As 2016 comes to a close, it is time to reflect on all the good and bad of the last 366 days.
Personally, for me, 2016 hasn’t been too bad a year. I celebrated my 50th birthday with a meal with good friends and a theatre trip for an 80s spectacular night. Originally I had planned to celebrate my birthday with a party, but this slightly got out of hand with hubby and eldest son having completely different ideas to mine as to what we should include in a party. Consequently, a friend organised a gathering of good friends to a fine French restaurant where we had a lovely meal. Hubby did manage to organise a cake, one which was disneyesque in style, with a couple of manuscripts on it from Edward Elgar; Nimrod and Salut D’Amour. The cake was delicious and made by Sweet Antoinette Cakes, in Enfield , a company that my husband found on his travels round London, whilst working.
Continuing on with my birthday celebrations, in May hubby and I went to Amsterdam for a few days with friends. We arrived at Amsterdam airport where we were met by an executive car service to take us to our hotel, Hotel Die Port Van Cleve, right by Dam Square. We explored a lot of the region, Dam square itself, a canal trip, Van Gogh museum, many churches, Amsterdam museum, the flower market, the red light district as well as lots of shopping – I was quite excited to find a C&A!
Amsterdam is full of culture with lots to see and do. There are so many architectural styles in the city and e-haveryone is friendly and helpful, definitely will be going back there again.
I decided this year that I needed a change in occupations. I have worked for many years in schools, helping children, but over the last couple of years I have gradually got disillusioned with this. Children in schools are a statistic. They are taught a lot of irrelevant things where at the end they have to sit a test and lo and behold if they do not make the grade that they should be at by the end of the year. Teachers are struggling to keep up to date with the many changes in the curriculum and with the necessary paperwork they have to complete in order to justify their existence. On top of this there is an increasing pressure to make sure that there is adequate support for those children who are struggling to keep up, yet there are no resources or funding to provide the extra help needed. All in all, there are children in the system that if they do not fit under the headings or Pupil Premium, Special Educational Needs, Gifted and Talented or English as an Additional Language, then they get very little extra help. As a result, they struggle as all the attention is focussed on those children who do fit into one of the above headings. Not all children are academic yet successive Educational Ministers seem to forget this and try to make these children fit into their ideal of a successful education system. It is stressful to say the least, and it did get to the point where I dreaded going to work, so a change was needed. Fortunately I did manage to ‘escape’ and am now working for the local authority in school admissions – a challenge in itself when you are trying to find school places for children when most schools are oversubscribed in the area.
2016 has been a year where we have mourned the passing of various celebrities, authors, actors, singers and politicians. There has been the usual outpouring of grief for these ‘icons’ of our youth from various quaters, yet I cannot help for ponder on the reasons for this. So many people seem so hooked on the ideal that you can have your 15 minutes of fame by appearing on Britain’s got Talent, or X Factor. The general idolisation of celebrities or sportspeople as the ideal. The media plays on this a lot – there never seems to be a day that doesn’t pass where a celebrity is mentioned in the news or in the papers this is what you should aspire to. However very little is mentioned of the various wars that continue around the world, about the various protests that happen or how people from other religions help during times of crisis or have helped the homeless over the holiday season, preferring instead to portray them in an evil light or appropriating blame in such a way that the majority of people tend to believe them. To me this is sad. Unfortunately I have seen my friend suffer this year as she has watched her father slowly succumb to dementia, an illness that gets very little press, gradually deteriorating until he died at the beginning of the month. Also we have lost a family member earlier this week as well. Those that are closest to us are what matter. Yes it is sad to lose a celebrity. It is sad for their families, but many people lose so much more and suffer a lot more as a result yet we know and hear so very little about these things.
2016 has also been a year where families and friends have turned against each other, disagreed with the way they have voted, where tensions have run high over Brexit and the EU vote. Throughout I have sat back and wondered how people can be so nasty to each other just because they haven’t agreed or respected other people’s opinions. The same happened in the US with their elections and how Trump was voted in. Hopefully things will not be as bad as people predict, but if it is as bad as predicted then perhaps we have to just work together to make it better. Sometimes it is goodmore important to take stock of what you have, what really matters to you and embrace it.
So as 2016 comes to a close, I look forward to what 2017 will bring. Hopefully for some it will be a better year. I am not making any resolutions for the year ahead as I rarely keep them, my goal is just to get through it as best as I can, that my family stays healthy and together no matter what happens. To you all, if you have managed to read this far, I wish you and your family a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year, may it be a good one to you and yours and remember everything that happens to you is a step towards achieving something bigger and better.
Hugs to all x