- It’s the end of the year. We’ve had a quiet Christmas this time round. The weekend before Christmas we went to Luke’s parents’ to see his family. We had a really nice time with them all and got to meet our wonderful newest nephew. Other than that we’ve been at home and had some visitors here and there. It’s been really nice to spend some time with Luke away from work.
- We’ve watched The Traitors - we were late to the party, but really enjoyed it and started off hating everyone and by the end really quite liked most of them. We also watched the second Knives Out film, which we enjoyed - it was very silly and the opposite of subtle, but it was fun.
- I took a break from my strict diet and we had achiote pulled pork with slaw in white buns on Christmas day which was amazing. I then ended up making an impromptu veggie Christmas dinner for us and my parents in the evening. Win win.
- I’m planning to cook up a Japanese feast for New Years Eve and we’ll find a film to watch whilst coaxing Peg through the fireworks. I got a load of Japanese extras in recently (Kewpie mayonnaise, pickled ginger, genmaichi tea, oolong tea, pickles, etc etc) so I’m really looking forward to a proper good, fairly healthy feast.
- In walking news (are you rivetted?) I have averaged over 8,000 steps per day this year. I try not to focus on these numbers too much as I have a tendency to get obsessed and for me at the moment, more isn’t always, well, more. But this is huge for me. When I got sick with a mystery illness (which years later was diagnosed as ME/CFS) I was training for a marathon. The realisation that I wouldn’t be able to run for a while slowly settled in my mind and at some point I resolved “in that case I’m going to walk 10,000 steps everyday”. That lasted about 1.5 days before I was in bed in tears… and in the months to years that followed I managed to get out of the house about once every three days for either a trip to the local shops or a walk around my local park. This gradually increased over time but was often boom and bust - a big (for a sick person) walk followed by days in the house. 2020 lockdowns brought consistency with my one walk a day, aided enormously by the energy I saved by e.g. not going to the office, not socialising, etc. and since then my walking has continued to be much more consistent, especially now we have Peg who needs her daily walks. In lots of ways this year hasn’t been a particularly healthy one for me, but my walking numbers are not only high, but also fairly consistent from month to month and I’m really grateful for that and proud of it. I don’t know whether I’ll ever get to the arbitrary 10,000 per day and I know better than to assume that the lofty 8,000 will stay attainable, but right now I’m happy.
- I’ve read 84 books and counting this year. It’s been a funny one - it’s far more than I’ve ever read, but I also don’t have that many books that I’ve adored this year. I have a new name to add to my favourite authors though: Claire Keegan - I loved Small Things Like These when I finally got to it in October, and read Foster the night before last and loved that equally (as a slow reader it’s fun to have an author who I can read in one sitting!). It was the year that I discovered what all the fuss was about with the Northern Lights trilogy which I listened to on audiobook, along with the first two from The Book of Dust. They were really fun to accompany my walks and I’m sure some of the regular 8,000 were just because I didn’t want to stop listening. I also really enjoyed listening to Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (although I feel duty bound to tell you that about 36 hours in the book ends unexpectedly because the author died before she finished it) and I’m excited about reading some more of her books. I could talk about books for days so I’ll stop there, but not before I tell you about my reading plans for 2023. Firstly: I’m not buying any books. I own so many books that I haven’t read that I’m instating a (minimum) year-long ban. There are a couple of exceptions: 1) I’ve preordered Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House paperback edition, 2) I will allow myself to buy sequel’s to books that I’ve read and loved, 3) I will buy books for the FT Embrace book club (usually second hand) if I can’t get them from the library. I’m really excited to read all the books that I’ve been excited about and not got to yet. I’m also excited to be reading War and Peace over the course of the year as part of a huge read along, reading one chapter a day for a year - it’s going to to be a real test of my stamina and I’m sure there’ll be days that I miss / double up, but I’m looking forward to tackling this huge (in all senses) classic with about 500 other people. Another readalong I’m doing in January will be Jane Eyre, my first Brontë which is exciting.
- I’m off now to drink tea and eat cake (after two months of going without I’ve just found a recipe which is healthy enough for me to indulge and I am GOING IN). Happy New Year to you all, let’s catch up again sometime.