Like many of you, I'm very glad to see the back of 2020, but we're still going into the unknown, and despite it being the 1st of January, it feels there's little to celebrate.
That being said, life must go on, and with the freezing cold days and dark nights, there's no excuse to stay home - but what to do?
2020 for me was the year of online lectures, reading hundreds of books, getting into running and yoga and spending way to much money with online shopping. And to be honest, nothing much is going to change anytime soon.
So for my suggestions this January will again be things to do at home, and luckily there's plenty to do!
HEARD in London - History, Eat, Art, Refresh and Discover.
Luckily for us, online lectures are still going on throughout January, which is great news. A few of the ones I've signed up for are
On Friday the 8th, there's a talk by the author of the book Empires of the Dead, which is really fascinating if you haven't read it yet. It's about the creation of the First World War graves, and how ambulance commander Fabian Ware went on to establish the Commonwealth war cemeteries. Link to sign up is here.
Black History on the River Thames is on the 14th of January, link here.
England's Mistress: Emma Hamilton on the 22nd . Link here.
Mediaeval Building Myths - The Folklore & Archaeology of Historic Buidlings on the 26th. Link here.
Support your local! I'm not in London at the moment (and haven't been for some time) so I'm afraid I can't give you any suggestions, but do have a look out for places near you which are offering takeaways. It's normally a tough time of the year as it is for restaurants and pubs etc. with people trying to spend less, eat more healthy and I've heard some people even try "dry January" whatever that may be. Treat yourself, you made it through a tough year.
Another online suggestion, this time it's with the National Gallery, who have been an absolute godsend for me during this passed year. I really miss being able to just pop when I was in the area, but luckily they have been incredible in their online presence. There's been numerous talks, lectures, videos and even whole series dedicated to art. Starting this month is the next instalment of Stories of Art. Module 3 starts on 6th and runs for 6 weeks, this time looking into 1500 to 1600, with the incredibly knowledgable Richard Stemp.
I don't need to remind you to drink more wine do I? We are still in Lockdown so you don't need an excuse to treat yourself. I had some incredible wine over Christmas and I hope you did to, and I don't have any plan on slacking.
A few recommendations if you want to try something new are
Spirals Heiss-Weiss, a blend of Gruner Veltliner and Riesling. Available from Modal Wines.
Nutbourne's Chardonnay, pretty acidic (but I love that in wines) and it's also nice to drink something from the UK.
Manon Peaches, a great Chardonny from Adelaide Hills, available from Low Intervention.
For a nice fruity red, with plenty of body I suggest a bottle of Miro from Cristiano Guttarolo. I'm not normally a fan of Primitivo so I was quite surprised I liked it, and not bad for just over £20. Available from Tutto Wines.
If you're looking for something special, I picked up a few fancy bottles from the Fine Wine Company who are based in Scotland. I nabbed some very reasonable priced bottles of Burgundy, plus they offer next day delivery.
Or perhaps you want to learn about wine? As always I have to suggest you join one of West London Wine School's online tastings, or why not become a pro and do a WSET course?
More online learning this month, this time with the Institute of Continuing Education by the University of Cambridge. Their Virtual Winter Festival of Learning runs for two weeks from the 18th of January. All courses run over the 5 days of the week, 1.5 hours long and cost £149. And there's so many to choose from! On the first week I've signed up for The Art of Looking I: Paintings, and week 2 it's Five English Cathedrals. They certainly have something for everyone though, a few which caught my eye were on Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Artemisia Gentileschi, Medieval wall painting in England, Harry Potter in Retrospect, Roman Britain, I could go on. Go and have a look on their website to sign up here.
Hears to a better year everyone!
Heard in London