Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Highlights of 2016 - What a Weird and Wonderful Year!

Any year has its ups and downs, and this year certainly hasn't been without the 'downs', but for me it's also been a year filled with new, exciting things. 
One of my resolutions last January, among all the mundane stuff, was to 'get a life' - interests, movies and music of my own, not just 'borrowed' from my children - and it's taken me to some strange places. 

I've been to more pubs this last twelve months than in the previous twelve years.

 I went camping, and it was much more fun than I expected.

 I watched my Breaking Bad box set on my own, because the rest of the family weren't interested, and I loved it.

SJ Watson and Renee Knight at Curious Arts

Billy Bragg at Curious Arts

I went to my first festival, Curious Arts at Pylewell Park, where over two days I caught half a dozen full author events and dropped in for a few minutes on more, then listened to great music at night.

Skinny Lister soundcheck at Curious Arts

Before this year I hardly seen any live music. This year I've seen over thirty musicians  at various venues, starting with Thom Worth and Tim OT in a Beeston pub in February and ending with Dave Giles in Burton just before Christmas. In between I've seen Lancaster singer/songwriter Joe McCorriston FIVE times (because he's always on tour), Elly Rose, Skinny Lister and Billy Bragg at Curious Arts, Skinny Lister again at Nottingham's Bodega and (sorry everyone else, but this has to be the highlight) Frank Turner's sold out show at Nottingham's Rock City. This time last year, I could barely imagine doing any of this and certainly believed I was too old, but it's been amazing.

Frank Turner at Rock City

I went to the Lara Croft 20th Birthday exhibition at Derby Quad, played with ancient and state of the art games, and discussed gaming techniques and Lara Croft's evolution with an actual professional gamer (!) 

I learned how to drive again - I hadn't actually forgotten but I haven't driven for years and had got out of the habit. Now I'm back to a certain level of confidence on the road, and can happily fetch the teen from the train station or where-ever.

I've met lots of new people through offering a bed/floor to touring musicians. Throughout last year, starting with the people I'd met through my teen's promotions, and expanding through friends of friends, I had folk dropping by to spend the night on a dodgy inflatable bed or a pile of sofa cushions; some visit once, some have become like extended family, and particularly notable was the night a band was let down by their promoter and, being desperate for somewhere (anywhere) to stay, drove up from Southampton and turned up at 4am!

In between all this I went to bookish events - author talks, the launch for Alison Moore's Death and the Seaside, a forum on the future of independent publishing - gardens, theatres, Sotheby's annual sculpture exhibition at Chatsworth ...  

and followed my teen's adventures - heard her on the radio, seen her on TV, watched her play in pubs and clubs, and, possibly the weirdest half hour of the year, saw her sharing a political platform with Jeremy Corbyn.

Looking back, it seems to have been an extraordinary year. I'm not sure how 2017 can improve on it but I'm hoping it will.


  1. Looks like it’s been a good but hectic year, Mary, I’m exhausted just reading about it

    1. It was excellent,thank you Anne, but often exhausting. Getting fitter is at the top of this year's plans ...