Friday 29 December 2023

Goodbye 2023 - Part 2

Welcome to a dull grey old South Manchester. Winter is here, the days are short and the weather is poor. But at least it isn’t raining.

Christmas is over for another year and New Year is just around the corner. Before the big day, here is Part Two of a summary of 2023, questions as usual from Sunday Stealing.

1. What did you do this year that you had not done before? 

I was called up for jury service. I thought that I would get away with it but in early December, a letter appeared through my letterbox telling me that I would have to turn up at court for the last two weeks of December. I had no choice unless my company objected to it or I had a valid reason for not attending (for example being on holiday – that kind of thing). 

In the end, because it was so close to Christmas I ended up only doing a week and I was on a small trial. It was all very interesting and formal and I actually quite enjoyed the experience. I think I am now safe from ever doing it again but I think I would approach it positively in the unlikely event that I ever get called again. 

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions/goals for the year and will you make/set more for next year?  What are they? What are your new ones?

I did keep my resolutions and I am in the process of deciding what to do next year. 

I’ve carried on with learning Spanish and playing the piano and although progress is slow on both I am improving. I have also started writing a novel which is also progressing very slowly but I have a story and an ending. I also have a better plan for a memoir of sorts based on my experiences of travelling. I may start that next year but it is still at  the planning stage. 

I am still writing a daily “journal” of sorts, which is more like “freewriting” where you basically write any old crap daily. It doesn’t have to be good or grammatically correct; you just have to write. 

Next year I plan to take some of the stuff out of that (the nuggets in the pile of rubbish if you like) and turn them into blog posts. I have been doing Sunday Stealing for a while now with little else but I want to return to the type of blog posts I used to write up until a couple of years ago. Expect to see more blog posts in 2024. I shall almost certainly continue with Sunday Stealing because it’s fun.

My other goals won’t change that much – just more of the same. 

We also plan to travel again this year although we have pushed Malaysia back to the start of 2025. We will probably go to Spain, France and Morocco in 2024. It would be nice to add another new country to the list – that may happen. 

3. Did anyone you know give birth? Or get pregnant? 

No, I don’t think so.

4. Did anyone you know die? Or have a serious illness? 

Not this year, thank goodness.

5. What places did you visit? 

We travelled to Spain (Tenerife), Morocco, Italy (Sicily), Croatia and I went to the Netherlands for a university reunion. 

I had never been to Morocco before; it was a great experience and we are thinking of going again next year. We spent a long weekend exploring Marrakesh. We had a lot of fun. 

Bahia Palace Marrakesh

Marrakesh Sunset

In Croatia we went to Dubrovnik for a week and I would thoroughly recommend it. It is a beautiful city. We also visited a couple of other places that aren’t too far away. 

Dubrovnik Old Town from above

Dubrovnik Old Town 

Sicily was wonderful. We spent a week in Taormina, which is a beautiful little town in vicinity of Mount Etna, a still active volcano. Thankfully it didn’t erupt while we were there. 

Mount Etna (from a distance)

Taormina from above

In the Netherlands, I met three of my old university friends in Amsterdam, a city I know very well. In our weekend there I acted a tour guide because I have worked there so many times I know the place almost as well as I know the back of my hand. 

Four Reprobates in Front of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (I'm the one in front)

6. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year (doesn't have to be a physical thing)? 

Nothing really. I’m not a fan of having our house disrupted and that happened this year with the redecoration of the back room, stairs and landing as well as the loft. So I would like less disruption at home – and I know that I am going to get it because we have no plans for anything like that in 2024.

7. What date from this year will remain etched in your memory and why? 

No dates stand out this year. I guess Mrs PMs birthday stands out a little because we went down to London to see the Abba Voyage show, which was surprisingly good. 

Talking of gigs, I saw three of my favourite bands/artists this year: Devin Townsend, Riverside and Porcupine Tree. They stand out because they were amazing. 

8. What was your biggest achievement this year? 

No one thing stands out but I have managed to maintain my daily habits so that counts. I have probably walked further this year than I have walked in previous years (the total mileage will be around 1565 miles if I stick to my step plan for the remaining couple of days of the year).

9. Did you get sick or injured? Anyone you know? 

Apart from a couple of minor colds, I was fine this year. A couple of friends and work colleagues came down with Covid-19 but were fine now it seems to be far less nasty than it has been in the past. 

10. What was the best thing you bought? 

It’s sad to say this but the furniture for our back room is probably the best thing; two new teal sofas, a new desk for me to work on, a new light, new flooring and a new mirror. Also the basic loft conversion we had to allow us to store more stuff up there. 

11. Where did most of your disposable income go (money left over after you pay for food, transportation and shelter)? 

Holidays and home improvements. I love holidays so they were well worth it. Home improvements? I hate them but it does look good so it was worth it. 

12. What song will always remind you of this year? 

On Spotify, this is my most played song of 2023. As you can imagine I love it. I present “Friend or Foe” by Riverside.

13. What do you wish you would have done more of? 

We were planning to go to Sweden (another new country) this year but home improvements proved to be more important (sadly). So I would like to perhaps do a couple more city breaks (starting with Stockholm) in 2024 – whether it happens or not I don’t know but I hope so.

14. What do you wish you would have done less of? 

Working. That may change in 2024.

15. What was your favourite new TV program? Movie? Album/Songs? Or if you didn't pick up any new ones, what are you still watching/listening to?

Favourite New TV Programme: The Last Kingdom:

Favourite Movie: Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One:

Favourite Album: “ID.Entity” by Riverside – here’s “I’m Done With You”:

Another Favourite Song: “Impossible Tightrope” by Steven Wilson:

Happy New Year everybody. I hope 2024 is an amazing year for you all.


Elephant's Child said...

Happy New Year. I have never been called for jury duty, and nor has my partner. I think it could be very interesting indeed.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Yes - it was far more intersting than I imagined it would be.




Roger Owen Green said...

Both my wife and 19 y.o. Daughter got called for jury duty. The daughter postponed bc she's away at college, but my wife has to report on Jan 8.

You should blog more. I've been doing it daily since May 2005. Of course, I'm obsessive/compulsive. Your trips would make good fodder. When I went to France, I got at least a half dozen posts, after the fact.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Roger,

Yes - I should definitely blog more - and that is the plan - not daily (until I retire at least) but more.

Daily since 2005 is amazing.




CountryDew said...

I have not heard of The Last Kingdom, it looks good. Maybe it will show up here. Happy New Year to you and the Mrs.

Lisa said...

I was called up for jury duty a few years ago but was released. They didn't need me. Then I was called up right after our home burned and they accepted that as an excuse. I've heard it can be very interesting.

Donna. W said...

We watched The Last Kingdom to the end and enjoyed it.

Bev Sykes said...

I was called for jury duty this year, after many years, but since I'm now 80, they have disqualified me forever.

I have been writing my daily on line journal now for 23 years, since March 2000.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

You should watch it. Vikings and Saxons and Alfred the Great.

It's great fun.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lisa,

I wonder whether the UK government would have allowed a fire as an excuse? I'm sure they would.

And yes - it was intersting.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Donna,

It's amazing isn't it?




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

Yes - our age limit is 75 - so only another 14 years before I am too old.

Well done on your journal. I'm in year six now.