Two of the worst jobs in a newspaper office arrive together at the year end: the new year’s honours list and the annual review. You have to be very unlucky – or very unpopular – to get both of them.
The annual review on a weekly newspaper isn’t too bad, there are only 52 weeks a year after all. But on a daily, you are looking at wading through more than 300 newspapers to try and summarise the exciting and noteworthy events of the year.
Blogging isn’t much different. While the old training kicks in and I feel compelled to review the year, the idea of reading a year’s worth of blog posts is not exactly appealing. Last year ie reviewing 2013, I chickened out and went for what I could remember with: Best of Both Worlds.
This year (2014), to be utterly frank, I can’t remember what happened between January 1 and April 30. It was as though my year started on 1 May and I spent the rest of the year encased in a very small bubble.
I broke my ankle. It hurt. It needed operating on. I was out of action for months. I’m still not very mobile. That basically sums up my year, although glancing at a few blog posts before 1 May, I seemed to be out and about and taking an interest in life around me. Until. The Ankle.
The old adage is true. There is always someone worse off than you. And worse things happen at sea too. But it was a hell of a shock to fall and break bones so badly that I needed surgery. It was nearly 40 years since I had been in hospital as an in-patient. Sure I’ve had bad sprains, but they get better. When you can’t even stand up, you know you have a big problem.
Perhaps having sprains and recovering from them lulled me into complacency. All I can say now is, treat your balance, legs and feet, with the utmost care and respect. Being unable to walk, and confined to bed or sofa, is dire. Yes it’s manageable if you have a personal carer. But it changes your world. Being unable to go out is mentally debilitating both in a physical and intellectual sense.
And the long road to recovery is paved with things to trip you up and make you fall all over again, resulting in a type of paranoia about attempting to negotiate that big outside world.
Just a quick reminder for anyone who missed the glorious technicolour of last year …
But let’s have a couple of other – very different – views on the same subject.
Having dutifully informed my few real life friends in the UK of this, I was immediately outdone by both of them.
This one told me her broken ankle had been caused by her mad horse running into her, rather than a small Podenco like Snowy, and she had LOTS of pins and plates which she later had taken out. They told her she would never play tennis again but she proved them wrong and is now skipping around the courts again. Bully for her. I haven’t a skip in me. She also told me that the key was lots of sports physio and rehab which will also help to stave off the arthritis. Yeah great. Not all of us have private health care, can afford sports physio and rehab, or married into one of the biggest land-owning families in London.
On the other hand, my friend who hasn’t worked since I first met him ten or more years ago, told me he’d broken both ankles three times. Each. That means a total of six broken ankles. I can only manage two breaks (one just had plaster, no op), a ripped ligament (op), and the average handful of sprains (plaster). He did however give me some gloomy news which sounded far more like the average person in the street’s experience of broken ankles compared with my high-falutin’ pal.
‘I suppose you will have been told that your ankle will heal and be as good as new. BOLLOCKS!! … Your ankle will remain weak, you will go over on a stone no bigger than a pea [already done that last week] and did they not mention the guaranteed arthritis that will come a few years down the line?’
So there we have it, proof positive that money does indeed buy health, or lack thereof, doesn’t.
Here endeth my review of the
I have no recall of any major world events in 2014, they just didn’t enter my bubble world. The year that passed me by ended peaceably in Spain where we spent the traditional construction christmas shutdown.
Bye bye 2014 from Spain
Even when you aren’t in a full-time job, a holiday passes all too quickly, and suddenly you only have a couple of days left out of the 15-day break. Naturally Partner suddenly decided he needed to so something (apart from decimating some of my shrubs as usual) to show results, so promptly bought some paint and sprayed the garage doors.
Apart from gardening and falling over a piece of loose cement on the terrace (qv above), I attempted some extensive walking practice ie up to the post office the day after we arrived. It was closed. A sign of the times? It no longer opens on Saturdays and the half days it was open during the week has been cut down to half an hour a day, 1.30-2pm.
I was not in the best of moods when I returned from the major expedition, especially as I worked out half way there that I should have taken a crutch to negotiate stepping on and off kerbs.
“I’ll go on Monday,” said Helpful Partner. Come Monday he wasn’t quite so keen and we narrowly avoided major warfare, settling instead for a nasty skirmish. I won, he went.
I had another practise at walking up and down the street but it is sooooo boring. And therein lies my problem. I find exercise for the sake of it utterly boring. Not helped by the fact that limping takes twice as long, and vain Roughseas doesn’t like to be seen looking ungainly with her clumsy gait and ugly crutch.
The garden, on the other hand, was a much more interesting diversion. The artichoke was standing proud and rampant, dwarfing the dwarf peas that gave up the ghost as the artichoke blocked out all their sun. The not-so-dwarf peas, different variety, were flowering and podding nicely. Towards the end of our stay, the broad beans started flowering. Rocket and basil were all over the place. Some lettuces were ok, others seemed to have given up like the peas. Still, keeps our darling cockerel happy.
Next doors were short of money. Not so short that they didn’t give us something (including the Christmas tapas tray above), and Partner spent a pleasant late morning round there over a beer, discussing bikes, the economy, unemployment, and how Spaniards wouldn’t dream of offering their cast off furniture to their neighbours. And of course, Pikey Partner found himself a decent couple of garden chairs one day at one of the street rubbish bins.
And next-door-but-one offered us some lemons. First time in … er … 12 years! Apart from anything else, it meant we could share the haul with some Gib neighbours, Ramish upstairs who gave us some very hot chillis before Christmas and our neighbours over the road just because.
Let’s end with one of Gib’s upmarket properties, currently for sale, and the proud winner of the ‘Best International Property Single Unit’ in the world in the International Property Awards competition.
The property, New Aloes, initially won best single property in Gib, then went on to take the European award, and at the finals in Dubai last month, came out as the global winner.
So, if you have £10.9M spare, and want a pied-à-terre in Gib, maybe this might suit? All photos from the new aloes website, which has more details and plans of this seven bed, eight-bathroom, parking for ten cars, residential staff unit, sauna, jacuzzi, fitness suite, revolving bed (I’m sure that would make me ill), and its own quaint Tahiti-style bar next to the pool. Or is that pools?
And from my north-facing, unsunny, unreformed one-bed flat, I wish you all a happy 2015.