Highlight of the year?

Highlight of the year?

I’ve written before about my diaries, the ones I fill in on a daily basis and have done for the last 37 years. An off-shoot of these diaries is my end of year review and my goal-setting for the New Year. In this blog I will confine myself to reviewing 2015, I think. We’ll see how it goes. What I can say of this year is that it has been a jolly complicated one and not at all easy to summarise. I can say with some confidence that it has not been a dull year. What I usually do is judge the year against the goals I set myself at the beginning of the year but this year, although I did set myself some goals, has just been all over the place often in a way that doesn’t relate to any pre-determined goal. Hey ho.I guess the big plus of this year was our daughter’s wedding. After just the three engagements we were quite unsure that such an event would ever take place but it did as you can see from the link and the photo above. They gave us a wedding album as a Christmas present and I have to say it captures the occasion beautifully. The wedding was beautiful and so was the album and of course so was my daughter. There, did I say that right? And she’s been promoted at work, now son-in-law had a bit of strife work-wise but has a new job in the New Year. So all good in that area.

I did set a goal this year about travel and one of the areas that did go vaguely to plan was our two trips to Ireland and our one camping expedition (although only for one night). A recent comment from one of our friends in China said you only need to pay for the plane fare we can put you up. Tempting, very tempting but what about the pups? As it stands we were pleased that we could load everybody up in the Land Rover and take the ferry to another country, the country of our parent’s birth, even did a little genealogical research on my father’s birth in Limerick. So, yes, a definite positive for this year and one we’re likely to repeat next year. It’s just the flying that’s the problem, but hold it there, this is supposed to be a positive.

The other big ‘event’ was the death of my mother. I suppose it will seem heartless to even think about putting this in the positive column (although I have) but she was 94, ill and unhappy and we were travelling 150 miles round trip twice a week sometimes to visit her and these trips seem to bring little joy to any us, although the pups seemed to take it all in their stride. The funeral had some amusing moments so, even though I had to deliver a eulogy which was difficult, it had its lighter moments. What we’ve had since is a number of trips to her house (mine now) to clear it out and hopefully sell it. The first has had some success but we have been slow because it’s such an un-pleasant task and it’s still nowhere finished / empty. The second ambition, to sell it, has been even less successful. At the time of writing we have had the usual mixture of frustrations – very low offers from ‘flippers’, why should they make money out of my family home? so all turned down, a couple of decent offers that I accepted but, for various reasons, fell through. So now, one of the big challenges for next year, take the house off of the market and spend some money doing it up with the hope that we can sell it more easily and for more money come the spring. So the house goes in the negative column for this year. Not having to visit one or two times a week, definitely a positive. To sell the house was, of course, never one of my goals because I thought my mother would live for ever, albeit grumpily.

While we are on the property theme, I have to say I’m more than disappointed that building a log cabin on our land in Colorado seems further away than ever. I shan’t rest easy etc. but with the pups on board I can’t see any realistic way we can build a cabin let alone live in it. I suppose I should try and sell that too but it’s been on the back-burner as a goal for so long I am extremely reluctant to kick it away altogether. Mixing my metaphors there.

My health has been, how shall I put it? A challenge. My diabetes is getting slowly worse despite some effort on my part although I’m sure nowhere near as much effort as the professionals would like to see. After many years of resisting, for reasons that are not entirely clear, even to me, it looks like I shall shortly be ‘on’ insulin. In fact I probably would be now had my hospital visit not been cancelled for ‘clinical reasons’. Now what the heck does that mean? Too ill, not ill enough? Of course I err on the negative side, so it feels like, given the current terrible state of our national health service, we haven’t got time for hopeless cases such as you, go back to your GP. Cheers and a happy Christmas to you.

A very big negative in the second half of the year has been running the gardening business while number one son is in OZ. I won’t go into this now, it deserves a separate blog, one all on its own. All I will say is, that given it looks like, thanks to his parent’s never-ending generosity, he will be staying in OZ, we have taken a big decision vis a vis the gardening business but you will have to wait until next year to find out what that is. We’ve also had a challenging year in terms of our vineyard. This will be one of our three main projects come next year so again I will say no more about this.  A final, irritating negative, I tried to find an agent for my ‘book’, based on this retirement blog. As is usually the case they didn’t reply to my email. Very annoying. Back to the positives, I’ve written and posted over a hundred blogs, and, although I’ve given up the jazz workshops, I’ve continued to play my music and I reckon I have improved at the ripe old age of 67. I’m pleased with that. On the exercise front, we’ve walked the dogs twice every day for an hour each time. That’s worth a mention.

In the past I have found it relatively easy to summarise a year and give it a score out of 10 but this year with so many twists and turns, it feels almost impossible, unless I just choose a number without any thought. My usual score is 7 plus or minus 1.5. I’ll leave it at that until I’ve had time for a possible more mature reflection on this very complex and busy third year of my retirement.


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  1. Graham 3 years ago

    The older I get the more I feel it is unwise to keep looking back…too much stuff has happened. So I suggest, coming from the ‘ pull your self together school of psychology”, make a list for the future and predict at least an 8. Do the things you want to do and stop putting obstacles in the way like pups and market forces. The pups will be there when you get back…should you go anywhere…and the house will sell one day…the kids are happy, both near and far, and what remains of your health should be put to good use whilst you have it. Take care…and do!

    • Author
      summerhouse 3 years ago

      Ah, you a very wise man grasshopper. I’ll look to your advice in the future

  2. wo 3 years ago

    Happy New Year.

  3. Carl Blase 3 years ago

    I was diagnosed with diabetes around the same time as you. I used to echo similar feelings about my attempts to manage A1c and the “professionals” who give advise. In 2011 a life changing triple bypass got my attention. I lost a lot of weight and discovered that the road to recovery for good heart health (diet, low salt intake, exercise) worked as well for managing my sugar. I had to find my own motivation, I hope you find yours.

    • Author
      summerhouse 3 years ago

      Thank you Carl, these are wise words, I wonder if I have to have something ‘big’ happen to take my condition seriously?

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