As cliched as it may be, 2016 has been an eventful year so it would be remiss of me not to outline my highlights. It would be easy to focus on the negatives in such a turbulent year but this A-Z shows off the many great things that happened.
My A-Z highlights of 2016
A – Ampthill. Home of my brother and his family and also the Ampthill Literature Festival. Got to combine seeing my niece Florence with seeing the wonderful Barry Cryer. A great combination.
B – Braithwaite. Another great weekend with Neil and Steve.
C – Counterbalance. Finished my third novel that is currently going under the name Counterbalance.
D – Do the Hucklebuck. Dawn hanging up on Neil as me and Steve serenaded her was probably the highlight of our weekend away.
E – Etiquette. Telling people how to behave seems to be a skill of mine. People need to learn.
F – Five in the morning. One of the more memorable night outs when I thought I was young again and could drink until five in the morning. I can’t.
G – Gang. ‘The Gang’ have stayed friends for a lot of years and whilst we don’t see each other often, we still make each other laugh even during tough times.
H – Holmeside Coffee. Home of Holmeside Writers and also the starting point for one of the funniest, drunkest nights of the year.
I – Iain Rowan’s face when Leprechauns are mentioned.
J – Jermaine Defoe. His goal against Chelsea was one of those moments that makes football worthwhile.
K – Keeping the faith. A lot of people mocked my decision to become a full time writer. I had faith that it would work out and still do.
L – Literature Festival. Appeared at both strands of the Sunderland Literature and Creative Writing Festival. Had a great time and also loved attending all the other sessions. Can’t wait for the 2017 one.
M – Matt and Monkman. Another great weekend away with them. Pateley Bridge this year.
N – Newcastle. BBC Radio Newcastle rather than the city itself. Did an interview with Anna Foster and it was a great experience.
O – Olympics. Not a great fan but my blogs on the subject were very well received.
P – Putting Southwick on the Map. Really interesting project exploring where I grew up.
Q – Quayside Exchange. Entertainment for Christmas night out included waiters fighting. Great night even with a couple of absentees from the gang.
R – Relegation. Rafa taking Newcastle down and bizarrely being hailed as a hero was the oddest, most satisfying moment of the year.
S – Sunderland 2021. The bid for City of Culture is taking shape and I even got to appear in a promotional video.
T – Twitter. Think I am finally beginning to master it and this Tweet was the one that led to my most successful blog day ever. Top Tweet.
U – Unwind. Sitting in Braithwaite, looking at Skiddaw with a 21 year old Balvenie single malt was the chill out moment of the year.
V – Variety. Whilst I haven’t quite said yes to everything this year, I have given myself the opportunity to try different things.
W – Writing. My job and I actually quite like it. As well as my novel I’ve done short stories, flash fiction, blogs, monologues, newsletters, songs and much more.
X – Xmas Party etiquette blogs. Educating people as always.
Y – Year of change. Took a calculated risk by packing my job in last Xmas but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the year.
Z – Zero. Number of hours I’ve spent dealing with Tupperware, Xmas Trees and other office related trivialities.