Merry Christmas to all our readers…

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I feel the need to write. In part it is because I have just finished reading Stephen Fry’s second instalment of his autobiography. I am a big fan of the genius Mr Fry, and I was surprised how many things I feel I have in common with him. Certainly not his wealth, fame or gift for language. I do recall hearing him talk about his dislike of skiing but liking for ski fields some time ago and this endeared me to him. Reading his auto biography however revealed many more similarities; I too loathed anything and everything to do with sport at school, I was something of a child pick-pocket (culminating in a rather sobering theft which bought home the error of my ways in 1980), the list goes on… His biographies (Moab was my wash-pot & The Stephen Fry Chronicles) are well worth a read.

Well the truth is the year did not quite turn out quite the way I had hoped. The same can, I know, be said for pretty much any year. This was truly my Annus Horribilus. The death of my lovely mum on 9 September was both unexpected and profoundly sad. I do not wish to use this blog as some form of self pitying rant but I have been surprised and frustrated at just how mum’s death has impacted on me.

From time to time in the media we read about people who do the most extreme things, and when (inevitably in a court setting) are called to account use the defence that the loss of a loved one. I believe I now understand a little of their plight. While I remember being sad at the death of my father in 1996, I do not recall it being as constant or ‘heavy’ a feeling. In part this may be because our first daughter, Annie, was born in 1996 and so the experiences of being a parent and the adventures that threw up were rather distracting. I suspect however that the real reason is that I was always something of a mummy’s boy.

Certainly I have felt a keener sense of the need to care for mum over the last 14 years since dad’s death. In particular her last 10 months after her stroke in 2009 fell logically on those of her children here in Christchurch. This is in no way a criticism of my siblings elsewhere (who I know feel the loss of mum as keenly).

Partly of course it was the unexpected way in which she died. Most days I relive some part of the day that she died. I know it is also very cliche but it is true that the most unusual things remind me of mum. I can be trucking along having a good day and then *wham* some random memory will have me falling down a rabbit hole of thought.

I seem to have lost my equilibrium a little. I am sure that with time and thought I will discover the perspective required.

The earthquake that rocked my world – literally – on 4 September, was rather exciting. While the initial quake clearly did some terrible damage the weeks following and the 2500+ aftershocks were the real bugger. Sleep deprivation, underlying worry and the need to keep children and loved ones calm were very draining.

My work was enjoyable and rewarding in 2010. I ‘clocked’ 25 years with the government in January and suspect I am now a lifer (as a colleague once called us). I was able to travel to Hiroshima, Jakarta, Mauritius, Taipei and Melbourne in the year. According to Tripit I have done 44 trips this year, I have spent 107 days ‘on the road’ have travelled to 23 cities in 10 countries and clocked up 153,253 kilometres. No wonder then that I enjoyed the movie “Up in the Air” with George Clooney. There are so many more things I would like to achieve for my beloved Companies Office.

I am ever grateful for my wee family and am greatly enjoying supporting Annie as she takes up rowing for Marian College. Molly had completed her penultimate year at primary school and will move to the top class in 2011. She will be joined by the effervescent Katie in August! Time flies.

We have a quiet Christmas (if there is such as thing) planned and will head away for a little camping in early January.

I hope for a much better year in 2011, and will do my bit to make it so.

Merry Christmas to all our (my) readers.