Monday, 28 December 2015

Goodbye 2015

Don’t the years just fly by? It seems like only yesterday that I was waving goodbye to 2014, and now here I am showing 2015 the door as it heads off into the sunset of the past.

I’m starting to feel old.

Anyway, tradition dictates that I simply must summarise the past year with a meme that I stole some time ago.

This could be a long one – so here goes – dive in with me:

1.What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

I travelled to South America for the very first time, visiting a country that is absolutely huge – Brazil, As part of that trip, I also spent six hours in Argentina too.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

2015 was a very good year for achieving some of the things I have procrastinated about for the past few years.

Firstly, I took it upon myself to take up a few 30 day challenges and I completed every single one of them. Here are some of the highlights:

(a) Improve my photography (completed January).There is still a long way to go but I have learned lot of technical stuff.

(b) Creative writing (completed March). All I did was read a book about the subject. I just need to put it into practice.

(c) Learn basic Italian (completed April). I did this because we visited Bologna in May. I learned a few choice phrases and some basic vocabulary, which I have since forgotten.

(d) Japan travelogue (completed August). The travelogue is still incomplete but at least I put a massive dent into this unwritten travel diary for our visit to Japan a couple of years ago. Another 30 day challenge may just complete it.

(e) NaNoWriMo (completed November). I actually wrote over 50,000 words of a novel that I have had in my head for the past couple of years for National Novel Writing Month. And I won. The problem is that the novel will end up being about 80,000 words and is, in its current form, full of major plot holes and is in fact rubbish. However, I hope to have completed it by the end of January, to set about rewriting huge swathes of it later next year. This particular challenge is the best of them all.

I also actually cycled to work one day this year. Can you believe that??? No – neither can I!!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A couple of guys at work became fathers but they didn’t actually give birth themselves.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?

I visited friends in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in April.

The Grand Mosque - Abu Dhabi
In May, I went for a weekend away to Bologna in Italy with a group of friends.

View of Bologna from the roof of our hotel
In June, we visited Prague in the Czech Republic to celebrate Mrs PM’s mum’s 70th birthday.

A busy square in Prague

Also in June, I visited Beijing in China for a week with work, where I gave a training course.

Finally, in October, I visited Brazil for the first time and also popped across to Argentina for the day.

A famous statue in Rio de Janeiro
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

I won several major battles in my war with procrastination this year so I would like a bit more willpower to gain the upper hand.

I think it’s achievable.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 22nd sticks in my memory because my beloved football team, Walsall, reached Wembley for the very first time in the Johnson Paint Trophy Final. I travelled to London with Mrs PM and my eldest lad and the atmosphere was fantastic.

The score at this point was 0-0 - so I was happy (briefly).
Sadly, we lost the game 2-0  – but at least I was there.

My eldest lad graduated from university on 10th July.

Like father like son?
Meeting old friends in a night of drunken debauchery in Liverpool on November 14th.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Without a doubt, writing at least 50,000 words of a novel.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Finding just enough willpower to cycle to work more often (i.e. more than once!)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing whatsoever apart from the odd cold. In fact, I've just recovered from two particularly nasty ones that waited until I had finished work for Christmas before unleashing themselves onto my poor old body!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I didn’t buy any gadgets this year. I would probably say that the holiday to Brazil was worth every penny.

 12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

As usual, I award Plastic Mancunian Knighthoods to those heroes who dedicate their lives to helping others without wanting the plaudits that many more famous people crave.

I salute you all - you know who you are.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

There are too many to mention. But I will.

Kanye West, as usual for declaring himself the biggest rock star on the planet at Glastonbury and then performing like an old has-been (who was never any good anyway).

Katie Hopkins for still being in the news and on TV despite the fact that she is attention-seeking little Miss Nasty.

Sepp Blatter for doing his best to destroy FIFA and football in general and then acting as if he has done nothing wrong. Finally (hopefully) his ban from having anything to do with football will remain. The sad thing is that he still thinks he is innocent.

Donald Trump for starting out as an outrageous clown and then proving that he is a bigoted idiot, I honestly worry about the possibility of this nutcase gaining any form of power.

There is also so much evil in the world but I don’t want to go into that. Nor the hypocritical politicians who continue to use and abuse us all.

 14. Where did most of your money go?

Mrs PM’s had to buy a replacement car after it suddenly died and, as mentioned above, the holiday to Brazil, as well as kids and mortgage.

 15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My first trip to South America and Brazil; it didn’t disappoint.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

I will discuss this in more depth in a later post in due course. However, this is probably the song that weill remind me of 2015. Steven Wilson is a genius in my view, and his music is sublime and magnificent. Every song on his latest album Hand. Cannot. Erase. is perfect. However, the title track is probably the most accessible and, for once, more of a pop masterpiece than a progressive rock masterpiece.

Judge for yourself:

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

Happier, slightly fatter and perhaps a little richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I had cycled more. Having dusted down my bike, removed the cobwebs and actually rode the thing to work, I put it back to gather dust again. Whoever thought that having national cycle to work day in September, just as the weather is descending into dark wintry horror, needs to be sacked. If the day had been in the middle of April, I would have taken it up – honestly.

And yes, I will try to cycle in April 2016.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

I wish I had gone to work less. Sadly, I have to work to live and sadly that is something I can do nothing about.

20. How will you spend New Year's Eve?

Exactly the same as last year.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?

I am already in love – so yes.

22. What was your favourite TV program?

Of all the hours I spent watching TV this year, I reckon that my favourite was – and still is – Dr Who. Yes, I am a sad geek.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is too strong a word but all of the people I disliked last year are still disliked this year.

24. What was the best book you read?

I quite enjoyed Hunter by James Byron Huggins, not a brilliant book by any means but an enjoyable romp.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I will reveal all in a later post.

26. What did you want and get?

I wanted a kick up the arse to force me to write a chunk of a novel. Somebody or something gave me that kick.

27. What did you want and not get?

The power and means to quit my day job.

28. What was your favourite film of this year?

Avengers: Age of Ultron but honourable mentions must go to SPECTRE and Terminator Genisys.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I am now 53 years old. I spent my birthday exploring Salvador in Brazil.

30. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Sorry to mention it again, but actually attempting to write a novel.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

I reduced the length of my sideburns last month. Does that count? Also, I have been lazy for a couple of weeks and I now have a bit of a beard. Sadly, it is irritating and I can't see it lasting until 2016. Bizarrely, Mrs PM approves of it (apparently because beards are fashionable at the moment).

32. What kept you sane?

Mrs PM – apart from when she played her music.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

There are a lot of attractive female celebrities but nearly all of them are too young for an old git like me.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Lunatic extremists and the ongoing hypocritical antics of the current party in power in the United Kingdom.

35. Who did you miss?

Nobody leaps to mind.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Again, nobody leaps to mind.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

Coca Cola is a disgusting sugar-filled sickly drink that doesn’t even taste nice – but it is a great hangover cure.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

It's a thousand pages, give or take a few
I'll be writing more in a week or two
I can make it longer if you like the style
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

Those are the ideal lyrics but the truth is more like my own version:

It’s a thousand pages if I finish it
And if the truth be known, it’s a pile of shit
But I’ve had a go and I’m proud of it
Even though I know that I’ll never be a paperback writer
Paperback Writer


Elephant's Child said...

You have had a very, very busy and productive year.
Here's to more of them. And less oxygen thieves like Trump and his clones.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Sadly, I think we'll hear a lot more from the Trumpet in 2016.




Pandora Behr said...

50,000 words of a novel - wooohoooo to you! What a great year.

here's to a fantastic 2016.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Yes indeed.

Have a great 2016 yourself.




Jackie K said...

Congratulations PM - you had a great year. And some great achievements too - well done on the novel, that's awesome!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

Yes I enjoyed 2015. I hope 2016 is at least half as good.