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Well here we are at the start of another year, and at the moment it’s something of a blank canvas. I’m returning to work tomorrow, and I’m actually glad to be getting back to a routine.
Call it “cabin fever” but after being cooped up indoors for the best part of 10 days thanks to a particularly nasty cold, which my wife kindly passed to me the day after Boxing Day, I need to be back out in the world, interacting with people and keeping myself busy.
I don’t want to be too hard on Mrs PBT’s as she’s still rather poorly. She won’t be returning to the world of commerce tomorrow, as her cold has turned into an equally nasty chest-infection, but being confined to the house wasn’t all bad, as I got a significant amount of writing done.
I managed to knocking out seven posts during the last week of the year, which was good going for me, and allowed my output for 2017 to reach 150 posts. I almost certainly won’t be keeping that rate going, as I return to the nitty-gritty of running a busy Quality Control Department, but I must have been suffering from the opposite of “writer’s block”, as the creative stuff just kept on coming.
Part of the my creative splurge may have been down to the acquisition of a laptop. I currently use a desk-top PC for most of my writing, but I had this idea that a laptop would give me more flexibility and allow me to write, and do other stuff, in a variety of locations, so I’m pleased with my decision to go “portable”.
Freed from being tied to one room, I found the time to give my office-cum-study a much needed tidy, and sort out, so again not venturing out (I had to call off a couple of proposed get-togethers with friends, including a walk to a country pub), wasn’t the disaster it could have been.
So looking at some of the events planned for 2018, I’m heading up to Manchester in just over three weeks time, to attend the Beer & Cider Festival being held in the city at Manchester Central. A couple of day’s ago I finalised my accommodation and travel arrangements, and providing everything goes to plan, I shall be in Manchester for a couple of days.
It will be interesting to see how much the city has changed, since my time there as a student, at Salford University, during the mid 1970’s. I’ve only been back a couple of times since, and as they were business trips, I didn’t have much free time to explore. I’m certainly keen to see how much my old seat of learning has changed over the past four decades.
Upon my return it will have to be full steam ahead with the new bathroom project; the one I referred to briefly in my end of year round-up. After the shower, which had served us for the best part of 20 years, gave up the ghost, we’ve been managing with something of a “lash-up”, which freezes you one minute and scalds you the next, so it’s definitely time to move this project forward.
My son and I are off to Bamberg in May, joining the same group of beer enthusiasts from Maidstone CAMRA who we travelled with to Düsseldorf. Their itinerary is only for three days, so we’ve decided to make a week of it and see a bit more of the surrounding area. A visit to Würzburg is on the cards, and it would also be good to have a look at the area to the east of Bamberg, known as the Fränkische Schweiz (Franconian Switzerland).
My good lady wife has expressed a wish to visit Scotland. I’ve got nearly a week’s leave left, which I’m not allowed to carry over into the new financial year, so March is looking the most probable time for our visit. There are no definite plans yet, just a few hazy ideas, but there is one trip destined for later in the year which I have been working on, especially whilst I was confined to quarters.
It’s been 10 years since my last transatlantic trip, and I promised my sister in Ohio, that I would visit her this year. I’m working on tying the trip in with attending the 2018 Beer Bloggers & Writer’s Conference, which takes place in August, in Loudoun County, Virginia, close to Washington Dulles International Airport.
I've attended three such Beer Writer’s Conferences held in Europe; the last one taking place in 2016. The company which organises these events is American and they have been running them in the US since 2010. Although I haven’t booked anything yet, and am still sketching out plans, it would be good to go along to this conference, before heading off north-west to spend a bit of time with my sister and brother-in-law.
So these are my plans for the year so far. They are obviously focused around travel, but beer will also play a significant role in them as well. As to whether they will all come off, well that remains to be seen, but at the moment I’m working on the assumption that they will!