2013 has been a year of consolidation for us, after our relocation in 2012 it's been lovely to spend time getting used to our new home and surroundings, finding our way around, making new friends, putting down roots and just "being". We've made a few improvements to the house - the new dining room had a complete make-over, which included replastering the walls, new wooden flooring and replacing the patio doors. We've painted the walls in the old dining room and turned it into a non-TV sitting room. We've installed fitted wardrobes in the bedroom, installed reading lamps over the bedhead, and made a start on wallpapering the walls. We haven't yet started on the garden make-over, hopefully that will be put in hand in 2014. In September I restarted my Phoenix business, and GM is still looking for a little something for a few hours a week to bring in some pocket money for him. We've had a few walks, found a few pubs, played a few games of bridge, had a week in North Wales, and generally chilled.
However for most of the other members of my family it's been a real year of change one way and another.
DO, JP and GD1 moved house in August, not far, just about 3 miles from one village to the next, so they could be in the right catchment area for the school they would like GD1 to attend when she's 11. I spent a few days with them, looking after GD1, while they packed and cleaned and then unpacked again. Their new home is lovely and I'm sure they will be very happy there. They ended the year with the news that they are expecting another baby in May 14, this time a boy, who will be GS3.
FO and CH became parents to the gorgeous GD2 in May. FO had a bit of a scare with regard to his job towards the end of the year, but heard a couple of weeks before Christmas that his job is safe, at least for the time being.
GO has, after almost a whole year of job-hunting, been able to give up his part-time chef job and started a "proper" job in November with a small company doing IT systems support, in a village a few miles outside of Bristol. His partner EG has also started her dream job as talent acquisition officer (recruitment) for a well-known and well established company in rural Wiltshire, and last month they moved into a flat conveniently situated for both of their jobs.
GT also spent almost a whole year job-hunting, and eventually started work in August as a carer for vulnerable young male adults, he loves the job and is a changed man now, with a purpose. He is delighted that he gets paid for playing football, swimming, visiting farms and generally enjoying himself while helping others!
GS1 is now in year 11 at secondary school and is studying hard for his GCSEs next summer, his brother GS2 started at the same school in September and still plays football (extremely well, by all accounts!). Their Mum, JO, continues to enjoy her job as a gentlemen's hairdresser.
My dear Mum is now 89 and a half, and is arranging her own 90th birthday party for June next year, which will be the major family get-together of 2014. She is doing remarkably well for her age, a trifle forgetful now and again, but very fit and able, and I've a feeling she's going to be around for a fair few years yet.
So that's where we stand right now. For 2014 we look forward to the arrival of a new grandson, a family 90th birthday, a week in the New Forest, a visit to UK for DO's Japanese mother-in-law, and hopefully lots of other happy occasions.
I hope you too have plenty to look forward to in 2014.
Happy New Year.