Wrapping Up 2021

Well what a Christmas that was, eh, readers? As we barrel into year three of our global nightmare and the upcoming possibility of running out of letters in the Greek alphabet, I’m grateful that we managed to have our first family Christmas since 2019, even if it was a little different than normal, with presents under a different tree and a Christmas dinner cooked by cobbling together what we could from American suppliers. Jungle Jim’s, as ever, helped out a lot by selling ‘proper’ bacon and sausages, but even they failed us on the stuffing front. But we had crackers with the proper snap, silly hats, and matching pyjamas!

(and a cat that was very confused about what was going on:

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And yes, a bunch of desserts happened. A much slimmed-down list than I originally planned, but I did get my latest iteration of Black Forest Gateau out there:

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I find it amusing that my BFG has long since become far more complicated than the Heston Blumenthal version from long ago. I still don’t quite understand the appeal of a large chunk of Aero in his take on the idea, but maybe next year, I will finally get around to adding an aerated namelaka filling that I’ve been threatening for a few years now. And adding a train and village to the increasingly-complicated diorama.

So, yes, it was a very different American holiday for my family, with a lot more remaining indoors than they’re used to, but I think everybody had fun and they went home with a few presents in their suitcases!

Traditionally, I fill the Christmas holiday with a large set of plans that get junked on Day 2. And while I have thrown out a few things this time around as well, I have for once actually made some real progress. Firstly, I fixed a computing issue I’ve been struggling with for almost two years now, which means that my plans for April 2022 will happen! (it’s still under wraps for now, but if you want a hint, it does involve reinforcement learning)

I also spent Wednesday watching all the episodes of the US and UK edits of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy side-by-side so I now have copious notes about the differences between the two versions, and while I’ve failed in getting that article out in 2021 like I promised, it should happen in January, plus there’s a little bonus detective work thrown in there to go with the edit discussion. And finally, I have continued work on the [REDACTED] project, which likewise I hope to get out in 2022.

2022 might be a busy year for all number of reasons. Hopefully one of those is that we can go outside again.