Wednesday, December 31, 2008

That was the year that was

I feel strangely upbeat as the year turns. We've had all the shocks and mishaps to contend with. I've got my money out of Iceland; yes, I kept that quiet. We don't feel in any way complacent about the extent of the horrors that may lie ahead and we certainly aren't smug about it either.

But for the record, for my peace of mind and for posterity, here are the ten thoughts about the year just gone, categorised by the top ten labels on this blog.

Family - our boys are all turning into wonderful young men. Elliot has started primary school, Joe has had a look round his high school and is doing ever so well at his football. Matt has invented the world of Gatlantis, which deserves an entire blog all of its own. Max and Louis have come on so well at school and in how they are growing up. We've mourned my Great Aunt Joan and Great Uncle Doug this year, as well as Rachel's Aunt Kitty in Dublin.

Friends - There never seems to be enough time to see friends, but making the effort to go to London and see John Dixon and his family, to work with Andy Coyne again and to enjoy a brilliant weekend away with the Dimblebys have been real highlights. As was the night out at the Radisson where we brought a few people together, like him and Mrs H.

Marple - There have been some wonderful community events in Marple throughout 2008, the food festival, the Christmas fair and our very own Glastonbury, the mud bath that was the Marple Athletic Junior Football summer tournament.

Manchester - That was a year when Manchester once again stumbled, I fear. The whole exhausting row over transport has set the city back.

Music - In a year when we've been to see Bruce Springsteen and Barry Manilow, we've done little gig going - but I've actually enjoyed seeing Marple rockers A Few Good Men, because they do such a good set and they do it so well. But seeing the Boss was something special. Best album - Elbow's Seldom Seen Kid just shades it over Glasvegas and Paul Weller's 22 Dreams. And I'm still learning to play the acoustic guitar. While I'm on, I did a random top 10 on best cover versions and put Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley at the top. It's not often I'm an early adopter.

Books - I've caught up on the back catalogue of Douglas Coupland and really enjoyed J-Pod. Best non-fiction book of the year was Jim White's You'll Win Nothing With Kids - also enjoyed meeting him at the North West Football Awards.

Namedropping - Our best namedropping story has to be going to a dinner party and having a good laugh with Phil Brown, manager of Hull City and his lively wife Karen. Even that beats the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards and the James Bond premiere.

Blackburn Rovers - there have been precious few highlights this year. I thought last season was pretty poor stuff as well. The Walker Trust haven't been able to sell the club, but seem to have taken more of an interest and reinstated their investment. I hope media interest like this from David Conn has had something to do with this.

Telly - this was the year we discovered The Wire. It was sensational. Quite enjoyed Spooks, Outnumbered and The Apprentice as well. But I have to say the best comment on telly this year came from Gareth McLean on the Media Guardian Podcast - the three most offensive words on the BBC - "starring Julie Graham".

Food - I have continued to search for a quality Manchester dining experience that isn't steak and chips. It's been pretty depressing to be honest. But on the bright side the Marple Food Festival unearthed a fantastic Turkish spread from the Golden Plate. Grenaby Farm won the pie contest, which I judged. Best food at a big do (this 40th) and at a dinner party (this one) were both creations of Martin Jones of With a Twist Catering. Delightful.

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