It seems to be around that time of year when television programmes, newspapers,
and just about any other media short of things to write about or broadcast, do
a "retrospective" of the year coming to a close. Highlights, lowlights,
events, that kind of stuff... Sure, the year's not out yet, and there's still
time for things to happen, but now seems as good an opportunity as any to cast
my mind back, trawl through my diary archives, and duly present a potted
summary of 2000, for the benefit of those people who accuse me of verbosity!
The year started with me being somewhat in love, and closed somewhat not in
love any more. Somewhere in the middle, a few days before Easter to be
precise, the transition between the two was at its most painfully evident. It
was a difficult time, but one that I am sure was for the best, and I have no
serious regrets about the eventual decision, or the many happy months that
preceded it. I'm pleased that Zoe seems to have found contentment once again,
even if I'm still going around a bit like a headless chicken myself. I've
established close friendships with a number of people over the year, and I have
a gut feeling that either from those people or elsewhere, it won't be long
until I'm back on track and hopefully taking things to a higher level than
I've travelled more than average this year, with the two main trips having been
one down to Cornwall in June, to meet one of my best friends off the net, Jo,
and then a long driving tour of the UK in September. The former was my first
time that far south-west, so it was always going to be an interesting
experience one way or another, and we had a happy few days together touring the
county, seeing the sights and generally enjoying each other's company. The
latter was a 1600-mile youth hostelling trip, taking in the Lake District, Loch
Ness, the Scottish west coast - including Skye - and the Yorkshire Dales. One
of the highlights of that trip was meeting my great-aunt Grace at a nursing
home near Thurso in north-east Scotland; this was the first time I'd ever met
her, and it also turned out to be the last - she passed away in November.
Church-wise, it's been a fairly quiet year for me, without any major issues to
contend with, and generally plugging away at playing in the worship band,
looking after the web site and so on. Shine have been going from strength to
strength, and I've been working quite closely with them in designing and
updating their web site and helping look after their office computer systems.
There were a few crises in those regards, but nothing we couldn't handle, even
if we did probably have a few sleepless nights between us, what with predatory
domain name registrations, decrepit computers dying, and most recently their
web hosts going bust.
Technologically, 2000 was the year that I finally saw the back of my old 486
PC, donating it to Zoe's sister Yvette for word-processing duties when I
replaced it in February. It was quite a major step up, to move from a
minimally specced 66MHz 486sx to a fully-loaded 550MHz Pentium III, and I'm
still not really using it all to its full potential I'm sure. I put a good
studio-quality sound card in it, so in combination with a nice new Yamaha
keyboard, my creative urge is starting to resurrect itself after a few fallow
years. Just a shame that my mixing desk chose this moment to die on me, but
thankfully my choice of sound card is proving a blessing since it includes
simple mixing facilities.
The car's still going well, though a few recurring problems and other odd
niggles mean I'm always keeping my eyes open for upgrade possibilities. It
still basically runs well, though, so I'm in no major hurry to get rid of it.
It served me well on September's tour, managing such delights as the Hardknott
Pass and the many winding Scottish coastal roads with considerable ease,
proving to be quite impressive for a mere 1.3-litre vehicle.
Didn't do a great deal with astronomical matters this year, with the weather
really not being in my favour all that often. Astronomy really is a winter
hobby, when the skies are at their darkest and the most interesting stars and
other objects visible - but obviously the risks of Great British Cloud and
freezing cold are at their highest then too. At least I saw a good display of
Leonid meteors in November - in stark contrast to last year's disastrous night
out in vain - so 2000 wasn't a year of complete astronomical failure, even if
my opportunities to use my telescope were sadly limited.
If I had gone to my great aunt's funeral, I'm sure there would have been a film
title in there somewhere, having been to no less than four weddings this year.
Daniel and Jodie, Phil and Angela, Ben and Sarah, and Alex and Catherine all
"tied the knot" in my presence, and there have been yet more amongst other
friends of mine. The last of those I attended was the least usual in many
ways, taking place at a beautiful hotel in the New Forest, and to which I was
invited to, in part at least, as the lifelong neighbour of one of Alex's
previous partners - a connection we only discovered when I met them for the
first time at the Cropredy folk festival this summer.
Work - yes, I guess I had to get on to that subject eventually. I'd love to
say it's been a fantastic year, but it's not, so I won't. It seems that my
role at work at present is pretty much officially as a "gap filler", which in
practice means picking up the jobs everyone else had the strength of mind to
say no to. I would go so far as to say I can't remember having done anything
much worthwhile this year, apart from applying for new jobs. Nothing positive
has come of any of those applications as yet, but 2001 really must be the year
I either improve my situation at the university quite radically, or I get out
while I still have the chance.
Anyway, that's about it, I think. Saved you the bother of reading through
pushing a megabyte of web archives anyway!