Another year has almost passed and tradition dictates that I summarise the past twelve months this old meme.
There is a slight modification to this year’s questions.
First, I discovered I had missed some – thanks to Pandora at Princess Pandora, Queen of Denial for showing me a few missing questions (she obviously stole it from a better source than I did).
Second, 2014 has been a great year for music, so I have decided to write a separate post about that.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s take the plunge:
1.What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
I climbed a volcano by accident. You can read all about it here.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Yes – kind of.
I failed to complete my Japan travelogue but at least I I am closer to finishing it than I was last year.
I have increased my Spanish vocabulary but am really still far from fluency – nowhere near in fact.
I have failed miserably for the umpteenth year to cycle to work.
Will I make any more for this year? Of course, I will finish my travelogue, start a novel, continue with Spanish and try to scare myself every single day of the year by injecting a little more adventure into my life.
Actually, one thing I might try is to do a few 30 day challenges, where I spend a whole month dedicating a little time every day doing something that improves my life – for example, learning something new, exercising or giving something up.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin’s son had a baby boy. She's younger than me and is now a grandmother. That makes me feel really old.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
I visited France, Monaco (which is strictly speaking a separate country), Germany and Greece on holiday, which was fantastic.
|It's nice in Nice|
|The Brandenburg Gate|
|The sun setting over a volcano in Santorini|
I also visited Oman and Switzerland with work.
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
As I implied in my resolutions above, I think I’d like to add a few more sparks into my life. Whether or not I will manage to achieve that remains to be seen obviously. I’ve kind of been inspired by other people’s attempts to scare themselves every day and I don’t really want to be in the same position as Trent Reznor describes in his song Every Day Is Exactly The Same, where he sings about the monotony of life:
I believe I can see the future
Cause I repeat the same routine
I think I used to have a purpose
But then again
That might have been a dream
I think I used to have a voice
Now I never make a sound
I just do what I've been told
I really don't want them to come around
As I approach retirement (even though I still have fourteen or so years to go) I feel a need to expand my horizons a little bit more. I just hope this isn't the beginning of a midlife crisis.
7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
No single date stands out.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I guess it was actually getting down to learning Spanish. I know more words than I did this time last year and I can actually vaguely understand basic written Spanish. I just need to step up a gear I think.
9. What was your biggest failure?
The lack of book and cycling – the usual stuff.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a bout of man flu in January which resulting in a day off work. I rarely have sick days.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
This year was gadget heaven and the prize is shared between:
My HTC Desire HD smartphone simply died so I replaced it with a Samsung S4 mini.
I also bought a Google Chromecast. For £30 it is a bargain for watching stuff from the like of You Tube and BBC iPlayer on on any TV with an HDMI connection.
Talking of TV’s we decided to by a new smart TV, relegating the old TV to the back room where we can access Sky via an X Box 360 (a cast off from my eldest son) and, with the aid of Chromecast, watch video on demand from the internet.
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
The same as every year, I think the countless thousands of people who deserve some kind of award but receive nothing. The New Year’s honours list will undoubtedly offer knighthoods and medals to celebrities who simply do their job. Services to politics? Services to acting? Services to business? Don’t make me laugh.
I award Plastic Mancunian knighthoods to all of those unsung heroes who constantly help people less well off than themselves and crave no thanks, no rewards and no recognition for their fantastic work.
I salute you – you know who you are.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The rise of Nigel Farage and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) with their bizarre and extremely worrying views. If UKIP have any say in the next government then we are in deep trouble here in Britain.
Also, FIFA as an organisation and, in particular, the President Sepp Blatter are beneath contempt. The sooner this organisation is purged and replaced with people who genuinely care about the beautiful game of football, the better!
Oh – and, of course, Piers Morgan!
14. Where did most of your money go?
I spent money on gadgets, my mortgage, travelling and kids this year.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I am always really excited about going on holiday and this year was no different. I particularly looked forward to my trip to Berlin as I had always wanted to go there. My good friends the German people did not let me down in terms of friendliness and hospitality.
16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
I will discuss music in depth in a more detailed post in due course. But here is one of the songs that will remind me of this year – Paradise (What About Us?) by Within Temptation, featuring the fantastic voices of Sharon Den Adel and Tarja Turunen:
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
I think I’m happier than last year. Sadly, I am also slightly fatter (we are talking about 3 pounds based on my weight this morning – one too many mince pies already I fear). I would say that I am probably slightly richer but not by a lot.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I had exercised more. At my age, I probably need to make more of an effort. Don’t get me wrong; I walk almost two miles every work day and further on at least half of the weekends so I’m not doing bad. I just need to step up a gear (again!).
And, of course, I wish I had written more.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
I definitely wish I had watched less television. There have been so many great series on this year that I have probably spent too much time vegetating on my sofa when I should have escaped into the great unknown and done something far more interesting. I need to be more ruthless when selecting TV programmes to watch.
20. How will you spend New Year's Eve?
We are going to the Metropolitan pub in West Didsbury again.
21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
I’m already in love – so yes.
22. What was your favourite TV program?
As I implied earlier, there were some fantastic programmes this year. Here is a list of my favourites:
Game of Thrones, Dr Who, Arrow, The Flash, The Walking Dead, True Blood, The Following, The Strain, 24 (Live Another Day).
I must cut down!
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don’t hate these people but I would like them to stay out of public life and retire to a deserted island somewhere with no contact with any other human being (apart from each other), keeping well away from media of any kind:
Nigel Farage, the rest of UKIP (particularly the ones with bigoted views), Piers Morgan, Sepp Blatter, George Osborne, Simon Cowell and all X Factor judges.
I’d better stop there before I start a major rant.
24. What was the best book you read?
I enjoyed the two remaining books in the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons, called Endymion and The Rise of Endymion.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I will reveal all in a later post.
26. What did you want and get?
Apart from the new gadgets mentioned above, nothing sadly.
27. What did you want and not get?
A winning lottery ticket and the Fountain of Youth.
28. What was your favourite film of this year?
I didn’t see many films at the cinema this year. But of those I did see, my favourite was probably The Equalizer with Denzel Washington.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 52 in October. I was taken for a nice meal by Mrs PM.
30. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
To be honest, everything outside the drudgery of work is totally satisfying. If only I could find a way to eliminate that part of my life.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
32. What kept you sane?
Everything but work, which did its best to drive me insane.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
There are simply too many attractive female celebrities to name in one post.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The rise of UKIP frightens me half to death. The scariest thing is that there are lots of people stupid enough to consider voting for them,
35. Who did you miss?
Nobody in particular.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
Again, nobody leaps to mind.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
Never climb a volcano in beach shoes.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
What? Really? A silly question needs silly lyrics:
How about some Spinal Tap?
When we die, do we haunt the sky?
Do we lurk in the murk of the seas?
What then? Are we born again?
Just to sit asking questions like these?