Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, 2013....

So, today is the last day of 2013.  Right now I won't be sorry to see the back of it.  The last few months have, frankly, just been waiting for Sylvester to come to the end of his life, which finally happened four days ago.  It was inevitable, as it is with all of us, and I'd been expecting it since September but it's still most unwelcome.

This has, naturally, somewhat coloured my view of 2013 but there has, of course, been good bits.  For me it's mostly been to do with art and painting.  I've produced quite a few paintings this year, some of which I've not shown you.  I even got commissioned to produce a painting for someone to give as a Christmas present, which was absolutely lovely.  We went to the Pre-Raphaelite Exhibition at the Royal Academy which was so beautiful it made me cry.  We also saw the Summer Exhibition at the RA, as we always do, and the British Museum's exhibition of Ice Age Art also made me cry.  In a couple of days we're hoping to finally get to see the British Museum's two exhibitions on Pre-Columbian gold and Japanese erotic art.

The weather this summer was absolutely stunning, for once and the winter, so far, has been wet and windy rather than bitterly cold.  We did, though, suffer power cuts on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (off for 12 hours on both days) which stressed me the feck out as we were meant to be hosting Christmas at ours this year.  Admittedly it was only going to be a very small gathering of just me, TLH and his sister, but we'd got all the food in, and the fridge and freezer were full.  Unfortunately, everything in our house is electric, all the heating and the cooking are electric, we couldn't even have a hot drink.  Luckily, TLH's sister got her electricity back late on Christmas Eve so we decamped over to her house and very much enjoyed her enormous kitchen (mine's teeny-tiny) and toasty woodburning stove.

Yet again, we didn't manage to go anywhere on holiday this year (the last year we got away together for a holiday was way back in 2007) but hopefully this will be rectified next year.

I've let the blog slip somewhat, haven't I?  To be honest I've been finding it quite hard this year to be upbeat about things, and it all just felt like a tremendous effort to try and think of something interesting to say, and then it became about the same things, which was mostly my paintings.  As I said, I have some pictures that you've not seen and I'll do a catch up next month. 

I've continued with my running and successfully reached my target goal of a total of 250 miles in 2013, finishing the last 5 miles just before Christmas Day.  I've decided next year to push the goal and go for 365 miles - that's 1 mile a day.  If the weather is okay, I shall start tomorrow, 1 January.  TLH's running has been brilliant this year - he completed his first run and managed to finish halfway down the field of 600 runners.  He's been so encouraged by this that he's signed up to run Surrey's first ever Half Marathon in March.  He's an infinitely better runner than I am and I've been so impressed with his progress.  It's been lovely to see him take a real interest in something and discover he's naturally good at it, which came as a complete surprise to both of us!

Some other stuff has happened this year I'm sure, but I can't really remember what.  All the family members (apart from the cat) are accounted for and although there's been some illness (some of it quite serious involving hospital stays), we're all still here.  My brother had an interesting November as they discovered the house next door to them was being used as a cannabis farm!

Anyway, as we're now boring old farts and especially due to the events of the last week, are not feeling especially sociable, we're staying in tonight.  I don't really give a toss about New Year's Eve anymore.  We're having Peking Duck and possibly the bottle of champagne that we were going to have at Christmas but didn't; we'll stay up until midnight just to see in the New Year, then go to bed and say goodbye to 2013 once and for all.

Let's reconvene next year, shall we?  And let's hope it's fabulous for everyone.

Friday, 27 December 2013

RIP Sylvester Bean 21.6.96-27.12.13

If you recall, back in September a lump was discovered in Sylvester Bean's abdomen.

Well, it didn't get any better, and on 17 December he suffered a seizure.  Fortunately I was at home at the time and looked after him as best I could.  I took him to the vet that afternoon who confirmed things were not good and it was agreed that we would do palliative care to keep him as comfortable as possible.

We were very fortunate to have him around for another 10 days but, inevitably, the time came for him to take his final journey over the Rainbow Bridge.

Farewell, Sylvester Bean - you were the best of cats, my constant companion for 17 years and are sorely missed.