Happy New Year Nev

For the first time ever, I spent New Years Eve on my own — laying on the sofa with a tub of pralines and cream Häagen-Dazs. I was recovering from my latest (and I’m determined for it to be my last) bout of tonsillitis. I watched the fireworks erupt over Edinburgh Castle from my living room window and then went to bed, very, very sober.


“Until I learn to accept my reward”
— The Teardrop Explodes, Reward

I’m not sure why I always thought that O2’s Priority scheme was just to offer things that I had no interest in or were otherwise of no practical use, like 10% of Justin Bieber concert tickets at the O2 Arena for example.

An occasional £1 lunch, free coffee from Caffe Nero, random freebies from places like Hotel Chocolat and other free-to-enter competitions — what’s not to like? Essentially, I’m pretty much getting my airtime bill for nothing every month.

When’s a phone not a phone?

One day the other week I was more than half-way to work and suddenly realised that I didn’t have my phone with me. I half-contemplated turning around and going home for it but dismissed this idea as an over-reaction; it was just my phone after all, right?


I thinned my wallet down about six years ago to avoid getting to the same situation as George Costanza. Until NFC is built into my phone and contactless payment is globally accepted, I now have a Vaultskin to carry banknotes, my security pass and a few other cards alongside my phone.

As well as being a phone, my phone is now my bus ticket, boarding pass, stills and video camera, torch, alarm clock, TV remote control, satnav, heart rate monitor and car key.

Building memories

“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.”
― Antonio Porchia

My daughter has just turned two-and-a-half years old. I’m fascinated to know what her first memory will be when she grows up and whatever that happens to be, it will probably be from around now. It’s likely that it will be different to the earliest things she can recall at the moment due to childhood amnesia.

I’m not sure what my earliest memories are. I can remember quite a few things from what must be around the age of three but I have no idea in which order they happened. I’m also not sure if I actually do remember them, if I’ve simply been told about the events or seen a photo that’s triggered something.

Watching her develop has been absolutely fascinating. I’ll never forget the look on her face the first time she realised that she could be understood; she spent the next few days pointing at anything and everything she recognised and telling me what it was. To be fair to her, it’s been a long time since she struggled to let me know what she wanted but that used to be achieved by non-vocal means, physically dragging me to the kitchen fridge and pointing to a jar of olives for instance.

Lately I’ve noticed it becoming more and more difficult to elicit a response from her at times when she’s otherwise engaged with something else, be that having a pretend picnic or tea party with some toys or watching Peppa Pig. I used to find this infuriating but it seems that it’s probably not her fault. I’ll just have to be more patient as she continues to learn and grow.

Growing my own

“Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden?”
— Robert Brault

When I moved in to my new place last summer I noticed that a small corner of the garden had clearly previously been a little vegetable patch but it had long since been abandoned — a rhubarb plant was the only thing left. Over the next several weeks I set to work restoring it.

Once the back-breaking work of double digging over the patch, riddling the soil, mixing in some compost, perlite and lime was done I’ve not actually had to do all that much thanks to the British weather over the past few months. I’m delighted to say that — despite the cataclysmic weather predictions of the Daily Mail1 — the garlic, broad beans, radish and kale I sowed all survived the winter.

While I’m not going to be able to go self-sufficient, I really like the idea that a proportion of the food that I eat can be ascribed food metres rather than miles. It’s also part of the reason I like baking my own bread; I know exactly what’s gone into what I’m eating.

1 I refuse to provide a link to the Daily Mail.