Thursday, 27 December 2007

2007 Nearly Gone 2008 to Come

As 2007 enters its last few days I looked back on my last twelve months, and I realised this has been a year of travels, Dublin twice, The Ukraine, and trips in the UK to the North East and Manchester. I am really lucky that I am able to travel so much, it's what I spend most of my money on and I never tire if it.

The first holiday of the year for me was to Dublin in May (written about in detail further back in this blog) was amazing, and actually has had a lasting effect on me. I know it maybe sounds odd to others, but somehow the night we had at the Clarence when we wore our lovely dresses etc made me realise that I could look beautiful. I've always been overweight and, maybe because of low self esteem, thought I couldn't look beautiful. But I (and my pals) looked gorgeous that night and turned heads. That's stayed with me, and I've a new found confidence in how I look and I'm not afraid to show my newly discovered cleavage!

Also my respect for Bono has grown as a result of his thoughtfulness and kindness in surprising us with the champagne and paying for our drinks the night we were at the Clarence. We could never have afforded what we had there, and his gesture made an already special experience prefect. What he did was beyond what we could ever have expected, meeting him a few days before was nice enough! Not many people as famous as Bono (and he's about as famous as you get!) would do something like that, and we are very lucky to be fans of him and U2.

Another discovery from that trip was the joy of champagne! Thanks Bono, we would never have had champagne if you hadn't bought it for us.

Other memories from 2007, beautiful Bamburgh Castle, Holy Island and the uncrowded sandy beaches of Northumberland. I made a mental note to go back there as there is so much that we didn't see in our short visit. Northumberland is a gem that most people in the UK don't know about. I'll never forget my first sight of Bamburgh Castle towering over the village like a Goliath, a bastion high above the coast of the North Sea. The views from the castle's battlements were stunning too, all along the coast snaked a goegeous sandy beach. To the north we could see Lindisifarne (Holy Island) Castle jutting out into the sea, to the south lay the bird sanctuary Farne Islands. A wonderful area, and I've vowed to go back as there is so much that I didn't have time to see .

October saw my visit to the Ukraine, again I've written about this in detail in an earlier blog. Going somewhere like that makes you look at yourself and all you have and it helps you learn not to take these things for granted. I often think of the lovely people we met there and hope that one day their country will get back onto its feet and they can have a better life.

Another trip to Dublin in November was a great way to end my travel of this year. Our luck was amazing - we got to meet Bono again and were able to thank him in person for his generousity in May.

I only got to two gigs in the year, Keane at Manchester and Blondie in my home town. Keane were wonderful, what a great voice Tom Chaplin has! I also really enjoyed Blondie, I thought that maybe Debbie Harry's voice would not be what it was years ago, but she sung really well and everyone was up dancing during the gig.

The big thing for me personally this year was, after working full-time since I was 17, I decided to go part-time in October. I have had to manage on less money but it has been worth it. I have a very stressful job and the extra time off has really made a difference to the stress I'm under - it's worth losing the money for that alone.

It's now five years since my mother died, I always think of her at lot at this time of year. Christmas is a time when we miss those that have gone, people talk about their mums and I wish I still had mine. I always remember a something Bono said a couple of years after his father had died, "The pain is always there, but the temperature goes down". That is so true, you come to terms with the loss of a loved one, but it still hurts. Bono puts it so perfectly.

And 2008? Well, who know what it holds. I will be taking early retirement in September so that will be a massive change to my life, but I do think I'm prepared for it. I'll write more about that when the time comes.

Hopefully there will be a new U2 album during 2008, I'm really ready for new U2 music, why are they so slow making albums? Hopefully though it will be worth the wait. I do hope that they take a risk this time, my personal view is that they played safe on the the last album and I want them to make me go, "Wow, what is that?" next time I hear new music from them. I absolutely love "Mercy", it's raw, musically and vocally, the lyrics are brilliant, and I would love to see the band do more songs in that vein. Time will tell what U2 give us, let's hope it goes in a new direction.

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