Happy New Year 2019!

I often start my Happy New Year post by saying the year just gone has been “great”, “special” or even “wonderful”, but 2018 has been marked by a devastating loss and it has overshadowed the good times.

However, these good times do need to be revisited as now is the time to reflect on the whole of 2018.  And there were plenty of good times indeed.  I need to thank everyone who made this year special.  Your impact, no matter how great or small, has implications and it makes a difference to my life.

The following is a slightly thematic and somewhat chronological order.  I know that I will forget something!  I have included detailed events where I needn’t and and not included enough detail where I need to, but generally this was my year:

As usual I cycled a lot last year, my first ride being on the first of January. After my ride yesterday being 31st December, I tallied up my totals and my 2018 rides equalled 2,237.62 miles (3,601.1km).

And I have been to the gym a lot more.  It was not paramount that I became muscular but I did want to lose weight and tone up a little.  And I succeeded.

Back at the beginning of January, I spent a weekend in London for the No Trousers on the Tube event.  I didn’t get a photo of being trouser-less which is quite bizarre.   I did however get a photo of the gym overlooking St. Pancras which was quite fancy.

For the first time ever, I don’t think there is a single photo of me floating around anywhere! I never really had a chance to search around online properly as the moment I arrived back home that evening, an episode of The Undateables started to air on Channel 4 and I needed to watch it. The reason I was so eager to tune in was because I was in it! I went on a date with a self-identified “undateable” called Sam. He wasn’t “undateable” at all, but sadly he was not for me.  I really enjoyed my first television debut.

Date with Sam

There was a lot of resting last year. It felt nice. Also there were a lot of trips to London.  One  the recording of the podcast “Reasons to be Cheerful with Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd”. On this trip, I rode on a PedalMe taxi which I loved. Other trips to London included going on a couple of protests and, and also just enjoying some time meandering on my own and seeing what I stumbled upon.  A couple of weeks ago I went down to Vauxhall with Seb to watch “Mothers Goose Cracks One Out”. This was my first ever gay panto and I loved it!

Talking about performances, back in January I went to see Mamma Mia! with the family.  That was super!

Mamma Mia

As well as mainly commuting by bicycle (e.g Wellingborough to Nottingham ride), I started to use a scooter.  For  tiny trips, this form of transport makes so much sense!

scooter

Also I rode on the bus a lot this year.  I really enjoyed it.  It gives me time to think and time to transport myself to wherever I need to go but also not to have to concentrate on what I am doing.  It’s a good opportunity to listen and absorb podcasts or watch programmes.  Oh and once, I went on an open top bus around my home town of Wellingborough.

open top bus

And too, as per usual, I went on the train many times.  Down to London, up to Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester and more.

Back in February, I got the train up to Nottingham, and then went down with Seb to Wales.  A very peaceful place with some landmarks to see and things to do. Plus, not too far from where we were staying was The Royal Mint. Over the years I have spent a fortune here so it was nice to see the coins being made in person.

Courts.  This year I decided to go to some local courts.  I went to Northampton Magistrates’ Court back in February to see the sentencing of someone I reported for drink-driving.  He was three times over the limit!  I was hooked.  I went to more court cases in Northampton and in Wellingborough and then Northampton Crown Court too.

I acquired a push button from a pelican crossing.  Some workers were replacing the crossing with a toucan crossing and I asked if I could have the old button and they said yes.

puffin crossing push button

I left my job in May.

During 2018 I spent time with family, both close and extended.  My auntie’s Mum was 95 and we went out for a meal.  Photo is below.  There were plenty of other meals during the year, and family gatherings and I could  spend with people who matter.

Mum, Jess and me

A big one of these was my Mum and Dad’s 40th Wedding Anniversary back in June.  Friends and family came from near and afar to celebrate this special occasion.  It was lovely.  The following day, the family went on a boat cruise.

And of course, I spent a lot of time with friends.  I met new ones and met with old ones and had wonderful conversations.  Life can be so rich.  It is all about the connections and the memories made.

In the first chunk of the year, whilst the weather was a bit dodgy, I got a big chunk of a project complete I had been working on for quite a while.  I finally completed it a few months ago.  I scanned all of the family photos so there is now a digital copy!  It was an almighty project.

As we reached summer, I was generally out and about a bit more.  My friend Seb, and I went to Torremolinos in Spain.  It was a lovely gay holiday.  This was my first Pride event of the year.

viewfromthehotel

Soon after we arrived back from this, we went down to London to take part in the World Naked Bike Ride.

nakedbikeride

And then towards the end of June, I cycled with Seb, and Ian from London to Paris.  It was a long ride.

As well as well as attending the Torremolinos and then Paris Prides, I went to Prides in London, Leeds, Wellingborough, Manchester and Leicester.

After a great summer, suddenly it all changed when my Mum got ill.  From late August, until the beginning of November, I was over every single day (bar one or two) to visit her whilst she was at the hospital, hospice and then care home.  For the first month, there was hope of a recovery, but soon this disappeared when we were told the worst.  In November, Mum died. I cannot put into words how I feel.   We were so close and now she has gone.  In December, the funeral was held.  It was a lovely service and I hope Mum was pleased with her send off.

Mum

My sister moved up to Manchester this year.  I went up to see her.  It was a lovely trip – albeit too short.

 

And last night, I went round my cousin’s house for a New Year’s Eve party.  It was really nice seeing in the New Year!

My previous New Year’s posts have talked about how I feel life is delicate and therefore you need to grasp it.  My loss this year has opened my eyes even wider.

2019 will be a splendid year. I can feel it. There will be plenty of opportunities and I will grab them.

Have a wonderful year!

Samuel

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