Tuesday, December 31, 2013

new year reflections

For the past two years, I’ve posted something along these lines as we approach a new year: about how experience tells me that, even if/when there are periods of gloom, there WILL be things that fill me with joy that, at present, I know NOTHING about.
I just LOVE that this happens every year.
So, true to form, I’ve used more or less the same headings to reflect on my personal memories of 2013 (and thoughts about 2014):
My top five (note: I’ve really been spoilt for choice this year – my SHORTlist was 16 books long!!):
Leaving Alexandria (Richard Holloway); The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot); HHhH (Laurent Binet); The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Rachel Joyce); The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (Jonas Jonasson).
My top five (again, in vague order – although we didn’t get to the cinema all that often): Le Week-end; A Late Quartet; Amour; Blue Jasmine; Frances Ha.
LOVELY LIVE PERFORMANCES (broken down into various categories):

My top five: The Count of Monte Cristo (Brewery Theatre); Great Expectations (Bristol Old Vic); The Boy Who Cried Wolf (Old Vic, Bristol); Midsummer Night’s Dream (streamed)(RSC, Stratford); The Last Five Years (Brewery Theatre, Bristol).
Karine Polwart (St George’s, Bristol); Martha Tilston (Colston Hall, Bristol); King Creosote (Colston Hall); Exultate Singers (St James Priory) and the Gasworks Choir (St George’s); Gavin Osborn (Colston Hall); Daisy Chapman (Arnos Vale Cemetery); O’Hooley+Tidow (Bristol Folk House); Martin Simpson (Colston Hall).

Grommit(!!)(Bristol etc); Drawn Exhibition 2013 (RWA, Bristol); Pre-Raphaelites (Tate Britain)… sorry, not very many, is it?


I’ve been pathetically lazy when it comes to sport over the past year… I think the only “live” sport I saw was the final day of the cricket season (Gloucestershire v Lancashire). As usual, I’ve enjoyed watching the Six Nations and the Autumn Rugby Internationals on TV… but it’s not really the same. MUST do better!
Once again, we’ve been blessed to be able to meet up with many of our lovely “special” friends (they know who they are!) on a pretty frequent basis during the course of the year. Also wonderful to re-visit Drimnin in the western highlands
again with Bob+Christine; very special to go back to Iona again (albeit very briefly) and meet up with some of my much-loved friends from the Iona Community; also great to meet up with Karen and Tereza (from the Iona Community) in Bristol; and Dick+Dientje (from Holland); and Nick+Christine after so many years! 
I’ve very much enjoyed continuing to post a drawing or photograph every day as part of my “One Day Like This” blog (something like 240 drawings and 240 photographs thus far!); producing some large elevation drawings for Alan+Lesley was also really enjoyable (once I’d got my head around it!)… two down, one to go! I was delighted to have a large drawing accepted for the “Drawn” exhibition at the RWA in the Spring (and even more surprised and excited that it actually sold – and very quickly too!). It was good to have some of my drawings for sale in the “Made in Britain” and “Christmas Design Temporium” shops during the course of November/December… and I enjoyed being a shop assistant again (all that Iona bookshop experience!) in the CDT shop.
Cafes, reading, drawing, photography, walking, living near the sea (well, sort of… and with relatively easy access to Devon and Cornwall – especially Kingsbridge and St Ives) and, of course, looking after grandchildren!

I produced a photobook: “One Year Like This” in October. Challenges for this coming year? Well, who knows, trying to come up with something to submit (and, almost certainly, rejected!) for the RWA’s Autumn Exhibition? Also, the wonderful Si Smith has invited me to contribute something for an Advent 2014 project, which sounds quite exciting.

We’re talking about perhaps visiting Holland during the course of 2014 (and to meet up with our lovely friends
I’ve been attending Quakers meetings pretty regularly through the year and, although this has proved helpful, illuminating and fulfilling in many ways, I’ve now decided to try to follow a different path (I’m not quite sure what this is or where it will take me)… another year of spiritual plodding perhaps?

1. I think I’d like to do something to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1. My grandfather, Frank Walker (he died 30 years ago, in 1984), was a member of the 8th Brigade Royal Field Artillery during the Great War. Like many others, he joined up under age (he was 17 – the minimum qualifying age was 19). He entered the Theatre of War in France/Belgium on 19 August 1914, just a fortnight after Britain had declared war on Germany. A few years ago, I compiled a
blog which traced his movements throughout the war years… and would quite like to visit one or two of the key battle sites at some stage.

2. I continue to take huge pleasure in seeing others grow and develop: loving seeing our daughters creating beautiful work (Ruth’s jewellery and prints; Hannah’s posters and other projects; Alice’s writing and forthcoming book); and watching all our grandchildren learn new things.
3. As you probably know, I’m not a keen TV-watcher, but I have enjoyed “Borgen” enormously.

4. The beautiful summer weather was a brilliant bonus.
1. My right hip/knee/leg continues to cause me problems… physiotherapy did very little (if anything) to ease the situation. I’m due to make an appointment with our local surgery in the new year (a standard “free health check” for people of my age!) and so this will be one of the issues for discussion. I’m conscious that, these days, I hobble about like an “old man”.

2. It’s very sad that I haven’t played golf for nearly 18 months (because of my hip/knee/leg). 
But it’s actually been another very good year… and we continue to count our blessings.
Photo: sign at the Fish Café, Tobermory

1 comment:

just Gai said...

I love your end of year reviews and spotting the highlights we've shared with you. Here's to 2014!