It’s been over a year since I last updated this blog… which could mean life has been rough, but in fact it’s because the last year has been pretty blooming busy! So I thought it was time to do a quick recap before the end of the year, and maybe I’ll try harder next year to write something interesting from time to time.
The biggest event of the year was my move to Gloucester. I’ve bought a house in the Tredworth area, which is a bit rough and ready, very multicultural and with great community spirit. I love my little house and have settled in quickly. I’ve taken on a part time job at a local community centre and joined the local residents association and been very active with them. And I’ve made some good friends already, and have had fun with them, including my first ever experience of D&D-based tabletop gaming!
I was lucky enough to have not one but two holidays in 2023. In August my daughter and I spent five days in Belfast – not your typical holiday destination, but it was fascinating visiting the Falls Road area of the city, the old gaol and the Titanic Museum, and we had a wonderful if slightly wet day travelling the coastline, stopping at various Game of Thrones locations before our final stop at the utterly bizarre Giant’s Causeway.
A month later I was off again, this time travelling solo to Morocco. I have long wanted to visit Marrakech and it didn’t disappoint! I had great fun exploring the souks and gardens (and less fun being caught out by the notorious Tannery Scam). I also spent a day by the coast at Essouaria, a day hiking up to a waterfall, and the experience of a lifetime taking a hot air balloon ride over the desert at sunrise. Another new experience was taking a hammam, a kind of steam bath where a woman makes sure every part of you is washed and scrubbed and moisturised, and she handles you rather like you’re a toddler!
I’ve fitted in a few experiences closer to home too, including a cocktail-enhanced game of adventure golf and a trip to London Aquarium for my birthday, trips to the theatre to see The Lion King and the Older and Wider Podcast show, a few cinema trips, three visits to Gloucester Cathedral, two book clubs, wild swimming, hosting friends, visiting family, comedy clubs, a gig, parties, a quiz night and a craft course, to name but a few.
But the year has been mainly dominated by the house move, getting a few jobs done (not least a new roof and garden fencing!) and settling in. It’s not been a bad year at all!
So, that’s a very condensed update on the last 12 months – but what does 2024 hold? Well, there are two huge and exciting (and slightly scary) events on the horizon. Firstly, I am going to be a nanny! My daughter and her husband are expecting their first baby in February. And then in September I will be starting a Masters in Contemporary Creative Writing with London Northeastern University. The course is partly to enhance my business offering, partly to satisfy my own desire to do more writing, and I’m planning to make Fridays writing day from January onwards… so expect more blog posts, potentially including some quite experimental writing styles!
There are plenty more jobs to do around the house, such as sorting out the back garden and decorating my bedroom, and I’m hoping to introduce a few new things to the business, including a “write that book” correspondence course, and perhaps the return of my Conversations with Authors podcast, who knows? And with my new social circle, I’m hoping to enjoy lots more fun, starting with a board games night for my birthday next week. Finally, I have a new 101 Things in 1001 Days list on the go, so I hope to cross off quite a few of those over the next year. With all this going on, I really need to start managing my time more effectively, so I’m aiming to spend less time doomscrolling on Facebook (a very bad habit!) and more time being productive… Let’s see how I get on with that one!
(Photos to follow … maybe)