Catch up time – again!
What I’ve Been Doing
What’s been happening? In late October I finally attending my first Mass since March-April. A few days later, a deteriorating coronavirus situation put England back into a national lockdown. I saw ‘England’ as the Welsh and Scottish governments have been dealing with their countries separately.
At the end of October, I celebrated my 49th birthday. I did so quietly with a glass of wine.
At the start of November I joined the NaNoWriMo scheme. It’s been an up and down month in terms of writing. As of today, I have managed just over 30,000 words. Unfortunately, I have not written anything this week. I just ran out of steam.
At the start of this week, I had a chat with a dear friend and admitted that I had read hardly any books this year. I’ve been thinking about that since and realised that I have read a few more than I remembered, but it has still been a poor year.
Books On the Go
As a result of this conversation, on Wednesday, I picked up the four that I had started or tried to start since September and read a little bit of each as a prelude to beginning a programme of reading one or two every day thereafter. The four books are:
i. Hilaire Belloc The Servile State. For more on this one, check out my Belloc blog here
ii. Amanda McCrina Traitor. This is a YA book set on the eastern front during the Second World War. McCrina writes with very a very light touch, which is a great blessing given the book’s setting and some of the events in it; her prose reminds me of Hemingway’s in its matter-of-factness.
iii. Adrian Goldsworthy Philip & Alexander. A doorstopper of a biography about Philip II of Macedon and his famous son. I’ve only read a couple of chapters so its too early to give an opinion of it. Goldsworthy is a good historian, though, so I have high hopes for it.
iv. A.B. Bosworth Conquest and Empire. Another biography of Alexander. I wouldn’t normally read two at once but it is the current book for the Alexander the Great Reading Group, which I am a member of on Twitter.
Lewis Hamilton won the Formula One World Championship for the seventh time! A truly magnificent achievement. When Michael Schumacher won his seventh world title I didn’t think anyone would ever get close to it let alone equal it. Hamilton has every good chance of winning an eighth title next year as well.
A few weeks before Hamilton wrapped up his title, Mercedes won the Constructors’ World Championship for the seventh time in a row. What makes their victories so special is that they have achieved them across different regulations. Formula One changes its car rules every few years. This usually allows a new team to break ahead of whoever dominated the sport before (it’s how Mercedes superseded Red Bull who won the Constructors’ title four years in a row between 2010-2013 with Sebastian Vettel). Mercedes, however, have remained dominant since 2014 despite any rule change that the FIA has thrown at them. 2021 was due to be the next big rule change but it has been put back a year due to the pandemic. Next year’s cars, therefore, will be very similar to this year’s. That gives Hamilton the perfect chance to get ahead of Schumacher.
The Presidential Election
Joe Biden won the American Presidential election at the start of November. Since then, Donald Trump has been doing his best to get the result overturned through the courts but without any success at all. He hasn’t conceded to Biden yet but there can surely be no doubt that he will. On Twitter, I did my level best to avoid the election. No one asked for my opinion and I very much doubt it would be of any value at all to anyone. I still nearly managed to make an ass of myself, though, when I wrote an e-mail to an American friend and typed ‘H’ instead of ‘J’ for Joe on my keyboard. Fortunately, I saw the error in time!
The Cleveland Browns are roading through the regular season in the NFL. Well, kind of. As of today, they have a 7-3 record and are second in the AFC North. First is Pittsburgh who have a perfect 10-0 record. I will just be happy if Cleveland get to the playoffs.
Since September (and before) I have been listening to the Lesbians Who Write podcast. Earlier this month, I finished reading T. B. Markinson’s A Woman Lost romance and decided to write a ‘thank you’ e-mail to her. They mentioned the e-mail in the 91st episode of the podcast and I’m not going to lie, I’ve been feeling pretty chuffed about it ever since! I enjoy LWW very much – the humour and insight into the writing business especially. Sometimes I think ‘maybe I will write a romance’ but the stories I really want to write are fairy tales. Maybe I will write a fairy tale romance. Mine would be a bi fairy tale romance, though, as this market seems very ill catered for.
UPDATE: 29.11.20 I have written a catch-up post for my Alexander blog, The Second Achilles. You can read it here