December Reflections 11: best decision of 2022, and Week-end

A blanket and a cushion in the corner of a sofa

I think it’s a bit early to call the best decision of 2022. I don’t know how a lot of them are going to work out. Although I can say that I’m glad to have made them, rather than vaguely hoping that they’ll sort themselves out without any input from me.

In the meantime, I can report that taking a nap has pretty much always turned out to be a good move.

The good

Lunch with friends today. Hadn’t seen them in ages and it was very good to catch up.

The mixed

Yesterday I took a long walk around Ely delivering Christmas cards. It was absolutely beautiful in the frosty sunlight – at one point I turned a corner and saw the cathedral all lit up in rose gold – but it really brought home how tired I’m getting, because I had to sit on a bench for a long time before I felt up to walking the last twenty minutes home, and then I was falling asleep on the sofa and had to take a nap.

The difficult and perplexing

Things got a bit much for me at work. I’ve been feeling like rather a fraud lately – largely down to the fatigue and the accompanying lack of focus.

What’s working

Thermal leggings. Double socks.


Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Rosamund Hodge) – a fantasy take on Romeo and Juliet with zombies and blood magic. Enough has been changed to keep me guessing, and the generally gothic atmosphere fits beautifully.

And today, Licence To Queer’s Queer Re-view of Skyfall – long and fascinating. (Also it quotes me, which is gratifying, particularly since I’m about to delete the ‘Writing’ heading in this post, on account of I haven’t done any.)


Gloriana (Benjamin Britten) – English National Opera. This was billed as a ‘concert performance’, which in practice meant that the chorus was on a stepped platform and the principals moved and acted and sang in front of them. This worked reasonably well, although I think the big set pieces suffered from a lack of movement – particularly the dance at Whitehall, where the so-called volta wouldn’t have raised so much as a ladylike glow.

I found it sad and moving and, as I said on Thursday, very listenable. I can see why it was a flop in 1953, though, and I wonder what on earth Britten was thinking. It’s not a coronation piece. You really need an audience who’s watched Glenda Jackson demythologise Good Queen Bess.

Anyway, it’s probably the only time I’ll ever get to see it, and for that reason alone I’m glad I did. (And Willard White was in it, singing two bit parts. Easily the biggest opera name I’ve seen live.)

Otherwise, winter sports. Having tracked biathlon down to Eurovision Sports Live (it’s all but disappeared from Eurosport) I’ve had that on in the background while I’ve been doing various tasks, and it’s been the Grand Prix Final this weekend.

Looking at

Forgot to mention last week: I looked into St Mary’s, Ely, to see what it looks like post-refurbishment. I was impressed – it feels much lighter and airier, there’s more that can be done with the space, and the more interesting features are showcased rather than hidden away.


A thing out of Jack Monroe’s tin can book involving chickpeas and spinach, except I used cannellini beans and leftover cabbage. Worked fine.


Delicious turkey lunch cooked by the friends we were visiting, and most excellent mince pies made by the friend who gave us a lift there. We have good friends.


Long Christmas-card-delivering walk, as mentioned above.


An extremely productive Friday. And an instant freezer meal for when I hit the wall at seven o’clock.


I did very well in Oxfam and picked up an omnibus of Joan Aiken’s Armitage stories and a couple of the Bagthorpes series.

In internet shopping: one pair of teal corduroy trousers, one pair of burgundy corduroy dungarees, one box of perfume samples.

Line of the week

From Queer Re-View: Skyfall:

And even when the story is over, many of us perpetuate the fantasy in a multitude of ways: playing the film soundtracks allows us to enact our lives as spies, even when we’re just commuting to work; we can pretend we’re experiencing the luxurious existence of an agent on a generous expense account by making cocktails at the weekends in our kitchens; we can literally walk in Bond’s shoes (or a pair that look like them if we can’t afford Crockett & Jones).

This coming week

Is going to be very cold (by UK standards) and I’m glad to be mostly working from home.

Anything you’d like to share from this week? Any hopes for next week? Share them here!

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