I had plans to write a post for the end of October with this Halloween-themed title, but it serves just as well for the end of the whole year. The seamless transition from war in Ukraine to the events in Gaza that month were enough to leave anyone aghast, but as time has gone on it’s been clear that different people are aghast about different things.
I hadn’t intended to go a month between posts, but on the personal front the past month has been about as disrupted and depressing as they come, and the knock-on effects on everything else I’m meant to be doing haven’t been good, to say the least. When the time is right, I might write about it here… or I might not. There’s too much else I need to write and do.
Last week we once again caught the train to London to see our son perform with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for the 28th concert of this year’s Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. It was another great concert, with engrossing performances of works by Paul Hindemith, Richard Strauss and Aaron Copland, most of which I hadn’t heard before (apart from “Fanfare for the Common Man” incorporated into Copland’s third symphony); and rousing encores at the end of each half. We were sat above the orchestra, looking down on them and the rest of the audience—an excellent view, although it meant the sound was sometimes heading away from us. If you’re curious, the BBC Radio 3 broadcast is available online for the next two months, and the concert will be on BBC television and iPlayer in a week or so.
A few weekends ago I popped over to Glasgow on the train to catch up with my cousin, who was in town for a while. It was the first time I’d passed through Queen Street station since its revamp, thanks to the pandemic, although I drove my son to the outskirts of the city last year for a concert. It meant I was able to appreciate some of the new murals that have sprung up around Merchant City in recent years, as I walked to the Cathedral to meet my cousin. I’d never been inside the Cathedral, either; it’s impressively mediaeval for such a Victorian city.
One long weekend in May I took the kids camping for a couple of nights at Ardnamurchan, where we’d been twice before—our first camping trip in five years, thanks to a certain pandemic. The Corran ferry was out, so we had to drive the long way round via Fort William, and it was a bit wet on the first night, but it was worth it to see Sanna Beach again, study the rock pools full of anemones, sea cucumbers and tadpoles, and fall asleep to the sound of the sea. One of my photos is on this month’s sidebar, and others are collected in a new gallery at Detail.
I popped out to collect a parcel two weeks ago, and on the walk home the sunset was glorious. Here’s a few photos of it.
I’m away from Britain for the first time in three years, visiting family on the other side of the world. Getting here involved thirty hours of plane travel—going the long way round, at half the price of travelling via Asia. I came close to missing my connection in Newark, thanks to a delayed departure from Edinburgh, and had to fight jetlag in LA and Melbourne to avoid missing my subsequent connections; but it all worked out. My first time on a plane in over three years: I’m pretty sure the longest I’ve gone between flights in my entire life.
It hasn’t been the easiest year, so spending the end of it back in Tassie has given some time to take stock. Maybe I’ll write about it sometime. In the meantime, before the year is over, here’s a photo from the end of it.
Roaring Beach, Tasman Peninsula, 22 December 2022
The first photo I posted from my iPhone 7 was a sunset, so here’s the last one, a sunrise from a week ago. The battery was on the way out and it had developed other quirks, so now I’ve got an iPhone 12 Mini, only two years old, which makes it the newest phone I’ve owned in a decade. The refurbished price of the things is getting a bit crazy, but then so’s everything.
There have been more fine sunsets since I posted that gallery of them in June, with a couple this weekend accompanying the rising new moon, so I’ve taken the opportunity to add some extras to it. Meanwhile, here are some that were the wrong aspect ratio—click through for the rest.