At some point today we will utter to each other, ‘Hasn’t this year gone quick?’ as we do so every year. For some of us a New Year can herald a sense of relief, a chance to turn our back on the year that is almost over. For others, we may feel sad that 2012 has been the best year yet and feel anxious that 2013 might not be as fortunate with its unlucky digits. But before you start dragging out last year’s ill-fitting gym kit and investing in overpriced Nicorette patches to aid your New Years Resolutions, I would like to take us back through my (not personal) highs and lows of 2012.
This year gave us the wettest weather report ever recorded, with many towns being flooded across the country and people loosing their homes. This also meant that the much anticipated Jubilee weekend was almost a big washout. However, thanks to the blitz spirit of her Maj’s loyal followers, huge crowds of people took to the banks of the River Thames like soggy cats to watch the old dear celebrate her 60 years on the throne. I watched it from the warmth and dryness of my sofa and although I was mainly trying to see if her Maj was rifling through her handbag to sneak a Quality Street, I couldn’t help feeling a little bit moved by the drenched choir singing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.
The Coalition Government dropped kicked us through a year of budget cuts all in the name of ‘helping our economy’. I’m not convinced they’re asking the right people for money, however, the saving grace on us not hitting a double dip recession was apparently the increase in sales following the massive literary (ahem) hit 50 Shades Of Grey. The trilogy that was dubbed ‘Mummy Porn’ had so many readers hoping to morph their husbands into Christian Grey, that the sales of ‘naughty goods’ rose by a whopping 400% giving our economy a much needed push.
With many families strapped for cash this year and the bill for the Olympic’s seemingly going through the roof, many Londoners, me included, grumbled about how it was a waste of money, wouldn’t be any good anyway, team GB won’t get any golds. How wrong we were? In true Worzel Gummidge form, I sat down to watch the opening ceremony with my ‘cynical head’ firmly on. But then I started to enjoy it, it was actually really good. Each segment was about feeling proud to be British and by the time David Beckham was on his speedboat I was almost standing. Then the countries starting arriving and I dropped into a semi-coma, seriously some of those countries must be made up. The games were great, team GB did really well and as a nation we all became hooked. My children, especially my eldest son knew all the names of our winners, Bradley Wiggins is now a cast iron hero in our house along with Mo Farrah and Jessica Ennis. Forget The Spice Girls spouting on about girl power, take a look at our female athletes. Nicola Adams becoming the first British female to win a gold medal in the women’s boxing even though she looks like she would be too nice to raise a fist at anything. The Paralympics were just as worthy for the first time ever, with my son and parents attending the finals which was gladly a sell out. Apart from a rather too lengthy closing ceremony, a partial career revival for Sir Paul McCartney and The Spice Girls, it really was an Olympics worth watching.
We have also had our fair share of royal scandal this year. Butter wouldn’t melt Kate Middleton had topless shots splashed over the front pages of gossip mags throughout Europe. We were all shocked and appalled, felt that she had been betrayed, although some of us thought that maybe she should be more careful considering her status in the Royal Family. The British press refused to publish the photos and the Royal Family took legal proceedings to protect her honour. Then naked photos of Prince Harry emerged in the press, he had ended up nude following a game of strip billiards (so posh). The Sun newspaper along with many others printed the photos on the front page, we all affectionately shook our heads at the mischief that Harry gets up too. He didn’t try to cause a fuss, wasn’t interested in any sort of injunction and followed the scandal by appearing backstage at a show in Las Vegas surrounded by bikini clad beauties. What a difference a direct line to the throne makes.
However, my personal wow moment of the year was when Felix Baumgartner casually decided to jump 128k from space, through the Earth’s atmosphere and back down to the ground. Dressed in an astronaut’s suit, he emerged from his little space pod, looked down at the edge of the planet and matter of factly said, “I’m coming home now” as if he was just ringing his wife on the train home from work. He plummeted to Earth spinning as he went, then somehow remembered to pull the cord to his parachute and floated to the ground. No matter how many times I watch the clip on You Tube it forces the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up while making me feel a little bit sick, it is truly amazing. And Felix’s reasons for taking the jump, he says, “Everyone has limits – not everyone accepts them”. I can handle a few limits thank you.
Whatever your plans are to see in the New Year later tonight, whether you will be cheering or commiserating come 12 o’clock, no-one will be as happy as Tulisa for seeing the back of 2012.
Happy New Year!! X