I love my blog. I started this blog because I was going travelling and I want to savour it and then remember it Writing a blog seemed to be the ideal way to do both and let my friends know what I was seeing at the same time. Whilst travelling I felt I was sharing the sight sounds and smells with a mythical audience and I liked that. A year or so later and I'm still doing it. No one reads it but I write it for me.
So the last year... I've had some busy/mad/unbelieveable years in my time but 2011 is probably the most remarkable of my life. I retired. I lost a major girlfriend. I travelled independantly and alone across Europe for 2 months. I replaced my car, my motorbike, and most of the interior of my house and all of its contents.
A year ago, when I made my first post, I sat in a cold empty house. I was skint and hoping that my medical retirement would happen. I was on no pay and because I got so fit in a swimming pool I got free swimming in exchange for some life guarding hours. My girlfriend had just left me after spending 5 weeks here before she went off to live with the girls. I was really, really fucking sad. Dreaming of getting away was the escape - that and getting my beaten up body ready to do it.
Sitting in my living room now things are completely and utterly different. It is incredible what can happen in a year and how much your life can improve in what is a very short space of time. After a massive and emotional roller coaster ride i'm retired. I have wonderful memories of a trip of a lifetime where everything went flawlessly with plenty of nice surprises on the way. When I returned I changed the house. It was cold, dirty, primative and felt like someone elses. There was not an ounce of me anywhere in it. Now it is warm, comfortable, fresh, functional and mine. I've got all the "mod cons" and I really enjoy spending time at home and I can't remember the last time I genuinely felt that. I cook nice food to!
Ok, the year is over, and for me 2012 will be different from 2011. 2011 was a year of change in every respect but there was also a strong life plan playing out to. I've done the big things and it is now time to consolidate and concentrate on sustaining myself in the long term and that means being tight on my out-goings so I can afford my goings-out! So it's goodbye to Sky and my mody contract is a very cheap SIM only job. The wood I burn in my log burner is free and the central heating is new and very efficient. My hot water is on economy 7 and 1 charge lasts all day and my LPG hob has used half of bottle of gas since August. I live well and cheap and I need to, I am a pensioner after all.
So it's learning to life within a limited budget is the plan for next year - I want to see how it feels. As I have said, I live for next to nothing considering I have a 3 bedroom cottage and I have no debt other than my mortgage. I don't need to save. So how much money do I need to have a decent life? Answering that question is my plan for 2012. Or to put it another way; being tight and trying to make the most out every pound spent - and I'm looking forward to the challenge. Gonna start working out again - I'm getting flabbing but i'm the same weight as I was a year ago and I'm please with that. There could be some travelling in the spring. It would be good to do it fit.
Love life has been interesting. A year of extremes. I'm all right now.
I got an interesting Christmas prezzy from Sonia, my lovely girlfriend. It is a DVD called "Julie and Julia". Give it a go. It's a must for every blogger who loves France and cooks from the great book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". Cool prezzy babe!
So, from me, the Rat, to all of you (one or two) I hope you have had a great Christmas and I wish you every happiness in 2012.
So it's time for the You Tube link. This was a tune that kept me going for most of my trip across Europe. 6 months on and it makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck - did I really do all that in 2011? And the answer to the question the song poses? I FUCKIN ANSWER AND YOU BET I DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy new year and if you need it may your god go with you.