OK, so it’s THAT time of year…….and here is my (very) personal 2023 Review and 2024 Wish List. A Happy New Year to you all, and the best Health, Wealth and Success for 2024.
Good things in 2023:
Family time, including with those in England as well as my kids here in Poland. I treasure it (and them).
A return of concentration and focus, lost in a post-Covid fog for way too long.
Good music and good books – still wading through my unread book pile and enjoying every word. Thanks to Spotify, Scala fm London, and various internet radio stations (in particular Vermont Public Classical) for providing an often sublime accompaniment.
Good food and drink – a constant, given how good my wife and daughter are in the kitchen.
Decent weather – 2023 was pretty good overall: more sun than showers.
My English bulldog Lulu, who keeps me exercised and amused, and my ragdoll cat Jazzy, who is the true Lady Of The House.
My health: I have had a series of issues over the last few years, but I’m still alive and kicking.
My 70th birthday, back in March. An age I had never, as a young man, expected to attain was celebrated in fine style with a surprise party at a favourite restaurant attended by my closest Polish friends and family, and one of my sons from England, his wife and my twin granddaughters. I cried.
Bad Things in 2023:
The stupidity of mankind that continues to blight this planet day in and day out.
The Russian “Special Operation” in Ukraine. It has always been obscene and continues thus. Can someone rid the world of that arsehole Putin, please? There will be no peace until he goes.
The Hamas-Israel Conflict. Equally obscene (arguably worse). Hamas is a terrorist organization and its actions on October 7 disgusting. But slaughtering in excess of 20,000 Palestinians, mostly innocent old people, women and children, is not a proportional response, nor has it destroyed Hamas, despite Bibi’s insistence that is the goal. It is simply creating martyrs for the Palestinian cause. Unless his aim is truly a genocide….
Losing my beloved elder sister in October. The official cause of death (it says so on the certificate) was pneumonia, but it wasn’t, not really. During her two year isolation through the Pandemic, in a small cottage a mile from the nearest village, alone after losing her beloved husband seven years earlier, surviving through the charity and friendship of neighbours, dementia took hold of her. By the time it was recognised, in March this year, she was too far gone, and a fall that broke her hip left her bedridden in an old people’s home nearby. She died peacefully a week or two before her 82nd birthday. Nothing will ever convince me she was not simply another uncounted victim of Covid-19.
The Conservative Government headed by Boris Johnson that botched completely its response to Covid, ignored or failed to understand the science and advice given by its chief scientific and medical advisors, lied to the public and Parliament, and partied on wine and champagne in the Conference Room in 10 Downing Street while the rest of the country was in strict lockdown (including my poor sister) – and still refuses to accept it did anything wrong. They are the scum of the earth and I hope the electorate remembers that come the General Election next year…..
My health (and yes, I know that’s on my Good Things list as well). In March, my GP insisted I needed to visit a urologist as he had some concerns over a recent routine blood test. It took a while to get an appointment, but in early June I had the required meeting: an examination strongly suggested prostate cancer. (As I left the doctor’s office I had the call telling me my sister had fallen for the first time….). A summer of scans, blood tests, x-rays and a painful biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. But through the support and assistance from My Beloved and my GP, I was able to have surgery in mid-November (a couple of weeks after my sister’s cremation) that removed my prostate and its two plum sized tumours. Thanks be to God, my recovery is going better than we all expected, and I anticipate being back to 100% by Easter ’24.
Plans for 2024:
Stay healthy and get fit again.
Read lots of books.
Listen to sublime music (and some awful).
Read more books.
Travel – back to England a few times, Switzerland to visit a dear friend and ride on the best railway in the world. A beach or two in southern Spain or Croatia (maybe a Greek island) with My Beloved but not the kids (who are now old enough and making their own plans).
Write. My blogs. Maybe some short stories (if I can think of anything). Maybe re-visit the memoir. (Mind you, I made the same vow this time last year and didn’t do nearly as much as planned. But we’ll see.)
Did I say read more books?
Live for the day, and whatever I end up doing do it to the max – and ENJOY it!
Oh – and read the odd book or two. Or three…..