I managed to complete 32 Country Pubs and 32 Zines, but didn’t complete 32 Playgrounds in the end (although it definitely feels like I did…)
32 Country Pubs was delightful. I’d forgotten just how much I love a decent country boozer. I had to do a flurry of them at quite a speed in the last month, just to finish. That’s getting older I guess, these challenges get harder and harder. When I started, at 22, it was positively relaxed.
My top 5 below:
32 Zines was good. I ended up batching them and buying a load at once – because they are quite hard to get your hands on outside of east London. Managed to get a good spread of titles and genres, but it feels like a format that still has a lot of headroom.
32 Country Pubs We moved out of London a little while back, and we’re now camped in the Midlands for a little bit. So I want to take advantage of our time in the countryside by visiting 32 country pubs. I’m not going to put any hard lines around what counts as a ‘Country’ pub – there’ll be gastropubs, old man pubs, village pubs and doggy pubs. I’ll call it with each one – but loosely… its pubs in villages and/or nature.
32 Zines and Pamphlets I’ve loved the re-emergence of independent zines and pamphlets over the last few years. It reminds me a bit of what I was trying to do with Subculture Club – exploring niche points of views that don’t make it into mainstream media. People going deep on very particular subjects. I want to search out and read 32 of them this year.
32 Playgrounds We spend so much time at playgrounds now – most weekends we visit. But we tend to stick to the same two or three, so I plan on using this year to explore new ones – 32 of them – rather than going to the same one every time. I’m going to include soft play within this – as I can’t rely on British weather right now…
Finished up Challenge 31, but has taken me a little while to write about it.
31 Zoom events were great. I managed to complete it in very good time. There were actually lots that didn’t end up on the list – we really enjoyed a portal into nightlife from the comfort of your own home. For parents of young children, it was brilliant.
Highlights were probably: Campari Reopens – Panda & Sons: The first event we did, so there might be a bit of primacy effect in here. But it all felt so exciting – the first time we’d been sent drinks through the post from a bar. And then having the bartender talk us through how to make your cocktails, and show us around Panda & Sons in Edinburgh. It was just brilliant.
Daniel Kitson – Dot Dot Dot: Just an awesome piece of stand-up / storytelling. We missed the end the first time – the kids woke up – but we bought another ticket and watched it later in the run, because it was such a compelling watch. It captured the novelty, frustration, intensity and despair of lockdown so perfectly.
Notting Hill Carnival – Panology Steel band session: We actually watched quite a bit of the carnival online, but this session in particular stuck in the mind. We had it on whilst we cooked dinner, and it was such an enjoyable evening.
New album challenge was brilliant – I felt like it managed to shake me out of a rut and get me listening to some new things. I’m going to try and continue it indefinitely. Black Keys’ Delta Kream was a real highlight, as was Laura Marling’s Song for our daughter. Greta Van Fleet’s The Battle at Garden’s Gate was enjoyable, in a guilty pleasure kinda way too.
The Bread bakes challenge didn’t happen. I did about ten, quite quickly, but struggled to get the kids interested, as most of the recipes were too complicated. And couldn’t find time to do it all by myself. Another time, perhaps.
Thoughts on 2020 The Big Stuff: Well… The global pandemic and three national lockdowns were probably the biggest things… What a year. Wist stopped work. I had paternity leave for a short while. Lots of time with the kids at home, together. It’s been a strange year. Awful for so many reasons, for so many people. But there have been tons of really nice things. Lots to be thankful for.
The Small Stuff: Think we managed one night out this year. But separately… doh! And one lunch together. Lots of deliveries. Lots of baking bread and walking coffees. Lol’s now talking (non-stop) and baking/painting/drawing/running (non-stop). Ave’s starting to talk (“Ma Ma!” “Da!” “Wowol!”) and joining in (between mouthfuls). Zoom meetings, zoom quizzes, zoom gigs, zoom comedy and zoom fatigue. Exhausting. Missing friends. Missing London. But we’ve got it pretty good.
Quote for the year: “Ooh what has someone sent you for your birthday? Oh no, sorry, ignore that, that’s a covid testing kit.” Books read: 17 Best three books:
Number of photos taken: 7293 Number of songs starred on Spotify: 84 Most listened to track: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the bed – Pancake Manor Series watched: The Queens Gambit, The Crown S4, Motherland, Formula One: Drive to Survive, The Vicar of Dibley, Fear City: NY vs the Mafia, Salt Fat Acid Heat, Spaced, The Last Dance, Parts Unknown, Community S1, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Good Place, Tiger King Album of the year: Laura Marling – Song for our daughter Film of the year: David Attenborough: A Life on our planetPub quizzes partaken: 6 Pub quizzes won: 3 Trips to the doctor: 0 Trips to the dentist: 0 Trips to the vet: 0 Museums(ish) visited:
New Year’s Resolutions: Veganuary. Dry January. Headspace. Finish Monthly design projects. Lots of reading. Lots more friends and family.