Reading my way round blogs over the last week, the general feeling seems to be that 2011 was a fairly tough year and most people are glad that it's over. That wasn't my experience at all, so please excuse me if I take a few minutes to look back on a jolly good year.
Not just good for me, but for the family, in fact. In January, Ro moved in with Dora. They are still in the same very small place, but are making plans for the future which includes buying a house this year.
Dilly and Al's third baby, Hadrian Swallow, named (by me, that is) in honour of the Wall, was born in May, and Weeza and Phil's baby, Augustus Bufo, was born two days after his sister's third birthday in August. The other day, we stood the two babies up (they both like standing) to face one another. They have recently started to eye each other with interest, but they were reaching out to touch this time, particularly Hay, the elder.
The Sage had a splendid year. He had two very successful sales and was thrilled that the water bottle and basin in his last auction at the end of October made a record auction price for Lowestoft china, at £34,500. In April, he celebrated 50 years as an auctioneer and in June his 75th birthday. On the strength of that, I was allowed, for the first time, to hold a birthday party for him. Encouraged by that, he held another birthday party for his old car, which was 78 in August.
It was a summer of parties - not that summery was quite the weather for the Great Wall Party in May. I foolishly planned a barbecue, and ended up doing all the cooking in the kitchen instead which meant I wasn't half as sociable myself as I'd have liked to be, but it was wonderful to meet so many of you. I'd already met Rog and knew Dave well, of course, but it was brilliant also to meet Mike and Ann, Chris and J., Mrs Rine, Lily and Oz, Bill and Mrs Bill, Sarah, Sir Bruin and Liz, the Small Bear, and you all follow each others' blogs now too. I've never met so many bloggers as this year - Blue Witch, with Mr BW, was my first ever blog meet and she called in again in the summer, and I was able to meet Fwengebola, PixieMum and her husband and Chris again in London in the autumn. We'd also been to Roses' birthday party earlier in the year which was a great do. Thank you all, I enjoyed seeing you so much.
I now have accepted my fate, that my main occupation seems to be school governor - I certainly take it more seriously than anything else I do - and it was quite a year. The long discussions about applying for academy status, the decision to go ahead, the Ofsted inspection that judged us an outstanding school and the preparations to take in two extra year groups - and, at the same time, keeping up the quality of education - took so much work for all the staff, especially the Head, who is quite remarkable. It has all paid off so far, still worrying times financially (though under control and in budget), but going wonderfully well otherwise.
At home, we did get the drive widening and resurfacing completed in the end. It was at the expense of other things to an extent, I grew no vegetables and the kitchen garden is a wilderness. Weather permitting, we need to start getting that back in order soon.
No resolutions as such this year, simply an intention to feel able to blog a bit less. Having set myself the goal of a daily blog, it has occasionally turned into a duty, with me sitting at the computer late of night with nothing to write about, churning out something, anything ... I've shown I can manage the commitment, but it's not really necessary. So if I don't write for a day or two, it'll because I'm short of time or haven't got anything to say. If I decide to take a week off, I'll tell you.
A hope more than necessarily an intention is that I'll continue to play the clarinet. I'm still undecided whether to take lessons. I have been enjoying it, but am finding it frustrating that I play so much more poorly than I did a few years ago - though 'a few' is probably getting on for fifteen.
A definite plan is to hold another blog party. When I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago, several of you said you'd like to come here again, and we'd love it too. I'm thinking of sometime during late May to mid July probably. If anyone has other commitments but would like to join us, let me know dates when you either can only come or can't come, and we'll see if there's something that suits as many as possible. Saturday or Sunday, I don't mind, but I've got a few weekends booked myself already.