Roll up roll up for the grand finale…
This year had the same number of days as any other year, but my they were fast days! With the greatest intention I have made a concerted effort to work more wisely this year- more planning, more necessary work, less procrastination etc. and despite some burning of the candle at both ends, I do feel like I have achieved a lot.
There are always trials and tribulations in the life of a 'grown-up' but we can still have fun!
Here are some things that affected me this year:
Taking up a chunk of my time was creating and helping to install a new kitchen. Not a bad job, and my tiling skills have improved! Unfortunately, half way through the job we were burgled. This was a first for me, and very annoying it was, as the guy didn’t steal much, but he stole my computer; my lifeline to everything. What a bleeding inconvenience.
We were contacted by Restorative Solutions, part of the restorative justice programme. RJ brings together those responsible for crime with those harmed by crime.
Peter Woolf was the criminal side of what kick-started restorative justice, and I read his book ‘The Damage Done’ a few years back, so was aware of the concept.
We were allocated two very nice volunteers who acted as liaison between us and the perpetrator. He was convicted for eleven counts of burglary, was very compliant and will be deported after serving his sentence.
I never got to meet the guy as he was in prison a fair distance away, and on balance I thought he had wasted enough of my time already, so I wrote him a rather long letter. This is his response:
“ Dear Amanda & Alan
I am very sorry for what happened, I didn’t choose your house, it was just random. I had no other way to live. I had to do something.
I promise you that when I come out from prison, I will do my best to find the right way to live, as you advise me in the letter you sent to me.”
In a weird way, and probably because he didn't cause any personal damage or hold a personal vendetta, I felt a certain affinity with him. I just hope he turns a corner.
Another time-consuming exercise was building this website. If you are reading this, then it is working to some degree!
After visiting the Monza Gran Prix for my big birthday last year I had pledged to watch every televised race this season: I think I may have managed four, but I did see Lewis Hamilton drive to glory, and happy that Mclaren have kept Jenson on board. Here’s to next season!
I have been fortunate to maintain a good level of fitness thus far, but have upped my game this year: I am now a member of ‘Total Boxer’, a boutique boxing club on the fringes of Crouch End. It was the lure of ‘boxing yoga’ that drew me in, but now I’m hooked (boom boom). There is no intimidation, and it’s an ego free zone, so if you fancy a challenge check them out www.totalboxer.com
The thing I have enjoyed most this year is working on my project, Downtime. I am up to fourteen participants with several lined up in the new year. Talks have started amongst picture editors, so I hope to have something published by mid-late 2015. Please let me know if you know anyone I can add to the collection!
I continue to offer photography tuition to various groups and individuals. This year I delivered a series of bespoke lessons for a couple who wanted to become wedding photographers, and gave my son his first official lesson where he got most excited about the visible spectrum and I had to reach back to my text books for the scientific angle!
Writing is becoming more of a staple of what I do, which I love, but I can now see why it takes people years to write a novel. That is not my arena, but I currently have three pieces on the go. I'll need to acquire some hermit tendencies to get these completed.
I can't let the year go by without mentioning my absolute bewilderment of the catastrophes and events that have impacted the year: as usual, most pain is inflicted on people, by people. Syria, Isis, Ukraine, Boko Haram, Ebola, shallow politicians, food banks, Palestine, ancient paedophiles. With the excess of information shoved in our faces it's hard to read between the lines. I will continue to give up my seat on the tube and donate to my chosen charities, but that leaves me as ineffective as most. Depressing it is, new it is not.
Now I've got you in a happy mood, here are some of my favourites of 2014:
Favourite exhibition Hannah Hoch at the Whitechapel Gallery: Hannah Hoch was an important member of the Berlin Dada movement and a pioneer in collage. David Bailey at The National Portrait Gallery was enjoyable too; I thought the curation was really good and it certainly upped my opinion of the 60's celebrity shooter.
Favourite book When Nietzsche wept by Irvine D. Yalom
Favourite film Dallas Buyer’s club
Best day out 25 years of Rave culture, Finsbury Park.
Favourite View Quite a ridiculous idea for me, and there is no way a stand out winner, so here are three great sights I saw this year:
The little yellow train of the Pyrenees: great to look at, great to look from!
The Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford. I liked watching people watching. Hmmm.
Favourite person My Son
I am not a big one for New Years resolutions as I am constantly challenging myself with new ideas and learning experiences: I think we should try almost everything at least once! That said, apart from my continuous development as a Photographer there are two things I would like to achieve this year: one is to run a half-marathon and the other is to be able to ride my Unicycle unaided (away from walls) for ten metres!
Careful of flippant remarks: when my son was around seven years old, he and I attended Circus skills classes; one of the skills being the Unicycle. I mentioned how much I enjoyed it, and low and behold I received one for my next birthday! Practice was going well until I fell off one day and whacked my arm on a coffee table: it hurt, a lot. Needless to say my one-wheeled antics slowed right down, so short of selling it I had better get back on the saddle!
Talking of New Years resolutions, I was hoping to build a project based around people's new endeavours, but haven't received much feed back...do you know anyone? I will be revisiting the idea next January to see just how far people have taken their resolution, or not. I think it's the fear of being found-out that is slowing this idea down!
So, if 2014 was a reflective and putting things in place year, then 2015 is definitely going to be a doing it year. Hold on to your hats and have a great one!