Looking Backwards and Forwards…2012 will slip away tomorrow

Looking Backwards and Forwards….2012 will slip away tomorrow


There seem to be several journalists presenting what THEY think will be important next year, whilst others revert to what DID happen in glowing terms….mainly citing the London Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.                                                                           I didn’t buy the newspaper which would, as usual, carry snapshots of these last 12 months with headlines to remind us exactly where the time went.

I know what happened to me….I have photos and travel journals as well as my diary with dates, accounts and all manner of notes, some of which will prove most useful to Husband when he needs to check details for business accounting. I now also have these written pieces which reflect certain days when thoughts and emotions would not leave my head.

My mind has always linked my own life with events as they appear if considered newsworthy by journalists and editors, or happenings that our leaders have made happen. I recall “Decimalisation” at the same time as starting a new school….the one where I was to spend my youth….my visual memory linking the old pennies with their long-forgotten dates….the “new pence” and posters explaining this great change. Actually it didn’t hit me at all as I was so used to changing currencies every couple of years. That event is etched alongside our moving to the only house my parents ever bought….and my learning to cope in a school where religion was THE reason for being alive.

My “natural diary” can serve me well…or haunt me with events that everyone else forgot, probably only hours after. I carry guilt as if it were the latest designer handbag….Unlike any handbag I DO happen to fall in love with, I don’t want the burden of guilt but it simply won’t leave. I’m happy to admit that I’m also soaked in amazing memories of places and people I love and admire and don’t want to forget. My “life-clutter” carries heart-warming memories of my children as they grew, discovered, played, listened to stories and created all sorts of moments/drawings/imaginary scenes with their toys/play shops/Barbie pop concerts….the list really is endless.

My travels do the same and I will treat myself to a feast consisting of an hour or so looking at photos I’ve taken…thankfully all now on digital camera. Taking them so freely is part of what I love doing whilst exploring my destination, however the travel budget would be ruined if printing was still required. Looking at places, captured moments, faces, views across water and into it, I’m filled with a real sense of wonder that I HAVE seen, heard, touched, and, quite possibly, tasted and smelt all this.

The everyday stuff runs alongside chores, meals to shop for and cook…and INVENT first! I’ve made new friends…some exist only in social media networking but their support and helpful comments go a long way. Friends are busy folk…everyone trying to fit in too much as they travel to work, look after their families and keep themselves sane. I used to write many letters at this time of year….when it was the only way to keep in touch. I wanted my friends to know I was still there…and perhaps I needed to know that they still cared about me! As years went by many didn’t reply and I got the message….my life didn’t have much to offer people I’d met a while back who were busy getting on….far more successfully than me.

I’m afraid the lure of internet socialising has caught me….I have far more friends now than at any time in my life…..most are people I know as friends of “real” living friends and acquaintances. Discussions on-line have created introductions with like-minded souls….shared experiences, doubts and worries alongside political analysis and, often local, debate. I wonder if writing our words actually serves to help the flow? We can “think before we ink.” So many interesting themes mixed with seriously funny jokes from people I’d like to hug, share a drink with and tell them I’ll be there for them too.


This year found me feeling pretty low about a particular aspect of my life; expressing this one night in that slot “What’s on your mind” within minutes several friends had read my words and were offering positive thoughts and support. Former class mates reminded me of how they had viewed me enviously all those years ago…nicely said words that made me smile…I really did need to feel like smiling just then and I’m very grateful to all those who noticed my despair and made the effort to write, reminding me of the good that I had achieved…..my energies not all wasted.

In the past I was completely alone to face my struggles….alone in my wonderings about life and how to find answers….I think this year has been significant in telling me I’m not.


2012 did realise special treats in between the chores and worries….art and music as well as interesting reading…and the new Bond movie!

A spring-time visit to view Lucian Freud at the National Portrait Gallery: how I loved the way he captured fabric as well as the often curious portraits….HM Bateman at the tiny but so revealing Cartoon Gallery, and a return visit to the Musee Bonnard in Cannes for ‘Bonnard entre Amis: Matisse, Monet, Vuillard’. Apart from the intimate rooms of a modern gallery dedicated to their local hero, the glorious brasserie across the road epitomises the classic French lunch as, I believe, was experienced by my grandparents. “Plat du Jour” with iced Rose served by the very classic, tall, elderly waiter really DOES make this trip worthwhile.

Nearer to home a wonderful exhibition ‘Two Painters, Two Places’ featuring the evocative works of Rebecca Holtom and John Hosking….great to enjoy such talent and intelligence on our doorstep with their canvases of French scenes I know so well, plus John’s interpretations of Thoreau alongside his own green allotment, with lively sheepdog “Babs” captured in the heat of the Languedoc summer.


Musical highlight came in the form of Mumford and Sons at the O2 Arena in London…thanks to their “lottery” we were able to buy tickets that have become like gold-dust. This should have been a second M&S encounter this year, with our driving to Sweden to see them at the Hultsfred Festival in June. Turning up at the car park I almost disintegrated into Swedish dust on finding out that they had cancelled….Next time Marcus, be a bit more careful…. broken bones equal expensive non-event for us!

Despite being seated up in the roof the London show was worth the trip in the freezing cold…excellent sound with such strong rendition of old and new albums…hope it won’t be the last time I get to see them live. Anyone who knew me years ago would be most surprised by my love affair with attending gigs at this stage in my life: sober Convent girl finally breaks free!


Can’t leave without a mention of the November night out to see a band from my youth: “Squeeze” featured big time in my Husband’s early career in the music industry. My school-girl memories of their hit “Up the Junction” bring today’s piece back round to the concept of my “natural diary”….I can still see the Convent walls: I’m listening to the lyrics….recall the fear of finding myself “up the junction”. Ironically, it was catching Jools Holland’s music show late one night that led to my immediate love affair with Mumford & Sons. Another excellent experience on our doorstep from the current version of “Squeeze” providing great music illustrating intelligence and copious energy. I smiled as I looked up at the stage…the same one on which I’d stood with the school choir singing Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols”. I wonder what the band would have made of us grey-clad convent girls?


Still many things to do on my list….places to see….books to read and words to write: I have plans for 2013….Happy New Year!

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