Slowing Down

The first half of this year has been particularly barmy, and has felt close to non-stop. It’s safe to say, there’s been a lot of life going on!  I haven’t written here about a lot of it, because while it’s been fun, it hasn’t been massively newsworthy – but I think even here it’s been fairly clear that I’ve been doing a lot.

All told, there was only one event/thing that I wanted to do that I didn’t get to do – and that was more from an overdose of sanity and reality than any form of timing clash – and that was that climb up the Gherkin.

However, as a result of it all, I’m pretty wiped out – so the plan for the second half of the year is for me to slow down a bit.

I’ve still got loads planned, but I do intend to also have some more peaceable weekends, ones where I’m not all over the country and generally running round like a pillock. I know that September is insanely busy, so I’m definitely going to pad out the weeks either side of it.

There’s a lot of other stuff I want to do as well, which is part of why I’m trying to settle a bit and not be covering the country quite as much as I have been.

That’s the plan, anyway. Whether it’ll happen like that, only time will tell.

More Travel

As I’ve said many, many times before, I can be a bit of an idiot – particularly when it comes to what I regard as ‘doable’ for travelling etc.

Today has proven that yet again.  Well, I’ve organised it all today, but it’s happening on Saturday.

Over the weekend, I saw some really good reviews and opinions about the production of King Lear that’s currently going on at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, with Don Warrington as Lear.  So today I had a look at whether there were any tickets still available.

Turns out, there were. Not many, but enough for me to book one to see it on Saturday afternoon.  And that’s what I’m doing.

I’ve also (in the name of something approaching a sensible idea) booked myself on trains to get up there and back. But I did seriously think about driving, too. A 350-mile round trip to see a play. Like I said, an absolute idiot.

The reason I’m not making a weekend of it is because I’m also in London on the Sunday – although not ’til the evening – for another hopefully epic meal.

I am indeed an idiot, and quite possibly a lunatic.

London Weekend – Faustus and stuff

This weekend was another London trip, although spread over two days rather than one, which made life a bit less chaotic than usual.

The primary reason was to see Faustus at the Duke of York’s Theatre. A friend of mine had got tickets, and as part of my 2016 mission to see more stuff and so on, I went too. I know the basic idea of the story of Faust, although I’ve never read it, so had that as a basic idea of the play, but no idea of what else to expect.

Faustus image

As it turned out, it’s a very good production – if also very strange. I liked a lot of it – but admittedly started off thinking “This is garbage”, although I did reassess that quite rapidly. It’s got a whole lot of interesting ideas and propositions within it, so it’s an interesting production.

Other than that, the usual large-scale wandering around London, reconnecting bits of geography I hadn’t seen in a while, and generally doing a fair bit of walking, as well as everything else. As it was a weekend away, I decided to stay in a (far more expensive than usual) hotel in the area, which I’d eaten in before, but not stayed in.

All told, a thoroughly decent weekend, and much enjoyed. I should try this culture thing more often…

2016 Q1

So here we are, in April already. A quarter of the year gone.

The first three months have been fairly awkward and problematic in some ways, but all told it’s still been a success – although in some ways it’s been a case of looking at grey clouds and finding a silver lining. Work and so on have stayed stable, it’s just other non-work stuff that hasn’t gone as well.

The worst (or at least most frustrating) part has been the car – thankfully that now appears to be sorted, but it’s been an expensive quarter, with repeated re-visits to the garage, along with replacement parts and so on.

I did have plans for writing more and so on, but they haven’t materialised. I’ve done a couple of things and started with some ideas and the like, but the intended plan hasn’t happened. Hopefully the next three months will let me write more, if I’ve got the time and inspiration.

Health-wise, I’ve slacked off a lot on going to the gym and so on. I’ve had a bundle of colds and coughs throughout the last few months, and every time I’ve thought “Ok, that’s finally gone”, I’ve picked up another one. That’s not been fun, but there we go.  Admittedly, a lack of gymmage hasn’t resulted in any weight gains – everything has stayed in exactly the same place it was while I was going to the gym regularly.  That’s been another thing that’s not helped on the motivational front – if it’s not making any difference one way or t’other, it becomes less important to go.

I do need to get back to it, and doing other stuff as well – because I’m a loon, and have just signed up to the NSPCC’s challenge to walk/run (OK, walk) up the 38 floors of the Gherkin on Sunday 19th June.  I must be fucking barmy. This is the kind of thing that happens when Marie Curie aren’t doing their 10km walks. I blame them. 🙂  That’s in ten weeks time, so I need to do some stuff pretty quickly…

Anyway, it’s been an interesting first three months of the year.  There’s some interesting challenges coming up – not least that bloody Gherkin challenge – in the next three months, and I just hope it’s a bit more positively motivated than the first three have been.

Time will tell…


Writing More

This year, I’m trying to write more – both here (which so far seems to be pretty successful) and also to get more fiction stuff done as well.

Here on D4D I’m aiming for at least a couple of posts per week, getting back into the swing of things.  I don’t know that I’ll ever go back to the daily (and multiple-times-a-day) updates of a few years back, just because I’ve changed, life’s changed, and I just haven’t felt the need to update this stuff as often anyway.

On the fiction side, I’m hoping to write a short piece a week – short-story level, maybe a thousand words at a time, and see how things go.  If it all clings together into something more, then even better.

There’s also the chance of writing something bigger, but I’m not going to guarantee anything on that one so far.

We’ll see what happens – but for now, at least it’s starting off pretty well.

Leaving 2015

It’s the end of 2015, and for the first time in a long time, it’s been a good year. It’s had its ups and downs for sure, but the general direction has definitely been upwards and positive.

On the ‘ups’ side, we have…

  • worked all year on the same contract, which has made things a lot easier
  • built up some savings, for the first time in at least a decade
  • started up my own company and business, plus laying the groundwork for next year’s developments
  • been out to a good range of restaurants, and had a long weekend in Edinburgh
  • done some writing, and developed some ideas for working on in 2016

On the ‘downs’…

  • When I say ‘worked all year’, I mean it. Holidays and breaks have pretty much not happened. Certainly nothing more than that long weekend in Edinburgh
  • I’ve not built up the savings as much as I could/should have – but that’s been down to stuff with the car, the restaurants, and actually having a decent year of non-monastic living
  • having my own company again means I also have to deal with HMRC, Companies House, and bastard accountants
  • I haven’t actually finished any of the writing things

So it’s all swings and roundabouts, but all told it’s been a good year with a lot of stuff I’m really pleased about and/or proud of.

Table for One

This year, I’ve had a plan about going out and eating in restaurants on my own. It was a project for the year – and it’s been quite successful.

I’ve always had an insecurity about eating alone in restaurants – some people are like it about going to the cinema alone, or to the pub on their own. For me, it was restaurants.

But I’m really bad at having insecurities like that, and tend to face them head on. So I challenged myself to do more of it, to get comfortable (or at least familiar) with walking into places and just getting a table for one.

I started the year the way I wanted to go on, with New Years Eve in Cambridge as a single. It was a menu I wanted to try, so why not?

There’s been plenty of other places along the way – standard pubs etc., burger-based restaurants (no, not Mcdonalds!) and proper places, as well as Michelin-starred ones. It’s been a varied old year, and I’ve done a lot of solo dining.

It’s been a successful project, I think. It’s still not something I like doing, asking for a table for one, but it doesn’t worry me anywhere near as much, so that makes it a success.

I’ll carry on into 2016 with the same thing – there’s places already booked that I’m really looking forward to, and I’m sure there’ll be many others on a more randomised basis.