New Year 2015

Kate, Billy and Daniel in Lewes Castle

Another year, another blog post. It seems I only have the inclination to write as the new year comes in – probably just a symptom of being too busy!

The Christmas break was great fun, a well-deserved break from a busy year, which I spent with family and friends in Norfolk, Sussex and Cambridge. Managed to rack up over 400 miles driving around!

2014 had many highlights, my children growing up yet another year (Billy is now 7 and Daniel 4), their limitless energy and creativity a wonderful thing to behold, buying a house with my wonderful wife Kate, the Cherry Hinton Festival that Kate organised, a rather awesome commissioned painting Kate gave me for my 40th, the Time Twins birthday party, friends getting married, holidays, a good year of web community events via Refresh Cambridge and PHP Cambridge, and another busy and successful year with the great team at Studio 24.

On to my New Year’s resolutions, which I’m recording here in an effort to stick to some of them..

  • Exercise more – I’ve had ongoing back pain over the past year, regular exercise is likely to be the best thing to help this. I cycle pretty regularly to work, but I need to do more. Possibly swimming, yoga or visits to the gym.
  • Focus on less, do more – an easy mantra to state, but especially in my work life the past year has been incredibly busy. Like all businesses it’s all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, and sometimes you have to. But there are some key things I need to focus on which I can bring far more value to Studio 24, so I’m determined to focus on less and achieve more in 2015.
  • Spend more time with friends – 2014 was a very busy year, but that’s no excuse to loose touch with people. I’m going to make a concerted effort to spend more time with friends!
  • Write more – this is a recurring resolution and one I rarely do very well with. Must try harder.

I read Matthew’s post on what he read in 2014 recently, I wish I’d recorded what I’ve read through the year. Reading is certainly one of my more cherished delights, I’ve been consuming loads of books over the past few years and the best thing about them is no matter how much I read, there’s always more excellent books to be discovered! Bookshops are also something the internet seems incapable of reproducing in any decent form and I hope the few we still have in Cambridge stick around.

My literary highlight of 2014 was Dashiell Hammett. I discovered him after reading the Maltese Falcon for our book group and was hooked on his twisting plots and wonderfully concise prose. The best two books I’ve read of his this past year have been his short story collection The Continental Op, with the fabulous gothic detective story The Farewell Murder, and his kaleidoscopically crazy whodunnit novel The Dain Curse, which really feels as if it was written in the 60s, not the 1920s. Hammett certainly feels like a man ahead of his time.

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As a starter for 2015 I’m currently reading..

  • Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn. I’ve not seen the movie but am hooked on the book. An excellent thriller which I’m finding incredibly difficult to put down.
  • The Science of Interstellar, Kip Thorne. Loved the film (though it had its flaws) and am finding Kip’s book on astrophysics surprisingly accessible. A great communicator and a fascinating insight into some of the scientific ideas behind this great film.
  • A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking. I was lucky enough to attend the premiere of the documentary Hawking at the Cambridge Film Festival back in 2013, where Stephen Hawking was in attendance (as was Kip Thorne, but I didn’t really know much about him back then). I picked up an old copy of this seminal work earlier in the year and have been slowly making my way through it. Another very well communicated book, but it does get quite heavy relatively quickly.
  • More Fool Me, Stephen Fry. I’ve been an admirer of Stephen for many a year since the Blackadder days. Though I’ve not read his previous memoirs his third installment is so far very engaging, I look forward to finishing it.

So that’s it for now, certainly looking forward to 2015 and all it offers..