Friday, January 04, 2008

Old year, new year

As it's still only a few days into 2008 I figure I can just about get away with a quick review of last year. A strange year - but increasingly they all seem to be strange as I get older.

At the beginning of the year we put in an offer on a flat in Gibraltar. It was a reasonable size, (2-beds) fairly tidy, and central. To me, apart from the fact that it was fairly tidy (I don't like to buy squeaky clean homes), the big disadvantage was the lack of natural light. Anyway, Decorating Partner was entranced with the idea of buying a flat where he did not immediately have to whip out the paintbrushes.

The offer was accepted and all went well. Actually nothing really happened at all. I double-checked we could take the dog, yes, so sat back and waited. And then, suddenly, one of the neighbours apparently decided to object to the dog. It fell through. Who knows what really happened? Anyway, we are obviously not destined to buy squeaky clean houses.

So then we put in an offer on a grotty place with disgusting coloured walls and it was accepted. For some strange reason it took until April to go through, but then we were in. February and March have faded into oblivion as a sort of limbo where we were just waiting for completion on the flat. Although I did start blogging in March.

In May Partner went down to get rid of the vile colours and transform it into a nice white flat. Small flats do not look good in yuk orange and bright blue. Some friends, who holiday in Spain every year, came out for their customary four or five weeks and came to see me while Partner was in Gib.

It was good to see them, but the dog was a bit out of sorts with the excitement and after they had gone he promptly vomited on the sofa. I changed the throws and put the dirty one to wash. He then did it AGAIN. Agh!

I took him out for a walk, by this time we were obviously both stressed. And the inevitable happened. He spotted a nice black cat sitting in the grass and decided to go for it. Without telling me. I ended up full length on the grass as he finally managed to yank the lead from round my wrist and arm. (Purposely wound round to stop him chasing after cats). I got up and brushed off my trousers. My arm felt like every tendon and joint from shoulder to fingertips had been pulled apart. Still, I couldn't see any bones sticking out. The dog walked back towards me and we went back home. I got in the bath and thought I would see how it went. It hurt. A lot.

It took me until about September before I really started to be able to carry any weight and get some flexibility back into my fingers. Oddly enough I can type pretty much as fast as before, but my writing is worse than ever. I never went to hospital (spent too long working for the health service) so I don't know what, if anything they would have done that I didn't do. It was a pain because I had to stop cycling - couldn't grip the handlebar - but I take a break in summer anyway because it is just too hot for me to cycle in July and August. But I have felt pretty unfit because of that.

We flitted between the new flat and the finca, but spent most of our time in Spain. We came down in August and Partner decided to stay a bit longer. I went back to feed the chickens, and he got himself a job. So then our pattern changed and we have been in Gib most of the time, with me going back regularly to the finca at weekends.

Partner has watched lots of the ceremonial parades in Gib - The Royal Gibraltar Regiment marching through the city, Trafalgar Day, Armistice Day/Remembrance Sunday, and we both enjoyed National Day.

National Day

I tried to go to a concert but it was cancelled so I lost enthusiasm for concerts after that. I do go to the art exhibitions held at the John Mackintosh Hall - after all, it is only across the road.

I've taken a tour of the Alameda Gardens (which I wrote about here), and one with the Heritage Society of which we are both members. Post to come later on that one, it was really interesting.

Since November, one or both of us has had one of those vile 'flu/chest infections, where you can't cough without feeling you are going to split your ribs or your stomach. Not a bad year for major health problems, but not a brill year.

As the end of the year drew nearer I got more and more edgy. Five years ago, my father died. The following year my mother died. The next year it was the turn of Paddy, my adorable 15-year-old cross-setter/lab, the only dog who has ever listened to me. Finally, Prince, our cranky and independent GSD died the year after.

Paddy on the left, Prince on the right

All our ties with the UK were cut. And there was only me, Partner, and the rescued cat-chasing Spanish streetdog left. Who was going to die in 2007? I seriously wondered if the three of us would make the year out. But we did, even if Partner is full of 'flu right now.

So, a year of new property investment, niggling health issues, a change in lifestyle - new city, new job, new friends. Could be much worse.

Plans for the new year? Some work, some travel, some time in Spain, and some time in Gib. Get back on the bike, go swimming, and keep up to the obnoxious paperwork. Do more writing, waste less time on internet sites that don't really suit me, and focus on the good ones. No resolutions. Only intentions and aspirations.

Oh, and learn how to manage the firework setting on the camera. I took better pix on National Day using the night time setting.

New Year's Eve fireworks


Frasypoo said...

Hi Kate
You have a way with words !!!Hope adrian recovers from the flu!!

Kerrio said...

I love this post... beautifully done. I have developed a dread of Christmas. We seem to celebrate the festive season by having a dog PTS. Fortunately Meg has rallied and made it through.

SO 2007 was a good year for you? On balance?

May 2008 be better!! :-)

The Brat Pack said...

I can't imagine how hard it's been to lose so many loved ones so close together. Thank you for sharing about Paddy and Prince and posting the pictures. Both were beautiful and you can just tell they had kind souls.

I like your idea of no resolutions, just intenions and aspirations. It's a great way of thinking.


PS I'm with you about wasting less time on sites that really do nothing for me. I have a bad habit of that unfortunately.

Marvin - Braveheart Hound said...

Hello Kate, I enjoyed your review of the year!

And also loved the pictures of Paddy and Prince.

Yes, quite agree about time spent on internet sites which don't suit!

Every year, naturally, brings good and bad, hopefully this year, 2008 there will be more good stuff in store.

Keep healthy and fit!

love and light, Jeannie xxxx