Review of 2009

Looking back at 2009 in depth, I realise now that there was a lot more to it than I had first assumed. The middle half of the year was dominated by buying, and then decorating and moving into, a house: three months for the former, three for the latter. But I also wrote two chapters of a (finally) published book, took two trips to France—one for work, one for play—celebrated three weddings, lost a friend, lost the wife of a friend of my wife (the friend himself being at death’s door on Christmas Day) and attended to what in retrospect feels like a lot of trivia.

Two of our best friends, j4 and addedentry, were married in January. I blathered on the radio to hawk the first of the five miniconferences I was to organize before the year was out. I got inexplicable, migrainous cluster headaches for a few weeks, which disappeared with no more explanation early in February. Indeed, February was a month of taking many leaves: I bade the IoP farewell; the Register parted company with reality and, as a result, with me; and I finally said goodbye to the tablets I had been taking for my stomach since late 2007. March was quiet in comparison, with phantom cows and the premiere of Age of Stupid to keep us company.

We were willing hosts of the talented and interesting Looby, as he performed at Oxfringe 2009 in April, and shortly thereafter we began the lengthy and tedious process of buying our first house, made all the longer and more boring by our own innate aversion to any risk. That made May and June quiet indeed: in May I came out in support toll bridges but against cart horses, so in June we were required to flee to a cottage in the wilds of Brittany. This put us far away from the internet and even mobile phone reception, but close to family, who came severally from Cardiff and Valencia to meet us and each other.

At the summer solstice, remember that the environment I live in, cycle through, and take deep breaths of inspired my own favourite blogposts of 2009:

So to these, 2009’s favourite blogposts: inspired by deep breaths, long cycle rides, and a life spent surrounded by the seasons and countryside.

July, August and September began joyfully but then settled into a slog of painting and carpet-fitting, as we completed on the house, decorated it almost throughout, and then moved in with the help of—yet again—j4 and addedentry. I was acutely and remarkably ill for a day and a bit. There was a trip to Ikea that ended in customer-service mediocrity, and a more extended trip to Paris (with work) which ended up an awful lot of fun, despite the food; all the more so, because it excused me from hunting for dado rails and making good where a fake fireplace once sat.

I wrestled rather one-sidedly with politicians and the press in October, decrying David Cameron for ignoring incompetence and recalcitrance in his own party, the failure of his constituency’s council signage and what it means for the reputation of national newspapers when they resort to sub-YouTube content. I singularly failed to say anything about parliamentary expenses, although I did enjoy the Oxford Beer Festival. November, the month of remembrance, was rather glumly ushered in by news of the death of one of my best friends from university; I promised myself in the first hour of 2010 that I had shed my last tears over that, so let’s move on. Which I did at the time, by celebrating advent early (in the opinion of most of my irreligious peers, at any rate.)

I compensated for an early advent by beginning to transcribe our “hilarious” home-made advent calendar considerably late in the month. We went on a climate march, along with record numbers of others; measurements suggested that moving house was the best thing we could have done to improve our carbon footprint; I took a bite out of so-called “skeptics” that are really denialists; the aviation industry tried to stop people flying; yet ultimately our political masters ensured that it all meant bugger-all, thus proving that they meant bugger-all too. The year’s strife ended with the wife of K’s elderly friend R. passing away, and R. himself being rushed to hospital over his family’s Christmas dinner; our own 2009 was seen out from the bosom of our family, and surrounded by good wishes for the year ahead.

That was 2009, then: death, disillusion, disappointment; hard and sometimes thankless slogging; luck, love and life. 2010 will be in parts better and in parts worse; either way, I look forward to walking through it with K, with friends, and with my scant audience of blog readers. Thank you for keeping up with Small Beds for the past three hundred and sixty-five days, and do pop in from time to time during the next lot.

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