2019 Yearnotes

I always like Nat’s yearnotes and every year I mean to write some. So I have.

Home

Ann and I bought our house in April. It was almost instantly an adorable home. There wasn’t much we had to do to the place and, to be honest, massive home improvement isn’t on the horizon. We got bird feeders up within days of moving in, curtains soon after, and it’s been a wonderful, comforting base through Winterval.

I have also cooked, so much. Three books in particular have taken a hammering: Flavour, Fresh India and East. At Christmas I “got Ann” both volumes of Greenfeast, so I’m excited to see what bubbles out of that. Probably the simplest, luxe-looking stuff.

Basically, I spent a lot more if the year nesting than I expected. Fewer weekends away than past years, fewer jaunts beyond the commute-route. That has been a warm and welcome thing, I absolutely love that we’ve found a place where that feels right. And/also in 2020 I’d like to venture a bit wider again. Bought myself a new walking jacket a few days ago as a promise of time outside.

Culture

Nesting made for a TV-heavy year. And, looking back through the ‘stuff I liked’ posts, a few jump out as making a mark: Chernobyl, Russian Doll, Atlanta, Succession, Watchmen. Nothing that hasn’t been on every end-of year list.

Watching Deadwood for the first time was terrific. I’d love to go back to that sometime soon. It felt like a Punchdrunk production. I got a similar feeling re-reading The Luminaries: intimate and thoughtful portraits of people caught up in a gnarly whodunnit.

Three films stand out. Into the Spider-verse and Knives Out I adored for being fun, confident films made by people who seemed to genuinely enjoy their work. Avengers: Endgame I found to be a cathartic closing off of that whole world. I certainly don’t feel like I’ll be rushing to see more of the Marvel movies, or chasing down the TV shows.

Work

I still work at Juno, and I still really like my job. I’m really happy to be able to say that. The work is stimulating, I enjoy wrangling a working product, and I work with great people. It is also very hard work.

This year my responsibilities expanded pretty dramatically. I’m part of the management team, I line manage a few people, I help plan and run the product. There are parts of that I’ve come to be pretty good at – I have a solid sense of what a thing should do and how to scramble at a problem. I’m less stable on business development, and I need to double down on some of the people management things I came to late in the year.

I do want to think a bit about the difference between ‘things I have learned to do’ vs ‘things I have learned to do at Juno‘. Those questions plagued me after leaving my last job(s), so I’d like to give them space to breathe in a workplace I’m happy in. To that end, I want to find time to write critically/thoughtfully about my work. Might not publish it on here, but it’d be nice to carve that thinking time out.

Hobby

A really good year for gaming and painting. I picked up two painting trophies, played a full league of Warcry and got a couple of tournaments in too.

I have found a nice focus to be in smaller-scale stuff. I have been super-proud of single miniatures and warbands, much less enthused by army painting or batch-painting. I feel the same about the games themselves: playing badly for three hours is not fun. Playing punchy skirmish games through in 45 minutes is hugely entertaining – even when I lose.

I’ve closed out the year with my best-painted model to date – Da Red Gobbo, above – and a bit of a promise for taking on only small-scale things next year. That feels like a good, sustainable energy to take into 2020.

North Coast 500

Sassetta and Iceland were lovely family holidays, and I got out to Oslo to teach a couple of times. But the trip of the year was probably Scotland. A week on the road around the top of the country felt wide and open and adventurous. I’d love another trip like that, so we’re going to plan one in New Zealand.

In summary

I had a good time in 2019. I’d like to do more of it in 2020, but better and different.