It was the year the world was going to end, after a summer of London centric celebration! Well half of the prediction was right! Here’s what happened in my world.
I saw in the New Year with the olds up north. I tend to boycott it every year - if I have to spend more and feel pressured into having a good night, it’s usually rubbish! We didn’t go out but we did walk up to the Golf Course just before midnight where we didn’t manage to set off some Chinese fire lanterns – it was too wet a night to get them lit. A sign for the weather to come in the year!
Not such a great year for this in terms of doing lots of exercise but the good news is – my back hasn’t gone for a whole year! Everyone touch wood quickly – it’s only 29th Dec! The adjustable desk has been my saviour at work so that I can stand up for half the day and I have spent a LOT on massages but it is totally worth it! 2013 is the year of strengthening so that I never have to worry about it going again!
In June it was my niece Georgia’s 18th birthday, we had a fab party and it was great to see her looking so gorgeous and happy after 2 major spine operations earlier in the year! We’ll just skip over the fact that it makes me feel super old to have such grown up nieces…
My Dad published his first novel ‘Men and Dogs’ which we launched at Wolverhampton Dogs in September. He and my Mum trained greyhounds when I was younger and it was great to see all the old guys at Monmore remembering their dogs beating track records etc. We sponsored a couple of races and we’ve combined the photos with one the night before I was born and one when I was about a week old! If you want to buy a copy of the book you can find out more here.
2nd January was spent as it should be, watching Sheffield Wednesday beat Tranmere 2-1. It was good to be getting wins but I was still not happy with the management style of Gary Megson so the February football highlight for me was him leaving Hillsborough. I know I was in the minority, my neighbours must have thought I had won the lottery when I phoned my mate to whoop with joy!
My main football highlight of the year was Wednesday getting promoted, it was great to be at Hillsborough sitting in the Leppings Lane end for the Wycombe game. What an atmosphere!
I got more of the lads at work into collecting the Euro 2012 stickers and our spreadsheet to calculate swaps etc was immense. However one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t complete the album – I must write to Panini for the 50 missing ones in 2013…
And on a non-match related note, I am really happy that the 96 families are finally going to get justice 23 years after the Hillsborough Disaster. I’m sorry that it has taken so long but at least the tide is now turning!
This year it feels like my best friends have just got better. I’ve never been closer to my inner circle! Speaking of which, I had a random conversation with a friend of a friend in a pub where we defined the levels of friendship. I think we can all learn something from this ha ha. Everyone basically starts at the bottom but once you’ve become an acquaintance you can never drop lower than that. Just like shares, friendships can go up or down!
My best friend Abbs got married – we enjoyed a very snowy hen do in Windsor but the weather was bright and clear for the big day itself! Was brilliant to be a part of it! And one of my resolutions for 2013 is to edit the wedding video – sorry for the delay Abbs & Tom ;))
I had a lovely birthday celebration. Started by watching Brentford vs Sheffield Wednesday – practically a home game for me! I met a twitter mate for the first time who then ended up joining me and my closest friends for dinner in the evening. They are used to my digital friendships now! I have lots of individual close mates rather than being part of one friendship group, which always makes it a bit of a worry when I mix them together but it was all good! A far better celebration than the previous year lying on my bed whacked out on painkillers and diazepam with my slipped disc!
Despite having had a few trips to California over the last few years, I realised that I hadn’t been on a non-work trip abroad since Jan 2009. This changed in May when I went to Portugal with a couple of mates. It was such a good holiday! The weather was super hot and the place we stayed in was brilliant! Seven days of sun, rum, schnacky schnacks and Murder She Wrote! Bliss! In 2013 I am definitely going to go on more holidays!
I’ve seen some brilliant live music this year. The best gig is a hard one to choose but I think Ed Sheeran just edges it - I bought last minute tickets from a girl on Twitter. He is such a showman and I loved the fact that the bass was so strong it was literally blowing my hair back!
Maverick Sabre at Brixton was brilliant - and I was introduced to Daley for the first time, he’s my top tip for 2013. I went to see his first solo show at Koko and it was fantastic, including a guest appearance from Wretch32.
I also saw my beloved Keane with my beloved Mum twice at Brixton and the O2 – Tom Chaplin’s voice is faultless every time! I don’t care what all those people say about Keane not being cool – they rock, end of!
What a summer to live in London! I obviously had a bit of a niggle in the back of my mind about being more of a terrorist target but it all turned out well!
I made the most of the new tourist attractions climbing the O2 with my good friend Michael and using the Emirates Airline at least 3 times so far. You can read about the O2 Climb here.
We were able to see all the Jubilee flotilla boats setting off on the Thames in our village which was lovely. I didn’t wrestle with the crowds in London but we did brave our street’s party. At least my housemate is a royalist southerner – I really stand out in leafy South-West London with my northern ways, but we got away with it by befriending a Swedish family on the trestle tables down the middle of the street. The highlight of the day had to be the visit by the Fire Brigade – who knew you can book them to turn up and let kids (me, my housemate and our friend) sit in the fire engine etc?! They obviously send the best looking ones out on these PR missions and I happily gave them my phone number for them to come and do a smoke detector check. I was hoping it was just a ploy to get my number – it wasn’t, and the people who come to do the check are not so hot.
It might not have been the hottest summer on record but we did manage to squeeze in a good few jugs of Pimms by the river in my favourite pub.
We all left the office and went down to see the Olympic flame come past on one of the hottest days of the year – the scaffolders definitely had the best view! Although I did get to hold a torch for charidee at work later in the summer!
I watched the Olympics on TV apart from the men’s cycling which I saw live going through Putney. The main bit of the summer for me though, was the Paralympics starring my very own niece Jude Hamer playing for GB Women in the Wheelchair Basketball. I managed to go to every single one of her games and I have never been more proud! I was gutted that they didn’t make it to the semi finals (watching a quarter final loss to Germany seems to be a bit of a theme for me - I was there at the football in 96 too) but I know they will do even better in Rio and I will be there for every game again!
At the start of this year I was expecting that I would be working for the same company for at least another year. However in May I was contacted by a company just across the road through LinkedIn. It was one of the hardest decisions I have made to date – thanks to my mates for listening to me debate pros and cons . I am happy to say it is also the best decision I’ve made! I am loving the new job, my new colleagues are great and I’m looking forward to getting loads done in 2013!
So all in all it’s been a great year full of family, friends, inspiration and moments of history. Let’s hope that 2013 is as good!