I’ve known it’s coming for a while, but this coming fortnight is probably the one that’ll grump me the most about the Lockdown so far.
It’s the time when I had a lot of events lined up, all of which have now been moved to next year. Among other things, that list includes
- Tonight, when I was supposed to be seeing Skunk Anansie at the Royal Festival Hall
- Tomorrow, when I was likely to have been at the Taste festival in London
- Saturday, when I was supposed to be seeing Jessica Chastain in “A Doll’s House” at the Playhouse Theatre
- Next week, I was supposed to be at the Lead Developer conference in London for two days
- Next weekend, I was supposed to be seeing Much Ado About Nothing at the Globe
So yeah, bit of a slump of “I should’ve been doing [x]” for the next couple of days.
I had a similar slump a while back when I got a load of “this won’t be happening” emails over a couple of days, and this is much the same. I’ll get over it, and it all could be much, much worse.
But still, blah.
Decades ago, I used to be highly into archery, and enjoyed it a lot, including shooting up to County level.
Then life got in the way for a while, until I was reminded (15 years ago now) that I enjoyed it when we went to Center Parcs that I went and sorted out a bow and so on and started to get back into it again, and then life got in the way again.
I’d kept the bow and so on, even though I wasn’t doing the archery, and kept on looking for local(ish) archery clubs whose schedules worked with my own. (This is actually a lot harder than you’d think – most of them are on school grounds or similar, so only open specific evenings, and usually ones where I was already doing stuff)
Anyway, about a month ago now, I found a semi-local (within about 30-40 minutes drive) club that has an outdoor range which is open to use seven days a week, which does suit me. But before I could join properly, I had to do their beginner’s course, in order to prove I could use a bow safely.
I did that a couple of weeks back, and again really enjoyed myself.
The final step was to get my bow properly checked out and serviced (it’s not been fired in eight years, I wasn’t going to try it without getting it inspected!) and that happened a week ago on Friday at a place I’d been recommended to use. Again that was a really good – if not cheap – experience, and by the end of my time there, I was grouping my arrows (at a shorter indoor range) within the space one gets if you circle fingers into an OK gesture.
I filled in, signed and sent off the membership forms the following day, so now I’m just waiting to get my confirmation and card.
All told, I’m generally feeling pretty optimistic about it, and looking forward to seeing how things go.
This weekend has been one with a fair bit of travelling. It’s just the way things worked out, but it made for a busy one.
On Friday I was over in Oxford, seeing XKCD‘s Randall Munroe at the Sheldonian Theatre doing a talk about his new book. That was enjoyable – and I’d never been in the Sheldonian before, so that was an additional bonus.
On Saturday I was down in Chichester to see a staging of Macbeth, starring John Simm and Dervla Kerwan.
And then on Sunday I was in Kent, at the Big Cat Experience, as they were doing a “meet the big cats” experience. I’d decided that I wanted to go, and classed it as a birthday present to myself. It was a lot of miles/driving for a two-hour-ish thing, but it was also worth going, and I’d certainly consider going again.
All told, I’ve covered nearly 800 miles over three days. I’m a daft, daft, daft sode.
As usual, my September is looking like it’ll be my normal levels of silliness, with lots of travel and so on.
And also as usual, it started with Meatopia, a festival of various barbecued meats. It’s one of my favourite events of the year – and this time I was at all three sessions. Because I’m a complete lunatic.
I had intended to be more sensible – going down for the Friday was still silly, but I’d intended to then park up at Barbican on Saturday, have a hotel on the Saturday night (being able to collect my bag from the car at Barbican on the way, and deposit it on the way back before Sunday) and then come home.
But then I checked the football schedule – and it turned out that Arsenal were playing at home on the Sunday. Not usually relevant, but when driving back on the Sunday, it would’ve shoved me right through all the traffic and people at Highbury, which would add at least an hour to the drive. And frankly, sod that.
So it meant a change to plans, and instead doing my usual thing, parking in Very North London, Tube to Euston/Angel, and walk to Tobacco Dock. Yes, I *could* have still used the hotel, but it meant that all the travel to and from the car to drop off clothes/bag etc. would’ve made it a lot more hassle and a lot less fun. So it was ‘easier’ to travel further, but on my terms and with less general fucking about.
All told, as well as a ridiculous amount of food, it meant I did six walks of 6km, as well as further walking on-site and so on, so all told over Friday, Saturday and Sunday I covered no less than 44km (27 miles)
Meatopia was totally worth it again, and I’ll be there next year.
Last week’s “Poorly Sick” has continued on for the last week – although also not helped by my own general idiocy.
On the Tuesday, while coughing my lungs out (mmm, tasty) I drove up to Manchester to see friends, and then go with them to see Massive Attack at the Manchester Arena. And then drove home afterwards, like a friggin’ lunatic. By the time I got back – Wednesday morning, 2:30am – I’d twatted my ribs with the coughing I’d done, and felt fairly rough.
Wednesday was spent at home feeling ropy (while also getting enough work done to keep people happy) and Thursday I was on-site down in Chesham. I was feeling shitty enough there (and cold enough, the office being ridiculously cold) that I left at lunchtime and came home to thaw out.
Friday was also quiet, spent mainly at home.
Saturday was a trip to London to meet another friend and see “When we have sufficiently tortured each other” at the National Theatre (Spoiler : Don’t bother, it’s cobblers)
And then Sunday was another daft day-trip, this time down to the edge of Somerset to see other friends. And back home the same day, getting back at midnight on the dot.
So yeah, a week of being comprensively unwell while still being daft.
Hopefully things are back to a more even keel this week, but time will tell.
This weekend, I saw my final performance of the year – I know there’s only three weeks to go, but still, I’m pretty sure I was seeing stuff ’til later in the year last time round.
This weekend I was at the BBC Radio Theatre (as a plus-one for the friend who’d managed to get the tickets) to see Neil Gaiman recording a programme that will go out on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Day. As it turned out, he’d also brought along some friends, including Mitch Benn, Peter Capaldi, and some refugees (his words, not mine) from the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. It was a good evening and lot of fun to see. It’ll also be interesting to see what makes the actual broadcast.
The previous weekend, I’d been to see Tamburlaine at the RSC in Stratford for the matinee performance on its final day. I did enjoy it, although some casting choices were a bit odd to me, particularly in the second half, where the same actress is doing two roles – one as the wife of Tamburlaine, and one as the heir of the dead king, aiming to overthrow Tamburlaine. It’s a credit to her that it was impossible to confuse the two roles as she played them, but it still made things rather more complex and odd than they needed to be.
I’ve already got several theatre visits lined up for next year, but just for now it’s on pause. Which is fine by me.
From here on, the rest of this year is considerably calmer than the rest of it has been.
I’ve no more overnight stays away, and while I’m still doing stuff, it’s to a lesser degree than before. And about time too.
While it’s easing off, I’m also working out what I’m doing – and what I want to do – next year, which is entertaining.
As usual, I’m trying to not fill things up too much for the coming year – although there’ll be enough stuff to keep me going.
But for now, I’m going to just enjoy it being a bit quieter, a bit calmer, and hopefully just catch up on some downtime. Hopefully