Today is a day I knew would happen
When I started writing
This sequence of poems..

I find I have nothing to add
No new verse, No new words
The pressure is on - I have deliveries..
Deliveries to do for my Community
Because my commitment
To my Trucking Friends
Pre-dates napowrimo or

And yet..
Here I am writing this!..

Time to kick the tyres šŸ˜‰

…Is a question that haunts my thoughts, so I’m guessing that some of my readers may be asking the same question about a number of regular post series that seem to have disappeared over the last couple of months. It could also be a question relating to the year that is just drawing to a close – 2020 – so lets start there.

About this time last year I was looking forward to the end of 2019 and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone in that – it seemed to have been a bad year and I hoped for something better in 2020. January 2020 was not a bad month. I got out and about to pursue my trainspotting and was planning to use that as a means of increasing my exercise to help with my diabetes. In relation to that, I was due to go for a blood test in late February. Then the pandemic set in and we were locked down – I didn’t get to have that test. I also, being either a good citizen or a slave to government whim (you choose which) obeyed the request to stay away from public transport – that was the end of my spotting for the year. In the lull before the current storm and new tier 4 lockdown in London, I was invited to the doc’s for my Flu-jab and then sent to the blood clinic the following Monday to have that delayed blood test. My blood pressure is a lot better although it’s still a bit up and down so we’re experimenting with taking different pills at different times of the day to smooth things out.

All of the above gives some background. Add to that the need for my Wife to shield and therefore work from home. Then send my Son home early from University for Christmas and we suddenly have extra pressure on computing at home. It’s not a broadband issue – that has plenty of capacity. The issue is a space one. When Epi is on her work laptop, she has to have privacy – so Alasdair has to move from his desk while she works. He then needs somewhere to do his online studies, so I’ve made some space on my computing desk for him and provided a LAN connection. However, that impacts on my computing activities – I don’t want to distract him. You may also recall the Windows 10 2004 update and all the disruption that caused – I put the update on indefinite hold after sending another detailed response to Microsoft regards the issues I was experiencing. Then early-November my pc told me I had an update and needed to restart – not what I was expecting. Anyway, I did the restart and everything worked fine. Microsoft have pushed me onto version 1909 instead of 2004. Hopefully, by the time 1909 becomes obsolete, there will be a new update that doesn’t have the issues of 2004.

Let me work through the various series of posts…

Photo Challenges – Apart from doing some plane photography in my back garden, I haven’t picked up a camera in months which is why I’ve missed Brian’s last photo on the card Challenge and I’ve been very sporadic in taking part in Cee’s challenges. I hate recycling old images for these. I really must try to get out with the camera more often in 2021 whatever the lockdown situation.

Watcher of the Skies – Nothing to see here… Well not for most of October and November – lots of cloudy skies reduced my activity to virtually nil. However, December has been a bit better and the 17th was my best day ever for overflies including two light aircraft in close formation just to the north of me. Christmas Day also turned up a lot of sightings including a Kalitta 747. There’s a couple of regular overflies that I keep missing due to cloud – an Antonov AN-12 and an AN-26, both from Ukraine – I’ll get them one day! Again, I need to fire up the camera and take some pictures to share in a post.

Boundary Farm and Rosland Farm – The elephant in the room for these is Truck Simulator and the amount of time spent in those games recently. There has also been a major add on and a new free dlc that brings soil testing to the game. Combined with the Seasons mod that I was gaining an understanding of, this has left me wondering what I should do. I think that I will restart Boundary Farm as a new series in 2021 utilising the Seasons mod at the recommended settings. In the interim, for one of my younger followers, here’s a real-life Kubota Tractor…

Birdshot – I’ve been experimenting with Hunting differently in The Hunter – Call of the Wild. Differently in two ways – not rushing around doing the tasks as quickly as possible and utilising all the freebie weapons that I have access to courtesy of the dlc’s I own. I think that will also see a restart. I want to get back to doing my angling in Fishing Planet too. That won’t be a restart although I will need to remind myself what baits work best in the various locations šŸ™‚

Which brings us to Trucking Digest. When I called this the elephant in the room I wasn’t kidding. The last three months have seen update upon update to mainly American truck Simulator. We’ve had another new state in Colorado and an associated community event. Then, straight from that, we moved into the annual Christmas Event. I have been doing so much driving that I have had little time for much else. In many ways this has been the game that has kept me on an even keel for most of the lockdown, so I shouldn’t and won’t complain, but the effect it has had on my other games and also on my Trucking Digest series of posts is there to see. I’ll do a ‘close out the year’ Digest before 2021 starts to bring you up to date. Then, hopefully, normal service will resume in January for all my regular series including the photo challenges šŸ™‚

Still keeping the Shiny Side Up – whatever Covid throws at us – stay safe everyone šŸ™‚

That sounds like the sort of thing that nefarious agencies and corporations do doesn’t it? And we all know that they do šŸ˜¦ This, however, is much less sinister šŸ™‚

A couple of days back I shared some of my recent Farming Simulator activity on Twitter – some of these images may become part of my future post from my Boundary and Rosland Farm series, so I won’t share the initial media at this time.

I’ve mentioned before the great friendly community on Twitter centred around the Truck Simulator games that I am lucky enough to be part of šŸ™‚ As in any good community, there is always banter, so my post of recent farming activity elicited the following response…

“If I had a chance to get you here (by your will, of course, I’m not a maniac) I would give you the IMT 533 and I’ll let you plow my land and see how you handle it šŸ˜‰ “

Firstly – I should make clear that my firend is not a native English speaker, hence the odd choice of words. This should really be read like an invitation to holiday at his place šŸ™‚ It’s also a sort of laying down of a gauntlet – a challenge if you will šŸ™‚

I asked (using my recently gained knowledge of ploughing from my research) – “Is the plough set up for in-furrow or on-land? šŸ˜‰ “

There was a hiatus at that point and I’m guessing my young friend either had to go and check with his Father or he might have just been busy in their fields – They’re clearing an area of grass you see. I should add at this point that all of this is visible to the rest of our followers, so not a private conversation, and several are marking our chat with likes šŸ˜‰

He finally tells me it’s “On-land. We just need a little chunk done for healthy growth of our trees. We are currently mowing it.”

A while later he posts – “Martin will get this chunk done in March next year but for now we are preparing it for winter.” – with a photo of him strimming an area of grass as part of the work.

But while he’s been busy on the family farm, I’ve been busy tracking down an IMT 533 tractor mod for Farming Simulator 19 šŸ™‚ As far as I can tell, this tractor is a Massey Ferguson 35 manufactured under licence. I also sorted out an IMT plough and a map set in Eastern Europe, not too far from my friend’s homeland so that I could at least catch the flavour. I posted back to him, “Thought I’d better get some practice in… šŸ˜‰ ” with these images from Farming Simulator…

And I got the great response… “You just made my day!” with appropriate emojis šŸ™‚

Social Media may be one of the evils of our modern world but it can also be a bridge-builder between people of different ages, cultures and religions. We really shouldn’t let governments, or corporations, own and control it. Neither should we allow the haters to guide our behaviour – there’s a lot of opportunity for friendships to be forged on social media and just maybe that can lead to a better world šŸ™‚