2018 Resolution Setting

Happy New Year!

Fireworks

New Year Fireworks in Bath (More Impressive Than This Photo Reflects)

How lovely it is (and how smug I feel) not to have to re-galvanise myself for work as the first working week of 2018 starts up.

Not that we didn’t have a very early start this morning. We had to take Youngest Son (YS) and his girlfriend to the airport for their return to Australia – a process made more stressful by YS assuming they were leaving from Heathrow when in fact we needed to get to Gatwick! Having dropped them off just in time, I am able to consider my New Year resolutions in relative tranquillity.

I am the sort of person who makes lists and so making New Year’s resolutions comes naturally to me. Of course, this does not mean I am better than most at completing them.

As with all objectives the idea is to make the resolutions for 2018 challenging but achievable (and measurable). This year I need to attune them to my new retired status. Some are continuations of the 2017 resolutions – especially those that I failed – and a few are new. So here goes:

Resolution 1: Get Below 11 Stone. This will be the third year in succession I have had this resolution. A big effort will be required but achievement of Resolutions 2 and 3 will help – I’m going to succeed this year!

Resolution 2: Average 15,000 Steps/Day. This target is up from the 13,500 2017 target and from my achieved figure for 2017 of 14,200. Achievement will depend on staying fit but the reverse is true too. This level of walking will be fun given the attractiveness of local routes, should be achievable given the planned excursions on holidays, and will be necessary if I am to achieve Resolution 1.

Resolution 3: Have 140 No-Alcohol Days. This is the level of alcohol free days I achieved in 2012 but it is a 20% uplift on 2017’s level. It will be hard to meet this objective now I’m retired even though there is no work-related drinking now. This is because of the likely increase in holiday drinking and the temptation of evening drinks with Long Suffering Wife (LSW) in front of our wood-burner in winter or in our garden in summer. I will need to be disciplined.

That gets the basic health and fitness related resolutions that are carried forward from 2017 out of the way. The others are more trivial or more oriented to specific tasks.

Resolution 4: Grow a Beard. This is like an anti-resolution in that it involves a reduction in effort. I used not to shave at weekends but retirement has meant that Saturdays and Sundays are largely the same as other days. Rather surprisingly, given that shaving is a bit if a chore, I reverted to mid-week habits and, since retirement last July, I have shaved every day. All three of our sons have beards and, at Christmas, they suggested I grow one too. Unexpectedly, that got LSW’s enthusiastic approval so I’m already on my way.

Resolution 5: Sort Our Internet Out. Recent road repair and housing development in the village, has enabled new fibre connection. I need to master how to take advantage of this to improve our Internet quality so we can watch uninterrupted catch-up TV more consistently and not suffer the abuse we get from our city-based sons about our chronically poor download/upload speeds. I hate doing this sort of thing but LSW is keen that I take on more house utility management and responsibility.

Resolution 6: Implement Better Composting. I love making and then using compost in the garden. Almost three years ago, I was given a wooden frame compost bin kit for self-construction and installation but it remains untouched. To install the bins in the right location means dismantling the current temporary arrangements, fixing the shed guttering which currently pours water into these, and digging deep holes in rocky, sloping ground. It’s a major project (for me) but this is the year to do it!

Resolution 7: Change All My Passwords. At the risk of confusing my online/mobile password use even more than now, I want to drive a systematic change to all of them. Most have been unchanged since I first set them up, often years ago. Several are written down. I need to improve my personal security by changing them and by making them less obvious; a boring but probably sensible objective.

Resolution 8: Buy LSW More Flowers. Especially now circumstances have changed and I’m a cost not a revenue, I need to work at being a worthwhile, retired husband. This resolution would be a good, if symbolic, start to that. Given my mediocre record of flower-giving last year, I’ll aim for a small improvement of at least once a month. I know that LSW would like me to do more driving rather than flower-giving so I’ll try to do both.

Flowers

Flowers for LSW. Not Much Choice In Nailsworth Shops Today – But A Start!

I could add objectives around clarifying how to spend the rest of my discretionary retirement time; for example, revisiting my attempts to learn Italian, doing political history courses, documenting local circular footpath walks, doing something constructive in the local community, and doing something creative. But that feels like too much of a hook to put myself on right now. It’s weak, I know, but I’m enjoying myself too much without these extra pressures and will think again about this in Spring.

I hope you have decided your resolutions for 2018.  Have a great year!

Managing the 1%

When Long Suffering Wife (LSW) and I were preparing for our recent holiday, and while we were on it, we relied hugely on the internet. We used it to guide us on which motel, apartment or AirBnB to rent, which restaurant to try, what sights to see and how to get to all these places. We were even able to continue our routine of doing the daily Guardian Quick Crossword together albeit this was on an iPhone in rooftop bars, coastal cafes or craft beer emporiums rather than with a pen and paper over a cuppa in our kitchen as per our previous norm. Like so many other parts of life, the internet has transformed holiday making.

View From the Great Ocean Road

Gratuitous Picture from the Great Ocean Road (Just Because the Trip was so Marvellous)

Google Maps made it so easy to plot our drive around Northern New South Wales and along the Great Coast Road but it was especially useful in getting us to places we were interested in in the cities we visited. Youngest Son (YS) showed us around most of Brisbane so Google Maps came into its own for us most in Melbourne.

It wasn’t all plain sailing however. For the first day or so there I found myself constantly questioning what Google Maps was telling LSW about which way to go. LSW was getting the direction consistently right using the internet and my Geography Degree sense of direction was getting increasingly frustrated. Finally, on the second day in Melbourne, I worked out that I was always wrong because I had forgotten that the sun was in the north not the south. Doh!

The other main challenge was managing the level of battery in our phones that we used to access the internet for all sorts of purposes during the day. My challenge was particularly acute – though self-inflicted – as I used my phone to keep my position in a couple of computer games up to date and tried to capture Asian-only Pokemon. LSW did allow me to use her remote charger but you can imagine that I got little sympathy. Either way, we both spent much of most days checking battery levels and wondering how long the last 1% would hold out.

I think we will transfer our holiday mode of operation to our next trip to London. Rather than rely on increasingly out of date memory, we will use the internet more to guide us to the best places for breakfast or the top 5 things to see now and so on. That may uncover some surprises even after 40 years of living there.

And I’m putting a remote phone charger on my Christmas present list!