Annual Report 2018

Another year, more stats.

TV and movies
I watched 91 TV shows, series or specials. This took up 487 hours of watching or an average of 9.38 hours a week or 1 hour 17 minutes a day.

In addition to that I watched 113 movies at home (or on a plane) but only 11 films at the cinema.

Books
I did a little better this year and finished 14 books (I started 16). A very pleasant highlight was reading Anthony Horrowitz’s ‘House of Silk’ which I felt was a really good Sherlock Holmes homage. Dan Jones’ ‘Templars’ was easily my favourite history book this year.

Fitness
Despite a number of injuries (broken foot and knee ligament) I actually managed a fair amount of activity.

  • Running – 610 mins (10.1 hours)
  • Swimming – 120 mins (2 hours)
  • Project Awesome (Circuit training) – 2463 (41.05 hours)
  • Gym – 190 mins (3.1 hours)
  • Cycling – none
  • Total – 3383 (56.3 hours)

Campouts and camping
I scaled back my campouts this year with only 12 bivvy outs and 5 days in a tent. This is something that i’d like to get back to doing more of in 2019.

Board games
This hobby has continued to take off and apart from TV is my main sedentary hobby. I organise a work club, a friends club and I go to a meet-up group and play at least once a week.

  • Different games played – 79
  • Games new to 2018  – 64
  • Number of plays – 192
  • Most played games – Pandemic Legacy S1, Codenames, Carcassone, Flamme Rouge and Deception: Murder in Hong Kong
  • Best experiences: Pandemic legacy (still not completed) and Dead of Winter

Culture

  • Museums and art galleries – 11 visits
  • Theatre – 2 plays (‘Small Worlds’ by Punch Drunk and ‘Austentatious’)

Annual Report 2017

My year in review:

  • Nights Camping or Bivvying – 29
  • Books read – 10
  • Cinema movies watched – 13
  • TV series watched: 63
  • TV series watched (total hours) – 338
  • Movies (at home) watched – 85
  • Boardgames played (unique) – 40
  • Boardgames played (total) – 47

Wild sleeping
I’m quite chuffed that I spent nearly a month of the year sleeping outdoors. This figure is split nearly evenly between tents and bivvying. The highlights would be a campout near Beachy Head in April (sunset, stars, moon, sunrise and sea swim) and five night in the Lofoten Islands, Norway in my little one-man tent.

Books
Looking at the stats there is a worrying trend in that I read only ten books but somehow managed to watch 338 hours of TV (6.5 hours a week average). I definitely want to get more books read in 2018.

Of the books that I did read, I loved a pair of history books by Dan Jones (Plantagenets and The Hollow Crown). I also re-read ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ which is still one of my favourite books of all time. I’d also give an honorable mention to the fantasy book ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ which was great fun.

Cinema
Of the few cinema visits I made there were a few crackers:

  • Moonlight
  • Dunkirk
  • Baby Driver

TV
I watched a LOT of TV, mainly on Netflix, some on Amazon and almost nothing on terrestrial television. The standard has been so incredibly high that I have hardly gone to the cinema (which I love) and haven’t really missed it. My favourites would include:

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix)
  • Daredevil (series 1 and 2)
  • Narcos (series 1)
  • Stranger Things (series 1)
  • American Horror Story (series 1)
  • Peaky Blinders (series 2)
  • American Gods (series 1)
  • The Detectorists (series 2)
  • Rick and Morty (series 1 and 2)

Movies at Home
I watched a lot of movies at home, many for the first time. Of the films that I watched for the first time, these all made me cry and were brilliant:

  • Son of Saul
  • Interstellar
  • Room

Boardgames
A new category this year and a huge new area of my life has been my growing interest in Boardgames. Not Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit but modern actually really amazing games. I only started recording the games that I played half way through the year so 40 is an underestimate. It is notable that so far i’ve not played any single game more than three times and mostly only once.

The outstanding experiences have been the epic ‘Twilight imperium 4’ and ‘Eldritch Horror’. I also loved ‘Lords of Waterdeep’, ‘Deception: Murder in Hong Kong’, Flamme Rouge and Deep Sea Adventure. I’ve not played any game yet that was terrible, they’ve all been either good, great or amazing.

Fitness
No fitness stats this year despite actually doing some regular running and other exercise. It’ll be back for 2018!

Annual Report 2015

Since 2009 I have been keeping a record of certain things in my life. Here is a roundup of 2015.

Fitness
Over the last few years I’ve been increasing the amount of fitness activities that I do. To get logged it must involve a change of clothes/footwear. I tend to log minutes of activity rather than distance as it is a lot easier.

  • Running (in a year I did the marathon) – 3251 mins or 54.2 hours (2014 – 1130 mins)
  • Swimming – 175 mins or 2.9 hours (2014 – 0 mins)
  • Circuit training (BMF and Project Awesome) – 4565 mins or 76 hours (2014 – 6050 mins)
  • Cycling (mostly off-road) – 385 mins or 6.4 hours (2014 – 105 mins)
  • Kayaking – 160 mins or 2.6 hours (2014 – 0 mins)
  • Walking (hills/mountains) – 2800 mins or 46.6 hours (2014 – 900 mins)

321.6 hours of exercise! Not bad eh?

Cinema
Given that I love films and going to the movies I have seen a paltry eight films this year. Exercise and TV at home have muscled their way in!

‘Inside Out’ was easily my favourite, not least because I was crying like a baby from the warm up short ‘Lava’ and blubbing and hugging my daughter by the end of the main feature. I also found Jurassic World quite a guilty pleasure.

Movies at home
I saw 69 movies in the comfort of my own home this year, down marginally from 71 last year. The pick of the bunch from new films that I saw was probably The Raid 2 on Netflix. Absolutely jaw-dropping fight scenes.

TV shows
I watched what looks like a lot of telly this year, something like 289 hours of it! This looks like a massive number but it does boil down to only 5.6 hours a week which isn’t even an hour a day. This encompasses over 50 series (seasons) of various lengths.

The highlight was re-watching the entire five series of Breaking Bad (still one of the finest things ever on telly). This was closely followed by series 3 of House of Cards which has managed to keep up the exceptionally high standards of the first two. I also have a big soft spot for the legal drama ‘Suits’, now in series 3.

On the low point I started watching ‘Sons of Anarchy’ but it wasn’t grabbing me and I found the gender politics pretty irredeemable.

Books
I managed to finish 20 books this year which seems to be about my average. The theme seems to have been that I’ve re-read a number of books in 2015 including all the Hornblower series, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and one of my favourite books ‘The Right Stuff’ by Tom Wolfe.

Of the new books, reading ‘Fatal Passage’ by Ken McCoogan on my arctic explorer hero Dr John Rae is the highlight. I’m sure i’ll be re-reading this at some time.

View (and comment) on the 2015 Annual Report spreadsheet for the full details.

 

2015 – A Year of Adventure (and Microadventure)

This has been a pretty stellar year for doing cool stuff and I’m already looking to see how I can top it in 2016. What did I get up to?

Winter skills course in the Cairngorms, Scotland
In January I headed up to a snow covered scottish highlands to do a Winter Skills course with Cairngorm Adventure Guides. This was my first go at proper winter mountain walking and I absolutely loved it. There was a ton of snow, including one proper white out and some potentially challenging conditions.

View from Cairn Gorm

Apart from learning some of the basics with the ice-axe and crampons it was just amazing to be up in such a wonderful winter landscape for 4 days. This trip was also great for giving me a shot of confidence on hiking in winter. A superb start to the year.

California trip (inc. Yosemite)
I was lucky enough to be sent by my work to northern California in May to organise a conference. Following this I was even luckier to get away for a week to see some of the beauty spots.

I hired a car and headed up to Yosemite,somewhere I’ve passed through before but not really spent much time in. I spent a half day in the amazing Mariposa Grove with its giant trees and another half day climbing the mist trail in Yosemite Valley itself. Read the full blog.

Yosemite

My big day was climbing up the seemingly endless switchbacks from the valley floor to the top of Yosemite Falls. From here I walked the ten mile round trip to El Capitan. In total I walked 16 miles and ascended over 900 metres in just over 7 hours. Tiring day!

Yosemite

After Yosemite I drove up to Lake Tahoe and then to Point Reyes National Seashore. An fabulous trip!

All the photos from the trip on Flickr.

Blue Moon Microadventure
Since my winter and spring adventures I was pining for some adventure but not really having the time to get to the remote ‘cool’ areas of the country I had despaired of what to do. It was in the summer that I stumbled across the Alastair Humphreys book ‘Microadventures‘.

I found it revolutionary. Instead of big, expensive, far away adventures, do them quick, close and cheap. It also introduced the idea of camping without a tent to me. So simple and yet it still keeps the essence of adventure. I’m now addicted.

Sunset above Seaton

My first bivvy adventure was with my 7 year old daughter Rose on the cliffs above Seaton in Devon during the ‘blue moon’ in August. Read the full blog post. Feels especially good that we shared this experience.

Hadleigh Castle Microadventure
Keen to go on another adventure I was also keen to find like minded people which led me to the ‘adventure army london‘ group on Facebook. This led to going on a campout with a group following Dave Cornthwaite at Hadleigh Castle near Leigh-on-Sea.

Hadleigh Castle

It felt very different going with a gang of 13 rather than on my own or with my friend andy. What I did get, apart from a lovely night out, was to meet some like minded people, many of whom now I count as friends. Read the full blog post.

Cobham Wood Microadventure
As cool as it was going with other people I felt I was ready to go on a solo microadventure. I decided to see if I could fit a quick one in at the Darnley Memorial in Cobham Wood.

Cobham Wood microadventure

There is a certain special buzz about being out in nature on your own, especially for a city boy like me. I loved it, especially when I saw some bats and a wonderful sunset and sunrise. Read the full blog post.

Loch Ness Marathon
The really big adventure this year was supposed to be completing my second marathon and smashing my personal best. When it came to it I found that finding time to train over the summer was quite tough and my preparation was far from optimum.

This meant that the race itself was incredibly hard, especially as I was determined to attempt a sub-four hour time. The middle part of the marathon was a crisis point for me and i’m actually really proud of myself that I was able to dig deep and find the grit to keep going and meet my ambitious goal.

Loch Ness marathon

Read all of the Loch Ness Marathon blogs.

Kayaking BCU star 1
Embracing the idea of adventure and inspired after watching some microadventure videos I was keen to try Kayaking. Not sure how much I would carry it on, I didn’t want to spend a fortune learning the basics. Luckily the Tower Hamlets Canoe Club offer a four evening course for £50.

Kayaking course at shadwell basin. Fantastic fun!

I’m now a star 1 qualified kayaker and I’ll decide in the new year as to whether I’ll go for my star 2 or concentrate on other things. I did really enjoy it and would love to do more if I have time.

Read about the course in full.

Project Awesome
A number if the people I was with at the Hadleigh Castle campout seemed to do a crazy sounding early morning workout called ‘Project Awesome’. Captained by tv star Danny Bent initiation into this group has been a fantastic positive thing in my week. Loud shouting, hugs, a sunrise and a badass workout is the way to start the day!

Black Mountains (Brecon Beacons) camping
There was a time when my annual weekend in the hills with my friend Andy was all the outward bound action that I’d be looking at in a given year. This year we aimed to check out some of the black mountains in the Brecon Beacons.

We were a bit unlucky with the weather but time on the hills is always great. Read the full blog post.

Houghton Forest Microadventure
I was really pleased with this microadventure, it illustrates how I can squeeze in a campout following something else. I was down in Houghton Forest near Arundel doing some off-road cycling and running. My fellow cyclists/runners left to go home and I marched off into wood and had my own microadvenure.

I did get pretty creeped out by the owls that called out all night out but that is the wid for you!

Read the full blog post.

Coombe Hill Microadventure
Missing some company I put the word out to my chums in Project Awesome and Yes Tribe to see if anyone fancied a Christmas microadventure. I was absolutely delighted that 15 people joined me on Coombe Hill near Wendover.

The weather was warm(ish) for december but WAS wet and very windy. This didn’t stop the brilliant group I was with from having a great time. I’m so inspired by them that I think i’ll plan one a month into the new year.

2009 Annual Report

In 2008 I took and published online a photo every day. How could I follow this slightly dweeby hobby in 2009? Well, inspired in part by the mega obsessional Feltron reports (worth checking out btw) I thought that I’d record some things in my life too.

Me reading a book
Me reading a book

I started with some very high ambitions by planning to do things like recording tea/coffee and alcohol consumption but this kind of minutiae was abandoned after a few weeks. I then decided to stick to things that I either record anyway or  that were not too much of a chore to chronicle:

  • Films seen at the cinema
  • Books read
  • Number of photos taken and published online
  • Exercise taken

Films
I saw 26 films at the cinema in 2009 which I think must be less than last year but is still an average of one a fortnight. There was only one film that I thought was truly awful and that was ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’. The rest were either good/watchable or very good. It’s notable maybe that I didn’t see anything that I’d rate as ‘masterpiece’. My top three in no particular order were: Gran Torino, Looking for Eric and Me and Orson Welles.

Books
I started 26 and finished 25 books (bizarrely similar number to films) this year. My top three favourites, again in no particular order, were: Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (Sci-fi), Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (Factual) and Watchmen (Graphic Novel). The only book I didn’t finish was The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith. I’ve enjoyed the previous books in this series but just felt I’d read it all before. I’ve never thought about my rate of reading before so this was really interesting.

Photographs
In the whole of 2009 I took 5111 photographs, 3675 with my Canon 5D and 1476 with my 20D. Of these I uploaded 589 to my Flickr site. I’ve made a start at photographing my local area, Sydenham, something I hope to do more of in 2010. I also had one professional gig, a wedding, that went very well.

Exercise
The main achievements on this front were completing my first Marathon and Sprint Triathlon plus ‘Britain’s toughest 10km race‘. In total I:

  • Ran for 57.5 hours
  • Swam for 8 hours
  • Cycled for 24 hours
  • Weight trained for 4.25 hours
  • Rowed for 2.5 hours

2010
Next year i’ll carry on recording these items, but I may add tv series watched, plays seen and other cultural events attended. Might be interesting?