Open Thinkering


Tag: Christmas

Weeknote 51/2023

You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I’m knackered. I’m composing this weeknote from the comfort of my bed, this Christmas Adam.

zobb: christmas eve what about christmas adam kowka: happy christmas adam to all men’s rights activists forfuturereferenceonly: Please stop pestering us with things like this. This has nothing to do with men fighting for their rights. Eve is short for ‘evening’. Please don’t turn activism into a joke. Thanks. reindeerplaydate: Someone isn’t having a good christmas adam theguilteaparty: Christmas Adam: December 23rd. Comes before Christmas Eve and is generally unsatisfying. shojo: Happy Christmas Adam everyone

Well, I thought it was funny 😅

I finished work last week, so this week has ostensibly been a holiday. Yet, I’ve been pretty busy. On Monday, I went for a windy walk with Aaron around (but not on top of The Cheviot) and then we finished off in the pub.

Aaron standing in front of a shipping container styled as a Tunnock's Caramel Wafer packet

Then, on Wednesday, I met Bryan off the train in Sheffield, drove to Derbyshire, and walked Dovedale.

I took the photo below before we scrambled up through a magnificent arch to Reynard’s Cave. To give you a sense of the scale, Bryan is a good nine inches taller than me! Again, we ended up in the pub afterwards.

Bryan standing underneath a huge limestone arch at Dovedale

On Friday, it was my birthday. We changed plans and ended up at the BALTIC where we saw some amazing things, including Templo del agua, rio Tyne by Colombian artist Leonel Vásquez, which is well-described on this page. I’ve never seen or experienced anything like it.

Templo del agua, rio Tyne

Not having a lunch reservation, and it being the last working day for most office-based people, we were lucky to stumble a relatively-new Greek restaurant called Salparo. The food and service were excellent. We’ll be back!

Although I did a bit of work on my MSc on Tuesday, I was a little bit concerned this morning (Saturday) that I’m a bit behind. So I went to the library at the leisure centre until it closed at 12:30 and then to the gym. Relatedly, this week I’ve published:

The other post I published was (Most of) my 2023 in sport which detailed how I’m almost at 800km of running this year, and have around 300 active days in total. It’s been a reasonably good year on that front, although I’m planning to reach 1,000km in 2024. More on plans for next year in due course.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, where we’ll be doing… nothing much. I’ve got a bit more present-wrapping to do. That’s followed by Christmas Day where we’re going to my parents’ house for Christmas Dinner. Boxing Day will probably involve a walk on the beach, weather permitting. Then we’re into those weird days between Christmas and New Year.

I’ve just realised that I don’t usually do weeknotes over Christmas, and usually finish with number 50. Ah well, looks like I’ll complete the full set this year!

Christmas slobbing about

Sometimes, after a period of what I can only describe as ‘not writing very much’ I have this need to, well, write something. The problem is when I don’t have a particular thing that I need to write about, in which case I literally sit down, as I am now, and start typing words onto a screen.

The words come, eventually, as they always do. The process starts by noticing the things around me, by performing a kind of ‘situation report’. So here’s mine: oblique rays of the sun stream in through the velux window in the ‘penthouse suite’ (as I call it) of our recently-listed house. I’m propped up on pillows and cushions in bed, able to hear noises from outside such as our kids playing football in the back lane, and birds cawing and tweeting.

I’ve already written a short post today, comprised mostly of a quotation from Katherine May’s Wintering. Other than a post commemorating my fortieth birthday (which I actually wrote back in November) it’s the only thing I’ve published in the last week. Thought Shrapnel is on hiatus until 2021, but I couldn’t resist sharing the most popular articles from this year with subscribers to the weekly digest.

It’s close to 10:00, although it feels much later, having woken up at 05:15 and not being able to get back to sleep. I enjoyed making a morning fire and being able to sit in front of it, reading while the house was peaceful. Reflecting on someone else’s experiences of this time of the year was especially poignant, and the similarities and differences enhance and reinforce my own.

Today I will achieve nothing, which exactly corresponds with my aim. I will, no doubt, play some Sniper Elite 4 which is a game I did not expect to like when I tried it on our TV thanks to the technological magic of Google Stadia. But I’ve found it strangely addictive, and have poured hours of time into completing various missions over the last week or so.

My wife has just informed me that this is the last day of “Christmas slobbing about” by which she means we need to get ready for potential house viewings over the coming week. She’s right, of course, and we do need to get this house sold soon, but the lethargy is strong at this time of year. It’s the only period of time in my calendar when I allow myself to do nothing of importance. There are no expectations of me, and I have none of myself.

I’m not sure if it’s worth pressing publish on this post but, as I have a mere 4% of laptop battery life remaining, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

This post is Day 79 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at