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[personal profile] gnommi

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?
Moved into my first house! Cue many decorators, carpenters, etc etc etc and bye bye much moneys.
Fell through my own bathroom floor (expensive, traumatic).
Wrote the key documentation which got a huge clinical lab de novo ISO:15189 accreditation *flex*.
Went to possibly the UKs most pretentious cocktail bar, Dandelyan on the day our friend's partner unexpectedly died, also my 44th birthday.
Waited over a year for a hospital appointment - still waiting.
Acquired a fifth of a Jack Russell terrier, to equal parts angst and delight: here it is eating a door wedge. >_<

Saw an astronomical number of people I really admire die.
Saw the balance (and statement) of power in the western world shift backwards to tribalism, greed and lack of empathy - it takes a bit of a slap to realize that, yes, it CAN happen here.
Got myself into the Big Carp Gallery of Angler's Mail with my first carp catch - 32lb 15oz! I couldn't lift it out of the water...

I also caught my first pike, prompting a similar ridiculous facial expression and assistance with lifting...

Had a champagne tasting on a helipad at Chateau Comtesse LaFond on our one trip away.
Was so upset at how bad my French skills were that I started trying to learn French independently with Duolingo, which is quite fun, though I seem to have plateau-ed a bit.
Started reading books in French - currently Le Petit Prince and Cinq Semaines en Balon. Slooooow.
Sat next to Ian Hislop on the Tube, and was quite overcome with emotion, because it was the day before the US election and he's always been someone I really look up to (see reviews of the year passim).
Went to Marcus for the hairy half's birthday. Spendy but SO GOOD.
Attended a wonderful wedding at In and Out Club which was rather swish.
Took my mum to Kew Gardens with my sister, which is something I NEVER thought I'd see and neither did my mum...
Visited Crossness Pumping Station when it was in steam - what an amazing place!! One photo here as a teaser...

Was a victim of theft - someone stole the tree we were given as a housewarming present out of our front garden when we were at work. Who the hell steals a TREE?!
Saw Genesis P-Orridge by live satellite link do a Q&A at the premier of his documentary on ouida in Benin, Bight of the Twin at the ICA, which was Memorable.
Made sourdough, +/- successfully.
Took a rowing boat out on the Thames at Hammerton's Ferry. I can't steer and row, apparently, but we did make it round Eel Pie Island without sinking.
Went to Reims and saw the L'Ange au Sourire on the cathedral.
Left my handbag on the train, the day before I went on holiday. Fortunately I got it back, but going on holiday without any means of spending money was interesting.
Tried to grow my own veg: courgettes and green beans were successful, radishes, leeks, kale and squash - not so much. Snails had a field day.
Took a river cruise from Kingston to Westminster - next year, Kingston to the Thames Tide Barrier.
Had dinner in the British Museum with Maria and Robert, surrounded by scurrying mice - can't be good for some of the perishable exhibits!
Went behind the scenes at the Natural History Museum on the annual Grant Museum of Zoology field trip, to see the marine wet collection (giant squid and tanks of sharks included), the specimens collected by Darwin on The Beagle and meet the hugely entertaining curator of the Diptera collection, Erica McAllister - check out her blog.
Helped demo the very fun Tactikinetophone VR kit at the EuroHaptics exhibition at the Royal Institution for Dr Maria Karam and in the process tried out a lot of haptic tech, including surgical interfaces and a virtual prostate exam.
Went to Nottingham Castle for the PathSoc nibble reception thing, where I met this ??bear.

Escaped the Oubliette with [ profile] squirmelia with under 50 seconds to spare.

2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I did try to keep fit, mostly via the acquisition of 1/5 of a dog but it didn't make a lot of difference. This year my resolution is to get out and about and visit friends more. They get more dispersed as you get older and keeping up friendships takes a lot more effort. People change a lot as well, so some friendships wither, whilst others become even more precious. Often not the ones you think.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
MY BROTHER - go figure!! Sina/Emma, Mischa/Lucy, MikeJ/Reena, Jme/Jen got pregnant, Elie/Huw got pregnant, my cousin Wendy got pregnant. Faye and Steve got married which was amazing. I'm *definitely* on a new cohort of younger friends getting married and up the duff now - my contemporaries are taking theirs to school sending theirs off to college/uni now. NONE HERE. NOPE. Seems foolhardy when the world has a lit fuse and it's not even very long...

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Well obviously I wasn't close to any of these but in terms of how much they meant to me at various times, Lemmy, Alan Rickman, Bowie, Prince and Carrie Fisher upset me more than I would have expected. Seems like there's some kind of revolution happening, like the world is shrugging off one status quo and assuming another (this is not a joke about Rick Parfitt!). There were some unexpected deaths of people in my circle but that I wasn't personally close to, but which were affecting nonetheless. A guy I knew from Mono died suddenly, after a long mental illness that he looked like he was finally getting on top of, and a friend's partner died way too young.
Tony Millionaire finally ended the sublime Maakies this year, which was a strip of great inspiration to me - I'm still "laughing at the horror of being alive", but it feels lonelier now.

5. What countries did you visit?
France. Buying a house and having an ISO inspection eats all of your time and money.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Still toying with maybe getting onto the RCPath BMS reporting trial
The wherewithal to tweak my job a bit and stop being a pushover, though been much better at this recently
Less tub round the middle
A world where people don't spout ignorance, hatred and bigotry just because someone voted for something or someone that they don't agree with

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Moving into our new house
Nottingham PathSoc and Molecular Diagnostics courses - I seem to have become firmly part of the PathSoc furniture now.
The EU referendum, what a horrible sinking feeling followed by some truly despicable behaviour by the "majority".
Even moreso the US election.
Bowie dying - that felt very much like the end of an era.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting the lab through the ISO inspection and keeping my calm (mostly).
Giving a lecture I wrote based on the summer PathSoc meeting at two high-profile external professional society meetings, with really good feedback. I think I am getting my lecturing together pretty well now.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not keeping up friends properly and not taking time to look after myself properly - still failing to go to the dentist even though I now have 4 broken teeth! Not managing to give my invited lecture to the Clinical Oncology MSc due to lack of time.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Unsure. GI issues and insomnia (linked) for the last 3 months, waiting on gastroenterology referral and endoscopy. Fingers crossed.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Maybe the house? Acquiring 1/5 of a dog has been surprisingly rewarding. Also, buying this ludicrous Lego bucket wheel excavator for [ profile] nmg was very satisfying.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Enduring love for Professor Sir Nicholas Wright, and Ian Hislop, as always.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Politicians. Graceless winners. Bigots. The willfully ignorant.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Commuting, house repairs, occasional ridiculous meals out.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Nothing much, really. I guess I got a bit interested in growing things from seeds saved from fruit and vegetables? The forties continue.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
No idea! Maybe something from the soundtrack of Life Is Strange. That was a fun game. I don't really do music very much these days.

17. Answer these for 2016:
a) happier or sadder? Everything Is Alright still.
b) thinner or fatter? Hahaha, thank god even more for Lycra
c) richer or poorer? Poorer. Who knows where the very hell it all goes!

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Travelling. Going outside. Walking the dog. Looking at the world through my eyeballs and not a screen. Seeing people face to face. Learning.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Being ill and tired. Time-wasting on the internet. Overeating out of stress and boredom.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas just gone with the in-laws as usual. This year I actually got to catch up with my sister and my mum and a bunch of Sotonites.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
13? years and counting. Still dunno how that happened. Our relationship has gone through what seems like a billion phases and continues to change but I *think* we still like each other!? Although Ridiculous Small Dog stole a bit of my heart, stupid animal.

22. How many one-night stands?
RIGHT. This question is ridiculous as a 44-year old in a decade-long relationship. SO. I'm changing this to:
22. How many of your friends moved away? How many of them did you go and see or have to visit you?
Clare and Ali moved to Canada, Charlie moved to Oxford, Pete now lives in France, Tim continues to live in Germany, Krk and Grunt in Sweden, Jarno in Finland and Maria and Robert in Canada. THIS is going to be the year that we go and see them all. MUAHAHA.

23. What was your favourite TV program?
Not a lot of change here: Masterchef - The Professionals, Bake Off (RIP), Hairy Bikers, anything with Michael Mosley, documentaries. I thought Rick Stein's Weekend Away thing was a neat idea - travelogue and cooking prog all at once but not too much of either. I really enjoyed Stranger Things as a not-too-challenging and refreshingly not try-hard 80s horror pastiche. Also finished the excellent Scandi folk-horror Jordskott. Just started The OA but have a nasty feeling that it might be another too-clever-for-its-own-good outing.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope, though I reserve the right to tear a strip off the next sanctimonious vegan I come across. I have ethical stances on consumption too, I just don't feel the need to ram them down the throat of everyone I come across. That goes for anyone else who feels the need to "educate" or belittle anyone they don't agree with. Grow up.

25. What's the best book you read?
I've been reading French lit but it's going very slowly. I greatly enjoyed William Sitwell's A History of Food in 100 Recipes, not only because I hear it in his voice. I've lost my daily reading slot on the commute to Duolingo!

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
This year I've barely listened to anything other than Jenkin's Ear. Nothing like a few shanties while you make dinner.

27. What did you want and get?
A chance to enjoy living somewhere lovely. Lots of local outings. Great friends locally - Cheers fisherman Dave! Mum to come and see my house (and Kew Gardens).

28. What did you want and not get?
Thinner. Fitter. A world with more tolerance, not less. To get to meet my new niece.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
No idea - I watched a lot of bad ones! The worst was undoubtedly Hastag Horror. No redeeming features. None.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Dinner at The Gilbert Scott, which has become my new go-to place for a guaranteed wonderful time (a break from the usual jaunt to The Pig; see years passim, after a couple of disappointing trips for birthdays during the year). 44. We also went to Chez Lindsay because it's local and the crepes are droolworthy. Plus they do Breton cidre. Nommers.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Seeing my friends and relatives more often.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Weird leggings, baggy jumpers, ridiculous holographic trainers. Also my waterproof coat and my rocking new wellies with the racing stripe! I got a couple of drapey chiffon shirt things which look great no matter how bloated I am. Occasional bright green metallic fingernails of doom.

33. What kept you sane?
The hairy half, my crazy jewellery evening classmates, Dave the fisherman and the Pale Terror, Steve, Faye and Jane (even though I have probably driven them halfway insane in return), pathology, having lots of awesome museums within lunchtime walking distance, Private Eye and gardening (though that gives with one hand and takes with the other).

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Usual suspects. I seem to have gained a slight William Sitwell problem.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Bizarrely, given developments, this is identical to last year, only worse: All of the nonsensical "Johnny poor/foreign/religious/different to you somehow person is going to steal all your cake/blow up your children/ban you from eating bacon" claptrap spouted to cover the fact that the country is a total mess all by itself thanks to the fat, born rich, snobbish louts in power.

36. Who did you miss?
So many friends in places other, and my family. Locally: Karim. Karim, we need to catch up more. Soton: all of you really but Caroline - *wail* - I miss you massively even if I am shite at showing it. Malcolm!

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I don't really get to meet that many new people these days, but we've had a few new guys at work and they are pretty special. Seema, in particular, is AWESOME. Dr John Doorbar (virologist) from Cambridge and Dr Yuling Luo (BASEScope inventor) were both highlights professionally too.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:
Don't stress too much with gardening, it's a long game that might not have any winners! Likewise with fishing - just chill out, the fish will come, but be ready when they do! But seriously, the biggest thing: never take what you have for granted, it can be taken away in a heartbeat.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year
"This is ground control to Major Tom..." I'm floating round somewhere, just need to reconnect with the ground.

Here's last year's (I seem to have missed 2014 somehow),
2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008. I'm still a bit of an overworked navel-gazer, but despite it being a bit of a fallow year for travelling and keeping in touch with people, I am ceasing to be massively stressed about things (or at least ceasing to acknowledge or notice being bothered by as much).


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