2013 and onwards to 2014

Well, the annual reflection and planning time is upon us. This year I thought I’d actually blog about it, instead of intending to blog about it. So how was your 2013?

For me, a bit of a mixed bag tbh. It didn’t suck as bad as 2011 (that was officially the crappiest year this century), but it wasn’t as fab as 2007.

The high point was undoubtedly Sidster-related.  He got a serious sized chunk of his hearing restored in April. For 20-odd years, our relationship has been based on a solid foundation of mis-understanding and decoding what each other is saying. When we met in 1990, he had perfectly good hearing, but ropey English. Following a head injury in 1993, he gained a hearing impairment. Come the start of 2013, his English is perfectly good, but his hearing sure ain’t. But two stapedectomies later, its working well. No more hearing aids. No more confused Q&A exchanges where he answers a different question to the one I asked, no more TV volumes that can be heard by the neighbours, no more avoiding pubs with hard floors because they’re really loud. But plenty of conversations in the car (before the hearing aid amplified the sound of the car engine too), hearing the waterfall from our friends mountain balcony for the first time, and plenty of jokes with punchlines that don’t need to be repeated. Joy all round. And a plea to take care of your hearing folks. In the words of Joni Mitchell, you don’t what you’ve got till it gone….

The low point has been the frustration that we’ve not been able to move our French chalet build project on since this time last year. We’d hoped to at least get air and water-tight with windows and doors going in, but it wasn’t to be. The local French builders are sufficiently busy that they’re not interested in quoting on the job. C’est la vie en France. And I’ve been too bl**dy busy with the pesky business of earning a living to have looked hard enough for alternative solutions. I’ve let the impediments beat me for a bit. But that’s one to prioritise in 2014.

And what about the wider world in 2013? Observations and reflections in no particular order:

If your business model (or state for that matter) relies on people keeping secrets, you’re up shit creek. I offer you Edward Snowden, wikileaks, the NSA…

If you’re trying to keep secrets, you probably wanna spend more time addressing why its something you need to keep secret in the first place.

Android, mobile, tablets. Holy crap, the potential for the $100 tablet. Please can we do something good, like education, as well as all the pothole reporting apps and taxi-ordering apps. #firstworldproblems

Zero-hour contracts, low pay, companies that don’t share the value they create with the people who create it. I offer you Amazon. I’m trying to vote with my £ and not buy from them, but I’ll admit its hard to resist.

Foodbanks. Holy shit. In 2013 in the UK. This sucks. There but for the grace of god go any of us. Donate something. And lets see what else we can do to make them a thing of the past. I’m sure the Trussell Trust and others have a whole bunch of other good community projects they’d love to do when people aren’t hungry any more.

So to 2014. What’s in store? Each year I make a list. Usually its too long, and too detailed. A bit like KPIs (don’t you just love that we all forget what the K stands for…. 8 pages containing 42 KEY performance indicators anyone). So in the spirit of remembering that we can do ANYTHING, but we can’t do EVERYTHING…

  • Finish enough of the chalet in France so that we can spend next Christmas there.
  • Make the best use of my specialist skills at work and don’t get sucked into doing stuff that others can do better. Or that doesn’t add value.
  • Move more. The chair is this generations smoking. I’ve become a lard-arse through sitting still too much.
  • Take the time to enjoy things more. And don’t get sucked into other people’s grumpy vortii (I may have made up a new plural there).

Bonne Fetes from Haute Savoie.

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