A review of 2011 – 1st January 2012

2011 has been something of a roller-coaster year for me.

January began with Dad in Wexham Park Hospital and us coming to terms with the recent loss of Grandma.  We spent some time planning Grandma’s funeral, but before we reached the day of the funeral we had to say goodbye to Dad who lost his courageous battle with heart failure on 20th January, while still in hospital.


We had a great turnout for Grandma’s funeral on 28th January, and the service was full of contributions from her many grandchildren.  The only thing she wouldn’t have enjoyed was the bitter wind!

Goodbye Grandma

As February arrived, it found us planning another funeral – this time for Dad – the best Dad I could ever hope to have had.  We had an excellent turnout on what was a challenging and emotional day.  After the service, while we enjoyed refreshments at Parkside Christian Fellowship, we projected some photos of Dad including the one below.

Mum and Dad's wedding in 1961

With half-term the same week as the funeral, it was good to be able to enjoy a walk up at Cliveden in the winter sunshine.

Four cousins at Cliveden

As March dawned, it was good to be able to enter a month without having to plan another funeral!  We enjoyed Pancake Day on 8th March, although my cooking seemed to leave a lot to be desired!

Just a few days later, on 11th March, Japan was decimated by a huge earthquake and associated tsunami

With warm weather in March, we were able to enjoy a day out in the Cotswolds visiting Bourton-on-the-water.

Sarah, Holly and Rebekah on a bridge in Bourton

March was also the month for a new beginning on reinstating the vegetable garden at Mum’s house – a project that was to last for the rest of the year.

First digging of 2011!

The warm weather from March continued into April and on 3rd April we enjoyed a day in Burchetts Green at the Berkshire College of Agriculture‘s annual Lambing Day.

All aboard the trailer!

There was another flurry of work on the vegetable garden as I made the most of the lighter evenings to dig out more of the border and plant some vegetables including tomatoes, runner beans as well as a gooseberry bush and reinstating the rhubarb.

The vegetable plot with new planting

April 15th was Sarah’s birthday.  We visited Hughenden Manor for the day and later enjoyed a meal at Marlow.

The back lawn at Hughenden Manor

On Good Friday, a group of us including young people from our church enjoyed a river trip on the Thames travelling from Runnymede and culminating in a picnic on a hot afternoon when shade was in higher demand than the sunshine.

Some of the picnickers at Runnymede

We made the most of the continuing summer temperatures with a visit to Greys Court on 28th April.  We enjoyed a picnic lunch and the girls liked counting newts!

Counting newts

The 29th April was a special day as the whole country stopped to enjoy and share the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  We had some of the family round to enjoy the festivities.

Excitement reaches fever pitch!

As April turned to May, it brought the news of the death of Osama bin Laden, after nearly a decade on the run following the events of 9/11.

We enjoyed another visit to Carters Steam Fair as they made their annual pilgrimage to Pinkneys Green.  May also saw more hard work in the vegetable plot.

Me and Rebekah on the bumper cars

The 20th May was another eventful day as surprise news gradually trickled out concerning the engagement of good friends Alan and Jennifer.  Very few people saw that coming!

We made our first visit of the year to Bournemouth on 3rd June, battling through the traffic to enjoy a fantastic day in the sunshine.

Holly in the sea, with Rebekah behind

The 11th June was Maidenhead Carnival day.  We were involved helping out our church stall in Kidwells Park for most of the day – but managed to escape occasionally!

Rebekah and Sarah on the Big Wheel

Meantime, the vegetable plot continued to flourish.

Quick shot of the vegetable plot as the next shower started

On 28th June, four houses in Maidenhead were damaged by a lightning strike.

July was another birthday month as Rebekah and Emily celebrated their seventh and first birthdays respectively.

We went to Wellington Country Park on 9th July as a birthday treat for Rebekah.

Holly and Rebekah at Wellington Country Park

Rebekah celebrated her birthday on 15th July with Emily following the day after.

Starting to open her first present

July was also the month for ‘Sports Days’ with both Holly and Rebekah taking part.

At the end of the month, we spent a fantastic week away on holiday in Shropshire.

A welcome break on a ridiculously high bench

During August, Rebekah learnt to ride a bike, the vegetable plot continued to flourish, we enjoyed a church outing, dusted off the firepit, enjoyed a meal at Smiles, met up with relations from Canada and visited Basildon Park.

Time to let go!

More runner beans!

Blazing into the evening

Side view of the front of Basildon Park

September continued as busy as August.  We had good friends Freddie and Jen around for an excellent catch up and BBQ on 2nd September.  The following day we enjoyed the big celebrations following the recent marriage of Alan and Jennifer.

BBQ with Jen, Sarah and table behind

Alan being Alan

Rebekah started at Juniors while Holly had her first day at Infants.  We dodged the showers at Hurley, bid farewell to Alan Stone and joined Sarah’s parents as they celebrated their Ruby Wedding Anniversary.

Holly and Rebekah

October began with another visit to Cliveden on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year.  The world mourned the passing of Steve Jobs, we enjoyed another afternoon at Carters Steam Fair in Holyport, went to a surprise 21st birthday party, went back to Cliveden again, went to Ray Mill Island and went to the Carters Steam Fair Open Day.

Holly and Rebekah on the carousel

Judith with her cakes

Walking towards Cliveden House

As October turned to November we bought tickets for the annual Cookham Scout Firework display and cleared up the vegetable plot.  Holly celebrated her 5th birthday with a party and at the end of the month, we watched Maidenhead’s Christmas lights being switched on.

Holly at her 5th birthday party

Riser playing amid the undergrowth

With the arrival of December came thoughts of Christmas.  We took the girls up to Cliveden to see Father Christmas.  I celebrated my 38th birthday with a few friends and a Chinese meal and took a few photos at my work’s Christmas party.  We also went to see the completed work on Ray Mill Island.

Talking with the 'Big Man'

All the gang!

Emily enjoying a ride on a cow on Ray Mill Island

Finally, Christmas Day arrived and with it came the seasonal influx of relations.  We also had a fantastic Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve.

Christmas tree and stockings!

Mum with her seven grandchildren

Each month in 2011, Rebekah and I also completed our walk to Cookham Dean and back – something we’ll look to continue into 2012.

Looking over towards Maidenhead

Looking back, it’s been a busy year and I can’t see 2012 being any quieter. 

It’s also been an emotional year.  I’ve seen sights that I didn’t ever want to see and been through experiences that I never want to repeat again. 

I’ve also visited some fantastic places and am so pleased to have a loving and supportive family and friends around me, and above all, faith in an amazing God – who has been with me every step of the way through the year.

As 2012 arrives, I’m looking forward to all the challenges, excitement and fun that lie ahead.

This entry was posted by philhbray.

5 thoughts on “A review of 2011 – 1st January 2012

  1. Great review of the year – I know how much effort they are to do, having tried myself in 2010. As you saw, my video review seemed an easier alternative, but still brilliant fun looking back over the entire year. All the best and a very happy new year to you all.

    • Thanks. It was quite fun looking through all the different posts. Loved the video, by the way!

      Happy New Year to you too!

  2. Pingback: A Review of 2012 – 1st January 2013 | A Few Ramblings...

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