First up, apologies that I've become a bit erratic at posting lately, I will endeavour to do better in the coming weeks. I've started two previous posts that have been abandoned either due to time constraints or the fact that they just sounded boring. You deserve better.
So the most recent things of note that have occurred are that I visited Krakow in Poland and I turned 31. As it happened these things actually overlapped but that was more of a coincidence than anything else. We'd all gone over for the wedding of some friends which was a really incredible day. As we were taking Violet, we'd decided to make a week of it and have a proper holiday.
Overall, it was about as exhausting as I expected but it meant that we could just take things a bit easier (read: spend lots of time in cafes) and enjoy the time away a bit. If you've never been, I can recommend it, though I think 7 nights was a bit too long. I'll talk a bit more about Krakow and my visit to Auschwitz in a separate post.
Being away did give me time to do some things I don't usually make time for when I'm at home - the most obvious of which is reading. I managed to get through three books in 6 days which was very enjoyable, and one of which prompted this post.
I did a post at the end of December that touched on things that I had to look forward to in 2012 and I also made 10 New Year's Resolutions which didn't feature in that blog. I'll be doing a half year review of how they're going sometime this month. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of my 21st got me thinking a bit. Training for the marathon obviously meant using a lot of discipline and I figured I should be able to use that for other things too.
And then I read "Guitar Man" by Will Hodgkinson. It's no secret that I'm a big music fan, and it's equally no secret that my biggest regret is never learning to play guitar. The book is a true story of a man (Will) who decides, at 34 to learn guitar and play a live gig of sorts in 6 months. Now obviously I'm not that crazy, but I've decided that if he can do it, then there's no reason I can't try either. I'm horribly uncoordinated but I'm going to give it a go. And so, Birthday Resolutions were born.
I've made two as it happens, learn guitar and learn Italian. Languages were something I always had a knack for when I was at school, and after stumbling through some Polish, I decided that I should be able to give an "easier" language a try and get to a decent standard. Plus I have all the free CDs I collected off a paper before I went to Rome on my honeymoon.
So today I have made the first steps in trying to achieve these two goals. I dug the battered old classical guitar (I want a new acoustic but Mrs B is yet to be convinced I'll stick with this for more than a month) out of the wardrobe and restrung and tuned it. It's worth pointing out that this thing is definitely older than I am but it makes a decent noise. I've also put all the Italian CDs on my iPod and started going through them in the odd spare 15 minutes.
I'm under no illusions that any of this will be easy. I've tried to learn guitar countless times throughout my life and I've never got anywhere. But I've got a feeling this time it might be different.
I'll try not to post relentless updates about this stuff because it will be a slow process. But I'll check in from time to time, to give myself the motivation to keep going if nothing else.
Whilst I'm on a music post, if you haven't listened to any of the new albums by Ladyhawke, Richard Hawley, Jack White, Citizens! or Howler then I'd give them as spin as I'm really enjoying them.
And finally, on June 16th I'll be at a mini-festival in Pannal near Harrogate that a friend of mine has organised to support the MNDA after she lost her mother last year. If you're in the area and fancy parting with £15 to see 6 or 7 bands over 2 stages as well as talks by authors and chefs etc then you reserve tickets by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and then paying for them on the door. There's a Facebook page and here are the details of the event. I'll be behind the bar for a bit of the day as well as roadie-ing so if you do come down, please say hi.
Thanks for sticking with me a bit there. Hopefully I've not turned you all away permanently.
Talk to you all soon