The New Year

So it’s 2011, a new year. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I like to have a few ideas for the future but I don’t feel it’s necessary to have a tick list. This will be my first full year of retirement. It still seems bonkers to retire so young, but I’m enjoying it. What seems strange is the elastic nature of time. I don’t really have any deadlines or production schedules, unlike when I was working. This is liberating but also a bit disorienting.

It seems like a lot of outdoor bloggers have been going through life changes over the last twelve months. Philip has recently resigned his job to do his own thing. Terry is developing his video business after being made redundant. Maz has had a son (or more specifically Mrs. Maz!). Hendrik is training to be a wilderness guide (dream job!). I know of at least two other bloggers who are undergoing some significant changes in their lives. Best wishes to everyone for a happy and successful new year.

It’s interesting how we underestimate the amount of change in our lives. Often, we have a static view of life and yet life changes year to year, sometimes dramatically. I love history and even in less fast-moving times, you can see that the players underestimate how quickly events can change and overwhelm.

At the moment I’m reading something completely different: “Parallel Universes” by Michio Kaku.  Astrophysics and string theory are not exactly my normal areas of expertise, but I thought I’d have a go at understanding why physical reality is not as it seems. The concept of ten, eleven or even twenty-six dimensions is difficult to get your head around. However, one point that is emphasised at the beginning of the book is the profound change in thinking from the universe as a static entity to an evolving and changing one.

Change happens at a macro and a micro level. The best way of adapting and enjoying change is to embrace it rather than fear it. There’s no doubt that at a global and national level there will be changes and challenges. The economic and geopolitical environment is unstable.

In the outdoors community, I fear we are losing the battle against the industrialisation of our wild lands. We need to stand up and be counted. Well done to Alan and others for highlighting this. I feel a letter writing campaign coming on. This is a microcosm of the arrogance of government and how it ignores ordinary people and panders to special interest groups.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I’m increasingly fed up with the nanny state and socialism. I’m not against compassion, caring for those less fortunate, sensible regulation of commercial interests and the rich paying their fair share, but I am against the increasingly divisive, mean-spirited and dictatorial attitudes of the “left”.

On my reading list is  “The Spirit Level Delusion: Fact-checking the Left’s New Theory of Everything“. I’m not saying that the other parties have the answers either. What I want is more freedom to live my life, less interference from government and lower taxes. Why do people have this blind faith that government (in all its forms) is better at resource allocation and wiser in its spending than individuals? Beats me.

Anyway, back on topic. What does the new year hold? Unfortunately for gear retailers, I’m unlikley to be spending much. Realistically, all my needs are now catered for. I have a few wants. The Terra Nova Solar Photon 2 interests me as a lighter alternative to the Scarp. Beyond that, I can see little that really interests me, other than a better camera.

In terms of getting out on the hills, I only have tentative plans. I have mapped out an interesting “Coast to Coast”  walk in Scotland from Attadale to Beauly, which I have pencilled in for early May. I’d like to do another Cairngorms circuit in June. I really ought to go somewhere else than the Lakes or Snowdonia, so perhaps I’ll go to Dartmoor or to the Peak District. Here’s to a good year for everyone!

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “The New Year”

  1. I read Parellel Universes in the Peaks in march. Very interesting indeed but I’ve always loved Theoretical Physics. I don’t always understand it but I’m getting there. Read David Deutsch’s book The Fabric of Reality too. Very good. There are also a series of Very Short Introductions which are very good – I’ve been reading Cosmology, Quantum Physics, Particle Physics and Chaos Theory. It takes time but as we fly to Denmark a lot, I have time. Enjoy your retirement!

  2. Have a good 2011. Another book for your prolific retirement list 😉 Manjit Kumar’s “Quantum – Einstein, Bohr and the Great debate About the Nature of Reality”. Now a caveat, I haven’t finished it yet. It was a Crimbo pressie and I intended to read it when I go on my next work project this week but I decided I didn’t want to wait. More a historic perspective but also very readable science on a subject that usually causes me, at least, brain ache.

  3. Hi Robin – Thanks for the mention.

    “In the outdoors community, I fear we are losing the battle against the industrialisation of our wild lands.” Actually, I believe we are losing each and every battle and the war is being lost comprehensively. The fact is the outdoors movement has been totally outflanked by a well funded slick wind energy business intent on making as much money as possible. It seems that anyone who stands up to their wind farm proposals is tarred with being “anti-green” – a very clever smear that seems to stick like the proverbial sh1 tea to a blanket.

    Until this argument is taken head on and shown to be total tosh we will continue to lose more and more of our wild land.

    Depressing, eh?

    1. It is depressing. The MCoS and JMT appear to be putting up a good fight, but to no avail. Where’s the Ramblers? There’s a good article in The Economist about the way that British politicians are becoming despised by the electorate: http://www.economist.com/node/17797360?story_id=17797360 . Integrity seems to be a scarce commodity these days. The Scottish Parliament is a total farce and appears to be terminally corrupt. Why have they driven a coach and horses through the planning process to allow Donald Trump (of all people) to build some golf courses over the dunes near Aberdeen? Why are they building a power line through the Cairngorms National Park? Now this. It makes me sick.

  4. You have a different situation in the UK than in the US, but in the US, where individuals and corporations are allowed to keep more of ‘their’ money, you have many of those individuals chosing to industrialize our natural lands, to drill oil from our last remaining wilderness, outsourcing jobs overseas to places with few environmental regulations, and they are doing so while making higher profits than ever before in US history while being taxed less than when America was at its strongest economically. While it may be true that individuals make more advantageous decisions for themselves, they often do so at the peril of the whole.

    1. You would hope that governments would make decisions in the national interest. Too often they have been corrupted by special interest and commercial groups. It’s the same all over unfortunately.

  5. You people are just the descendants of the tweed clad English Aristocracy who came up here to shoot the wildlife and treat the natives like shite in the 19th century! You can’t even get the name of our Government right you ignorant numpties,it hasn’t beeen called an “Assembly” for years! You don’t even know your facts,the Highland landscape you’re so fond of visiting is a relatively recent man made landscape,it’s not the natural landscape of the Highlands! Note I said “fond of visiting”,God forbid you actually come and live here among us backward savages!

    1. Hmmm. I think you have a large chip on your shoulder. I would have thought you might be glad that I show affection for Scotland and concern over what happens to its landscape. It’s ironic that a Scottish Parliament is trashing its own landscape. The vitriol that you have directed at me might be better applied to your elected representatives.

  6. Bet you don’t allow my comments!!! LMAO! Pity you have to keep dealing with all these awkward Jocks,isn’t it matey!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s