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.

Looking across the weir

Looking across the weir at Hambledon

We also found time to explore Quarry Woods, where we hunted in vain for signs of spring.

Emily inspecting a tree

Emily inspecting a tree at Quarry Wood

A year on from Dad’s passing, we took Mum for a meal at The Beehive where we enjoyed a great night reminiscing on the past – as well as some delicious food!

Chocolate fudge cake and cream

Chocolate fudge cake and cream at The Beehive

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.

Two Nineteenth-Century children

Two Nineteenth-Century children at Milestones

We also managed to find time during January to feed the ducks, put in some early work on the veg plot as well as visiting the Braywick Nature Park and having a meal at The Farmers Boy.

All the family

All the family at Cookham, after feeding the ducks

Four girls and a host of golden daffodils

Four girls and a host of golden daffodils at Braywick Nature Park

Scarcely had February started, than the daffodils of January were hidden under a few inches of snow!

Rebekah, Holly and Emily

Rebekah, Holly and Emily

The girls enjoyed playing in the snow and played with their sledge as well as making a snowman.

Rebekah and Holly

Rebekah and Holly

A few days later, we had yet more snow and went down to Ray Mill Island with Freddie and Jen.

The working day must go on

The working day must go on

Emily facing a sea of white

Emily facing a sea of white on Ray Mill Island

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.

Walking through slush up the drive

Walking through slush up the drive at Cliveden

The final snow to disappear was that comprising Frosty the Snowman, who slowly vanished as the weather warmed up.

Holly and Rebekah with Frosty, 17th February 2012

Holly and Rebekah with Frosty, 17th February 2012

February also saw us attending our annual church meal, where we had an evening of good food and fun.

Group shot from the 2012 Annual Meal

Group shot from the 2012 Annual Meal

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.

Winter aconite

Winter aconite

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!

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The assembled wardrobe

We also managed to find time for a short walk at Ockwells Park and an excellent day in the warm sunshine at Bournemouth.

Heading off around the park

Heading off around the park

All the family on the beach

All the family on the beach at Bournemouth

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.

Bowling cronies

Bowling cronies

Part of the presentation

Part of the farewell presentation for me

Some of the gang out to bid me farewell

Some of the gang out to bid me farewell

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.

We had a chilly walk over at Henley on Good Friday and enjoyed tea over at Mum’s on the Bank Holiday Monday.

Bandstand by the river

Bandstand by the river at Henley

Mum with 3 of her grandchildren and Sarah

Mum with 3 of her grandchildren and Sarah

April was also Sarah’s birthday and we marked the occasion with lunch at Pizza Express, where I stupidly chose a ridiculously spicy pizza!

A ridiculous menu faux pas

A ridiculous menu faux pas

Sarah

Sarah

Later in the month, we once again found ourselves dodging the showers at the Berkshire College of Agriculture’s Lambing Weekend.

Holly at the top of the climbing wall

Holly at the top of the climbing wall

April ended on a wet note, with yet more rain.  At least it gave a chance to jump in puddles!

Two soaked girls

Two soaked girls

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.

Rebekah with her fellow guitarists

Rebekah with her fellow guitarists

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.

Steaming past

Steaming past

Holly

Holly

As May progressed, we continued with further planting in the vegetable plot and also found time for another visit to Old Thatch, the former home of Enid Blyton.

View from the end of the veg plot with potatoes on the left and runner beans on the right

View from the end of the veg plot with potatoes on the left and runner beans on the right

The fountain with Old Thatch in the background

The fountain with Old Thatch in the background

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.

We also managed to get along to Maidenhead Duck Derby and late in the month, on a rare hot day, we had an evening walk at Cookham.

Sarah, Emily and Holly on the train

Sarah, Emily and Holly on the train at Maidenhead Duck Derby

Enjoying the evening sunshine

Enjoying the evening sunshine at Cookham

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.

Sarah and Emily

Sarah and Emily at Maidenhead Carnival

The family on a quiet morning at Cliveden

The family on a quiet morning at Cliveden

The tidied-up plot with newly planted tomatoes at the front

The tidied-up plot with newly planted tomatoes at the front

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!

Looking down at the Baths below

Looking down at the Baths below

Holly and Rebekah taking shelter

Holly and Rebekah taking shelter

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!

Looking back towards Portsmouth

Looking back towards Portsmouth from the Isle of Wight ferry

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.

Cod and chips

Cod and chips for Mum’s birthday

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!

A new dawn breaks

A new dawn breaks after the overnight walk

We went along to the school summer fair where rain was never far away and the gusty wind proved something of an inconvenience.

Rush to rescue the billowing marquee!

Rush to rescue the billowing marquee at the summer fair!

I also had a great day with some of the team from work – enjoying rally driving and cable ski.

Showing how it should be done

Showing how it should be done

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.

Blowers acknowledging the warm applause

Blowers acknowledging the warm applause

On 10th July the Olympic Torch Relay came to Maidenhead and we gathered with the crowds lining the route for a memorable day.

Flanked by the Torch Security Team, Abi Grainger holds the torch aloft

Flanked by the Torch Security Team, Abi Grainger holds the torch aloft

July also brought birthdays for Rebekah and Emily.  Rebekah celebrated her 8th birthday with a bowling party while Emily reached the grand age of two.

Rebekah with some of her presents

Rebekah with some of her presents

Rebekah with her two best friends - Maisy and Tanisha

Rebekah with her two best friends – Maisy and Tanisha

Emily hesitating in blowing out her candles - eventually Holly helped!

Emily hesitating in blowing out her candles – eventually Holly helped!

We also managed to fit in another visit to Cliveden.

Enjoying ice creams

Enjoying ice creams at 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.

Sarah, Rebekah and Holly

Sarah, Rebekah and Holly up at Wembley

The Olympics remained compulsive viewing during August and after it was all over I wrote a post about The Best Seventeen Days Ever.

During a busy month, we surprisingly managed to fit in visits to The Vyne, Ray Mill Island and Cliveden.

Looking across the lake to the house

Looking across the lake to the house at The Vyne

Emily

Emily on Ray Mill Island

Mum and Rebekah

Mum and Rebekah at Cliveden

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.

Emily splashing in the sea

Emily splashing in the sea at Broadstairs

Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle

The girls with 'Fido'

The girls with ‘Fido’

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.

Dad's gravestone

Dad’s gravestone

We enjoyed the early September warmth with a walk by the river at Maidenhead and later in the month, we enjoyed another visit to Carters Steam Fair – this time over at Holyport.

Maidenhead Bridge

Maidenhead Bridge in the September sunshine

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Rebekah and Holly with candyfloss from Carters Steam Fair

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.

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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.

Ben's Cookies inside the Covered Market

Ben’s Cookies inside the Covered Market, Oxford

The Bridgewater Monument

The Bridgewater Monument at Ashridge

Heading back along the path in gorgeous light

Heading back along the path at Ashridge in gorgeous light

November started with our now traditional outing to see the Cookham Scout’s Firework Display with the usual huge bonfire and fantastic fireworks.

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The bonfire blazing high

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Impressive fireworks at Cookham

A week later, we found ourselves back in Kent – this time as part of the celebrations for good friends Steve and Suz’s wedding.

The 'first kiss'

The ‘first kiss’

Taking to the dance-floor

The happy couple taking to the dance-floor

There were more celebrations a week later on as Holly celebrated her sixth birthday with friends at Pizza Hut.

Blowing out the candles

Holly blowing out the candles

The month ended with a surprise visit from Jenson Button to Vodafone.

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Jenson Button at the JustTextGiving celebrations

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.

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Christmas lights in St Ives Road

Also in the Christmas spirit, as we moved into December, we took the girls up to Cliveden to meet Father Christmas.

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The girls with Father Christmas at Cliveden

December was as busy as ever and the girls took me out to Wimpy for my birthday.  Later in the month, Holly was a star (literally!) at her Christmas play.

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Birthday dinner at Wimpy

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Holly’s starring role

After much waiting, Christmas finally arrived and was greatly enjoyed, particularly by the younger members of the family!

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Three excited girls on Christmas Eve

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The calm before the storm

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Some of the family on Christmas Day

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.

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Mum with five of her grandchildren

During the Christmas break, we were able to get out to see the flooded River Thames at Cookham and Marlow.

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Rebekah and Emily by the floods at Cookham

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!

This entry was posted by philhbray.

One thought on “A Review of 2012 – 1st January 2013

  1. Pingback: A Review of 2013 – 1 January 2014 | A Few Ramblings...

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