…is a bit of a cheat. Because there isn’t one thing I want to add which would round the year off. There are too many moments which would leave it incomplete. The Cat returning. Someone taking me for a quiet walk in the park, so they could split up with me. Going for a first date with someone else, and watching their last train home pull out of the station because we didn’t realise it was about to leave. Someone trying to kick my car windows in, whilst I was sat inside the car. So many people who have made this year very special—in particular, V-
The Plain People Of The Internet: Hang on, what’s this? You’re writing your Oscar acceptance speech now or something?
There’s no point looking back too much. The best we can hope to do is manage not to repeat too many mistakes over again. I’m going to go out tonight, and enjoy myself, and look to the future…
This is just a short one. A romantic breakfast, in a supermarket in Greenock, squeezed between the railway and the firth. Haar is hanging over the firth,* and the far shore is out of sight. I’m sitting, looking at you, and wondering how many times I’ll be back here.
* except that it isn’t, because – according to East Coast people, at any rate – you only get haar on the East Coast. So any sea-fogs you get hanging over West Coast firths, and towns like Greenock, Rothesay or Wemyss Bay, can’t be proper haar. Any Scots reading feel free to correct me on this.
This one is from back in April. I’m sat in the back of a car, with some people I don’t really know that well, travelling off to somewhere I’ve never been before. I didn’t really know where we were going, either. I mean, I knew what it was – a Social Club – what it was called, and vaguely where it was, but not exactly where. I’ve always been closely attached to maps, and not knowing where I was going made me feel a little disconnected and wary.
I was very nervous, and the other people in the back of the car could tell: knuckles clenched, quietly staring out of the window. We galloped along the motorway, and I tried to enjoy the scenery, trying to overlook my nervousness. It only got worse when I spotted the signs for the exit I guessed we’d be taking: “Netherthong, Wooldale A648″.
I found out later that it was quite a historic room, with all its mouldings and recherché cornicing. Back in the 1910s, when equality for women was all the rage, Sylvia Pankhurst held suffragette meetings there. I didn’t know this at the time, though.
W and P looked each other in the eyes, and kissed, and the congregation burst out into a long, long round of applause, so much so that the registrar was almost bowled away with the emotion. So much so, she started playing the Citizenship Ceremony tape instead of the Wedding Ceremony one, and the room was suddenly filled with the National Anthem.
I did write about W and P’s wedding at the time; but looking back ten months later, this is what sticks in my mind.
Time to do some looking back. Some of these memories will be good, some bad, and none are in any particular order.
We walked onto the dark beach together, me leading, me holding your hand. It was around midnight, nobody was about, and the moonlight was bright on your face.
I led you onto the beach, and looked around to make sure we were alone. I held you tight with your arms behind your back, and felt you start to go fuzzy around the edges. I chained your wrists together behind you, looked into your eyes, and watched your moonlit smile.
Time for a winter holiday photo special, as I’ve spent the day with The Parents, looking at steam trains. Much like I did last Christmas, in fact; except last Christmas I was still using a film-powered camera, so the pictures didn’t make it online for quite a while.* It’s high time I did more photo posts purely for the sake of posting photos. Future ones will not all be of steam trains, I promise.
* and I don’t think it was ever even mentioned here.
As I came home, after midnight, the skies were clear. I looked up into the sky, and could see it full of stars, clouds and clouds of them like a sprinkling of dust, more stars than I’d ever seen before. I looked up and spotted constellations: Orion, Cassiopea, Lyra, Pegasus, the Great Bear. The sky was filled.
And then I walked into a tree.
Next year, and in future, I’m going to make my own Yuletide and/or Christmas cards, pretending to come from intriguing-sounding fictitious organisations.
Blessed Yule from the Chocolate Digestive Research Association
Or, if I feel really energetic, invent complete round-robin letters in a similar vein
2007 was a busy year for everyone at the Calderdale Explorers And Adventurers Society. In January, Sir
Reginald Outhwaite (membership no. 207) discovered an entirely new and unmapped area of wilderness near
Denholm Clough, but was soon overshadowed by Col. Andrew Davidson-Spong’s discovery of a lost Andean
civilisation in the hills just outside Todmorden. February was quiet, but March brought our annual
big-game hunting expedition, this year in a part of the world our members rarely visit—Scarborough.
Seasonal tidings to anyone who has come online today. I’m off now, to throw balled-up wrapping paper for the cat to play fetch with.
A very nice man said to me today: “It’s been a good year, I think.” And it has for me, too. It’s been a very good year, and a very bad year; and the strange thing is, the good and bad parts have been together at all times. It’s been an extreme year, I think, a year of travelling and new experiences, of meeting very nice people, very nasty people. Most people aren’t specifically nice, or specifically nasty, but can be either if they want to be. A few, though, are at one extreme or the other; and luckily I know more of the former.
In the news today: the shops are supposed to be busy. They’re not, though. I’ve just got home from a trip to Leeds, which is usually a horrible place to visit on a Saturday; and compared to most weekends, it was positively quiet. York was the same today, I’m told, and the roads everywhere in the region weren’t exactly busy for a Saturday. The predictions of huge floods of shoppers are more down to the wishful thinking of the shops, I think.
Someone else said to me recently: “do you know what an emo is?” And I found it a rather hard question to answer. So if you have any suggestions, tell me.
So, Big Dave has left, in a cloud of adulation and office stationery, getting ready to move house over the break. Everything is booked, and everything is ready to go, and when I get back after Christmas I will have someone new to share the office with.
Things have been a little strange lately, and not just because of Dave. Work has been very stressful, and other things have been very stressful too. I see someone and I want to try to help them, to save them from themself and from dangerous people, but I know they would not accept my help. The stress of all this, and all the work that has been piling on me at the office, makes me want to curl up for a thousand years, not sleeping, just dormant. A bit like King Arthur, maybe.
Talking of King Arthur, here’s more Susan Cooper:
For Drake is no longer sleeping in his hammock, children, nor is Arthur somewhere sleeping, and you may
not lie idly expecting the second coming of anybody now, because the world is yours and it is up to you.
Now especially since man has the strength to destroy this world, it is the responsibility of man to keep
it alive, it all its beauty and marvellous joy.
Maybe that should be my epigram for the coming year. In the meantime, I’m going to occupy myself with the King William’s College General Knowledge Paper. I might only get a handful of answers,* but it will keep me busy for a while.
* which may or may not include “Copernicus”, “Theodore Roosevelt”, and “The Waterloo and City Line”. That’s how random they are. Feel free to guess what questions I think those are the answers to.