So here we are, at the end of a true bin-fire of a year. Covid, Brexit, Lockdowns, it’s all been more than a bit bollocks, hasn’t it?
In many ways, I’ve been lucky this year – as I’ve said before, I’ve not been too badly affected. I’m still working, I’m still healthy, I’m still solvent, I’m still going.
I’m not saying that to be smug, or to belittle anyone else. I know that in many ways I’ve been fortunate, and that some of my privilege is probably showing. But equally, I’m not complacent about any of it, and I’m not going to tempt fate along the way.
In other ways, I’ve not done well at all. I’ve missed out on seeing friends, and on doing stuff – and again, I know that’s true for most people.
This year has definitely affected me, it’s left me with less motivation to do things, and with more loose ends than I’m used to. I don’t like not doing stuff, don’t like not having plans. I’m better at having plans changed last-minute – but that’s more because those things are outside my control.
I don’t know what 2021 will bring. (Obviously – no-one does. This time last year, no-one expected Covid) I do think there’s going to be a lot of hardships still to come, but I also hope it at least gets easier than 2020 has been.
Onwards and upwards, anyway. Have a good one, and let’s hope it’s a better one.
Having got back into my archery this year, the winter season brings its own interesting issues and problems.
Basically, everyone shoots at shorter distances – twenty to thirty metres, rather than fifty to eighty – and ideally indoors, for the wimps. And if possible, that means dialling down the power in the bow. Heavier/bigger arrows also help, as they’re slower than the usual ones.
Unfortunately, my bow is already dialled down to pretty much the lowest weight it can manage, which is around a 45lb pull. That meant at the short ranges my club uses, I was going to end up putting the arrows through the targets and into the concrete wall behind (indoors) and losing all the fletchings (feathers) as well. Which becomes very expensive, very quickly.
Having looked around a bit, I went back to my normal archery store in Newark (it’s a bit of a slog to get to, but worth it for their customer service, knowledge, and prices) and bought a second bow, specifically for winter/indoor archery. It’s a good little bow, from a Chinese company called Sanlida, and cost me £175 including the sight, arrow rest, and small stabiliser. That’s incredibly good value! Additionally, if I decide to use it all the time, I can also dial it up from its current setting (about 25lb pull) all the way up to 70 lb, which is pretty epic.
I bought it a couple of weeks ago, and have only used it a couple of times so far, but on that limited experience, I’m really pleased with it. It’s doing what I want, and the current power means it’s accurate enough, without damaging things.
But it does also mean I now own two bows – although that’s OK too, as I’m using both. If they’d gone back to sitting doing sod all, that would be a bad thing. But as it is, I’m OK with it.
Back in October when my car took its MoT, it came with a warning about needing new brake discs. Not urgent – it was a warning, not a failure – but still, it needed doing.
I was aware that, while still well within limits, they weren’t as good as they could be, so today I got the discs and pads replaced.
The difference is…. noticeable. I’m having to be a bit more careful with slowing down, because it’s all back to brand-new, and I was definitely used to the flawed and worn items.
I’m glad it’s sorted – it makes a big difference to things, and it’s something that’s not playing on my head any more, which is always a good thing.
Yesterday, for reasons I’ll write about some other time, I had to drive up to Newark.
It’s not a horrific drive, about 90 minutes usually, and pretty easy. Straight up the A1 , and then down the M1 to come home.
Yesterday though, was bloody vile. About halfway through the drive up, it started to snow – not super-heavy, but enough to make things interesting in the still-quite-dark winter morning.
It was at this point that I discovered that my car’s heating had packed up. Fuck.
By the time I stopped at Newark, it was snowing fairly heavily, and starting to settle.
When I came out to go home, the car had a good three or four inches of snow all over it, and the roads were full of it as well. The start of the drive home was emphatically Not Fun, although for me that was mainly because it was bloody cold inside the car, and no heating meant it was also steaming up a bit. The real Not Fun was more in the purview of other drivers who couldn’t handle snowy roads and/or hadn’t put lights on, and were generally utter fucksticks.
The M1 was OK – once I got down past Leicester the snow turned to heavy rain, and then it was just a slog through shitty weather and shitty traffic.
All in, the temperature (according to my car) rose by five full degrees (Centigrade) in the hundred miles between Newark and Home.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a drive where I was actually thankful to get out at the end of it. But that was definitely one of them.
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.
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.
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.