2023 in review

After a flurry of other people’s yearnotes, which I really do enjoy reading, I feel motivated enough to write a quick summary of my own.


A loom with punch cards

I’ve kept my various projects running, including Theatricalia (in the past year, 700 new places, 800 new plays, nearly 3,000 new productions, over 44,000 roles, and 9,000 new people) and traintimes.org.uk (National Rail overhauled their website at the end of the year, not much for the better to my mind, but involving a large rewrite on my part). Joining them (and my nearest postbox map) this year is my searchable transcripts of the Post Office Inquiry which are hopefully proving useful to journalists, lawyers, and others more involved. I wrote about how the transcripts are generated; I am wondering now whether to host it myself so I can tweak the design/ use a quicker search (with module filtering), but not sure the time involved would be worth it.


It was the 20th anniversary of mySociety this year, of which I’ve been around for… technically more than that (if you count TheyWorkForYou predating/overlapping). Louise described me in her speech as “our resident non-evil genius”, which I can’t complain about ;-) We held an awards ceremony at Conway Hall and released an impact report if you’d like to find out about the history. Some of us also went to an escape room which turned out coincidentally to be across the road from the broken phone box that inspired the idea of FixMyStreet in the first place.

Some highlights of the past 12 months include adding Welsh to FixMyStreet (including map tiles, thanks to Mapio Cymru), and the Senedd to TheyWorkForYou; improving the native/web app for FixMyStreet with eg crosshairs and instructions on how to install the PWA; and dealing with some old technical debt, such as FixMyStreet using a custom protocol buffer format called RABX to implement small key-value store columns in postgresql (due to it predating JSON columns, protobuf and so on). Alongside all the usual client work, you can read more about that at our 2023 in review.

A non-coding highlight was the team meeting in Manchester, where we had the one-of-everything-on-the-menu at Bundobust :)


No big changes this year, beyond buying some pictures and finally getting around to hanging some others. Hopefully getting the sadly neglected garden done in the next few months.

Pastel landscapes. Sea-themed stained glass. Scenes from Yorkshire and north west Wales.


“I had fun doing all of the below”:

Visiting Attingham for snowdrops. Phoenix Comics day in Oxford. First time ten-pin bowling. Made a Space World diorama at the MAC. Archery at Lunt Roman Fort. NNetwork Family Daytripper Dippy in Coventry. Ice skating at Winter Funland. Visting the red panda at the Nature Centre.


We managed to get away each half term (Lyme Regis, York, Penzance), trips with family in Easter and Summer (Arran), plus two long weekends in Chester and Leicester over the summer (my bid for a third rhyming trip was overruled). We also had a family reunion (my dad is one of nine) in Wilderhope Manor YHA, which was the same weekend as my university reunion, but I managed to go to both (perhaps stupidly but it all worked out nicely).

Lyme Regis, February 2023 Two reunions in a day Easter 2023, Manchester May half-term 2023 Arran holiday, Summer 2023 Weekend in Chester, summer 2023 Leicester trip, summer 2023 Penzance, autumn half term 2023




I have read a fair number of books this year, though if you asked me to recommend some, I’m not sure many of them would pass, looking back. The Grishaverse ones are fun, as are the Stranger Times; the earlier Children of... were better. I liked The Starless Sea.

From the library, I read the following: Shards of Earth (Adrian Tchaikovsky), Bridge (Lauren Beukes), Water Weed (Andrew Cartmel / Rivers of London), Ultima (Stephen Baxter), Nocturna (Maya Motayne), Resistance Is Futile (Jenny Colgan), Agency (William Gibson), Crooked Kingdom (Leigh Bardugo), Zoo City (Lauren Beukes), The Sorcerer’s Daughter (Terry Brooks), The Starless Sea (Erin Morgenstern), Dawn (Octavia Butler), and When it’s a jar (Tom Holt).

Purchases or gifts that I have read are: Love Will Tear Us Apart (C K McDonnell), Children of Memory (Adrian Tchaikovsky), Wild: Tales from Early Medieval Britain (Amy Jeffs), Lighthouse Witches (C J Cooke), Memory Librarian (Janelle Monáe), Three body problem (Cixin Liu), The prefect (Alastair Reynolds), Illuminations (Alan Moore), King of Scars & Rule of Wolves (Leigh Bardugo).

And ones I have not yet got around to reading: The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle (T L Huchu), Marple (various), Stroke of the pen (Terry Pratchett), Prophet (Helen Macdonald and Sin Blanché), Fragile threads of power (V E Schwab), Fourth Wing (Rebecca Yarros), and The Old Ways (Robert Macfarlane).

I have two books on pre-order – the new Stranger Times and the long-awaited new Jasper Fforde Shades of Grey sequel, exciting!

I re-read precisely one book this year, and it was This Is How You Lose the Time War (Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone).

Film and TV

At cinemaFilm at homeTV
With child
  • Barbie
  • Dougal and the Blue Cat
  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Puss in Boots: Last Wish
  • Flatpack Festival Colour Box Shorts
  • Mitchell vs Machines
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
  • Fantasia
  • Frozen 2
  • Galaxy Quest
  • Muppets Christmas Carol
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Wild Isles
  • Ghosts (lots)
  • Dr Who
Without child
  • Everything Everywhere All At Once
  • Oppenheimer
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Amongst Thieves
  • Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1
  • A Haunting In Venice
  • 3000 years of longing
  • Palm springs
  • Uncharted
  • 355
  • Lost city
  • Top gun Maverick
  • The Batman
  • Bullet train
  • His Dark Materials
  • Wednesday
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks
  • Good Omens 2
  • Loki


One Tempest at the RSC, Noises Off and a one-man Die Hard at the Rep, Starchitects Save Santa and a Big Wheel at the MAC. Not much, but all were pretty good.

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Our February orchestra concert was Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto with Charlotte Moseley, and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No.2 in E Minor. Lovely. Our July concert was Carwithen’s One Damn Thing after Another, Bridge’s The Sea, and Elgar’s Symphony No.1. Also lovely. About half an hour before the concert began, a sudden deluge began, making audience arrival slightly more hazardous than expected, and providing a perfect accompaniment to the first half. We also did an additional concert in November with Quinborne Choir, our first collaboration with them, performing Mozart’s Mass in C, two coronation anthems by Handel, Haydn’s London Symphony and other baroque works. It turns out baroque requires quite a bit more concentration than our usual romantic!

In choir, we had Finzi’s Magnificat, Britten’s Company of Heaven and McDowall’s Ave Maris Stella in May; Beethoven’s Mass in C and Hurd’s Shepherd’s Calendar in November; plus our usual Messiah in December.

And in seeing rather than performing, I went to quite a number of CBSO concerts (you get a discount off every ticket the more you buy! ;) ), plus Ex Cathedra in a concert of Byrd.

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UK Games Expo haul

As well as the UK Games Expo haul (Rustling Leaves, Nimalia, Dorfromantik, Azul, Parks: Trails, Next Station London, and the book Everybody Wins), we got Animals of Baker Street for Christmas. We had a regular My City meet-up, getting as far as Chapter 6 (should be able to finish it this year!), and also played games like Acropolis, Barenpark, Blue Lagoon, Indian Summer, Ivor the Engine, Kingdomino, Marrying Mr Darcy, Railroad Ink, Reef, Kingdomino: Origins, P for Pizza, and even one game of Agricola.

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My mum found my old Lego club card, so it is good that we are carrying on with that. I love the Space Postcards especially.

Lego Club membership card Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled Lego Space Postcards Lego Birmingham Library Untitled Untitled Untitled


I am amazed I got the above written, let’s not try and get ahead of ourselves :)