Friday, January 1, 2021

A Sci-Fi Sun


Well, here we are on the flip side, in a brand new year, free of some of the bleak associations that weighed down 2020. Do you feel any different?

Last night, Dave and I watched Netflix's darkly comedic look back at the calamitous recent past, "Death to 2020." It was a hoot. I mean, let's face it -- it's hard to make jokes about the coronavirus -- but I thought the show was just irreverent enough to not be in bad taste. And Tracey Ullman playing the Queen was priceless.

We also had our bubbly, as planned -- one glass apiece -- and it wasn't that great, which we expected because it was included as an "extra" in my last Craft Gin Club box. You get what you pay for, right? After "Death to 2020," we finished Netflix's documentary series about the Yorkshire Ripper, which was fascinating. I dimly remember hearing about those murders back in the 1980s but I didn't recall any details, including whether they ever caught the guy, so I found it worthwhile.

That was our New Year's Eve. We were in bed by 10:30. I was awakened around midnight by fireworks going off somewhere nearby, and I thought, "OK! It's a new year! We made it!" And I went right back to sleep. 


The birds were busy on our feeders all day yesterday -- starlings, tits, dunnocks, and a bright green parakeet. The big orange blob in the photo above, looking like one of Tattooine's suns, is actually one of the Christmas lights on our avocado tree, shining in the foreground while I shot out the window. Kind of a cool effect!

As you can see from the top photo of our garden teasels, we had a frosty New Year's Eve morning.

I was happy to complete another year of uninterrupted daily blogging. I haven't missed a day since 2014, and if you forgive the ones I skipped that year because of travel and wonky Internet availability in China and the Seychelles, I've actually had a perfect record going back through 2013. Not that it is any kind of a burden. I enjoy it -- writing my blog in the morning is my quiet time, an opportunity to reflect (however shallowly!) and be creative each and every day.

As I've said in the past, even before blogging I used to keep a paper journal, and I wrote in that daily for many years. Blogging simply continues the habit, with the refreshing opportunity to have someone actually read what I'm writing. So thank you readers, and I hope you enjoy what I produce here in the coming year!

61 comments:

  1. We have lots of the noisy little green creatures around here, but yet to see one on my bird feeders! (They tend to stay closer to the river.) Lately the starlings have discovered my seeds etc. and are always flocking round at the feeders. I prefer to feed the small birds, but I suppose starlings need to eat too! At least they can't get into the squirrel proof feeder that I put the peanuts in!!
    I love it that you post every day without fail....I read my friends' blogs while I eat my breakfast and you always have something interesting to say. Looking forward to another year of hearing about your life and walks . Happy New Year to you and yours . X

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    1. I've seen starlings on our feeders too -- I don't mind helping them out! I love the sounds they make, those clear piping notes. (When they're not fighting with each other, that is.) Glad you enjoy the blog, and Happy New Year to you too!

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  2. I always enjoy visiting "Shadows and Light". It is a thoughtful, honest and well-written blog with expert photo-illustration. Happy New Year Steve! Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks, YP! I'm glad to have you as a member of our blogosphere!

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  3. Happy New Year to you both! (It surely can't be any worse than the last one).

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  4. Brilliant photo! I look forward to your daily posts and photos and am glad I was told about you this year. Trying to remain hopeful for 2021.

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    1. Thanks, Mitchell! I'm also glad we connected!

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  5. Happy New Year! I love that frosty photo and the bird feeder photo is brilliant. The funny thing is, I played a couple of online games with friends on a zoom call last night and in one of the games, one player used "Tattooine" as a clue. So reading it here seemed like quite a coincidence. And to top that off, another player recommended the "Death to 2020" show to the rest of us. There must be some kind of sci-fi telepathy going on here!

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    1. Funny! We're all on the same wavelength! The Tattooine thing is such a bizarre coincidence.

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  6. Happy new year to you.

    If you found the Yorkshire ripper interesting, check out the Red Riding trilogy on one of the UK TV channels box sets. It's a drama series somewhat connected to these events.

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    1. I will check it out! Thanks for the recommendation and HNY to you too, Sabine!

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  7. We watched that series too. Very, very disturbing. I'm not sure I remember anything about it from when it was happening. I was probably too busy trying to keep my head above water so far away.
    Wow, Steve! That's amazing that you've managed a blog post every day for all these years. I am impressed. Like you, I try to do one a day and it's never a chore. It's part of my life and I love it. And it is part of my day to see what you're up to. Your words and pictures are another window I look out of to see the world.
    Happy New Year to you Dave and to Olga and to the wee creatures in your garden, both winged and furred. Perhaps we will be able to see each other again this year. Wouldn't that be lovely?

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    1. You've surely been writing daily about as long as I have. You never seem to miss a day either. In fact you used to post twice a day, as I remember! I love your blog so I'm glad you're out there, Mary -- and YES, I anticipate another get-together in Lloyd!

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  8. Thanks for carrying us through that year behind us. We traveled through London streets with you, vented when we needed to, smiled at Olga and had a place to come to breathe. If you remember I said earlier in the year that I wasn't going to comment anymore but your blogs are always so positive until after reading it you had to say something. You make your commentors feel free to speak what they feel and never try to tell us how to speak, feel and write. Your blog is the only one I will read and comment on. Thanks a million and I know I said it yesterday but again....Happy New Year to you, Olga and Dave. "LOVE YOU MUCH"

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    1. Thank you SO MUCH for those kind words, Angelicastar! I'm glad you feel comfortable commenting here -- I always get a kick out of your comments!

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  9. A very impressive writing record! For some reason, I stopped writing in my (paper) journal on August 26th. Likely it was because of starting virtual schooling with my 1st grader GS, but need to start up again. Have a fresh journal at the ready.

    Much appreciate your daily efforts. Always like to hear what Olga is up to...even if it is just a photo of her snuggling in her pink blanket. Smart pup. May you and Dave stay safe and take care. And may 2021 bring us all more hope.

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    1. I'm sure virtual schooling eats into your writing time! When I was writing full time for work (at a newspaper) I found that blogging was much harder, and in fact I stopped for a while. (You can see that gap in my archives, in 2010-11.) Now I don't really write at work so this is my opportunity. 2021 is bound to be better!

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  10. Happy New Year! but I won't feel better or safer until after Biden is inaugurated on the 20th. and that's a pretty good blogging record. I try for every other day with more or less success. Thanks for all the great photos.

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    1. I agree -- I'm on tenterhooks until inauguration, because you just NEVER KNOW what this crazy man is going to do. We're almost there!

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  11. Thanks for giving us a great blog to read everyday. Congratulations.

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  12. We stayed up to see the ball drop, sip some bubbly, and then tottered off to bed around 1AM.

    Glad I found your blog to brighten the end of 2020, and loo forward to what comes next!

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    1. I'm impressed you stayed up! I just don't have it in me anymore, LOL!

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  13. I think I need to spend some time going back to the beginning of your blog and seeing what you have been up to all of these years. I have just found you this year so I have lots to explore about the life of Steve...
    Thanks so much for your delightful blog and lovely photos and thoughtful posts! Finding your blog was a good thing for me in 2020!

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    1. My early posts were much shorter and less chatty. I was initially uncertain about posting personal information online so it took me a while to get a sense of what I could comfortably say. I feel like it took me several years to develop a blogging "voice." (To the extent that I have one!)

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  14. Happy New Year to you, Dave and Olga. Hugs, Edna and Pogo B.

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  15. Is the ringneck parakeet able to get food out of that feeder? I worry about them in your cold climate. It always amazes me what birds can adapt to.
    Your unbroken string of blogging is very impressive.

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    1. I don't think so. I don't think they can fit their heads through the screen. I need to get some open suet and seed feeders, as I've done in the past. I don't worry about them too much, though -- they're incredibly adaptable and they certainly have flourished here.

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  16. I'm always glad that you blog daily. It's a wonderful journal of life there in England, a place I will never see, but through your eyes. Thank you for that. Happy New Year to you, Dave, and Olga.

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    1. I'm glad you like it! I hope you CAN visit someday!

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  17. Happy New Year to you, Dave and Olga. Thank you for writing daily.
    You always have something interesting to say. I'd say my favorite post this year was the one with the cemetary graves. You added links to read more about the people who were buried there. Actually turned out to be fascinating information.
    Best wishes in 2021!

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    1. I'm glad you liked that post! I sometimes feel like I blog way too much about the cemetery -- especially now, in lockdown, when I wind up walking there so much. But it IS a fascinating place. So many life stories to tell!

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  18. I am so glad you are so faithful to blog. I love reading about your walks, seeing Olga having fun, all your pictures that you take. You have one of the most enjoyable blogs around. I also like to see what you are reading. So thank you and keep up the good work.

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    1. Hello Lini, and thanks for your comment! Glad you like the blog! Re. reading, I just finished my huge stack of New Yorkers (THANK GOD) so I'll be moving on to more books shortly!

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  19. Happy new year! -From a visitor doing visiting on your site, I really like your pictures and your dedication to this! Stay safe

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    1. Happy New Year, visitor! And thanks for visiting! :)

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  20. Good job on the daily blogging! I was there for a while, but then ran out of things to say. :) Now it's every couple of days usually. It was a very noisy day and night here.

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    1. I'm not sure I have things to say every day, honestly, but I do try. LOL

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  21. I Came For The Photos - Stayed For The Write Ups - Returning Because Of Olga Girl - Good On You For The Daily Dedication - Very Inspiring - Happy 20BLACK Jack

    Cheers

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    1. Thanks for helping Olga to feel like the star she is! I think you're her biggest fan!

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    2. Olga's Super Fan - Too Funny Brother Man - Hope The New Year Is Treating You Three Well - Stay Warm In The Jungle Room

      Cheers

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  22. Happy 2021! I love that parakeet photo.
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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    1. Happy New Year, Barbara! Glad to see you here!

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  23. I applaud you (applause, applause) for your record of daily blogging. Some day, far in the future, Pepys Diary will be forgotten, only to be replaced by Steve Reed's Scintillating Recaps. Good on you, lad.

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    1. Ha! Good Lord, I hope not. Just because I show up daily doesn't make it literature! LOL

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  24. We watched that the other day and enjoyed it too. I am still finishing watching The Crown, so the Queen being played by someone else seemed slightly wrong but she did it well! I like the photo effect sun. The fireworks we heard last night were so loud and long lasting. Two of our cats were quite disturbed and the other one is deaf!
    Well done on the daily blogging too-I always like to read your blogs and see what you have been up to. Happy New Year to you and Dave and Olga! Let's hope it is an improvement on the last one.

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    1. I can see how it would be weird to watch both that and "The Crown" at the same time! It's even a bit disconcerting when the cast members on "The Crown" change as the characters age.

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  25. A very cool bird photo. A personal blog is certainly a great diary.

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    1. It is, as long as the Internet continues to function!

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  26. A very Happy New Year to you, Dave and Olga.
    I don't comment often but Your blog is one of my favorites. You write so well and always have something interesting to share along with your photos. I haven't been to England for years so appreciate your wanders and enjoy all your garden photos.

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    1. Hi Cheryl -- thanks so much for your kind words! The garden is looking a bit grim at the moment, unfortunately. :D

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  27. Happy New Year...........you are my top blogger.

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    1. Thank you so much! It gives me a boost to know people really ARE reading my posts!

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  28. Thank you for the recommendation- hilarious! Perfect!
    Of course I absolutely LOVE the shot of the bird and the orange glowing bulb. So tropical! It will not be a new year until maybe the end of January when the orange turd is outtathere!

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    1. Glad you liked the show! The photo DOES look weirdly tropical, doesn't it? Just what we need in a dark and chilly January -- fake sun is better than no sun!

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  29. I bought "David Copperfield" as I've never read any of Charles Dickens books. You inspired me.

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    1. That's awesome! "Copperfield" is my favorite of his books so far, so I'll be interested to hear what you think. I liked "A Tale of Two Cities" a lot, too. Haven't yet tried "Great Expectations." Maybe next year!

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