Friday 31 December 2010

2010 Review

I love New Year's Eve but not for all the parties. I actually despise New Year's Eve parties. People you barely know and don't really like all that much overdressed trying to all act like they are having far more fun than you are, which wouldn't be hard but still they aren't.

Nope, I prefer my eve to be a nice quiet affair at home with the ones I hold most dear and keep them near. I enjoy the luxury of hindsight the day offers and the promise of the new beginning tomorrow offers.

I will most certainly be happy to see the back end of 2010 and greet 2011 with the optimism every new year brings.

Our January started with a record snowfall all over the UK much like the year ended in December. (Un)fortunately for us, we were in Spain which also suffering from record rainfall and low temperatures so our attempts to go somewhere sunny and warm over the new year was a complete catastrophe. Upon returning to the UK we found airport baggage handling systems broken down and our car buried under 3 feet of snow. But the worse was yet to come. I had picked up a tickly cough which over the rainy new year and the stress of returning developed into a quite bad cough which over the next week developed into pneumonia which basically kicked my feet right out from under me. I was down for the count missing 7 weeks of work and still have very little memory of the days passing me by. It took 4 lots of antibiotics to shift the infection and several more weeks before I was back at full strength.

Oddly, our family grew without our having additional children and like something out of a novel, we discovered that Marc's father had spun a rather long yarn about who he was and where he had come from. We were contacted in early January by a woman who turned out to be a cousin of Marc's and we have since learned that his grandparents on his father's side only lived a few miles from us and passed away just a few short years ago. Regrettably, he never even knew they existed as his father maintained he was an orphan. The good news is his father wasn't an only child as he claimed but in fact has 2 sisters and 1 brother all of who have provided amply for a truckload of cousins and second cousins and now Marc's extended family rivals mine for size and love. I tell you fact is always stranger than fiction! You couldn't make this stuff up!

And just when I thought I had recovered to full strength, I then suffered the torture of bad chairs sitting in a training room for 5 straight days and my back seized up. I could barely move for over a week. I sincerely convinced myself that my body was giving out and promptly reviewed my will.

A trip to the British Museum provided Marc with a guaranteed joke for those numerous occasions when he would like to poke fun at Americans. After a long and thoroughly enlightening and educational tour of all the treasure the Brits have plundered (acquired) from various cultures all over the world our feet were tired and our spirits weary but we knew our experience would be incomplete without a journey to view the famed Elgin marbles. I had passively absorbed the controversy and really wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about. I followed my family through the rooms and found Marc dawdling in the middle of a large room reading about some sculptures hanging on the walls. I sighed heavily a couple times to express my impatience and still he didn't get a move on. Finally I urged we needed to get a move on if we were going to see the marbles before closing time. Marc stared at me and held out his arms sarcastically gesticulating for me to look around. Yes, I see those, I reliably informed him, but where exactly was I going to find those tiny round little balls of marble that little boys play games with and apparently continue to cause the odd diplomatic row? He nearly embarrassed himself at that point by laughing so hard he pissed his pants. I may never ever ever live that one down.

Abigail moved from being a Rainbow to a proper Brownie and her efforts impress us. She has started taking piano lessons and really enjoys it. She added street dance lessons to her ballet and can really boogie. But her passion is her horse riding. She rides every Saturday morning and the dreaded request for a pony appeared on her Christmas list this year for the first and I doubt the last time. The academic year was tough for her but Year 2 started in September. She has rallied and shown amazing progress in the 3 Rs. Keep up the great work, Abigail!

Sebastian moved from boarding 2 nights/week and being a probationary chorister to boarding 3 nights/week and being a novice chorister. He received fabulous mid and end term reports and performed very well in exams (if we ignore English - and who amongst us hasn't failed an exam or 2?). Cubs and all his other curricular activities are suspended due to chorister demands but he gets better every day at the piano and violin. His music theory and Latin are very impressive. He loves boarding although I suspect this is since he doesn't have any chores there and perhaps the hot breakfast is on offer every morning!

My mother visited for an extended time and we took her on the whirlwind of the British Season: Garter Day, Polo, Wimbledon, Windsor Horse Show, Royal Ascot, Travener's cricket, World Cup, . We also treated her to the tornado of our social life with school sports and family days, boat shows, May Fayres, Old Windsor Carnival, May Bank holiday camping in the freezing cold in the New Forest. I am certain we wore her out.

Our summer holidays were spent in the UK with 2 weeks in Bude, Cornwall and 1 week in Wales near Brecon. We saw quite a bit of rain but we have become quite expert at paddling round a campsite. We did meet lots of lovely new friends whom I suspect we will be seeing for years to come at various campsites around the UK!

We lost 2 people very dear to us in 2010. Marc's great cousin, John Somers, departed this earth during the summer after battling cancer for a brief period. I was amazed to learn so much about him at his memorial service and wish I had known him better. But I will never forget the first time meeting him when he showed me the telescope he had made with a camera inside it. He certainly changed our world making a major contribution to the development of the etching of microprocessor layouts. In November the precious Dorothy Harrison decided she had other places to be. She was the mother of Marc's Aunt Mary. She lived in Windsor and until she became ill a few years ago we saw her often. At Abigail's birthday party this Christmas Eve her presence was certainly missed.

This Christmas was dominated by the schedule of our chorister. In early December Sebastian participated in 2 full performances of The Messiah and 1 Festivo performance. The performed at the City of London club for "some very posh people" he reliably informs me and a service at St Mary-le-Bow. It was his first stay over and despite the school term breaking up on 17 December, he had to return to school on 20 December to fulfill all his singing engagements. This included multiple carol services, 2 services on Christmas Eve (including Midnight Mass), and 2 services on Christmas Day. We attended all and enjoyed every single minute. We are so proud and somewhat amazed that this young boy is so utterly capable of such inspiring feats. I simply can't imagine where he gets his energy, dedication, sense of duty and commitment. He astounds me.

Luckily, Marc's business has not felt the effects of the economic downturn other than a few customers being very slow to pay. Knock on wood, the good run continues and he gets the yacht he so desperately desires.

If you are a devoted reader you will have seen the domination in October of the self discovery of my writing abilities. I have regrettably not been able to fit it into my daily schedule but I am committed to making this work in the New Year. I approach 2011 with renewed commitment to the craft and am determined to finish the first draft of my novel, get an agent, and see if I can get a publisher interested. Not much then.....

We wish you all a very Happy New Year in 2011. May all your dreams come true and you face the adversity life invariably throws us with grace and determination.