Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

2017 in review


It’s time for my annual review of the year. Well, 363 days of it – I’m aware that we still have a couple more sunrises before 2018 rolls in.

You can read my previous posts from 2016, 20152014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009.


Although we did go to a New Year’s Eve party, we were home and in bed asleep when the 1st January began – Lizzie needed the sleep, and, frankly, so did we.

We made a return trip to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which is one of our favourite zoos and in within reasonable driving distance of home. We only went once in 2017 but I’m sure we’ll be back at least once in 2018 as Lizzie loves animals.

Our first child-free day of the year saw us go to the cinema to see A Monster Calls. It’s a great film that gets very emotional in places.

As usual, January is my blogiversary, and in 2017 I marked 15 years of blogging. Whilst I barely wrote anything in the last three months of this year, I’m not planning to completely give up on blogging any time soon. I also reviewed the Google Chromecast that I got for Christmas, and which has seen extensive use throughout the year.


Lizzie walked unaided for the first time. She’s now a very confident walker and we’ve had a few days out where we haven’t needed a pushchair. We visited the new wildlife park at Askham Bryan College near York – the first of two visits in 2017, with it being literally down the road from where my parents live.

With Donald Trump being sworn in as American president (urgh), I ranted about his travel ban.

We went to the first of two weddings, and saw The Lego Batman Movie on another child-free day.


My second Fitbit Charge HR died. I managed to get a replacement but later in the year I upgraded to a better model.

Halifax is home to Eureka, the National Children’s Museum, and I took Lizzie there in March. This was the first time that I had visited as an adult, the museum having opened 25 years ago when I was a child myself. Other museum visits included the Manchester Museum and Temple Newsam near Leeds.

I contemplated buying into Apple’s updated iPad range. That hasn’t happened yet, for financial reasons, but I am likely to buy a new iPad in 2018. My existing iPad Mini 2 won’t get iOS updates after this coming summer and it needs a screen replacement. I’d rather not spend more money on it if I’m due to replace it soon.


National Coal Mining Museum for England
Lizzie slept through the night. Sadly, she doesn’t sleep through consistently even now but there are some nights where she does (or at least, I don’t wake up). During the first week of the Easter holidays, we had no childcare, so I took the week off work and Lizzie and I had several days out together. We went to the National Coal Mining Museum for England, the newly-renamed National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and the Leeds City Museum. Over Easter, we went to Beningbrough Hall with my parents.


May is my birthday month, although it was yet another year of insignificant age. In addition to a child-free day, to watch Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2, we also had our first child-free night out. We went to see a recording of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue in Halifax.

May was also the time for our annual trip to London. It was Lizzie’s first long-distance train journey, and the first time that we took a pushchair on London Underground. We had hoped to make another London trip in 2017 but we never got around to booking it.

In April, a General Election was called, and the Labour Party (of which I am a member) decided to launch its manifesto in the building where I work. It was good to see the nation’s media descend on Bradford and to see Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues receive such a warm welcome.

And I went on a Stag Do, in Leeds and then up and down the Worth Valley.


The General Election took place in June and for once I wasn’t disappointed with the result. We didn’t get a Labour government, but I think the result was the best that we could hope for considering the circumstances and how far behind Labour was in the polling back in April.We had a nice afternoon riding model trains in Brighouse, and a trip to Thornton Hall Farm near Skipton. June saw the second of the two weddings. Afterwards, for the first time in a while, we had no forthcoming weddings in the calendar but we’ve recently had another invite come through for 2018.

For the first time since childhood, I went to Bempton Cliffs in East Yorkshire. I was really pleased to get a good photo of a puffin, one of my favourite birds.


In July, I started answering all of the questions in Richard Herring’s Emergency Questions book, 15 a week. This lasted until September, when I took an unplanned blogging hiatus. I wrote about the first thing that I bought on Amazon.

We made a return visit to Cannon Hall Farm in South Yorkshire. Lizzie and I went to Quarry Bank Mill and the Manchester Airport Runway Visitor Park for the first time, and I’m sure we’ll go back on a nice day. July saw Lizzie move into a bigger car seat, which will hopefully last her for a couple more years. And we went to The Deep in Hull; this was Lizzie’s first visit, but I’ve been a few times.

I got a new Fitbit, and Lizzie got her first passport. We haven’t been abroad yet, but have a holiday to France planned in 2018.


Lizzie’s love of animals led to a visit to Ponderosa near Heckmondwike. I don’t know if we’ll go back, as I wasn’t happy with the way the animals were kept, but she seemed to enjoy herself nonetheless. I also took Lizzie to the Legoland Discovery Centre at the Trafford Centre, although really she was too young – we may go back in a couple of years but I didn’t feel like it was very good value for money. She much preferred the Sealife Centre next door.

Another trip to Manchester included the Museum of Science & Industry, which has the benefit of being free and it has a toddler room. Being open on the August Bank Holiday Monday helped too.


I suppose the big news in September was me using Bi Visibility Day to come out as bisexual. Coming out hasn’t really changed much, but then I suppose I’m in a committed different-sex relationship and have passing privilege as a result.

August and September are always busy months for me at work, but we did manage to slip in a visit to Harewood House, north of Leeds, and a day trip to Harrogate for Christine’s birthday (including lunch at Betty’s, of course). We also went back to the Leeds City Museum, for a new exhibition on skeletons. As well as being free and easy to get to, Leeds City Museum always has plenty of activities for kids, especially during school holidays.

We also had a nice day out at Kinney Park Estate.


I made just one blog post in October, about achieving 10,000 steps every day for 100 days. I may try to repeat this in the new year but I’ve had quite a sedentary Christmas break.

October saw visits to the Tropical Butterfly House near Sheffield, twice in consecutive weekends. I took Lizzie one weekend when Christine was working, and ended up going back as a family the next weekend as we enjoyed it so much. I’ll do a proper blog post about it soon.


Just the one day out in November, to the Elsecar Heritage Centre near Barnsley. Lizzie and I had a child-free week off; we had planned to go away somewhere, such as London, but we didn’t get it booked in time. We did, however, spend over £1000 in Ikea, by buying a new sofa and some storage units for the dining room. This ultimately required five people to build.


And finally December. Lizzie and I made two trips to Lotherton Hall near Leeds, the second with Christine and my parents. The first was during its Christmas experience, which sees it opening late with extra Christmas activities. It was good value for the £6 per adult entry fee, although I ended up with a filthy car after parking in a muddy field. The day afterwards, I took Lizzie to the Trafford Centre to finish off our Christmas shopping, where we also saw the Coca Cola truck.

We had Christmas in York with my parents, and Lizzie turned two – more about that in a later blog post, hopefully.

So it’s been another busy year with plenty of days out. Hopefully there’ll be many more in 2018.

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