I’m pleased to see this new year started like a car with a flat battery, requiring an early morning jump-start, begrudgingly supplied by two burly, hungover blokes in bubble jackets drawn over their PJs. I can tell when a bad year is before us: it always begins with a bang and a rush. A bad omen.
I don’t normally go in for resolutions. I’ll make only the one; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; if it is broke, don’t start it. Therefore the old year should roll seamlessly into the new. But just for fun…
I’ll keep up with art classes. I have to do these to ensure I do any art at all. I’m a tad lazy. This term I’ve enrolled on to the Life class once more, after a gap of four terms. I’m afraid I’ll be rusty but I will post my efforts, along with my thoughts.
For the previous four terms, I did Relief Printmaking, mainly linocuts, with a very inspiring tutor. She mentioned how a couple of her students on a similar course made their own presses based on an hydraulic bottle jack. This, I hope, will be my next personal project, building it mostly from scrap and recycled wood. I’ll probably have to buy the jack and the fixings.
Contemplating the press project reminded me I had sketched plans to make a zoetrope last year. It didn’t happen. I’ve been fascinated by zoetropes, and their ilk, ever since childhood when a good collection of them were on hand at the London Science Museum. They could be made to work by the public, first by crank wheels and later by a button switch connected to an electric motor. I was disappointed to find there weren’t any to be seen on a recent visit. Time moves on, interests change.
I’m considering a new bike before the Spring. I need to decide which kind. I’ve long had an all terrain bike which is fun and handy for nipping down the road. It’s an old Raleigh with a steel frame and heavy. The problem is its brakes are stuffed, and so are the rims.
Three years ago, I treated myself to a road bike, an entry level Cannondale. As I usually do more road riding than off-road, I get more miles out of it. What I didn’t realise was how scary is it racing downhill with rim brakes – and there’s no getting away from hills where I live. So, really, I ought to be considering upgrading the bike to a model with disc brakes, to give me more confidence.
There’s also a further consideration around a touring bike as an old mate has hinted at a cycling week in France. I quite fancy the idea of a road trip ever since reading Edward Thomas’ book, In Search Of Spring.
I’ve just four longish walks in my Jarrod’s Cotswold Walks book. I’ve had this since 2006 and decided to tackle them in order, 28 walks in all, and each year’s end, I’ve been disappointed at how few I’ve managed to fit in. I aim, as I have done the past three years, to complete all the walks before the end of Autumn.
Reading is another long term love which I find harder to fit in than I once did. I’m an avid reader of books but struggle to read much more than one a month, or twelve in a year. I didn’t set a personal challenge last year; the year before I read only books by women authors in an attempt to address my bias towards male authors. This year I’ll try to read more recently published books to address my bias towards classics and modern classics. I may not last the year on this one.
That’s enough. This has turned out to be a little like Miliband’s Ed Stone, a stunt by the unsuccessful UK Labour Party election campaign in 2015. I hope it isn’t like it but hey-ho if it turns out to be.
Remember, all great years rarely got started before February.