Wednesday, 3 January 2018

"You say goodbye and I say hello..."*

New years make me reflective - and, no, not in the sense of motorway workmen's jackets but in a rather more cerebral way - and as January begins dark and cold, it's hard not to look back as well as forward. So first a look back on the year we said goodbye to just three nights ago - dressed as angels and demons and quaffing some of my beloved's finest, of course.

2017 kicked off with our holiday of a lifetime to upside the down in Australia. It turns out that most of my best fun this year has involved gadding round various countries or, as they say at work, "Are you off on holiday again?" Australia was a massive wow for me and despite suggesting to my other half that a reprise of the Aussie experience this dark and dismal January would be very well received, apparently the coffers are not full enough for another all-singing, all-dancing trip to the other side of the world. Ah well, we'll be back, I promise.

However, for much of the rest of 2017 I have been gapping like a teenager. Starting with a hilarious weekend in Iceland in search of the Northern Lights with Ebabe and Wheezy, followed by a mid-week jaunt to dear friends in Guernsey, a beautiful island I absolutely love with direct flights from Leeds - hurray (flights have been subsequently discontinued so less hurray). Then a lull before a fabulous river cruise up (and down) the Duoro in Portugal with Lady H, her mum and the intrepid granny who was on especially fine form and then a relaxing week as a guest of Auntie Sue Sue in Sotogrande in her glorious apartment (yes, I am always available for this one!).

Summer was for the most part packed with tennis and both our village teams had a good season with the usual mix of triumph and frustration. It was especially nice to finish as runners-up in the Dales Ladies' where we threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the opposition in the final and were only marginally beaten on count-back. Meanwhile, the fitbit got me walking further and though the dog became significantly slimmer and fitter, it seems the status quo remains weight-wise for me. Note to self: walking further and playing more tennis do not mean I can eat more. Fitness and weight loss featured strongly in my New Year Resolutions this year (and every year - ha!).

Then off to Apartment Antonia in Kalkan in September as guests of number 2 and JS before spending a few days exploring Istanbul. Overall, Istanbul was a slight disappointment to me but, to be fair, by the time we arrived, we had already had bad news from home and were feeling more than a little bah humbug. The good news on this one is that the intrepid granny came through surgery brilliantly and has thrown herself into doing all the exercises set for her so she can rock and roll at the bowling club this year.

One of my plans for last year was to combine our trip to Turkey with a few days in Cyprus. This proved difficult and after a rather heated phone call with the Cypriot Consulate in London, we gave up on the task and instead I hopped on a plane from Stansted in November for a fabulous few days with Nigel and Sarah in their lovely Cyprus home. Great fun, great tennis, great friends - what more can I say? Yammas!

So that brings us to the year end. Christmas was lovely but the children arrived and left, as they have all year, without us gathering the whole lot together at any point. In case they read this (which they generally do because they like to check up on what I am saying about them) what I would really like for my forthcoming birthday is to have them all in the same place for 48 hours. Is that a big ask? We shall see... We did manage that once in 2017 when they all rocked in for the twins' 21st birthday celebration and it will remain the best time at home in a year of hellos and goodbyes and general gadding about.

So what would I like in 2018? Most of all, good health for all my family and a peaceful time for us all. Excitement is all well and good (and there's usually no shortage throughout the year) but actually the joy of just being together with family and good friends (sorry, getting soppy) is the best. Happy New Year!


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