A Strange Evening In a Strange Week

nyeWell… that’s nearly it then. Another year over and a new one on the way, one that for unknown reasons I’m looking towards as though I’m waiting for an imminent episode of chronic diarrhea.

Normally I look forwards to New Years as a potential fresh start. The first week where I spend hours choosing all my birthday cards for the year. Renewed intentions of making sure I’m more on top of my paperwork, be more organised and to stop procrastinating on everything. And of course the same goals of attempting to better my running/biking over last year. I don’t know if it’s because I’m heading into this year with an injury which has prevented me from exercising for over two weeks which in turn has dragged out the inner CRAB in me. Or if it’s a by product of the general gloom felt by everyone at the moment thanks to the media forcing the place into a recession, but my current feeling about 2009 is that of adverse fate.

It feels like 2009 is already predestined to be the 12 months that see hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs and homes. That the closing of Woolworths and MFI are just the tip of the iceberg in large businesses going broke and closing down. It’s frightening to see this happen and we’re constantly reminded it’s all set to get much, much worse. If the big guys can’t weather the storm how the hell are us small fry supposed to cope I wonder?

In a year where we all gasped at the cost of a litre of petrol reaching £1.46 I now find it difficult to get excited at seeing it drop to just 0.85p because as Wil so very rightly said earlier this evening, ‘what they give with one hand, they take away with the other’. So I’m just sitting tight waiting for my left lung to be withdrawn by that governmental hand via my ass.

2008 was a fairly good year although being lined up directly behind 2007 which was the year of hell, this wasn’t a difficult thing to achieve. We started out the year by rectifying yet another parking issue with the Junkyard neighbours by building ourselves a second driveway at the side of the house. This ended the previous year of tension caused by parking agro and let us breathe a sigh of relief when each time we pulled up in our second car we no longer had to vie for gaps in between their multiple cars.

In April Cameron turned 10. This year we’ve seen him improve 10 fold at school, his personality has really blossomed and his sense of humour has us in fits of laughter on frequent occasions. He’s really grown up this year and become much more responsible for things off his own back. I no longer have to repeatedly nag him to do a lot of things – such as looking after his guinea-pigs or taking the recycling out. There have been other occasions where I’ve been laid up with migraines and he’s sorted me out a drink and tablets and made sure I’m comfortable. This year he began taking the bus into town to meet his Grandma each Thursday. I take him to the bus stop and my mum meets him at the other end. It was also the first year he began traveling to the USA on the plane by himself. Something that judging by his reaction bares no bigger responsibility than getting on that bus to town each week!

Despite the summer being very dull and very cool I took advantage of the lack of blistering heat and spent plenty of time in the garden. The lack of a heatwave meant I was able to appreciate having green grass all year and a low water bill. The shrubs and plants I put in the year before also came on in leaps and bounds.

In 2008 I worked a bit harder to regain my former fitness. I tried the 100 push up challenge (and managed 20 something). I also biked to work a lot and joined a running club, making a couple of new friends in the process. I’ve raced a lot this year too. Wil and I have both completed a couple of duathlons and I overcame my worst fear of wading through murky water when myself and team of two girls competed in the Hog Run Adventure Race. I raced on nearly a weekendly basis from summer to winter until recently when a hamstring pull forced me to rest.

I had some good trips this year. My brother and I bike/camped in Wales for a weekend. We trekked the most gruelling 3 hours across boggy marsh patches in the peaks of the Brecon Beacons dragging our bikes and then panicked a little when it began to turn dark and we’d yet to find a camping spot. The most ridiculous spot in a patch of spooky woods turned out to be a very quiet yet very sloping nights sleep beginning with a battle of wills against some hungry midges. It wasn’t the last time during the year I’d battle with midges. In the Outer Hebrides we nearly packed up our stuff and swam back across to the mainland when we woke up the following morning absolutely swarming with highland midges. I’ve never experienced a bug attack like it. Our green tent was turned black with the tiny ferocious biters and so were our faces. When we stumbled from our tent that morning we fought to breathe as the black cloud of tiny flies clung to our faces like metal filings to a magnet. Fortunately a decision to spend the rest of our trip on the coast brought us not only relief from midges by way of a constant sea breeze but the opportunity to spend the night in one of the most beautiful scenic locations I’ve ever been in at Luskentyre Beach. I will remember the feeling of laying in that utmost peace and serenity absorbing every happy breathful of being alive in this very spot just like I did when I slept the night under the stars in the Sahara Desert. That was one of the last times I remember being able to appreciate the same uninhibited freedom and overwhelming awe at such an inspiring natural piece of this planet. It was also one of the last times I was able to experience total silence, before permanent tinnitus ruined it.

Wil and I also spent an enjoyable weekend biking to the east coast of Suffolk where we wild camped for the night on my favourite desolate beach ‘Shingle Street’ at Hollesley Bay before making our way back the following day via the ferry boat at Felixstowe and a big salmon and egg breakfast at the Alex on the sea front. Doing what Wil and I do best, making adhoc decisions and bimbling along by the seat of our trousers we arrived back home 24 hours and 60 miles later on our bikes laden with camping equipment feeling relaxed and achieved. And then we marvelled as the skies opened up and threw down the most torrential downpour of rain we’d seen in months.

For Wil it’s been a much more settled year. Compared to 2007 where he was a money making machine – employed,  contracted and worked for himself and didn’t know where he was going to be from one week to the next. This year has seen him remain in permanent employment at a good company. So we haven’t been as financially spoiled as last year but the benefits from Wil being more settled, less stressed and more in control of his life have far outweighed the cash. We also celebrated our 5th anniversary a few months ago still happy, healthy and enjoying eachothers company.

And this Christmas – it was low key and quiet and since Cameron wasn’t here to share it with us, that’s exactly the way we wanted it. A lay in, tea in bed and a bit of present opening followed by the remainder of the day curled up on the sofa with a good book and a bottle of wine is how the day panned out and we loved it. I was deeply saddened by news on Christmas afternoon that my boss and good friend from work lost her husband on Christmas eve. Following a 10 year battle with a rare form of tumorous cancer he passed away quietly at home with his wife and their young teenage children. He was only in his early 40’s. I feel both pain at my friend and her children’s loss and relief that they will be able to begin a new year afresh and without the pain that all four of them have had to suffer for so many years.

And here we are – the 1st of January. I stopped typing briefly and peered over my Macbook at Wil to bid him happy new year. He paused the tv, put the remote on the footstool and leaned over to give me a kiss which I punctuated with a pinch and a punch ‘the first of the month’, to which he grabbed his arm and scowled ‘OUCH, YOU BITCH’!

Still happy, healthy and enjoying eachothers company!

Happy New Year to you all..

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