Thursday, 27 December 2012

2012 - Hello and Goodbye

2012 has been a funny old year - but I guess that's true of every year.  12 months is a long time, and there are bound to be a lot of things to look back on during the year.  As I've got older, it seems that every year is less interesting than the last, but I'm starting to wonder whether that's just the cynicism of age rather than life getting calmer.

For every "Hello" there is a "Goodbye" and the biggest goodbye I've had to say this year was to my Grandmother.  For as long as I can remember - that's over thirty years - my family has had three strands - my Mum, my Dad and my Granny.  Every birthday I had three main presents, every Christmas I had three phone calls to make and every holiday I had three presents to buy.  That has all changed over the past few years.  Two years ago, I lost my Dad to lung failure and this year I lost my Granny.  My family life will never be the same again, and Christmas just wasn't the same this year.  Of course,  I still have my Dad's relatives and my Granny's relatives and I keep in contact with them, and I love them - but they wouldn't take offence at my saying that it's just not the same.

I have had some achievements this year, though.  I got back into a swimming pool for the first time in over thirty years.  I was proud of myself for doing that, even though ultimately I ended up giving up before actually being able to swim.  Maybe one day I'll pick it up again, but for the moment it remains an experiment I'm proud to have tried, but which just wasn't for me.

I've also had to hang up my badminton racquet this year.  I've played badminton for a few years now, and was actually pretty good.  I had coaching, got the technique and for the first time in my life I learned a sport properly, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  But in August my arm started to twinge.  It had been a little sore after playing for a few months, but nothing which made me worry unduly.  in August, I started a course of physio and things improved - but every time I picked up a badminton racquet my arm would start to twinge.  Eventually, the only way through the day was Ibuprofen and rest.  I had a steroid injection into my elbow in December, having only played badminton a handful of times in the previous few months.  It will improve, and it's already definitely on the mend - but the reality is that once you have tennis elbow it's very likely to come back and much as it pains me, I have to listen to the advice which says that playing badminton regularly enough to maintain a decent level of skill is going to make it happen again sooner or later and so my badminton playing is relegated to the odd social game - and not even that for a month or three...

And so I enter 2013 looking for a new sport to take up.  It can't be a water sport (even kayaking requires you can swim, for safety reasons) nor a racquet sport (for obvious reasons).  I'm still pondering on that one...

Sport has actually featured more in my life than it ever has before.  From the rehearsal of the opening ceremony through to actually watching the Olympics. Yes, I watched some sport!  For once in my life it was fun.  I couldn't quite bring myself to be fully patriotic but I was still waving the odd flag and the odd tear did fall...

So that was 2012 in a nutshell.  A few old friendships have fallen by the wayside and a few new ones have come along.  I've spent more time in the gym than ever before, I leave 2012 the fittest and strongest I've ever been, but searching for a new sport to take up my time and give me a bit of a cardio workout.  But whatever happens, it could've been worse - at least the Mayan Apocalypse turned out to be just a rumour...

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Driving Home For Christmas...

I hate that song. I really do.  It's been on repeat on the music channels with its truly horrible video of B-list celebrities and T4 presenters faffing around with Lionel Blair whilst all wearing Christmassy jumpers.

I've touched on the subject of "home" before in here, in fact I've written a blog entry about how grumpy I get at Christmas time before, too - it's here

The Christmas grump took over me again this year, too.  Everyone trying to enforce happiness on each other as if we'd all stumbled into some hideous worldwide Disney Park where being "slightly grumpy" is banned and smiles are painted on for all to see.

But Christmas is pretty much over now, and we can get the "cheering at an arbitrary number going up by one" out of the way at New Year and then everyone will return to normal.  I can't wait.

I'm working between Christmas and New Year this year.  Whenever you tell anyone that, they usually respond with a mixture of surprise and sympathy.  It's true that one of the main reasons I'm working this year is that I didn't work last Christmas as I'd only been in the job for a few months.  But I'm actually looking forward to three days in the office where I can get stuff done without interruption, and can do lots of those tasks which have been sitting on my list for a month or two, and have never been urgent enough to interrupt the ongoing day-to-day.

I think I've written about New Year Resolutions in here before, too.  I don't tend to do them.  Although if you take a break at Christmas, it's a good idea to take stock of your life and decide to make some changes, it's unrealistic to expect that if you've been smoking for 20 years saying "I'm going to stop now" will be any more effective just because it's January.  I can feel the Christmas grump still in me, slightly.  It's fading, but it's still lingering, I think.

But whilst I've still got some grump in me, here's a thing - why has nobody cancelled QI yet?  It used to be good.  For the first series or two, it was new and exciting and - dare I say it - interesting.  It's now become some kind of pantomime for Alan Davies to play the jester and Stephen Fry to show us all how clever he is.  Somebody stop it, please.

I was watching an episode in this latest series, and Stephen Fry said "I'm going to do a thing which has never been done before" and proceeded to shuffle a pack of cards.  That was it.  His argument was that because there are so many possible arrangements of a pack of cards (52! is quite big I suppose) that meant that the particular combination he'd come up with had never been seen before.  So many shades of wrong.

Stephen Fry is undoubtedly a genius when it comes to language and the arts - but I do wish that he'd either read some maths and science books or stop trying to talk about the subjects - it's frankly quite embarrassing...

There.  Grumping done.  I'll be happy until next Christmas now...