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w/e 2021-01-10

Hello Chuckles.

§ I’ve watched this video of Fiona Apple singing a cover of The Whole of the Moon in a recording studio a few times this week. I don’t have any great affection for the song – it’s fine – but I love watching her give so much to it. (Excuse the camerawork: the operator was using a new camera and had forgotten her glasses.)

I watch something like that, or some great acting, and think about sitting at my desk tapping out code to make a website and… I don’t know, it feels like something’s missing.

I’ve tried putting my whole voice and body into screaming while writing tests for a website authentication system, but I’m not sure it helped.

§ Earlier this week I mostly wanted to stay in bed for the rest of the year. First it was the realisation that, given lack of vaccinations, all this is going to go on throughout 2021.

And then it was the continued wearying effects of so many people having their most pessimistic predictions repeatedly proved right, but treated with belated surprise by those with any power to make them wrong. Brexit, covid… so many of us see problems coming, only to be told everything will be just fine, until it’s too late to do anything about them. Over and over again. It’s exhausting. You know, quite apart from being lethal.

In the UK we have more than 1,000 people dying every day because of Covid. Australia have had 909 in total, and only 12 in the past three months.

It would be very, very nice if us Cassandras were (a) wrong more often and (b) weren’t governed by a bunch of self-interested cocks who won’t suffer any consequences for killing thousands.

Let’s not even start talking about America.

§ December lured me in to a false sense of security. I was thinking “it’s winter now but it’s not that cold!” I forgot that December isn’t real winter. This week real winter began and while sat at the computer my torso has mostly been wearing:

  • Icebreaker merino wool thermal vest*
  • M&S cotton t-shirt
  • Arc’teryx wool/fleece A2B Vinton jacket
  • Muji fleece jacket
  • Patagonia down body warmer**

It’s possible that 13ºC is too cold for indoors and we just need to put the heating on more.

* Or “base layer” to sound cooler.
** Or “vest” or “gilet”, ditto.

Photo of a fence made of wire between wooden fence posts, stretching diagonally into the distance, with frosty fields of grass on either side, and the rising sun casting an orange light over everything
Frosty fence on Flickr

§ § I doubt I was the only urban office worker that used to think, “I wish I lived the sort of life that meant I needed to carry a multitool and torch!” Now that I’m living in the countryside I’m one step closer: it is useful to have a torch given that after sunset it is often very, very dark here.

This week I got a Nitecore TIP SE after reading this Everyday Commentary review of it and it’s very nice. Small enough to go in my jeans’ coin pocket, it can run on 1 lumen for 50 hours or 700 lumens for 15 minutes, or two points in between. I haven’t needed it this week but I now feel like I have a super power or, at least, a pouch on a superhero’s utility belt.

§ We were pleased to see the return of two comfort-viewing shows this week. Grand Designs kicked off with an obscenely extravagant build by a man who had a very Boris Johnson manner of speaking emphatically and certainly about things that had little basis in fact, the main difference being that (spoilers!) he did succeed in building his garden bridge estuary airport house, albeit with Johnsonion-levels of overspend and debt. Best/worst moment: him standing in front of his family’s 50-room ancestral home and saying, “This is what I imagine a proper house to be.”

Also This Farming Life has returned for the second half of season four, and it was like returning to visit friends, after a few months away.

§ That’s all. Good luck.

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