Adam Stoner / Obama, Greta, Taylor Swift

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Episode notes

In a typical year, November is the point where people usually start tying the loose ends and humankind enters some form of hibernation. 2020's storywriters saved the climaxes for the final episode – a US power change and a COVID-19 vaccine – but, despite all that we've gone through this year, it seems like this season might end with all those storylines tied.

Here's what I've been up to in November:

Obsessed with trying to get the smallest and most efficent phone possible, I got my hands on an iPhone 12 Mini, the smallest handset made by any company at the moment, and love it. 

I've also swapped my Apple Music subscription for Apple One which gives me Apple TV+, Apple News+, Music, Arcade, Fitness and 2TB of iCloud storage for £30 a month.  I've been using the TV+ access that Apple One gives me to watch The Oprah Conversation, including one with Barack Obama...

Obama's autobiography, A Promised Land, is an honest and touching retelling of his Presidency with the eloquence that one expects from the office but that has perhaps been easily forgotten this past premiership. I've been listening to all 29 hours of it on Audible. No, Apple One does not give you audiobooks.

For those unfamiliar with Apple TV, you can bolt-on additional subscriptions and buy and rent movies too. I purchased I Am Greta, the story of the school striking climate activist and her rise to prominence. It sounds pedestrian but one of the more upsetting scenes features Greta's father being taught CPR. You understand Greta's conflict early in the documentary; it's not until that scene you realise the price.

For Disney+'ers, Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions is a pleasant background watch. I've often written that I'm more interested in the process behind something than the thing itself. It's a stipped-back play-through of Taylor Swift's lockdown album, Folklore, played with the musicians that helped write it, interwoven with interviews about how and why the songs made it to the album. Mirrorball is one of my favourites.

Finally, Netflix Original Enola Holmes is a quirky flick if you're looking for something lighthearted and unconventional. It's a Sherlock movie told from the viewpoint of a different Holmes, featuring Millie Bobby Brown and Helena Bonham Carter as the powerhouses. 

Who knew that being stuck at home again during cold and wet months would lead someone who never normally watches much to binge-watch so many things?!

I was at the Farmer's Boy Inn when news of a second lockdown broke at the start of November. A beautiful pub, fantastic staff and truly outstanding food came to a bittersweet end with the realisation that this independent restaurant would soon be suffering once again and in their busiest period. If you're nearby and restrictions allow it, pop in and order a pie; they're famous for them with 12 national awards and counting.

I've used this most lockdown to finish an essay I began in 2019 about how you can offset your entire lifetime of carbon for less than you'd spend on a stuck-at-home Black Friday. And since so much of this email seems to be focusing on world leaders and the climate, I hit a personal milestone on the 1st December – 12 months with Ecologi. In that time I've planted almost 1,000 trees and offset over 35 tonnes of carbon. They held an online climate conference in the absense of COP26 featuring speakers from Extinction Rebellion and even the Prince of Wales – videos are still available to view online.

See you soon.