Wednesday, 1 January 2014

12 New things for 2014... The ideas...

Thanks for all your ideas on Facebook and Twitter, I am now going to try and pick, adapt and make sense of them.

Some ideas were too expensive (Compete in a hill climb), or too time consuming (Pilgrimages), or both (Fostering a child) but thanks for making the effort... 

Some I have done before, so don't count (visited Palestine, Ottery tar barrels, running a half marathon, National Novel Writing Month, reading a book of the Bible)

1. The first useful one was from Jovan, "Pilgrimage to Mecca". Well, I am not about to actually make the pilgrimage to Mecca, but I have been meaning to read the Koran for a while now, so I will read at least part of it this year! (I will need some help from my Muslim friends and colleagues on the details of this one!).

2. The second one from Sarah was "Make and eat your own Sushi". Well, I have never even eaten sushi, so I will eat sushi this year!

3. Emily suggested taking up an instrument. I am thinking Ukulele maybe?

4. Martin suggested learning a computer language, I am concentrating on the human language of German right now, but would like to read a bit more about the basics of how computer language works, as I have so many friends who use it for their work, but it feels like another world to me. So I will read some kind of introductory book on the subject (cop out? I hope not!).

5. Kate suggested growing potatoes on the balcony. I have grown all sorts, but never spuds! Ivonne actually has the bag we need to do it, so nothing stopping me on that one!

6. DT suggested acting in a production of Shakespeare, well, and this may shock you, but I have never seen a live production of Shakespeare, so I am going to start there first!

7. Ivonne suggested I learn to knit a scarf. I think this is slightly more realistic than the other suggestion of sewing my own clothes, so going with that.

8. Maria suggested learn to hula hoop... No idea where the nearest hula hopp learning centre is, but happy to give it a go!

9. It has been suggested before that I learn to play Chess properly.

10. Kathryn suggested doing a one mile open water swim, bit ambitious given that I can't really swim, but I would like to try at least a few swimming lessons.

11. I have never been fishing, despite JJs kind offers in the past. This is the year I will catch a fish...

12. Zoe suggested giving up meat for a month... I will try a week!

That is my 12!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

12 new things for 2014...




I need your help!

In 2014 i want to challenge myself to do 12 things (one per month) that I have not really done before. For instance this year I started learning German, and how to play backgammon. 

So I need your ideas, and I will pick the best 12. It could be going somewhere, an event, a skill, food related, reading or watching something, giving something up, taking something up.... well, you will be more creative than me!

Try and think "What would Neil really not think about doing"... then suggest that! The only proviso is that it can't cost the earth, or be too overly time consuming!

I will then blog my experiences throughout 2014!


Monday, 17 December 2012

2012 - Museums

London March 2012 015

 The great thing about living so near London is that you can be in a museum within an hour of leaving work. Stressful Saturday morning at work, no proble, jump on the next train and before you know it you are surrounded by objects of art, science, literature and more...

I have enjoyed many events at museums this year, from recording podcasts at the British Library and the V&A, A strange talk about inanimate objects at the Wellcome Trust, the superb "Writing Britain" Exhibition at the British Library, and all the delights that the British Museum offers.

The below picture is from the British Museum, despite having been maybe 8 or more times I still have not seen everything, and every visit discover a new room of things. this bird statue is perhaps my favourite of all things in there!
London March 2012 024

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

2012 - Winter in Wycombe

In Devon it hardly ever used to snow, here up in the Chilterns it seems to snow for no apparent reason at all, and comes really fast and suddenly.

Although these pictures are not of snow, they are of the week leading up to a massive amount of snow. It was below freezing for the whole week, and we recorded -16c on our balcony one night!

High Wycombe 041

Ice on the Rye 005

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

2012 - Skeptics

When I moved here just about the only people (outside of work) that I knew were part of a group called Skeptics in the Pub. It is hard to sum up what the group is in a few lines, but it is a place inquisitive people can chat about issues as diverse as alternative medicine, ghosts, religion or psychics... although we usually end up talking about technology, beer, TV shows and beer. It is mostly, but not exclusively, made up of people who would describe themselves as atheist, agnostic, rational, or humanist.

I have met some really great people there this year, we had our first talk (Stevyn Colgan on Luck), our local MP came along, the journalist Martin Robbins is an occasional visitor, and the usual crowd are always up for a drink, beer festival or night out at short notice, which was really good when I didn't know anyone else in town!

I has been designated an assistant organiser, and although I have no idea what this entails I am trying to get a bit organised for next year, some more talks (a few big names have promised to help us out!) and hope to expand numbers a bit. I am looking forward to it, but we need a suitable venue for the events, which is proving the really hard bit! So if anyone has a small hall in Wycombe they are willing to hire cheaply...

More about Skeptics in the pub at the Wikidedia page.

More about our group here.

Monday, 10 December 2012

2012 - Settling in.

Although we didn't actually move towns in 2012, it was as good as. We moved in just before Christmas last year, and then were both away for a bit over Christmas and New year, so all the sorting out of the flat happened in January.

Our flat has many advantages over that last one.
1. It is not in Aylesbury.
2. It has a balcony.
3. It is not in Aylesbury.

Actually they are the main three advantages, I can also walk to work in about five minutes!

I never quite felt at home in Aylesbury, and any friends I had made were in High Wycombe anyway, and my job was also in High Wycombe. It made sense both geographically and financially to live here. We did breifly look at flats further into London, but the prices sent us running back to Buckinghamshire!

Another advantage is that Wycombe is surrounded by lovely countryside, with many parks and woods within easy walking distance. So I spent much of the early part of the year exploring the area... cue picture...

High Wycombe 024

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The sixteen, or so, days of Christmas...

'On the sixteenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a series of blog entries, hastily written, but with some nice pictures to pad it out a bit.'.

If the popular Christmas song had contained more days that is what the 16th would have been. the fifteenth day involves a stoat, a pencil and some Vasoline, and has been banned from being sung since 1929.

Over the next few weeks I will do a mini review of my year (how vain!) and put a few of my pictures from the year alongside it (vanity in words AND pictures!).

I will start with a picture I took last winter, just around the corner from the flat we had just moved into here in High Wycombe...

High Wycombe 022