It’s here again. No, not another strain of covid, but that time of year when, in theory at least, we feel a sense of peace and goodwill to our fellow man*. As 2021 draws to a close, I suspect with almost as much a sense of relief as we welcomed the end of 2020, so I find myself in a state of mild despondency.
I can’t put my finger on the precise reason why. It’s not only the ongoing ding-dong battle with a virus that seems to mutate almost as often as members of our government are caught out breaching their own rules. It’s not only the spite, bile and mistruths I see flung about on social media as though common rules of decency no longer apply in this world. (I’ve been finding social media such a poisonous, divisive, lie-laden, attention-seeking, drama-driven cesspit that I rarely post on Facebook and Twitter these days.) It’s not only the spiralling costs of effective advertising and my dwindling book sales—I feel almost as invisible now as I did when I first started out.
No, it’s none of those things in isolation. Yet it’s all of them, and more. They’re all getting together (ignoring the rules against gatherings in the best governmental traditions) and contributing to a general feeling of melancholy.
It’ll pass, even if I’m not hopeful that the causes are going to alleviate any time soon. Despite the occasional grumpy-old-man demeanour, I’m generally an upbeat, optimistic person.
Have yourself the merriest Christmas** and here’s to a kinder 2022.
* meaning, of course, man, woman and those who identify otherwise.
** meaning, of course, other holidays too.
Or happy-whatever-holiday-you-prefer. 2020 is drawing to a close. Do I hear you say ‘Hallelujah’?
The photo above is a few years old now. I really ought to update the image with the older, more crinkly version of me, but it doesn’t seem important enough to go to the effort. That’s the thing about this horrendous year – it has made us examine our priorities. Inevitably, I believe, there will be a reshuffling of those priorities, a reordering of the things we cherish most.
Don’t worry – I’m not going to go all philisophical on you. The purpose of this post is simply to raise a rhetorical glass of a favourite tipple to family and friends, and fellow writers and readers.
I wish you all the very best for a peaceful holiday and a better year ahead.
Iechyd da! Cheers!
Stay safe. I’ll be back on 8th January. Till then…
Well, it’s here again, the time of year when we all drink and eat too much and, in theory at least, make merry.
My regular blog posts have taken a bit of a rest while I wrestle with producing my own audiobooks. I’ve finished one – the audio verion of my festive collection of dark short stories, Ghosts of Christmas Past. Despite uploading the audio tracks to Audible on 11th December and, as far as I can make out (well, I’ve definitely not been notified to the contrary), satisfying their quality standards, the audiobook hasn’t gone live in time for Christmas. Never mind – my main concern was to make sure I could produce audio to Audible’s standards; if I’ve done that, I’ll be happy since I know I can press forward with my other books.
Anyway, I might as well show you the cover. Here it is:
The fifth annual Sam Kates office party took place on 13th December. Much eating and drinking took place (ahem, perhaps a little too much of the latter), but sadly I forgot to take a single photo. Fun was had and hangovers ensued.
And now it’s Christmas Eve, the turkey is in the oven and the Bailey’s is open. All that remains is for me to wish you the merriest of Christmases or holiday of your choice. May all your days be merry and bright.
Each December I take those of my nearest and dearest who have helped me throughout the year to Cardiff and treat them to a steak dinner, with perchance a bottle of wine and a cocktail or two. The day tends to involve a fair amount of beer and a visit to Winter Wonderland.
This year the guests were my brother (for the invaluable assistance he provides in IT-related matters), my elder daughter (for being my design consultant and managing my Instagram account), and my wife (for putting up with me). If I can get my younger daughter involved in some capacity or other, next year’s party might be a full family affair.
My wife, daughter and I travelled up to Cardiff to meet my brother in Waterstones. A book shop makes a great place to meet up because, well, books. Then it was off to find a relatively quiet pub, not so easy in the centre of Cardiff on a Friday in December. We were lucky, after only a few false starts managing to find a pub with available seats, no queues at the bar and no loud music blasting. A few relaxed beers later and we made our way to this year’s venue, Steak of the Art. Suffice it to say, good steaks, wine and a few cocktails were dispatched with practised ease. Say what you like about my family, but we’re dab hands at packing away food and drink.
My younger daughter and her boyfriend were in town Christmas shopping so we met up with them after we’d left the restaurant. Sadly, the gusting wind and frequent prolonged showers meant we had to skip Winter Wonderland this year. Never mind—there’s always beer.
And so we indulged; perhaps it would be more accurate to say over-indulged, but fun was had by all and I felt I had gone a little way towards repaying the help they have given me throughout the year. Thanks, guys—luvs ya!
Here are some photos from previous year’s parties that were posted on my old site.