2022 – A Retrospective
If you were to look back at the year, perform a sort of retrospective of the year 2022, what do you believe would emerge from the welter of thoughts, emotions and experiences? But, how does one even begin to conduct such an experiment?
How, indeed, do you process all that happened in the 365 days into a series of patterns, trends and, more importantly, the feelings that defined your highest and lowest moments?
Well, I’m not going to do it for you! I’m simply going to talk about 2022 (and, to cheat a bit, a little bit about 2021 last quarter, so there goes the 365 day thing!). Read on, for, right at the end, there may or may not be a treat for you… You’ve been warned!
So, 2022 can actually be said to have started in the last quarter of 2021. Not for any reason other than “I say so and I run this here website.”
So came September, 2021, the separation from my employer came into effect. Freed from the need to login, I went on a roadtrip to the Eastern Townships in Quebec. Lovely little towns, lakes, bigger lakes, smaller lakes and more lakes, a mountain to climb, but mostly drive through the townships in laid back comfort. It helped that The Great Plague of Our Times was still dampening tourism, so we had very few crowds.
The following weeks were spent in negotiation the final details of the separation, sorting through the legalese and the sordid commercial aspects by end of November, the final i was crossed and the final t dotted, or whatever.
But before that, something magical happened.
The Magical Thing
A delightful little thing appeared into this world to light us up with her sheer presence and change our status by adding a prefix, “grand” to parent. The days immediately before her arrival were fraught with the weird processes hospitals created on top of their already weird processes as a nod to Covid. Thankfully, Claudia, quite unaware of the chaos and trials her parents, and, by proxy, her Grandma and Grampa, came through safe and sound.
She’s now over a year old, toddling around, bullying the poor doggie into getting out of her way, as she practises her walking and talking. Truly, the best gift we’ve had in quite a while!
We had, in the meantime, received an invitation to a wedding in Dubai. We’d held off booking flights or confirming attendance, as we waited for Claudia. With her safely home, we decided to let our friends know that we would be attending the wedding of their daughter.
And so I said, “Look, we could fly all the way to Dubai, a 14 hour flight, wearing masks, or we can break up the journey and stop off somewhere in Europe, perhaps?”
I looked up all the direct flights and connections between where I live and Dubai. The shortlist shrunk down to two options, Amsterdam or Lisbon. I would have liked Amsterdam. I wanted to stroll around the city, not visiting museums or tourist sights. Just enjoying the freedom of life without a job, free to sit in a cafe, watch the world go by. I was then persuaded that Lisbon would be better because it would be warmer.
And so, we went to Lisbon, carrying just fleece and rain jackets. And we were fine! It was a glorious 17 Celsius and the city was a lovely, walkable city. It was a nice quiet week, doing nothing in particular. We did visit the Tile Museum, which is interesting, not very large and I had a snack in the cafeteria, paired with a ginginha. An interesting thing, this ginginha, like a poor man’s port.
We took a short 30 minute or so train ride into Sintra, which Lord Byron called Glorioso Eden. We found a Cuban taxi driver who drove us up to Pena Palace. The Palace, all red and ochre, and the Moorish Castle ruins done, we decided to walk back downhill to the station. We walked and we walked along well kept walkways, till we came to the station.
Then we went to Dubai, via a very deserted Munich airport, had great fun at the wedding, explored the gold souk and a bit of the town on our own, melting in the winter sun. And that was the end of Q4-2021.
The first quarter of 2022 was spent doing wholesome, fulfilling things; like planning a vacation around yet another wedding and arguing heatedly about the various options. Like a happily married and resigned couple, we came up with a plan, version 7 or 8 or 9 of which became the plan we would follow. All our plans are built to start the day with a starting point and some interesting points of interest or activities are listed for the day. These are subject to change once start point has been achieved. “Planning for Change” is what we should call it, but we don’t. We both know, however, that all plans are subject to modifications and we’re comfortable with that.
Back in the days of yore, My Beloved Bangalan was in school with this other girl. Right after college as we all eased into careers, we found, thanks to my dad, that we were all software developers. We used to travel to work and back together, hang out together, as a sort of triumvirate of easygoing companionship. She now lives in California, and I’m not sure now how this all started but she and her husband, said they’d love to join us. So then, the booking mania started. Flights, accomodations, car rental etc. were all researched.
And thus Q1-2022 was full of fun!
The fun of Q1 was heightened in Q2 as all the research had to be converted into real credit card payments. Insurance was researched and booked, flights arranged, cottages, hotels, trains, and rental cars were booked. The plan was simple. We would fly into Heathrow, wait for the couple of hours for the other couple to arrive and then we would head to York, where the next day we were supposed to pick up the rental car.
Everything looked great, except for the packing. Horrifying images of luggage strewn across the aprons of Heathrow meant we had to rethink how to pack everything for 2 weeks of hiking across Yorkshire and Cumbria, 1 week in Istanbul with a 2 day wedding, and then another week in London with part 2 of the wedding. We decided to not check in any bags (and save the bucks that Air Canada ghouls wanted for it)
Ultimately, I invested in a real backpack, we wore our hiking boots on the flight and changed into sneakers at Heathrow and forgoed… forwent… uh managed with carryon baggage only. Quite a tricky few weeks!!
And so it came to pass that we landed in Heathrow, 40 minutes late, eased our way through the e-gates in less than 5 minutes and about 90 minutes later were united with the California Couple. Off we went in a taxicab to Kings Cross. We hadn’t pre-booked train tickets, in case you’re wondering, because we didn’t know when our flights would actually land. We bought tickets, looked dubiously at the guy as he tried to convince us they would work and for safety’s sake checked them again with another uniformed guy. Apparently, they were fine!
Off we went and walked over to our hotel, checked in and went off to explore and grab dinner. Which, for me, was at a lovely pub, where I had a great meat pie, paired, of course, with some great beer.
Next day, we fought with the rental car agency, because they didn’t have the automatic we wanted. The young chap there showed me around the only thing they had, a manual, repeating over and over again that he didn’t really need to show me over, because I, apparently, “look like a well traveled gentleman”. Ass!
So we ended up with me doing all driving duties for the two weeks, because none of the others trusted themselves to drive a stick shift around the hills and dales. I like to think of it as, they trusted me because I was a well traveled gentleman!
And so, very quickly, two beautiful weeks were spent walking Herriot country, along the Dales path, along the trails, and up and down the hills of the Lake District.
Then, we went to Istanbul for a week. Lots of kebabs later, and some baclava and knefeh, wedding ceremonies and celebrations conducted, great big mosques visited, sultans harem seen, Bosphorus cruised, a day on the beach at the Black Sea spent, we were back on the plane to London.
The first day, we found all the railways on strike, except one. There was a station just a kilometre away, so we started walking, and then saw a double decker. We asked the driver if he was going to Feltham and he said yes, so we were dropped off at the station. We got off at Clapham and walked along till we came to Battersea Park where I espied a special kind of thing out of the corner of my eye.
And so, I got LeggieLefty out and to see what he did there’s a video at the bottom of this post. (I told you there was a thing to look forward to….)
Then we walked and we walked and we walked and we walked around Chelsea and Kensington, then Boo arrived the next day, we attended the the Wedding Part 2. Walked around and saw some museums etc and took the flight home.
Was spent recovering from a mild bout of the ‘rona, preparing for the little one’s first birthday and preparing for The Beloved Bangalan’s solo trip to India. With her on the way, I was left to my own devices and so I worked on the Second Edition of A Couple of Choices. I managed to work on on the paperback edition and got me a first proof.
The 6×9 size didn’t look great and the cover also lacked a bit, but it did show I had most of the mechanics right. I modified it, rejigged the size to a more natural looking 5×8 and got another set of proofs. This I gave to a friend to read and I got back the marked up copied with over 36 defects, some minor, some basic typos and formatting issues and a couple of very thought provoking comments. So, I sent it out to another friend for feedback and got yelled at along the same lines as the more polite feedback I had received. So there we have it now.
I’m waiting for the fixes and that’s how 2022 ended.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, we bring to you, without further ado, our co-contributor on this site, a young LeggieLefty, bowling his leggies in Battersea Park to young Aiden Pierce, born in Australia, reluctantly in England. If you don’t know LeggieLefty, we shake our heads at your negligence and remind you that, oddly enough, LeggieLefty shares a mother, a father, a birthday and a body with SloWord and is a huge cricket fan, who bats lefthanded and wants only to bowl legspin. See more or less more of this.
I don’t think there’s anything left to say…. is there?