Wednesday 26 December 2018

Seven Things I’d Quite Like to Do in 2018 — How Did I Get On?

Back in January I posted a list of seven things I’d quite like to do in 2018. I shared a mid-year update, but how did I get on overall?

1. Read Two Books


The two books I originally selected to read (actually to reread) were Talk Like TED, by Carmine Gallo, and Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard.

I didn’t finish the first and haven’t started the second but I did reread Alan Garner’s The Owl Service, and Fran and I recently finished A Fatal Obsession, the latest thriller by Maine author James Hayman.

2. Bring My Weight Back under 180 Pounds


As I reported back in June, I’d had very little success through the first half of the year, but I finally found the motivation to do something about it.

I brought my weight down from 192 lbs to around 178 – 180 lbs, where it has remained for a month or so. My intention is to press on again to reattain the weight I was at a few years ago when I first brought myself down from 200 lbs. Watch this space!

3. Have One Weekend Away From Home


This one sprang from the lovely weekend I spent last year attending a mental health event organised by Talking FreELY. I envisioned something similar during 2018 and almost got my wish when the opportunity arose to be one of the guest speakers at a Let’s Talk Mental Health event in Leeds in November. Unfortunately the event had to be postponed, but I look forward to attending next year if and when it is rescheduled.

I did, in fact, have one weekend away from home, but not in the way I anticipated (“Be careful what you ask for”). As I reported in my mid-year update, my mother died in early March and I travelled down to Liverpool with my family at the end of that month for her funeral.

4. Attend Two Speaking Engagements


As I just mentioned, one speaking opportunity had to be rescheduled, but I haven’t done too badly over all. I was proud to take part in the Laughing Lasses pantomime in May as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. I read two of Fran’s poems, A Wild Hair and Urgency, and excerpts from our book High Tide, Low Tide.

I performed some of my own poetry for the first time in February at the Newcastle Literary Salon’s event on the theme of Love and Loss. I read at the Literary Salon again at the end of October, and the following month at Bar Loco’s weekly open mic event. It meant a lot to me to perform my poetry, all of it written many years ago, to very appreciative audiences.

I have also recently presented at two work events, talking about the mental health initiatives we are putting in place within the company (BPDTS).

5. See Three Movies at the Cinema


I began the year well, seeing Darkest Hour at Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema, but never seemed to find the time to watch anything else. On the other hand, Fran and I have watched a lot of movies together courtesy of Skype and Netflix.

Two stand out for me. PS: I Love You moved me far more than I anticipated. Fran and I both felt Before Sunrise, which is an achingly beautiful depiction of new, almost accidental, love.

I’m not a huge Jim Carrey fan but we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas last week. I’m man enough to admit I was in tears at the end as the Grinch and all the Whos of Whoville unite in finding the true spirit of the season.

6. Find a Use for My Standard Midori


I have carried my larger, Standard, Midori around with me for much of the year. I have used it to draft many of the articles I have written for our own blog here at Gum On My Shoe and also my articles for bp Magazine.

I love the lightweight paper insert (insert 013) which has 128 fine blank pages, compared to the regular inserts which have 64 pages. There is some ghosting but no bleeding with the finer paper, which is perfect for me.

I filled one regular insert at the start of the year blogging Fran’s four week trip to Mexico. You can read our travel journal in five parts starting here.

7. Shoot a Roll of Film


I am delighted to report that this one is achieved! I bought a couple of rolls of black and white 35 mm film for my Zorki 4K rangefinder camera and had a great time talking photos in Newcastle and along the north-east coast.

I sent the film off with some trepidation. It was many years since I shot film at all and even longer since I did so on a fully manual camera with no light meter. (Thank heavens for Sunny 16!) I was delighted to find almost every photograph came out decently exposed and in focus where it was meant to be in focus.

I have yet to try a roll of film in my father’s Kodak Brownie 44B, but I still intend to do so.

I recently saw a Diana F+ camera on sale by a friend of mine on Depop. I leapt at the opportunity to try out one of the classic lomography models, so keep an eye out for some more film photography in the coming year.

In summary, then, it’s not been a bad year in terms of achieving the things I quite fancied doing. I haven’t yet drawn up my list of Things I’d Quite Like to Do in 2019, but I am interested to see what I might come up with. Feel free to suggest something!


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