Tag Archives: 2011

The Year that Was

What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Most recently, I trekked through virgin rainforest, gave a leech a hearty meal of my blood, cleaned out Orangutan and Sun Bear cages, sat behind a tribal Chief as we went through the Borneo rainforest. I’m sure there was other stuff I did in the year but it all seems so long ago now.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I still have the post it note on my desk saying ‘SIT UP STRAIGHT!’ I sometimes kept it. Mostly I tried. I’m not sure about next year.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
I think we’ve just had the one birth this year. My cousin (of sorts) welcomed a baby boy, Roman, to the family. Hopefully I get to meet him soon.

Did anyone close to you die?
My godmother, I have more than one, but she’s the only godparent who’s ever had a real presence in my life.

What countries did you visit?
European vacations dominated this year with trips to Barcelona, Paris, and Copenhagen. True to form, there was a trip to New York, however there was also a trip to a brand new place with an Ape Adventure in Malaysia rounding off the year.

What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
More of my own words. I wrote something every day but I think I got lazy on some days, I need to be better, or at the very least as good as I used to be.

What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I really can’t think of one date. December 18th perhaps, I stepped back without going backwards.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Making it out of the jungle, and being brave enough to lose it all.

What was your biggest failure?
I’m not sure this was a year of failure.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
You know I was probably pricked with a needle more times this year than any other. All in the interest in preventing illness though, they seem to have worked.

What was the best thing you bought?
Honestly, my iPod Touch. My first and only purchase of that type of fruit, I finally gave in. It kept me entertained in the jungle and since downloading Jenga and the Game of Life it has kept me entertained out of it as well. There truly is an app for that.

Where did most of your money go?
To the jungle! Perhaps not whilst I was in it, but certainly getting there.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting to see a friend on stage, I’ve seen her in things before but seeing her on stage, well that’s something to get excited about.

What song(s) will always remind you of 2011?
Pretty much anything Adele. That voice, it will be timeless. If we’re going for one song then ‘Someone Like You’. Also, Christine Perri, ‘Jar of Hearts’ and its juxtapose, ‘A Thousand Years’. They may not remind me of this year specifically but they will remind me of the feeling.

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My London

My heart is literally breaking over what is happening in my city. I love London unequivocally. I have seen other cities and I have experienced other cultures, some very different from my own, but I can say without a doubt that my heart is most at peace when I am walking the streets of London. The air here is different. The rhythm of the city beating its own distinct pulse through the buildings, along the river, and out through every street laid out due to necessity not the order of later cities learnt from our example.

The events of the past few days both sadden and anger me. Some are saying that it is the disenfranchisement of our youth that is causing them to act out in this way. Council services have been cut so they do not have anything to occupy their time with and the economic situation for them is bleak. I understand that, part of me even agrees with it. If there is no promise of a brighter future then, why not take what you want when it is there for the taking? Why work hard to earn enough for the latest high-tech gadgetry when throwing a chair through the window of Dixons and running off with all you can carry will have the same affect? Why? Because we are supposed to be better than that, that’s why.

When life gets hard we are not supposed to use it as an excuse to run around lawlessly destroying our own communities. We are not supposed to make our neighbours fear for their own safety. We are not supposed to destroy the homes and livelihoods we have spent so long and worked so hard to create. The disenfranchised youth with monetary incentives to stay in school and free travel; these are the people running around causing mayhem as they take pictures with their i-phones and Blackberrys.

On a day with blue skies and white clouds most Londoners would be out enjoying this momentary glimpse of summer. Instead, most are constantly refreshing their computer screens for an update on what the current situation is in the city. We are on tenterhooks waiting to hear what is happening around London. And I, like so many, have a heavy heart inside my chest as I see the actions of few, reeking havoc across the city that I love. It aches at the scenes plastered across newspapers and television screens as the world watches Londoners tearing London apart.

And what can we do? In the aftermath those that can have done what I knew Londoners would do, they have taken up their brooms and bin bags and are helping with the clear up. Others waiting until it is safe so they can go in and help clear away the broken pieces and help mend the broken lives of those affected, but what of the looters? Whilst the police and the politicians decide what action to take stories come in of people taking up saucepans and bats, whatever they can, to defend whatever they have left. Elderly people determined that they will not live in fear in their own city. This is the true face of London.

The looters are nothing but opportunistic scum. They have brazenly walked through our communities and neighbourhoods, along our high streets, and declared themselves above the law. This has nothign to do with what happened to Mark Duggan and the police shooting. This is about nothing more than causing as much damage as possible, to hell with who gets hurt. I hope each and every one of them gets caught and are punished accordingly. Raise my taxes to lock them up; right now I do not care. They have tried to destroy my city; they do not deserve to be a part of it.

All across London everyone I know is bracing themselves for another night of looting. Stores have shut early, shutters pulled all the way down and some are even boarded up. People have put their cars in garages. All plans have been cancelled. As we set in for the fourth night of possible unrest the 16,000 strong police force out on the streets brace themselves too. We wait for the sun to set and pray that tonight we are spared a repeat of the previous nights. Every Londoner listening out for the sirens and helicopters. Every Londoner looking on in disgust at the ones we have disowned. Every Londoner hoping that this madness is over and that their city can be returned to them.

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Project365 – Words

A few years ago someone, who in later years would become absolutely necessary to me, asked for a gift of 100 images. No other instructions given, just 100 images. At the end I had two very important things, a person who I had known in a previous lifetime back in my life, and also my eyes were open again. In capturing 100 images I was reminded to stop and take a look at the world. I was reminded what it is to see. Those 100 images remain one of my most favourite gifts.

I have followed some very talented people as they completed their 365 day projects, and had little intention of starting one myself, but then I was reminded of the gift. I realised that it has been a long time since I have taken the time to pause and look at the world. Last year I think I spent a lot of time in the noise of life that I lost some of the enjoyment I found in the simple things. I want that back.

Projects are always fun but you need a challenge. I remember one particular trip to NY, I think my second, I was given a list of things I had to take a photo of – including a fire hydrant and a smoking grate. On another of my American Adventures I decided to wear a different t-shirt every day for three weeks, that one wasn’t easy on the luggage. So when I decided to undertake this project I knew I needed a theme. At first I thought of journeys. Many photo-worthy things happen on my bus journeys and I am on autopilot too many times and this would hopefully snap me out of that. However, it would mean leaving home every day and I know that on some days that just isn’t happening. Then I realised that there really was only one theme I could choose, words.

As someone who plays, semi-professionally, at this writing game, words are very important to me. I have always loved them. Everything about them, from their origin to the way the letters are formed by different people’s hands. 365 days. 365 photos. 365 words. None the same. That is the project, that is the challenge I have set myself. I started properly today, and I already felt myself opening my eyes a little wider. Taking in everything the world had to show me, looking for those words I wanted to capture. I am on my way to achieving what I hope to by choosing to do this project: I am seeing the world again.

Please visit a year of my world in words in photos: Project365 – Words

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