My top five, in order (VERY difficult to limit it to just five): The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver); From The Holy Mountain (William Dalrymple); The Establishment (Owen Jones); A Rose For Winter (Laurie Lee); and Sentenced To Life (Clive James).
My top six (again, in vague order… can’t get it down to 5 – although we didn’t get to the cinema all that often):
Salt of the Earth; Macbeth; The Lady in the Van; Henry V (live broadcast); Brooklyn; and He Named Me Malala;
LOVELY LIVE PERFORMANCES (broken down into various categories):
My top five (note to self: need to go to much more theatre in 2016!): Love’s Labour’s Lost; Love’s Labour’s Won (otherwise “Much Ado About Nothing”); Ian Adams (poetry); Swallows+Amazons; and Around The World in 80 Days;
My top four (sadly, I didn’t get to five! Ridiculous!):
Paul Bradley; Cara Dillon; Isolde/Lauren Bradford/Julia Turner; and Gaswork Singers Christmas concert.
Not as many as I’d have liked (but I might have forgotten one or two?) … and, frankly, nothing REALLY stands out for me. Top five in order: “Death” at the Bristol Museum; Do Ho Suh (“New York City Apartment”) at Bristol Museum+Art Gallery; “Into the Fields” (Newlyn School and other Artists) at the RWA; Richard Long (“Time+Space”) at the Arnolfini; and Carsten Holler “Decision” at the Hayward Gallery, London.
Shamefully, the ONLY “live” sport I saw in 2015 was Bath Races in June (with some of my old Norton Hill School buddies)… and not a single cricket match - despite the best of endeavours to get Edgbaston.
I really enjoyed watching the Six Nations again and, obviously, hugely enjoyed the Rugby World Cup on TV… but it’s not really the same. Need to get down to Ashton Gate to watch Bristol RFC. Again, I 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… always special occasions.
Another enjoyable year (although perhaps not as enterprising as it might have been – am I becoming lazy?), including:
1. I’ve still very much enjoyed continuing to post a drawing or photograph every day as part of my “One Day Like This” blog (with well over 600 drawings and 600 photographs since I started in September 2012).
2. I REALLY enjoyed carrying out a week’s drawing project for our lovely friends Tanya+Glenn based at their beautiful house in Brixham, Devon.
3. We had another successful Arts Trail at number 40 (I think this was our 12th consecutive year)… and attracted some 600 people into our basement over the Arts Trail weekend!
4. I actually did some coloured photoshopped digital drawings (I used a 30 day free trial to experiment!)… and might well return to this format again at some stage in the future.
5. I ended the year compiling 24 Advent photographs for use as my facebook page cover photograph… good fun and no real effort required!
6. I’ve put together some Bristol drawings as a 2017 Calendar (yes, 2017!)… hopefully, I’ll get round to getting it printed.
Cafes, reading, drawing, photography, walking, cycling, living near the sea (well, sort of…) and, of course, looking after our Bristol grandchildren remain very important aspects of my life (although, now that they’re all at school etc, our time with them is sadly a little reduced these days… but school-runs and child-sitting partly make up for it!).
Feel SO lucky to have the family we have… and great that we all “get on” so well and are able to see each other regularly (even if we don’t see the Lancashire contingent quite as often as we’d like).
SOMETHING YET TO BE CREATED:
I think I need to do some brainstorming… apart from my 2017 calendar(!), I haven’t really come up with any “special projects” thus far. Perhaps drawings and/or photographs from around Temple Meads? Old boats at Sharpness? Cardiff? Clevedon? Bath? Ashmolian/Natural History Museum, Oxford? Forest of Dean? Other stuff could involve doing some local history “research” regarding the old pre-WW2 city and/or Southville, where we live? Perhaps also more train excursions exploring places within easy reach of Bristol? Coastal walks? Canal-side walk to Bath? We’ll see…
We’ve tightened our belts a little this year and have been happy to enjoy a few days in Devon; a couple of days in Cambridge/Cambridgeshire; a few days in London (with Hannah, Felix+Ursa when Felix was rehearsing at the National Theatre); and a lovely week in Brixham.
I also had five brilliant days golfing in Northern France with great mates last May/June… VERY generous buddy, wonderful group of people, great courses and (largely) beautiful weather… very lucky man.
Well, I DO now belong to a church! Since the summer, we’ve been attending the Community of Saint Stephens (St Stephens Street in the heart of the city). My own faith remains somewhat chaotic, but we’ve both found a very real welcome from Lee Barnes (great bloke!), his team and the group of 20 or 30 or so regular members who attend each Sunday. Helpful, hopeful stuff…
1. Being a Trustee at the wonderful Windmill Hill City Farm continues to be good fun (it’s an amazing place with some brilliant people working/volunteering there).
2. After several years, I’ve decided to have a break from the local Arts Trail steering group (and am enjoying my time-out).
3. The successful hip replacement (April 2014) continues to REALLY make a huge difference… walking and cycling are no problem at all. Brilliant. The only nagging health issue I have is bursitis in my right arm (which I’ve had for the last few months… the doctor’s told me it could take some time to heal!).
It’s been another good year… and we continue to count our blessings.
Photo: one of my drawings from our time in Brixham.