Month: December 2020

All over now… bar the shouting

Amazing, isn’t it?

Weeks and months are spent planning the event.

A small fortune is spent on – generally unwanted – presents.

Enough food is cooked to feed the whole street.

At least that’s how it is in the Masher household.

And then the big day arrives; we indulge in all our excesses and then it’s over.

Just like that.

And once the day is done and dusted, I just want to get everything back to normal: claim back the mantlepiece from the the mass of cards all carefully squeezed on there.

Get that tree down and take off the lights that have been reflecting in the TV screen for the past week.

Take down the lights that I put up outside (yes, for the first time ever, I was cajoled into illuminating the outside of the house.

And then of course, we steel ourselves in readiness for the next big event just seven days later: New Year.

Every New Year’s eve, my dad throws a party at his house.   There are silly games to be played; finger food to be eaten and much, much alcohol to be imbibed.

And once Big Ben has chimed in the New Year, there is loud music and dancing and shouting to be had. It’s generally a lot of fun.

But not this year, of course, as we are in Tier 4.

For us, the New Year will be seen in, watching Jools Holland on Channel 4 whilst trying to make some headway into the mountain of homemade sausage rolls and mince pies left over from Christmas.

Which suits me just fine: as I get older, I seem to be getting less enamoured with New Year celebrations.

I’m sure my dad’s neighbours will be pleased too, as this year they won’t have to put up with us doing the traditional – and very noisy – 3am conga down the street.

Time to listen

I have been working from home since just before the first lockdown and – all in all – I’m loving it.

I’m saving about two hundred quid a month in fuel, for one thing.

And about three hours a day sitting in the car.

I really do not miss that commute!

But, there is something that I do miss about that drive.

Being such a horrible, boring  journey – all 37.5 miles there and 37.5 miles back on the M1, M25 and M40 – I have to keep myself entertained, to save the steering wheel getting too chewed up through frustration.

As such, once I was in range, I would often talk to a small group of amateur radio operators, who frequent the Amersham repeater most mornings.  A friendly bunch, it was always pleasant to chat over technical matters with them. We even got together a couple of times for Christmas dinner… not gonna happen this year, obviously.

But, working from home, I am out of range and so  haven’t been able to have my regular chats with them, and I miss that.

But, the other thing I am missing is my podcasts.  Each Sunday I would store up a week’s worth of podcast listening onto a Re-Writable CD-ROM (I know: how quaint, in this day and age) and I would listen to it throughout the week, whilst driving… and until I was in range of the Amersham Repeater.

I would also record comedy shows from Radio 4 and Radio 4xtra and bung a couple of them on the CD as well.

I am still recording them, even now, but as I haven’t been driving, I haven’t been listening, so have amassed a huge backlog.

Episodes of Just A Minute, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue and The Unbelievable Truth, languish on my radio’s memory card, amongst classic episodes of Dad’s Army, Hancock’s Half-Hour and Steptoe & Son.  The Answer Me This podcast remains undownloaded, along with The Modern Mann, Rutherford & Fry, Dr Karl, The Naked Scientists  and the Eclectic Tech podcast from the ARRL.  Amongst others.

Even if things do return to ‘normal’, I’m wondering where I’ll ever find the time to catch up with them all.

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