Sunday 20 January 2013

2012: That was the year when... (part 2)

I spent a couple of days at Bath University for the annual conference I organised, probably for the last time because it's not going ahead this year. Boo. It was very successful as usual and a nice break from routine, although I really struggle to sleep in halls of residence - too loud and too uncomfortable.

There was no respite though, because I had no sooner finished there than I was off up to Leeds for a History conference, back in student halls for two nights. These were new build but I was in a disabled room which was VAST and had no shower curtain. Quieter, though. The drive up was terrifying, being completed in torrential rain. At one point on the M62 between Manchester and Leeds, I was overtaking a coach and an actual wave went over my car.

The conference went well though, and I made a new friend, Lizzy, who was just on the cusp of moving to Bristol from Wakefield. I had a good chat with the wife of one of the bigwigs of the circle who helped to calm my nerves before my session, which I was afraid was not as good as it could have been - but I have been invited back, so maybe not as bad as all that.

Being an Anglo-Saxon King at the Saturday night fun session, which is a highlight every year.
The rest of July was just about finishing work (and waving around an Olympic torch) and then right at the end, there was the Olympics opening ceremony and Phillipa's hen weekend. This was meticulously planned by Cara but all rather rained upon by the fact that the bride-to-be got so roaring drunk on Friday night that the paramedics had to be called and the rest of the weekend was one long hangover.

 On Friday night we had to dress up as a country; on Saturday it was a 60s themed Murder Mystery - the same one I did for NYE in 2010, and I played the same character! An aging nightclub hostess. Worrying.

A month spent sitting, knitting, supporting TeamGB. I taught myself to crochet and went to the gym a LOT. I also celebrated my birthday with a tea party and barbecue at my house, and went and visited Mother Dusty in Portsmouth. There was some extra work; some reviewing of revision activities, and some writing of perfect answers for the exam questions in my book.

There was also Phillipa's wedding, a delightful country festival affair in Wiltshire, with lots of ciders and a ceilidh, and camping in our new spotty tent, bought for the occasion. The weather held for the Saturday, at least, and the bride looked radiant.

 Tom and me making like Bolt. Phillipa trying to win the flower pot race (as bride, naturally she won).

School team jubilant at beating the team from the groom's school in the tug-o-war. We finally won something! Oh yes, and we had our best results ever. History was up 20% at GCSE. Not that anybody said well done or anything.

Work began again. It quickly became clear that this was not going to be the easiest of years, nor was the new head the best of leaders. I cancelled the ski trip due to lack of interest which just made everything a bit more depressing.

There was a fun evening, though, towards the end, when Parpy Jo and I went on a champagne vs English sparkling wine tasting event at Hotel du Vin in Bristol. We also enjoyed a very expensive (for me) day out at the antiques fair at Shepton Mallet, during which many brooches were bought. There was also a night out in Bristol with work friends for Cara's birthday, which ended in Reflex with me feeling quite old. And there was the tequila-fueled evening following the sponsored walk, in Bath. So this all served to balance out the general (but not severe) unpleasantness at work.

The first proofs for my book came through, which got me all excited.

Term dragged interminably on. There was a very good teachmeet which I attended with Paul and Cara: we heard the head from Educating Essex speak, which was quite exciting. I finished my first piece of crochet.

Then I got to go skiing. I went to Tignes and stayed in the Hotel Chalet de Melezes which was very comfortable, and everybody was very friendly, considering I was on my own. I only got two days of skiing in due to adverse weather on the glacier, and it felt a bit extravagant, but I was definitely well-rested by the time I came back - all ready for a week of pumpkin baking and lunching with friends, which was what happened in half term proper. I do appreciate those extra couple of days in the October half term. 


Hotel room view - it snowed heavily from the second night onwards. No lifts open below the glacier - it was October, after all - but still enough snow to look beautiful and necessitate snow chains on the way down.

November was extremely well-documented because I did NaBloPoMo, as usual. Highlights including finally passing my ski qualification (so very happy!), getting off the second set of proofs and finally putting the book to bed, finally being paid for the review work I did in August, and watching what was happening at work with increasing incredulity. I also ran the Sodbury Slog....well. Run is a strong word. I completed it. I came last. It was still an achievement, believe me.


The year drew to a close with lots of baking and knitting and merry-making. I did a Santa run around Bath with work friends and organised the staff Christmas party, which is always one of my favourite evening of the year. The weekend before Christmas, I was able to catch up with my entire family at my cousin's wedding in Southampton, minus Father Hand, which was really lovely. My favourite cousin was over from Australia and he came to visit after Christmas for a day on his tour of the west country.

Me and the cuz at the wedding, in the funny photo booth.


Up by the suspension bridge on our post-Christmas tramp around the sights of Bristol.

Mother Hand came to stay for Christmas and after she'd gone I just spent a week mooching and relaxing and eating, of course. New Year's Eve was spent having afternoon tea in a new favourite cafe, Tart, with my lady friends and the baby Morgan, and then chilling with Mr Z. And that was basically it!


I had champagne with me tea. This is the best way to have tea, in my opinion.

Not a bad year. Here's to 2013!

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