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Looking Back at 2006

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      23.04.2007 10:32
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      Same again

      Those wonderful people at ‘google’ have recently released a compendium of the top 25 nouns found in the text from their internet search engine in 2006, maybe an interesting thermometer to 2007. It’s noticeable that the top five words mostly relate to time and the need for it. We always have lots of time but it seems we are always busy, all at the same time, if you see what I mean. I suspect the top five words will dominate most of our coming year.

      1st Time
      2nd Person
      3rd Year
      4th Way
      5th Day

      The next six words seem to refer to women’s love lives.

      6th Thing
      7th Man
      8thWorld
      9th Life
      10th Hand

      The next five seem to concur with were modern women are today

      11th Child
      12th Part
      13th Woman
      14th Place
      15th Home

      As an alpha male I do like the rhythm of those particular words. Remember you can check these words out. It’s all true!

      The next five are definitely of the middle aged male hand. They are mostly my concerns and will be in a lot of my reviews.

      16th Work
      17th Week
      18th Case
      19th Point
      20th Government

      The final five are were we are all going

      21st Company
      22nd Number
      23rd Group
      24th Problem
      25th Fact

      Yes I know sex and the general lingo of porno didn’t make the top 25, MILF surprisingly absent. But as we have seen in China, Google censor things for the good of making money...

      The year to come…

      Sport

      Chelsea picked up the Carling Cup, the first of the big four trophies still on for the West London swaggerers, too many forgetting the achievements of the ‘Blues’, thanks to the distracting musings of the “Special One”. If he does do all four it will be little to do with money and a lot to do with great management and confidence in his guys. The fact the Russian billionaire wants to sack him now suggest his ego is just as big as his ambitions. Sir Alex may have a three point cushion in the Premiership but it hasn’t lengthened, worrying indeed for United. Chelsea are the ideal team to chase them down. How cool the race goes to the last hurdle like the National did.

      The England cricket team were awful last winter, but later inspired by Johnny Wilkinson’s heroics, started wining one day games again at the end of the year, although England’s rugby team immediately started losing again. Then the cricket team started losing as we returned to normal. The press have now decided to knock Freddie Flintoff down like they did Botham when the form crashed in the West Indies and Australia. The recent pedalo incident was really about Michael Vaughan trying to win his team back, publicly embarrassing the stand–in captain and his fellow drinking buddy players. Duncan Fletcher had no chance and Vaughan’s days are numbered. Match-fixing involving the Pakistani team was no surprise to those who know the game. The Bob Woolmer thing was bizarre, aghast commentators trying not to say stock phrases like the bowlers were strangling the game or the team had a tight grip on proceedings.

      Two teams that haven’t appeared in the Super Bowl Final for twenty years made for a great final, doubly special as they were both led by black coaches, something we need to see reflected in the Premiership, sooner rather than later. Those same American sports moguls continued to take over the said Premiership, the Freudian slip of the word ‘franchise’ at the new Liverpool owners press conferences should send shivers through the ‘Cop’. The first thing the Hicks family did in Texas when they took over the Texas Rangers baseball team with George Bush off all people was to move it somewhere else.


      Terror!

      Last year was all about beeing pre-programmed for another big terror attack, constant arrests designed to bury domestic bad news and keep the War on Terror issues alive, and I’m sure we have persuaded Britain’s Muslim underclass that its time for another terror atrocity for not pulling out of Iraq. With a bombing campaign of Iran to come you can hardly blame them. I would be angry too. I suspect a big terror arrest is imminent now the Crown Prosecution Service has handed over the file on the Blair ‘cash for honours’ scandal, damaging leaks a plenty as the local elections kick in. You can’t help be a cynic under this government.

      The terror fault line is running in parallel with the so called man-made global warming, continuing to rage, the same people scared of the ‘War on Terror’ fearing for the end of the world in their lifetimes through rising ocean levels and drought. Every time I go to Blackpool the sea still looks the same horrid colour and distance away. It seems society can’t function without fear, with plenty to come in 2007. The latest day for a revised Biblical end of the world is 2012! ‘Bible Code 3’ on your bookshelves soon?

      Anyhow, never mind the War on Terror, what about the war on home PC`s and laptops, both mine giving out on New Years Day. One was relieved from my person at the station (the lap-top of course), the other just gave out like an old mans ticker just before his final fart. Its three months since that day and my new PC is still not up and running proper, an addiction none of us can do without these days, wires seeping from the back like spaghetti. I also chipped my tooth on the last flakes of the Christmas Turkey, ironically a little wish bone lurking in there to do the deed.

      As the PM sinks away in corruption quicksand and his welcome retirement nears, outbreaks of fiendish spin buried dead British soldier coffin shaped one paragraph tributes deeper into the broadsheets.
      If you wanted to find a crueller photo of the ‘alleged’ speed camera bomber then I challenge you to find one, his eyes going in different directions as a 12 year old, just like drivers eyes do when trying to watch for hazards as the dreaded Gatsos approach. But as we saw with the West Virginia university nutter the media just don’t care about being sensitive and fair.

      Amazingly, the completely innocent guy the Daily Mail printed a full picture of on the front page of their paper in December, accusing of him being the Ipswich rapist in his younger maritime years, has killed himself. They printed the picture without fact checking it was the right guy. Astonishing! Let’s make the press more accountable this year.

      Entertainment

      Miss Middle England in Kate Middleton asked for the gutter press to leave her alone and indeed they did— Prince William cruelly sacking her from those aspirations (and her mothers) to be the next Diana. With no more pictures of her in the paper it will be intriguing to see if she misses the attention. She was seen buying up ALL the Sundays on the day of the split to see those pictures she doesn’t want to see. I fear she will be appearing on a few TV shows soon. The complexities and contradictions of attractive women will mystify scientists for years to come..


      The Olympic bill is burning a bigger financial hole in the public coffers than the New Labour minister for global warming petrol tab seems to be. Hands up who didn’t think it would quadruple. From what I have heard it may double again to nearer 18 billion. I’m still 100% behind the Games though; Livingstone still insisting it will cost Londoners as little as a Walnut Whip, although he doesn’t say if it’s the cost of one from Tesco Express or one from outside Madam Tussards.

      The British team are expected to finish fourth in the medal table by their individual superiors in their likewise federations, behind China, America and Russia, justifying our G7 standing in the super powers. But Britain also has the toughest drug testing program in the world, which isn’t going to help that quest, regardless of how many Trident missiles we have at our disposal. Suspect a few more positives by athletes to hold on to their crucial Lotto funding.

      The weather

      On thst global warming theme the last few years have been warmer than normal, but not by much, and there’s the thing. The year from January to January was the wettest for 30 years, but that statistic didn’t make the news. If you want to prove man made global warming you quote this statistic…and if you do not believe it then quote another statistic...
      97% of C02 emission, supposedly what’s driving global heating, is naturally occurring, 18% coming from cows bottoms! Last year we had very a warm July and September, but an unseasonably cool April, May. I predict that this year the meteorologists will find the warmest something (this amazing April making its claims) but forget the abnormally coolest something else. I mean we are in the El-Nino cycle and it’s meant to be warmer right? April has been ridiculously great though.

      Some people are so duped by this hype that they are buying windmills for their houses. B&Q are charging £1500 bucks for these monstrosities. Apparently the householder will need the windmill to be whizzing around at top speed for 150 years to make that money back on the bills. The pompous Tory leader David Cameron is indeed having one put on his house, more hot air from the Conservatives. I suspect Labour leadership contender David Milliband (Mr Bean) has a work man up their right now with a slightly bigger one being hammered in. All very silly.

      ‘Crack’ down on drugs and guns!

      That should have been last year’s priority. Effectively legalising cannabis has doubled profits for crime gangs, nothing else. Who ever suggested that particularly policy should be shot down like those who deal this cancer! Nearly all serious crime is drug related and it seems obvious to me that if you put people off drugs by making them illegal and hard to get it would cut usage. The only reason this cretinous government didn’t completely legalize pot was because they could be sued under the human rights act, like fag companies were, for shaking the suspected culprits down on the street and infringing those rights.

      As with offensive weapon possession, we gave up on arresting criminals carrying drugs because there are so many of them out there and so no prison places for. If we built prisons to lock everyone up carrying drugs, knives and guns…well you can only imagine how politically awkward that would be to New Labour. As most Labour MPs are in those very constituencies trying to hang on to small majorities I fear no change to stop the knife and gun crime. At least the Prime Minister finally had the bottle to make a speech to identify the issues.

      And the star of 2007

      At isn’t it great to see Lewis Hamilton doing what he’s doing in F1.Hes already irked team mate and world champion Alonso with all the publicity and apparent complete lack of team orders. At 3-1 to be sports personality of the year after those record three podiums, some say he has enough to even win the world championship this year. This is the guy to watch in a light sporting year.

      I reckon the Jackson’s are going to have a huge year, Germaine and Tito getting together a musical of the family’s life. West End musicals are booming right now and I suspect, in keeping with Dirty Dancing and Spamalot, there are a lot of core fans out there begging for this type of show. It would certainly be a way back for Michael, now charging 3 grand for 30 second private parties with him and Bubbles! Interpret that how you wish.lol.

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        15.01.2007 13:25
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        A year of puppies, babies, travelling and Pete bl**dy Doherty!

        I saw this question and answer thingy and, as I’ve been away from Dooyoo for a couple of months, thought what better way to kick start my return? A look back into 2006 chrisandmark style!


        1. What did you do in 2006 that you've never done before?

        The obvious one has got to be that I turned 30! Never done it before and will never do it again – depressingly the next milestone is 40, but that can wait!

        I also visited the US which I’ve wanted to do for many years, an opportunity came up for us to spend four nights in New York at a pretty knock-down price so we grabbed it. It was a wonderful break, we came back feeling sooooo refreshed and it was definitely a holiday to remember.

        Another thing I’ve never done before, but did in 2006, was try hummus and I can honestly say I’d rather chop off my big toe with a rusty axe than eat it again. OMG, never before have I eaten anything which tasted so vile…

        2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

        I don’t make New Years’ resolutions because I find that after the excesses of the Christmas and New Year period the 1st of January is NOT a good day to start depriving myself of food/fags/alcohol! I personally think that if something is bad enough for you to want to stop doing it then stop NOW, not when 1st January happens to roll around.

        3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

        A couple of neighbours had babies in the summer, but no-one close enough for me to really get excited about it.

        Might as well make my announcement here as a lot of you won’t know, but I’m due to give birth to my third child in June of this year and I’m sooooo excited! (Cue a 3000 word detailed essay on the birth – oh wait, no sorry, I’m not on Ciao now am I???) heehee

        4. Did anyone close to you die?

        My Uncle Billy died in 2006 after a short liver illness. He’s my mum’s brother and she was very upset, although to be completely honest I didn’t know the man well so didn’t have the depth of grief that you’d probably expect from a member of the family dying.

        I also heard about the deaths of two friends in early 2006, although they’d both actually died in late 2005. One was a good friend who, following on from the death of her husband, literally drank herself to death. She was only 43 and had had a hard life; a brain injury had left her incapable of looking after her 5 children and they were taken into care a few years ago, this absolutely devastated her and when her husband died I think she just gave up. I didn’t see her in the last few months of her life and when news filtered through about her death I was upset that it was such a waste of a still young life, and also that I hadn’t had chance to say goodbye at her funeral.

        5. What countries did you visit?

        The US, France, Holland and Spain. We knew that baby would (touch wood) come along during 2007 so decided to take a few short breaks as this would probably be our last chance for a couple of years to go away with no children in tow; our eldest two are generally looked after by Nan if we go away, but a baby is a bit much to dump on a 60 year old!

        All the countries we visited were fabulous, although top marks have to go to Amsterdam where we spent our evenings and nights in the cafes… erm… looking at tulips obviously. And may I say the quality of Amsterdam’s ‘tulips’ is much more superior than in the UK!

        6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?

        Nothing really. On a completely shallow level I’d probably say I’d like more money, but you reap what you sow and all that so if I want more money then Mark will bloomin’ well have to go out and earn more money!

        Oh yeah, and I want a hot tub!

        7. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

        The 14th October will remain etched on my memory as it was the day I found out I was pregnant, after nearly 2 years of trying for a baby. It was like a bolt from the blue when I saw the positive result on the test after all our ‘hard work’!

        Other details from 2006 (although I don’t remember dates) which will be forever etched on my memory are the disgusting execution of Saddam, George Galloway showing his mental instability on Celebrity Big Brother and my mum selling the house where I grew up.

        8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

        I’m a housewife. Getting through everyday with an ounce of sanity is an achievement!

        Seriously though I set myself a goal in around March to ‘earn’ the majority of Christmas through competition wins, freebies, cash-back sites and, of course, Dooyoo. And I did it! Most of the kids’ Christmas presents came from competition wins and when I cashed out on my various survey sites I’d earned enough over the year to pay for our Christmas drinks, decorations and a good chunk of the food. Then two days before Christmas I had a call from our local paper telling me I’d even won the turkey! It was our cheapest Christmas ever!

        9. What was your biggest failure?

        Losing my driving licence… again… Bah! Those pesky speed cameras are a joke, or would be if they were even slightly amusing.

        10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

        I suffered wisdom tooth problems during 2006 which has led to many sleepless nights and tearful mornings. The pain was the worst I’ve ever experienced and the total helplessness just made it worse, because I keep getting a recurring infection in the site around this particular nightmare tooth it can’t be taken out and now I’m pregnant I’ve more or less been told I’ve got to live with it until the baby’s born and only then can they think about whipping it out down at the local dental hospital.

        Please join me in praying the reprieve I’ve had from the pain will last until June!

        11. What was the best thing you bought?

        A 42” plasma TV. We didn’t need one but bought it anyway! Oh, and a gorgeous pair of leopard skin stilettos in the dying days of 2006 which I CANNOT wait to wear!

        12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

        My mums. She has had severe asthma since I was a baby and her health has deteriorated during 2006; being diagnosed with diabetes, COPD, angina and some other lung disease during the past year. Yet she never complains; she holds down a full time job, does voluntary work for Home Start and is always there for me and my sister when we need her – and as mums do, even when we don’t! She’s an absolute inspiration and puts me to shame if I moan about having a cold or sore throat!

        13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

        No-one I know has acted toooooo badly this year, so I’ll have to say a couple of celebrities have appalled me during 2006. Pete Doherty has completely sickened me, although I think more of this can be placed on the media who seem to be so interested in this revolting junkie that he’s literally pushed into our heads. I can understand a media frenzy breaking out over a major star who has beaten the awful heroin addiction, but they’re placing Doherty on a pedestal here for REMAINING an addict – I know he gets bad media hype, but haven’t they realised that idiots like him absolutely adore limelight of any description so a bad story portraying him as a druggie is as good publicity to him as a story telling the world that he’s pledging millions to Africa! Keep him out of the news and hopefully he’ll fade away into obscurity where he belongs, him and his aging model girlfriend as I’m getting sick of hearing about her too.

        George Bush. What a piece of s**t. The young men of America are dying in their thousands, and for what??? Probably so Dubya can get some kind of revenge for the (alleged) plotted assassination of his father many years ago. He was so desperate to get Saddam out of power and claimed it was a regime change which led to the invasion of Iraq (after we all saw through the WMD lies), so by this way of thinking why is Robert Mugabe still in power? Why is Iran flouting international law and developing their own nuclear devices? Why does the savagery and killing continue in the developing and third worlds? Simple, Mr Bush obviously looked at all the options when he decided a war was called for and thought Iraq (for whatever reasons) would give him the least trouble. Heil Bush – has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?

        14. Where did most of your money go?

        It’s been the year of the electrical items in the chrisandmark household; so much of our spare cash has gone towards upgrading our various TV’s and computers. I’ve probably spent more than is healthy in Boots and The Body Shop too, but I really really needed to fill my bathroom shelves…!

        15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

        When I sold a coat which I’d bought at a car boot sale for 50p on Ebay for a grand total of £143.75! I was so excited I thought I was going to wet myself! I’d listed it on a 10 day auction and the price sat at £9 for eight days before a bidding war erupted in the last twenty or so hours – it was a horrible mangy coat too!

        Also we bought a puppy Staffordshire Bull Terrier who at just under 5 weeks old was much too young to leave her mum. I wasn’t happy with the way the dogs’ owner was treating both the mum and the pups so bought Bonnie even though she was so tiny. For the first two or three weeks we were convinced she was going to die as she stopped eating and the local vet said she was probably pining for her mum and the rest of the litter, because she was so young there was little he could do so sent us home with the warning that we may be waking up one morning to discover she’d left us. One day I placed a cooked fillet of cod in her food bowl expecting her to turn her little nose up at it yet again, but she wolfed it down and immediately started sniffing around for more. Doesn’t sound like something worth getting excited about I know, but this was the point where I knew this little scrap of skin and bone was going to be OK – she’s now a robust nine month old lump who will eat anything so my perseverance definitely paid off!

        16. What song will always remind you of 2006?

        There’s two. “Wake Me Up When September Ends” by Green Day is the ultimate. I have a sneaking suspicion this was actually released in 2005, but it really took off on UK radio during the summer of 2006. It’s a beautiful song which starts off (surprisingly for Green Day) with a definite ballad feel to it, but beefs up during the track in such a way that it leaves me with goosebumps every time I hear it.

        Crazy by Gnarls Barkley is the second. This was one of those songs which people either loved or hated, and for some reason I loved it to death. It’s just such a fantastic chill out song and the video was disturbingly amazing!

        17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

        - happier or sadder?

        The same. I’m always happy!

        - richer or poorer?

        Slightly richer I think. We’ve had a nice couple of windfalls over the past twelve months which has definitely made day to day living easier.

        - thinner or fatter?

        Four months pregnant, so fatter – but in a good way!

        18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

        Nothing really. 2006 turned out to be one of those years where if we wanted to do something, we did it. I wish I’d taken more photos though as I was looking through the albums a couple of nights back and realised a lot of ‘good times’ we had over the year haven’t been captured

        19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

        Arguing. With Mark, with friends and with neighbours. I’m a wee bit hot headed and a minor irritation can soon escalate into a war, there are a couple of people that I wish now I’d held my tongue with and to be honest most of these arguments were completely my fault.

        20. How did you spend the holidays?

        I got up really early with the kids’ and watched them open their presents, then waited for my mum to get here at around 10am with even more presents. Dinner was turkey with every trimming you can think of; turkey, ham, roast spuds, mash, roast parsnips and carrots, pigs in blankets, beans, Yorkies, stuffing balls and more which I can’t even remember now! We basically stayed in and ate our body weight in food, and had a right laugh doing it.

        21. Did you fall in love in 2006?

        Only with my puppy… ;O)

        22. How many one-night stands?

        None, I’ve been with Mark for nearly twelve years now and don’t need a one-night stand – the spark’s still there!

        23. What was your favourite TV programme?

        Coronation Street, without a doubt. They had some amazing storylines during 2006 and it’s honestly had me glued for most of the year, and with the current Tracy/Charlie drama kicking off I reckon I’ll be watching it in 2007 too!

        I also got into Planet Earth during 2006, I’m by no means a wildlife lover but this series held me in awe of my wider surroundings and the animals who share our planet. David Attenborough really is a national treasure, his enthusiasm and pride in his work made the programme an absolute ‘must see’ in our house.

        24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

        Nope, I still hate the people I hated back in 2005 and no-one has irked me enough during the past 12 months to warrant an addition to my hate list.

        25. What was the best book you read?

        Goodbye, Dearest Holly. This is Kevin Wells’ amazing tribute to his daughter, Holly Wells, who was murdered along with Jessica Chapman by Ian Huntley in 2002. At the time of the girls’ disappearance and the publicity surrounding it, I was struck by the dignity and strength with which both families conducted themselves.

        When I saw Kevin Wells had written a book which not only talked about Holly as a child, but also devoted a massive chunk to the police investigation and the impact her murder had on the Soham community, I knew I’d have to read it.

        I feel kinda weird calling it the ‘best book’ but it was certainly the book which most touched me during 2006. A tragic story rendered even more so by the fact that the reader KNOWS from page one what an appalling and disturbing end this story has – that a mother and father can live through this nightmare and come out the other end, still with a modicum of a sense of humour too, is truly inspiring.

        26. What was your favourite film of this year?

        Happy Feet! Let’s face it; adult cinema was a bit cruddy for 2006. Yeah, yeah – you Bond fans will have cried happy tears at the launch of Casino Royale, Borat was amusing in a ‘not very’ kinda way and Johnny Depp still looked amazing as Captain Jack Sparrow. BUT something was definitely lacking in the movies in 2006.

        27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?

        My personal fashion concept??? Now I really am curious as to who composed this list of questions! Erm… ok… Well, it’s jeans all year round with skimpy tops in the summer and chunky knits in the winter! Oh, and red undies.

        28. Whom do you miss?

        My dad. He died in 1999 and I still raise a glass to him come midnight on New Years Eve – Glenfiddich of course, his favourite!

        29. Who was the best new person you met?

        I can honestly can I’ve not met a single new person this year who has made a positive impact on me!

        30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.

        If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is!

        Well, if you’re still reading at this point then you deserve a pat on the back – and if you’ve skimmed then I forgive you because there was an awful lot to get through!

        Looking forward to 2007 now – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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          15.01.2007 05:08
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          Up and down year!

          2006 on rewind

          Well, I have enjoyed reading all your reviews on 2006 and you have persuaded me to join in the fun!

          2006 was a very mixed year for me having being diagnosed with ‘probable MS’ and my Father dying (11 months after my Mum), so it has been eventful, though not really exciting, except for one month which for me was the highlight of the year!!

          JANUARY I was still living in Spain, and was by now getting worried about certain symptoms I had been encountering so after weeks of trawling through internet sites diagnosing myself with Parkinson’s, Stroke, even the terminal ones (why do people do this?) as well as other illnesses, but one thing kept jumping out at me was Multiple Sclerosis! All the symptoms I had, pointed to it, but I was told by my brother & partner to stop looking up awful things on these Medical sites! So, I chose to listen to them (a change for me), until the day came when I could no longer speak without a drawl, I could no longer walk, I couldn’t swallow, and had lost 5 stone over a period of 3 months.
          It was this January day in Spain, with the sun shining ( sorry, I had to include that!), that I first met the Spanish Doctor who took X-Rays and tests. It was only 4 days later she phoned to ask if I could go back to her.
          My brother took me there, as he was the one who spoke fluent Spanish (as I can only speak enough to get basic ingredients to make a pie)!

          Yes, she wanted to make an urgent appointment to see a Neurologist. We agreed and she assured us there would be an appointment within the next couple of weeks. Well, if you know the Spanish, 2 weeks means 2 months , 2 years, who knows! She showed us the X Rays they had taken and she had seen something at the top of my spine? She tried to point it out to me but it was like showing me something from ‘Where’s Willy’!!!

          She did some more tests on me, while there, and said she thought it was coming from the brain, so that’s where she needed a Neurologist to see me!

          Daughter getting married and wants the event in Las Vegas! Yikes!

          FEBRUARY brought no news though I will say this for the Doctor, she did keep in touch by phone to ask about my well being…..though it was such a shame I never understood a quarter of what she was saying! She could have told me anything for all I know!
          I lived actually as a skeleton, and for me if you knew me, that is no joke! I have always been a ‘mean’ figure of a woman, but my health deteriorated further while waiting for appointments!

          Somewhere in the middle of February, I got an appointment card to attend the hospital in Malaga….when? In May!
          I rang the Doc up, and she was livid and starting ranting about the hospital ignoring the urgency, yikes that started me wondering what the heck she was thinking!

          February in Spain is kind of like being in between the ‘out of season ‘ bit and a sense of living in normality! It is nice to spend time down in the Chiriongitos without the tourists over whelming the place! It really is a much nicer place to be out of season! I enjoyed February albeit, I was now on walking sticks to aid me walking!

          Daughter still wanting wedding in Las Vegas! Yikes! Need to really get this sorted!

          MARCH came and went with a few Bbq’s by the pool etc, and as my niece is Spanish we spent a lot of time with her, when she visited every weekend.
          By now though , the family were getting increasingly worried about my health at this point, so it was decided I should go home to seek out medical care there, as the Spanish system were in no way in a hurry!

          By 30th March, I was on a flight home with embarrassing assistance from the airport authorities having had to have the motorised buggy thingy to assist me!
          The flight took 3 and a bit hours and I sat there on my own wondering what the rest of 2006 would bring me! By this time I needed assistance with a wheelchair to get me to and from the terminals, which thoroughly embarrassed me as I have always been one to ‘soldier on’ no matter what!

          OMG! Daughter putting pressure on me with this damn wedding!


          APRIL was a funny month for me! Not that it was funny haha….just it was a month which everything came into perspective!

          Within about 5 days of being ‘home’ I had fallen! That’s without a drink too! I had started to fall a lot through imbalance etc…. and of course my daughter had taken me to the hospital!
          I cannot tell you what a blessing that was, as as soon as they X Rayed me for breakages etc (and finding nothing broken), they were almost like Bees round a Honey Pot to find out what was indeed wrong with me!
          They had had a neurologist come down to give me a once over, and immediately he had seen me and tested me, got me an appointment for the Neurologist for the Monday morning! This was Friday! Wow, was I impressed!

          On the Monday, I had the brain scan and a Lumbar Puncture and ended up in the MS Clinic! I must say, it wasn’t the best day of my life! Ha ha….I could think of better things I had done in my life!

          Almost about an hour later, the consultant took me to a private room to tell me that yes, it could be ‘possible MS’ There was nothing ‘conclusive’ at this point, but they would just keep an eye on me!

          By now…getting wedding arrangements sorted out! Yikes!

          MAY came and I was already tending the physiotherapy classes at the hospital and getting a good response from my weary limbs! Things started to look better, and I was soon walking albeit with a walking stick, though a lot better and the numbness I had been enduring was fading! Whoa! Could this be it all ending!!!
          We attended my Nephew’s wedding which was a grand affair, and it was great to see my Dad there in fine form, with his new suit on which we all had a fight with him to buy as he was trying to tell us his old 1970’would suffice!

          Alas, one week later, my Dad who had been complaining of a sore leg, (but to be honest with you, we never really took it seriously as he was always moaning about some pain or other) ,had fallen!
          One morning my daughter had phoned him and was worried why he had not answered? Initially she put it down to him being rather deaf but after some time, she tried again….and was concerned enough to go round there (she just live about 3 miles from him) and found him on the floor! She phoned the ambulance services, and when they arrived took him straight to the hospital! She came and picked me up and we drove to the hospital, and on arriving we seemed to wait for ages, but once seen, the Doctors again, said he had not broken anything, but that they were worried about his breathing? After some insistence on our part, he was eventually transferred to another hospital who would carry out tests on him ( after spending 2 nights on a trolley I may add).
          We spent every day up at the hospital while they carried out tests!

          Yikes! Still trying to sort out this wedding in between times!

          JUNE came and I was still attending my own hospital for physiotherapy, when I got the phone call every one dreads. My Dad had Cancer. They had found he had it in his pelvis but at that time they said they though it was secondary to most likely lung Cancer ( as he was always a smoker), so they would need to carry out more tests to see where it had come from. Within another day they asked to see us and informed us it was not lung cancer but bowel cancer! Hey, what’s the differerence? It is cancer where ever it is, and when it is the stage it cannot be cured, it is the same outcome!

          We asked how long he had, and they said weeks, most likely months, so we got ourselves prepared for Macmillan Nurses coming in and whatever, and he died! Simple as that! No warnings, he just never woke up one morning.

          He died four days after we had heard the bad news! How could that be? Well, when he died, on his death certificate, IT said he had had bronchial Pneumonia, though I still wonder why all through that week, signs were put up about the warnings of the deadly virus which sweeps across hospitals? I will not go into the details just now as this is possibly another review which I feel strong enough to write about now.

          Anyway, June was a horrendous month for us, but in a way I am glad we were spared the agony of going through my Dad being in limbo for months,
          Life in June was organising Dad’s funeral and dividing up his estate between his Grand children! It was perhaps a good thing for me as I wanted all this sorted out as quickly as possible, therefore taking my mind off what had actually happened!

          One nice point ( well, for us , anyway) he died on Fathers Day, so the kids put in his coffin their little contributions to Fathers Day, like his cards they had made him for etc……

          Still trying to think of wedding, though it had somewhat taken a back seat at this time.
          As my daughter had always wanted her Grandad to walk her down the aisle, it became even more upsetting knowing he would never see his favourite Grandchild get married.

          JULY came and I was still attending hospital but feeling better all the time! It was quite uneventful to say the least, as we were still all reeling from the death of my Dad!

          I had moved back down South again, for employment reasons, and found it really lonely living away from my family, but had to do this as the job my partner had was too good to give up.

          I had to soldier on with the wedding arrangements!

          AUGUST, well was my Dad’s birthday so it was still pretty raw at this point but we carried on!
          My Daughter’s birthday is also August so we , as usual had the tacky sort of birthday cake…..we do do things in a tacky sort of way in my family, when it comes to birthdays!

          Oh still trying to arrange things for wedding!

          SEPTEMBER was the same, my elder daughter had a birthday, so the same tacky birthday cake was bought and the usual birthday party was there with us all making great fools of ourselves!!

          It actually brought a great sense of ‘life moves on’ strategy for us all……as I know ‘Dad’ would have loved it!
          It was getting close to the wedding day so much talk was about the actual visit to Las Vegas!
          Oh dear! Was getting in a panic about Las Vegas and the wedding! Arghhh….a Mum should never get involved as they are too ‘involved’ and I think I was more nervous than my daughter!

          Still had last minute stuff to settle for wedding and I was totally absorbed in the plans!

          OCTOBER! Yeah! It had actually come! The Wedding was here! We (all 45 of us) had arrived in Las Vegas, for the wedding which I had tried to organise for over a year!

          It was the highlight of my whole year, although tinged with sadness too!

          Alas, Las Vegas hardly has any rain, but you guessed it! Yep, the day of the wedding, it rained and rained, and rained even more! She had chosen an outside wedding beside the wonderful pool of Caesars Palace, and alas it was not to be!

          She cried so much that morning I could hardly console her, but we got an inside chapel in Caesars Palace which was so beautiful, that it was really a good second best!
          She ended up happy, but it was not what she had planned. The whole day went smoothly though and funnily enough, there was a double rainbow that day, and we wondered if someone was indeed looking over us?
          Her new hubby made a speech mentioning Dad, and what he meant to us all , and all he did was make the whole room of people weep! Awww…….it was very emotional but an incredible day!

          NOVEMBER was a month of anti climax! Nothing much happened except we were planning our Christmas visit to our kids! I was busy making my cards to all the orders I could not keep up with!

          DECEMBER was the month I looked forward to! I was going home to be with my family!

          I had a wonderful time and the good news is……I decided I cannot live without my family anymore, so going home for good soon!

          Come February I will once again be home in Scotland, where I belong!

          2006 was a decider for me!

          Hope everyone has a great 2007! Jx

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            11.01.2007 21:28
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            A year of ups and downs all round.

            I thought I’d start off with some major events of 2006 - not depressing events though - the papers are full of that sort of thing! I thought I’d be a bit frivolous…

            * Tatana Kucharov, from the Czech Republic, won the title of Miss World 2006.
            * Best actor at the Oscars was George Clooney and best actress was Reese Witherspoon.
            * 2006 was designated as International Year of Deserts and Desertification by the United Nations General Assembly, how exciting!
            * Italy won the World Cup (football in case you were asleep during all that excitement).
            * W L Gore & Associates were voted the best company to work for (2 years running).
            * At the British Comedy Awards Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit won Best Comedy Film.
            * YouTube was voted by Time Magazine as the best invention of the year.

            Before you get bored of my facts about 2006, I’ll move on to what happened in my life…

            2006 started out like pretty much most other years. Feeling overly tired after the excesses of Christmas and New Year Celebrations. I guess I was feeling slightly depressed having just returned from a lovely holiday in India and to come back to London and have to start work again early in the new year, well it wasn’t exactly very inspiring for me.

            I do remember thinking at the start of the year how nice it would be if wars ended and people were more tolerant towards each other, if taxes were lowered and everyone was just happy and healthy all of the time. Then I woke up and realised we weren’t living in utopia and if I told people what I wished for they might cart me away to an asylum!

            I don’t usually make resolutions and 2006 was no different. I started the year thinking I ought to make an effort and change jobs soon. I was not happy working with long term unemployed people who gave my colleagues and myself verbal abuse all day every day. When 90% or more of the people you’re supposed to help refuse your help or threaten you with violence when you try to organise suitable job interviews or work experience for them, it leaves you with little sympathy for their plight. I recall some of the “clients” making comments like “You must really enjoy your job, you always have a smile for us” - I had to stop myself from replying “Yes you lazy twit, I’m smiling on the outside but screaming abuse at you on the inside!” I knew I had to get out of there before I lost my cool completely and ended up either having a breakdown or murdering someone!

            During March I received a letter from my surgery asking me to go in for some routine health checks including an ECG, blood pressure monitoring and tests for diabetes, cholesterol, kidney and liver disease and something else I can’t recall. I had these tests in April. A week later I received a message on my home phone asking me to come in to repeat a blood test, I made an appointment for a few days later. Before I was able to give the blood test, I received a letter from the surgery saying the results for everything were fine, except that I had diabetes. I was home alone and got such a scare I burst into tears. When I went into the surgery I was furious that they had sent me news like this in the post and they apologised and said it shouldn’t have been informed to me this way but it had happened now so nothing could be done. They were pretty blasé about the whole thing. I had been in at least 6 months before complaining of symptoms such as constant tiredness, feeling over-emotional all of time, etc. These symptoms should have been picked up as diabetes (especially as my mother’s had it for several years already) and was fobbed off by the doctor saying it was probably just hormonal. I was pretty hacked off when I found out that those symptoms had indeed been diabetic symptoms and due to feeling so tired I was stuffing my face with chocolate for the last 6 months to give me energy. To cut a fairly long story short, I went through a period of depression and despite the surgery telling me I had to go onto medication I stood my ground and told them I would control my diabetes with diet control. I have good days and bad days but I check my blood sugar once a week or so and it seems to be under control.

            Having had several conversations with various doctors and nurses at my surgery it was suggested that I change job as the job I was in was only adding to my stress and feelings of depression. I made a positive decision to go out and get a new job and the first interview I went for I was offered the job - earning more than 20% more than I was currently on and as close to home as my current job. The company seemed nice, my boss who interviewed me seemed really cool and there seemed to be real prospects here for company and my personal growth. I accepted the job straight away and handed in my notice as soon as I received the offer in writing. I couldn’t wait to finish up and get my teeth into my new job.

            I was sorry to leave my colleagues who I’d been working with for 2 years in that office. I was getting calls from the staff at the job centres saying they’d miss me and my sunny helpful nature. I was pretty surprised! After all, most of them had been pretty rude to me on a regular basis since I’d worked there and now I was leaving they were telling me they’d really enjoyed working with me? Weird! I had a lovely leaving do and got some lovely presents and am still in touch with most of the staff I worked with and have met up with them for dinner and drinks since I moved on.

            The beginning of July saw me starting my new job. I wasn’t really nervous but very excited. My husband was very encouraging even though I told him I would be the only female in the office. He’s not the jealous type (nor am I for that matter). I was made to feel very welcome and over 6 months later I don’t regret changing jobs for one minute. We work hard and play harder. My boss is really cool and my colleagues are proper darlings! And yes, I’m still the only female in an office of about 20!

            With regards to the diabetes and my diet control, I actually managed to lose a good 6 or 7 kilos in weight over 4 months and was quite proud of myself. The doctor told me not to get carried away with crash-dieting as it would all pile back on. I was exercising regularly, eating healthily and had even cut down drastically on smoking. Things seems to be going really well until dad announced that he had prostrate cancer.

            Bang! My world seemed to tumble around me. I had to put on a show of being strong for dad but I was absolutely terrified, dad was turning 70 and had to deal with this news and this illness. He went through radiotherapy and God bless the staff at the hospital where he went for his treatment. They made the whole process so much easier and put his mind at ease. We talked to dad’s friends about it, several of them had gone through the same thing in the last 5 or 6 years and they said it was hard but the treatment was good. I kept hearing it was common in men around 70ish and there were good chances of full recovery. I tried to keep dad’s spirits up and somehow during all this I started ignoring my own health and went back into some bad eating habits. Most of the weight I’d lost crept back on and I didn’t even notice. My husband was spending his time trying to support me emotionally (because really I am a big wimp and way too emotional for my own good) and didn’t nag me about eating the wrong things. I was losing my temper with him all the time and he just took it on the chin.

            In August my husband moved in with me full-time, since we’d been married he was living away during the week because of his job and basically decided he couldn’t live apart from me during the week and gave up his rented room and moved in full time. This was a big change for both of us, more so for me. He’s very affectionate and loving. I’ve been a bad tempered so and so since the diabetes and because he lost his mother to diabetes related illnesses he has been so supportive and understanding towards me, I feel he deserves a gold medal. It was weird not having my evenings to myself anymore and it took a while but now I can’t imagine him not being here with me full time.

            How could I not mention the neighbours from hell that moved into the upstairs flat in February? From the first day they moved in they made their presence heard, within weeks they had a party which lasted all weekend and I had to call the environmental noise department to get them to stop the noise at 4a.m. I put up with their inconsiderate behaviour for a long time before I politely asked them on several occasions to keep the noise down. I’ve lived here over 12 years and no one has ever made anything like the racket these people have been making. After many polite and friendly requests to keep the noise down I took drastic measures and contacted the owners of the flat and told them I would be taking legal action against the tenants if they didn’t keep the noise down and that they had ignored my polite requests so far. They seemed to get drunk every evening and stamp around like a herd of elephants late into the night and early in the morning. It was only after the owners contacted their totally useless managing agents (Foxtons - who I had been in touch with directly several times to no avail) did some action actually take place. The neighbours are somewhat quieter now, they still play their music very loud during the day at the weekends and I can barely even hear my television but at least the stomping around late at night and during the night or very early hours of the morning has lessened to a bearable level. I don’t wish ill of many people but I do wish their shoes and feet all turn to jelly and prevent them from stomping around so noisily.

            Dad’s treatment finished and he started the recovery process which was very painful for him. He had to have a catheter fitted which wasn’t very nice for him. Mum and dad celebrated their 40th anniversary and it reminded me that I’m getting that much closer to being 40 myself, I know it shouldn’t bother me, it’s just another number after all. But…

            Christmas was somewhat different for me in 2006. Normally I spend it with my parents at their house and we have a proper Christmas dinner all sat around the table as a family and eating too much, watching the Queens Speech and opening presents and that sort of thing. This time my parents were both away in India. Hubby and I spent our first Christmas together with just each other and it was lovely. We had turkey but not the traditional way. We had turkey curry and turkey biryani! Imagine that eh? It was delicious though, my husband is magic in the kitchen (elsewhere too but let’s not get into that)!!!

            We went to a few Christmas parties and to a friend’s house on New Years Eve and all in all it was a really lovely end to the year and a good start to 2007. Although I really enjoyed not having to work between Christmas and New Year, I didn’t feel anything like I felt at the start of 2006; I had a lovely new job (not so new anymore), my hubby is living with me full-time, my dad’s cancer treatment seems to have been successful and I’m trying to be sensible with my diet control and exercise regime again.

            So basically for 2007 - I don’t make resolutions - but I would like to try to live more healthily - hopefully this will make me more rational and not be prone to losing my temper so much, especially with my lovely husband who rarely does anything to warrant my tantrums! I would like to make a small wish that things in general around the world improve and people are kinder to each other. I, for one, will try to do my part by trying to be a better kinder person.

            Thank you for reading and I wish for you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous 2007.

            xx


            p.s. if you're wondering about my title, it was yet another cheeky attempt to draw people in and for those even nosier, yes, I had lots of it!

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              10.01.2007 22:48
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              Year got better and better!

              I thought I would join in on this topic and try to use the questions to explain what happened to me in 2006, the highs, lows and bits in the middle!

              1. What did you do in 2006 that you've never done before?

              Stood in front of 30 kids and taught them a lesson - see later questions.

              2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

              Um, can't really remember but I expect it was something along the lines of do more exercise (I'm slim but quite unfit). Although that was also this year's resolution so from that you can see that I have a problem sticking to them!

              3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

              Four new second cousins including twins. Absolutely gorgeous!

              4. Did anyone close to you die?

              No, thankfully.

              5. What countries did you visit?

              January - France - skiing in Chamonix. Great weather, great snow!

              March - Netherlands for a girls holiday to Amsterdam. Much drinking and partying by the others although I was more of a culture vulture and saw the sights. A nice place, although I wouldn't necessarily go back - think I covered all that I wanted to see.

              June - Northern Ireland for a beautiful wedding.

              Summer - Canada and USA - an absolutely amazing trip of a lifetime. We flew to Montreal, took the train across and then down, stopping at Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara, Jasper, Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco. The trip had amazing scenery and all the places were fantastic - I would go back to all of them again.

              6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?

              A permanent job and a house of our own that we can pay a mortgage on instead of rent. A house that's self-cleaning (or is that asking to much???).

              7. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

              15th June, when I heard i got onto my PGCE course and could finally stop fretting about what I was going to do with my life!

              8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

              As above, getting on to the PGCE course. Absolutely the best thing that I have done and I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I am at the moment!

              9. What was your biggest failure?

              Not getting into the first two places I tried for a PGCE, although I now think this was a blessing in disguise as I love the one that I'm on so much.

              10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

              A few colds and migraines but they are nothing new.

              11. What was the best thing you bought?

              A new laptop which I needed for the course and of course lots of new clothes - although I don't think that the other half would agree with this!

              12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

              Our army's.

              13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

              Basically most of the government.

              George Bush - mainly for the fact that I am depressed that some American's simply will not accept that they are governed by a complete idiot. ("the trouble with the French is that they have no word for entreupnuer" seriously where did they find him???)

              'celebrities' in the UK, most notably Kate Moss and the companies that took her back with no questions asked.



              14. Where did most of your money go?

              Where didn't it!! Rent, furniture, clothes, new laptop, the list is endless!

              15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

              Getting on to my course (noticing a theme here!).

              16. What song will always remind you of 2006?

              'Valerie' by the Zutons - just because we sang it all the time as my Mum's name is Valerie.

              17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

              - happier or sadder?


              Much happier after moving back in with my boyfriend after we both lived back with our parents for a year. Feel much more settled and on a career path.

              - richer or poorer?

              Definately poorer - back being a student again, although the grant from our dear Chancellor is helping to ease the pain.

              - thinner or fatter?

              Exactly the same weight.

              18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

              Exercise, see resolutions above! Reading.

              19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

              Watching so much TV and random surfing of the internet.

              20. How did you spend the holidays?

              With my family, Mum, Dad and aunt. Church in the morning and then presents. Huge dinner, then watching the Queen and various other staples of Christmas TV. Only hairy moment was finding the turkey half frozen in the fridge on Christmas morning, but a couple of hours in front of the fire sorted that!

              21. Did you fall in love in 2006?

              Only fell more in love with my wonderful boyfriend.

              22. How many one-night stands?

              None!

              23. What was your favourite TV programme?

              None really stand out as my favourite, but I enjoyed the soaps (Eastenders, Corrie, Neighbours). Vicar of Dibley Christmaas special was absolutely hilarious - possibly one of the funniest programmes ever.

              24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

              No.

              25. What was the best book you read?

              Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, set in both the 13th century and today, I thought that it was fantastic and I really couldn't put it down. It was a real page turner and thoroughly reccommended.

              26. What was your favourite film of this year?

              I hardly went to the cinema but I really enjoyed watching Pirates of the Carribean 2 (how funny is Johny Depp) and Casino Royale (and no not just because Daniel Craig has the most amazing eyes.......!)

              27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?

              Um, I don't think I really have a 'fashion' concept - I like to look presentable all the time but also have to be comfortable. I'm trying to be a bit more feminine as I used to be a tomboy.

              28. Whom do you miss?

              My parents and my best friend who are in Cardiff while I'm in Bristol, although the commute is better than when I was in London.

              29. Who was the best new person you met?

              All the new friends I've made on my course who are so much fun and much more sociable than the people in my course in London.

              30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.

              Keep striving for what you really want to do.


              So that's my year, its been a bit of a roller coaster, starting of not great, being parted from the other half, but now we're together all is well. I think the trips I took this year were the best of my life and my new course has really changed me and my outlook. Roll on 2007 and all those job applications!!!!

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                10.01.2007 17:18
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                I wonder what happened to 2006????

                Every year I get older. It is a depressing thought. What about 2006?

                2006 didn't do anything special for me. My circumstances remained same as in 2005. I didn't make any new friends, didn't lose old friends either.

                Summer holidays are always the highlight of my year. This year I spent two weeks in Spain. Sunshine was good to me. I was happy and looked very good, once the plane landed back I went back in the normal mode.

                2006 was good for another reason, I managed to watch few live games of football, one was in the Milan stadium in Italy.

                Life on home front remained the same.

                In the world around me, was very disappointed with politicians still selling the war in Iraq. Summer was mild, so was the winter, finally I realised that world is warming up.

                My favourite film was March of the Penguins, well actually it was docufilm, documentary polished up to look like a film.

                I don't think I kept any of the resolutions last year.

                I am struggling with words here because 2006 was a very average year for me except I became single again. That is no big deal as relationships break up all the time. (I think). I can't think of anything else that was dramatic.

                I wish all the readers happy and prosperous next 12 months.

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                  10.01.2007 17:02
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                  A year with more ups than downs is always a bonus.

                  2006 has been and gone and enough time has passed since New Years Eve for my liver to recover and my head to feel a little less addled by the hangovers the Christmas period seems to induce. I have now had time to reflect on the year that has gone and hopefully look forward to the year that is to come. I thought that the less painful way of summarizing my year would be to use the questionnaire that has been so ably answered by many other members of this site.


                  1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?

                  This year has seen me have my first set of tasting notes, as Chairman of my local Beer Tasting Panel, published in a national publication. My words now appear in the Good Beer Guide; something that people actually pay for! I am quite proud of this and it a big achievement for me. We also helped to organise a Beer Festival for the first time. We have worked at Beer Festivals before but this was our first go at organizing the beer, venue, entertainment, etc. It was all a big success and we are almost ready for the next festival in February. We have also just brewed our first beer in a “proper” brewery and not just a Home Brew – we were invited by local Spire Brewery to help brew a Festival Special Porter and we had an excellent day in the brewery.


                  2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for this year?

                  I make a habit of not making any resolutions. They invariably get broken, so why put myself through all the hassle of feeling inadequate?


                  3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

                  This year has been unusual in the fact that none of our huge family (huge in terms of numbers by the way) have had a baby this year. Two work colleagues went off on maternity leave earlier on this year though - one had a little girl called Sylvie and the other a little boy called Andrew.

                  4. Did anyone close to you die?

                  I have a few hairy moments with sleeping customers in the library – some of them were quite deeply asleep and could very easily have kicked the bucket over a Mills & Boon. Thankfully, a good amount of noise has woken them and the panic has been over! On a more serious note – 2006 has been great in terms of the lack of any deaths among family and friends. I think we had our fair share in 2004 and 2005, so hopefully have earned a few years off!


                  5. What countries did you visit?

                  Only France, Germany, Holland and Belgium this year – we did however make a point of visiting a few places in the UK that we hadn’t been to before. I would recommend the Yorkshire Dales to anyone for beauty and friendliness.

                  6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?

                  A baby would be nice! But….that isn’t going to happen whatever the year, so I must also learn to stop feeling inadequate!


                  7. What event from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

                  From a personal point of view I am proud to say I have managed to maintain an air of distraction and not become too scarred by any event – or maybe it just a testament to the power of alcohol!


                  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

                  I think I’ve probably answered that to a major degree in question 1. Mind you – I did get interviewed by radio, tv and local newspapers too this year, so that was quite good!


                  9. What was your biggest failure?

                  Again – answered that one in question 6 and would prefer not to depress myself further.


                  10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

                  Only minor aches, pains and sniffles, thankfully.


                  11. What was the best thing you bought?

                  I bought a fair few rounds in the pub if that counts. I also bought a smile to the faces of a few people. Buying anything else seems to be unimportant compared to that!

                  12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

                  Alun (the long suffering hubby) for rising to the challenge of being the main Beer Festival Organizer. He has grown in confidence, ability and he makes me proud of him on a daily basis.


                  13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

                  The bosses on high at work have once again tried to make us feel undervalued and unconsulted about things that DO concern us. Our numbers have been cut and our workload increased until we feel we are climbing a greasy pole on a daily basis!


                  14. Where did most of your money go?

                  On trips to Belgium and good living – sounds like and excellent way for it to go really.


                  15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

                  Now that would be telling!!

                  16. What song will always remind you of 2006?

                  I can’t think of just one song that sums up and reminds me of the previous year. If I had to think of a song then I will go for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – not new by any means, but it reminds me of the day at the brewery, drinking Sgt. Pepper Stout and chatting with friends.


                  17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

                  Happier or sadder?

                  Happier at our achievements, but sadder inside….

                  Thinner or fatter?

                  Pretty much the same.

                  Richer or poorer?

                  Again pretty much the same. We will never be rich, but we tick along ok.


                  18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

                  More traveling would have been nice.


                  19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

                  Worrying about people who don’t give us a passing thought!


                  20. How will you be spending Christmas 2007?

                  Circumstances permitting, we will be with family eating turkey, pulling crackers and laughing until we feel sick!


                  21. Did you fall in love in 2006?

                  A little deeper!


                  22. How many one-night stands?

                  Absolutely none!


                  23. What was your favourite TV program?

                  Doctor Who has surprised me in being (and continuing to be) excellent!


                  24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

                  Hate is such a strong word and I can safely say that on a personal level there is nobody I hate – just some people I don’t like quite so much as others!


                  25. What was the best book you read?

                  I laughed to myself merrily at Peter Kay’s The Sound of Laughter. For work I have mostly spent the year reading children’s literature – these have differed in length and target ages.


                  26. What was your favourite film of 2006?

                  Sadly I have been to see no films at all at the cinema in 2006. We did enjoy Tom Hanks in The Terminal, which we saw earlier on this year on Sky movies.

                  27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?

                  Personal to me! Beer logo chic is SO 2006 darling!

                  28. Whom did you miss?

                  My niece Sarah who has been in Australia and seems set to remain there.

                  29. Who was the best new person you met?

                  Lots of new and interesting people – the new brewers at Spire Brewery have become good friends very quickly.


                  30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.

                  You can’t always predict the actions of others – even people you thought you knew well.

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                    10.01.2007 14:06
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                    Non-vintage, but even poor vintages can be enjoyable

                    Having depressed myself, and probably a few others as well, with a very downbeat assessment of 2006 on “another site”, I thought I’d try to be more positive by responding to the questionnaire that’s doing the rounds over here. It’s very similar to a questionnaire that was current over there a couple of years ago, so forgive me if my answers here now are in some cases similar to those that I gave there then.


                    1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?

                    ~ Attained my present age.


                    2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for this year?

                    ~ My sole resolution for 2006 was not to make any resolutions. Obviously, I failed. But I have made no fewer than 10 for this year – itemised in my last review – giving me a much better chance of at least partial success.


                    3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

                    ~ Physically close? Not that I noticed, but I am notoriously unobservant. Genetically close? I became a grand-uncle – as the relationship is known in our family – for the second time. Somehow, it seems much more distinguished than being a mere great-uncle. Or grander, anyway. You still have to remember their birthdays, though.


                    4. Did anyone close to you die?

                    ~ Physically close? Even more reason to be unobservant; I tend to look on the bright side and hope they’ve merely fallen asleep. Genetically close? Thankfully, no.


                    5. What countries did you visit?

                    ~ India, France and Spain. I would strongly recommend India as an eye-opening experience to anyone who hasn’t been there, but I have to admit that I still felt more comfortable in France, even in Marseilles, and in Spain. Andalucia is particularly pleasant in spring, I found. But most places are at their most pleasant in the spring.


                    6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?

                    ~ A respite from bad news.


                    7. What event from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

                    ~ On a geopolitical level, the on-going grisly nonsense in Iraq and its repercussions for the world. Lebanon was pretty ugly too. On a personal level, moving my elderly mother into more manageable accommodation, I hope not too late for her to benefit from its manageability, and for me to benefit from not having to do so much of the managing.


                    8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

                    ~ I rather doubt I had any big achievements last year. I regard it as a minor achievement to have avoided them.


                    9. What was your biggest failure?

                    ~ My failure to achieve any other, even minor, achievements.


                    10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

                    ~ Nothing worth mentioning. What a dull life I lead. But probably it is all the better for being dull.


                    11. What was the best thing you bought?

                    ~ Video editing software. I can now transcribe video of my travels to DVD without including the lengthy shots of my own shuffling feet or the inside of train tunnels when I’ve forgotten to switch off the camera. Somehow, friends and family to whom I show the cunningly cut and seamlessly pasted results still find them a useful cure for insomnia.


                    12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

                    ~ My wife, family and cats, for putting up with me. Also, the American electorate, for depriving the Republicans of their Congressional majority. Not that the new Congress is exactly a hotbed of enlightened liberalism, of course.


                    13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

                    ~ The usual suspects: Bush and his sidekicks, Blair and his cronies. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I do believe that there are much worse politicians elsewhere in the world – Mugabe and Kim Jong Il, for example – but somehow I go on naively expecting better of those in the supposedly democratic western world, and am therefore all the more appalled and depressed when the taint of their true colours stains through the whitewash.


                    14. Where did most of your money go?

                    ~ That’s what I keep wondering.


                    15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

                    ~ Chelsea winning the Premiership for the second year in succession. If that seems trivial, it is because there was such a dearth of more significantly joyful things about which to get excited. I hope for more next year, even at the cost of Chelsea missing the hat-trick.


                    16. What song will always remind you of 2006?

                    ~ I don’t know yet. Not one sung for the first time in 2006, in all likelihood, since I’m hardly conscious of any recent releases, but I could be wrong about that. Ask me in a few years’ time, by which time I hope to have forgotten 2006 in any case.


                    17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

                    Happier or sadder?

                    ~ Hard to say. I’m a happy person by temperament, but the deepening sorrow of the wider world keeps intruding.

                    Thinner or fatter?

                    ~ My clothes still fit, so it must be “about the same”. Although some of them were pretty loose to start with.

                    Richer or poorer?

                    ~ I’ve no idea. Now, as then, I have enough for my needs, which is all that matters, and even enough for my self-indulgences, which are numerous but not truly extravagant.


                    18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

                    ~ Made love. There are some good things of which one cannot have too much. And travelled; only three countries visited must be my fewest for many years. Contradictorily though, given how destructive travel can be, I also wish I'd done more for the environment.


                    19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

                    ~ Wishful thinking. I’m far better at day-dreaming than actually doing things. But I wish I wasn’t.


                    20. How will you be spending Christmas 2007?

                    ~ Ask me again next December; I don’t plan that far ahead. Probably at home with family, which is the whole point of having Christmases.


                    21. Did you fall in love in 2006?

                    ~ No need to.


                    22. How many one-night stands?

                    ~ You don’t expect me to confess that here, do you? Still less to confess that I haven’t had any.


                    23. What was your favourite TV program?

                    ~ “Have I Got News For You?” remains good fun, although much more uneven these days without the reliable panache of Angus Deayton in the chair. Still, whatever the calibre of the various hosts, Hislop keeps the observations sharp and Merton the laughter flowing. But I think last year was even more of a vintage one for Bremner, Bird and Fortune, with some really cutting satire aimed at our political establishment, who richly deserve every barb thrown at them. Oh, and “Blues News” on Chelsea TV, my favourite soap opera.


                    24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

                    ~ No, I’m glad to say. Although it’s impossible not to hate some people, hatred is still an emotion best avoided, bringing as much grief to the hater as the hated. Probably more.


                    25. What was the best book you read?

                    ~ The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. Magnificently written, thought-provoking and wise. Must review it sometime. Among other good books I read, or rather reread, and did manage to review, were Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red and Tibor Fischer’s Under the Frog.


                    26. What was your favourite film of 2006?

                    ~ Terrible confession for someone who was once a movie buff: I hardly saw any new films at all in 2006. Only two that I can think of: The Queen – excellent performance by Helen Mirren, but I was out of sympathy with the subject-matter; and Casino Royale, which I thought great fun and by far the best take on Bond in years. So I suppose it has to be the latter. But I’ll only really know in a few years time when I’ve caught up with a few more of last year’s crop via TV, DVD, Maidstone Film Society or whatever. The new Almodovar sounds like it might be a contender in due course.


                    27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?

                    ~ My “personal fashion concept”, forsooth! Well, here goes: casual, comfortable, carefree. Ever since I discarded my work suits with a sigh of relief a few years ago, I’ve dressed in much the same way every day: shirt and jeans or trousers, sometimes T-shirt and shorts in the summer. Mostly dark colours – blue, purple or maroon – but no specific style. A good year is one in which I don’t think at all about fashion, or even about what to wear. It was one of the respects in which 2006 was a good year.


                    28. Whom did you miss?

                    ~ George W Bush. My rotten tomato landed about 4000 miles short. Next time I’ll try throwing the whole, unopened tin.


                    29. Who was the best new person you met?

                    ~ This is a tough question, because I seem to meet a lot of pleasant people, but the best of them all is probably so modest and self-effacing that I didn’t even realise that she or he was the best.


                    30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.

                    ~ That life’s lessons are seldom learned until it’s too late for them to be useful. Naturally, I knew that before, but it’s a lesson that needs to be learned afresh every year. Not always in time, of course.





                    © duncantorr 2007

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                      09.01.2007 23:58
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                      Its all about me me me

                      Thought I would follow trend and take a look back over the past 12 months yip meaning 2006. As the clock struck 12 I was on duty in the control room for the emergency service. From then on we where so busy that I never had any time to reflect over the past 12months. So here goes


                      January 2006- Not a lot happened 12mths ago this time well apart from we celebrated my grans 70th birthday. Nothing posh just a nice family get together.

                      February- this was the month that the real Marcelle and me decided that we would buy another car. We know that we wanted a 7 seater but we did not want to spend all that much. We had a budget of £2000 and then the search began. We went all around Edinburgh looking at second hand 7seaters. We finally found one that was available for £1900, which was a superb price for a Renault Espace. It is minted and we paid for it cash, well we used our debit card. It was great to be able to buy it without owing anyone money. We got the car a day later and now we had two cars. Edinburgh was hit by severe snowstorms, we loved it.

                      March- Not all good this month, I had been unwell for some of this month. I was having vacant episodes and would stare in to space. I went to the doctor and was referred to a specialist at the neurological sciences. I had a cat scan which was horrible feeling. I also had a test which including having these stupid things glues to my hair. The consultant was really nice and even spoken with my wife on the phone regarding my condition. To my horror I was re-diagnosed being epileptic, this time I had a better understanding of the condition. I was told my consultant that I have frontal lobe epilepsy which can be controlled by taking Epilim Chrono 1000mg daily. Luckily as I have not actually taken a full fit at this time I have not lost my licence

                      April – Possibly one of the busiest months that we have had, not only have we just be offered a new house, which we are desperate to move in to as we don’t get on with our current neighbours. So as well as working shifts we need to pack the house up and notify all our banks, council, etc that we are moving house. All packed up and ready to go or so we think. I suffer a epileptic seizure during the night which leaves me feeling like shit for most of the following day, work have been informed that I will not be in and now there is more bad news. My Vauxhall Corsa has just failed her MOT and is going to cost about £200 to fix. Right now I don’t have it…. Sorry Mrs. Last day of April seen us getting the keys for the new house and now the race began.

                      May –On the 1st we go stuck in to the decorating of the new house, wall by wall roof-by-roof every room was painted. Not to forget carpeting the entire house too. Well that’s a laugh of its own. Marcelle and me have never ever ever fitted a carpet until now. Ok its not that easy but we managed and yeah there not the best but believe me it was cheaper than getting a carpet fitter. All painted and carpeted I have to honestly say it looked great, after spending many late nights adding the finishing touches, we moved all our belongings in to the house and began to arrange them to there place. 28th of May also seen us hiring a huge bouncy castle from a nice guy in West Lothian for my sons 3rd birthday. It was great to have so many kids enjoying bouncy and jumping, the weather did us proud that day. Happy Birthday son

                      June- Marcelle and Me went away for a weekend to Berwick upon tweed, just the two of us it was lovely. A nice break from the normal hassle of Edinburgh. We just relaxed in the hotel and ate Indian food then drove back up to Edinburgh.

                      July – Another 1st birthday this month that was our nephew and not to forget my wife’s granddad was 80 this month too. We spent much of our time at the gardens feeding the squirrels and pigeons and the weather was lovely in Edinburgh for the best part of July.

                      August – A mile stone for my daughter this month as she celebrates her 1st birthday, getting lots of presents and a few birthday cakes. My daughter must be the most photographed girl this month. Not much more happened this month.

                      September – At last minute decision from Marcelle and me means that we are now jetting off to Cyprus for a week without the kids. Yeah just the two of us we wish. Now we went out there to see Marcelle sister get married. The best part is she never knew that we where going. The weather was amazing and Marcelle and me spent the entire holiday on the beach well apart from when we dressed for the wedding. A week pasted and we returned to the gloom weather of Scotland. We had to return to Glasgow airport a week later to collect Marcelle’s mum and dad, dropped them off in Lanarkshire and headed on to the M8 to return home, or so we thought… The weather was horrendous, fog was covering the motorway and I was unable to drive at speed, as visibility was so poor. I was fortunate to make it the service station and we stopped there. After a while we crawled back on to the M8 and stuck behind a truck all the way to Edinburgh. I tell you never again.

                      October – Time for the family annual holiday, jetting off this time with the kids, mother in law, sister, brother in law, and grandmother we all headed to the sunny resort Caverio that is in the Algarve. We had a ball and the weather was brilliant too. First time Marcelle and me hired a car abroad, it was easy to drive there as they drive on the same side of the road of us hehe. Before long we where back in sunny Scotland. Also in this month it was our 2nd wedding anniversary so we decided to go to the theatre to see Joseph and the amazing Technicolor dreamcoat. Ian Watkins yeah H from steps played the main part. Have to say he was not the best signer for it but I was still mega impressed with the production.

                      November – It was time for me and Marcelle to have some more time on our own, this time it was not as far away and it did not involve getting on a plane. Kids got dropped off at mothers and we set of by car to Glasgow SECC, which should have been a 60 to 90min drive. But as it was pissing of rain and I mean pissing we managed to get lost and in the end it taken us just over two hours to get there. Oh before I forget we went to see Pink in concert and I tell you she is amazing, she can belt those songs out without even trying. Now the second time I have seen her, She owns that stage and the crowd love her. I even had a wee dance and sing song.

                      December – beginning of this month was a disaster as we suffered a death in the family. Our beloved 7 seater passed away this month. Requiring £500 worth of work done we where not able to afford it so we parked the car up and bought another car. I know you might think we are mad but you’re just as well to get rid of a car that requires that much work. This month also seen Marcelle and me celebrate our 25th birthday which know makes us feel old. During this month we spent in excess of £2000 on Christmas presents. 25th of dec and Santa came to our place, leaving us all plenty of presents. Thanks Santa

                      As you can see, we have not done anything that exciting this year. In addition to what we have done there is one thing that we do really take a way from 2006 and that is a friendship of a lovely person who we have spoken to for most of the 2006. The person is kind, caring and very thoughtful. I shall not name this person but they will know who they are when the read this. Thank you and see you soon we promise.


                      Hope you enjoyed this

                      Marcellep – Robert

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                        09.01.2007 16:40
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                        what the title says....

                        Having read a few of these reviews, I thought I might give it a go, I thought it would also be a good way of keeping track of all the stuff that happened in 2006, sorry if it gets a bit long, I will try not to babble too much! Also, I forgive all of you that skim this review, I know I am being self indulgent and writing this for myself!

                        I have tried to also incorporate a soundtrack to each month of my year, as we all have an album that we do to death every month...so if I haven't reviewed the album, look out for them!

                        So lets start at the very beginning, all good stories start that way anyway, so I'll start on January 31 2005.

                        ~January~

                        Ahhh, mine and Snarf's first new year together, we decided to go to Eight over Eight on the Kings Road with our good friends Tom & Mel, to be honest I didn't really enjoy the food, it was one of those pretentious "eclectic" Asian restaurants, you know one of those places that gives you a heart attack when you get the bill. On the upside, the wine and company was brilliant. So we spent New Years in the restaurant and were kicked out at about 0:30 hours January 1st.

                        I have a great picture of snarf staring at a bus stop, fag hanging out of mouth & pink Cath Kidstone bag on arm - will see if I can find it and upload!

                        Snarf and I decided to carry on, but could not persuade our buddies, and ended up at the Dragon Bar in Old Street, and met some random Americans sprinkling glitter over people. Snarf had an unfortunate accident that night, on his way to the toilets, he slipped down the drink coated stairs and slit his wrist open on his watch - there was lots of blood everywhere, his watch was buggered, which he still hasn't repaired and he still has the scars today, anyway that night ended at about 7am, after the Dragon Bar kicked us out and we found that no other establishments would let us in!

                        The following week was my Birthday, I was to turn 22, Snarf surprised me by taking me to Edinburgh for the weekend, it was amazing, Birthday eve was spent at a lovely restaurant called The Outsider and had one of the best meals I have ever had for pittance (hmmm....should review that place), it was here that I discovered my love for venison. Later on a friend of ours came to meet us and took us to the Jazz Bar where we partied 'til the wee hours of the morning, upon returning to our hotel The Bank Hotel (ohh another to review) we found that I had a birthday twin and carried on drinking until about 6am and I introduced Snarf to the joys of Jaeger Bombs!

                        Hmmm....what else happened, oh yes, I was threatened with redundancy for the second time in two years, so decided to go job hunting, I found a new job internally, got the position and transferred up to London mid/late January.

                        Soundtrack for January: Feist - Let it Die
                        Track of the Month - Mushaboom

                        ~February~

                        Ooooo I spent a lot of this one in tears, one night Snarf and I went to the Florist Bar, near Bethnal Green Tube station and we were talking about my living arrangements, at this point I was spending about 3 hours a day commuting up to London. I had found a place to live in Broadway Market with two other girls, but Snarf was getting cold feet, we ended up having a rather emotional conversation, which ended at about 3 in the morning and us breaking up, and Snarf declared that he wasn't sure if he loved me and saw me in his future, we are like chalk and cheese, my friends describe me as a balloon, and Snarf as the one who holds onto the string.

                        I was devastated and did not go to work the next day, and told my boss what had happened in a flood of tears - I had only been working for her for less than a month, she was wonderfully understanding, and told me to take off as long as I wanted. Early the next week I got up the courage to phone him and ask what was going on, he was at home with his parents and asked if he could come and meet me after work at the end of the week - shockingly I was not sure, but agreed anyway.

                        Mid that week I had seen an ad on one of those flat share sites and called up a guy about a room in a flat in London Bridge - a 15 min walk from Blackfriars where I was now working - he wanted to meet me on Saturday - woohoo!

                        At the end of the week I met up with Snarf and it turns out that he was in a worse state than me, the little devil on my shoulder started dancing around with glee (yes I know I am a bitch!). So once the awkward silences were over we did what we do best and started drinking, later that night we went down along the north side of the river (towards Cannon Street) and found the ruins of an old church, smack bang in the middle of the city, I think it is called St Dunstans, I only remember this because it is the name of the church in the village I went to school in. It was late and we decided to scale the walls of the ruins and sit there whilst finishing our wine, can you imagine scaling a 6ft wall with a skirt on?!

                        The next day I went to see the new flat and meet my new flatmate and his boyfriend. We had a chat and Snarf and I took a walk to Borough Market and then over to the Tower of London. Whilst having a fag and wondering where we could get a cleansing ale my phone rang, it was Queen Neil offering me first refusal on the flat! I promptly accepted and went over to Bermondsey Street to have a celebratory drink with him and his boyfriend, where we stayed until 2am!

                        Two weeks later I moved into my chav chic pad on the 17th floor, overlooking the whole of London, it was amazing, I could see Tower Bridge open and close, I awoke every morning to views of Canary Wharf, watched the sun turning the sky scrapers pinky purple in the evenings and cooked to views of Crystal Palace.

                        Soundtrack of the Month: Neon Heights - Hot Trip to Heaven
                        Track of the Month: Listen to the Music/Breakfast Table

                        ~March~

                        Ohh more drinking, we all went on a family holiday to Prague, every year my lovely momma treats the kids to a holiday, so off we went my momma, her partner, my sister & her stoopid boyfriend, Snarf & I.

                        The main thing I remember about Prague was that on the first night, after dinner, the "children" decided to do what we all do best and sniff out a good bar, we went crossed the Charles Bridge (or as my momma would say charl' bree-je) and found ourselves a really lovely jazz bar, there was graffiti all over the walls of past customers, we added our own stamp! Lickle Sis and her boyf wimped out (amateurs!) early and went home, and left the professionals to it. Later that night I believe we may have paid a visit to a MaccyD's on our stumble home, oh and the worst pick pocket in the world attempted to work his magic on Snarf...the only problem was all the pockets in his Northface Jacket were confusing him - bless. We arrived at our Holiday Inn Express doodah and found we were locked out and had to call my Mum's partner, who luckily had stayed awake (taking his new found father figure role very seriously) until he was sure that all the children were tucked up safely in bed - it was 5am by this point.

                        Snarf will remember this, but my Momma, being the good momma that she is decided to treat the children to a night at a strip club upon hearing that poor Snarf had never been to one - apparently he hadn't enjoyed it - yeah right!

                        Oh March 27 saw mine and Snarf's 1st anniversary, we had a massive row because I bought him tickets to see Terry Callier at the Jazz Cafe & he invited his best mate along (who I don't get on with), because he hadn't realised that it was our anniversary - duh!

                        Soundtrack of March: Terry Callier - Light and Soul Of Chicago
                        Track of the Month: Blues for Marcus (live studio recording)

                        Soundtrack for March: King Creosote - KC Rules Ok
                        Track of the month: Not one bit ashamed

                        Two for March, we saw a lot of gigs, but these two were brilliant!

                        ~April~

                        I decided that I was quite enjoying the big smoke and wanted to buy a flat, I persuaded ikle sis to put down the other half of the deposit (stoopid, stoopid mistake, but more later) and started the search. In the first week I found a lovely property 5 mins walk from Bermondsey Tube station, going super cheap, unfortunately we lost that place, but the same day the flat next door came up - we promptly put in an offer and it was accepted!

                        Soundtrack for April: Blondie - Greatest Hits
                        Track of the Month: Heart of Glass

                        ~May~

                        My Dad, his partner and my baby brother arrived in England for two months, think that's about it for May.

                        Soundtrack for May: Sian Super Crew - KLR
                        Track of the month: Raz De Maree

                        ~June~

                        My likle sis turns 21, still no news on the flat, apparently we are still waiting for paper work from the other side, my Dad, partner & baby return to the Philippines at the end of the month.

                        Snarf and I had been bitching and moaning about not having a holiday this year, so we decided on a whim one Sunday to take a bit of a road trip round France, so that Wednesday evening we were in France! Love this spontaneous stuff of youth!

                        We basically drove around the north east area of France (Pas de Calais), staying at chambres d'hotes, eating moules & drinking vin, it was lovely. We woke up every morning and just drove somewhere, had a potter round, and over lunch, consulted our bible - Alistair Sawdry's Chambres d'hotes and chose a place to stay, called them up and rocked up that afternoon.

                        Soundtrack for June: The Magic Numbers - The Magic Numbers
                        Track of the Month: I See You, You See Me

                        ~July~

                        Not too much happens, I am getting anxious as I need to move out at the beginning of August and there is still no news, at the end of July I find out that the vendor never had an intention of selling and had never informed her solicitor - arghhhh!!!

                        Quick jump back on the horse, find somewhere else...

                        Soundtrack for July: Amp Fiddler - Waltz of a Ghetto Fly
                        Track of the month: I believe in You

                        ~August~

                        Find the place that we are living in now, and put an offer in, that gets accepted woohoo!!! Move out of chav chic pad 2nd week in August and start the three hour commute again *groan*.

                        On the plus side, much more disposable income, my alcohol levels go through the roof - living rent free at my Dad's plus full time live in house keeper - cushty!

                        Soundtrack for August: Warren G - Regulate
                        Track of the month: Regulate

                        ~September~

                        My Solicitor is ridiculously slow and I am getting board of commuting, I am loosing precious drinking time by sitting on a train - not much to report, mainly just sleeping, working & eating.

                        Soundtrack for September: Husky Rescue - Country Falls
                        Track of the Month: City Lights

                        ~October~

                        Woohoo!!! I can move in!! Now the decorating starts.....

                        End of November, our house keeper leaves to go back to the Philippines, we are devastated, not to mention the fact that our rooms are now a mess, going home just isn't the same any more, may just stay in London.

                        Soundtrack for October: Liley Allen - Alright Still
                        Track of the Month: LDN

                        ~November~

                        ....Still Decorating.....

                        Soundtrack for November: Peaches - The Teaches of Peaches
                        Track of the Month: AA XXX

                        ~December~

                        ...and still, surprise, surprise decorating.

                        Dad, Partner and Baby arrive in England for Christmas.

                        Works Christmas party, commence midday at the old bank of England, we all get very drunk, and start on a pub crawl down Fleet Street. Midnight, time to go home, on the way home, a colleague finds a coconut and puts in my bag, on the way home he breaks it open against a wall and eats it, finding remnants in his fridge the following morning.

                        The next day yet another Christmas party, start time 1pm - free bar until 6pm which we all make the most of, dance around to cheesy music getting very drunk, my Boss decides to escort me to another pub on Commercial Street, I ask a cabbie to marry me, upon arrival at Gramophone, Boss and I decide to have a cheeky spliff behind a building, at this point am well on my way, I think I may have taken a wee pee behind a building!

                        Back home to deepest darkest Sussex for Christmas, returning to London on the Friday. Saturday morning is taken up with you guessed it more decorating, oh and preparations for New Year's Eve & my first ever Dinner Party!

                        Oh look, we are back to where we started, it is December 31 again. Wake up and clean flat and kitchen in preparation for making a mess, we have a 4 kilo fish salmon in the fridge, all is going to plan! Two hours before the beast is due to go in the fridge, we get a phone call from a friend whose New Year's plans have fallen through and asks if he may join us, we oblige, he then asks if his girlfriend can come oh and mentions she is a veggie who won't eat fish - how rude!

                        Let the cooking of the feast commence, I am doing my first ever dinner party, it is for 10 people and one is a sodding veggie, anyway, all goes to plan later that evening, a large amount of Gold Wasser is drunk, lots of wine & lots of champagne. Oh and rude veggie is the only white wine drinker, she does not bring any white, but opens two bottles at ours and only has a glass out of each - to all those veggies reading this, it is people like her who give you guys a bad name!

                        Dinner is a success stumble over to Cat and Mutton to count down the new year....

                        You will have to wait until next year to see how the evening finished off!!!

                        Soundtrack for December: Tom Middleton's Cosmosonica: Crazy Covers Vol 1
                        Track of the Month: White Lines (Barefoot) & Free Fallin' (Live) Kings of Convenience.


                        Sound Track for 2006 - Tom Middleton's Cosmosonica: Crazy Covers Volume 1
                        Track of the year: White Lines (Barefoot)


                        Well done to all of those who read this, thank you for reading and hope you all have a wonderful 2007!


                        xxx

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                          09.01.2007 08:33
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                          An eventful Year

                          So 2006 has gone and here I sit on the first day of the New Year thinking about the events of the last 12 months. It's certainly been an interesting 12 months and one that has seen a number of trips abroad, a house move and a general lifestyle change. All of which, looking back makes for interesting memories. But rather than prattle on here I'll just get on with it.

                          January - This time last year I sat in my room at home and decided that it really would be the year I moved out of home, so I started House hunting and although I looked at a few places nothing really grabbed me and said this was the place. I decided that with a new year it was time for a few changes, I was recently single for the first time in 2 years and with my new found freedom decided to book a trip to Barcelona in February. Work wise January passed without too much incident and everything else seemed to just tick over nicely.

                          February - Another couple of Flats and again nothing that really captured my imagination. The only one that came close was sold just before I managed to get a mortgage sorted out on it. My first site for Kier Partnership started around the middle of the month just before I went off on Holiday for a week. The trip to Barcelona was the first time I've actually travelled on my own and it was certainly an eye opening experience. I'd never really given much thought to going places on my own but it was very enjoyable and if I ever have to will travel on my own again.

                          March - Quite an uneventful month on the whole. Still trawling around all number of houses and flats around the Basingstoke area and not really finding much that interested me. I did get my mortgage sorted out though and that was certainly a help as it gave me a defined price range. Carlisle were steadily climbing up League two and I was still making it to as many games as was humanly possible. Again nothing too exciting happening on the work front other than my Diploma course with the College Of Estate Management starting up.

                          April - It really was one of those months in April. The first weekend of the month seen a visit to my Aunties in Cumbria and a chance to watch Carlisle take on Grimsby at Brunton Park. It was to prove a very good month to be supporting the Blues as well. Over the Easter weekend I put down a deposit on a brand new, shared ownership flat after seeing an advert in the paper. It would however be another 4 months before I actually moved in. Carlisle then guaranteed promotion away at Mansfield, where I, along with 4000 other Carlisle fans witnessed a late goal to take us back to League 1. Another trip to Cumbria at the end of the month rounded things off nicely and a busy April was put well and truly behind me.

                          May - After April I need a month to really recover from it all. Work was still ticking along nicely and my health was the best it had been for a long long time. The mortgage on the flat was all done and everything seemed to be proceeding nicely. Bought myself a ticket to the Isle Of Wight Festival to give myself a few days off during June. Carlisle won the Championship away at Rochdale, but as it was a Tuesday night I didn't actually make it. Other than that nothing too eventful happened during May.

                          June - The month started off with a planned trip to the Isle Of Wight to the festival and of course this also coincided with England's first World Cup game. Watched at Newport Football club on the big screen in the glorious sunshine. There was a bit of bad news as my mortgage fell through, but I did have a back up plan and although it took about a month to get it all sorted again I was still waiting for a moving date. This month also seen me starting to collect up bits and pieces for the new flat and overrunning my parents house.

                          July - Another month of waiting for the flat to be finished and the arrival of my sofa a month early meant space was getting quite limited at my parents. After a glorious summer's day outing to TopGolf in Watford a few of us decided a Christmas trip skiing was on the cards. So we scoured the internet and booked a week in Les 2 Alps in France for the Christmas week. Well I could only just afford it and it seemed like a very good idea. Other than that another quite month but the weather was fantastic. Having booked my Holiday I decided to get my weight down and started on a change of living and eating habits.

                          August - After 4 months of waiting I was told at the start of August I could move in within 2 weeks and so on the 18th August I moved to Basingstoke. The majority of the month was spent packing up all my stuff at home and then un packing it at the new place. By the end of the month I was in and settled, with the minimum amount of stress possible for this sort of thing. I also went to Reading Festival at the end of the month, which like the Isle of Wight was a very good weekend. My parents also announced that they would be taking me to Munich in mid September.

                          September - The month of September seen me turn 24 and another year older meant a big night out around town and a visit to Crewe for the Football. I was now totally settled in the new flat and starting to get used to living on my own. Went to Munich to Oktoberfest opening weekend and that really was quite an experience. A weekend of drinking some of the finest beer I've ever tasted mixed with the culture and history that Munich has to offer. Everything else, work, health etc was ticking along nicely and life was going pretty well.

                          October - Another interesting month and another that seen a few changes happen once again. Life in the flat was certainly growing on me and having my own space was fantastic. After 3 months on my diet I'd lost 2 stone and was incredibly pleased with the achievement. I also finally met up with Pip in October for the first time. We'd been chatting online for most of the year and really got to know each other very well. At the end of October we met for the first time and as they say it just went from there and now, two months later we're still together and very happy. A slight complication came up with our holiday though, as our original resort was overbooked. So instead it turned out we were heading to Val D'Isere for the week instead.

                          November - Another eventful month as the run up to Christmas really got underway. Towards the end of the month I was caught for speeding for the first time in 7 years and had the nice expense of a 60 pound fine, but no complaints as it was fair game. Met Pip's mum for the first time this month as well and although it was quite nerve wracking it all went very well. At work we were close to finishing the Guildford development for Thames Valley Housing. With the snowboarding holiday just around the corner we headed to Xscape in Milton Keynes for a day on the slope there for some much needed practice.

                          December - Another busy month, but then the run up to Christmas is always a difficult, busy time. A drunken incident on the 3rd seen me with a cut lip, broken tooth, twisted ankle and damaged pride. It was nothing too serious though and all wounds have now healed. I also took Pip to the works Xmas do, which was a very good night at Oakley Hall in Basingstoke. A visit to Lincoln and my Uncles also came about this month as I had to take their Xmas presents up. Finally there was the small matter of a flight to Grenoble on the 23rd December and a week in Val D'Isere for Christmas. After a week of Snowboaridng I was totally knackered but it was certainly worth it.

                          So that is my year in a brief summary. I'm now a lot happier than I was this time last year. I've got a decent place to live, a really fantastic girlfriend, I've lost 2 stone 7 pound now to bring me down to 14 stone overall. On top of all that I've seen my beloved Carlisle win the Championship in League 2 and hold their own in League 1. I've travelled to a few new places and one old favourite. Overall 2006 was actually a really good year and hopefully 2007 will only be an improvement on that.

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                            08.01.2007 23:27
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                            Taking a look at the year past!

                            2006 in review!

                            Well we have come to the end of yet another year….and I have been thinking about all I have done this year and all I've seen. It really has just flown past in a whiz!

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øJANUARYº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º
                            As many of you know 2006 didn't have a great start to it for me as Christmas 2005 I awoke to find I had Bells Palsy as a present from Santa…and was still a bit down and tired from it until about Mid January when the symptoms began to subside. Even for a few weeks after the symptoms were fully gone my confidence was a bit shattered and I was still tired a lot of the time, but as I was still at college and work placement 4 and half days per week I just had to grin and bear it. I survived by writing, reading and generally chatting to my Ciao and Dooyoo friends online and didn't really have much of a social life in that time!
                            Sadly at the end of January I got the news my mum's brother died of cancer, we weren't particularly close but still he was family!

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øFEBRUARYº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º
                            February was much better for me mentally, I still wasn't out and about as much except for work/college related things, or with my kids, but I was writing more than ever before…plenty of reviews on Ciao and Dooyoo will testify to that! (thanks to those who read them) I also got the news that I'd passed another block of my course despite being ill so all good!
                            Another sad death in the family this month....my Uncle who died last month left behind a grieving widow...who just 3 weeks after losing her husband died suddenly of heart trouble. I felt so sorry for my cousins who were now left alone, and put aside any troubles we had previously had to try include them in family...but they didn't want to know. I will continue to try.

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øMARCHº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º
                            Well as I didn't have a great Christmas I decided that my birthday would be a good excuse to celebrate. So on the 3rd of March I decorated the house with some of the Christmas decorations, put up a mini tree….and made a turkey dinner for my children and I to have our own little mini Christmas/birthday celebration, my sisters popped round that evening with my presents and their children and we had a little party. On the Saturday night my friends and I done some celebrating of our own by going on a pub crawl in town, ending up in a karaoke bar with me doing a rendition of Fairground Attraction's - Perfect! And perfect I was not LOL
                            I did enjoy myself though and had quite a few drinks bought for me by my friends and some of the locals!
                            I was well on my way back to my former self again after that!

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øAPRILº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º
                            Ahhh the month of chocolate…Easter eggs and fluffy bunnies…I requested no one buy my son chocolate easter eggs unless it was nut free chocolate but some people just forget, it was a bit disappointing for him even though he did get a fair amount of chocolate (which I hasten to add usually lays weeks without getting eaten before I decide to make chocolate rice crispie cakes for them to take to school to share) I was very good in that I didn't overindulge as I usually do at this time of year….

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øMAYº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º

                            Son's birthday month, he turned 8…where does time go??? I threw him a football party at the local sports centre for all of his friends and cousins to attend, with a bouncy castle and soft play/music for the girls who weren't interested in footy! Cost me a fortune but was worth it to see how he enjoyed it! Plus meant no mess at home…there's method to my madness!
                            Things are starting to come to an end at college, sat the assessments for all units and passed with flying colours, which I was delighted at! Only one exam left and that's the Scottish Higher in Child Development which I sit in June…..

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øJUNEº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º

                            And so onto the Higher…I hate exams! I get so stressed out and tired when I know I have an exam to sit, even though I passed the prelim for this with good results I was still very nervous…I came out of the exam relieved…I basically knew the work involved, and thought I had done quite well….all that remained now was to wait for the results in August. A big night out was planned for end of term party…so most of the girls in our class all went for a meal, a couple of lecturers too, and then went to a nightclub to celebrate the end of the year! I passed my NC no problem and so did all of the other students in my class bar one.
                            June also saw my son admitted to Hospital with an unknown illness, he had to stay in the Royal Alexrandia in Paisley for 4 nights whilst they done all sorts of tests on him...a very worrying time for us all....but results from tests came back two weeks later telling us that he had had Glandular Fever! he's 8 years old and this was a big surprise to me as I thought that only teenagers got this! oh well....docs know best I suppose!

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øJULYº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º

                            And so starts summer…I really enjoyed my summer holidays even though I didn't manage to get away anywhere…I went on various day trips with my children, went to the beach often and just relaxed and enjoyed them! I met a guy and had a bit of a summer romance…but it didn't last very long, the distance between us being the major factor…we are still friends today though.

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øAUGUSTº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º
                            August being the month of the Ciao Glasgow meet I was very excited about meeting Sheena, Pauline, Gina, Belinda, (also fellow Dooyooers as well) and their partners. I booked myself into The Glasgow Holiday Inn for the weekend, my first time being in a hotel alone….but I actually loved it…although I didn't really spend too much time on my own as I was too busy meeting with all the other lovely Ciaoer's who turned up that weekend! I went shopping too that weekend as I was due to start back at college again on the Tuesday directly after it, so thought I better get myself some new clothes to wear for it… excuses excuses!!!! And so back to college…student loan funded this year so here starts the debts! Thankfully on my first day back I discovered most of my class had stayed the same with only a couple of new additions and 2 girls had left to pursue other options…so we settled back into things easily.
                            I also got the results of my Higher this month ………… I got a C pass. Not what I was expecting as I thought I had done better, I'd at very least expected a B! I did ask if I could appeal but as I had got a B+ in my prelim I was told I couldn't appeal as I didn't get an A! I was only 3 marks from the A though but that didn't matter. Oh well I can always re-sit at my own expense later if I want to!

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øSEPTEMBERº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º

                            September was a busy month for me, I started my new placement in a nursery catering for 3-5 pre-schoolers…I settled into the routine quickly and earned myself the respect of my fellow colleagues, It isn't an easy job, but I love it. I would love it even more if I didn't have all my college work on top of it lol….
                            This month saw me buying a new pair of chocolate brown leather sofas, getting my living room re-decorated and laminate flooring laid, as well as buying and building new flat pack furniture for my living room too….thank goodness for student loans haha. I also saved some money for Christmas time too… I received a wonderful prize this month also from Lightspeed surveys…I had won £250 in one of their prize draws in August and it popped through my letterbox about 3 weeks into September allowing me to not feel too guilty about spending so much money on decorating!

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øOCTOBERº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º

                            The summer has truly gone now, weather is changing, getting colder, my tan fading….college work is hard going, have so many deadlines and assignments to hand in that I feel as if I'm burning candle far too much at both ends just now. Haven't had much time for writing since going back to college and my apologies to everyone for that...but I know that you all understand, Still loving my work placement though!

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øNOVEMBERº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º

                            My daughter's birthday on the 9th, saw me slipping out of college early in order to pick kids up from school on time, We rushed home, and got changed quickly, her dad picked us up and took us all to The Big Adventure in Linwood, which is a children's indoor soft play and fun centre. When we got there the place was almost deserted, it was a Thursday night about 5 by the time we got there. We had a light snack there and the kids loved having the place almost to themselves and ran riot! My daughter said it was her best birthday ever! Which was lovely.
                            We then went to Toys R Us to let her spend some of her birthday money on a new toy of her choice, son had taken some of his birthday money which he had saved as well and bought something too. We then left and went to McDonalds for a birthday treat dinner. (their choice not mine)
                            A great time was had by all.

                            ø¤º°`°º¤øDECEMBERº¤ø,¸¸,ø¤º

                            And so finally onto December…A busy month for most people! I had already bought most of my Christmas presents for everyone and wrapped them before December even had begun, so unlike me as I'm usually a last minute type of girl! So the time I would normally have spent shopping was spent with my family and friends. Christmas parties and pantomimes was top of the list for fun times this month, Mother Goose being the local Panto production which was fantastic! My children's school also put on a pantomime production every year, with the primary one children doing the nativity (so different every year the teacher puts a lot of work into it) and this year the drama group put on Scheherazade, An Arabian nights production which I bought the DVD of as well! It was fantastic…my son had a great little part too which he was praised for.
                            Christmas for me this year was a quiet affair, My children and I woke on Christmas morning, rushed downstairs to see if Santa had been and proceeded to rip open every present in sight…..Santa had been very good to them indeed! I got the usual chocolates and smellies…..far too many chocolates for someone trying to lose weight so ended up donating some to my mum who is past caring lol.
                            The rest of 2006 was spent playing Monopoly, Nintendo Ds and eating way too much, but enjoying every moment of it!

                            As a little sub note for December, I was shocked to the core when on the 18th of December my good friend Danny, aka Dempsey sent me an instant message on msn to bring me the tragic news of Louisa, or as we will all remember her playgirl27 who had died that very morning! Danny had a text from Lou's brother to inform him, and he was devastated as I was when I heard. I couldn't help but feel a deep sorrow for her poor family that she left behind, Lou and I had shared some good conversations on msn and even though we hadn't been in proper contact very much recently - my fault…I was too busy I am sad to say…which I will always regret. My thoughts are will her family and friends at this sad time.




                            So here's to another year….Hope 2007 brings happiness and health to everyone! Xxx

                            Thanks for reading
                            Michelle * Jan 2007

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                              08.01.2007 23:07
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                              Loved 2006.

                              I was sitting in my living room on New Years Eve surrounded by my family, my fiancé and his family and thinking what a wonderful way to spend the last few moments of 2006 which had been a very strange but wonderful year for me. I saw this topic and thought I would do a review as this year has been one of the most challenging for me and although I have had my ups and downs I think 2006 was wonderful in my personal life so I thought I would take a look at me and then some of the world wide issues from 2006.

                              -----

                              All About Me:

                              The year began with me being at home and very recently having a pay rise at work which was wonderful. I had my boyfriend Dave and I can truly say I was an extremely happy person. The first part of 2006 that I can remember very well is my birthday as I sat in my house and thought how lucky am I? Everybody had come round to see me throughout the day and I had thoroughly enjoyed myself. Then the week after my bosses took me out for some drinks and me and my work mates had such a good night and I even managed to rekindle a relationship with one of my very old friends who I hadn’t seen in years.

                              The next milestone for me was going on holiday to Corfu with Dave. When we got there we thought it was such a beautiful island but unfortunately where we were staying was really not that nice but we decided we were going to have a great time and visited so many different places and did so many things that we enjoyed every minute. Then one night at sunset my Dave got down on one knee and proposed to me with the most gorgeous ring I had ever seen. Ever since that date back in June I have been staring at it at any opportunity.

                              So with an engagement in the year, the next big news was to come from Dave’s sister who said she was expecting a baby. This was great news as they were trying for a while. Then my friend gave birth to her son who is wonderful and another friend gave birth to a daughter so everybody was so happy for, well everybody. Then my sister and cousin passed their A levels which was amazing so they were both off to do degrees. My other cousin also did all of his GCSE’s so he could go on to do A levels. The clever people.

                              The next news was for me and Dave as we bought our lovely little house. Nobody told me how painstaking the process of buying a house is and it was long, expensive and tiresome but the day we got our keys was one of my happiest. We got in there and then mine and his family helped us both for a few days get ourselves sorted and it was honestly so much fun. I never imagined how great it would be to own a house and make it your own and even the bills don’t bring me down (well most of the time anyway).

                              So after this eventful time I ended the year on another high. Dave found a great job which he loves and I managed to gain a head into my job which I really enjoy. Then one of my closest friends gets married which was so great and I am so happy for them both. Then I had the most memorable Christmas party with my work colleagues where we just had a nice time and had good drinks and food and enjoyed ourselves.

                              Christmas this year was spent exactly how I wanted it with my family and Dave of course. We had a great family Christmas with no complications and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. You know how holidays usually have an air of you would never want to repeat that well the whole week I had off work I loved every second and it makes me smile just thinking about it. Then I come full circle to New Year surrounded by people who I love and having a laugh.

                              I think I can safely say that 2006 was a fantastic and eventful year for me and I loved it and I just hope that personally 2007 is as good.

                              -----

                              Life in General:

                              Well Celeb land was eventful this year with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt having a baby and a really cute one at that. Then we have Britney Spears being trailer trash for most of the year and then dumping Kev which was fantastic. Then we have Madonna adopting a baby legally or illegally nobody knows. Then we have the infamous Pete and Nikki relationship from Big brother.

                              In the real world unfortunately not everything was that wonderful as England didn’t win the world cup even though deep down we all knew they wouldn’t anyway. Serious things happened such as more bombings, more war and more extreme weather. I have to say the worst thing for me was Steve Irwin being killed as I have always been a big fan of his and one of my life’s ambitions was to see him at his zoo as he was an amazing man.

                              I think 2006 has seen some good and bad things happen and as always the world has shown what a strangely wonderful planet it is and also that it can always surprise us. I could go into a lot more things but it would take hours and you would all be bored so I will stop there.

                              -----

                              2006:

                              It is always a time for thinking back over the year in January. We are back at work and thinking about the future and maybe how the past can help us. I think when you look back you should remember all times be them happy or sad as most things are worth remembering. The main thing to do though is remember we are at the start of a new year so if you want to make a difference then now is the time to start. Make new year resolutions as it will make you feel better then break them within a week as that will make you feel even better.

                              Have fun in 2007 everybody.

                              Thanks for reading.

                              xxx

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                                08.01.2007 22:48
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                                My two years.

                                Thought it was time to look back at 2006 however as most of the year is a vague blur of random nothingness then it was important to document my year to ensure that when it comes to write my auto biography there is a point of reference to rely upon. Having a split personality does mean that I have twice as much to write about both as FDH and my alter ego and international porn star Skip Newton (for your porn name take your pets names first and add the name of the street you live in).


                                What did you do in 2006 that you've never done before?

                                The start of the year saw me continuing to take a break from the world of work before having a complete change of career to start a teaching course at Warwick University. The one year course will enable me to teach Business and Economics in secondary schools and I must say that it is the best thing that I have ever done.

                                A great start to the year as I won the coveted Girth of the Year award at the Palm D’Or Adult Entertainment awards which are the porn equivalent of the Oscars and was m first award. I was a little upset that I did not get best supporting role for my part in Chubby Birds on Top but maybe next year.

                                2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

                                I vaguely remember deciding on a couple of resolutions last year and I did do a couple, talking to more people on the tube worked well at first but the constant rebukes got tiring however I did get to dive the Thistlegorm which was a long standing desire of mine. For this year I have not made any as January is not the best time to make and stick to new commitments in my opinion.

                                Did keep my resolution not to do gay porn as the site of a hairy ass does nothing for me which is the same reason I refuse to do Greek porn as well. I think I will keep this resolution going and also refrain from sharing my resolutions with Yanni who owns my local kebab shop as I suspect him of tampering with my food.

                                3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

                                Thankfully no although from the look of the woman sitting on the bus one day it was a close run thing as she seemed in a bit of discomfort. Not wanting to get involved in baby delivery on the number 9 bus I decided not to extend my resolution of talking to people on the tube to include all modes of transport. One of my close friends had her second child a coupe of days before New Year but other than that baby production was largely remiss from my year.

                                There was an unfortunate incident during the filming of Lactating Momma 4 which saw the filming stopped only to be restarted when it was pointed out that there was a whole different even more disturbing market for such stuff. I did start to question my choice of career at this point in time.

                                .

                                4. Did anyone close to you die?

                                No as with the lack of births so there was a lack of deaths in my life not that I’m complaining.

                                Sadly this year saw the demise of my close friend Mufty Plenty a very talented actress who just failed to pull off the double entry sky diving stunt that would have made film history. Sadly missed as will be the other two male talent and the cameraman on that ill advised scene.

                                5. What countries did you visit?

                                Managed to fit in a trip to Egypt to go scuba diving, Paris to watch the Champions League Final and also the Loire Valley for a couple of weeks in the summer with the kids.

                                I tend to identify the countries I have visited by the women I have visited (if you know what I mean) so that would be most of Eastern Europe, Asia, North America as well as Dudley.

                                6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?

                                I would really like to develop my psychic abilities to read minds and predict the future. This would certainly help in my formative plans for world domination and would provide the necessary funding to build my mind control ray.

                                That best supporting role award that I missed out on this time round.

                                7. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

                                Has to be my birthday the 30th March as this was the day that I completed the third dive on the Thistlegorm which is one of the top five wreck dives in the world and had long been a glaring omission from my dive log and was a superb way to kick off my birthday celebrations.

                                For all the wrong reasons the 29th February the day after my acceptance speech following Best Girth Award when I had thanked my father for passing on the genes to make me the man I was. Unfortunately this came as a bit of a surprise to father as it turned out he was not that well endowed.

                                8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

                                Surviving my first teaching placement at what would charitably be described as a challenging school on the behaviour front.

                                Managing to make it the 12,000 miles back to my parents’ home when Dad discovered he was not my natural father so that I could ensure their marriage did not fail.

                                9. What was your biggest failure?

                                Not really had one that I can think of although I do fail to make the most of my work time and could be a lot more efficient with my lesson planning.

                                Having to move my father into his bachelor apartment after a failed 12,000 mile dash to save their marriage.

                                10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

                                Apart from a slight muscle pull after over exertion in the gym I have been pretty healthy this year.

                                Carpet burns are an occupational habit as are false nail related injuries give the tendency to wear long false ones which do hinder the giving of a jackhammer surprise with a twist however my worst injury was sustained in an off camera incident in the privacy of my own home, having performed a flying leap from my MFI pine effect wardrobe (with double mirrors and executive knobs) to land perfectly on to the prone form of Toots Hotlove I failed to realise that her implants had set like stone after a botched operation and I broke a rib

                                11. What was the best thing you bought?

                                The best thing that I bought was a ticket to the Champions League final in Paris of some bloke from Portugal, £320 might sound like a lot, and it is but in the context that others were paying £750 and the fact that even though my team lost to be honest chances are they will not make a final again for many years to come it was worth it and I had a great few days in Paris.

                                I have now purchased a bullet proof jacket in case of a return bout with Toots.

                                12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

                                My daughter who showed great persistence in making sure that she progressed up in her riding after a number of attempts to get moved up to a jumping class.

                                Ivana Tinkle the star of Polish cinema for setting the farmyard gang bang record in Heisenberg last March. It was a major achievement although it has put me off pork for ever.


                                13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

                                Anybody who entered a reality TV show last year especially those celebrities in any of the main shows, closely followed by anyone who watched the shows.

                                Storm Longman for attempting to steal my copy of Hello magazine with the pictures of Carol Vorderman in it at the Henley Regatta eating a cornetto. He knows it is the only thing that works for me in times of pressure.

                                14. Where did most of your money go?

                                Mostly on the bottomless pit that is my kids and the fact that they both seem to have bi-weekly growth spurts that renders their clothes useless.

                                Insuring my copy of Hello against theft and accidental damage, damn you greedy insurance companies.

                                15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

                                Well in Paris I lost my voice by half time so you could say I was a little excited at that point in time especially after Sol scored.

                                Meeting the legend that is Candy Sweetbits who is my hero and getting to appear with her in Grandma Groans 5 was a real treat although to be fair time and gravity has not been kind to the star of the 60’s porn industry.

                                16. What song will always remind you of 2006?

                                No one song but the album that I have played the most this year is Costello Music by the Fratellis which is the first album I have of theirs (could be their first for all I know) and it is a great listen with some really strong tracks.

                                Sexual Healing from Marvin Gaye which was played at the funeral of Mufty, if it had not been for the botox closing all of the tear duct there would not have been a dry eye in the place however some of the true professionals in the congregation had bought little water pistols to fake tears.

                                17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

                                - happier or sadder?

                                I will go with happier.

                                Happier as I was up for the role with Mufty so I’m glad to be alive.

                                - Richer or poorer?

                                Currently I’m a student so poorer financially but richer in terms of happiness and quality of life.

                                Definitely richer after Casino Rogering made it big in the States, I’d like to see Daniel Craig do his own money shots.

                                - Thinner or fatter?

                                Fatter after a rather indulgent Xmas.

                                About the same my job keeps me fit.

                                18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

                                Probably getting out to see those friends who live further away, I also wish I had spent more afternoons in the pub during the summer.

                                Mufty before her sad demise.
                                19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

                                Eating cheesecake instead of going to the gym.

                                Mufty mother at the funeral, it was a bit tacky.


                                20. How did you spend the holidays?

                                Scuba diving in Egypt and camping in the Vendee, both very different and very enjoyable as well.

                                I had a caravan on the Isle of Wight as a chance to get away from it all and if you have ever seen the women on the Isle of Wight you will know how easy it is to get away from it completely.

                                21. Did you fall in love in 2006?

                                Nope.

                                I fall in love whenever the director tells me to I’m so professional

                                22. How many one-night stands?

                                Two things prevent me from having one night stands. My strong religious views about morality plus the fact that every girl I asked said no.

                                None it is a bit like having a bus mans holiday in my line of work.

                                23. What was your favourite TV programme?

                                It would have to be Planet Earth which was a fantastic bit of film making and well worth the licence fee all on its own.

                                I do think that Tracy Beaker is great.

                                24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

                                Ashley Cole, actually for all the years he played for Arsenal the crowd rarely sang his name now we have loads of songs about him and his wife.

                                See Q13

                                25. What was the best book you read?

                                This way for the gas ladies and gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski, I could tell you all about it but then you would have no reason to read my review but it is a fascinating true insight into life in the Nazi concentration camps and one to read to ensure that the atrocities are never forgotten.

                                Spot goes to Market. A contemporary whodunit with pop up pictures.

                                26. What was your favourite film of this year?

                                Cannot think of any one film at the pictures although on DVD I enjoyed 12 Grams

                                Casino Rogering was the one that broke America for me.

                                27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?

                                Primark pikey.

                                Naked with a dolphin tattoo on my bum.

                                28. Whom do you miss?

                                No one really apart from my Grandmother who dies five years ago.

                                Mufty.

                                29. Who was the best new person you met?

                                Paul who was someone I met in the sauna at the gym, I know it sounds dodgy; however we ended up going to Paris together (I know still dodgy but his wife was also with us) and share a passion for Arsenal.

                                Fluid Motion is an amazing actress who will take the world my storm and may just become the future Mrs Skip Newton after we have appeared in Bobbing Heads 7 next week.

                                30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.

                                If the little buggers go quiet they are probably planning something and not doing their school work.

                                Always check the merchandise before jumping on it from a height.

                                Thanks for reading and rating my review.

                                Me too.

                                This review would have probably worked better if the italics had been copied across to show the two different answers but I guess you will be able to work it out.

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                                  08.01.2007 11:49
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                                  A year that seemed to contain a lot but went by too fast (as usual)

                                  I just thought that this was such a good idea that I had to have my say. So, here goes!

                                  1. What did you do in 2006 that you've never done before?

                                  Bought myself my own computer, an Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi top of the range laptop. I've always made do in the past with office cast-offs. This year I thought it was about time I treated myself to one that really would do the job. Actually, it's probably well over spec for what I need but, what the hell!

                                  2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

                                  I don't make resolutions. If I'm going to do something then I just do it. I don't think you should wait for a particular date.

                                  3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

                                  No, not this year.

                                  4. Did anyone close to you die?

                                  Yes, my wife's aunt very sadly died of bowel cancer this year. She was a very determined and self-sufficient person but unfortunately it lead her to leave consulting her doctor until it was too late, even though she knew there was a problem.

                                  She underwent surgery and chemotherapy with great dignity but I think even she realised it was hopeless. Nevertheless she maintained a brilliant spirit and fatalism until the end, never complaining for a moment until right the end she berated God for keeping her waiting to be welcomed into His arms. She died five minutes later. Maybe someone WAS listening?

                                  5. What countries did you visit?

                                  China. We spent two weeks touring all of the major sites with a Voyages Jules Verne group. It was stunning. I shall never forget it. I may even eventually finish my review for Dooyoo.

                                  Also Spain (Seville) and France (Vars). I wrote about them both here. I also attended a conference at Disneyland Paris (what a depressing place that has become. It looks looks like it desperately needs money spending on it) and visited Zurich for the first time, to attend a meeting with customers and stayed over an extra day with my wife, to ramble around the city.

                                  6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?

                                  A bit less pressure at work. I'm getting to old for all the office politics.

                                  7. What date from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

                                  10th November, the day that the American people finally kicked George Bush in the teeth. It remains to be seen if the Democrats turn out to be any better than the Republicans but surely they can't be any worse?

                                  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

                                  I'm happy just to have got through another one.

                                  9. What was your biggest failure?

                                  To give blood. Sadly I was rejected all of this year because of malaria risk through having had a holiday in late 2005 in the Dominican Republic and this year in China. Apparently they are both malaria risk destinations, the Dominican Republic being the ONLY such island in the Caribbean! Happily I'm now off the “danger” list.

                                  10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

                                  No, not even malaria. I find as I get older that illness is a rarity, not even colds or flu. Let's hope it stays that way.

                                  11. What was the best thing you bought?

                                  My new laptop for me and a TomTom Go for my wife for Christmas (after heavy hints!).

                                  12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

                                  My wife's aunt, with the way that she approached her end with humour and dignity. Her funeral was not a sad occasion but a reason to celebrate a very brave and worthwhile human being.

                                  Also, a young French girl at work, who had to suffered the appalling effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy for breast cancer with the dignity and stoicism that is typical of the French. Happily it seems that the outcome has been positive.

                                  13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

                                  Tony Blair, for refusing to be in any way embarrassed by his unquestioning support of and toadying up to George Bush. Thank God we will see the last of him this year though I'm not sure that George Brown will be any better.

                                  George Bush for being a pratt, and an ignorant one as well. Let's hope that his loss of both houses will finally wipe that smug smile off of his face.

                                  14. Where did most of your money go?

                                  Double Glazing. We had all the windows replaced after 12 years with the original ones that were here when we bought the house. I finally got fed up with the annual trip up the ladder to carry out maintenance. This year I really will enjoy my summer, assuming we have one! I will write a review of the supplier (Brackenwood Windows), when the work is eventually all finished.

                                  15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

                                  West Ham getting to the Cup Final. It was all downhill from there though! How can a team go from riches to rags so quickly? I just don't understand it.

                                  16. What song will always remind you of 2006?

                                  James Blunt's You're Beautiful. I know it wasn't released in 2006 but it just never seemed to be off of the radio.

                                  17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

                                  - happier or sadder?

                                  As I contemplate imminent retirement - happier.

                                  - richer or poorer?

                                  After paying out for double glazing and booking a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate my sixtieth, definitely poorer.

                                  - thinner or fatter?

                                  Thinner. I've spent every possible lunchtime in the company gym on the rowing machine this year and not eaten lunch at all. I've lost 14 pounds of fat that had accumulated around my gut and so cured my chronic indigestion. Not that I ever looked fat! That's why I didn't really appreciate that I had a problem.

                                  18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

                                  Getting out at weekends. Now that we have double glazing perhaps I'll have more time.

                                  19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

                                  Sitting in front of the TV.

                                  20. How did you spend the holidays?

                                  Skiing in Vars. Touring in China. Week ending in Seville.

                                  21. Did you fall in love in 2006?

                                  Every day, with my beautiful wife of 27 years.

                                  22. How many one-night stands?

                                  I have no need!

                                  23. What was your favourite TV programme?

                                  House. There have been very few programmes that have totally blown me away within minutes. I am now utterly addicted. Hugh Laurie is a genius, not just for his performances but for fooling the rest of the cast into thinking he was actually American! More fool me for not picking up on the show from the beginning. I just couldn't see how it could possibly work. How wrong can you be!?!?!

                                  24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

                                  No.

                                  25. What was the best book you read?

                                  All four of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels. There are few writers who come even close to Terry Pratchett but Fforde definitely gives him a run for his money. I've also just finished his brilliant “Nursery Crime” novel, “The Big Over Easy”.

                                  26. What was your favourite film of this year?

                                  I don't really go out to the movies so I don't get to see them until they turn up on cable, which is usually about a year after release. With that in mind, it has to be “Underworld”. I've seen it about a dozen times now. Kate Beckinsale is stunning and Bill Nighy is absolutely brilliant.

                                  27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?

                                  That's my wife's department. I wear what she dictates but jeans and a polo shirt when I can get away with it.

                                  28. Whom do you miss?

                                  My son, who now lives in Manchester. We don't get to see him nearly enough.

                                  29. Who was the best new person you met?

                                  My daughter's boyfriend. Despite being a Scot ;-) he seems to be very good for her. He's lasted longer than most of her ex's and appears to be a very hard-working and ambitious lad who will likely go far.

                                  30. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.

                                  Nil illegitimi carborundum.

                                  Summary: Another year gone by – where did it all go? I'd like to wish you all everything you would hope for in 2007 and no pain or sorrow.

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