Monday, December 23, 2013
Another year nearly done
We had another great holiday there this year courtesy of MrsB’s sister. They have moved house from Burlington, Ontario to Paris, Ontario since we last visited which opened up loads of new places to explore. Paris itself is a lovely little town and the locals we met all seemed positively charming. Admittedly many of them were trying to sell us things or serve us food, but still they seemed genuine about it. OK, yes we did go down to Niagara Falls again (and took a five hour jaunt into the US while we were there) but I am not sure I will ever tire of seeing all that water doing the falling thing. My favourite pictures from the trip can of course all be found on Flickr, and if each one of them is worth a thousand words then feel free to go look and save me a lot of typing. However, particular highlights were Port Dover which has a smashing seaside vibe, even if the “sea” in question is actually Lake Erie; the beautiful old town of Elora (a bit of an artist’s hotspot) and, just because, the cars. Yes, I'm a sucker for an old American hot rod or muscle car, and there’s loads of them north of the border too. Plus of course it is always good to be with the family.
I can honestly say I am quite proud of some of the things we have achieved this year. The two bus stations in Ipswich have been refurbished and despite the inevitable negativity in the local press I am more than happy with the end results, given the constraints we have to work under. Yes, it would have been nice if we could have done something a little bit more dramatic with them (headlines criticised them for looking a lot like the old versions – well yes, they are still bus stations and we didn't get any more land to play with) and it would have been lovely to have every facility people want but reality has to kick in somewhere. We are also nearly there with getting a decent real time passenger information system up and running in town (and then hopefully across the whole county). Just a little bit more data wrangling to do and then screens can go up early next year, which will hopefully be popular with the public.
50 years of Dr Who
Loved the anniversary special, and while I think Matt Smith has been an excellent Doctor I am really looking forward to the Christmas regeneration to see what Peter Capaldi brings to the part next year.
Looking back over the year it has been a generally steady one with no major catastrophes or major excitements to disrupt the splendid joy of a normal existence. Which is all anyone can ask for really. I’ve listened to a lot of music and read a lot of books, but they will get their own posts over the next couple of weeks complete with the big list of books (and maybe one of music too) as in previous years.
We have had some nice days out – some to London (including the Jack the Ripper and Secret London walking tour I was given as a birthday present) and also closer to home, just enjoying bits of Suffolk. And most of those have also included nice meals in assorted pubs and restaurants. Mind you, one of those also lead to us both spending the week in bed with food poisoning back in the summer, so it wasn’t all good. Although I think the positive days outweighed that one negative experience.
And, without realising it until recently, I think we have both finally stopped being paranoid about money. A maturing investment allowed us to pay off a chunk of the mortgage as well as having the good holiday and leaving us with a reserve for emergencies (hello, new dishwasher and back door frame) and we have reigned in spending on a few things, so no longer do I spend the last week of every month checking the bank accounts to make sure we can hang on until pay day. Which is a wonderful feeling at last.
So, all things considered, a good year. Here’s to 2014!