Thursday, 31 December 2009

Eyes forward

I was meant to be out this morning, but I've been postponed until next week instead. Phewy! You know how it is. Sometimes you say yes to things that you realise later you should have said "no" or "maybe another time" or "agh! Stop asking me that!" to. But I have clearly done something good in a former life because when I pleaded with the Gods to get me off the hook, the Gods replied by text to say that something had come up. Yippee!!

But what it does mean is that I don't have any reason anymore to say "well, of course I'd have written something deep and significant about it being the end of a month, a year, a decade, but I was terribly busy," which I was kind of relying on.

This New Year has loomed rather large on the horizon for some time. It's ridiculous. It's just a date like any other. I mean, I would be unlikely to announce that I refused to acknowledge the coming of 18th June, for example, so why the angst about 1st January?

Really I want 2009 over. I am looking forwards to sticking a meaningful two fingers up at it. But there's something about this time of year, isn't there? Something that makes a girl acutely aware of the passing of time. Aware of what's happened and what hasn't and what might have and what what's changed and what's stayed the same.

The thing is that some wicked things have happened this year. Some really positive stuff came out of 2009. But it's easy (or at least, it is in my wee world) to wallow in the negative. I'm waltzing out of the year feeling like the negative has cast a shadow over the positive. Like the positive has happened in spite of the negative rather than to spite it. 2009 has been a glass-half-empty year, despite the fact that, it's really been two thirds full in the most part. What can I tell you? I'm an ungrateful wretch!

Anyway, the wonderful Ally at Today Is My Birthday posted up an end of year pop quiz last night, and it seems like as succinct a way as possible of summarising events, without giving me the chance to ramble incoherently, so I'm TOTALLY stealing it! If you fancy doing the same, help yourselves, kids!

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Bloody loads! I joined a book club, I bought a house, I started writing a blog, I took part in an Open House event, I bought a power sander, I wore a mini-dress.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any resolutions last year. I usually make one which is suitably vague and unquantifiable (so I can manage my own fear of failure) but last year I sort of missed the boat. But then that also means I didn't fail, so hurrah for me! What shall I resolve for 2010? How about (a) to start 2011 weighing less than I do today (which is an all time high, so frankly, if I don't, I'm in trouble!) and (b) to be upbeat, positive, chirpy and generally happy!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Geographically close? Like, right next to me? No.

Emotionally, yes! My oldest bestest circle of friends had THREE new arrivals this year! So let's all say a bit hello and welcome to Amie Diane, Rachel Alice Blossom, and Aiden Michael. "Helllloooooooo Babies!"

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Geographically close? Like, right next to me? No.

2009 has been mercifully funeral free, which has made a happy change. There were too many by half in the two or three years before that. Let's go for another clear 12 months please people!

5. What countries did you visit?

Ummm ... have I left the country all year? I don't think I have. So just the one then.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

The surname "Clooney".

Materially, I really have most things that I want. I'd like to have a new car. Not NEW new, but new to me. And a wardrobe in my bedroom. And some nice pictures on my walls. But I can sort those things out nice and easily.

I would like to have more patience, and be more willing to not wallow, but to SNAP OUT OF IT! I don't know if I can buy them in Tescos.

I'd also like a telly that doesn't ever have Davina McCall, Tess Daly, Vernon Kaye or Alan Partridge on it.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Dates like calendar dates? 2nd January was a bunch of poo. Otherwise, I'm not good at remembering dates?

Dates like ... Hot Dates? Well I only went on a couple of dates this year, with Boy 2, who is lovely.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting to 31st December without running away to join the circus!

And, of course, buying a house. That's quite a hurdle isn't it? I'm not good at putting down roots, so just deciding to do it would, frankly, have been an achievement, but actually DOING it is quite something else.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not running away to join the circus.

10. Did you suffer illness of injury?

Not really. I cut my finger in May and still can't really feel the end of it. Does that count?

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My house. It's dead cute. It's got walls and a roof and floors and stairs and EVERYTHING! And it's slowly becoming less beige and more moi. I lo-o-ove it every day. It's also a story of good over evil - it's the result of me throwing my toys on the floor, jumping up and down, and shouting, "FINE! Bugger you then! If THAT'S the way you're going to be, then I'll do it on my bloody own!" which is a good thing.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Mine. I'm bloody lovely.

Well, SOMEONE was fabulously supportive at the start of the year and warranted BIG hugs. She could have been celebrated, but for the fact that she kept hiding DVDs of Cold Mountain in my car.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

This question makes me appalled and depressed. (Not that no people did the same, but frankly they appalled and depressed me so much that I don't want to waste any more time on the buggers. So there.)

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bricks and mortar in part. Mostly on solicitors fees though. They appall and depress me ...

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

Buy one get one free on Green and Blacks in Sainsburys.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Lead in my Pencil by Paulo Nutini.

Rat tat tattle ta da da da daaa!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

I believe that I've already answered all of those questions.

Than this very time last year, I am (a) sadder (but working on it), (b) fatter (but working on it), and (c) poorer.

But what way is that to measure life, eh? I've got my health ...

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

Saying "no, no, thanks very much, but I don't need another slice of cake."

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

Eating cake.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Here. At Chateau Tooting. With my parents. Eating cake.

It all went well until Salsagate ...

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Maybe the evil Cold Mountain Fairy, referenced above, or maybe Mother Tooting. Or maybe the local Chinese Takeaway...

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?


23. How many one night stands this past year?

None. I am a virtuous soul. (Not for the want of trying!!!)

24. What was your favorite TV program?

I think Gavin and Stacey.

Would you like an omelette?

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


26. What was the best book you read?

Is it cheating to have a trilogy? Ah, what the hell! It's my blog, my rules. The Girl ... books are quite simply excellent. I cannot recommend enough that you all hop onto Amazon now and buy up the full Millennium Trilogy box set. Off you go. I'll still be here. You'll miss nothing ...

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I don't think I can claim to have discovered anything. I'm not John Peel. I just listen to Radio 2 and press "shuffle" on my iPod.

28. What did you want and get?

My new job, my new house, more cake ...

29. What did you want and not get?

The heart of a ginger teacher from Hartlepool.

OK ... when it's put like that, I realise that it was possibly a lucky escape. But it mattered. And I wanted it. No accounting for taste, is there?!

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

I've not seen loads of pics this year. I can't even think what's been on. Clearly nothing has made a terrific impression ...!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 21, of course! I'm surprised you'd need to ask! (*ahem* ... 32)

I did nothing particularly. I went to work, I went home, I ordered a takeaway and I met my new neighbours. Who are now my old neighbours.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Goodness me! But I don't know. The ability to more often say "I TOLD you so?" The courage to say to my former boss, "actually, the reason I'm leaving is because you drive me nuts." More cake?

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

If the zip goes up, it fits.

34. What kept you sane?

Boy 2, for the first few months. Unwittingly, of course, but nevertheless. And cake.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I tend not to fancy not-real telly land people. I tend to fancy real actual people. So I think none.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Stirred me? Well I got a small bit vexed by the expenses scandal, because it was all so grabby and petty and stupid and showed up all of our decision makers to be arseholes, which we already knew, of course, but which was a trifle disappointing. Besides which, my ducks don't have a house and if I'd know I could claim one on the council I'd have filled in the form.

37. Who did you miss?

I am a lucky girl. I have a lovely wee gang of friends who I picked up between the ages of three and eleven, and who I am still good friends with now. We've been friends through school, university, work. When we get together it's like we were never apart. We drop straight back into the same jokes, the same routine, the same levels of comfort. For a long time most of us lived here in south London, within a mile of one another and we saw looooads of one another, but inevitably life moves on and people move away. Some are still in the area, but others are in Colchester, Whitchurch and Truro and so we are all in the same place at the same time very rarely. I miss them individually, of course, but mostly I think I miss them as a group.

I just welled up a bit. I'm moving on.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I met some TER-RIF-FIC people this year!

I actually met Evans' last year, but riiiight at the end, so I'll count them. They're great. So are the Merricks and the Adds, and Mssssss Baker Day. I feel like I've known them forever, which is nice.

The book club ladies are ace too. They told me about this area which made me look at this area which made me buy a house in this area which made me join a community which has a book club. They made my life better, and told me about some wicked books. And some crappy ones it has to be said. I would urge you never to read Revolutionary Road. Or Wolf Hall. Really.

And I've met some ace creative types too who've become right proper friends. Even if they have made me use the phrase "but is it art?" seriously, and hate myself a little bit ...

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

It goes on. If it doesn't kill you (and most things don't), then it makes you stronger and you will learn from it and possibly make the same mistake again, or maybe not, but either way, it's all part of life's rich tapestry and most clouds have silver linings and there are plenty more fish in the sea. And other things besides.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I'm not good at song lyrics. I sing along with the radio and get it wrong. So I think I'll go with ...

... Rat tat tattle ta da da da daaa!

HAPPY NEW YEAR FOLKS! 2010 will be a new year and it Will Be Good!

Now read on ...



  1. I'm chuckling and thinking of all the new opportunities a new house brings the Cold Mountain Fairy. xxx

  2. Rat ta tata ta ta da da dah! Nothing's gonna bring me down!

    I feel so honoured to have you as a friend this year. So pleased. And kind of disappointed by your capacity to eat cheese. Will have to work on that. Tonight maybe?

  3. Dear Tooting Squared. Blimy! that was a grueling quiz - some great answers on your part though. Your cup appeared very much half full to me. Big things like buying property loom large in our end of year assessment but small things like joining a book club or even just meeting one person who inspires you can make all the difference to how we feel about life. I personally had a financially diabolical year but I survived, which is all money is for in the end. So I focus on all the things I got done while I had no work - not least finding time to be a better friend to people I love but usually have little time for.
    So, I'm Fatter, poorer, but happier and looking forward to great things in 2010. Some more money and even a little love would be great but we can never guarantee that what ever we do.
    I enjoyed your blog and wish you all the best for 2010



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