Friday 28 December 2018

Goodbye 2018

So 2019 is almost upon us but 2018, so far, has been a fairly good year – much better than the previous two years that’s for sure. I’ve neglected the blog a bit this year, which is a shame really. To be honest I’m still in two minds as to whether I should actually continue with it.  For now I will but I may decide to end it next year. Let’s see how it goes.

For now, I shall post my traditional summary of the year with a series of questions that I dust off annually around this time of year.

1.What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

I didn’t really do anything new this year but I did discover something that has proved to be quite useful. While on holiday, I read something about forming habits that intrigued me. The idea is that if you force yourself to do something every day, it will naturally become a habit after 66 days. I was very interested in this so I downloaded an application to my phone that helps you to record your chosen habit and reminds you if you forget. The application is called HabitBull and so far I have used it to force myself to learn Spanish words every day and also do something called Freewriting, which is basically where you sit in front of a blank sheet of paper and write whatever comes into your head, ignoring grammar, spelling and, most importantly of all, self-criticism.

With the help of HabitBull I have achieved 111 days of consecutive Spanish study (only a few minutes a day) and 54 consecutive days of Freewriting.

Not bad eh? I plan to add new habits in 2019.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I started off trying to be more positive and it worked for the first part of the year. I also gave myself some monthly goals which also worked until around June. I shall try a few resolutions this year but I don’t know what they will be yet.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Two very good friends of mine became grandparents this year – I guess that counts.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

An old workmate of mine died earlier this year. He was only 61.

5. What countries did you visit?

This year was great for travel. In April we visited some friends in Abu Dhabi. We also had a long weekend in Porto, Portugal and Brindisi in Italy.

I revisited Croatia for the first time in almost thirty years with a week in Porec and we had a late summer week in Marbella.

Sunset in Marbella

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?

I would like common sense to prevail and for the UK to finally scrap Brexit. I am currently embarrassed for my country and the fucking mess that we are in thanks to stupid politicians who are thinking of their own self-interest rather than the country.

I feel like we are turkeys that have voted in favour of Christmas.

We are fucking idiots!

7. What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

No specific dates but I will remember the period between May and September where we had the hottest summer on record. It was hotter in the UK during those months than in some places in Europe.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I stupidly agreed to climb the Old Man of Coniston, a small mountain in the Lake District. It was a test of how fit I am and, while I managed it, I was bloody knackered at the end of it. While that sounds like a hard thing to do, it wasn’t really because there are paths up the mountain – but it was steep and once we reached the top, we walked down and around it. In total it was a nine mile walk. The pint of ale at the end of the walk when we returned to Coniston was the best pint I had all year.

As an aside, this blog reached it’s 10 year anniversary.

View from the Old Man of Coniston
9. What was your biggest failure?

Probably to lose weight. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not fat but I did have a vague plan to lose about 6 pounds. Instead I am the same weight as this time last year. I’ll probably try again in 2019.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Only aching limbs after climbing a mountain.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I bought a Kindle Paperwhite because my old Kindle suddenly died. I can read the new Kindle in the dark – which is a great thing.

Sadly, however, a month after the Kindle Paperwhite arrived, I found the old dead Kindle and impulsively tried it – and the bloody thing started working.

So now I have two Kindles! I guess I can use the old one as a spare.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

My PM award this year goes to the England football team who, against all odds, managed to reach the World Cup semi-finals, winning a penalty shootout on the way. I have never hugged so many strangers in the space of a month in my life.

Oh My GOD! We won a penalty shootout!!
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

Donald J Trump is still President and still being an utter dickhead!

Theresa May and her government are still fucking up everything and thanks to them we are the laughing stock of the world.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Holidays and redecoration of the lounge. But the good news is that we have paid of the mortgage!


15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

England’s World Cup campaign is a tough one to beat but I was quite excited about going to Croatia. 

Also, I saw Polish progressive rock band Riverside for the first time (see next question).

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?

Lament by the wonderful Riverside.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

I am much happier, almost the same weight  and possibly a little richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I’ve neglected this blog and writing in general. Thankfully, Freewriting may help and my decision on whether to continue the blog partly depends on this.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


20. How will you spend New Year's Eve?

We’re going to Chester this year to have a meal and dance with some friends.

21. Did you fall in love in 2018?

No need. Mrs PM is still here with me.

22. What was your favourite TV program?

I like the Netflix superhero series and the new Doctor Who with Jodie Whitaker.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. I still hate Trump, Morgan, Farage et al.

24. What was the best book you read?

I thoroughly enjoyed the Pandemic  and Genome by AG Riddle.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I discovered a new Progressive Rock supergroup called Sons of Apollo. Not a bad band at all.

26. What did you want and get?

A fantastic summer.

27. What did you want and not get?

And end to Brexit.

28. What was your favourite film of this year?

I loved Avengers: Infinity War and I also thoroughly enjoyed Mission Impossible: Fallout.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was on holiday in Marbella and Mrs PM took me out for a lovely meal. I am 56 years old.

30. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Nothing this year really.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

My aim as usual is to try not to look like a total dickhead when I go out. Mrs PM helps me achieve that because I couldn’t do it on my own.

32. What kept you sane?

My beautiful Mrs PM as usual.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I saw Nightwish in December so I shall nominate their lead singer, Floor Jansen.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Fucking Brexit!

35. Who did you miss?

The people I usually miss. Nobody new.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I’ve met quite a few new people this year – all of them great.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.

Never trust a broken Kindle.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

You've got the future on your side
You gonna be fine now
I know whatever you decide
You're gonna shine
Don't let the day go by
Don't let it end
Don't let a day go by, in doubt
You're ready to begin

And finally...

I’m looking forward to 2019 – another year older but another year closer to retirement.

And who knows? Maybe The Plastic Mancunian blog may be here this time next year.