Monday, December 31

Well, that was certainly the year that was


Snow arrived in January and stayed for a while. Big changes at work with the whole of my department getting redundancy notices. No heating in classrooms and managers tried to tell a colleague and I we should move from one very convenient office to another. We just moved the filing cabinets. My car managed most snow journeys but refused to budge on a gentle slope in Milton Keynes! Next time I went to pick up the children I parked somewhere else and only just made it back to the village in one of the worst blizzards I can recall driving in since 1981/2.


The snow was still around in early February and there was this heavy mist that made the world seem much smaller. Nothing much really happened at all this month.


By March things were finally warming up and I was keen to get a photo of a bird on this nest which I passed at least twice every day.


April sunshine was nice and quite a relief but the skies did keep turning very strange colours throughout the year. A voluntary redundancy option was put on the cards at work and my colleague and I decided to investigate the possibilities. 


In May it really did start getting quite hot. Leaves were growing fast on the tree with the nest too.


More weird weather in June but enough dry Sundays to play cricket in the paddock. I was also celebrating being free from Further Education and comparatively solvent again.


My birthday party in July started with a massive downpour but, strangely, an hour or so later and everyone was playing cricket, rolling around in the paddock and it was hot again.


One of the few dry days in August for Paddock Party 8. One day we'll get soaked but every year we have been so lucky so far! Lights on the other side of the pond added a touch of class to the otherwise nicely rustic event.


Friends and I played with The Prisoner's car - well, a modern day version, - in September. Again, this was one of the rare sunny and dry days.


Wonderful skies in October...


and in November when my Mum passed away just after her 96th birthday. I got a ridiculously short hair cut and spent hours on photos, service planning and poems for the funeral where my brother and I met lots of people we hadn't seen for years and years which all went really well.


December started so cold and frosty but then the rains came and, now, at the end of the year, they're still coming, with the stream where I live more like a small river and I can't remember when I last washed the car!

 Christmas was amusing. I visited a friend from my school days and just about everything that I dislike about Christmas happened: soap operas continuously invading the living room on a huge screen almost as big as the wall, lights on a tree that flashed and seemed to interfere with my brain, the goose was well over-cooked and tough, the vegetables pallid and the roast potatoes were just shells with goo inside, a Christmas pudding that was microwaved for about twice as long as it should have been and was more like dark brown toffee on arrival but... and this is the nice bit... it didn't matter at all because Brian is such a cheery and decent chap that I was laughing practically all the time and genuinely enjoyed the afternoon and evening! In fact, I was giggling to myself as I went to bed that night. 

My daughter Katie has a nice house in Letcombe Regis, just over the hill from where I once lived in Woodland St Mary, and Bryony, Kirri, Matti and I visited on the day after the day after Boxing Day. We got a massive telescope as a present which looks really cool and that should enable us to get some good pictures next year of whatever we can see out of the window or, with a bit of luck, there'll be enough dry weekends to take it out to the paddock and catch some stars.

Highlights:

Sony Xperia P phone with Android ICS
Finally getting into Middlesex University's PAFIS payment system
Nice new tyres on my car instead of the cheap ones I'd had last year which I'm sure had turned oval.
An LSIS contract to bring web tools to the Third Sector.
Bryony's GCSE grades
Leaving College
Discovering that my old office chair did recline after all.
Weekly lunches with Adrian until he got a new job and monthly lunches with Bernard
Thorpe Park with Kirri and friends
My Birthday Party
Getting in the Top 20 on Google+ for UK following
Google+ Photowalk
Zero spend when wandering around virtually every clothes shop in MK Centre with Marta
Attending strange but amusing Hypnotherapy Conference as a VIP guest with Judy
Getting my own internet and landline - ah, being able to make phone calls in the warm!
Getting lost with Adrian when returning the Prisoner car to Caterham in Leicestershire
Gingerly steering around ice-bound roads somewhere in the wilds of Buckinghamshire to collect Bryony from parties in the early hours in the late autumn
First clients for my Staff ICT Skills Audit.
Chromebook and a new TV
Matti passing his 11+ so he can go to the same school as Bryony & Kirri
Flooded back roads and gushing stream here in the village
Rupert and I suffering from pretty bad wind after lunch in Doddington.
Longest ever pee in lay-by on return from Mum's funeral
Inability to solve wooden and metal puzzles at Maggie & Graeme's on Boxing Day
Sherlock, Dr Who, Homeland, X Factor USA, The Killing, Borgen, The Thick of It, Secret State The Hour and I am sure there were others that I'll have to add later.















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