OFF-TOPIC: 12 things done or not

Each year I make a list of “things” that I plan to do. You might call them “goals”, but I feel that sounds a bit too serious. My Things might be serious or they might be quite trivial; they might be easy or hard; they might be one-off activities, or last a whole month, or extend through the whole year. I have settled on having 12 Things each year. At the beginning of 2020 I posted my list of 12 Things for 2020.

Now it is time to see how I did. To be frank, I was less successful than I hoped, but I did not reckon on there being a pandemic!

Get a new bed

Done. We procrastinated, having looked at some options in the local bed shop. Then, on 29 February they had a 1-day sale with 29% off of everything. This spurred us into action and we ordered the new bed. Not long after, lock-down happened, and it was many weeks before the new bed was delivered.

Participate in a gig

Not done. This was always an ambitious goal. I was taking bass guitar lessons and hoped to get good enough to play with my friend who has a small band. However, lock-down stopped my lessons and we have not been able to resume. Maybe next year.

No socks for summer (Jun/Jul/Aug)

Done. During the summer, I commonly wear sandals with no socks, but default to “proper” shoes and sock on a less warm day. I heard that being barefoot has health benefits, so I decided to eschew socks for 3 months. As it turned out, the end of May was very warm, so I started early and then carried on until the end of September. I had decided that I would break this rule if I needed to wear my hiking boots [I did once] or go somewhere [like a funeral] where formal dress was required and I only went to an informal funeral.

Do a one-day brewing experience

Not done. As I like beer and I had enjoyed a visit to a brewery, I thought that it would be nice to get some “hands on” experience. Several breweries offer such “experience days”. But COVID got in the way. Maybe next year.

Set up a photography website

Done. I got my act together and set up where I offer some services to amateur photographers.

Try archery

Not done. A few years ago I went on a half-day archery experience and found, to my surprise, that I was quite good at it, even being able to shoot with an English long bow. I planned to contact the local archery club in late spring, but that was not to be.

Swim in Cotswold lakes

Not done. I enjoy swimming and, even though I confine myself to indoor pools at this time of year, when it is warmer I like to go to rivers, lakes or the sea. Where I live is some distance from the coast and there are few lakes, so rivers are the normal option. The Cotswold lakes are an hour or so away. The lock-down meant much less sociability this summer [and I like to have swim buddies] and less travel. Next year.

Master making cookies

Done. I really nailed this one! Not only have I produced very satisfactory cookies [reproducibly], I have used several recipes and created my own variants. Many people got interested in baking during lock-down, but I was pleased to be able to say that I was ahead of the game.

Attend a rugby match

Not done. I am not generally very interested in sport. In particular, I cannot understand the enthusiasm in the UK for soccer. It just is not a very interesting game. Rugby, on the other hand, seems to have much more to offer. A while back, I watched a whole match on TV with a friend explaining what was happening. I felt that actually being at a match would be a richer experience. A friend agreed to arrange it for me, but COVID got in the way. Next year hopefully.

Have a dairy-free month

Done. This was successful, insofar as I did go a whole month without consuming and dairy products. It was slightly disappointing as I experienced no health benefits.

Make sausages

Done. I have always liked sausages – traditional British “bangers” most of all. So, I thought that it would be fun to make some myself. I bought a kit, got some suitable meat and followed the instructions. The results were just fine, but nothing special, and I am not sure that I really enjoyed the process. I guess that is why I like to try things – win some, lose some.

Sample every Chinese take-away in Malvern

Part done. The plan was to get a meal from every Chinese take-away in the course of the year. We are not great users of take-aways, so it was always going to be a bit of an effort. But COVID made that worse. We did about half of them.

So, I succeeded in 6.5 out of 12 things, which is rather disappointing, but I feel justified in citing the pandemic as the key reason for the shortfall. I will most likely carry forward some or all of the failed ones to my 2021 list, which I will publish in January.

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