2021 in facts and figures

Google has just sent me a map of where I’ve been in 2021. It’s been a rather limited year, the second in a row, with no holidays outside the UK and just one quick business trip to Spain in November.

Coincidentally my car goes in for its MOT in December and in the almost 12 months from 22 Dec 20 to 8 Dec 21 I drove just 4746 miles. When I was fully active and in work it would be around about 24,000 miles each year and more recently with part time work it would have been 12,000.

In terms of travel though I have been to a few interesting places for the first time. These include Lincoln, Piece Hall in Halifax, Burghley House near Stamford, Weymouth and the Jurassic Coast, the New Forest and Harewood House near Wetherby.

I’ve had lots of exercise, counting a total of 132 occasions during the year, that’s slightly up on 2020 (128). It includes 62 visits to the gym, just 17 runs adding up to 86.7km, 40 on-line cardio classes and 11 face to face classes.

During the year I’ve stuck to my policy of drinking interesting beer but not too much of it. This has meant 75 units (bottles or glasses, not the strict medical definition) and 26.3 litres of over 60 individual beers. At the same time I seem to have drunk 85 litres of wine (24% from Argentina, 23% from Chile and 19% from Italy)

Fitbit tells me I did 3,671,381 steps in the year which is just over 10,000 per day and that my average weight declined from about 65.5kg to just under 65kg.

Healthwise my heart seems to have had a good year with my blood pressure averaging out at around about 120/62 and a resting heart rate of 50. Although I haven’t had a cholesterol check since last February all my lipid numbers were in the right place then. Not sure my teeth are doing so well though. I’ve had another big extraction and a few niggles. My dentist tells me I need a root canal job.

Workwise I issued 17 invoices during the year and this has meant that I have delayed taking any money out of my main pension pots for another 12 months and it looks like I will get to my 75th birthday without doing so.

Prospects for 2022 are looking better although I suspect that whatever normal we get too it won’t be what we’re used to.

Remembering Asia’s airports in the 70s

My claim to be an old Asian hand springs from 1974-1979 when I lived first in Jakarta for two years and then Hong Kong. I spent a fair amount of time travelling around the region and got to know its airports which were very different from those you’d use nowadays.

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Photo of the Month: December 2021

You always get an opportunity to listen to the Salvation Army band at Xmas and they’re generally playing outside the Methodist Church on High Street. I like this year’s shot because the musician is properly wrapped up against the cold and there’s a background of Xmas lights and aa Nativity scene behind her.

This photo was taken with my Sony a7 III, 1/125th at f5.6 and ISO 640. The zoom was set at 200mm. There’s been just a modest crop but otherwise it’s as it came out of the camera.

5 overnights in hospital

With the NHS under so much pressure I’ve been thinking about what I owe it. And before I get into that let’s be clear that it’s under pressure on two fronts. First is the obvious one of Covid and let’s all note the incredible debt we now owe to the people of the NHS which have worked extraordinarily hard. Johnson blusters about the parties in Downing Street and justifies them because everybody’s been working very hard without considering the NHS people who didn’t have any parties because they stuck to the rules.

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Photo of the Month: November 2021

I took this photo down in the New Forest. I was on a photo course and obviously one of the challenges was to capture the colours of autumn. This is one of the first photos I took and, I reckon, one of my best of the weekend. It was easy to take photos of the autumn colours, they were splendid, the challenge was to make them a little more interesting than just colours. This shot works in that respect because of the gate.

This photo was taken with my Sony a7 III, 1/125th at f5.0 and ISO 800. The zoom was set at 135mm. I’ve done the standard ‘enhance the shadows, reduce the highlights’ in Lightroom.

Living Lens photo weekend , 12-14 Nov 21

Some time back I was looking at courses whereby I might improve my Lightroom and Photoshop skills and as I Googled I came across Living Lens which was offering weekends of photography. That promised an opportunity to get away from the rather uninspiring landscapes of Cambridgeshire with a little instruction thrown in as a bonus so I signed up and early this month ended up in the New Forest.

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Photo of the Month: October 2021

I spotted this splendid art deco property on Queen Edith’s Way as I drive past it one day and just had to go back and get a photo.

The photo was taken with my Sony Experia mobile phone, 1/50th at f2.0 and ISO 64 with a focal length of 4.4mm. 

There’s been a heavy crop so I’ve lost a lot of the detail in the foliage. I’ve subjected it to a fair amount of post-processing to compensate for the shortcomings of the phone camera