End of another year

Well, 2019 is coming to an end, and this year has been one of major change for me and Deb. We began the year living in Hereford, but have now moved to Cornwall, and a totally different way of life.

It has also been quite a busy year for cruising, with a memorable adventure down the Amazon, before going almost as far north as is possible without bumping into icebergs.

Since coming home in March I have been writing my new book about these amazing trips, and this has meant there has been little activity on my blog.

Finally however, the book is ready, and “From the Furnace to the Freezer” has been published. It is a little different this time, with three versions.

1. There is the usual kindle e-book with simple text.

2. I have also produced an e-book with a number of photographs of the adventure. This is obviously more expensive than the simple black text version.

3. Finally there is the paperback. I did initially produce this with photos again, but the publishing cost via Amazon was going to mean a price of well over £20, which I think is extortionate. Hence it is just text again.

I can bow relax from the book writing for a while, but there are other projects queuing up to be addressed.

The year 2019 will be remembered for many things, and here are a few ramblings that are jumping around my head.

Without a doubt, the continuing saga of Brexit dominated the minds of most British. I was one of the “Stupid” and “Badly Informed” majority who were misled into voting for Brexit in 2016. Since then the government has been unable to move forward and address the long list of things that are important to the people of the UK.

Finally after much dithering in parliament, the people of Britain had a chance to vote again in a General Election,. I voted with the majority by re-electing the Tory Party to lead the country.

I must point out that this is the first time I have ever voted for the Conservative party.

So for all the political politicians, pundits, economists, and the majority of the so called unbiased television reporters, the “Stupid” and “Badly Informed” majority of this country still want us to leave the EU.

Sport has made the year quite good fun. The men’s football team still struggle to match the performance of the 1966 squad, and the women look more likely to win a major trophy before them. Sadly the team of ’66 are becoming fewer, but I will remember their day at Wembley.

The cricket scene was a little encouraging with the men finally winning a trophy with some amazing tenacity at the World Cup. The hero was of course Ben Stokes, but all of the limited over squad were pretty unbeatable this year. I still struggle with the idea of so many of England’s players originating in different countries, especially Ben Stokes who was born in New Zealand.

This is also very obvious with the rugby teams around the world where so many New Zealanders appear to be eligible for other teams, and as for the giants of the Pacific Islands, well they were seemingly related to someone in almost every rugby playing country. The English team was sensational, and it took a team of absolute gigantic physical size and strength, plus a fair chunk of skill as well, to beat us. Well done South Africa. It was an amazing World Cup.

I have my concerns about British athletics. They are the recipients of massive lottery funding, but seem incapable of winning more than a handful of podium places. I wonder if some of these athletes feel it is a well paid career, rather than sport.

I am really looking forward to the Olympics in 2020, and maybe the athletes will surprise me and come back with medals galore.

Moving to my thoughts on television. I detest adverts and endeavour to record everything of interest and watch it later with the fast forward button.

Unfortunately the offering from the BBC is becoming less and less of interest. I struggle to fill an evening without repeats, or strange fringe comedies shows that make me wonder what was meant to be funny. To make matters worse, the BBC thoroughly love these programmes and repeat them over and over again well before I have forgotten what I was supposed to find amusing.

One thing that really upsets me, is that the BBC do not have a +1 channel. Our two channel recorder is usually busy with various advert packed programmes, that clash with new BBC material at the prime viewing 9:00 slot, and it means waiting (and hoping) the BBC programme will eventually be shown again.

The old idea of changing the BBC funding from the license is happening again. I must admit I do wonder how the license fee can be justified when the political bias of many reporters and programme editors is so apparent. Perhaps advertising is the only way to ensure the BBC have enough money to make decent programmes. At least the advertisers can possibly stop bias by choosing the channels they spend money on.

One last point about broadcasting. Deb and I have been loyal listeners to BBC Radio 2 for many years, starting our day with the breakfast show. This year the BBC changed the host to Zoe Ball, and although we tried to listen to this very excitable lady, she has defeated us. We like someone to speak in a way that relaxes us as they introduce music or chat to guests. Zoe Ball is so fast speaking, and always making remarks to the side, and is losing more and more listeners with the same thoughts.

Finally a quick mention of what we have to look forward to in this new decade. Firstly we have a cruise booked (surprise, surprise, I hear you say). we are repeating the Norway cruise in March that we were on n 2019. I have unfinished business to get out into the freezing cold of Norway to see some of its gems, and search for the Northern Lights. I was too ill this year, and confined to the ship.

If you want to know more, my book explains everything.

After the cruise we have eight days booked in May for a stay on the Channel Islands with four days each in Jersey and Guernsey. It only involves a ferry this time. This will be something quite different for us.

Finally, my New Year’s resolution is to spend more time on the blog, so hopefully you can look forward to a more regular offering or two from me in 2020.

So I end this rather long rambling by wishing all of you, wherever you are, a Happy, healthy, and prosperous, New Year.