it's the time of year when every good blogger looks back at the past 12 months and tries to sum it all up.
i have a notoriously bad memory for dates and times, so trying to remember what's gone on is always a bit of a challenge.
anyway, here's some highlights of the year...
our holidays in dorset [with the mintys, the faulkners and the hydes], and cardigan bay. i have to admit that i wasn't particularly enthusiastic ahead of our trip to wales, mainly because in a cash-saving measure, we'd opted for a week in the in-law's caravan. it was a lovely week though, with the highlights being the discovery of the 'howies' clearance store, and watching a pod of dolphins feeding and playing off the coast of mwnt.
greenbelt - sue and i both worked on the visual arts team this year and it was great. the visual arts programme gets better each year [this year's 'visionaries' exhibition was utterly brilliant] and it's an inspiring and energising thing to be involved with. the kids love it there too, which helps!
the 'advent' exhibition - which i've gone on about more than enough on here over the past few weeks. [it was really great though]
this has also been the year where sue has returned to uni [sheffield] to do a phd and train as an educational psychologist. so far it's been really positive - she's handling the workload ok and relishing the challenges that the course is throwing up.
eddie continues to net-mind for the yorkshire amateurs u-13 colts team. last season they got promoted, so it's been a bit more diffcult so far this season as they try to adjust to the improved standard. he's doing pretty well at school, where they're luxuriating in the surroundings of their new £28 million school buildings...
he's also getting quite good on the guitar.
joe meantime is beginning to master the cornet [the first few weeks were the worst!] and doing really well with his football team where he plays alongside gary mcallister's son.
towards the tail end of the year i've begun to think that maybe the recession is hitting the illustration market - i've had plenty of work to keep me occupied, but none of it that well-paid, so it'll be interesting to see what the new year brings. i've been hoping for a while now to develop a better balance of commercial and more personal, art-y work - if current trends continue i may find that i have more time for the non-commercial stuff, the issue will then be how to make it pay...
best gigs of the year - dan le sac vs scroobius pip at greenbelt, welcome wagon [also at gb], the fall at the leeds academy [even though it was a pretty short set] and jeffrey lewis at the hyde park picture house [despite the dismal lighting]
our LOVEFILM subscription has meant that cinema trips tend to be to see films with the kids - this year we really enjoyed 'monsters v aliens' and 'coraline' [well, i liked coraline a lot. opinions varied between other members of the family]
of the few grown-up movies that we got to, 'the damned united' was easily the best.
i also loved david peace's novel [upon which the movie is very loosely based] - bitter and incessant and weirdly uplifting at the end. the other novel that has made a big impression this year has been 'the grapes of wrath', which i've been meaning to read for years. should've got round to it much much sooner. most of my other reading has been graphic novels - this has been the year that i finally began to find my way into the superhero end of the comics world with a batman series borrowed and bought from simon hall.
i'm currently loving robert crumb's 'genesis' and reinhard kleist's johnny cash biography ['i see a darkness'], also worth a mention are tom gauld's 'gigantic robot', mawil's 'we can still be friends' and frederik peeters' 'blue pills'...
music-wise, this was the year that i properly discovered the fall, mogwai and bon iver, and rediscovered the joys of half man half biscuit, the welcome wagon and everything but the girl.
it's also been the year when i've been able to express paternal despair at some aspects of my kid's taste in music [x-factor, cheryl cole, tinchy stryder] whilst being secretly quite pleased with some of their other choices [dan le sac, eminem, the streets] - i guess it's a rites-of-passage thing, on both sides... ;-)
sports-wise leicester's triumphant march to the league 1 title was a thrill; after years of frustration it was nice to be winning again. even if it was effectively division 3. the best individual moment was steve howard's injury-time winner v leeds at the walkers, which all but secured promotion for us. me, my bro and the boys were there to see it, and it was a wonderful thing to behold...
finally, the saddest and most momentous events of the year have been bodge's death, funeral and memorial service.
there's not much i can say about this than i have already on this blog and elsewhere; it's such a tragic loss for his family and all of us who were privileged enough to have known him.