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It's Been So Long!

On Saturday I travelled on a train for the first time in about 16 months! I also met up with friends, again for the first time in about 16 months. And I'd say it was the first time I've gone anywhere for fun in that time too. I have had hair cuts and did some Christmas shopping in town last year, but I wouldn't really classify those things as "fun" in the same way, so this was rather exciting!

It was great to see people again. I do worry that I was awkward and weird and probably annoyed them, but then I always think that. Paul and I went for drinks on Sunday too. It wasn't as strange or restrictive as I thought it might have been and I now think that it probably won't be too long before the country gets back to normal once the pandemic is over.

I did mention possibly taking a short trip somewhere later this year, just for a few days, cos neither of us are really prepared for anything more than that. I'm not sure how enthusiastic he was though. Maybe it's best to leave even that much for next year. I just don't want our trips to become a thing of the past. I know he has a lot more going on in his life now and our holidays can't be exactly the same as they used to be, but I still want to go places with my best friend. But sometimes it feels like everything I suggest is a burden to him and I don't know if that's because he doesn't want to go and is just being too polite to tell me or if it's my own anxiety making up problems that don't exist.

But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. Boris has just announced that restrictions are going to be kept for another month so it's probably not the best time to be planning anything anyway.
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Eurovision Christmas

Last weekend was fun. Thanks to the restrictions being eased, my brother was able to visit and actually come into the house this time so we were able to finally have Christmas. Just five months late! The little potted Christmas tree I bought back in December was still alive and did its part to bring a festive feel as we opened presents. I've now put it outside cos it has been turning a bit brown. Hopefully it'll perk up and survive until next Christmas as well.

Also last weekend was one of the greatest nights of the year. I am talking, of course, about the Eurovision Song Contest. As usual the UK entry was terribly boring and came last. It also scored the dreaded nul points, only the second time we've done that in the whole history of the contest, which I'm not sure was deserved. He definitely wasn't as bad as Jemini! But then is getting nul points better or worse than just getting three points like Germany did? At least nul points is memorable and will go down in Eurovision history. Three points doesn't even come with that consolation prize. And I'm actually surprised that Germany did that badly to be honest. I mean, yes, the song was completely ridiculous and the dancing middle finger was an insane staging choice, but I did think the whole thing was so bizarre that it might just appeal in that specifically Eurovision-type way. It's also annoyingly catchy and has kept popping into my head at random times over the past week, which makes it far more memorable than a lot of the songs!
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Happy Eurovision Day!

War is bad, I think we can all agree on that. You know what countries should do instead of going to war with each other? They should gather together in an epic singing competition to fight for musical supremacy and the right to proclaim their song the greatest of them all. Such was the thinking in Europe in the 1950s, and thus the Eurovision Song Contest was born.

It's one of the greatest nights of the year and brings me much joy. This year marks the 65th contest, so to celebrate I bring you a list of my favourite performances from Eurovisions gone by. They're in chronological order cos I can't possibly be expected to rank such greatness:

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Slow Progress is Better Than No Progress

Yes, this is another post about decluttering. Probably of interest to absolutely no one but myself but this is my journal and I want to keep writing about it so I can see what progress I'm making and keep myself accountable. Otherwise I feel like I could easily slide back into not bothering any more. Clutter blindness is a real problem!

I tried selling some books on Ziffit but it was just too much hassle, especially when they didn't want about 80% of them, so I found a book donation point instead. I took four boxes of books there the other day, which was good. I like it too cos it says that anything they can't sell they recycle, so I don't have to worry about the condition of the books either. I did end up keeping more than I probably should have, which felt like a bit of a failure, but I have such fond memories of reading those Horrible Histories books that I didn't feel I could get rid of them.

I've also cleared out some stuff from under my bed, including a basket of stuff that must have been there for years. I feel pleased about that, but of course it doesn't look like much of an accomplishment cos this stuff was all hidden away anyway. I suppose I could use this newfound space for other things that I want to keep, but then I run into the danger of forgetting about them too. Maybe it would be a good place for schoolwork.

Schoolwork is something that has been giving me a lot of problems when it comes to decluttering. I found it easy to throw away my old college work cos I was depressed and struggling for pretty much my whole time at sixth form so I had absolutely no interest in looking back at anything that reminded me of those days. But schoolwork is a different matter and brings back different memories. Part of me thinks I should just get rid of it cos it's completely useless and just taking up space, but it's also irreplaceable. I've managed to make myself get rid of a lot of things that I don't really need by reminding myself that I can always just buy it again if it turns out that I made a mistake, but that's not the case here. Once that schoolwork is gone then it's gone forever. So I'm finding this quite difficult.

I took more clothes to the donation bin, although again not as many as I would have liked, but it's another step in the right direction. And I've bagged up quite a lot of small electricals to take next time.

I also gave my shower head and grouting a proper clean. That's not really related to decluttering but I still consider it an accomplishment. And now my bathroom smells of vinegar.
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Oscar Dress Report 2021

This was a bit trickier this year cos I didn't have such strong feelings about a lot of the dresses. And I feel like I could still change my mind over a couple, so it's probably best I post this now before I do just that...

Oscar Dress Report:

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And my Not a Dress of the night:

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Oscars 2021

It's (belated) Oscars time! As usual I recorded the ceremony and made sure not to look at any spoilers before I watched it. Part of me wishes I could have stayed up and liveblogged it properly during the night, but I'm too old for that kind of thing now. Even though I do have today off work, so theoretically I could have.

Paul, Emma, and I did our usual predictions game and once again I used Alexa as the Random Number Generator. She made some... interesting... choices.

And even though I didn't stay up, I did do a not-live liveblog for fun and enjoyment. So here we go...

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And we're done. Final scores for the night:

Caroline: 19/23
Emma: 15/23
Paul: 7/23
Alexa: 4/23

VICTORY! Although I do wish I'd been able to keep my winning streak going. I started off so well then it all fell apart at the end!

And now Paul owes us a Nomadland themed cocktail. To go with all the others he still owes us!
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Tasty Tulips

I noticed the other day that my tulips had successfully grown again this year. That's is the fourth year in a row and I was feeling very pleased about it. I wanted to take a photo but they were still rather closed, so I decided to wait a bit. Well, I went out with my phone today to find them gone. Vanished. Not a flower to be seen. Looking at the ragged bits of green left in the pot I'm assuming that some creature has come along and eaten them, which is something that's never happened before. I'm disappointed that I didn't get my picture, but glad that I did see them a few days ago, otherwise I'd probably be thinking that they failed to grow at all this year.
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Blood and Games

It's Friday! Or FriYAY as I keep referring to it in my head cos I'm very much looking forward to the weekend.

On Monday I went blood doning after work. I was a bit worried after what happened last time, but when I explained it all to the lady she had a look at my arm and said she couldn't understand what the problem was cos my veins were perfect for donating (which is a lovely compliment that I feel I should put on my CV.) So, yeah, I don't know what that was all about before. Maybe my blood vessels were misbehaving that day, or maybe the lady felt something that wasn't there. Either way, the important thing is that it all went smoothly this time. I didn't even bruise afterwards, which was nice.

Tv-wise, I've recently started watching A Discovery of Witches cos someone recommended it to me and I'm really liking it so far. I've just finished series one (which in typical British-fashion was only eight episodes long) and am looking forward to starting series two when I get a chance.

Games-wise I've been playing a lot of Repton these last few weeks. I re-bought Repton 3 when I got my new laptop a few months ago and I have no regrets. It includes Around the World in 40 Screens, Life of Repton, and Repton Thru Time which are full of levels that I have such fond memories of playing as a child. And unlike some other childhood games it's still fun to play and I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that I get when completing a particularly tricky level! I'm now wondering if I can complete the whole thing. Probably not, but I'm going to enjoy trying!
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Slow Going

The decluttering is coming along slowly. I know slow progress is better than no progress, but I still feel bad about how much I end up keeping. I managed to clear out about half of my goth-y clothes and took them to the donation bin, but I couldn't bear to part with the rest so they're now bagged up and just sitting in a corner mocking me with my failure.

I did get rid of a load of old sixth-form college work, so that's a success. I glanced at some of my physics notes and wondered how on earth I ever understood any of it in the first place. It's definitely not anything I'm going to be using again! And as well as my actual work I'd also kept pretty much every piece of paper ever given to me so, you know, if anyone is interested in applying to university in 2002 I have a lot of literature that could be useful to you. Although you will have to go through my recycling in order to get it...

I also threw away a lot of plastic toys and action figures, mostly ones that I bought while at university for the photo story that Sarah and I had a lot of fun planning out and coming up with ideas for but never actually finished. I did feel sad throwing them away, but it's not like I've got any use for them any more. I hold on to so many things from my past that I don't need or even want any more because for some reason it feels wrong to get rid of them. Almost like I feel I might suddenly return to the me of fifteen years ago and suddenly have a desperate need for that stuff again.

I think that's actually a big part of my problem. There's so much stuff I feel like I have to keep cos past-me needed it. I just have to keep reminding myself that past-me is me and if I don't need it now then I don't need it.