Sunday, December 24, 2006

A pause for reflection

Another turbulent year is drawing to an end, and as usual I'm in reflective mood. I'm surprised I took up this blogging lark and even more surprised that I've kept it up. I am utterly amazed by the geographical spread for both blogs.
Here's a map showing where people have been visting this one from since August:

And here's one showing where folk visit Treiziste Diary from:

Every continent bar Antarctica covered.
Speaking of Treiziste Diary, my first attempt at blogging, it's been liberating to ditch my allegiances to Leeds RLFC. Not for their lack of glory this year, just to show me what life is like without feeling like I have to go every week. I never though the Catalans supporting thing would become something I actually wanted to do and now I'm all tied up in It's notoriously difficult to get stats and information about Rugby League in France. What we've built - or are trying to - is a one-stop comprehensive site for everything you could possibly want to know about the Catalans Dragons. And if we make you laugh en route, so much the better. Giving up the commentary gig at Leeds was a wrench, but if you stop enjoying something, you'd be a fool to carry on. Met some great people in the course of the year, and some complete scrotes. Seeing the guys over from France was great, but we learned a few days ago that one of them, Axel, was involved in a car crash and is in a coma. Courage, Axel. Our thoughts are with you.
Work hasn't been such a success. Bought out by an American conglomerate, the outlook for the Leeds office still appears gloomy, even if I do have some reasonable work to do after having a proper whinge at my manager. Looking for alternative employment has been a thoroughly depressing experience and has lead in part to a potentially life-changing decision, more of which later.
If you're a regular visitor, you'll have noted my increasing exasperation with the manner in which Great Britain is being run. I'm not going to call Tony Blair a short-arsed despotic maniac because he's a lawyer, but I will say that if he's not a despot, he's sounding like one ("it's for your safety", "if you've done nothing wrong, you've nothing to fear") and putting the laws of a dictatorship onto the statute. Another factor in this life-changing decision.
I started the year a single man, planning a divorce (or rather burying my head in the sand until it went away) and facing the prospect of being alone for the first time since 1993. That was scary. And I'd written off all chance of reconciliation at one stage, but over the summer it all came back together again. It's not been easy and probably won't be so for some time yet. We've tried making a fresh start and again this leads into the big decision.
I might as well get on with this now I've built it up so much. We've decided to move to New Zealand - in principle at least. They are crying out for people with my skills and virtually begging qualified and experienced teachers to go - which suits us just lovely. We really like the look of Wellington, but wish that just one NZ website would refrain from mentioning the fact that Lord Of The bloody Rings was filmed there. There's lots of things we need to do before we're in any position to go, and it wouldn't be before the summer of 2007, but that's the plan. It covers my three main gripes of the year - a more liberal society, better chance of finding work and a complete and utter fresh start for our relationship. I'm not so naive I see the move as a panacea and know it'll take a hell of a lot of work, but it's a goal.
What else? Yorkshire stayed in cricket's top flight against all predictions. York City continue to improve as we seek a way back into a proper league. GB Rugby League and England cricket and football reverted to type, so normality is restored there. My top sporting moment was the last minute Ian Hindmarsh try as the Catalans won their first ever Super League game at home to Wigan, although the Colin Lloyd v Raymond van Barneveld game a couple of days ago at the Circus Tavern was pretty bloody spectacular.
My favourite news story of the year is the one about the Bishop of Southwark getting really pissed and then denying it blind while we all scratch out chins saying 'yeah right'. Just admit it! We'd like you more.
Iraq and Israel dominate the negatives - Iraq because the UK and the US have made such a fuck up out of it and refuse to acknowledge that or change tack while there's still a chance, Israel because they continue to play the role of oppressor and victim and do illegal things like bomb half of Lebanon to smithereens while going 'they started it'. The attempts of the big players in the region to destabilise an already fragile government in Lebanon in their ridiculous chess game is the biggest threat to global stability.
The other one is the heating up of the atmosphere, which nobody in power seems to have the will to do anything about. It will kill us all if we let it.
Russia worry me. Putin's Cabinet is almost full of ex-KGB and we've seen what happens to anyone who dares criticise this fact. The fact they could theoretically switch off gas and oil supplies to half of Europe means no other government can really criticise them either.
But all is not lost. Good people exist. The good people of America who gave that fucking moron Bush a good kicking in the mid-terms, for example. The ballot box can work people! I don't understand why the British don't use it themselves as our turnouts are pitiful. If we increase out turnouts here, I believe that the recent rise in the far right vote would all but disappear. Those tossers have no place in any sort of government. While the likes of the Mail and the Express continue to pour out their hateful bile, people will see it as a good idea, but I believe it's largely reactionary rather than opinion-forming. These nazi twats were beaten in the 70s and can be beaten today.
I'm not all negative. I do have hope. I believe in humanity and humanism. I think it will out in the face of increased religious nuttery and seemingly resurgent nazism. That's you and me, people. We can make a difference.
We saw the arrival of another niece - Matilda - taking the niece/nephew tally up to six. And they're all great.
I wrote a song! Hopefully I'll have music and a video ready for a christmas 2007 release.
I managed to maintain my years old new years resolution and not gamble. Had a bit of a wobbly moment, but rode it out.
And my knees are OK (largely). Still a bit of residual arthritic pain which I'm just going to have to live with, but I can go up and down stairs and I'm walking as quick as I ever did once again. Need to keep on top of things and make sure I keep doing my stretches, but I'm amazed at the results of the physio.

May I take this opportunity to wish all my readers, wherever you are, a very happy non-denominational winter festival of your choice and every good wish for 2007. Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to do so next year.



Sportingo said...

Greetings -- I am particularly interested in your thoughts on sports. Do you ever commit full articles to the topics?

Gary said...

Good luck on the NZ thing, I'd love to visit the place (put me on your guest list) Aus holds no attraction to me but I'd love to paint in NZ.

If you haven't already done so then you need to speak to AP and borrow his lonely planet guide, mind, its a good job that you never threw out those flares, they're the next big thing out there.

Hope you and Carolyn have a great 2007.

John_D said...

It's quite a long list already...

Got a couple of guides and this here internet thing has some useful information on it. It's kind of scary, but we really do want to do it. If not now, when?

The Big Fat Phony said...

Well the sooner you do it the sooner I get a holiday on the other side of the world and don't have to pay accomadation fees.

Also I think I may have been rather abusive to Kenneth in the pub before xmas (there's also a posibility that I may have begged his mate from "another company" for a job) and am expecting my p45 at some stage soon so find me a job out ther please. Get on it. Ta.

The Big Fat Phony said...

P.S. If you find yourself in a position that involves the boss and copious amounts of alcihol then go home unless you have another job lined up.

P.P.S. don't get in fights with British Transport Police - you may get arrested.

The Big Fat Phony said...

P.P.P.S (excuse me I'm immensley drunk) Please visit my website and tell me what you think. Obviously don't tell me what you think of me. Or the website. Just think a nice thought and put it down. Tip: Have a nice cup of bromide first :)