Monthnote February 2021

February is a short month, of course, but this one seems to have lasted for ages! Perhaps the impact of lockdown.

The month started with snow, and we had a good amount here in south Lincolnshire, enough for Ruth and I to make a pretty good effort at a snowman. It’s interesting, I think, that there were none of the histrionics that normally accompany heavy snowfall in this country. Most people were at home anyway, so it was fine. Turns out that’s probably what we ought to do every time there is heavy snow – just stay home and get on with things as best you can. It doesn’t last long.

The end of this lockdown appears to be approaching, but for those who are missing their social life, I Miss My Bar is a fun website, providing some ersatz pub-like atmosphere for wherever you happen to be.

I’ve had to start house hunting again – my hopes for being settled in one place for a while were dashed when my landlord put a for sale sign up outside my house! Charming. Hoping I can find somewhere where I can just be for a little while and give me a chance to save up properly for a deposit so I might buy myself a house in the future.

Work continues to be a challenge – there is almost constant change happening, and this brings with it the need for a lot of organising, adjusting, explaining and planning. It is exhausting, particularly when in the context of the pandemic. The (non-covid related) death of a member of the team this month hit many of us hard, especially those that were close to him. A reminder of the important things, and of how fragile life can be.

I’ve not blogged much this month, but have a few ideas for things to write about – and the fact that I have now finally discovered how to write posts in WordPress using the old classic editor might help me a bit! Not a fan of the block editor that has come in recently, so being able to avoid it is great for me.

I published the ‘CDO Chat’ with Kit Collingwood, which at the time of typing has over 550 views, which is amazing given its length and subject matter!

I shall have to find a willing victim for another soon!

I’ve also got my first coaching group organised, and we started things up yesterday. Technically that’s in March though so I shall say no more about it for now.

Book-wise, I thought it had been a slow month, but on checking it turns out I did ok:

  • Judgement on Deltchev, Eric Ambler – pretty good espionage thriller, set in a fictional Eastern European country after the second world war
  • The End of the Affair, Graham Greene – absolutely superb, obviously
  • A Room with a View, E. M. Forster – had a lot of fun reading this, nice to follow the Greene with something rather lighter
  • Asylum, Patrick McGrath – I love McGrath’s unreliable narrators, and this is a classic example. Fantastic writing. Rather oddly, my paperback was missing the first 13 pages of the story (!) so I had to read the start as a free sample on my Kindle!
  • The Anglo-Saxon Age, John Blair – an Oxford Very Short Introduction, a series I love. I’m a bit obsessed with Anglo-Saxons and early English history at the moment (blame lockdown!) and this provides a gloriously concise summary.

This month in movies…

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – almost too whimsical, but some great performances amongst an amazing cast
  • Hail Caesar! – great fun
  • Inside Llewyn Davis – literally nothing happens, but it does so beautifully
  • The Lighthouse – utterly bonkers. I have no idea what happened in this film
  • The Ides of March – a slick political thriller, very engaging

I’ve also really been enjoying the US version of The Office on Netflix, and Channel 4’s Great Pottery Throwdown. Continuing my current obsession with medieval English history, I can also thoroughly recommend 1066 – A Year to Conquer England, which is entertaining and informative, even if it employs some slightly odd and distracting techniques at times.