Sunday, January 21, 2007

New Year, France and Other Reflections

I know. I should have written something profound looking backwards to last year and forwards to next.

Something that sums up last year. Like talking about the degree, OBE day, the Parents’ 30th Wedding Anniversary and looking for a job.

Or perhaps something summarising the news that hit the headlines this year. World instability and fear of terrorism, political shifts in the UK and USA as well as discussions in how the digital revolution is speeding up.

Or perhaps something predicting what is to come: the first female President in France, a more interesting contest for Deputy PM than PM (my money’s on Milliband) and a new leader for the Lib Dems in the UK as well as a surprise plan for peace in Israel.

Or even a section on my aims for the year. A job, heading towards owning a home and a holiday in France as well as someone to snuggle (now and again!).

But hey, I wouldn’t do something so stereotypical, would I?!

I could now give you some good bed-time reading about my New Year’s Eve. About how I went to a lovely service at Bury Cathedral in the morning (where the congregation sung the mass setting) and a great, reflective Communion Service at Bro’s Westgate Chapel in the evening. This was followed by a three course meal at Bro’s flat where we ate, chatted and bopped along to Radio 1’s New Year Party. We joined his lovely landlord and lady for the midnight celebrations; it was good to spend it with them and it was a genuinely good evening.

But, I wouldn’t write such drivel as I fear you might dose off before the end.

I could I also write about the great day that Bro and I spent in France. We visited the award-winning ‘Nausicaa’ marine museum/aquarium in Boulogne sur Mer. I could rave about the beauty of the Penguins and Sea Lions, how you were physically taken through the various levels of the sea and how you left with a realisation of the importance of the sea. I could throw in a few comments about the quality of French shopping, the excellent lunch we had at Flunch and question why the French are so much better looking than the equivalent (how can an unshaven, scruffy man be more attractive than a British one … there lies the answer to my lack of success).

But, as any regular reader of mine knows, it is just not the sort of thing I write on.

I could write about the News, as I am wanton to do now and again. I could comment on the weather (roof damaged at home, spent all of yesterday clearing a tree from the road so now feel shattered). I could voice my concerns about Big Brother (Perhaps more worryingly, we are not surprised as all of this as it is the sort of racism/bullying we suffer/witness daily but do not act on. It is only in the glare of the camera that its full horror becomes clear). I might comment on the Home Office (a big mess), the PM (a bigger mess) or the rebuilding of Wrexham (a complete mess).

But, enough has been said on these subjects without the need for me to put in my halfpenny’s worth.

I could share my latest news: being asked to join the governing body of the Church in Wales (quite an honour), the awful time my Brother and Father are having at work, balancing other people’s work as well as their own and the frantic and tiring life my Mother leads. All of which worries me. I could write about the fact that I am starting to give in on getting a job in journalism. I seem to be getting nowhere fast and am craving work. I also begin to wonder my suitability for the work. Many of the skills I hold in journalism could be extended elsewhere: good writing, research and organisational skills are cross-career skills. Furthermore, do I want a job which asks for ‘people skills’ and few employers have them, which undervalues the financial worth of initial graduates and which makes breaking into a bank seem easier than securing that first job. That said, the excitement of news, the drive to do the best job, the hunt to get the story, the social responsibility and, above all, the way it feeds my addiction for news are hard to leave. I feel like I am giving up on a dream but I increasingly need to be realistic. I have dreamt of little else since I was 16 but perhaps now is the time for a new dream.

But I would not want to sadden readers and have them soaked in my bath of self-pity.

Instead, all I will do, dear friends, readers and collected others, is wish you a happy, prosperous and joyous new year.