January 4th, 2013

Wanaka tree

In a nutshell

I thought it was about time I did a little round-up of 2012.

On the whole I don't think I've had a bad year. There has been the constant, underlying concern as to whether or not I'll still have a job from month to month, but I think that is becoming a bit clearer now, and it looks like I will. So, fingers crossed. And, from the day-to-day point of view, work has been quite good. I've been very busy with lots to do, lots more to do and trying to fit it all in, but for the most part it's interesting stuff, stuff I enjoy doing and stuff that goes towards helping the people of Somerset. So I'm happy with that. 

I haven't been out and about as much as I would have liked in the past year, which is a shame, and I hope to put that right in 2013. A big thing that comes to mind for me is that 2012 was the first year for a very long time that I didn't actually leave the UK at some point. I didn't get on a plane in 2012, and as someone who sees themselves as a traveller, that's sad. Having said that, I have no travel plans yet for this year, but we'll see.

Rather than going out and finding the world, to a very large extent, the world came to me. Julia came to the UK for the first time in August and that meant I could meet up with her a few times, though not enough, and share some special moments with her. And, great news, she's coming back to stay for a little over a week in just a few days' time, so 2013 gets off to a flying start. I'm so looking forward to her visit and the pleasure we will have as I get to show her my part of the world.

And the other person who added a wonderful highlight to my year was Rebekka, who came to stay for ten days at the end of August. You may remember all the photos I posted of the places we visited together.

I've also discovered, and rediscovered, lots of new and old music. There are a few highlights. Rebekka brought me a CD by a Norwegian band called Katzenjammer. They Are Fantastic! A Kiwi outfit called 'The Adults' came to my attention as well. They are a supergroup of lots of well-established Kiwi musicians working together and producing cracking music. In the lead-up to Christmas, the UK department store, John Lewis, brought out a television advert which was, coincidentally, shot in New Zealand. It featured a backing track of a version of the old Frankie Goes to Hollywood song, 'The Power of Love', sung by a young Wiltshire lady called Gabrielle Aplin. It is astonishing. I'm really looking forward to a new album from her in about April. She has a magical voice, a beautiful delivery and is, I'm sure, destined to be huge. If you feel inclined, look her up on the interweb and marvel at just how accomplished she is. 

Beth Orton brought out a new album last year, the first for a long time, and she has lost none of the all-round wonderfulness. And I filled a few gaps in my embarrassingly large CD collection by picking up 'Best of ...' packages by people like (in no particular order) The Human League, Hawkwind, Sinead O'Connor, The Hollies, Fairport Convention, The Stranglers, The Clash, The Who and many more besides. It's not that I didn't have some stuff by them before, but rather that these collections 'rounded things off' a bit. And there was another live Blur album rounding off the wonderful celebratory British summer. 

So, what do I want for 2013? Well, in a lot of ways I'd like more of the same. I want to get out and take photos. I want to share the gorgeousness of the area I live in with all of you. I want stories to tell and the talent to tell them well. I want to go back to Ireland and Scotland. I want to go further afield but understand that I will probably not be able to afford it. I want to know what's around the corner. Surely, that's not too much to ask.

May 2013 bring for you all the good things you wish yourselves.