Happy New Year – 2014

Well, I’m not sorry to say goodbye to 2013. It had its good moments of course, including holidays in Iceland, Portugal and two trips to Bulgaria – the coast in the summer, the mountains for Christmas. It was good to see Roger Waters perform “The Wall” at Wembley Stadium in September, but soon after then the year went downhill – literally, almost ironically, it began when the builders ripped down our kitchen ceiling on the first day of refurbishment to find a suspicious gap between the kitchen extension wall and the main house. The problems went on for weeks, with spiralling costs, discovering a well under the kitchen floor, ordering the wrong oven, problems with installing the sink – and on and on until a couple of weeks before christmas. A real kitchen sink drama! We still have a lot to do, the finishing touches and a bit of painting – no easy task for an incompetent and avoidant DIY-er.

My work has been demanding and stressful, the constant struggle against increasing demand and insufficient resources, not helped by the uncertainty about my post and future. The year ahead holds the promise – or threat? – of big changes.

On the positive side, 2013 got off to a good start with my sponsored abstinence from alcohol to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. Bit of a blip when I crashed my car into a concrete bollard, but I think I made some progress with my photography, with more workshops and developing a photography website [http://www.perceptualemotion.com] – the basic structure is there but it still needs a lot of work.

My poetry received a boost in April when I undertook the challenge of writing a poem a day for the whole month. I surprised myself with some of the results. I explored further the links between poetry and photography.

It was a great year for my eldest daughter when she graduated from Oxford, despite all the stresses beforehand. And now she is on the verge of starting her first proper job in Cambridge. Similarly, my youngest daughter has got off to a good start in her university career at Surrey.

One personal achievement for me was obtaining my First Dan in Tang Soo Do – a traditional Korean martial art – just before Christmas, despite all the stresses.

And for 2014?  More time for writing and photography, to develop my martial arts, to persevere with yoga, to keep fit and healthy, to be more organised, less procrastinating – I carry this forward from year to year -and to build and strengthen my personal and close relationships with those I love.

I cannot think of an original way to say this – I wish everyone a Happy New Year!

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