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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars December and 2018 wrap-up
Monday 31st December 2018 5:59 pm

This month I was practising standing on the tiptoes of one foot. I thought things would calm down this month and this wouldn't take long. I was right about it not taking long - I've either been busy or dizzy or both and ended up hardly doing it at all. I did do it a few times, but that was it. I know it's better than nothing, but it doesn't really feel like I've done it at all.

But here's a summary of the year:
January: My Dad Wrote a Porno 10/10
February: Podfic 7/10
March: AngularJS 6/10
April: The Death of Stalin 5/10
May: Jeeves and Wooster 10/10
June: The Greatest Showman Soundtrack 8/10
July: The Americans 6/10
August: Trying hair styles 10/10
September: Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) 10/10
October: The Martian film 7/10
November: Swimming with Men 10/10
December: Practising standing on the tiptoes of one foot not rated

In summary, I've watched/read/listened to a lot of great stuff this year - five of them were rated 10/10. I'm still listening to My Dad Wrote a Porno and went to the live show. I'm still working my way through the Jeeves and Wooster books. I'm still trying out hair styles.

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Friday 28th December 2018 7:23 pm

At the end of last year I was lamenting about how few comedians I'd seen. This year I set about changing that. As a result this year I have seen:
Dara O'Briain
I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
Lucy Porter
My Dad Wrote a Porno
No Such Thing as a Fish
Sara Pascoe

Which doesn't seem like that many now I write it down. But I enjoyed all of them.

This year I have already booked to see:
Ellie Taylor
James Acaster
Josh Widdicombe
Lucy Porter
Mark Watson
No Such Thing as a Fish
Rhod Gilbert
Rob Beckett
Romesh Ranganathan

Which doesn't seem like that much either written out, but it looks like more in my diary. Mostly because thy are quite bunched up - to the point where I'm seeing one on a Friday and another the day after!

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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 26th December 2018 3:21 pm

I updated WordPress, found the new Gutenberg editor confusing, then the template I have for this post wouldn't load. So back to the classic editor it is... until 2023.

What I Just Finished Reading
Love and Louis XIV by Antonia Fraser. This was all about the women in Louis XIV's life. I didn't know much about him or this time, at least in France. His reign coincided with that of James I of England (VI of Scotland) who came up quite a bit in Edinburgh (albeit just called James VI). So bits would be mentioned about what was happening in England (and other parts of Europe) and I'd think ah-ha - I know about that. But even apart from that I found it interesting to see how the women in hi life affected him and how he affected them. And it's made me want to go to Versailles, since the book talked about what was being built and what it looked like.

The Boss of Bethnal Green by Julian Woodford. This is about a man called Joseph Merceron who was in local government in Bethnal Green in the late 18th and early 19th century. He was the original Godfather, controlling everything and stealing from the poor and ending up the equivalent of a multi-millionaire (while the poor died of starvation). It was interesting to hear about him and what he got up to, and also what else was going on in England and Parliament and the amount of corruption going on. In complement to the last book, the French Revolution happened during this time.

Terms and Conditions: Life in Girls' Boarding Schools 1939-1979 by Ysenda Maxone Graham. This book starts from a position of what we know about girls' boarding schools coming from books like Mallory Towers and the Chalet School and then we learn how different it was in reality. There are a lot of differences between schools, but a lot of them didn't really teach girls anything much academic, some of them had incredibly strict rules, horrible bullying, but most meant the girls formed close, life-long friendships. There were bits that were some bits that were similar to the stories, but I definitely learnt how idealised they are.

What I'm Currently Reading
Diary of a Wartime Affair by Doreen Bates. This has the tiniest text I've ever seen. It also starts in 1934, so it's going to be a while before it's very wartimey (I'm currently in 1937). But it's the diary of a woman who is having an affair with a married man she works with. Which is not exactly accepted these days, but really not in those days. I can't decide if I like it or not because it's a bit samey. It all depends a bit on what happens.

What I'm Reading Next
I haven't decided yet, but it will be one of the following:
The Book of the Year 2018 by No Such Thing as a Fish (I read the 2017 one last year and enjoyed it - but it is in hardback, so a pain to read lying down)
The Chalet School Annexe by Adrianne Fitzpatrick (Chalet School written by someone else and set in the Austrian era so I am looking forward to it)
Joy in the Morning by PG Wodehouse (next Wodehouse borrowed from my sister)

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Why I’ve not been posting
Sunday 23rd December 2018 5:00 pm

I have all sorts of things I've been wanting to post about, but haven't had the time or the energy. Work always gets busy around November/December, but this year it started right on 1st November. It usually gets so quiet the week before Christmas that I have plenty of time to write Yuletide treats. So far it's only calmed down to normal busy levels. We are all tired and ill.

And I've had trouble with my car, which has not been helping. Despite the bus service around here having improved massively, it's merely gone from completely useless to pretty useless.

As a result all I've really been doing is reading and catching up on TV. I shouldn't need to work on Wednesday, so hopefully I'll manage a reading Wednesday post because I've been reading some interesting books.

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Saturday 8th December 2018 12:00 pm

Sammy is as cute as ever.

Sammy and a cube

The good news is that he's no longer scared of me! It used to be that he'd hide when he heard me - unless he decided to come out, in which case he was quite happy taking food with his two front feet on my hand. Now, though, if I talk to him he'll come out and ask for food. Last night I was watching The Last Leg and he got up, so I spoke to him. He gave me a look that said "You're talking to me but not offering me food". So I offered him some food.

He is, generally speaking, very laid back. It takes him a while to get round to chewing up cardboard with treats in because there's food in his bowl, so why go to the effort? Although he does go round his cage looking for the food I hide. And if it's not the bits he's so keen on, I sometimes find those bits when I clean him out.

He has been out of his cage once. He ran around on the sofa investigating his toys, but after a minute he decided he didn't like it and hid down the back of the sofa cushions. Bum side up. Fortunately he was willing to use my hand to get himself the right way up and into his travel cage, so I could put him back in his cage and he could hide.

He also makes happy noises. I've been wondering what they were, but I would describe it as snuffling and apparently it's actually chirping. Hamsters make those noises when they're happy. The loudest he's made them was when he found half a walnut in his cage.

I did have to buy him a new wheel recently. He had a wooden one which was so quiet all you could hear was his feet padding on it. Sadly, even coating it in pet-safe varnish was not enough to deal with all the wee on it, nor the poos that he'd ground into it. He's now got a more expensive, slightly less quiet, plastic wheel. It is a lot easier to wash. But at least he runs on his wheel (unlike Missy) - he loves it.


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I’ve Never Seen Star Wars December
Tuesday 4th December 2018 8:08 pm

At some point work/life will stop being it's usual stressy self at this time of year and normal service will be resumed. This is not that time, but at least I am (mostly) keeping up with I've Never Seen Star Wars.

This month I am going to practise standing on the tiptoes of one foot. This is partly because I realised it's been a year since I did ballet (my last class was the day after Missy died). I intended to practise it, but I always intended to practise.

I can stand on the tiptoes of both feet and I can stand on one foot, those are easy. It's standing on the tiptoes of one foot that's hard and I'm hoping if I practise (nearly) every day I'll get better at it.

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