A Review of 2012 – 1st January 2013
Last year, on New Year’s Day, I added a review of 2011. In many ways it hardly seems a year has flown by already since then – but what an amazing year it’s been!
For us, like 2013, January 2012 began with illness which curtailed our planned New Year’s Day visit to Bournemouth. Instead, we enjoyed a walk at Hambledon.
We also found time to explore Quarry Woods, where we hunted in vain for signs of spring.
We spent an interesting day over at Milestones Museum, at Basingstoke. This huge building is full of streets and shops, designed to show how we used to live.
Scarcely had February started, than the daffodils of January were hidden under a few inches of snow!
The girls enjoyed playing in the snow and played with their sledge as well as making a snowman.
As the last of the snow finally turned to slush, we went up to Cliveden to hunt out snowdrops and see how the work on the terrace was progressing.
The final snow to disappear was that comprising Frosty the Snowman, who slowly vanished as the weather warmed up.
February also saw us attending our annual church meal, where we had an evening of good food and fun.
February also witnessed the resignation of Fabio Capello as England Football Manager as well as the passing of Whitney Houston and Liverpool beating Cardiff City to win the Carling Cup. Finally, as we reached the end of the month, there were palpable signs that spring was only just around the corner.
March was an interesting month, as it marked the end of my sixteen years employment at Reach. Before we got there, there were other exciting events to pass through – not least of which was helping to assemble Mum’s new wardrobe!
With a precursor of bowling in Woking, the end of life at Reach arrived on 3oth March with an emotional day bidding farewell to a number of good friends.
As March turned to April, the biggest change for me was remembering to drive to Vodafone in Newbury, rather than to Woking! The warm weather in March had led to fears of drought and water shortages, then April arrived and all the fears were washed away.
April was also Sarah’s birthday and we marked the occasion with lunch at Pizza Express, where I stupidly chose a ridiculously spicy pizza!
Later in the month, we once again found ourselves dodging the showers at the Berkshire College of Agriculture’s Lambing Weekend.
April ended on a wet note, with yet more rain. At least it gave a chance to jump in puddles!
May began with us attending Rebekah’s Spring Concert with Mum. Rebekah has been learning guitar at school for some months and each year the school hold a concert to show off their musical talent.
May is also the month when Carters Steam Fair visit Maidenhead and we watched in the morning as they processed through the town.
Later in the day, we made our way over to Pinkneys Green to visit the fair.
During May, I had to spend two weeks on Jury Service at Reading Crown Court. This was my second batch of Jury Service and, aside from all the waiting for trials, it was an interesting experience.
June arrived and brought with it Maidenhead Carnival which had been moved to link in with the weekend of activities for the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations. On the extra Bank Holiday Tuesday, we made the most of a rare dry morning to make another visit up to Cliveden where they had painted a large 60 onto the back lawn. We also found time for more planting in the veg plot.
With a few days off work, we had a great day down in Bath, visiting the Roman Baths and Abbey, enjoying Ben’s Cookies and taking shelter from another cloudburst!
I accompanied one of our field team over to the Isle of Wight. This simple process involved setting my alarm for 4.15am and catching the ferry shortly after 7am. On the plus side, the weather was sublime and we had a great full English breakfast!
We took Mum out for a birthday meal to the Bird in Hand and had a delicious meal of fish and chips followed by chocolate cake and ice cream.
Later in the month, five of us gathered, at the last minute for this year’s Overnight Walk. It was great for Andrew Burdett to come and join some of the more seasoned walkers for the first time. We even got to see the sunrise as we enjoyed our bacon rolls!
We went along to the school summer fair where rain was never far away and the gusty wind proved something of an inconvenience.
I also had a great day with some of the team from work – enjoying rally driving and cable ski.
July arrived, and with it the realisation that the Olympics was less than a month away. Before it arrived, I was able to get tickets for an evening with Henry Blofeld who was on stage at the nearby Norden Farm. Sarah and I enjoyed an amusing evening and I was able to get Henry’s autograph afterwards.
On 10th July the Olympic Torch Relay came to Maidenhead and we gathered with the crowds lining the route for a memorable day.
We also managed to fit in another visit to Cliveden.
Finally, on 27th July, after seven years of build-up, Danny Boyle’s London Olympics opening ceremony took place. What an amazing event it was and what a curtain-raiser for the days ahead.
On 4th August, we were able to enjoy our own experience of London 2012, with a day up at Wembley for one of the football quarter-finals between Mexico and Senegal. We got home in time to witness Super Saturday in the Olympic Stadium.
The Olympics remained compulsive viewing during August and after it was all over I wrote a post about The Best Seventeen Days Ever.
We also enjoyed a brilliant week away down in Kent where we seemed to spend most of our time visiting the seaside and castles. We had a great time.
After all the excitement in August, September was understandably quieter.
Dad’s gravestone was finally set in place after what seemed like months of finalising the process.
October was a relatively quiet month, following a busy summer.
We managed to get down to see some of the autumn colours on Ray Mill Island, around the middle of the month.
At the end of the month, I had a few days off work during half-term. We were able to get out to a few places including an excellent day in Oxford and a visit with Mum to the Ashridge Estate. October ended with a Light Night at our church – held as a safe alternative to Halloween.
November started with our now traditional outing to see the Cookham Scout’s Firework Display with the usual huge bonfire and fantastic fireworks.
A week later, we found ourselves back in Kent – this time as part of the celebrations for good friends Steve and Suz’s wedding.
There were more celebrations a week later on as Holly celebrated her sixth birthday with friends at Pizza Hut.
The month ended with a surprise visit from Jenson Button to Vodafone.
We normally watch the switching on of the Maidenhead Christmas lights but this year it was so wet we decided to go and see them a few days later.
Also in the Christmas spirit, as we moved into December, we took the girls up to Cliveden to meet Father Christmas.
After much waiting, Christmas finally arrived and was greatly enjoyed, particularly by the younger members of the family!
Unfortunately we all suffered somewhat from the flu, following on from Christmas and only Holly and I were able to get to the traditional Christmas family gathering.
During the Christmas break, we were able to get out to see the flooded River Thames at Cookham and Marlow.
It’s truly been an astonishing year with the undoubted highlight being the Olympic Games coming to London – something we may not see again in our lifetime.
From a family perspective, we had a fantastic holiday down in Kent and visited numerous other exciting places during the year.
2012 was officially the second wettest year on record and the relentless rainfall had a detrimental effect on the vegetable plot with crop yields drastically down on last year.
It’s been an exciting year at Parkside where we enjoyed our best carnival ever and, later in the year, an excellent Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve. We’ve also started The Link Coffee Bar on Sunday mornings, which is proving popular. On a more practical level, we’ve had the main hall repainted and carpeted as well as new glass doors and signage on the building, all of which has freshened the place up.
We don’t know what 2013 will bring. Realistically it’s unlikely to be able to compare with the excitement of 2012. Regardless, I’m thankful to go into it married to a wonderful wife and having three brilliant daughters to keep us company and that most important of all, I know a God who watches over me every step of the way.
You can also see how the year unfolded on Twitter.
Goodbye 2012 – you’ve been amazing!