2022 Recap

The year is ending, it’s time for another recap post.

Do look up – the world’s not ending… yet

Let me get this out of the way first: this is a personal post on a personal blog. This is not a current events blog. There’s been a lot of bad stuff this year. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, most of all, the cost of living crisis, the absolutely insane weather brought on by climate change. But for me, on purely personal basis, it has been a good year.

My mum said the other day when we spoke on the phone, that things happen that we have no control over and can’t do anything about. So what is left but to live one’s life? I’m devastated at the state of the world… I hope it gets better and wish I could do something… I hope Putin’s head explodes… I want a better world, for everyone. I want the Star Trek future to be real, not just a fantasy. But to want something is just that.

So, the recap.

I have made 106 posts on Some Photoblog. That’s not just a record, that’s outstanding. I thought last year’s 89 was an achievement. (Note, these numbers are correct at the time of writing, I sometimes delete old posts, sometimes without a trace, sometimes I republish them later, keeping the original text and adding new pictures, or keeping the pictures and changing the original text.) Over on my writing blog it was 13 posts, also a record. Although not all of them are technically stories, writing is writing.

And in 2022, I’ve had my share of nice things.

Well, it can hardly get any better than meeting one’s favourite actor and travelling to one’s home country after seven years of not travelling to one’s home country, like the proverbial prodigal daughter.

Meeting Sam Claflin was without question a highlight of the year (and one of the highlights of my life), not only because of how nice he was, and how magical the experience felt, and how his smile is really like that, but also because the whole trip to London for the convention (by coach, because one can’t rely on trains anymore in this kingdom united, meaning I had to leave the day before and spend a night at a hotel) thrust me out of the familiarity of my comfort zone straight into the uncharted waters of the big wide ocean. For someone who never goes anywhere and sticks to the same places and activities, my stress levels reached the stratosphere. I knew once I got through it, I’d be able to do anything.

At the convention, aside from meeting Sam Claflin, I also got an autograph of Ben Barnes. He, too, was very nice–and chatty! (Sam seems more quiet.) His eyes are really that dark.

Another favourite I saw was the band Bastille live in concert. They were my most streamed artist on Spotify wrapped.

it’s the stuff I usually listen to

Taylor Swift released her album Midnights. But I still keep listening to Evermore.

And it was a good year for an Agatha Christie fan. Death on the Nile was finally released in the cinemas, after numerous delays (and a scandal involving one of the actors), with Kenneth Branagh directing and playing the role of Hercule Poirot. Then there was the film that directly honoured the queen of crime: See How They Run. A murder is committed in the theatre that hosts her play The Mousetrap and Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan of the London police force team up to solve it. It takes place a year after the play opened, 1953. The film very meta–and the character of Agatha herself appears too. And finally just in time for Christmas, Glass Onion came out on Netflix. After the success of Knives Out, Rian Johnson gives us another case for detective Benoit Blanc, played (with much fun) by Daniel Craig. Rian once again brilliantly combines Agatha Christie-like tropes with current issues and lots of humour. If you hate Elon Musk, you’re gonna love this movie.

I’ve seen a few articles talking about how murder mysteries are back, but I think people have always liked them.

The above mentioned Mousetrap celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2022 and I went to see it when they came to Manchester as part of the anniversary tour.

It was so good to see my home town of Bratislava again. I was so happy I finally took some pics there with my Canon (last time I had gone there I didn’t have a DSLR camera). November is not perhaps the best time to travel (right after the clocks went back too, so days became even shorter) but I made the best of it and I got lucky with some nice weather.

I was a bit worried about putting my cat in a cattery, fearing that she would think I was abandoning her. It was her first time staying in a cattery. But she got through it alright. (Imagine running a cattery, though, it seems like one of those dream jobs.)

I cannot do a 2022 recap post without mentioning the death of the longest reigning monarch, Elizabeth II. I’m not keen on monarchy, it’s inherently anti-democratic, but I can’t deny Elizabeth was an impressive person. She’ll be remembered for centuries to come.

The UK also went through three Prime Ministers. One of them, Liz Truss, was at the job for 49 days–and was outlasted by a lettuce.

The chaos in British politics would not have existed had Leave not won the referendum in 2016. But, you know *shrug* I have said everything that needs to be said about it.

So as not to end the post on a depressing note, let us remember the heroes of the year. Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the women of Iran who rose up in protest of the regime. And also you. The person reading this, for getting through whatever you had to get through. Keep on keeping on.

Bring on 2023!

Cabinet of Curiosities, Haworth

One from my archives: the Cabinet of Curiosities shop in Haworth, the Yorkshire village famous for being the home of the Bronte sisters.

I took this photo on my visit to Haworth in March 2019. I meant to post it on Halloween that year, but I forgot. I forgot to post it for Halloween the following year too, and each year after that, I forgot I even had this photograph. It was Guillermo del Toro’s anthology series on Netflix that reminded me of its existence. The series is also called Cabinet of Curiosities. Instead of waiting till Halloween 2023, I’m posting it now. After all, it’s the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. This should be the time to tell spooky stories, really, it’s just that it’s Christmas. Almost.

I have no idea if this shop is still there. If not, then it’s a relic.

Check out my Haworth tag to see more of the place.

It’s been so cold and I’ve not been taking pictures

I took some shots from the window earlier in the month. The top two with camera, the last one with smartphone. (It’s not snow, it’s frost.)

Temperatures plummeted to, like, minus eight degrees Celsius, and I was legit worried it would never get warmer. Cold snaps like this tend to last two to three days; this one went for longer than a week. It was awful. I still went for my usual walk in the park on my lunchbreak, but I had to keep my hands in my pockets. There was nothing to photograph anyway.

Luckily it got better, now it’s back to the normal Manchester weather of grey skies and rain, and much warmer temperature.

I’ve not taken any pictures since 9 December, apart from this one of Pepper chilling on the kitchen radiator:

Although “chilling” is probably not the right term here. More like “warming”.

Depressing post is depressing, but it explains why there was no content on the blog. I’m not depressed, in fact I’ve been reflecting that 2022 has been a quite good year for me.

I don’t have any concrete plans for any Christmas-themed post, but I’ll probably slip something in, because I usually do.

I hope you’re keeping warm.

Happy 70th Anniversary, Mousetrap!

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, the longest running play in the world, is celebrating its 70th anniversary. It first opened in London’s West End in 1952 (and has now outrun the reign of Queen Elizabeth!) This milestone is being honoured by a tour around the country, of which one of the stops was Manchester.

Yeah, you know I went, you don’t even have to ask. Duh, I’d lose my Agatha fan card if I didn’t go see it!

Opera House looked pretty nice with the displays.

I was there on the 3rd December, so their last night in Manchester (yeah, it was a few days ago, I just forgot to post it…). From what I could see, it was a sold out performance.

The Mousetrap is a classic Agatha Christie locked room mystery. A group of people at a boarding house are cut off from the rest of the world by snowy weather, someone gets murdered–whodunnit? The tune of Three Blind Mice is a recurring motif, hence the title of the play.

When the murder was about to happen, all the lights went out, including the fire exit signs. Truly spooky!

I didn’t manage to get the program, so I had to look up the cast on the website.

Everyone was excellent–I keep saying I need to go to the theatre more often. It requires quite a different calibre of talent than film and TV acting. Fun fact: in its first opening in 1952, the role of Detective Sergeant Trotter was played by Richard Attenborough.

And finally, as it has recently been announced, The Mousetrap is heading to Broadway in 2023!

Flight

I saw this weekend’s Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge was Flight–and I knew I had the right content for it!

Taken on my recent flight from Bratislava back to Manchester. The geolocation shows as Karlovy Vary (also known as Carlsbad) in Czech Republic, a popular spa resort not far from the German border.

The fluffy white clouds would almost make you believe you were in a fantasy castle in the skies–but only almost. It’s a Ryanair flight after all!

(For readers outside Europe: Ryanair is a budget airline that operates to and from most of the major cities here, so not very romantic, but honestly, they do exactly what you need them to do, i.e. fly you from A to B, and what more do you need?)

Pink-ish

This weekend’s Weekly Prompts Challenge is a colour challenge and the colour is pinkish. Colour challenges are the ones I most like to participate in, so I dug through my archives, as pink definitely features in my collections.

One of my dearest books in the whole world, of course. Pink was Anne’s favourite colour, but she felt she couldn’t wear it because of her red hair. (Also for some reason, looking at the teapot on the cover reminds me of Mrs Potts of Beauty and the Beast, voiced by the absolute legend that was Angela Lansbury, whom we recently lost…)

Anne was also a fan of pink roses.

The only real roses are the pink ones. They are the flowers of love and faith.

Anne of the Island

She says this as she ties the ribbon around Diana’s bouquet on Diana’s wedding day.