There is a reason, other than me being an irregular blogger these days, and that is the sheer pressure of the holiday season.
I opened my presents on Christmas morning with the appropriate appreciative noises, but with the usual round of family commitments it is only now that I’m getting round to enjoying them in detail.
Apart from the usual festive jumpers to keep me warm through the winter months, there was quite an eclectic mix of books, namely:
- The Compleat Ankh-Morpork (meaningless if you haven’t read any Terry Pratchett)
- 1,227 QI Facts to Blow Your Socks Off (right up my street)
- Is That a Fish in Your Ear? (The amazing adventure of translation)
- The Best of Roy of the Rovers (comic book nostalgia)
- Manchester United – A History from 1909
- Imagine My Surprise…
The last is the fourth volume of unpublished letters to the Daily Telegraph which I have read cover to cover – the contributors are so wonderfully caustic, erudite, pedantic, irritable and entertaining in equal measure. For example:
SIR – My wife frequently threatens to write to the Telegraph about small items of news that irritate her. She never gets round to it. She is annoyed again today and intends to complain to you. She won’t. I promised I would write on her behalf while she is out shopping, but unfortunately I have forgotten what it was that irritated her (there is too much choice).
However, I am sure we will both feel better now that pen has been put to paper.
John Hardy Clarke
For more technologically advanced entertainment there was the boxed set of The Thick Of It DVDs. I’ve written about this BBC docu-comedy before which is one of the best in recent years in my opinion.
But you might not agree if you are a) offended by swearing, b) uninterested in politics or c) living outside the UK.
Should A and B not be a problem for you, but you are a resident of the US then I recommend the film version, In The Loop, which follows the same machinations in London, Washington and New York with James Gondolfini excellent as the general who doesn’t want a war.
Of course, the central premise that the US and UK would go to war in the Middle East on the basis of a dodgy dossier is too ludicrous for words.
My main present though was a decent tripod for my camera. It’s something I’ve havered about for a while. On the one hand, it’s not a piece of equipment I need very often, but when I do my cheap Asda tripod doesn’t really cut it.
So I am now the proud owner of a Manfrotto tripod which I have still to use in anger. Hopefully the weather will improve so I can use it to take some night shots of the Christmas lights.