Between the opportunities and adventures, a personal space to reflect on life’s small challenges and circumstances. This is my time to reflect on the last seven days, a more opinionated and personal account that provides an insight into my life as the author and content creator at Comfortably Adventurous. A way to document and reflect back on a unique period of our lives unlike anything in recent memory. A little more free spirited, a little less rigid. I hope you feel invited in and welcome in the weeks ahead.
An eventful week for a multitude of reasons. But primarily my first flirtation with the virus in over a year after getting home from Italy last March with a consistent cough as colleagues and staff around me started to fall towards the end of the week. And then on Friday I started feeling rough with a lingering chest cough over the weekend. So I decided to take myself down to the local testing centre to have a swab put up my nose and down my throat. I have been fortunate over the last six months to be part of the ONS survey in the UK that afforded me a bi weekly test which gave some peace of mind when I was visiting my partner in my support bubble that I wasn’t carrying any outside infections into her home. It’s brilliant news that in the UK at least the effort to inoculate the population is seeing real dividends in its efforts, whether that means a return to normal every day life this year is yet to be seen but at the very least with numbers similar to last summer it might afford some of the cultural sector to start opening back up again. Still, the virus hasn’t gone away, it is still around and whilst I wait to see whether I have swerved catching it this time until we are all vaccinated the menace of transmissibility remains.
What a strange weekend to feel under the weather and be stuck at home. Valentines Day came and went without mention. As a couple my partner and I have never celebrated this annual celebration of love, I’m oft told declarations of love shouldn’t be confined to a single day and so with the curtailments on movement in the UK it was largely absent in our interactions with each other that were largely confined to messaging with my confinement at home. Of course the real casualty of this sorry story was celebrating Pancake Day with my parents down in Glastonbury. I appreciate it’s perhaps a little excessive to travel over 100 miles for dinner but it’s been a familial tradition since I was a child to enjoy this day with my parents and family. We tend to opt for a crepe style pancake over a thicker scotch type offering. When I lived in the Vicarage for a number of years pancakes would often be enjoyed in front of a burning log fire, it felt so comforting and decadent, served with a multitude of accompaniments. Last year before I travelled to Rome I spent a couple of days down in Glastonbury with my parents enjoying a late Shrove Tuesday celebration. Like Christmas just gone, another year of a long held familial tradition curtailed by this bloody virus.
Published Work This Week
Four years ago I was fortunate to visit the Danish city of Copenhagen, a beautiful city, famed for its eclectic colourful harbour that is recognisable across the world. It was a great trip, an introduction to Scandinavian living and a welcoming city for two travellers from the UK. It was also the furthest North I had travelled up until the following year when we visited Sweden, and in the middle of February the coldest I’ve ever been. It was the origin of a short hand phrase my partner and I still use to this day to describe being that cold, we exclaim ‘Copenhagen that’s cold!’ to each other. The entire week there was a frost on the ground, clear skies, a chill that permeated every part of my body and left me feeling sore and tired from the fatigue of trying to keep warm and keep my spirits up. It was a blessing on the final day when it started snowing and the temperature lifted a little. A fine, powdery snow that was picturesque to walk through as we travelled the short distance to the mainline station to the airport. I had never felt more grateful for it to arrive, being cold to the bone in the absence of snow always feels peculiarly wrong.
The last week in the UK has reminded me of that visit to Denmark with a cold front and heavy clouds sitting over the UK and continuing to snow throughout the day and night. There is little chance of it settling. And even where it does, there is little to no opportunity to enjoy it, the benefits of having a front facing role requiring me to abstain from the joy and merriment it can bring. Instead, every morning I’ve driven to work through a light blizzard of snow falling around me continually reminded of that visit to Copenhagen. I can tolerate the cold to an extent when there is a visual output, it makes sense. I can’t understand and it frustrates me when it’s so cold there is a permanent frost on the ground and in the air that makes you feel tired and sore and yet no other sign of the winter months. I miss being able to sit in front of a log fire lazily warming my feet as it crackles in front of me. As a treat, instead of my usual sleeping music playlist I use through my Alexa at night I instead opted for a crackling fire ambient sound to put me to sleep. It worked, and it cheered me up a little.
As I was walking to work on Wednesday, a ping on my phone alerted me to the fact, a year ago to the day I was preparing for my first, and only, international trip of the year to the Italian capital of Rome. I’ve been a number of times over the last decade, it’s a city by now I would feel comfortable walking around without any form of assistance. Last year, with the spectre and threat of Covid overshadowing the trip I was left uncertain whether I really wanted to risk the flight to a country ravaged by this unknown threat though without any advice at that moment in time by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office I decided to take the risk and fly out. I enjoyed my week away but it was the most surreal and uneasy trip to the Eternal City I’ve made in my lifetime. Reflecting back, it did make me start to consider where I want to go first when these restrictions lift. The obvious answer will be jumping in my car and driving as quickly as I can down to Glastonbury to see my parents and enjoy that first hug. After that, the skies the limit although obviously contending with a world desperate to get back on its feet and to get back out and about. I’d love to fly over to America for that long awaited family gathering but it does rely on these rumoured travel vaccination passports to come into force.
Maybe somewhere then a little closer to home, Europe’s on the doorstep but given the complexities of travelling there after this country of mine raised the draw bridge on membership to the Union it does make it a little more complicated. Honestly, I wouldn’t be adverse to actually going back to Italy. Here’s my reasoning. A number of years ago after a traumatic experience in America, the following year I decided to go back to gain a measure of closure and catharsis on visiting the country. I needed to come to peace with being there and viewing it in a positive light. My trip last year to Rome was a wonderful holiday for many reasons but the spectre and shadow of the pandemic was ever present, attractions such as the Colosseum for instance were quieter than previous visits for obvious reasons. The day I visited the Vatican there was a confirmed case with no real understanding what that meant at that time. I feel I need to visit the country again in due course when that shadow of the unknown isn’t hanging over the city. Of course it largely depends on where is safe and open to visit, but I’m more encouraged now in the next twelve months I will be afforded the opportunity to go somewhere, but where, that’s the question.
The Fun Stuff
Two Games in Two Months
I go through phases of gaming, as one of my close friends has observed, I’m probably less of a gamer and more someone that enjoys playing games. I’ve often thought of this contrasting perspective and I suppose it does hold some weight. I don’t tend to get involved to much in the gaming community to any great degree but enjoy the positive spirit and attitude of discourse. I’d struggle to be enthused about competitive gaming, the screen resolutions over one console over another for instance but give me a gaming art book and I’m sold. This year I decided to make a concerted effort to clear some of my backlog of games, it started with Dead Space in January that has been on my to do list for over a decade. With that feat accomplished I moved on to a more recent purchase from last summer, the third chapter in the recent Tomb Raider trilogy. I gave my first impressions last week expecting a longer drawn out process but in reality, it was a more tighter, shorter experience than the second entry in the series which for the most part I found myself enjoying although at times for unintended reasons. I’ll review it in due course for my final take but it does raise the question of what to play next, whilst I feel energised to actually game I should make the most of this phase of motivation.
In January I opened up the decision to a wider audience on social media, I’ll fully concede this took away the anxiety and frustration of deciding what game to play in February. Next month as part of #maybeinmarch I’m throwing the decision making process back out to my online friends once more, though this time limiting the selection to one entry from any console or generation of PC gaming. So four games from the annals of history of gaming that have found a home in my gaming collection but have yet to see completion of any meaningful measure. I’ve decided to go for Eternal Darkness released in 2002 on the Nintendo Gamecube as a system exclusive. Bully released in 2008 across multiple platforms. Going a little further back in time, A Link To The Past released on the SNES back in 1992. And finally Red Dead Redemption 2 released across multiple formats in 2018. So four different games spanning 28 years of history across a multitude of formats, as ever, the choice dear readers for the next seven days is in your hands. I’d like to say after March perhaps I’ll have the motivation or determination to decide for myself but there’s something enjoyable in throwing yourself on the recommendations of others and seeing where it takes you.
The Week Ahead
- #LoveYourBacklog Month 2021 – 18th February 2021
- Pancakes, American Style – 19th February 2021
- A Cup of Tea with Mr C: A Week in Review #20 – 21st February 2021
Getting back on track this week after this bug floored me over the weekend. First up, my entry to the #LoveYourBacklog celebration in February, part of Kim and Ellen’s positive look at the gaming backlog and a chance to see it in a different light. It’s been interesting unearthing some old gems that have yet to see completion in any meaningful way, next month I am looking to clear at least one of these old titles from the prison in the digital ether. After that on Friday a reflective look back at my love of Pancakes, topical when celebrate Shrove Tuesday this week and the American style celebration it became in youth that continues to this day. Finally on Sunday the week in review. Over the coming week’s I’ll have my review of Dead Space and Shadow Of The Tomb Raider ready to publish. And hopefully positive news from the Government with the cultural sector and plans to reopen the various museums and galleries once more allowing me to get out and about once more. Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, eat cake with sanitised paws.
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