Year 1: Home

A year of big life changes, buying a flat, losing Tootsie, writing a lot, trying to keep up to date with technology, games, puzzles, and a lot of isolation.

Posted on by Rowan Manning.
Tagged with YearnoteHouseTootsieWritingSide ProjectsTVFilmsGames

Today marks a whole year of weeknotes, my first year doing this went quickly! I’m going to write these “yearnotes” digests to look back over the year and introspect a bit. I think I’ll stick with my offset weeknotes year (1st November) rather than a calendar year because December is way too busy already.


The biggest life change this year was (eventually) buying a flat. It took a good 7 months due to issues with cladding, some very slow mortgage brokers and solicitors, and everyone being busy with stamp duty holidays.

People aren’t lying when they say this process is stressful, I feel like I shaved a few years off of my life, but I’m feeling a lot more chill about everything else now that we’ve moved in! A solid half of my weeknotes are tagged with “House”, hopefully that’ll reduce over the next year.


Obvious content warning, skip ahead to the next heading here.

Back in January, my grandad died. It was kind of expected, his health had deteriorated a lot but it was still really tough. My grandma seems to have adjusted to life by herself and my mum and uncles have been visiting a lot and keeping her company since.

We also lost our cat, Tootsie. It’s still painful to think about him, and I’d really like to have had him with us when we moved to our new flat. I know most pet owners feel like this, but he was the perfect cat and I can’t imagine taking on another pet for a long time, particularly not one with health complications.

We got the news about Tootsie while we were at Charlotte’s stepdad’s funeral. What a shitty week that was. It’s so completely out of my control, but I’d love it if 2022 was a bit less death-heavy.


I think it’s fair to say I really miss coding as part of my day-to-day job. I moved roles a while before starting weeknotes, it’s been quite challenging and I frequently question whether I’ve taken a bit of a misstep career-wise away from the part of my job I enjoyed most.

I’m going to rethink over the next year and work out what I want from work. I know I don’t really want to leave the FT yet, which is a nice conclusion to arrive at – I love the people and the culture and I definitely couldn’t cope with the stress of switching companies right now.

I’ve been trying to keep my technical skills fresh outside of work, mostly via updating this website and slowly adding IndieWeb features (my blog and weeknotes have received just under 600 webmentions) and I took on a couple of side projects.

More recently I’ve been tinkering with home automation, I’m going to try and do everything open source and avoid the tech giants. I bought a Raspberry Pi and it’s really fun to play with, maybe I’ll finally do some hardware hacking.


Since starting with weeknotes a year ago, I’ve written a lot! It was part of my reasoning behind writing weeknotes, and I feel a lot more comfortable with writing in both a work and personal sense now.

I have written 20,000 words across 53 weeknotes, with a calculated reading time of 125 minutes. Apologies to all of you who have been here since week 1 – those 2 hours of your life are non-refundable.

I also wrote four longer-form blog posts, totalling 8,000 words. I hadn’t blogged since 2016 before this last year so I’m quite pleased with myself.

TV and Films

With the pandemic I haven’t been watching a lot of films, there’s been a lot of TV though! I think my reality TV consumption has got trashier, but I’m fine with that, some highlights alongside the usual Masterchef and Great British Menu were The Circle and Too Hot to Handle. The best stuff I watched was Bridgerton, The Queen’s Gambit, Loki, and Good Omens.


I’ve enjoyed playing a bunch of videogames socially, which I hadn’t really done for ages pre-pandemic. I’ve loved Minecraft sessions with a bunch of friends I share a server with, we also tried Factorio for a while which was a nice change of pace.

Charlotte and I play games together quite a lot lately, Two Point Hospital got a lot of hours of play-time as did Crash Bandicoot 4. More recently we completed Unravel Two which is an exciting and cute cooperative puzzler.


Over the last year, being a bit more shut up at home, I’ve rediscovered my love of puzzles. I’ve been doing crosswords daily and more recently I’ve been getting pretty good at Sudoku. As usual, I took this hobby too far and built a website for tracking the New York Times mini crossword. It’s been tracking a group of people’s times for 133 days now and still going strong 🙂

The Pandemic

I can’t really not mention the pandemic in this yearnote. I think we’ve made the best of it, but the whole thing’s been pretty stressful and it’s going to take a long time for anything to feel “normal”. We’ve been social within the restrictions, had a few UK holidays (Edinburgh and then Loch Lomond and Fife were big highlights), and made a few bad decisions. Somehow, according to the dozens and dozens of tests, we haven’t had COVID yet, which is good.

I’m grateful that work has been so relaxed about the return to the office. We still don’t need to go in until April 2022, and even then we only need to be in twice a week. I mostly miss the social aspect and think I’ve adapted well to home working.

What’s next?

I’m feeling good about the year ahead, definitely more positive than at the start of this one. If most of 2021 was focused on stabilising my living situation, then I’d like to focus on readdressing my career in 2022.

I’m still getting a lot of value from writing weeknotes, it really helps me digest my week and introspect on what I’ve enjoyed (or not enjoyed). I hope all 50(ish) of you are enjoying reading them 😊 writing these has really reduced my other social media output and it feels a lot more considered to me than random Twitter shitposting.

Here’s to another year 🥂

A full year of weeknotes represented as a grid of thumbnails