Friday 22 December 2023

Goodbye 2023

Welcome to South Manchester on a dull, grey, windy day with light rain that somehow manages to get into every nook and cranny during a daily walk. It’s quite mild for the time of year though.

I’ve finished work for the year now (yesterday was my last day) and I’m looking forward to a couple of weeks off before returning. Pity the weather isn’t better.

We’re off to Blackpool for Christmas Eve/Christmas Day to visit Mrs PM’s folks before returning and relaxing until New Year. It should be fun.

The questions from Sunday Stealing this week seem to relate to New Year and I usually provide a summary anyway, so this is likely to be the first of a two or three parter. Shall we dive in?

1. Who did you spend time with this year?

The same people I spent time with in 2022 largely. We are now expected to go into the office twice a week now so I probably spent more time with work friends and colleagues over the year. It’s a bit of a pain going into the office because Covid is still around and there have been a couple of scares. For example we had a huge meeting with about thirty people crammed into an office and two days later discovering that one person actually had Covid. I didn’t catch it this year thankfully. It does seem to be doing the rounds again though, thankfully, it is a much milder illness now. 

2. Anything change with the pets in your life?

Not at all. The still rule us with a rod of iron. Star in particular is fascinated by the cursor on my screen and sits in front of the monitor watching it as I move it around. To anybody watching this, it would appear that she is supervising me and making sure that my work reaches her highest standards. It’s funny too; when I move the cursor off the edge of the screen she looks behind to try to find it. 

3. What was your job like this year? What do you do? Did any roles or assignments change? If you aren’t employed, base this question on your work at home or volunteering.

As I said above, we are now expected to go into the office for two days a week. I am actually much more productive at home. The management use words like “collaboration” and similar bullshit terms to justify this but the truth is that companies are spending money on offices and want them used. They never say this though – they think we are stupid. 

Work wise my job was the same – frustrating, sometimes tedious, occasionally interesting. To be honest, now I don’t let it get to me at all, and while I have had a reputation for comedy ranting, I don’t even do that anymore. I do like the majority of my workmates, I have to say.

I don’t have that long left before I retire so there’s no point ranting anymore.

4. What was the best book you read this year?  How many did you read?

I’ve read quite a few books this year, mostly science fiction but a trilogy of horror stories set in 19th century England which were a minor diversion from the norm. I think the one I enjoyed most was a time travel novel by A.G.Riddle called Lost in Time.

5. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? Did you feel differently? 

I am now 61 years old and I went to one of my favourite local restaurants on my birthday with Mrs PM. I haven’t felt different for the past twenty years to be honest. I have calmed down a little bit and I am more sensible but if I met my 40 year old self I think we would have a fun time together. 

6. What political or social issue stirred you the most? 

Where do I start? The Conservative government this year has been as ludicrous and incompetent as ever. Rishi Sunak is the latest in a list of useless Prime Ministers, though he is nowhere near as bad as Boris Johnson who wins two awards – the most incompetent Prime Minister we have ever had and the biggest liar in the office of Prime Minister. He’s also nowhere near as bad as Liz Truss who was Prime Minister for just 49 days and in that time crashed the economy. Nevertheless he is a weak useless fool who has made five pledges/promises and failed to achieve any of them.

There is an election next year thank goodness and I hope for the sake of my sanity that we turf these buggers out!

I might seriously consider leaving the UK if they win again.

7. Who was the most interesting new person you met?

I’ve met a couple of new people this year and they are all very interesting. I can’t single one of them out.

8. What changed in your home? 

We have had the back room of my house redecorated along with the hall stairs and landing. We have replaced almost all of the furniture and the stairs and landing carpet. We have also replaced the carpet in the back room with LVT because it looks better and is easier to clean (especially with cats). I have a new desk too and a set of new pictures scattered around as well as two lovely teal sofas that the cats love to sprawl on.

My man cave looks bright, clean and new.

We also had the filthy old loft converted into a proper store room with a membrane to keep it clean. There is lots of room up there now and it is full of my old knick-knacks and memorabilia that Mrs PM says that I “hoard”. I don’t – and there is tons of room up there for much more. 

9. What have you learned throughout the year? (Other than crafts)  Can be a new skill or a life lesson.

My piano playing has improved a lot and so has my Spanish. I haven’t taken on anything new apart from trying Italian after a trip to Sicily. I think I might give that up though because it is affecting my Spanish (the two languages are similar but different enough to make me use Italian words in Spanish by mistake).

10. What was your favourite outfit for warm weather? Cooler weather?  what do you wear when you dress up? Any new clothes or accessories you really love?

When the weather is warm you will find me in a T-shirt or polo shirt and shorts.

When the weather is cooler you will also find me in a T-shirt or polo shirt but it depends on the temperature. I may wear a jumper or a shirt. Today for example I am wearing a sweat shirt with a T-shirt underneath as I bum around the house. I also wear jeans.

When I dress up, it depends where I am going. For a meal, I will wear a shirt with jeans or chinos. For a wedding or something like that I will wear a shirt and tie and a suit (at least until the party starts when I will lose the tie and jacket).

11. Did you make or give up on any efforts to be healthier? Diet, water, exercise etc?

I have increased my step count from last year. Hot off the press – my average step count so far is this year is 8704 per day (4.29 miles per day). This is compared to 8218 per day in 2023 (4.12 miles per day). If I keep this up for the last few days of the year I will have walked 1566 miles this year.

My diet hasn’t changed that much. I eat lots of fruit, drink lots of water and eat a fairly balanced diet. I tend to let myself go a little at the weekend but overall I think I am okay.

I will also try to be healthier in January as usual. I don’t believe in abstinence so although my consumption of alcohol will go down, I will never attempt “Dry January”. 

12. Fave meals, snacks, desserts, restaurants etc? Eat out or eat in?

I love almost every cuisine in the world – I can’t single out a favourite.

My favourite snack is cheese on toast (which I haven’t actually had for a while). 

I like eating in and eating out.

A bit of a boring answer that one – sorry.

13. Did you learn any new crafts or techniques? What was your favourite thing you made? 

Nope. When it comes to crafts I am terrible.

14. What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?  (Some suggestions-family, travel, work, lifestyle, hobbies, pets, appearance)

I hope to improve on the piano and perhaps go to a proper class to improve my Spanish communication.

I will possibly look for a new hobby, perhaps related to music. 

It goes without saying that I will travel. We were going to go to Malaysia next year but I think this will be in January 2025 now because of the weather. It’s fair to say that we will be in Europe somewhere though.

15. What was the best new/new-to-you thing you a) bought b) made c) acquired in some other way?

Best thing I bought? I would say it was everything I mentioned in Question 8 to improve the house, which involved actually “making” stuff also (well – building a cupboard from IKEA).


Elephant's Child said...

Enjoy your time off, Christmas and the New Year - as I am sure you will.

Bev Sykes said...

I was a French major in college and many years later, we had a lot of Brasilian kids living with us for various periods of time and I kind of picked up Portuguese. But I found that if I was trying to think in Portuguese but couldn't think of the word, the word I thought of was in French. My brain was in "foreign language" mode.

Roger Owen Green said...

Do you think your PMs are bad? The US has an excellent chance of re-electing a twice-impeached, multiple-indicted cult leader as President.

I'll undoubtedly revisit the year also.

Lisa said...

As always, I enjoyed your answers! Have a wonderful Christmas!!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I certainly will.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

I still do that. I can speak a little French and I get mixed up with SPanish and French smetimes after all these years. Italian adds to the confusion.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Roger,

I know what you mean about Trump. There are still idiots here who love Boris Johnson.

I despair.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lisa,

I hope Father Christmas brings you everything you want.




CountryDew said...

I hope you and the Mrs. have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy yourselves. I read all the time, and have trouble picking out a favorite book. Usually whatever I am reading is my favorite until it isn't, although some books are simply bad from the get-go. I do wonder how they ever get published. Congrats on the ongoing piano effort and the Spanish. Self-improvement is excellent! I am afraid I have been remiss in that this past year.

Kwizgiver said...

I wish you a wonderful holiday!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

Yes. It takes a little discipline but if it becomes a habit it is much easier.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

Happy Holidays.




Pandora Behr said...

A very happy season and new year to you, Mrs PM and the cats.


Pandora and Lucifer

Plastic Mancunian said...

Thanks Pand,