Old year, new year

As it’s still only a few days into 2008 I figure I can just about get away with a quick review of last year. A strange year – but increasingly they all seem to be strange as I get older.

At the beginning of the year we put in an offer on a flat in Gibraltar. It was a reasonable size, (2-beds) fairly tidy, and central. To me, apart from the fact that it was fairly tidy (I don’t like to buy squeaky clean homes), the big disadvantage was the lack of natural light. Anyway, Decorating Partner was entranced with the idea of buying a flat where he did not immediately have to whip out the paintbrushes.

The offer was accepted and all went well. Actually nothing really happened at all. I double-checked we could take the dog, yes, so sat back and waited. And then, suddenly, one of the neighbours apparently decided to object to the dog. It fell through. Who knows what really happened? Anyway, we are obviously not destined to buy squeaky clean houses.

So then we put in an offer on a grotty place with disgusting coloured walls and it was accepted. For some strange reason it took until April to go through, but then we were in. February and March have faded into oblivion as a sort of limbo where we were just waiting for completion on the flat. Although I did start blogging in March.

In May Partner went down to get rid of the vile colours and transform it into a nice white flat. Small flats do not look good in yuk orange and bright blue. Some friends, who holiday in Spain every year, came out for their customary four or five weeks and came to see me while Partner was in Gib.

It was good to see them, but the dog was a bit out of sorts with the excitement and after they had gone he promptly vomited on the sofa. I changed the throws and put the dirty one to wash. He then did it AGAIN. Agh!

I took him out for a walk, by this time we were obviously both stressed. And the inevitable happened. He spotted a nice black cat sitting in the grass and decided to go for it. Without telling me. I ended up full length on the grass as he finally managed to yank the lead from round my wrist and arm. (Purposely wound round to stop him chasing after cats). I got up and brushed off my trousers. My arm felt like every tendon and joint from shoulder to fingertips had been pulled apart. Still, I couldn’t see any bones sticking out. The dog walked back towards me and we went back home. I got in the bath and thought I would see how it went. It hurt. A lot.

It took me until about September before I really started to be able to carry any weight and get some flexibility back into my fingers. Oddly enough I can type pretty much as fast as before, but my writing is worse than ever. I never went to hospital (spent too long working for the health service) so I don’t know what, if anything they would have done that I didn’t do. It was a pain because I had to stop cycling – couldn’t grip the handlebar – but I take a break in summer anyway because it is just too hot for me to cycle in July and August. But I have felt pretty unfit because of that.

We flitted between the new flat and the finca, but spent most of our time in Spain. We came down in August and Partner decided to stay a bit longer. I went back to feed the chickens, and he got himself a job. So then our pattern changed and we have been in Gib most of the time, with me going back regularly to the finca at weekends.

Partner has watched lots of the ceremonial parades in Gib – The Royal Gibraltar Regiment marching through the city, Trafalgar Day, Armistice Day/Remembrance Sunday, and we both enjoyed National Day.

National Day

I tried to go to a concert but it was cancelled so I lost enthusiasm for concerts after that. I do go to the art exhibitions held at the John Mackintosh Hall – after all, it is only across the road.

I’ve taken a tour of the Alameda Gardens (which I wrote about here), and one with the Heritage Society of which we are both members. Post to come later on that one, it was really interesting.

Since November, one or both of us has had one of those vile ‘flu/chest infections, where you can’t cough without feeling you are going to split your ribs or your stomach. Not a bad year for major health problems, but not a brill year.

As the end of the year drew nearer I got more and more edgy. Five years ago, my father died. The following year my mother died. The next year it was the turn of Paddy, my adorable 15-year-old cross-setter/lab, the only dog who has ever listened to me. Finally, Prince, our cranky and independent GSD died the year after.

Paddy on the left, Prince on the right

All our ties with the UK were cut. And there was only me, Partner, and the rescued cat-chasing Spanish streetdog left. Who was going to die in 2007? I seriously wondered if the three of us would make the year out. But we did, even if Partner is full of ‘flu right now.

So, a year of new property investment, niggling health issues, a change in lifestyle – new city, new job, new friends. Could be much worse.

Plans for the new year? Some work, some travel, some time in Spain, and some time in Gib. Get back on the bike, go swimming, and keep up to the obnoxious paperwork. Do more writing, waste less time on internet sites that don’t really suit me, and focus on the good ones. No resolutions. Only intentions and aspirations.

Oh, and learn how to manage the firework setting on the camera. I took better pix on National Day using the night time setting.

New Year’s Eve fireworks


14 comments on “Old year, new year

  1. I love this post… beautifully done. I have developed a dread of Christmas. We seem to celebrate the festive season by having a dog PTS. Fortunately Meg has rallied and made it through.SO 2007 was a good year for you? On balance?May 2008 be better!! :-)


  2. I can’t imagine how hard it’s been to lose so many loved ones so close together. Thank you for sharing about Paddy and Prince and posting the pictures. Both were beautiful and you can just tell they had kind souls.I like your idea of no resolutions, just intenions and aspirations. It’s a great way of thinking. MaryannPS I’m with you about wasting less time on sites that really do nothing for me. I have a bad habit of that unfortunately.


  3. Hello Kate, I enjoyed your review of the year! And also loved the pictures of Paddy and Prince.Yes, quite agree about time spent on internet sites which don’t suit!Every year, naturally, brings good and bad, hopefully this year, 2008 there will be more good stuff in store.Keep healthy and fit!love and light, Jeannie xxxx


  4. So, you’re going the “no ‘like’ button” route . . . forces one to actually write something.

    I’m curious (and since I don’t have time to read the whole blog – I figure I would just ask).

    When you say ‘All our ties with the UK were cut.’ do you mean you gave up citizenship and moved, or moved and asked everyone not to call?


    • I did a poll on it as someone asked me to reinstate it. I don’t know whether it makes people write or not. I don’t see the value in those silly people who hit ‘like’ on my post two seconds after it has been published getting their name on my blog.

      A blog with hundreds of likes and no comments is a pretty soulless place though, don’t you think?

      It was more of an emotive statement, my parents dying, and our two dogs that we’d brought with us died too. One by one, or year by year to be precise, the ties and memories of that former life slipped away.

      I do keep in contact with three university friends at Christmas and one has been to visit. Not for long fortunately. Other friends came to stay once and invited themselves back for another free holiday and were told it wasn’t convenient. People always drop off the end when you move away, for better or for worse.

      We’re actually Gibraltar residents with British (Gibraltar) passports.


      • I had switched off the “likes”, but brought it back because of few readers.

        I don’t pay much attention to them (likes) except for those few readers. Like you, I get really annoyed at people who click on ‘like’ – or even comment – and it’s obvious they have not read my long posts (I seldom do short).

        So, yes . . . ‘like’ a few minutes after the post is up is annoying, especially since I know it takes me many minutes to read, and it’s my own post.

        I do have the rating system switched on, as that has more degrees differentiating the response, but hardly anyone uses them. Like the ‘like’ on Facebook, the ‘like’ in WP is a poor conveyer of what the reader actually feels about what they just read (or skimmed, or ignored).


        • I still have the ratings on the dog blog, but only ‘cos I haven’t updated it of late. It’s always the same people who hit on five stars anyway.

          I’m more interested in exchange of opinions than approval. Disperser 2 huh? I chucked FB years ago.


          • But there is space. Sea all around, a huge nature site above as the Rock with rare flora and fauna.

            I once told a cousin that space was within yourself, I think he thought I’d been on the mushrooms or other such. It’s true though, space is within your head.


          • I get the space within ourselves. That’s space for me, for my mind. It’s a comfortable space, and I’ve always had it.

            The outside space . . . that’s for my body. The space inside? That can’t exist without my space outside. It gets hemmed in; it gets dank; Sure, I can still have enough to go on, but that’s not plan A. Plan A is to have the outside space help expand the inside space beyond mere survival.

            . . . see, I can smoke them mushrooms as well.


          • Let’s see, where can we meet in the middle? Right now, with limited (ie very little) outside space doesn’t matter although I can see it out of my window. But the space in my head is important to deal with physical recovery and to ensure at least one part of me is active.

            That will have to do. Last mushrooms used in a stir fry last night.


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