Yes, it’s happened again, I’ve been tagged (by Rachel) and this time I’m going to respond after having studiously ignored previous memes (well, seeing as it’s Christmas and today is my Birthday). So, the meme is “What are the seven best things you did this past year?”. Hmmm, tricky! I don’t think 2006 will go down as the best year in history. In fact it’s been crap on numerous levels. Anyway giving it some thought, here are seven highlights of the year in no particular order.
Getting a cat: Sad but true; I’ve always been a liked cats but after my last cat mysteriously disappeared when I moved back to London, I was reluctant to get another one. Anyway ten years later I did just that and although he’s a destructive, greedy, self-centered, attention-seeking furry little hooligan, he’s also a lot of fun and very cute. He’s a ruthless killer when he finds a mouse, and I discovered when playing with him that he’s a better goalkeeper than Paul Robinson. Also, whenever people come to visit they go all gooey over him…especially girls. Enough cat blogging Ed.
Contributing to The Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze: This was a fun project organised by Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale. The idea of a book being written by at least 50 different bloggers is something of a first and the subject matter made it something I wanted to be part of. It was the first time anything I had written appeared in print. I was at a party for the contributors the other day and learned that there is going to be a second edition called “THE BIG BOOK OF NEW LABOUR SLEAZE”. I’d better get writing.
Writing for Blairwatch: Blairwatch is the blog that inspired me to start a blog. From there I discovered many of the other blogs I now read on a daily basis. So I was delighted when I was asked if I wanted to contribute. Team blogging is a lot of fun. There is less pressure to come up with something every day and because it has more readers than this blog, there is plenty of feedback and lively discussion in the comments.
Discovering I’m actually a pretty good student: No one was more surprised than me about this. Deciding that I needed more mental stimulation, I chose to do a Humanities degree with the Open University a couple of years ago. I was spectacularly unacademic at school and college and couldn’t wait to leave and get a job. But after 20 years away from studying, I found that I now really enjoy it (I suppose it helps if you study things that actually interest you). The really surprising thing was that I’m actually good at it. I get high scores for my essays (90% on several occasions) and I’ve just passed an exam on Classical Greece and Rome at Grade Two despite having dreadful handwriting and not having been anywhere near an exam hall in decades. So I shall be continuing my studies even if it is rather time consuming.
Meeting other bloggers: This is definitely a highlight of 2006. When I started blogging it didn’t occur to me that I’d end up striking friendships with other bloggers so it was a very pleasant surprise to meet some of the people I read regularly. Outside blogland, most of my friends roll their eyes when I discuss politics so it’s refreshing to be able to talk to informed people on current events. Hopefully there will be more of this in the future.
Watching Blair’s credibility drop to zero: Anyone who reads this blog and Blairwatch will know what I think of Blair and New Labour. I can’t think of a more sleazy, dishonest, dangerous, unprincipled, and ill-advised Prime Minister. He has betrayed his Party, the country and the wider world. He has eroded our democracy and is removing our civil liberties at an alarming rate. His reckless rush to war with the American neo-cons and his seeming determination to cause even more damage despite the evidence of his policy failures being plain for everyone (except him apparently) to see, fills me with disgust, as does watching his sycophantic fawning over the Bush administration. So to see Blair being the first Prime Minister to be questioned by the police in a corruption enquiry; to watch Labour Party donors distance themselves from him; to see his poll ratings plummet and to learn that he has no influence whatsoever with the White House brings some grim satisfaction. The sooner he’s gone the better. I’d be even more satisfied if he was to be held to account for his crimes.
Watching Italy winning the World Cup: I’m not really a football fan or in any way ‘sporty’. The only time I enjoy watching football is when the World Cup tournament is on. And because most of my family are Italian I tend to support Italy when they are playing (we either have family get-togethers where we collectively shout at the TV, or go to Italian bars and collectively shout at the screen…”Eeetalia!”, along with expensive mobile phone calls to relatives and friends back in Italy every time a goal is scored, missed or disallowed) The Italian team is undeniably entertaining to watch when it’s on form and this year was no exception… Oh how we laughed when Zidane was sent off. My only regret was not being in Italy for the celebrations. I was in Italy in 1982 when the team beat West Germany in the final in Madrid and there followed a week of non-stop partying (starting off with most of the village rushing into the sea).
Anyway there you have it. [Just to avoid confusion, I’ve taken out the links to the poor sods I foisted this meme on to since they are linked on the blogstot version]. Sincere apologies to the following (I promise I won’t make a habit out of this): Justin, ., D-Notice, Devil’s Kitchen, Rimone, Andy Ramblings, Bob Morris over at Polizeros. Anyway, happy Christmas, Yule, Winterval, Saturnalia, Chanukah etc. [Delete as appropriate] and a happy New Year.
I forgot to wish Muslims a happy Eid, which falls on December 31 this year (thanks Osama for the reminder). That was remiss of me. I actually thought Eid came at a different time, but then there is Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha So I must have got confused. Please excuse my ignorance. Anyway, happy Eid too.