Posted by: aboutalbion | December 21, 2016

2016 … a very short review of my year

I wish all who read this post the very best for the coming year of 2017.

In one sense nothing much has changed for me, but in another sense I feel that a lot has changed.

My children’s news can perhaps be summarised first.  One daughter’s school enjoyed a “Good” rating at a recent OFSTED inspection.  Another daughter’s son has made a smooth transition to starting primary school.  And my third daughter and her family relocated from Kuala Lumpur to Houston Texas over the summer, and her children have places at a British School there.  I keep in touch with all of them as often as I can.

Last year’s Christmas exchanges included an invitation to visit an old school friend in north Devon.  And in the spring, I found a GWR train to convey me to Barnstaple before noon.  I spent a most enjoyable day with him and his wife, including a walk to view the River Taw estuary.  Later, in the summer, I was pleased to welcome a distant relative on my mother’s side (and her husband) for a meal and a ‘catch up’.  They were on vacation from their home in the south of France.

One of the opportunities of living not too far from a teaching hospital is participation in medical research studies.  And this year, I have added participation in chronic kidney disease research to participation in Parkinson’s disease research.  Both research groups want to look at me in a non-invasive sort of way at occasional intervals.  Recently, one of these groups strapped a small movement recorder to the bottom of my spine for a week, and then I went inside an MRI scanner for the other group.

In my retirement ‘village’, I am just coming to the end of my allotted three years as Secretary of the residents association.  I have enjoyed the challenges of this role that have come my way, but I shall be relieved to be able to clear away (and take possession of) a large corner of one of my rooms.

My other volunteer roles have continued.  With the local children’s hospice, I have now passed my MIDAS test and have joined the pool of volunteer drivers.  And at the local theatre, I have enjoyed ushering for all the main shows.  For the Shakespeare anniversary, there was a memorable production of “King Lear”.  And perhaps because theatre goers are also cinema goers, I have (as an usher going rather bald) collected some comments this year from people of all ages that I am the splitting image of the film actor J K Simmons (the overbearing jazz band conductor in “Whiplash”).  When I looked him up online, I had to agree that some images do resemble …

I have had two politico-religious experiences this year.  I woke up on 24 June to find I was living in another country, and I woke up on 9 November to find I was living in another world.  On both occasions I was in shock for several hours, and then I was surprised at how shocked I had been.  My own study of the nature of history has taken me away from the ‘great man’ theory and towards underlying social and economic forces.  I am inclined to think that Farage and Trump represent underlying forces which are beyond their personal control.

May the spiritual mystery at the heart of creation give us all peace in the year to come …

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