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The Christmas Period [Jan. 5th, 2016|10:08 am]
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Christmas was a bit of a quiet affair. I managed to take a bit more of a traditionally active role, which made me feel a bit better about things. I cooked the meal on Christmas Day and I also organised a New Year's Party. Neither was big. The meal was just for myself and my parents, while the party was for four of us, including myself. But it all marked a welcome return to normality.

In the Christmas interregnum, I was feeling a little bored and deprived, so I arranged to meet someone for a quiet drink and chat. This worked out way better than I thought and I had a really great conversation - and twisted my ankle so badly I am still off work. My ankle is all kinds of pretty colours on a theme of purple, and not pretty colours on a theme of grey-green. It's been a bit of a mixed blessing: having some more time off work has been good for recovery from surgery, but I could have done without the pain.

The person I spoke to had participated in NaNoWriMo and had asked me to read any output. I spent December too tired to follow that promise through, but I'd poked them over Christmas and they sent me a few bits they'd done. They're trying to write a young adult book on the history of the revolution in Soviet Russia. It's something I was sceptical about, but having read bits of it, I got quite into it, particularly the young character of the future Soviet President Nikita Krushchev, who had a blend of pragmatic idealism that I found very appealing.

It's not a period of history I know a lot about. I've avoided it because, well, too much of it isn't history to me. Too much of it ties in with my family history, and hence it has a sense of immediacy that most modern history does, as opposed to the distant already-happened and forgotten nature of many of the things I usually study. But I started to change that when I was working at the school and, to be honest, that kind of level of writing is nice and refreshing.

The conversation reminded me how much I've been missing intelligent conversation with someone at my own level. We sparked on all kinds of topics and even having sarcastic comments about Poland and it's history didn't bother me when coming from someone who plainly had studied it enough. Because, to be honest, if I take away the indoctrinated Polish nationalism of my youth, the Polish state were a bunch of idiots during the 1700s and deserved what they got. So I've resolved to find more of that this year.

Lots of the stuff we talked about resulted in them mentioning Otto Von Bismark and I, for the nth time, indicated that I wanted to learn about that. Having some money, I combined my present of an Asus tablet (I have the 10" Zen, which is actually very good) with my kindle account and purchased Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Fall of Prussia by Christopher Clark. I am over half way through this book and I thoroughly recommend it. I have learnt a lot about Prussian history and learnt about both the Great Elector and Frederick the Great. Prussian history is surprisingly interesting and vastly more intricate than my awareness of it through Polish history and WW1 would indicate. Plus German unification is its own interesting topic.

Apart from that, I've been using my new tablet to get through many of the levels of three games that I completed on my old phone.