Thursday, December 25, 2008

As the classic rock song said...”it’s been a long time since I Rock and Rolled”. And in my case it’s been a long time since I blogged.

But it’s Christmas Day and I’m sat in our local pub with the computer, so feel this is as good as time as any to write a few words.

Those who have seen our Christmas news letter will now that the last few months haven’t been the easiest. At work I got involved in a project in August which was expected to last a few weeks - a few months later and it is still on-going - albeit with an end in sight. Co-inciding with this was a separate project that I ended up leading which involved many late nights in the office in the run-up to Christmas and a few hours decamped in hotel rooms. Fortunately my sanity was maintained by being able to rush out for a couple of hours to join up with the curry crowd, and also to see a local showcase gig by the emerging Panama Kings.

We had planned to be back in London at the end of September but for reasons I best no go fully into on the internet, the building works we have been having done on our house are still on-going and so we are spending Christmas at our cottage in North Norfolk, having been staying here since June. This has both positives and negatives about it. It means being a very quiet time for us as our local friends are away until the new year so it will be just the two of us. It will also be the first time for me that I will not see any family on Christmas Day for probably about 20 years - the last time I can remember was when I used to work with Crisis over the Christmas period, de-licing weary travellers and other such joys! The rest of my direct family are gathering at my parents in Wales which is good and I will at least be able to link up via Skype. Hopefully my brother will not be called away - I think in the last 5 years he has ended up having to pack his bags on Boxing Day at least 3 times to go and cover a major news story the other side of the world.

The big positive for Helen and I is that we get the inglenook fireplace and log burning stove to look forward to each day, and the amazing countryside and coastal views. Prior to turning up at the pub today I did a grand tour of the North Norfolk area, eating sausage rolls in Burnham Market, whilst devouring hot croissants overlooking the bay at Wells. Tonight we will eat a Turkey, fresh from a local farm - I have yet to decide though whether to follow their advice and cook it upside down as this allows the juices to run from he fattier legs onto the breast meat. I would like to use the Rayburn (Aga) but having done few meals in it it is probably too big a risk.

There is not much to do in this part of the world once Christmas is upon us as January tends to be the month when most local shops shut their doors and take a well deserved break. On Christmas Eve we paid a visit to Pensthorpe to watch the wild birds being fed. We never tire of going to Pensthorpe and Helen has become very well known amongst the staff - particularly the wardens - for her wit. I expect we will be paying a few more visits over the next couple of weeks before I return to work.

2008 has been a year of challenges. Work has not been easy at times and next year is going to be dominated by the recession as company’s such as my own are forced to reduce staff numbers in an effort to survive. At the moment I am waiting to hear if we have been short-listed for something that would keep me busy for at least the first six months of 2009.

Whatever 2009 brings I hope that the experiences of 2008 have helped to make Helen and I much stronger and ready to face new challenges. There is nothing we want more than to see Helen start to show real signs of improvement in her health.

I guess I am still the little boy with dreams, never ever really growing up. 2008 saw Michael McDermott undertaking a major tour in the UK and Italy and I hope that 2009 will see him emerging over here as a name that is more familiar, and several appearances at Greenbelt. I will be following the progress of the Panama Kings with interest - really nice people and the nicest management you could ever wish to meet. And after working briefly with Justine Berry in 2008 I hope that we can put together some ground-breaking gigs in 2009.

I hope you all have a peaceful Christmas and that you find yourselves re-energised for 2009, and that whatever the challenges you face ahead of you, that you will undertake them with new found enthusiasm.


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