Some have found that they can cope just fine entirely working from home, some have moved elsewhere, and some (I’m pretty sure) have just given up the ghost.

However, taking some advantage of that, I’ve been able to move my office to a larger/better one with minimum hassle.

The one I was in was OK, but had an issue with *very* thin walls – studwork walls, in an 80’s open-plan setup that was then converted to house multiple small businesses – to the extent that I could hear phone calls and conversations from the offices either side of mine, with absolute clarity. (Which meant I knew *way* more about their clients than I ever wanted to)  And with the new prevalence of video-calls and so on, that’s even more of a factor.

The new one is better built, better lit, and larger. I’m paying a bit more for it, but it’s well within manageable levels.  The only downside (at the moment) is that the fluorescent tube lights in it are noisy, with a buzz that I can hear all the time.  However, I’ve raised that as an issue, and been able to get them to agree to change them to new lamps with an electronic ballast – I don’t have a clue, but apparently it’ll mean it runs silently. And if it doesn’t, well I’ll just unplug them, as I have in other offices.

Even better, the move was easy as chuff. It took two hours to move everything from one to the other, and get it all set up.  I’ve probably got some layout changes to make, a couple of things to buy (a new office chair, for example, once Lockdown is over) , but it’s all good. I’m happy with the new unit, and hopefully it’ll be home for another couple of years.


Staying In Place

With everything else that’s going on, I’ve made the decision to stay in my current house for another year, and sorted out the tenancy agreement to that effect.

I’d been seriously looking at a couple of different locations (although still in the same region as I’m in currently) that would’ve worked, and enabled some other stuff to be a lot easier. It would also have been nice to have a slightly bigger place, as I’ve said before.

However, all the places that were available were at least double the price of the one I’m currently in, and weren’t making enough other things easier. Alongside that, the way things have been with Covid, and the upcoming clusterfuck formally known as Brexit, I ended up deciding that it was likely to be better/smarter to stay here, rather than over-extend things too much.

If nothing else, I’d be properly mortified to end up being in the shit because I’d moved to a better house and then everything else had gone to crap, knowing I could’ve still be in this little cheap(er) place.

So yeah, here for another year. That’s eight-and-a-half years now – by far the longest I’ve been in any one place since I left home.

For now, it still suits me enough. I’d like to move elsewhere, and I’ll look again come summer 2021, and see what happens in the meantime. If things are properly shit, I might stay again, but we’ll see.


Lockdown Weekend

This weekend was remarkably unproductive, and yet I’m actually OK with it for once.

I’d had a lot planned – initially I was going to be going to a restaurant in London, but I moved that forward by a couple of weeks – nothing about Lockdown, just that I saw the menu two weeks ago had some things I really wanted, and they couldn’t be certain they’d still be on by now, so I moved things around.

Once that had changed, I’d then lined up an archery coaching session on the Saturday, and we were due to have a competition shoot on Sunday.  However, with the new Lockdown, archery is (for some fuckforsaken reason) specifically included in the “thou shalt not operate” lists, so all of that got cancelled too.  I’ve no idea why outdoor archery isn’t allowed – even in competitions, no-one’s even close to each other, and certainly when I’ve been using the range on a Friday it’s just me using it. There’s certainly no issue with any of it being crowded!

So yes, I had lots of plans, and none of them happened – which is frustrating, to say the least.

However, it’s been good to have the downtime. I meant to do some stuff from home, and failed entirely to do so, but instead caught up on some reading, and did stuff that was exceptionally quiet and relaxed.  It was pretty good, all things considered.


Birfday

Somehow, I’ve managed to make it to 49.

Forty-fucking-nine.

In my head, I’m still mid-twenties at best. (Until I go out with a group of mid-twenties people, at which point no, fucking hell, I’m not) But no, forty-bloody-nine is where I’m at.

Usually over the last few years I’ve done a list of what I’m planning to do in the next year, and what I’ve achieved in the past one. I’m not doing that this year on either side – 2020’s been such a horrendous clusterchuff in so many ways, and there’s not really any positive end in sight, so I’m looking more at spending the coming year figuring out some of that stuff.

Of course, 2021 could be (hell, is likely to be) even more of a grimdark shitscape than 2020, what with Brexit, Covid, America, and whatever else is hovering on the horizon, waiting to dump it’s crap over all of us.

And on that happy note, let’s get on with it.