May I start out by stating quite categorically that I will not be dwelling in any depth on the numerous individual “celebrities” who died during 2016.
Let’s face it, many of them had at some time lived a serious “Rock and Roll” lifestyle that must have weakened their systems while others (with or without the aforementioned complications) had just reached an age where it had become, statistically, increasingly likely for them to pop off this mortal coil.
Yes, it’s sad but no sadder really than the loss of MILLIONS of people that none of us have heard of who also died in 2016.
The length of time that we have had the increasingly widespread “cult of celebrity” and the statistical chances mentioned above mean that deaths of well known people are not likely to be fewer in 2017. Trust me – it will get worse!
Meanwhile back at the review of MY year 2016 there were two quite significant changes in that year.
Firstly, in May, I retired from employment. Or, to put it another way, I got fed up with hunting for new IT contracts and spending every Friday afternoon traipsing to the Peterborough Job Centre to jump through their pointless hoops!
I think they were probably glad to see the back of me – I have a tendency not to blindly follow instructions but to ask the forbidden question “WHY?” if I don’t think their orders are appropriate or relevant. Of course, this sort of behaviour has a tendency to offend greatly those of an officious disposition but I no longer give (as a very wise man once said) a pair of fetid Dingo’s kidneys about THAT!
And, as followers of this site over the last year will know, at the end of that month Faith also had enough of the chaos that arises when “Managers” who haven’t started at the bottom make impractical and ill-considered changes simply to justify their own existence, and joined me in a “life of leisure”.
Not that there’s been much of that as yet – although we did manage the late season overseas holiday that was documented here in October.
In the last months of the old year, however, we spent rather a disproportionate amount of time at Peterborough City Hospital for three distinct reasons.
The first of these was my fault – I somehow contrived, while walking through our local shopping precinct, to trip Faith up causing her to fall heavily and (as was not discovered for some weeks) crack a bone in her left elbow. While I continue to apologise for this at every opportunity I still tell myself it was a fair tackle and I was playing the ball! There were several visits needed for x-rays and physiotherapy and I felt morally obligated to do the driving and wait with her when required!
Then Faith’s mum (who is nearly 92) developed a heart irregularity and had to be rushed into the hospital for a couple of days “observation”. Because she was very confused and not really able to appreciate where she was or why she was there, we had to be there for each and every bit of hospital visiting hours for the best part of a week!
She’s OK now but side effects arising from getting her new medication balanced with her old medication have been “interesting”!
And then, just after we’d got Mother-in-law home and reasonably functional again, elder daughter Hannah was admitted into the maternity unit at PCH eleven days ahead of the estimated due date where she gave birth to our first grandchild.
That, as you may well imagine, was the second significant change in our lives in 2016 but as the little lad is not yet doing much more than sleeping, eating and filling his tiny nappies (U.S. = diapers) 2017 will be the year that we get to know him and start to have fun together. I have, however, already proved that Grandad (still) has the knack of getting a tetchy, windy baby off to sleep by humming and talking to him!
No! I haven’t been reading Little Alfie blog posts to him – I’m trying to calm him down not get him excited!
Those were the important events – on a more trivial note we dropped back down to one car on retirement saving a great deal of money. It’s not too big a hardship as, in January 2016 I qualified for my bus pass giving me free travel on the very unreliable Peterborough transport system. I still sometimes get to drive the old Chevrolet Aveo though as this is now in the possession of one of my sons-in-law for commuting purposes.
That’s it for personal matters but for those of you who are a bit weird and are actually interested in such things here are a few statistics relating to this blog for 2016:
In 2016 I wrote and published 29 articles totalling 26,668 words. Both of those figures were surpassed only by 2009 (78 and 52,160) and 2010 (74 and 50,418) when my enthusiasm was at its height and I was editing and then publishing a number of things that were already substantially written.
My total wordage to 31st December 2016 is 221,816 so the quarter of a million word mark should arrive soon!
And for 2017?
I have one or two new ideas – one of which came about as a result of my composing (by hand) this item, which I hope will amuse and there may have to be some grandfatherly anecdotes.
I am also attempting, for the first time ever, to keep a daily diary which will not be for publication and am continuing the work of integrating all of these posts into one “book of the blog” with notes and comments before and after each one. The latter work is currently up to about July 2013 and once up to date should not be too hard to keep that way. I will be taking orders once I have worked out how much to sell it for!
Then, at the end of April, my daughter Carla is due to give birth to grandchild number 2 (gender to be a surprise to all!) so I’ll be doing a lot of driving down to Witham in Essex to get that one off to sleep too!
It should be a fun year – I hope yours will be the same.
PS. Since reading this after posting it I realise that I have overlooked mentioning my personal triumph of 2016 – losing 4 stone (56 pounds or 25.4 kilograms) of weight! My thanks to Gary the consultant and my fellow travellers at the Nene Valley Academy group of Slimming World for their support.