§ Given we were hardly expecting to see anyone over Christmas anyway, we had Covid Christmas pretty easy. Our only obligation was to cook a load of food, for ourselves, on Christmas Day. I sometimes think all the cooking should be done on Christmas Eve, then you wouldn’t even have to do any cooking on the Day itself, just heat up the untouched leftovers. But, maybe, removing these final shreds of occasion, in favour of doing nothing, isn’t fully in the spirit.
§ § Having been here nearly a year, this week was time to get our car MOT’d and serviced for the first time, a process during which the concept of “just a couple of hours” continued to expand until it stretched across three tiresome days, not helped by the garage’s inability to call us, as promised, when anything had been done. What a pain cars are. Who’d live somewhere where you need a car to get anywhere?! Madness.
On the plus side, on one of those days we walked from the garage into the centre of Hereford along a pedestrian and cycle path through wetlands, over the Canary Bridge, through Castle Green, and along streets of nice houses — all of which was entirely new to us. We saw quite a few people cycling, often older non-lycra cyclists, which was great seeing as much of the rest of the centre is an unfriendly traffic-clogged mess.
I’m not going to become a Hereford stan (How do you do, fellow kids?) but it was good to see nice bits of the city that we’d previously been oblivious of. And which reminds me that a few weeks back I meant to include this performance of a poem about the city, which is nicely done:
§ This week we finished watching We Are Who We Are (on iPlayer), “a coming-of-age story set on a US army base in Italy, the series follows two American 14-year-olds”. On the whole it was good. It was nice watching something that wasn’t in a rush, that had the patience to let scenes unfold and give characters time to think and to wonder.
But most of those characters were really annoying: selfish, petulant, self-absorbed, self-important, and entitled. None of which is required when you’re “finding yourself”, the general theme here for both adults and teenagers. It was a good achievement that sometimes I’d sympathise with someone’s situation only moments after they’d been a total arse – Jack Dylan Grazer’s Fraser was great for this, with a lovely performance as a confused, unconfident teenager (who is also a total arse).
§ We followed that up with a whiz through season one of Industry (on iPlayer): it “follows a group of young graduates competing for … positions at … a prestigious investment bank in London”. Its soapy nonsense was a welcome change after the earnestness of We Are Who We Are and it was really great fun.
I’d be interested to know how people who are currently in their early twenties find it. An easy comparison is with 1996’s This Life which I really enjoyed at the time, when I was in my mid-twenties, similar to its actors and, I guess, characters. They seemed pretty grown up in many ways to me then, I think, with their jobs in law and their sex and their drugs.
But now, watching Industry, I look at the graduates, the actors around 23, 24, 25 now, and I think, “Oh bless, such little children!” The characters are having even more sex and drugs than their 1990s counterparts but they all seem so young and clueless, which at least makes me feel like I have grown up. I’m now middle-aged and clueless.
§ Among other Christmas specials we watched Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy and that was really lovely, bringing a tear to the eye. Its modern-day, childrens’ TV world is still slightly odd, a bit too nice, like “what if Enid Blyton but without racism and sexism?” But whatever, just go with it.
§ We’re nearly there! It’s almost a new year and (up here) the days are getting longer. Keep holding on.