2006 and all that

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

And so it's time to do my annual round-up of the year's highlights in this journal, just like in 2004 and 2005. Except, this year I've written so little that I'm not sure there are any.

Obviously, there was all that kerfuffle at the beginning of the year, during which I wrote a lot about the Liberal Democrat leadership election and achieved a small amount of notoriety, especially for a post entitled “Chris Huhne – just say 'no'“. Ultimately, I ended up taking part in the first-ever unmoderated Q&A session between bloggers and the leader of a British political party. But after that, I wrote no more about politics – the compulsion had faded and there were no words left. And if you're interested in that sort of stuff, you can find a round-up of it here, not here.

So why am I writing less? Well, there have been other projects taking time that I would otherwise have used – MyBathroomFinder chief among them. But a big, big part of it is that I now have four versions of this blog running, and that makes it such a bloody effort to update that it doesn't seem worth it most of the time. Which is a shame.

Next year I hope to find a way of concentrating on the version hosted at www.andthenhesaid.com, while still not losing touch with friends on DeadJournal, LiveJournal and JournalSpace. And after I've worked out how to do that, for an encore I plan to discover a cure for cancer, achieve world peace, and add 15 per cent to the Liberal Democrats' opinion poll ratings.

Anyway, here are a few bits and pieces worth remembering:

April 14: The house of discipline, and other photos
I can remember when products were built to last and didn't stop working just because they'd been thrown across the room in a cold fury a few times. I say this because my phone finally started malfunctioning beyond a level I was prepared to tolerate, so I had to replace it.
April 19: Fairey story
Life is full of strange moments: today I was followed in a traffic jam by a Fairey Swordfish.
May 21: A snog for Europe
Never let it be said that elections don't produce representative results. The voting in our household last night exactly reflected the UK Eurovision voting, in that the British 12 points went to the latex-covered Finnish rock Gods Lordi – Beloved Other Half's choice – and the 10 points went to my selection, the besuited and terribly direct Lithuanians whose song repeatedly chorused “We are the winners of Eurovision”.
May 24: Shahbazalangadingdong
This year's Big Brother is, to all intents and purposes, already over – despite only six days of its 13-week run having passed.
May 27: Something going down on Upper Street
My vague potterings were interrupted last lunchtime by a cat's cradle of blue tape across the road in my path, cordoning off (among other things) the scene of a shooting the night before and the restaurant where I'd been planning on eating.
May 28: Who do you think you are?
There's still time – just – to get over the Passport Office's website and renew your passport before the end of the month. I did mine a couple of days ago.
May 31: DNA of London
In my household we tend towards the view that Douglas Adams wasn't, in fact, a novellist but instead a philosopher and a researcher of the infinite who chose to present his theories and conclusions in the form of radio scripts and sci-fi novels. He was also – despite most of his work being set on other planets – one of the most observant chroniclers of London since Dickens.
August 6: The Romans in Britain
A couple of weekends ago we combined two of our favourite interests – good books and archaeology – in one visit to the excavations at Silchester Roman Town. Every year, Reading University holds a dig for its students and stages a couple of open days – this year they did something extra: a visit from one of our favourite authors, Lindsey Davis, who gave a talk, read from one of her Falco novels, answered questions and signed autographs. A second, overlapping, post that's more about the author and less about the archaeology appears on MyWeeklyBook here.
October 4: Vegetable love
For anyone motivated by a passion for vegetable growing, Rosemoor – the RHS gardens near Torrington in Devon – are a 'must see' at this time of year. I said I'd write more about our recent weekend spent camping, but frankly I'm inclined to let the photos do the talking.
October 6: Oh Brother where art thou?
The third and final batch of photos from our camping weekend (a dim and distant memory now, I fear) comes from Cleeve Abbey, which was strictly second division in the pre-dissolution abbeys and monasteries league, but which now boasts some remarkably complete ruins and is therefore well worth a visit.
November 15: Viva la raza
Monday was the first anniversary of the death by heart failure of the wrestler Eddie Guerrero – and, to judge from the fresh set of comments that have appeared on YouTube tribute videos, his memory has lost none of its power to affect people.
November 19: Lions and tigers and bears, oh yes
Saturday saw us belatedly celebrating Beloved Other Half's birthday with a trip to Whipsnade Wild Animal
Park, which I must surely have visited as a child, if only I could remember. Won't forget today in a hurry, though.
December 4: In search of the English Roswell
So, yesterday we went to have a potter around some woodland where, 26 years ago this month, an alien spaceship was seen to land. Possibly.
December 22: Clarity
This is nice. I'm sat with a cup of tea in the bright, airy garden room of a National Trust holiday cottage in the far south west of Cornwall, free from most of the cares of normal life and about as far as you can get from the barrage of Christmas commercialism.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.