2019 Review

2019 was a bit of a rollercoaster year for me, but it worked out well overall. I was very busy and active for the first half, then there was a dip during the summer with various things that came up all at once, before the final few months that gave me a chance to recharge and get back to normal, while also throwing in one or two surprises.

So as is traditional, I thought I’d quickly go back over the year, to recap on the many things that happened. Click on the headings for each month to see the Favourites post in each case, while there are links to more detailed review posts throughout the text as well. I hope you enjoy looking back at it all with me.

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Christmas 2019 Favourites – Entertainment

Welcome to the final part of my Christmas Favourites trilogy for 2019, following on from my Out & About and Food posts, this time looking at the TV, movies and audio entertainment that caught my attention during December. I’ve now published a video to go with all three posts too. As before, I’ve not been paid or gifted by anybody, so these are all my own opinions. Hope you enjoy!

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Christmas 2019 Favourites – Out & About

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and have a wonderful and prosperous 2020 ahead. 🙂

December was good for me all in all, and I was happily occupied over Christmas as usual. So I’m splitting this month’s recap over 3 posts as there’s a lot to mention. I’ve also posted a video to go with them all.

So in this first post, I’m going to talk about my adventures out and about, including museum visits and Christmas displays. I didn’t go out a lot over Christmas and New Year itself, as I had a bad cold for much of it, so it was best to just relax and recharge. But in the lead up to Christmas I still went out quite a bit. And as always, I’ve not been sponsored or gifted by anybody in order to mention them here. So I hope you enjoy!

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November 2019 Favourites

I seem to have gone from one extreme to another lately. After a relatively relaxed October, November has been really busy, and in a good way. I appeared on TV and radio to raise awareness of digital accessibility, promoted audio description at a trade exhibition, learnt a great deal about Ancient Greece, explored London’s illuminated bridges, highlighted more scam emails, bought some new Blu-rays and music, and enjoyed various things on TV.

So there’s plenty to cover this month, and I hope you enjoy this post and video summary of it all. As always, I haven’t received any gifts or payments by anyone mentioned in this post, and all opinions are my own.

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The Big Business of Digital Accessibility

The internet is an amazing resource, enabling people to instantly access products, services, information, communication, entertainment, etc, anywhere and at any time. And it’s especially useful and important for disabled people, for whom such a direct connection with the world around them plays a vital role.

However, there are still many websites, social media feeds and apps, and other technologies such as self-service checkouts and kiosks, that are partly or wholly unusable by disabled people, due to poor accessibility. This means they cannot access information and purchase products from many retailers and service providers, as they are unjustly hindered or prevented from doing so. As a result, they either don’t buy anything at all, or find accessible competitors instead. Which means many businesses are missing out on the benefits of a huge market worth £274 billion a year!

The same logic also applies when disabled people are prevented from gaining physical access to buildings, facilities, transport, etc, which is a vitally important and huge issue in itself. But for this post I’m focusing on the digital side.

Disability charity Scope have therefore released the findings of their survey on inclusive design, which illustrates the impact of poor digital access. This is to help them publicise The Big Hack, a comprehensive online resource advising businesses on best practice for digital accessibility and inclusion. And to help with the promotion, Scope invited me to take part in some media coverage, which included my first ever TV appearance! Check out my little bits of stardom here:

So in this long post, which I’ve divided into sections to break it up a bit, I want to:

For clarity, I have not been paid or gifted for my interviews or this post. This is just a topic I feel strongly about, so I was happy to take part in the media coverage, and all opinions here are my own. I also encourage you to research the subject of accessibility further, including the resources on The Big Hack, as there is no way I can cover everything, and no single person is a complete authority on the subject. I’m just talking about things from my own personal perspective, so I hope my thoughts and experiences are useful.

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July & August 2019 Favourites

Right then, I’m back. If you’ve seen my previous post, you’ll know why this instalment of my Favourites series is later than usual, because August wasn’t a particularly good month. It only had a few positive things I can mention, so I’ve decided to combine them with my long overdue July update.

There’s quite a bit to mention as usual, including a musical, a movie, a comedy show, museums, walks, events, my new computer and TV shows. So let’s crack straight on with it, bearing in mind the normal disclaimer that I’m not sponsored by any of the people and companies mentioned below. I hope you enjoy my latest post and video recap of what I enjoyed earlier this summer!

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Only Fools And Horses The Musical

Only Fools And Horses surely needs no introduction, certainly for anyone in the UK at least. It is still regularly voted as Britain’s greatest sitcom (which I heartily agree with), it is still constantly repeated on TV, and it still holds the record for the UK’s most watched programme (not counting coverage of special news and sports events, or figures for soap operas that include mid-week repeats, of which there are only a few instances anyway).

It seems hard to believe that 24.35 million people in the UK, over a third of the entire population, were all sat in front of their TVs at the same time on 29 December 1996, to witness Del Boy and Rodney becoming millionaires. And who knows how many others have seen that episode on TV, video, DVD or online since then? It shows just how much affection there is for the characters that such a huge audience wanted to see them finally succeed, and that so many of the fans got upset when they lost their fortune 5 years later. Although it’s logical that Del wouldn’t be a wise investor, the fans still felt bad for him.

And that’s why this year’s launch of Only Fools And Horses The Musical at Theatre Royal Haymarket has proven incredibly popular, and has hopefully helped to introduce some new younger fans to the series. The musical has already had to be extended until next year, given the positive reviews and the high demand for tickets.

So as a big fan of the series myself, I was certainly keen to go. And my wonderful girlfriend Claire knew this without having to ask, so she very kindly booked tickets for us to see the audio-described performance in July, as an early birthday present for me. Which of course means this post isn’t sponsored or endorsed by anybody connected with the TV show or the theatre production. So I wanted to tell you what I thought of the musical, and also take the opportunity to pay tribute to my favourite sitcom.

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