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Most people can hardly have missed the Not Guilty verdict returned this week by the jury in the trial of the so-called “Colston 4”, the four people from a crowd of hundreds put on trial for pulling down the statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader misrepresented for many years as a philanthropist, and dumping it into Bristol Harbour. This was right and proper; a guilty verdict would have been a travesty.
Week one of Dry January 2022 complete. Although I’ve often thought about drinking and had the odd moment when I felt a bit of a craving, those were fleeting and it’s not been difficult so far. In fact I’ve been rather enjoying myself; it’s almost a relief to have permission not to drink, especially after a week of culturally expected over-indulgence. It’s also been helped by the fact that I’m on-call this week, which usually means no or only low-level drinking anyway, so a good week to start on.
I’m going to do Dry January
thisnext year. Over the past months (years, now 😭) of the Covid pandemic I’ve slipped into bad habits and have, at times, been drinking more than I’m comfortable with.
I walk into the city alone. It feels strange. It’s still pretty quiet, but there are more people around than there were a few weeks ago. Loudspeakers boom out recorded warnings to maintain social distancing. Here and there tape and paint mark the pavements at two-metre intervals. Confusing one-way systems are inconsistently enforced by masked security guards.
This is a sequel of sorts to REAMDE and ties both books into the shared world of Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle. I thought it handled this pretty well, particularly in the handling of a mysterious recurring character, but I’m aware opinions on this may be divided.