That Was The Year That Was

It’s customary around these parts to review the year when I finally reach the fag-end of it. And sure enough, today seems the most opportune moment to do so. 

The beauty of this exercise is that I am aided in my assessment by looking back to the post I made on January 1st in which I set down what I expected to happen this year.

This year started coldly, in the same way as it’s finishing coldly. The weather made me dread going back to Hull after Christmas, and it was even worse this year because I had exams awaiting me there. But back I went, nailing the buggers, and getting on with the rest of university life. 

The months ticked by, not a lot happened with me other than ploughing on with my university work. After all, it was my final year and I had a dissertation to write, an absolute monster spanning 15,000 words. But I did it…

Winter gave way to Spring, and yet more exams appeared over the horizon. But all of a sudden I had a new goal. Away had went my previous expectations of being able to get a 2:1. All of a sudden I’d done so well in my previous exams, essays and the dissertation to know that I could, if I pushed myself, get a First. 

The exam revision was hellish. It would be another two months before I finally got the answer I was hoping for.

In the meantime, I moved back home and began preparing for life doing a PGCE. My plan was to become a primary school teacher, as it was something I had found interesting when I did lots of work experience for them. But as the months went by, I found myself backtracking from this commitment. Somehow, it just didn’t seem right any more. Each day another seed of doubt was sewn. I felt like I was just doing it because I didn’t have any other plans.

Days later there was the joy of the graduation result, a First, and the day itself, which was a very happy moment. Then my brain began to think up alternatives. If not teaching, what else? 

Unfortunately, to this day there is no answer to that question, made worse by the fact that the recession seems to be seriously damaging my prospects. I tried and tried, but ratcheted up just two interviews, one of which was a disaster not worth repeating, and the other was a long journey to London which ended with the same result. In any event, I soon learned that a First in politics is not really that useful. 

And so the remaining months of the year have been spent here, where I’ve lived out a rather odd existence as a houseson, spending my time looking after the house while my parents aren’t here, helping my brother and sister with their homework, and generally mooching around watching DVDs or reading books. 

Not good, basically. 

Because of all this, I am, for the first time in a while, not going to label this as a Good Year. Though it started well, and the middle bit was pretty sweet, the end has been a disaster. So this is a Neutral Year. 

For the rest of my family, I have been fortune that the sadness I feared was going to happen with my grandparents has not yet arrived. In fact, things are pretty much as they were at the start of the year. So that is some comfort. But I am still worried about what might happen in the near future. 

Meanwhile, my younger but elder of my brothers has gone to university, and seems to be enjoying it. The other brother has begun his GCSEs and is turning into a right scally. But he’s still my brother, and as amusing as ever. And my sister has gone all girly-girly, but has turned into a massive couch potato, watching soaps, reality TV and endless Nickelodeon shows. Not good at all.

My elder sister didn’t keep up with her nurse training, but now has a job for the first time in a long time. Her son, my nephew, has, unfortunately, become very naughty and very thick, a change which has upset me a lot. I suspect it’s related to the beginnings of a long and tedious legal battle that will kick off in 2009 as his useless father tries to score some points over my sister. 

As for my parents, well, I can’t help but feel that living here has changed the dynamic of their relationship. Some times I feel like I’m the referee of their silly conflicts, like they appeal to me for a judgement on who is to blame for things. I don’t like it, and hope I don’t have to put up with it for much longer. 

So, sorry 2008, but I’ll be glad to see the back of you. Things just haven’t gone anywhere near the way I thought they would. A shame, but we move on…

(Some) Christmas Cheer

My mood is still fairly somber as the continuing saga of the broken shin is still playing on my mind, but fortunately there have been plenty of distractions lately. 

First, the good news. The injured player was home for Christmas, and now it’s a matter of waiting for nature to take its course and let the bone heal. It never ceases to amaze me how things keep reminding me of the incident though. All over this house there are miscellaneous football related items: water bottles, corner flags, the chocolates that I didn’t give out due to last Sunday’s farce… even the other day when I went to use my stopwatch and realised it was still saying “15:30” – the time during the second half at which I stopped the clock.

So with the events still running through my head, I’ve not been all that in the mood to celebrate the usual family Christmas gathering. Nevertheless, it has been good fun. The presents I bought have been well received (although one didn’t turn up, thanks HMV) and I got some good stuff: some books I wanted, lots of chocolate, DVDs, albums, a little money. All going to a good cause. I feel like I don’t do enough reading… but I suspect the next few months will change that!

But better still have been the presents my brothers and sister have got. My sister got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas; the inevitable Wii Sports came bundled with it. That has already provided much joy, much hilarity and sore arm muscles. Good workout though.

And my brothers got Guitar Hero World Tour on the Xbox 360. Now, we’re already pretty good at Guitar Hero in this house, though it had fallen out of favour in recent months. My brothers are better than me, but then again, they would be given how much they played it. But now, at last, I have found something that I’m far superior to them at, and they will probably never catch me.

Guitar Hero World Tour comes with an electronic drum kit, if you spend enough money on it. I play the drums in real life, and the guitar too. The real guitar and the Guitar Hero guitar have no similarities, so the skills aren’t transferable. However, real drums and the Guitar Hero drums are very similar. The only thing missing is a pedal to open and close the hi-hat. 

The result: I was able to start drumming on it instantly, and at medium difficulty, and hopefully will be able to try out hard difficulty very soon if I keep the practice up. My brothers have not proved so adept. Co-ordination is not their strong point. 

This present has definitely been a hit. In fact, the whole family have been having a go. Lots of fun has ensued, and lots of swearing. It can be surprisingly annoying when you make a mistake after keeping your concentration for so long, thus ruining a perfect attempt up until that point…

But there is one catch to the Guitar Hero present. Yes, when we went to help the now famous injured player home from hospital on Wednesday, we went into their house for 10 minutes just to have a chat with all the family. There, underneath the tree, I spotted Guitar Hero World Tour. Then when the subject turned to Christmas presents, it soon became clear that this was a Christmas present for the player from his parents. Only… he now won’t be able to play the drums that come with it due to his injury. Argh!

So now every time I play on them I have to count my lucky stars, and once again feel sorrow, pain and a little guilt for the injured player.

Meanwhile, back at home, Christmas in general was a success. My grandparents even came round for dinner, the first time we’ve done that in a very long time, meaning my mum and dad cooked for 10 people. Incredible. I don’t know whether I’d be able to cope with that. Anyway, it was very good to see them, and good to share in this family occasion. And Christmas Day TV was pretty good… Doctor Who, Wallace & Gromit, The Royle Family… what more could you want?

Things are now beginning to wind down, but, in order to prevent depression, I think of “Christmas” as that period from Dec 24 to Jan 2 inclusive. We’re only half way through it, so there’s lots more good stuff to come. I hope.

Here’s to family.

The Tearful Injury

As per my previous post the events of the past few days are still swirling around my head. They have been tempered somewhat since yesterday because we organised a get well card and went to see the injured player in hospital – this helped to clear things up and erase some of the haunting memories I had of the last time I saw him being in total agony and clearly very distressed about what the future had in store.

Things did come to a head for me yesterday, though. After having one of the worst night’s sleep in ages, lying awake for most of the night, I got up in the morning, exhausted from the constant churn of devastation. I could feel it building up. I had to get it out.

So when my mum came into the room and started asking about what the latest news was (as my dad had taken a phone call from the injured player earlier) I just burst into tears. It was awful. Then my mum joined in. My dad wasn’t there, but judging by his demeanour since the incident he has been depressed about it too. We’re all pretty cut up about it…

We resolved to do what we could to help, anything to try to make us feel a bit better. It turns out that he doesn’t have any immediate family that are any use, so when we said we wanted to visit him, his dad (who has had to stay at home throughout due to other family commitments) asked if we could take some stuff up to his mum, who had been at the hospital almost constantly since it happened. We were only too happy to help.

When we finally arrived we spent two hours talking, getting everything straight (the confusion about the incident itself was bad enough) and having a good laugh and a joke. It’s clear what happened was appalling for him, as every time he mentioned it he went gloomy, saying how terrible the pain and the unknown was. He’s obviously gutted about it, but he’s determined it won’t be the end of his playing career, and he’s still the same kid as before – bright, cheery, witty and optimistic for the future. The small matter of a cast from his toes to his thigh doesn’t seem to have got him down too much. At least, I hope not.

But most of all it’s answered a lot of my questions. It seems his operation wasn’t as bad as we first feared, and his ankle wasn’t broken in the incident after all – it had somehow gone out of place (but not dislocated?) as a result of the smashing of his tibia, just a couple of centimetres above his ankle. They had to “operate” in order to make sure everything was in the right place and fit the cast, because the pain was just too great doing it while he was still awake, but, fingers crossed, it’s all gone well, and the worst is now over.

There is the little matter that the cast is too heavy for crutches, so he’s wheelchair-bound for at least the next six weeks, but in total he will be out for four months or so. That’s going to be the longest four months of my life. The pain for me will ease day-by-day, as the necessity of other things in life comes along to change my priorities, but every waking moment of the kid will be taken up by this thing. I’m lucky. He’s not.

What have I learned from all this? Well… I’ve learned that I’m a pretty sensitive soul, emotionally wired up with the team I run. That’s not much of a surprise. I have been surprised at just how much it’s devastated me, though. I now know too that mistakes were made when the referee tried to remove the player’s boot in the early seconds after the incident. I hope he didn’t aggravate it, the idiot. I also know that slide tackling is a recipe for disaster if both players are sliding for the ball, but that seems to be a case of naivety on the part of our injured player for not recognising the danger, and not realising that he didn’t need to do it at all in the circumstances. I also know that shin pads probably ought to offer more protection for the side of the shin – in this case they didn’t, and that’s how he still broke it.

As a team, we will be taking out personal injury insurance, and we will now have to rebuild our squad looking to the future. We will also have to rebuild morale – not an easy challenge at all. We will also put in place a procedure to deal with an incident like this better; we couldn’t help but feel inadequate after what happened.

He gets out of hospital today, at last. That will be a major relief for all concerned. The long road to recovery will now begin. Let’s hope it does so with as good a Christmas as they can have under the circumstances.

I could definitely do with that.

Snapped

At more or less the time yesterday when WordPress was automatically publishing a post I’d pre-written and scheduled for the morning, I was standing in my usual spot, watching my football team. It was a surprise the matches went on for two reasons: 1) the weather had been poor prior to it, the pitches not in a good state, but on the day itself it wasn’t raining, so the league took a chance; 2) we normally have two weeks off for Christmas, but this year we’re going with one.

So we played football.

I wish we hadn’t.

Right now lying in hospital, undergoing an operation, is one of our players. One of my favourite players, to be exact. He has only recently joined us, but he has added hugely to our defence and our battling spirit. Plus, he’s bright, witty and very talkative. He has been an exceptional addition to our squad.

About 15 minutes into the second half, our player went sliding in to get the ball. Unfortunately, his opponent had also started sliding in. They collided. I didn’t actually see the smash, because at the critical moment another player had ran across my line-of-sight. But the instant reaction from all around was one of shock, and the gasp of horror at the crunching collision was audible. We knew immediately it was bad because he couldn’t get up. He started shouting in pain.

A crowd gathered around him, and it quickly became obvious that an ambulance was going to be needed. The poor fella had to lie on the ground for a disgraceful 40 minutes, with a bitter wind blowing constantly, while we waited for the ambulance to arrive (naturally the game was abandoned). We had a couple of first aid blankets to keep him warm, but he was obviously shivering and in danger of going into shock. We kept talking to him, but the feeling of total, utter helplessness was hard to keep away from my mind. One of the parents was a first-aider, but it’s irrelevant really when you’ve got a suspected broken leg. The only sensible thing was for him to stay perfectly still on the ground.

He braved it out, but the continual throbbing of pain resulting in him shouting was distressing for all concerned. You could see he was fighting back the tears. All the while, waiting, interminably waiting, we stood there, shocked ourselves, and in sheer disbelief about how long the ambulance was taking.

When the ambulance finally arrived the paramedics seemed in no hurry. They were lethargic and obstructive. They didn’t clear the crowds away. They put him in a wheelchair and had to be helped by members of the public to put him in it. No one knows why they didn’t use a stretcher, which would have been more ideal for making sure the injured leg didn’t move. The wheelchair itself didn’t seem to have sufficient support for a leg. Then they had to wheel it over bumpy terrain back to the ambulance, which clearly was causing even more pain to him. They stopped and started on their journey. The kid even had to support the bottle of N2O on his lap. The paramedics just didn’t seem to be very good. I feel terrible saying that, as I know these people are overworked and underpaid, but the events that transpired from when they arrived filled nobody with confidence that they were now firmly in control of the situation.

Since these events me, my brother (who plays in the team), and my mum and dad have been in something of a daze. We’re all tremendously depressed about what’s happened. The one image that sticks in my mind is seeing the player’s tearful face as he finally made it into the back of the ambulance, howling in pain while trying to wave goodbye to those of us who had stuck around for moral support.

After hearing of the damage that the other player has caused to our player, we’re all left wondering. It’s so bad – a broken ankle and a fractured shin – that could it have been a deliberate, malicious challenge? The player who did it swears it was accidental, and everyone who saw it thinks the same. But we still don’t know how he came to break the top of his shin, below the kneecap, and ended up with an ankle that was broken and twisted far out of place. And the thing is, his ankle didn’t even look that bad when I looked at yesterday.

It’s hard to stop thinking about these events. I thought about it all yesterday. I woke up many times last night and it was the first thing in my mind. It’s been up there again today, and it just keeps coming back as we get more news, and each time the news seems to be worse. At first we heard it wasn’t going to be too bad. Then he needed an operation. Now it’s unlikely he’ll ever play football again.

As in everything in life, we’re left wondering what if. What if the game had been called off? It’s raining today – why wasn’t this rain here yesterday? Why didn’t we have two weekends for Christmas, as normal? Why did we play the injured player at right back instead of centre back as normal? If he had been at centre back, it’s unlikely he would have been near the incident. Why didn’t we play the game at our opposition’s ground, as we were originally supposed to? Why did the paramedics not leave us feeling absolutely confident that they had everything under control? Why did they use a wheelchair, not a stretcher? Why had we rushed back on after half time? Why had the referee only played 30 instead of 35 minutes in the first half?

The list just goes on and on. The agony continues. The memories of all the previous good times we’ve had since the player joined us are all resurfacing. Only last week we all had a great day out at a Premier League football match.
They seem such innocent times.

They are gone. We can’t rewind the clock. We have to suffer what this cruel twist of fate has brought us. The worst of it, of course, is that all this has happened right on top of Christmas, and the player’s birthday next week. And in a family that are going to struggle to cope with what’s happened.

It put an incredible bad feel to the end of our footballing year. We were looking forward to sending them all away with their selection boxes and wishing them all a happy Christmas. Instead we were left with this absolute trainwreck.

And the sad thing is that this isn’t the first time this has happened to us (yet some managers report it’s never happened to them!). And in all previous instances, the player has never played football again. It gets worse each time you see this happen, but this one is totally devastating for all concerned. If I wasn’t an atheist, I would probably use a phrase like “There but for the grace of God go I”…

We hope to go and visit him tomorrow. It also might help us make some sense of what actually happened. Not knowing the exact details of the event is making it even more difficult to come to terms with it.

The team’s morale is shattered, I can’t stop thinking about it, and we’re all going to take a little while before we can get past these emotions.

I even admit that I have shed a few tears over this. Truly upsetting. It’s making me reassess just what’s left in the beautiful game for me…

A Fatty Record

On Friday, me and my brother went on an excursion into town to avail ourselves of the opportunity to buy Christmas presents.  This chance was a very, very rare window that would unlock the possibility of achieving something I’d been hoping to do for a very long time.

Eating alone in a restaurant or other food joint is never an enthusing prospect. It smacks of desperation and loneliness. With that prejudice in mind, I will never go into a place where you need to sit down to eat on my own. It is a communal activity, done not only for stomach-filling, but for social benefits. 

So, with my brother finishing school at midday, I sensed that it was going to be a very good day indeed. 

The key part of this equation is that when it comes to food my brother is as gluttonous as I am. Neither of us are fat, but we’re both fairly active individuals and apparently blessed with a fast metabolism. This generally means that we’re hungry dudes. Our eating capacity is almost unrivalled, as is the speed at which we can demolish most meals. One, two, three, gone. 

These factors all combined to produce a trip to Pizza Hut. But not just any old trip – a trip during the day to sample the delights of the all you can eat buffet lunch. Pizza only – a snip at just £5 per person.

And, by Jove, we were going to get our money’s worth. 

The great thing about it is that, for my brother, he’d actually never been to the Pizza Hut buffet lunch. So he was particularly impressed that it really was all you can eat. He wondered how they still make money on it, which had me delving deep into the businessy section of my brain to talk a lot about high volume negating the effects of low value, and the fact that producing the same five or six pizzas constantly would be much better value than people continuously asking for different things on an a la carte basis. 

Inbetween this cerebral analysis, we did stuff our faces, remembering not to talk with our mouths open. It was busy, and I expected that with it being so close to Christmas, but there was enough to go round.

More than enough, in fact. I think I went up to the buffet on at least six occasions, each time returning with more saturated fats than was found in Elvis Presley’s arteries at the time of his death. But I wasn’t going to be stopped. Or outdone. My brother’s appetite was certainly keeping up with mine… and he was eating the meaty pizzas too! (Me being a vegetarian, that wasn’t an option)

In total, I downed a personal best of 13 slices. Of course, it is hard to be certain if I actually did eat more than my previous record of 12 slices, because the slices vary in size. And, of course, there is less to an Italian stonebaked base pizza than there is to a deep pan version. But, I think the varying slices generally balance out – and after slice 13 I couldn’t take any more.

My brother gave up at about 11 – impressive considering he’s smaller than me. But it was a good day. We had a good time, we sorted most of our presents out, and got back home dying of thirst as the salty badness in the cheese began to take its toll.

Fortunately, for my health as well as my wallet, this is not an event I make a regular thing of. In fact, last time I did it was the year before at Christmas with friends from Uni. I think as a yearly treat it can’t be too coronary-inducing. I hope…

For Fine, Lifeless Hair

Whenever I’m in the bath (for we don’t have a working shower) I often consider which of the plethora of shampoos I would like to use today to wash my hair. When I lived on my own there was, of course, no choice. I would buy shampoo, invariably Tesco’s own brand, and the rest is history.

But living in a house with shared resources the decision becomes much more difficult. For starters, the addition of women means at least a quadrupling of the choice – because, for some reason, women seem to need lots of different shampoos. One for frizzy hair, one for dyed hair, one for dry hair, a mild one for irritated scalps, one for dandruff, and then repeat for bottles of conditioner.

Then my brothers like to wash their hair with the Lynx shower gel, so there are at least two of those around the bath. And there is always another one for my sister, a more child-friendly one even though she’s 13. Add in the liquid soap that we’ve currently got, and the bubble bath, and you can see how it can easily become confusing.

It makes me wonder – are any of these products actually what they say they are? Is there a difference between me using a shampoo “for greasy hair” and another “for frequent use”? I mean, how frequent is frequent? I thought most people would wash their hair frequently anyway. Have you ever seen a shampoo say “for infrequent use” on it? If not, why not? I want to see the shampoo that is so deadly to your hair that it can only be used every month. And surely all hair gets greasy, otherwise why would you wash it? So isn’t every shampoo for greasy hair?

Then we turn to the other claims they right on the bottle. As a man, I wonder why would I ever want to “add volume” – or some other marketing speak – to my hair? I hate my hair, as I have discussed on a previous occasion, and any shampoo that promises to make it look more full of life, thicker and glossier is one that I should avoid at all costs. Yes, I know I’m using “women’s” shampoo… but that’s just the thing – they are only women’s because the branding tells you to believe that.

In truth, it’s all academic. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed any difference no matter what shampoo I use. The only factor in the equation is the smell. Some smell nice, some smell not so nice. And that, to me, is basically all the difference. Maybe on a technical level the cheapest shampoos contain more “agua” – to you and me we might call it that novel and exciting substance water –  and so you have to use more of it to get a good lather.

No. What this whole world is about is just about the same story you can apply to any aspect of modern, commercial life. It is the ultimate triumph of style over substance, of branding and image over reality. Beauty and hygiene are highly susceptible to the evils of capitalism for the simple reason that they probably figure in the minds of every person on Earth. And so we can plug away at those little fears and insecurities to sell you a bottle of miracle wonder that will transform you into one of the Beautiful People – gorgeous and successful – we see on the adverts and billboards.

Anyway, that’s quite enough moaning for one day. It’s supposed to be the season of goodwill to all men (and women)… unless they work for a beauty products manufacturer, of course. They can go stick their false science up their arses.

Sorting Myself Out

Some time ago there was an incident involving me which I forgot to write about. It was nothing bad, but it was surreal and most definitely leaning towards humourous. It’s stuck in my mind for some reason, and I remembered it yesterday, giving me a great excuse to write about it when there’s not much else to say…

It was back in Hull Times. Those long dark days and nights slaving away for a degree that was going to change my life (yeah right). 

I have always been a bit fussy over clothes. But then, I guess most people are. Everyone likes to think they have their own personal style. I know what mine is. Jeans/cargo pants, t-shirt (short and long-sleeve), with optional hoody or jumper in the event of cold weather. Brands are mostly out, unless they’re small and mostly obscure. Matalan, Primark and ASDA George are most definitely in. 

It suits me… and I feel comfortable in it. But this one day I had to stop and think. I was wearing a rather old pair of jeans, combined with a rather old t-shirt and a rather old cardigan type thing. The whole lot was probably past its best, but I was a student and knew nothing else. The cardigan in particular had developed a couple of holes and was really starting to look decrepit.

I was walking along a path which was running at a right angle to the street. The path was leading me on to the street. I would be walking along this path for probably no more than 20 seconds, as it led straight from an alleyway which led from my house. This is an important fact as otherwise the following event would have been impossible.

Ahead of me, turning around the corner was a car. The car was on the opposite side of the street, so the passenger window was facing me. Out of that window was a man, looking stony-faced and somewhat, umm, let’s just say touched in the head. I happened to notice him instantly because that’s where I was looking. After his car had turned the corner, he was directly facing me. Worse, he was looking right at me in the eye.

I met his stare for the briefest of moments. I looked away immediately, and at that moment the man shouted, “SORT YOURSELF OUT!”. I looked back at him, to find he was looking at me, and carried on looking at me as he drove into the distance. 

Now, this made me consider. I’d definitely never met him before. And the fact that he was already looking out the window (and continued to after he’d passed me) either meant that he was deliberately looking for a victim or he really was “a bit special”. I had to stop and think for a while though. Was he telling me the truth? Was there something about my external appearance that made him say that?

In fact I couldn’t get it out of my mind. There weren’t many other people in the street at the time, and I don’t think anyone else noticed, but still… it felt like a personal affront to me!

I laughed a little bit, I had to in case anyone was watching. And the way he looked at me, it just seemed like the whole thing was either a wind up or the man had no control over himself.

But I couldn’t stop thinking. Maybe I did look a bit ridiculous that day. But no worse, I thought, than the dudes who wear tracksuits, or t-shirt and shorts even on a winter’s day.

In truth, I’ve never worn the same combination of clothes again. In fact, the jeans have been retired. I’ve let this bizarre incident stick in my mind, even though I laugh about it now. I’m not normally one for paying much attention to what others think about me, but this one incident seems to have stuck…

So perhaps I did take his advice and sort myself out.

Today I’m wearing a jumper I’ve had for four years that’s at least a size too big on me. 

Forget that. I didn’t.

Mishmash

It’s been a bit of a nothingness over the past few days. After all the turbulence hinted at in my last post, since then very little seems to have happened. 

That, considering Christmas is around the corner, is a Bad Thing. I still have no idea what presents I’m going to get the members of my family, especially as everyone wants gifts that are too expensive for me. I normally spend an average of about £15 per person… meaning the whole shebang costs about £100 for me. 

This year everyone seems to want computer games or computer peripherals which generally cost small fortunes. Xbox 360 games in particular always cost loads of money. I sometimes con my brothers by buying a joint present as a 360 game, but that is never that well received because they are so hard to please. There aren’t many games that they both want… and I doubt it’s going to work that way this year.

But there was one bright spot last week. Though my self-employment ideas still rumble on, there’s no real reason for me to believe that I’m ready to go. I don’t have a toolkit for starters. And my website that I’ve made needs some photos to break up the text. Stuff for me to work on this week.

Anyway, the bright spot came from an unexpected phone call from my friend who occasionally sends me freelance work. It seems that he actually has something for me to do. Some paid work! Wow, I might actually get some money from somewhere. It’s writing some reviews of games, music and books for a website, so nothing too arduous… and I even get some free stuff out of it. Unfortunately most of it comes daubed with “Promotional Copy – Do Not Resell”… but maybe some of it will pass as a present.

In any event, it will be nice to get some cash. At least I’m going to be able to afford Christmas without spending my savings. Instead, the savings have finally made their way to a high interest fixed rate account, which seems sensible given the fact that by next year I’m likely to be getting absolutely no return on my money. No great loss really… nothing compared to what others are suffering during this recession anyway. Life goes on for me in much the same way as it’s always done, recession or no recession. No job, no prospects. Woo! 

I sit here at the moment next to the Christmas tree, which magically appeared over the weekend. My brother’s birthday was the other day too… it only seems five minutes ago since the last one. 2008 has absolutely flown by. Worse is the fact that this second half of the year, since I left university, has been a case of “busy doing nothing, working the whole day through” as my mum says. And yet the time has zoomed ever faster forward.

I’ve got to sort myself out very soon. But how many times have I said that now?