The last day of the year is not to pass without a quick post from me. Stealing a minute while my mum is jeans shopping with her grandson and granddaughter, I can finally reply to all those lovely Christmas wishes I received over the last week! I am sorry that I never even replied to the comments on my blog – when mother dear is here, I simply don’t get online time. Apologies. That sounds ominous, but in fact we had a lovely Christmas, albeit with an unexpected guest.
Just a couple of days before Christmas, Mr Guylty’s 21-year-old kind-of-goddaughter was thrown out of the house by her own mother. With her father (a good friend of ours) travelling in New Zealand and her granny having left to celebrate Christmas in London, our young friend was essentially left homeless. We took her in and celebrated Christmas with her. Even my mother – who tends to be very traditional and family-focussed when it comes to Christmas – had no problem with that, even though it meant we had to speak more English than usually. It was Christmas – and when if not at Christmas time should we prove that we are compassionate and that we have our priorities right? As usual, extending the family for Christmas meant that it was actually nicer than ever – with everyone on best behaviour to at least provide a harmonious Christmas Eve to a young girl who must have been distraught and sad otherwise. It was her first ever Christmas without her own mum… And without sounding too sickly-sweet and sentimental here, but I felt grateful that our little family was all together, that we had plenty of presents to exchange, a fabulous traditionally German meal to share (I spare you the photos of sausage and sauerkraut – it never looks as delicious as it tastes), and had space enough to give refuge to someone who needed a place to stay.
On Christmas Day we celebrated Irish Christmas with a short walk along the pier in Wicklow and then had traditional Christmas dinner with the in-laws. You can just about see the Christmas pudding burning in the following picture. Shout-out to Mr Armitage: It was delicious, and the suet leaves no discernible taste.
And finally, on St Stephen’s Day, the whole family gathered for the traditional walk – this time an 8 km trail around the reservoir in Roundwood, Co. Wicklow.
After that my mum and I set off on a short trip to Belfast. Northern Ireland is only 2 hours away by train, and well, I felt we needed to make that trip before Brexit is going to shut down the border… Belfast is a great place, its turn-of-the-century architecture very grand and imposing, and a clear reminder that the city was rich and important. Not least because of the Harland & Wolff shipyard, where the world’s most famous ship, the Titanic, was built. We visited the fantastic Titanic museum, walked through the shopping streets, looked at the Botanic Gardens and the Ulster Museum, briefly strolled into Queen’s University, and did some post-Christmas sales shopping. It was a lovely trip, and I am grateful that we had such fun together, with no fights at all.
The gratefulness extends to my fandom family, too.
I have had another fantastic year with all of you here on my blog, over on tumblr, on Twitter – and in RL, too. So many of my fan friendships nowadays extend into RL: This year I hosted CraMERRY and daughter here for a short break; later in the year CraMERRY and I went on a short trip up to the Northwest of Ireland. Linda60 visited me here and we travelled to the West coast in August. Helen’s regular annual craft workshop trip meant that I got to host her here, too. Hariclea came for a weekend break in October. I had a cup of tea with Su in December, and spent a lovely day with Tiny Clanger in December, too. I look forward to many more such meetings in 2019 😉
I also need to – and want to – say thank you for the amazing gifts I have been sent this year. Most of the gifts I have already said thank you for, but there are a few parcels that have yet been unmentioned. Monica hand-wove a gorgeous deep blue scarf for me!!! Louise sent me a parcel of tins and goodies. Tiny Clanger brought along a whole bag of tins and bits and pieces, including a cool crystal sphere for taking photos through, when we met in December. Nordlicht supplied me with my preferred tobacco-beating drug (peanut puffs). And Squirrel sent me a massive parcel full of my preferred tins… (There were many other gifts as well, but afaik I have previously mentioned them.)
Aren’t those b/w photo tins absolutely lip-smackingly gorgeous? Well, as gorgeous as the chap on that tag. And the tin collection on the bottom left almost looks like a tiled backsplash… Can’t wait to play with all the tape and stamps and tins and ribbons… The peanut puffs are already scoffed 😉
Thank you to all of you for the happy mail you have sent me over the course of last year. It actually puts me to shame – I have received so many fantastic things, and I am way behind the shrine-making. Keep your fingers crossed that I will have more time in 2019 to finally make some inroads in my tin stash 😉
While I can’t deny that I absolutely love receiving all these gifts and surprises, I am nevertheless aware that the most valuable thing you are gifting me, is your comments, your time, your attention and your kindness. You are the stars of this fandom, people! Because you care and you engage. Your greatest gift for me this year were two auction results that entirely blew me away. We are talking 2018 donations to the tune of 2,218 £ / 2,470 EUR / 2,829 $!!! Thank you!
And finally – a bit of a thanks to Mr A, too
Well, Richard. Here we are again. Another year over and I am well into year six of being your fan. According to stats I have written almost 75,000 words this year on this blog that is dedicated to you. Before you throw your hands up in horror and suggest I put my time into the service of something worthier than “just you” – no! I enjoy blogging about you as much as I enjoy watching you do your thing. I would’ve loved to see more of you this year – more projects, and more of Daniel Miller in BS. As it is, I can see why you have made yourself scarce. 2018 will doubtlessly be an anno horribilis in your memory – the difficult months leading up to May, and the devastation of life after your mum’s passing. I understand. All the more thanks for staying in touch via the excellent and plentiful audio books you released this year. And for your attempts at entertaining us on Twitter. Not really my preferred medium for you, but OTOH it kind of pleases me to see that you are not perfectly accomplished in *everything*… It gives me hope to know that someone who is as gorgeous as you, might actually be human underneath all the handsomeness 😉
So, thank you for another year of entertainment and gratification. I hope your 2019 will be better than the year that is finishing tonight. Keep doing what you do – and don’t listen to what I say. I am sure *you* know best.
Here’s to 2019!
So, as we leave 2018 behind, here’s what I am hoping for in 2019: First and foremost I hope and wish for health and peace for my family, myself, and all that I hold dear in some shape or form. That includes YOU! I still haven’t given up hope that Brexit could be avoided, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will find another interesting client next year to make up for the loss of my main source of income this year. I look forward to new encounters – with other fans
and Richard???? – to learning about interesting ideas, starting new projects, to expanding my horizons. And I’d be delighted if you kept me company on that journey once again! Happy New Year!