Friday, December 31, 2021

Good Riddance to 2021

bingoon the prowl
Bingo, still missing, on the prowl 2020

After enduring two years of the covid pandemic and its concomitant restrictions, I’m sure I’m not the only one glad that 2021 is almost over.

Not that anything will really go back to normal, but I am feeling cautiously optimistic for an improvement in life in 2022, despite the rampant Omicron variation that is afflicting the world at present.

What a determined little virus it is!.

Just when we thought it was safe to go back into society, being fully vaccinated and boosted, we feel uneasy once more and I for one continue to be vigilant when out and about and wear a mask.

2021, as years go, was pretty awful with very few uplifting experiences; in fact I can’t think of a single one. No wonder I seem to have grown more cynical this year!

The lowlight was of course the disappearance of our beautiful cat Bingo. We still miss him and feel bereft having no companion animal after numerous decades with cats being part of the household.

Perhaps we’ll acquire a new kitten in 2022, as it is very doubtful that we’ll ever see Bingo again. That’s something to look forward to at least.

I did not read any new books that blew me away with their brilliance or originality, but I did enjoy Neal Stephenson’s take on climate change in his latest novel titled Termination Shock, and Amor Towles ( of a Gentleman In Moscow fame) Lincoln Highway, a sort of road novel set in the 1950s with a cast of interesting characters.

Also read and enjoyed were the new Anthony Doerr, Cloud Cuckoo Land, and Panenka by Ronan Hession, author of the wonderful Leonard and Hungry Paul, my favourite recent comfort read.

The computer game discovery of the year was undoubtedly the Monkey Island series; a great time killer with the just the right amount of levity and absurdity to take one’s mind off the dire state of the world, and keep one’s spirits up.

This New Year’s Eve is a hot 38ÂșC, a sizzling summer day in Melbourne, but the Ivanhoe house being well insulated  is cool inside. As usual we will not be celebrating the New Year in any particular way – staying home and retiring to bed well before midnight.

We went to my brother’s place in Ocean Grove for Christmas lunch – a surfeit of sociability that  left me tired at the end of the day. It was however pleasant to see my niece and nephew again, and note how the great nieces and nephews have grown over the year since I last saw them.

Verry Elleegant winning the 2021 Melbourne Cup

It was disappointing to miss the Melbourne Spring racing carnival, but exciting to watch on my computer. I was suitably thrilled when Verry Elleegant won the Melbourne Cup as I’d had a wager on her of $3.00 each way and she paid generously, winning me $73.50.  I would have loved to have been there and have taken a photo of James McDonald’s extravagant reaction as she crossed the line, but with tickets costing $120.00, I gave it a miss.

Looking forward to 2022 I hope to go back to the track on Australia Day, for the Blue Diamond previews. In the meantime the Magic Millions meetings in Queensland in January are always interesting to watch.

Every year at this time I have expressed a hope that John Crowley’s Little, Big 25th Anniversary edition will finally be published.  This time there is every expectation that the book will be in my hands early next year. I hope I’m not proven wrong again.

Other books I’m looking forward to in 2022 are the new Jennifer Egan novel, The Candy House, a sort of sequel to her wonderful A Visit From the Goon Squad, and a new John Crowley novel called Flint And Mirror, both to be published in April.

I’m also intrigued by the news that G.H. Morris, author of the marvellous Brightside Trilogy that was published way back in the 1980s, has a new novel purportedly called A Brotherhood of the Disarranged being published in 2022.

Though world peace is standing on shaky ground at present with Russia and China rattling sabres, and with the covid pandemic continuing relentlessly to infect mankind, we can only hope that 2022 is an improvement on 2021.

Happy New Year for what it’s worth.