This year has been … well … a little odd.

We’re obviously getting older: health issues dominated, again. My partner was hospitalised in January with a very nasty gastric viral infection, and I was knocked out, although not hospitalised, for most of July, by pneumonia. Indeed, I’ve a very minor and quite usual winter cold right now, and it’s stolen my sense of humour. This essay is straight.

image: damage

My homeland continues its nervous breakdown, so I continue my effort to gain Luxembourg citizenship. By good fortune, I passed my civics exam (on how the country works, with basic history and culture thrown in), which was easier than I’d been expecting. I face my language exams in a few weeks time. I’m not confident, despite working heavily on Luxembourgish for the last few years. Contrary to the apparent evidence, languages are not my strong point.

Talking about the side effects of insanity, I published some more artist’s books: brexit, we print the truth, and none of the above. I’ve only announced the first, which has received some nice comments.

They’re made mostly to sell at Grand Duchy arts’ exhibitions. If I’m going to become a citizen, I might as well do the thing properly. I drag my partner along to these things. She doesn’t complain. Mind you, she gains revenge by dragging me around interminable shops, at times. I do complain.

My newish project, concrete, which explores digital effects on title text, is more a survey than a creation, although it’s producing interesting results. My flower photos have run their course, although I’ll take more: flowers do interesting things to light, and chasing the photos gets us both out of the flat. There is scope in some unfocused experiments I took of the local woods. Unfortunately, none of these styles have the potential to match my reflection work from the first half of this decade.

Poetically, this year was bad: I wrote very little. I shall address that.

Technically, I completed my home cloud, so until technology changes I won’t feel any need to buy any more kit. Of course I won’t. This means my partner can be confident I’m not using up our resources maintaining my professional skillset—so long as artificial intelligence, 3–D printing, ubiquitous computing, Internet of Things, etc., etc., etc., make no interesting advances. Of course they won’t.

Like most people, I’m part of a bigger family, and, like many such families, we have grand family bashes. There was one this year. We took a fortnight to trek north and meet everyone. Thank you, siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins, for a raucous heart to a splendid holiday in a declining land.

Indeed, it’s been one of those years when the family has expanded. All of my sister’s daughters dropped sprogs, if the year is stretched slightly. Many cousins became grandmothers. The cooing potential is so big I might turn into a pigeon. Seriously, congratulations all round.

Although my partner came to my family bash, I didn’t follow her to China: the irritating matter of work got in the way. Still, she brought back some classic Chinese tea, so it worked out.

I suppose, ultimately, this is mostly one of those “How’s life?”, “It continues.” posts. Pffft: this winter bug is a pain. It’ll go away. I’ll cheer up.