At the start of the week I realised I didn’t really know how to make a holiday at home feel like a holiday. I felt slightly less obligation than usual to sit at a computer but otherwise not much felt different to a standard week in which I didn’t have any work on.
But from my birthday onwards I felt much more relaxed. That was a very nice day, with a bunch of video chats with friends and family, presents and cards, and plenty of good food.
My presents included two lovely prints of the Barbican by Liam Devereux, a tiny Leatherman Squirt PS4 multitool, a fun 5m LED light strip for my desk (as recommended by Matt Haughey), some Grasmere Gingerbread and rum butter, a box of Crosstown Doughnuts, some tasty chocolates, an interesting book, and an excellent “IT’S BLOG POST!” embroidery hoop. Thank you everyone.
For dinner we’d decided to order one of these restaurant meal kits they have now. Most of them only deliver on set days, usually Friday, so that narrowed down the selection somewhat. After a consultation with our food and drink adviser we splashed out on a Vegan Meal Kit for 2 from the Cinnamon Club.
It was extremely tasty, even though I’m not historically keen on aubergines or cauliflower, and easily ended up giving us two meals each. It didn’t require any more preparation than heating up all the parts and assembling them, although even that was a little trying for such a fancy multi-part main course. It was so nice to eat dinner that we hadn’t had to entirely prepare ourselves!
I can definitely recommend turning 50.
§ I often treat myself to a birthday present and this year it was a pair of Sennheiser HD-650 headphones (from somewhere cheaper than that). They use a very modern technology that ensures they never run out of batteries, which is called “cables”.
After enjoying lots of research over recent months, and being unable to try any out in shops, they seemed like a good bet, quality-wise, and I liked their design. Buying something that’s been historically popular was also important; more chance of spare parts for a long time.
They sound good, but I have little to really compare them with. I assume everyone else knows what they’re talking about and that these aren’t bad. These also feel comfortable, almost comforting, snuggling over my ears and softly over the top of my head. One day I’ll get a DAC and a headphone amp and I will assume that this makes them sound even better, even if I don’t actually notice. Well done techno-capitalism, you got me!
§ For last year’s birthday I’d thought I might drive into Hereford, have a nice lunch, go for coffee and cake, wander round the shops, and maybe go to the cinema. As it approached that seemed increasingly unwise – plenty of people, not including our Prime Minister, realised we shouldn’t be out and about. So I stayed in and my birthday was a bit boring, not even warranting a mention in weeknotes among all the other stuff about the novelty of staying home, having video chats, and washing our hands. I certainly didn’t imagine my next birthday would still be spent in lockdown.
But this year, the day after my birthday, I had my first jab. I guess that’s one benefit to tipping over a decade boundary right now. I was quite emotional afterwards. We’re getting there. No thanks to the incompetent, murderous kleptocrats in charge of course.
§ Nearly two years ago I had a pleasant sunny day of shooting for a short film, as Door Man, one of the three tall-thin-bald-scary-man-in-a-suit roles I had that year, mentioned in this post. That film, Off the Coast, is now available to view online for free. Skip to 5:12 if you only want to see me.
§ This week we watched The Queen’s Gambit which was as good as everyone was saying a few months ago. I don’t know what else to say really. It looked great and we were gripped. Miniseries are the best kind of TV, I reckon.
I also watched season one of Stranger Things which tested our extremely low threshold for scariness – I only watched it during daylight hours. It was… fine? By half-way through I realised I was interested in finding out how everything resolved at the end, but was a bit bored of the journey to get there.
Maybe the influence of 1980s kids’ movies was too much for me (an adult in 2021, obviously) and so it didn’t grip me. I tried really hard to see the 1980s setting as important because of the style of the story, rather than as a cynical attempt at appealing to nostalgia, and succeeded most of the time. I’m not in a rush to watch the following seasons, but maybe one day.
We also watched The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and its six stories were all pretty good, and it looked great. Excellent review Phil, you’re a real Barry Normans.
§ That’s all. It feels like spring now, with buds on the trees, green shoots in the hedgerows and little lambs in the fields. So good. Have a good week.