I know it’s not the end of the year yet but this evening I’ve been taking a look back at some of the things I’ve done and places I’ve been in 2012, it’s been quite a year so far.
I’ve been getting out and about as often as I can, if there’s a blue sky, and if I don’t have a lecture, seminar or workshop to attend, then I get in the car and go somewhere, it seems such a waste of a day if I don’t…
Bath, Bristol, Kilver Court at Shepton Mallet, Glastonbury, Cannington Walled Gardens, Hestercombe, Yeo Valley Organic Gardens, Wells, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sudeley Castle, Butterflies and More, Bristol Zoo, the International Centre for Birds of Prey, Slimbridge, St Fagans, Cardiff Bay and Birdland at Bourton-on-the-Water are all places that I’ve visited over the past 11 months, some of them more than once.
I’ve made the most of my National Trust membership too, making my way to Tredegar House, Barrington Court, Fyne Court, Montacute House, Lytes Cary Manor, Newark Park, Dyrham Park, Tyntesfield, Knightshayes Court, Lacock Abbey, Killerton, Stourhead and Arlington Court. I didn’t hesitate when it was time to renew my membership at the beginning of October and I look forward to seeing many more places as well as revisiting old favourites in 2013.
Some of my travels have taken me further afield, my carbon footprint this year doesn’t bear thinking about as I have flown to New York, Rome and Pisa, also visiting Florence on the final trip.
There are photos of all these places on my Flickr page but the photo I have chosen for this blog captures my very first glimpse of the Leaning Tower of Pisa – it was only at that moment, when I first caught sight of it above the restaurant roofs, that I fully realised just how much I wanted to be there…less than an hour later I was stood at the top looking out – it was a strange feeling, like I’d achieved a lifetime ambition that I’d never really been aware I had.
I’ve been to the theatre quite a lot this year, to date I’ve seen 53 different shows this year, at venues in Bristol, Bath, Weston-super-Mare, Stratford-upon-Avon and New York, including ballets, operas, musicals, Shakespeare, comedies, contemporary dance and shows that defy description. Of those 53 shows I have reviewed 41.
There have been many favourites but Sister Act, Priscilla, Henry VIII and the Royal Wedding Planner, One Man, Two Guvnors and The Mysterious Vanishment of Pobby and Dingan could well be my top five. I still have a couple of reviews to write before the year is out and I’m really looking forward to Peter Pan at the Bristol Old Vic on Tuesday and Aladdin at the Bristol Hippodrome next Monday.
I discovered that I really enjoy interviewing people this year, and it’s something I hope to do more of in the future. My first two interviews were with the artist David Shepherd and musician/artist/astrophysicist/campaigner Brian May, way back at the beginning of the year. Since then I have spoken to Tom Chambers, Elaine C Smith, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Martin Stephenson, Robin Cousins, Andy Ford, a couple of zombie filmmakers, Henry VIII and all six of his wives (aka Howard Coggins and Stu Mcloughlin) and a host of local community heroes. They’ve all been lovely.
When I leave university for the last time this year, a week on Tuesday, I will be at the halfway point of my degree course – how scary is that? I still love it, but the panic attacks about what happens next are becoming more frequent than ever. I know that the best thing I can do now is to work as hard as I possibly can, the better my results the more options I will have when it becomes time to re-enter the real world.
Anyway, that’s enough looking back for now, I’ve got plenty to look forward to in 2013 and beyond, but that’s another blog.