Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Monday, 31 December 2012
Cro and John have posted little reviews on 2012, so not wanting to be left out, so will I.
I have done a lot of moaning this last year, and for that I apologise. The last few weeks I have been irritable with constant pain (I still am - I can hardly stand up today) but it's onset was timed perfectly to coincide with the holiday period, so only you and H.I. had to put up with it.
Last night, there was a bit of a celebration for Grandson's girlfriend's 21st birthday, but I opted to stay at home, not feeling much like going out in this shitty weather. As soon as H.I. disappeared in the car, I regretted not going with her, and felt very lonely, home alone. I realised how much I depend on H.I. for my happiness, and stayed up until she returned - like a small dog waiting at the door - so I could tell her so. Moral: Tell your nearest and dearest how much they mean to you, while you still have the chance.
I managed to tell my sister just that, a couple of days before she died this year, and even though I didn't see much of her in the 50 odd years since she left home, she was always a humorous and caring presence. Loose ends all wound up nicely, just in the nick of time.
My God Daughter and eldest niece was diagnosed with the return of cancer just after her aunt kicked the bucket, and now faces a pretty grim New Year. Being only about 15 years older than her, she has always looked on me as a sort of elder brother rather than uncle, and my titular role as 'Godfather' is just that. Like I said earlier in the year, I have now reached the age when I can work on my latent avuncularity, but I think I may have left it too late. Once or twice, I have stuffed a load of cotton wool in my mouth and asked her, "When was the last time you called me Godfather?", in my worst Marlon Brando accent.
I am only about 16 years older than H.I.'s daughter as well. She started off calling me the elder brother she never had, but now refers to me as her 'step-father' when introducing me to others. That's fine by me, just so long as her children keep calling me their grandfather. I have been adopted by as yet unborn generations of great-grandchildren, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that. I have learnt from mistakes in the past (that must be a first) and I tell all three generations what they mean to me on a daily basis. I cannot begin to talk about the guilt I feel for my biological daughter and grandchildren, who are so far away that I hardly ever see them, but it is a long story.
Work: I have always thought of myself as quite good at what I do, but suffered a bit of a blow to my self-confidence toward the end of this year (another first) which I chronicled here by recounting the arguments had with others, who accused me of not actually doing my own work, but relying on the superior skills of others to finish it off. Christ, that pissed me off, as you could probably tell.
So you can imagine how I felt when my best customer and patron (who is a household name - literally - John understands this little joke) gave me a Christmas card which featured a large carving I had made for his grounds, covered in last year's snow, with the hand-written inscription, "Thank you for being so brilliant and artistic" on the inside. He obviously had the same thought as me about taking the opportunity to tell others what you think (even if you over-egg it a bit) while you still have the chance. That meant a lot to me, coming when it did, at the end of a shitty year with weather to match.
This all sounds like it's all about ME, which - in a way - it is, but really it is about appreciating what makes the year worth living through - other people. Not things or money, but really valuable assets in the form of nearest and dearest.