Seeing as it’s the afternoon of the 31st December, I suppose it’s time to do a review of the year.
Overall, it’s been a good year. As Covid-19 restrictions have eased, we’ve been able to go out and do things, and at home we have a brilliant new kitchen.
Speaking of which…
I wrote in more detail about our new kitchen earlier this month, and now that our new fridge-freezer has arrived, it’s complete. It’s the first time either of us have had a kitchen that has been designed around our needs, and whilst we had to make some compromises due to the available space, it’s a massive improvement.
The kitchen was probably the biggest thing about 2022 for us; we broadly agreed the design in December 2021 but paid the deposit in February 2022, with work starting in earnest in May. This of course meant that April was spent preparing – moving everything we wanted to keep out of the kitchen and stripping wallpaper (I mean, who puts wallpaper in a kitchen? It was disgusting after years of grease and grime).
Work continued for several months and it wasn’t until September that we had our washing machine back; it then took over a week for our decorators to finish painting it. It’s done now, so we can start 2023 with a completed kitchen.
In 2022, we had our first overseas holiday since 2019. 2020, and the pandemic, put paid to any holiday plans, and last year we decided to have a holiday in England rather than travel internationally. Note – I refuse to call this a ‘staycation’, which is a holiday you have based at home. Calling a holiday in your home country a ‘staycation’ is demeaning to those who can’t afford an overseas holiday.
We went back to France again, but to Brittany this time. Apart from driving through, I haven’t been to Brittany for many years, and it was Christine’s first time. We stayed at a static caravan site near Carnac on the west coast, and from there explored the area. We benefited from the on-site kid’s club to have some child free time, and a highlight was a visit to Parc zoologique du château de Branféré which is one of the best zoos we’ve ever visited.
We also came across the Museum of the Junkyard Poet, somewhat accidentally when looking for something else on TripAdvisor, and it’s a wonderfully whimsical place made of reclaimed junk and building materials.
It was a good break, and we’ve already booked another trip to France for 2023 – this time staying near Tours.
Work has been busy this year – like most universities, we’ve experience a huge increase in applications from international students and they all need processing by admissions officers such as myself. I’ve had some changes to work – I’ve been able to delegate some responsibilities elsewhere but taken on others.
Whilst we started the year working at home full-time, thanks to scares around the Omicron variant, we were back to hybrid working within weeks and so I now spend a minimum of two days each work in the office. It’s an arrangement that works well for me; being at home some days is helpful as I can do washing or prepare dinner in the time that I would spend commuting, but some aspects of my job are easier in a formal office environment.
Things haven’t been universally positive – I applied for a couple of promotion opportunities and didn’t get them, although those that did are already showing that they’re a good fit for the roles.
I attended the AUA Annual Conference in Manchester in July, and this included graduating from my PG Certificate in Higher Education Administration, Management and Leadership in front of many of my industry peers.
This year our child (who has a name and a gender but it’s not public knowledge, sorry) turned seven, and is now in year two (top of the infants). This meant a bigger role in this year’s Nativity play, which we actually got to see in person for the first time.
They’ve also started more extra-curricular activities; swimming, dancing and more recently karate. Considering that myself and Christine are borderline sloths, it can be a little exhausting having such an active child but we’re happy to support them in their own interests.
Days out and weekends away
As we have an annual National Trust membership, and because I’m from Yorkshire and therefore naturally tight with money, I keep a list of where we’ve been so that I ensure that we get our money’s worth. This year, we visited six properties:
- Dunham Massey
- Beningborough Hall
- Tatton Park
- Speke Hall
- Hare Hill Gardens
- Nether Alderley Mill
Dunham Massey, Hare Hill and Nether Alderley Mill were new properties, and Christine went to Speke Hall near Liverpool for the first time. Overall, we almost got our money’s worth from our annual family membership – just down by £6.70. It’s renewed for 2023 although we have visited almost every property within an hour’s drive of home now.
Other days out included the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, The Deep in Hull, the Blue Reef aquarium in Portsmouth (on the way to catch the ferry to France), the Tropical Butterfly House near Sheffield, Magna, Knowlsey Safari and our first visit to the Great Yorkshire Show since 2016.
We also had a couple of weekends away. November saw the return of Sci-Fi Weekender after a three year absence and it was good to see some familiar faces after such a long break. The following weekend, we had a weekend in London, including a trip to see Dippy at the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum next door, and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
My health has been good this year, and I’ve had the opportunity to be more active. We agreed a minor change to my asthma medication – same drugs but taken differently, which seems to result in my asthma being better controlled.
When I wrote this yesterday (31st Dec), I forgot to mention that I had Covid-19 in March. It was a minor case and I was able to continue working from home. It was probably the second time that I’ve had it, as I’m pretty sure that I had it in April 2020, but there wasn’t sufficient testing available at the time to check. I had my fourth Covid-19 jab in the autumn.
The big change is I’m now a hearing aid user. I meant to blog about this in more detail, but, you know, good intentions and all that. I have ‘moderate’ hearing loss, and have experienced issues with hearing for a few years now, but it took until this autumn to finally have hearing aids fitted. They’re standard issue NHS models, which means that they’re basic (no Bluetooth or phone connectivity) but haven’t cost me anything – even the replacement batteries are free. They’ve made a massive difference, especially when in the office at work.
Christine had her gall bladder out earlier this year, after suffering with gallstones. She’s doing much better now.
Looking forward to 2023
So that was 2022. It was a good year on the whole. I’ll aim to write more about what we have planned for 2023 – you never know, I may even finish it this side of June. I hope you have had a good year as well, and a good new year’s eve if you celebrate it (we’ll most likely be asleep).