So that was 2009. I don't know about you but I wasn't that sad to see the arse-end of 2009 and watch it disappear over the horizon.
It's not been a terrible year by any stretch but it's all just a been... frustrating. Talking to Mrs L and friends and family, it's felt like the whole world has reached a crossroads and is making some tough decisions about which way is forward. It's also been a year when a lot of big companies who really should know better have become much, much slower to pay. I can't grumble in terms of overall income but cashflow? Blimey, that's been painful.
I also can't moan about the opportunities. This time last year, my experience as a travel writer was one trip to Kentucky for a magazine that slipped onto a back burner somewhere before my feature could be published. I'm now flicking through my photos from the last 12 months and remembering great times (and meals) inTurkey, Dubai, Paris (twice), Las Vegas, Copenhagen, Cyprus, Ireland, throughout Scotland (twice) and a slightly hazy recollection of a Grand Siecle and Alexandre-fuelled dinner at Laurent-Perrier's chateau. To grouse after a year like that would be somewhat mealy-mouthed, really, by anyone's standards.
But here we are, on the leading edge of a whole new calendar year. The worldwide financial situation is sure to pack a few surprises yet but, as it currently stands and as the cliche has it, 2010 is ripe with potential. However, while I'm eagerly anticipating lots of good things on plates this year, opportunity isn't necessarily one of them. Life is the one thing you have to go and grab by the dangly bits so, as an extra incentive to get up off my (actually much reduced) laurels, I thought I'd stick a few of my goals and plans down here. That way, there's no escaping, right?
1) Lose another 30lbs Speaks for itself really, and feels very achievable (cheers Giles). I'm about 20lbs down on Jan 1 2009 anyway, so I know I can do it.
2) Post more While writing for fun is completely different from writing for a living, there are days when I just can't face the blog, even when there's something really juicy to detail. That will change. And to ensure it does...
3) Pick a cookbook and go through it, recipe by recipe Yes, I know it's been done and the whole Julie & Julia thing was tremendous fun but: a) I'm not looking for a book deal; and b) I look nothing like Amy Adams. I just want to educate myself a little and I thought this might be a fun challenge as well as a good way of boosting my skills. I'm already generally capable around a stove but I'm in the mood to up my game, and to master some slightly more complex processes.
And this, you see, is where it all gets interactive. What book do I choose? I've already had a very good suggestion from Tim Hayward to hit Len Deighton's Action Cook Book and there's a copy winging its way from Amazon as I type. Any other ideas, chaps?