“Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountain, like wind in the meadow. The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow. How did it come to this?”King Theoden, The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers
A Summer Like No Other
Thank you to everyone that has continued to support Comfortably Adventurous in recent months, the interactions, conversations and good humour has been a blessing and huge source of support in a trying period. July looked to set the precedent for a return to some form of normalcy in our everyday lives, the easing of restrictions on our freedoms and liberties we have come to accept as a necessary evil. The shadow of further encroachments looms like an unwelcome shadow but we persevere to draw strength where we can find it and appreciate the small blessing we encounter. In the UK, the easing of certain restrictions on attractions and museums meant an opportunity to venture out once again and enjoy a great many destinations within a short distance. I’ll concede, the spectre of this virus has acted as a deterrent in venturing into the capital, London used to attract me on a weekly basis to explore or experience a gluttony of riches on my doorstep but what I came to realise as July drew to a close, it’s been nearly half a year since I last ventured into the City Centre, practically unheard of in my adult life but where I am today. Every journey or adventure in recent weeks has been accomplished through the use of personal transport, its effective, its safe.
The biggest blessing in the last month has been the opportunity to see and interact with my family scattered across the South of England in recent months, a cathartic and mentally healing trip down to the spiritual town of Glastonbury I’ve experienced in recent years to see my parents for the first time in a long time. I had the longest hug, it was needed. I haven’t written much about the town itself, it has a great Comic Store that I inscribed in another life as well as a memorable and distinct Christmas aesthetic that always inspires the festive spirits whenever I am fortunate to go down to visit. Perhaps in the spirit of my recent London Blogging Series I’ll look to undertake a Glastonbury series of articles and reviews, it’s a fantastic town to experience and enjoy, a real communal energy permeates the entirety of the location, a pretentious rank amateur like I won’t do justice to its distinct character but I hope I can convey a little of its charm and nuance. It always feels like a home away from home and an opportunity to shed the tensions of working in and around London, I’ve always said, if life got to tough I’d run away to a boutique hotel in Rome and eat a gluttony of Apple gelato. With the restrictions on air travel, I’ll settle for the idle charms of Somerset and a good strong cheddar.
Work continues to be an intense and transformative experience unlike any I have experienced in the last decade of working in the banking sector. The financial crash that occurred when I joined the organization I work for was a shock to the industry, at the moment, there is a building wave of anxiety at what’s to come with the job market taking a punishing and the expectant challenges and hardship that will land on many people’s shoulders. We conduct ourselves in a calm and reassuring manner maintaining a sense of equilibrium and poise, inwardly a rising anxiety at what’s to come in the near future. All we can do is persevere, adopt the very British adage of keeping calm, carrying on. Maybe the greatest lesson I have realised through all these personal and professional challenges in recent months is the strength you gain from enduring and persevering through each and every obstacle. And to enjoy and appreciate the moments of levity and good fortune you encounter. For me, as simple as visiting the botanical gardens of Kew and its sheer beauty and harmony with nature. Or fulfilling someone’s long held dream to visit the stately home of Highclere castle. Simple things, simple experiences but one’s that allowed a momentary respite from the chaotic reality of the present day.
““I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”2 Timothy 4:7, King James Bible
What I Published
With the exception of a fortuitous trip to Kew Gardens at the end of June which was genuine escapism from the confines of suburbia, plans for July were somewhat reliant on a multitude of closed and shuttered attractions and exhibits being able to react and open again to the public. With that in mind I continued to reformat and expand a number of older posts and trips from a previous page I ran including a trip to Nintendo World in New York in the Autumn of 2018 as well as a retrospective review of the Pokemon Centre in Westfield London last year. Thankfully as the month progressed and London begun to come alive again I was extremely fortunate my booked tickets for Highclere Castle wasn’t impacted by the pandemic and this went ahead as planned, one of the very occasions this year I imagine I can say that. That was the centerpiece for a week long celebration of the Best of British articles I composed including a review of the AI exhibit held at the Barbican centre in London last year. Thankfully in recent weeks I have been fortunate to attend a number of reopening museums and attractions and have a great deal to look forward to in the next month.
Media wise, on the gaming front a somewhat quiet and barren spell for me in recent weeks. In the absence of any particular game or series grabbing my attention I reformatted my Watch Dogs articles which was enjoyable to go back to but really my mindset certainly had a predication towards escapism, enjoying the frontiers of Red Dead Redemption 2 and losing myself in that incredible world. When my enthusiasm for that release came to an end I reinstalled another open frontier game with a slightly different setting in Elite Dangerous to experience the changes and updates in recent years. I purchased and continued my Michael Palin series of travel programs, a guilty pleasure from my youth, it was my first opportunity to watch Pole to Pole in its entirety in at least twenty years which amazed me at some of the themes and issues still relevant today. I had wanted to review Sunshine for a while with its brutalist and bleak tone and narrative fitting perfectly into my Best of British Blogging week. A mixed assortment of reviews and media pieces this month but an enjoyable experience nonetheless.
What I Enjoyed
Some great articles this month from some talented writers. Through complete happenstance as I was putting together my Best of British series I came across this review of ‘Lurkers’ on @Gray’s Otome visual novel page. A collective team who put together some informative and fascinating reviews of mostly Japanese centric visual novels and contents, this immediately jumped out at me given the London setting and tone of the game. They do a great job of breaking down the core elements of the game and the experience and though there is the occasional issue with posting the content outside of the WordPress environment definitely an interesting review to read and consider playing. Also free as a playable demo which is always the best price to pay.
The every talented team @Later Levels encouraged by their awesome feline companion Zelda posted an interesting and thoughtful perspective on the constraints and pressures of content creation during this period. There were a number of themes and feelings I recognised in myself having worked consistently in one of the most transformative periods of my career with the self inflicted pressure of continuing to generate new and interesting content here. A really interesting read that works to make you realise you aren’t alone in feeling how you do. And finally an honest and open introspective take on overcoming and managing anxiety by Emily @Monster Lady’s Diary through the use of gaming particularly one of my favourite games of the last decade, Dragon Age Inquisition.
Highlights From My Camera Reel
Plans For August
The month ahead has the look and feel of returning to some resemblance of life before lockdown, with nearly all of London’s main attractions opening with obvious restrictions in place to manage in a safe manner returning visitors and audiences. It is by no means a certainty, as such every visit feels a lot more special and important, it could all be snatched away as quickly as they opened. In the coming week’s I have scheduled to attend a David Hockney exhibit that was postponed at the Tate Modern this weekend as well as visiting the gallery itself using the last few months of my annual membership to this group. I enjoy his style of work have studied art at college and visited the Guggenheim gallery in New York. It’s a visually distinct style and approach and something I’ve looked forward to for a while. Beyond that, a return visit to one of my favourite smaller museums in the capital and a chance to and see the Museum of London in the Barbican Complex near the CIty of London. It had been scheduled to move in the near future, whether that has been curtailed or put on hold I can only speculate but it is a fun museum to visit and one I’m looking forward to supporting in whatever way I can.
On the media front I have my first, FMV review due to release in the coming week with a look at my experience playing the distinctly memorable and entirely British title ‘Erica’ on the PS4. Beyond that I will be reviewing the Hyrule Historia art and accompanying release from the famed Nintendo series in addition to a review of the period drama Darkest Hour. I also have some opinion pieces planned to release on Sunday’s which should be a more relaxed and more personal form of writing away from the more objective pieces. This is of course subject to change, the current environment is in a very fluidic state and certainly could close in a blink of an eye. Should all things go as planned, a productive month ahead. I’m really excited to bring my new sneaker design to my audience here which is certainly another inspired Converse creation on my part. Also my cheese review which will be a first venture into food reviews, always an intended goal of my writing. I hope we can all enjoy whatever plans and goals we look to accomplish in the next month.
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