Time for the annual roundup of the year's highlights.
Top of the list has to be our summer holiday in the Inner Hebrides, when we finally introduced our Iona to her island namesake. I've been meaning to blog about it ever since we returned but have never got round to it. But I'm determined to do so, so until then all I'll say is that the photograph is of the view from the living room of our lodge on Colonsay where I spent many happy hours reading and knitting (that's when I wasn't spending many equally happy hours exploring the island by bike).
On 6 January I attended my first Quaker meeting and have been going ever since. After years of searching for somewhere I can continue my spiritual journey I believe I may have found it with the Friends.
My younger daughter was offered the university place of her dreams, at Falmouth, to study illustration. After a year of travelling up and down the country attending open days and returning for interviews, this came as a great relief to all of us, although I did enjoy the opportunity to visit/reacquaint myself with several lovely cities.
In May I accepted the challenge to live on £1 per day for 5 days. I am grateful for the generosity of the friends who sponsored me and the opportunity to raise the profile of extreme poverty in Bristol via two interviews on BBC local radio.
I continue to volunteer for the Bristol Pound and in the autumn was elected to the Board of Directors to represent the individual account holders. The local currency is over a year old now and I'm really looking forward to playing my part in its continuing success.
Now that the girls have both left home I've been doing more singing. In the summer I took part in the biennial Sing for Water on Bristol's harbourside and then I finally plucked up the courage to join the Gasworks Singers. This is an offshoot of the Gasworks choir (of which I've been a member for many years) and is a much smaller group who sing more often at festivals and charitable events. There was a fairly long list of songs to master before our first gig at the North Bristol Arts Trail but I managed and can now relax and enjoy the music, the friendship and the spectacular shared lunches.
There have, of course, been occasions on which to try and set the world right. In April I paid my first visit to Aldermaston to protest against the obscenity of nuclear weapons. In June I was in London to highlight world hunger, a week after I helped feed 5,000 people with food that might otherwise have been send to a landfill site. It does sometimes feel as if we're bashing our heads against a brick wall but if that's what it takes to create a better world for everyone then I for one am prepared to carry on.
Fortunately there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful and that's what I plan to concentrate on in 2014.
I'm looking forward to:
- taking my elder daughter on a European city break (Prague?) after she sits her final degree exam and then to attending her graduation ceremony in the summer
- campaigning for the Green Party in this year's local and European elections and persuading people to consider the environmental impact of their vote
- getting my head around Quaker faith and practice and perhaps attending the Yearly Meeting Gathering in Bath (even if it's only for a day or so)
- helping to convince more individuals and businesses of the merits of the Bristol Pound
- listening to the debate on Scottish independence and (hopefully?) witnessing the birth of an independent Scotland in September
- carrying on baking, campaigning, composting, crocheting, gardening, knitting, protesting, reading, recycling, singing, walking, ...