Wednesday 12 January 2022

The Rest of 2021

 So where was I? November. 

November was an odd month, after more than 2 years at home I was back into work for two days a week. We were told one day would be an 'anchor day' when the whole team had to be in together and the other we could choose. Tuesday was the anchor day for our team so I chose either a Monday or Wednesday alongside it, as I figured I'd rather go in on consecutive days and kind of get it out of the way. 

We no longer have a desk, we have been told it's all about flexible working and hot desking. Which is fine for those travelling to work with a car, not so much so for those of us who walk, cycle or use public transport as you end up having to carry everything you might possibly need for the day. 

In my case that was laptop, charger, mouse, mousemat, work phone, own phone, notebooks, paper, pens and other stationary, 2 pairs of glasses, water bottle, tea mug, teabags, lunch, book. All that alongside my handbag. You get the picture! So we are now fighting to have a locker or set of drawers so we can leave things behind like when we used to have a desk.  

Other than that it was lovely to be back with the rest of the team around me, to be able to talk in person and all of that, but also strangely difficult to concentrate and actually get work done after so long working from home without people and phones and just general noise. The early start for the commute to Oxford was a shock to the system too, not going to lie.

For a bit of fun we had done a Great British Bake Off sweep stake.

We all put in £5 and got a contestant. The week after your contestant went out, you had to make or fake something for the theme of the week they were voted out. I had Amanda and went out on pastry week. So I made mince pies as well as apple or jam turnovers because not everyone likes mince pies, and chocolate whirls with the left over pastry. It was a bit more challenging for us all as like the show itself, one of our team is vegan so we all had to think of a way to make our bakes vegan friendly.

 Little did we know that by the time we got to my week that would be the end of us going into work again. Omicron reared it's ugly head and the University of Oxford was identified as a hot spot so that was us back to working from home again, and I have been ever since.   

Other than that I did a couple of fun things in November. I met Soo and our friend Melissa in Witney. I haven't seen Melissa for well over 2 years now. In fact we were due to have a day out on that very first Saturday of the 1st lockdown so it was long overdue. We had a fab day catching up on all the gossip (and boy was there some - another friend had eloped!) went to a craft fair, had a long lazy lunch and a little Christmas shopping got done too.

I also went to the cinema a couple of times with Himself. First to see Ghostbusters Afterlife which was amazing 

and later to see Spiderman No Way Home which I did not enjoy so much. It was horribly busy as we went on the first night and full of youngsters, hardly any of whom were wearing a mask. I was particularly edgy because I was well overdue for my booster jab, I just hadn't been able to get a slot booked.   

Thankfully we tested negative after that and I haven't been back to the cinema since.

I finally managed to get a booster jab booked for the 14th December at Boots in Oxford. I also finally managed to get another face to face physio appointment at the end of November. This time in the nearby town of Wallingford. I took the bus over and mooched about for a bit before walking to the community hospital where luckily for me and the bus timetable, the person before me had cancelled. That meant I got in early and therefore managed to get out in time for an earlier bus rather than having an hour to wait. The physiotherapist was pleased with my progress, he said I am 95% there, though he did also point out the last 5% is the hardest! I came away with some new exercises which he made me practice to  make sure I was doing them right and has put me on a 6 month retainer. So if I feel I'm not right, or it gets worse again in the next 6 months, I can book another appointment. Overall very good news.

On the 18th December I met Alex and Charlotte in Oxford to have a catch up and go to the Christmas market. Due to various reasons none of us were feeling particularly festive but I have to say by the end of the day we all starting to feel it a bit. 

I love this outtake picture, I think somebody walked up behind me?

We had lunch at the open food market in Gloucester Green before walking to Jericho and stopping at The Victoria pub for mulled wine and prosecco which may or may not have added to the festive spirit. The pub had an open fire, a real Christmas tree as well as loads of real pine swags, it smelt amazing. 

It was so lovely to see them both.  Alex was due to leave Birmingham that week and moved to Liverpool this week so I'm not sure when we will get together again - boo.

For Christmas the plan was to liberate Dad from his care home on the 24th and take him to my brother's house for a buffet. My sister in law Caron's parents were going to be there too, though sadly Nephew Number One was working so we dropped their presents off on the 21st. My Mum was then going to drive over on Christmas day to have lunch with my brother and his in laws and stay the night there, then on boxing day Himself and I were going to go home with her for a couple of days.

Unfortunately on the 22nd Caron tested positive so plans were cancelled. Thankfully we hadn't told Dad about it just in case, and luckily we were able to convert to a care home visit. Annoyingly the office hadn't let his floor know so the staff had got him all dressed up and told him about his visit. He was bewildered and really very upset when it didn't happen which was frankly bloody awful. I was so pissed off with yet another fuck up but let's not go there! And breathe.

Soo popped by for a couple of hours on Christmas eve to exchange pressies and have a quick catch up and Himself had a long zoom call with one of his oldest friends who due to restrictions was stuck in a hotel in Munich with just 4 other guests for company! 

So yes, Christmas plans changed and we ended up going over to Mum's on Christmas day at about 2pm and staying until the 27th. 

Before that we had a lie-in, followed by boiled eggs for breakfast, before cracking open some buck's fizz and opening our pressies. Mum had found a chicken in the freezer so when we got to hers we prepped the veg and opened more fizz and had chicken and roast veggies for Christmas lunch with trifle for pudding. I have to say we were all fine with that as none of us is actually a huge fan of turkey. 

We had a hugely lazy time, sleeping, reading, doing jigsaws and playing with Bobby the cat. He was actually surprisingly friendly this time round and even jumped onto the bed for cuddles by the second morning.  

We did go out for a couple of walks but as we got fed to within an inch of our lives I don't think they achieved much other than some fresh air.

I also crafted. I got given a kit to make 3 felt bauble decorations. Of course me being me, I bought more felt and made loads. In fact I'm still am making some as I cut out a load, I will admit I've loved it, coming up with my own designs has been fun .

As ever I got some fab presents.

can you tell I like Snoopy??

More books to add to the book mountain. 

Talking of books I'll finish with my Goodreads list of books read in 2021. As you can see there are a couple of sets. I reread A Discovery of Witches and then read the rest of the series. Charlotte had warned me they got worse and worse as the series progressed and sadly she wasn't wrong. The last one was dreadful.

The Nicola Upson ones were a set of 5 from my book club, I then bought the rest of the set. Weirdly I loved some of them and some were just 'meh'.

The Elly Griffiths books were due to me buying one for 50p in a charity shop, absolutely loving it and finding it was number seven in a series. So of course I had to buy the rest of the set! 

I loved them all and actually feel a bit bereft now I have finished them. 

Tombland- C J Sansom
The Peanuts Book – A visual history of the iconic comic strip –Simon Beecroft
The American Boy – Andrew Taylor
The Familiars – Stacey Halls
Grown Ups – Marian Keyes
The Corset – Laura Purcell
A Single Thread – Tracey Chevalier
The Monogram Murders – Sophie Hannah
Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle - Clare Hunter
A Year at the Chateau – Dick Strawbridge
The Natural Beauty of Cornwall - Peter Maxted
Birds of a Feather – Jacqueline Winspear
Art Deco Fashion – Gordon Kerr
The Secret History of the Handbag – Meredith Etherington-Smith
Liberty & Co in the Fifties and Sixties – Anne Buruma
Seeing Things: An Autobiography – Oliver Postgate
Amphibious Thing: The Life or Lord Hervey – Lucy Moore
Girl Balancing & Other Stories – Helen Dunmore
The Kid on Slapton Beach – Felicity Fair Thompson
It’s so Easy (and other lies) – Duff McKagan
How to be a Man – Duff Mckagan
The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman
Invisible Girl – Lisa Jewell
The Binding – Bridget Collins
The Guest List – Lucy Foley
The Ghost Fields - Elly Griffiths
A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
Shadow of Night – Deborah Harkness
A Book of Life – Deborah Harkness
Eight Detectives – Alex Pavesi
The Crossing Places – Elly Griffiths
Times Convert – Deborah Harkness
A Expert in Murder – Nicola Upson
Angel with Two Faces – Nicola Upson
The Janus Stone – Elly Griffiths
Two for Sprrow – Nicola Upson
Fear of Sunlight – Nicola Upson
The Death of Lucy Kyte – Nicola Upson
London Rain – Nicola Upson
Nine Lessons – Nicola Upson
Sorry for the Dead – Nicola Upson
The House at Sea’s End – Elly Griffiths
Bandaging the Blitz – Phyll McDonald- Ross
A Room Full of Bones – Elly Griffiths
Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham – Emily Bingham
A Dying Fall – Elly Griffiths
The Mistress of Mayfair – Lindsey Spence
The Outcast Dead – Elly Griffiths
Surviving Tenko: The Story of Margot Turner – Penny Starns
The Woman in Blue – Elly Griffiths
The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe – Sarah Churchwell
The Chalk Pit – Elly Griffiths
The Dark Angel – Elly Griffiths
The Stone Circle – Elly Griffiths
The Lantern Men – Elly Griffiths
The Night Hawks – Elly Griffiths

Overall I read more books that I enjoyed this year and ranked lots of them 3 or 4 though surprisingly no 5's at all this year. I was clearly being tough this year.