Sunday, January 03, 2010

My less-than-happy highlights of 2009

I could not think of 10 but I do have 8, and they are not in any order:

Shock of Paris prices: I went to Paris in June, the first time in 7 years. Last time I was there, the Europhobes were rubbing their hands at the thought of the Euro doing badly and the banking system was sucking vast amounts of money into the UK with the result of the pound going sky high in value. How times change. I was horrified at how expensive Paris has become. Even a cheap meal cost an arm and a leg.

Death of Freda: Freda was my cat. She was nearly 21 years old so in cat years she was super-elderly. Nevertheless, her going in October was still a shock.

Death of Margaret: Margaret was my aunt, Dad's half sister. There is a great family history to be told, and I will tell it soon, but the key feature of the story is that Dad and Margaret did not meet until 7 years ago when he was 72 and she was 89. Alas, Margaret died in October.

Missing the heatwave whilst in Norway: the heatwave that was predicted to last for ages in the summer lasted a week. Typical that I should be in Iceland and Norway when it happened! Still, I got to experience daylight at midnight. And that was spooky!

Wrecking hard drive: October was a really shitty month for things going wrong. Having experienced the loss of Margaret and Freda, I proceeded to drop an external hard drive on which were stored thousands of documents, photos and videos. Fortunately, the vast majority of documents were back up copies. But not all of them. Most I have now recovered from other sources but not all.

Wrecking the video camera: as if wrecking the hard drive was not enough, I followed it up the next day by dropping the video camera. With the camera wrecked, and a trip to Morocco coming up, I had to do an urgent search for a new camera on the internet. And in a sense, the accident turned out to have a silver lining. I had planned to buy a new, professional camera at some point and set up a small business to make videos (mainly for Lib Dem candidates and for small businesses). As a result of buying the camera, I am now in business earlier than I expected! The amusing point about all this is that the new camera arrived just in time for me to take to Morocco (one hour later and I would have missed it.) And when I got to Marrakech and made my first visit to my first location on my first day, I wasn't allowed to bring in the camera. The guards thought I was from a tv company and despite protestations to the contrary, they were convinced that the camera I had was only used by professional tv programme makers! So I put the camera away and got out a small camcorder I had borrowed from a friend and which I had brought along as a backup.

Shambles of Sunniside junction traffic lights: we are now into our third year of promises and deadlines from Gateshead Council over proposals to put in traffic lights on the busy Front St/Sunniside Rd junction in Sunniside village. Three years ago we got the council to agree to put them in. And we are still waiting. Every few months we get a new deadline and none have seen the lights introduced. The last deadline was December. We are of course in January and there are still no lights. What a shambles by Labour Gateshead.

Remaining beds in allotment: my plan for 2009 was to bring the remaining uncultivated beds on my allotment into use. We got two of them going but two still remain. So lots of hard graft still to do.

So that's the not-so-good side of 2009 for me personally.
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