All about … 2011: Year in Review
What did you do in 2011 that you’ve never done before? I led the intercessions in my church for the first time ever. I have been hovering on the edges up to now but this Christmas was the first time I had ever led prayers in public like that. I wrote them and I spoke them out loud and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I’m looking forward to doing some more if I can.
Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year? I did in a way. I began the year with little hope, little aspiration, little faith and little purpose. My “resolutions” as such were to overcome those things and to get myself in a positive frame of mind. Apart from one or two notable setbacks I have achieved that so yes, you could say I kept my resolutions. Will I make more for next year? Yes I will. These ones are more tangible though – I want to start my own business and I want to become more active in church ministry.
Did anyone close to you give birth? There have been several births in my life this year: Steph and Jay had a little girl Maisie; my cousin Hayley and her partner Chris had baby Eva; Leanne at church had baby Eleanor, and Comfort and Fred at church had baby Freida.
Did anyone close to you die? My Auntie Mo died in February.
What countries did you visit? I went to Wales (yay!)
What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? “Lack” is such an emotive word! I didn’t lack anything materially at all this year although we were extremely short of cash for most of the year (thank you Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg), but from time to time I lacked the strength of faith to get myself through some really dark days. I also lacked the strength of my own convictions that I should carry on but thankfully those days are behind me.
What date from 2011 will remain etched in your memory and why? 1st July, my 40th birthday.
What was your biggest achievement of the year? Amongst a clutch of achievements dotted throughout the year, my longest achievement is successfully maintaining the Post A Day challenge without missing a single day, which I did despite being hospitalised and being away from home a couple of times.
What was your biggest failure? I don’t consider it my own failure, but I have (still) failed to get a diagnosis and therefore any treatment plan.
Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing new, just a continuation of the illness from last year. The only injury I suffered was during one of my four endoscopic examinations and my oesophagus was damaged a little. If you think pregnancy related heartburn is bad, wait until you have pancreatic related heartburn coupled with a damaged oesophagus….!
What was the best thing you bought? A second hand range cooker. It has two ovens and 8 burners and is the mutts nuts.
Where did most of your money go? The usual bills etc and prescriptions – thanks again to Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg. I have worked all my adult life and because of that I am not entitled to receive any help whatsoever on prescriptions and have to pay £7.40 per item. With 8 items on my “repeat” list it turns out extremely expensive, especially when a Government appointed doctor tells you that you are fit to work because you can hold a pencil and on the strength of that you have what little support you had been getting is withdrawn making it even more difficult to find the money to spend on medicine. Don’t get me started…
What did you get really, really, really excited about? I didn’t really, REALLY get excited about anything, but I did get a tad excited about going on holiday to Wales and Christmas.
Compared to this time last year are you:
- Happier or sadder? Much, much happier.
- Thinner or fatter? Slightly thinner.
- Richer or poorer? In terms of money we are poorer, but in terms of an enriched life and hopes for the future we are so much more better off.
What do you wish you’d done more of? Getting out of the house. I have spent so much time being ill this year and being stuck in the house it seems like I’ve been in jail for a lot of the time.
What do you wish you’d done less of? Regretting time gone without filling it with something creative. My default setting is that time not spent doing something “proper” is wasted time and I shouldn’t really beat myself up about that, especially when the drugs make me a zombie and my brain doesn’t function properly.
How did you spend Christmas? We played carols in the street for our neighbours, then played in the service at church, then played again at my mother-in-law’s house and then once we got home we cooked dinner and spent the time together as a family at home.
Did you fall in love in 2011? I have been married for 20 years and one of the patterns of (any?) marriage is that you continually fall in love. And out of it. And then back in it again. Isn’t it?
What was your favourite TV show? I don’t really watch much TV but I do enjoy the odd edition of Homes Under The Hammer (strangely…) and I love the Hairy Bikers and Kirstie Allsopp in most things they do.
What was the best book you read? Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. This stood out one of my favourites this year because it was so different to everything else. It mixes the supernatural with a police procedural in such a believable way, and it leads you to want to go and find out more about the Punch and Judy story/history. I really recommend it.
What was your greatest musical discovery of 2011? Mark Revell. You might not have heard of him, but watch out for him next year.
What did you want and get? I wanted a family Christmas full of the true meaning of it, and I got it. It was the best yet.
What did you want and not get? I wanted to get a diagnosis and am still waiting.
What was your favourite film this year? I can’t even remember what I’ve seen this year so you can tell there hasn’t really been a stand-out memorable one.
What did you do on your birthday? Spent the evening on a train station decked out in 1940s style with a group of kids. It wasn’t a themed party or anything, we were there to work at the Severn Valley Railway’s annual 1940s weekends.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Better health.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Ha!! Fashion? ME?? I don’t do fashion, never have. If this question were to be phrased “how you would you describe your personal STYLE concept” then I would have to say COMFORTABLE. I wore things that were comfortable round my stomach mainly.
What kept you sane? Blogging, reading, writing, my family and the unwavering support and love from one particular friend.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? None that I can think of. I’ll get back to you if one pops to mind.
What political issue stirred you the most? The government’s actions with regards to sickness benefit claimants. I was on the receiving end of their “new broom” and it nearly destroyed me. I lost my job, my social life, my confidence and to a certain extent my faith because of a condition that started suddenly in January 2010 and I went onto the Employment Sickness Benefit when I was unemployed. More than 12 months later I was told that I was now suddenly fit for work – even though I had not even had a diagnosis yet and therefore nowhere nearer to being healed – and my sickness benefit was stopped. I was told it had stopped two weeks AFTER they had stopped it by the way, great eh? I fought tooth and nail to get my sickness benefit reinstated, and I now receive 2/3rds of what I was getting previously. I don’t receive any help with prescriptions, as I have already said, but what stirred me the most was that I consider my situation to temporary (ok, 2 years isn’t “temporary” but once I am diagnosed and treated I’m right back there in the job market) but the Government have dealt the same hammer blow to everyone including those who have got other long term, significant illnesses and diseases such as those with MS or Cancer. The government trumpeted loudly about the 93% of “frauds” who were removed from the sickness benefit list, but they didn’t say why those people were no longer counted: for the main part those people were too weak to fight the system and voluntarily went onto Jobseekers Allowance (even though they clearly were not in a fit state to get and hold down a job) or dropped out of the benefits system completely. It really got to me this summer because not only did thousands of vulnerable and genuine people get damaged by this action but those people who are genuine frauds were largely unaffected because they were too far into the system to be kicked out of it in one step, as I was. Grrrr it still makes my blood boil!!
Who did you miss? My brother Alan. He lives too far away for regular visits and I have been too unwell to go and visit him and his family this week.
Who was the best new person you met? Leanne at church. We hit it off the first time we had a good chat and we’ve got some great plans to work on next year with some of the young people in the community.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. The only people you can trust to look after you when the chips are down are your family. Friends tend to have other things to do and the state is like a closed book so it’s down to yourself and your family to keep you going.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. From “Price Tag” by Jessie J: “it’s not about the money…we just wanna make the world dance”